September 2006 Archive
- August 2006 -October 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 September comment - following the announcement that Arbitron is to rate non-commercial stations wonders about its effect on US talk radio, indicates we'd like intelligent talk but asks if it would it "rate" with advertisers?
RNW August comment - looks back at what we thought in 2000 was ahead for the industry and how far we got it right.
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.
2006-09-30: US Radio revenues in August were up 2% on a year ago led by 12% growth in national advertising and 10% growth in non-traditional revenues, rises that were largely offset by a 2% fall in national revenues according to latest figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB): Total combined national and local Radio revenues were up 1% on a year earlier.
On a year to date basis, overall revenues are now flat; those for combined local and national Radio revenue are down 1%; national revenues are up 2% and local ones down 2% but non-spot revenues are up 9%.
RAB's Ad Sales Index that equates pre-dot.com boom base year 1998 to 100 showed August figures of 128.9 for total combined local and national revenues; 135.5 for national revenues; and 127.4 for local revenues whilst for the year to date they are 139.4, 144.4, and 137.8 respectively.
Previous RAB figures:
2006-09-30: Emap in a trading update says it expects the "continuing group" - it recently sold Emap, France, for approximately GBP 380 million (USD 711 million ) - to grow revenues by 6% in the first half of this year, driven by launches and acquisitions - underlying revenue is expected to be down 2%.
Full year revenues, it adds, will be broadly flat and it warns that trading conditions are likely to remain difficult. In divisional terms Emap says it expects half-year revenues for UK consumer magazines to be town 5% with underlying revenues down 1%; International consumer magazines revenues to be down 7% and 18% respectively; Business-to-business revenues to be up 11% overall with underlying figures down 6%; radio revenues to be up 41% and underlying revenues to be up 5% - excluding the boost from its purchase of Scottish Radio Holdings it says revenues is expected to be up 5%, "outperforming a market estimated to be slightly down and demonstrating the benefit of the enlarged group"; and TV revenues to be up 11%, both in total and underlying.
2006-09-30: According to a BBC report the UK is likely to have two competing subscription satellite radio services by 2010, one from current international satellite radio company WorldSpace and the other from Spanish group Ondas Media.
WorldSpace is due to begin a service in Italy next year (See RNW May 9) and hopes to build on this whilst Ondas says it plans a full pan-European service to be launched in 2010.
Ondas Media chairman Torsten Freymark said his group would have a "wide variety of music genres Jazz, classical, oldies rock, house, country - whatever people's listening habits are, we'll do it."
Freymark said his company is talking to several automakers about receivers in motor vehicles and that they would probably also have portable receivers in the "launch line-up".
2006-09-29: GCap Media says that its overall revenues for the six months to the end of September are expected to call by around 9% on a year ago, mainly because of problems at Capital Radio.
In the first of two UK trading updates this week - Emap is also expected to produce gloomy figures in its update today - GCap says that excluding Capital Radio, it expects like-for-like revenues to be down 4% on a year earlier. The like-for-like figures also exclude XFM Manchester, which went on air in March this year.
The figures for Capital have been affected by its decision - in line with the policy introduced by DMG with its Nova network in Australia -to limit the amount of advertising on the station to protect its premium rates: Capital now runs no more than two commercials back-to-back, a policy that it expects to help its ratings as well as the perceptions of the value of those adverts.
GCap said in its update that "July trading proved to be particularly difficult" although "more recent months have shown an improvement on that performance" and adds that although " the market remains weak and visibility poor, we currently expect GCap Media's advertising revenue performance, excluding Capital Radio, to be in line with the radio sector as a whole for September and October."
The company says, "Enhancing Capital Radio's performance remains our priority. Our strategy for the station is clear and we have made good progress in its implementation."
It notes that this year it has streamlined the station's operations, strengthened on-air talent and brought in new management and introduced the new inventory policy, which enhances the overall experience for listeners.
"These inventory changes," it says, " have succeeded in achieving our initial objective of creating greater commercial effectiveness and value for our advertisers but have significantly reduced the inventory available for sale" and it adds that it now believes "the time is right to begin marketing Capital Radio for the first time since 2005...We will be starting marketing activity shortly, and expect its impact to begin to be visible in the New Year and to be increasingly evident in 2007 listener figures."
As regards the rest of the group it says it is already seeing results from its "strategy to reverse audience loss at our core heritage stations" with "particular success at key stations such as BRMB, GWR FM and Trent FM " and it also notes the development of non-traditional revenue with a particular reference to the launch this week of the first mobile phone with BT Movio's TV and digital radio services launched this week.
Emap, which as noted reports today, has also been developing its online and digital activities but these are thought to be unable to counter declines in circulation of its magazines and a difficult advertising market that also affects its radio holdings, which include Magic FM, Kiss and the Kerrang! stations nationally plus digital stations and the Magic AM and Big City FM networks of local stations.
Regarding the latter, the UK Guardian reports that Emap is to merge the management of the two to create a network of 32 stations and add a new tier of regional executives. It says Travis Baxter, will oversee all 32 stations and remain managing director of the enlarged Big City network, with seven regional managing directors to be appointed below him but the on-air branding of the stations will not change. There will be seven Big City network regions are: Northern Ireland, west Scotland, east Scotland, Grampian, north-east England, Yorkshire and north-west England.
UK Guardian report:
2006-09-29: Bronx charity the Gloria Wise Community Center, the former Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, is to repay to New York City USD 625,000 received to be used for the benefit of children and the elderly but then lent to Air America Radio (See RNW Sep 8., 2005) in a settlement announced by the city's Department of Investigation.
The New York Times, which says the state attorney general's office is continuing to look into the misuse of the funds, notes that the network had been lent USD 875,000 in total by the club and put it into an escrow account while the investigation continued.
The USD 250,000 remaining after the city's money has been refunded will be turned over to the charity for its operations and the paper says that according to two people close to the investigation the case has been transferred from its charities bureau to the criminal prosecutions bureau.
Of the USD 625,000 the paper says includes USD 250,000 came from the Department of Youth and Community Development and the Department for the Aging that the charity misused from 2001 to 2004 and USD 375,000 was overpayments from the Department of Education to a nursery and kindergarten run by the charity from 1997 to 2006.
The commissioner of investigation, Rose Gill Hearn, described the matter as a "somewhat shocking case" but added that recovery of the money was unusual because "most of the time, people spend it and it's dissipated." She added that the investigation into the charity involved "a copious analysis and forensic audit of their books and records " and said some officials at the charity had fabricated invoices for consulting services that never existed.
Frederick A. Lewis, who in January became chief executive of the charity and said he had been brought in to clean it up responded, "Amen to it," when asked about the settlement.
Previous Air America Radio/Piquant (its owner):
New York Department of Investigation:
New York Times report:
2006-09-29: In a run of licence renewals and enforcement actions, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed or proposed penalties totalling nearly USD 100,000: It also dismissed an application for a new Low Power FM in Ohio but renewed three Clear Channel Mississippi FM licences to which a local broadcaster had objected.
The penalties ranged from USD 14,000 to USD 4,000 and related (In descending order of amount to):
*Cobb Communications Inc.'s FM translator Stations K261AO, Prudhoe Bay, and K230BY, Kuparuk, both in Alaska. The FCC renewed the licences but issued a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) in the total of USD 14,000 for failing to timely file a license renewal application for the Stations, and then operating the stations without authorization after the licenses had expired. The FCC noted that the licensee admitted failure to file the renewal application in time or seek special temporary authorization ("STA") to operate after the licenses had expired. The FCC noted that its standard policy includes a USD 3,000 base penalty per station for the failure to file a renewal application in time and USD, 10,000 for operating without a licence but said that because the breaches were not comparable to "pirate" operations it proposed only a USD 4,000 for the latter offences, making a total for the two stations of USD 14,000.
*New Northwest Broadcasters LLC's stations KFAT-FM and KDBZ-FM in Anchorage and Alaska KRPM-FM, Houston, all in Alaska. The FCC renewed the licences but issued a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) in the total of USD 14,000 for failing to comply with the Commission's Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") recruitment, recruitment source, self-assessment, and recordkeeping requirements. It also renewed the licences subject to the imposition of reporting conditions.
*Geneva Broadcasting, Inc.'s WGVA-AM, Geneva, New York. The FCC renewed the licence but issued a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) in the total of USD 10,000 for failing to retain all required documentation in the station's public inspection file. The station had admitted that files including those for the whole of 1999 and 2000 as well as the first three quarters of 2,001 were missing
*Rose City Radio Corporation's WSNR-AM, Jersey City, New Jersey. The FCC renewed the licence but issued a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) in the total of USD 10,000 for failing to retain all required documentation in the station's public inspection file. Again the licensee had disclosed various missing items in preparation of its renewal application.
*Lehigh Carbon Community College's WXLV-FM, Schnecksville, Pennsylvania: The FCC renewed the licence but issued a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) in the total of USD 10,000 for failing to retain all required documentation in the station's public inspection file. Again the licensee had disclosed various missing items and also admitted it did not timely file ownership reports for 2002 and 2004...
*Hacienda San Eladio, Inc.'s WRRE-AM, Juncos, Puerto Rico. The FCC issued a forfeiture order for USD 8,800 for failure to operate its station in accordance with the terms of its station authorization -operating in non-directional mode then its authorization is for a two-tower directional array - and its failure to maintain a complete public inspection file. It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for USD 11,000 in May but Hacienda applied for reduction on the basis of an overall history of compliance and efforts to remedy the defaults. The penalty was reduced to USD 8,800 on the basis of a history of compliance.
*West Coast Broadcasting's WNNV-FM, San German, Puerto Rico. The FCC issued a forfeiture order for USD 8,000 for failure to operate in accordance with the terms of its station authorization and to maintain the transmitter output power as near as practicable to its authorized power. The FCC had found the station operating at more than five times its authorized power of 5,000 watts.
West Coast had asked to be able to pay in instalments but failed to submit its good payment and the request was denied.
*Davis & Elkins College's WCDE-FM, Elkins, West Virginia. The FCC renewed the licence but issued a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) in the total of USD 7,000 for failing to timely file a license renewal application and then operating the station without authorization after the licenses had expired. The FCC noted that its standard policy includes a USD 3,000 base penalty for failure to file a renewal application in time and USD, 10,000 for operating without a licence but said that because the breaches were not comparable to "pirate" operations it proposed only a USD 4,000 for the latter offence.
*William L. Bonner's WKBY-AM, Chatham, Virginia. The FCC renewed the licence but issued a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) in the total of USD 7,000 for failing to timely file a license renewal application and then operating the station without authorization after the licenses had expired. The FCC noted that its standard policy includes a USD 3,000 base penalty for failure to file a renewal application in time and USD 10,000 for operating without a licence but said that because the breaches were not comparable to "pirate" operations it proposed only a USD 4,000 for the latter offence.
*Valley Air, LLC's KVLR-FM, Twisp, Washington. The FCC renewed the licence but issued a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) in the total of USD 4,000 for failing to retain all required documentation in the station's public inspection file.
* Canandaigua Broadcasting, Inc.'s, WCGR-AM, Canandaigua, New York. The FCC renewed the licence but issued a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) in the total of USD 4,000 for failing to retain all required documentation in the KVLR-FM public inspection file.
In Mississippi the FCC renewed the licences of Clear Channel's WMJY-FM, Biloxi; WKNN-FM, Pascagoula; and WBUV-FM, Moss Point: It refused a pleading from WJZD, Inc. for the renewals to be denied on the basis that Clear Channel had engineered" an unauthorized transfer of control of its station WQYZ-FM, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and terming Clear Channel a "recidivist violator" of regulations relating to indecent programming.
In Ohio, the FCC dismissed an application for a Construction permit for a Low-Power FM at Columbus from M&M Community Development, Inc., Columbus Branch. There had been objections to the application from the Bruce H. Klemesrud and Sarah Marie Klemesrud Foundation and the National Lawyers Guild Center on Democratic Communications.
The FCC in examining the application said it breached the 10-mile rule under which all LPFM applicants had to be based within ten miles of the station they sought to operate. In this case an initial application met the conditions but when the FCC subsequently implemented third-adjacent channel protection the site nominated was not suitable and the new site specified by the applicant's engineer did not meet the ten-mile rule with applicants living up to 16.5 miles from the transmitter. It ruled that the application was dismissed as inadvertently accepted for filing.
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-09-29: European Broadcaster SBS Broadcasting Sarl says it now owns all of Sweden's second largest radio operator SBS Radio AB having bought the 28% it did not own from Bonnier Gaming AB: SBS Radio AB was formed in 2003 when SBS and Bonnier merged their Swedish radio operations and SBS says the terms of the deal are confidential.
SBS Radio AB's stations include two of Sweden's largest radio networks, Mix Megapol and The Voice, plus the radio stations Rockklassiker, Vinyl and Studio 107.5.
SBS COO and acting CEO Patrick Tillieux said the deal and other recent Swedish radio acquisitions meant it had "expanded its position in the growing Swedish radio market and is well-positioned for long-term success."
"This move," he added, "enables us to obtain the fullest possible synergies between our Swedish radio operations and our other wholly-owned radio and television businesses in Sweden and the region."
In the US, Univision's shareholders have approved its previously announced acquisition by an investor group including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Thomas H. Lee Partners, and Saban Capital Group for USD 36.25 per share in cash- a total of approximately USD 13.7 billion including the assumption of USD 1.4 billion in debt (See RNW Jun 28).
The agreement was approved by 80% of the shares voted at a special Univision shareholders' meeting on Wednesday - more than 60% of outstanding shares - but the deal, expected to close next spring, is still subject to regulatory approvals.
Also in the US, Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Advisers, LLC, which represents firms and funds that hold around 1.7% of Emmis Communications, has urged the Emmis Board of Directors to reconstitute its Special Committee and invite chairman and CEO Jeffrey Smulyan to re-open discussions on a buy-out offer for the company.
Smulyan withdrew a USD 15.25 per share offer in August (See RNW Aug 5) and the Arnhold and Bleichroeder note that in an amended 13D filing issued on September 18 Smulyan disclosed that after withdrawing his offer he engaged in exploratory discussions with the Special Committee regarding the "potential reinstitution of a proposal at a price of USD 16.80 per share in cash."
This it says amounts to a premium of 40% to the average closing price of Emmis shares on the five trading days prior to the date of this 13D filing [RNW note: They closed at USD 12.50 on Thursday] and it argues that in the circumstances the "Board's apparent decision not to pursue a transaction at a premium of this magnitude was simply not in the best interests of shareholders."
They note that Smulyan has said he will not sell his shares - he owns some 48.9% of the company's voting shares and can thus veto a sale to anyone else - and say they believe members of the committee were concerned about criticism had they recommended a deal less than their advisers' estimates of the full private market value of the assets.
In fact, they say, Smulyan's controlling interest means a proper valuation has to apply a substantial minority discount and they say they "If a deal is struck in the vicinity of USD16.80, we would be quite surprised if the transaction [RNW note - excluding Smulyan from the vote] did not receive overwhelming shareholder support."
Previous SBS Broadcasting Sarl
2006-09-28: A new study published by the Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab (RAEL) that compares radio advertising with that in other media - television, newspapers, and the Internet - and says that "radio listeners are especially receptive to advertising,
The study, "Personal Relevance Two: Radio's Receptive Ad Environment" follows on from previous studies conducted in 2004 and 2005 (See RNW Jun 8) that showed a marked better return on investment from radio than other advertising and also connected better with consumers at an individual and personal level.
RAEL says the latest study, the first of a new series under the general theme, "Radio and the Consumer's Mind: How Radio Works", is intended to "shed new light on the psychology of radio advertising more than on the mechanics."
It was conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc. through a national telephone survey in June and July this year and RAEL says it "2,649 completed media interviews with randomly selected adults 18-54", using higher incentives and bilingual interviewers in high-density Black and Hispanic ZIP codes in order
In particular, it says, it wants to "help advertisers understand radio's role in the overall media mix" and it says it finds that listeners have "a unique relationship with radio as a medium" that is "more emotionally connected than for either newspapers or the Internet" and is much more personal than for television or the Internet.
"Consumers", says the study, "perceive that radio advertising is more personally relevant to them than ads on television or the Internet, in part, we believe, because radio ads are usually targeted to the demographics of particular stations. That sets up a unique advertising environment in which radio listeners actually expect ads to be more interesting to them."
They see television and newspapers, says the study, as being designed to satisfy the masses, but radio is where they turn to get gratification of their personal wants and needs."
It also says that listeners accepted radio adverts better than they did TV or internet and comments that they were "especially struck by how negatively our respondents perceived advertising on the Internet."
RAEL study (76 Page 3.2 Mb PDF):
2006-09-28: XM Satellite radio says that its "Oprah and Friends" channel, produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Radio and launched this week (See RNW Sep 26) has attracted thirteen new, high- profile advertisers.
XM says that as well as current XM clients AirTran, Honda, and Rinnai, the new programming has attracted adverts for the first time from Acuvue, Crown Publishing, Dove, GE, Iams, JC Penney, Jenny Craig, SlimFast, Rozerum, Snapple, Splenda, Target, and Warners TrueFit.
"In terms of ad sales, this is XM's most successful channel launch ever," said D. Scott Karnedy, XM senior vice president, sales and marketing solutions. "Not only are clients investing millions of dollars to be a part of 'Oprah & Friends,' but most of them are advertising on XM for the very first time."
XM says that , although the bulk of its income is from subscriptions, its advertising income has been more than doubling each year since 2003 - moving up from USD 4.1 million in 2003 to USD 8.5 million in 2004; and more than USD 20 million in 2005.
2006-09-28: New Indian commercial FM network BIG 92.7 FM this week launched its Delhi station, which is to joined by stations in Aligarh, Bangalore, Chennai (Madras), Hyderabad, Jammu, Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), and Srinagar over the next few weeks.
Owned by Adlabs Films, itself majority controlled by Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), the company says its stations will be able to reach around 200 million listeners, a fifth of the country's population, including a third of Indians in cities and an eighth of those in villages.
In all the group is to invest some INR 400 crore (INR 4 billion or USD 87 million - a crore is 10 million) and will employ around 1,500 people: Around INR 2.4 billion (USD 52 million) of this will be spent on the rollout of its 45 stations.
COO Tarun Katial said the group was "driven by the desire to give new and innovative radio programming to millions of Indians" and added, "We will not only present unique, city-specific content but also rope in personalities who will connect with the listeners and provide the glamour quotient."
Katial, who was previously programming head of Sony Entertainment TV, said it would have a major focus on "utilities and entertainment" and the company is also investigating the possibility of including sports programming: Indian private FMs are not allowed to carry news and current affairs and so far the government has not made it clear whether such programming as sports commentary would be categorized as news and current affairs or entertainment.
Previous Indian Radio:
2006-09-28: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced further details of its planned October 3 Los Angeles field hearing regarding media ownership (See RNW Sep 12). although it still has to detail its list of panellists.
It will be held in two locations the University of Southern California (USC) Davidson Conference Center and El Segundo High School and audio of the meeting will be available from the FCC's web site and live video may also be provided.
2006-09-27: ABC's Daytime retained top rank but otherwise the rankings story in Arbitron's RADAR 90 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience Report just released covering the period from June 30, 2005 - June 21, 2006, is one of ABC, Westwood One and Premiere slipping back and Jones MediaAmerica and Dial-Global moving up.
Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network, pushed down a rank in the RADAR 89 rankings to third, was back up to second followed by Dial-Global Complete FM Network, which moved up a rank to third.
Dial-Global also had success further down the rankings with the Dial-Global Contemporary Network jumping up from 11th to seventh and its News & Information Network up from 18th to 13th.
The top five were:
1 - ABC Daytime Direction Network, gaining 41,000 listeners and retaining an AQH of 2.9 with an average audience of 7.15 million.
2 - Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network, gaining 714,000 listeners, taking AQH up from 2.2 to 2.5, the average audience to 6.1 million, and moving up a rank.
3 - Dial-Global Complete FM Network, gaining 375,000 listeners, the average audience up to 5.70 million, taking AQH up from 2.1 to 2.3 and moving up a rank.
4 - ABC Prime Access - gaining 50,000 listeners, retaining a 2.2 AQH, taking average audience up to 5.57 million, and falling from second rank.
5 - ABC Morning News Radio Network, gaining 36,000 listeners, taking its average audience to 5.02 million and retaining an AQH of 2.0.
Behind them Westwood One's top ranked offering - the Westwood CBS News Primetime Network - was down a rank to sixth as it lost 191,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 4.80 million and AQH down from 2.0 to 1.9 then the Dial-Global Contemporary Network, up as noted from 11th to seventh as it added 704,000 listeners to end with an average audience just under 4.80 million..
Premiere Network's top ranked offering was its Premiere Emerald Plus Network in eighth rank as in RADAR 89 with 45,000 fewer listeners, an average audience of 4.35 million and an unchanged AQH of 1.7 after which Premiere took the remaining top-ten slots with its Premiere Mediabase Network retaining ninth rank and a 1.7 AQH as it added 9,000 listeners and then the Premiere Morn Drive Network, which was down from seventh to tenth as it lost 266,000 listeners and its AQH went down from 1.8 to 1.7.
For RADAR 90 Arbitron increased the sample from 106,299 to 112,519 diary-keepers as part of a planned increase to 125,000 diary keepers by the release of RADAR 92 in March next year.
Coinciding with the RADAR 90 release, Westwood One announced that for RADAR 91 its programming will be grouped into 14 new consumer-targeted networks - three Adult-targeted news intensive networks, three broad reach networks, three young-adult-targeted networks, three Female targeted networks and two 10-second Traffic-Sponsorship Networks.
Paul Gregrey, Executive Vice President, Westwood One Sales, said of the change, "While America has been listening to us, we've been listening to our advertisers and affiliates. This exciting new line-up features more RADAR rated news programming than any other network, three individual networks specifically targeting women and several ROS networks. More choice, more targeting and better clarity."
The new Westwood One line-up, to be introduced in January includes:
News - CBS News Network; CBS News Weekend; and CBS News Day.
Broad reach - WON I; WON II, and WON III.
Young-adult-targeted networks - FM Weekday; FM Weekend; and FM Day.
Female targeted networks - WFM Weekday; WFM Weekend; and WFM Day:
Traffic networks - Traffic Sponsorship I, described as "skewing female" and Traffic Sponsorship II. Described as "skewing male."
Previous Disney/ABC America:
Previous Jones MediaAmerica:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 89):
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous Westwood One:
2006-09-27: Andrew Harrison, chief executive of the UK radio industry body, The Radio Centre, has said in an interview with the Financial Times that Britain's commercial radio should be deregulated to help it compete with the BBC and Internet offerings.
Harrison wants an easing of rules governing station formats and sponsorship and told the paper, "There is no doubt that if you look at the number of regulators working in radio and the sector's size that -- compared with TV -- radio has a high regulatory burden."
"What we need is for Ofcom to set a liberal environment so licence holders can thrive and make money. That is in the listeners' interests," he added. "If stations can't make a success from licences, it is listeners who will lose out. The broad thrust we want is for less regulation, less format restriction and more opportunity to secure long-term revenues."
RNW comment: The broad thrust, we would suggest, for Harrison is less concern about public interest and maximum concern for profit and moves by various industry bodies to curb the BBC so as to improve their finances remain in our view against the broader public interest.
As with all matters financial, we have no problem with companies striving to maximize profitability but within the context of a society - without whose protection they might not exist at all (think of the implications of no copyright or regulations of frequencies) - that accordingly has a duty to consider the wider public interest.
To far too great a degree already in our view this has been compromised by what is in effect bribery of politicians and we do not wish Harrison success in his endeavours in as far as they are lobbying for narrow interests rather than raising debate on broader ones.
Previous Radio Centre:
Financial Times report (Subscribers only):
2006-09-27: Sirius has finally launched its much-expected portable satellite receiver, the "Stiletto 100", which as well as live-listening allows users to store up to a hundred hours of broadcast and receive its services through Wi-Fi.
The device, priced at USD 350, will allow users to keep their own M3 and WMA files (it has storage of 2GB) and also purchase of music through Yahoo!'s software: Recordings of up to six hours duration can be scheduled and the Stiletto as well as live listening allows the use of "Sirius Replay" to pause, rewind and replay up to an hour of live radio and also through a "Game Alert" facility to be prompted when favourite sports are being broadcast.
It has 30 channel pre-sets and measures only 4.7 inches by two inches by one inch (11.9 cm by 5.1 cm by 2.5 cm) and accessories including a vehicle kit and executive system will also be available.
2006-09-27: APN News and Media CEO Brendan Hopkins has argued that allowing newspaper proprietors to own radio stations could greatly improve local news content on the stations according to a report in The Australian.
He cite New Zealand as an example of a situation where local radio news gained from the company's ownership of local newspapers and said, "There is no doubt that local radio working closely with local publications will give better local content than if they were working separately."
Hopkins, whose company publishes 23 daily regional newspapers and more than one-hundred other regional newspapers in Australia and New Zealand, was speaking as Australia is engaged in consideration of government proposals to deregulate media ownership regulations.
The Australian report noted that this week's Media Watch programme on ABC TV highlighted the lack of local content on radio news in many regional areas and cited one example of a Macquarie Bank controlled FM on the Gold Coast that broadcasts a local news bulletin from its Queensland studio and syndicated part of the service to another station 3,000 km (1,860 miles) away in Western Australia.
There are currently no content requirements for Australian regional radio but Communications Minister Helen Coonan plans to legislate minimum local content rules for regional stations as part of her push to remove cross-media ownership restrictions in moves designed to attract support from National Party MPs who are concerned about potential domination of media in rural areas by single interests.
Nationals MP Paul Neville, who chairs the ruling Australian Coalition's backbench communications committee, has said that radio stations to be forced to broadcast "live and local" for a minimum of six hours each day between breakfast and drive time, writing, "That programming should be locally sourced and presented, not some pseudo-localism from a hub," he wrote. "There should (also) be a requirement for not less than 12 1/2 minutes per day of locally sourced and presented news, exclusive of weather reports."
The Liberal Party needs the support of national MPs in the ruling coalition to pass its planned media changes and Neville rejected the idea that cross-ownership of newspapers and radio would improve local radio news, commenting "My objection is that radio reporters can just regurgitate what the newspaper is saying. You're not getting the diversity of opinion."
Previous APN News and Media:
The Australian report:
2006-09-27: BBC Unions have warned the corporation that they will ballot their members concerning strike action should there be compulsory redundancies following an announcement that more than 100 jobs in BBC News are to go on the next six months as part of a cost-cutting drive .
Details of the scale of the cuts were given to the unions - BECTU, the National Union of Journalists and Amicus - at a meeting on Tuesday and they were told the corporation was unable to rule out compulsory redundancies.
The job losses are being made as part of a three-year cost-cutting exercise that began in April 2005 and that the BBC said would involve 420 job losses in its news division.
So far some 220 posts were cut in the first year and during the current year a further hundred are going without compulsory redundancies but the unions are concerned that following these cuts there may not be enough volunteers to meet the corporation's targets.
BECTU official Luke Crawley noted that the announcements coincided with the announcement by BBC One TV of a "new on-screen identity" that are part of new "idents" for BBC One and Two on which more than GBP 1 million ( USD 1.9 million) are being spent and said he was pessimistic about the likelihood of enough volunteers agreeing to take redundancy.
The cuts are expected to lead to the departure of a number of well-known names amongst the corporation's journalists.
2006-09-27: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the launch of its "Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau", noting in a news release that "The events of September 11, 2001 and last year's hurricane season."
It is organized in three divisions - a Policy Division to draft, develop and administer "rules, regulations, and policies"; a Public Communications Outreach & Operations Division "responsible for coordinating the Commission's emergency response procedures and operations"; and a Communications Systems Analysis Division to administer the Commission's information collection requirements and perform analyses and studies concerning public safety, homeland security, emergency management and preparedness, disaster management and national security.
The move has been backed by all the commissioners and Chairman Kevin J. Martin said in a statement, "Public safety is one of the Commission's and my top priorities", adding, "We have a history of taking action to ensure the operability of the nation's communications networks. Last year for example, in response to Hurricane Katrina, the Commission worked around the clock to cut red tape and ensure a rapid restoration of communications to the impacted region. "
Amongst the other comments, Democrat Commissioner Michael J, Copps welcomed the move but said it should have come earlier, commenting, "To put it bluntly, I believe this is a step we should have taken more than five years ago in response to the searing lessons of 9/11. We didn't then; we do now, so I applaud Chairman Martin for his leadership in bringing us here today."
RNW comment: Copps does seem to have a point. Katrina was more than a year ago and it's been a matter of luck that subsequent storms have not been so severe.
2006-09-26: US host Oprah Winfrey's "Oprah and Friends" radio service launched on XM Satellite Radio on Monday with a line-up of programming that includes "The Oprah and Gayle Show" with Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King; King's own "The Gayle King Show"; "The Dr. Robin Show" hosted by Dr. Robin Smith; "The Jean Chatzky Show"; "The Dr. Oz Show" with Dr. Mehmet Oz; "The Bob Greene Show"; "The Marianne Williamson Show"; "The Dr. Maya Angelou Show"; "Oprah & Friends Sampler"; and "Weekend Encore", a compilation of highlights from the previous week's shows.
XM says that among guests lined-up for the show in its first few weeks are Donald Trump, Julia Louis- Dreyfus, Annette Bening, Jon Bon Jovi, Nora Ephron, Carnie Wilson, Norman Lear, and New York Times' columnist Thomas Friedman.
Winfrey said in a new release, "For me, being a part of XM Radio is a full-circle moment because I started out in radio when I was 16 years old and now I'm able to share the airwaves with my friends."
The channel is being produced by Winfrey's Harpo Productions and will originate from studios in Chicago that, according to a report by Phil Rosenthal in the Chicago Tribune will house fresh flowers as well as potted plants and a carefully designed space with "curtains, comfy chairs, a pair of end tables and a coffee table" and even "crown moulding atop the walls.."
Rosenthal quoted Harpo Radio general manager John Gehron as saying of the details, "The listener notices little differences, and I think Oprah realizes that. That moulding, we could have done without it. But it adds to the total picture. ... It's all part of the feel of the channel. It creates a feel. It creates a creative environment."
Of the intended audience, Gehron added, "Women have been [largely] ignored in information-and-talk radio" noting that the "loud, shouting and angry radio" doesn't appeal to them and talk formats aimed specifically at women have been hit or miss. "You didn't have someone as strong as Oprah driving it. You had men deciding what women wanted to hear."
Despite the hype Rosenthal says analysts doubt that the Winfrey service will generate anywhere near the kind of subscribers that Howard Stern gained for satellite radio rival Sirius, a comment put into context by a story in Ad Age that says Stern's advertising rates in Sirius are in the range USD 5,000 -USD 6,000 with live reads going up to USD 10,000 compared to triple this sum for a live read when Stern was in terrestrial syndication.
The report puts the lower rates down to a combination of an audience that has to be lower then it was on terrestrial - Stern had some 7 million listeners a week but that total was only recently reached by XM (See RNW Jul 28) - and also because satellite channels are not yet rated by Arbitron (See below) although XM does offer some details from a custom Arbitron report and Sirius says it has hired a research company to get audience date on "certain things" its advertisers would need.
Also in the satellite radio world, international operator WorldSpace has announced a an exclusive broadcast license agreement with ESPN. STAR Sports to provide subscribers with live audio coverage of cricket.
Under terms of the agreement, PLAY, the WorldSpace-branded all sports channel for South Asia and the Middle East, will have exclusive broadcasting rights throughout South Asia for 12 tours and over 200 days of cricket comprising both test matches and one-day internationals. Three of the 12 tours include India -- WorldSpace Satellite Radio's primary market in the Asia region. Coverage begins November 19, 2006 with India's tour of South Africa, and runs through February 2008, with conclusion of the India-Sri Lanka-Australia Triangular Series in Australia.
Alexander Brown, co-Chief Operating Officer, WorldSpace said the acquisition of the rights was another demonstration of the company's "continued commitment to providing the best in audio entertainment for our listeners."
Ad Age report:
Chicago Tribune report:
2006-09-26: Arbitron is to further delay plans to rate satellite radio channels but will go ahead with the introduction of ratings for non-commercial stations from the Fall 2006 ratings: It says the delay in rating satellite channels - rating is now expected to start some time next year - is because it needs to develop further rules governing diary entries on programming that could be satellite listening or over-the-air listening.
Commenting on this in a news release Arbitron's VP Product Management and Client Services Brad Feldhaus said, "As an example, we want to test the rules necessary to assign entries such as NFL football, or MLB baseball since these programs are broadcast on both over-the-air radio and satellite."
"We recognize the implementation date for reporting satellite in local markets has moved previously and for this reason we hesitate to provide another target survey date until we have this desired additional data," he added.
Arbitron says that starting with the Fall 2006 survey it will modify its diary instruction page to incorporate Internet and Satellite instructions including instructions for people listening by these means to include a station name or channel number and the diary keeper is told that if they do not know they should list the programme name: References to "Internet" and "Satellite" have been added to the checklist and sample inside diaries.
Arbitron notes that it has already tested revised Internet and Satellite instructions during Winter 2006, Phase II and Feldhaus said. "Thanks to these improved instructions, we expect the volume of satellite entries to rise and the quality of entries to improve. We will review the content of these entries over a period of surveys to better inform and enhance our edit rules."
Arbitron is also planning to rate HD radio listening starting with the winter 2007 survey and says that in PPM markets next year encoded HD radio stations will be reported in the PPM Analysis Tool.
2006-09-26: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now signed a ten-year contract with News 106 Ltd. (Newstalk 106) for a quasi-national news and speech FM service in the republic.
BCI chairperson Conor J. Maguire said at the signing that "In now broadcasting to a national audience, the service will mark a new era in Irish broadcasting."
"We are confident," he added, "that the service will add significantly to news and speech-based radio in Ireland and will provide Irish listeners with a vibrant alternative."
The new service is scheduled to launch on Friday this week.
Previous Newstalk 106:
2006-09-26: The BBC closure of its Thai language service as part of measures linked to the opening of an Arabic TV service (See RNW Jan 15) has come under renewed criticism in the country in the wake of last week's army coup according to the UK Daily Telegraph.
The paper says that the military have been censoring broadcasts and the internet and hundreds of community radio stations have been closed making those who would formerly have tuned to the BBC World Service for independent Thai-language broadcasting acutely aware of its absence.
Chuan Leekpai, predecessor to the ousted Thaksin Shinawatra as Prime Minister, told the paper, "It's a shame that they closed the Thai service, it was very up to date and very accurate."
The paper reports that international news broadcasts may be interrupted and says there were "quite a lot" of soldiers in the newsroom of Thailand's only privately owned terrestrial television station, quoting a member of staff as saying, "They are monitoring the news, making sure nothing against the coup is presented."
Internet links have also been censored with closure of websites of Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party and an anti-coup group and the political discussion board on Pantip.com, Thailand's most popular chat site and the paper says that the link to a BBC web site analysis report headlined "Thailand's revered king continues to play a key role" brought up a blank page.
The paper says a BBC spokeswoman said the corporation closed its Thai language service because it had been making "minimal impact in the region" and added that Thais would not be able to listen to the service even it if was still operation because it was heard through partner stations that have now been closed down.
UK Telegraph report:
2006-09-26: UK Virgin Radio is promoting itself with a novel form of cash prize - it has suspended a "Star" 20 feet ( 6 metres) high and wide that it has "Stuffed full of cash" above Regent Street in London and is offing the "value" of the contents in "hard cash" to a person who guesses how much the total is.
The "Virgin Radio Big Star" was, it says, constructed at a secret location before being suspended above Regent Street, one of London's prime shopping streets, and it has posted a webcam shot of the star on its site.
The station has previously boosted itself through a cash giveaway when in 1999, during Chris Evans time at the station, he gave out GBP 1 million (Currently USD 1. 9 million but then around USD 1.65 million - See RNW Dec 17, 1999).
This time it is asking would-be winners to register for the competition and one listener per hour - chosen randomly using a computer programme - will be allowed a guess at the amount - in fake money, since it was felt there was too much of a security risk in suspending real cash in the star. Should someone guess the exact amount, the competition will end and Virgin will deposit the amount concerned into their bank account.
The Big Star competition, unveiled on Monday by Virgin's breakfast host Christian O'Connell, is being promoted through TV commercials in London and a nationwide campaign in cinemas.
Previous SMG (Virgin owner):
Virgin Radio web site:
2006-09-25: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with a look forward and backward - to Friday when BBC Radio 3 marks the 60th anniversary of the station that began as the Third Programme - it became Radio 3 on September 30, 1967 as part of the wholesale BBC changes that saw the launch of BBC Radio 1 along with the re-naming of the "Light Service" and "Home Service" to Radios 2 and 4 respectively.
Both the UK Times and its sister paper the Sunday Times devoted their weekend regular radio columns to the channel and we happily go along with their choice.
Starting off we have Chris Campling's Radiohead column in Saturday's Times in which he comments on changes to the channel "little that has happened to Radio 3 since Wright (Radio 3 controller Roger Wright) took over in 1998 has been to the detriment of the station."
Campling then goes on to say of the station, "Radio 3's USP remains, augmented by the more up-to-date music, as well as the plays (The Wire is a constant joy of a Thursday for those hungering for new drama), the documentaries, and Lucie Skeaping, the medieval babe of The Early Music Show (Sat/Sun, 1pm).
It has also hacked out a place for itself on the wild frontiers of new technology. When, last year, the BBC Philharmonic's performance of Beethoven's symphonies were downloaded more than a million times, the shock reverberated around the music as well as broadcasting worlds - it must have so kicked itself that it didn't charge for them.
Yes, its listenership may have slipped, but this has not been decline through neglect. If listeners have deserted to Classic FM, more fool them - they are the ones embracing the past, while Radio 3 stumbles into an insecure but exciting future. "
The station is also praised by Paul Donovan in his Sunday Times Radio Waves column, which began: "A decade ago, for Radio 3's golden jubilee, Humphrey Carpenter wrote a splendid book about it called The Envy of the World. Sadly, he is no longer with us, having died of heart failure last year at the age of 58. But what he chronicled certainly is, and this week - mainly on Friday night - it celebrates its diamond jubilee. Is it still the envy of the world, which was how, in 1957, Peter Laslett (who in that more leisurely era managed to be both a Cambridge fellow and a BBC producer at the same time) described the Third Programme? It is an intriguing question, if unanswerable.
Envy is a deadly sin, so few are likely to admit to it. I do know that many other stations, quite understandably, covet Radio 3's annual budget of £31m, and its further £28m for the BBC's orchestras and singers. And I am sure Radio 3, which rarely raises its voice, but provides the highest of standards, is the best possible reason for the licence fee, and that it deserves its birthday bash."
He concludes, after looking at some of the changes over the years, by writing that Radio 3 "may no longer have comedy or theology, as it once did, and in today's world would benefit from both. But at its best it has the power of all great music, poetry and art. It elevates, which is something beyond Reith's famous trio of educate, inform and entertain. You feel better as a human being for listening to it, and there are not many stations you can say that about."
After praise some more negative comments, this time about talk and technology: First talk and comment from Barbados that may well reflect feelings from a wider world. The talk in this case is not the kind of talk the Third Programme went for - erudite, informative, and educational - but that most common in the US and UK commercial radio - less so on the BBC - as well as Barbados.
Writing in "The Nation News", guest columnist Carl Moore says "RADIO BROADCASTING in Barbados has become a daily challenge of separating the chaff from the wheat. Everybody can broadcast. Almost everybody is broadcasting. All you have to do is take up your phone and dial a radio station and, as the late revered Grenadian broadcaster Leslie Seon used to say: 'You are on the air and you are broadcasting.'"
After comments about the "daily diet of talk radio" and "laziness" at radio stations and by producers simply deciding who gets to air and what is dumped to prevent legal action, Moor continues, "This laziness is reflected in the absence of programming for enlightened listening. People still listen for education, information and entertainment" and then notes the addition by the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation of "three new talk shows called Ideas, hoping that ideas would emerge."
"This," comments Moore "has not happened. It's just more talk" and later, "This surfeit of talk radio has started to affect both listeners and moderators. People tune out the repetitive, the irascible and the incoherent, while some moderators are beginning to lose their cool and to exhibit symptoms of burn-out and irritability. "
Moore then notes that 16 years ago when he became chairman of the Barbados Broadcasting Authority the suggestion was made of international broadcasting via short-wave, a suggestion pooh-poohed on the basis of the opportunities offered by the Internet.
"Well, the Internet is here and we are on the worldwide web," says Moore. "But how are we using the technology as people listen on their computers from Antigua to Australia; from Brazil to Burundi? Can we truly say that we are international broadcasters? What's the content that we transmit to the world? The local, parochial issues? The potholes in St Philip? The loud and lewd music on the ZR vans? Afternoon Delight?"
He goes on to suggest what could be done in terms of real international broadcasting - telling people elsewhere in their own language about Barbados and says of talk, "Its place is secure, but there's too much of it. We could do with 50 per cent less talk and more structured programming designed to educate, inform and entertain."
And from Australia but with a multinational slant, The Australian last week carried a report cum interview with actor and comedian John Cleese, who is to be the keynote speaker at October 13's Australian Radio Conference.
In it Michael Bodey says Cleese's "love of radio hasn't diminished, despite the fact he spends most of his year in California, a blandly networked radio wasteland" but then having dropped a casual insult - we're willing next week to offer correction or clarification if someone can suggest to us California stations with audio online that disprove it - he goes on to quote Cleese who was speaking in the context of his UK radio experience before he moved into TV and movies.
"I love it as a medium because there's so little technology to get between you and the audience," he says. "With film, it's all about a shadow there or he's glinting there and you think the last thing that matters is the script. In radio, it's the first thing that matters."
Cleese also expressed confidence in the medium, saying, "I'm very optimistic about radio. What I like about radio, and is still true and ultimately will make the difference, is it's still relatively cheap to produce. So radio may start producing more comedy, for example, for the simple reason it's not terribly expensive. Whereas everything in America is so expensive now that no one wants to take anything remotely like a risk, which of course kills the possibility of originality."
He also comments of another important difference between now and when he worked in radio: "If you're talking about censorship and editorial interference, you're absolutely right, we were unbelievably lucky, breathtakingly lucky," he says.
"We worked at the BBC in the '60s and '70s and there was probably no better place to work, because there was still freedom and the confidence they were not caving into power groups.
"The problem now, in my experience, is they're not so much television people or radio or film people any more, they're more marketing people. There are exceptions of course but most of them don't have gut reactions; they don't think 'This is an exciting script', they give it to the marketing department and find out if it might work. And I don't think any good art has ever been produced like that, certainly no great art."
Which is as good a cue as any to skip more negative comments about radio - and most of that we saw in US publications contained rather more of the negative than the positive - and move on to suggested listening.
And to begin with we suggest a week listening to some of the range of BBC Radio 3 - augmenting that core with other BBC stations and some very select listening from elsewhere.
From Radio 3 itself we start by suggesting from Sunday "The Longest Tour" - the first part of the story of what happened to the BBC Symphony Orchestra whose members on September 2, 1939, were alerted to their duty to leave home by the phrase "This is London" rather than the usual "This is the BBC "on the Nine-o-clock radio news.
It was the start of a long period off-base, first in Bristol, then in Bedford, the second part of which will be told next Sunday (14:30 GMT. The first programme is on the BBC Radio 3 site until then).
Also from Sunday we'd suggest "The Choir" - an edition in which Aled Jones and former producer of the series Barry Rose looked at "80 Years of Choral Evensong" on the BBC and also in the "Drama on 3" slot a new production of Terence Rattigan's "A Bequest to the Nation" with Kenneth Branagh playing Lord Nelson. That was followed in the Sunday feature slot by "History through the Ears" in which as part of the station's 60th anniversary celebration, Christopher Frayling examines how the act of listening has changed dramatically with societal and technological developments including the development of devices such as the gramophone and iPod.
A look at the station's schedules will offer much more from "The Early Music Show" - Sunday at noon GMT, festival coverage including the 2006 Leeds International Pianoforte Competition at the end of last week (the final is available in the Saturday "Performance on 3" audio online if you have three hours) and various performances from this year's Edinburgh International Festival plus other regular features such as tonight's "Night Waves" that marks another 60th anniversary, that of Britain's Blood Transfusion Service, with a look at the history of passing blood from one body to another; Thursday's Hungarian Evening, marking the uprising against the Soviet occupation in 1956; and Friday from 16:00 GMT when in "In Tune" Sean Rafferty launches Radio 3's celebrations of its 60th anniversary, with music that was broadcast for the opening evening on September 29, 1946 - it continues until 23:00 GMT (midnight local) when in "Jazz on 3" Jez Nelson raids the archives to present a taste of jazz broadcasting on the station over the years.
Except for those with masses of free time, the above will more than consume available listening time for the week so we wrap up with only a few other suggestions.
Then from the US, we would suggest last Wednesday's "All Things Considered", which included an interview with Maher Arar, the Syrian-born Canadian computer engineer who was falsely accused of having terrorist ties, arrested at JFK Airport on his way back to Montreal from Germany and then "rendered" by US authorities to Syria where he was tortured. The issues raised are fundamental to any civilized society and Maher comes over as infinitely more civilized and reasonable than the US attorney general Alberto Gonzalez (Maher's site gives details of his story and the interview comments about the listing of his wife, six years old daughter and six-months-old son on a "watch list" implicitly suggest that a number of Canadian and US officials have been collecting salaries they don't deserve) .
Maher's interview leads us on to another in the mistakes by officials category, tomorrow's "The Choice" on BBC Radio 4, in which Michael Buerk talks to Nick Yarris, who spent 22 years on death row in Pennsylvania before being freed in 2004 on the basis of DNA tests, developed after his conviction, that showed genetic material found under the victim's fingernails, on her undergarments, and in a pair of gloves possibly worn by the killer was not his.
Then relating to the nature of good and evil from Radio Netherlands whose "Amsterdam Forum" on Sunday was comprised of an interview with holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel by Chris Kijne in which Wiesel reflects on the moral questions of the nature of evil and why people kill.
Also from Radio Netherlands we'd suggest last week's "Vox Humana" in which Chris Chambers draws on his own experience of Chronic Lyme Disease -caused by the bite of a tick, which injects the bacteria Borrelia into the bloodstream and which speedy treatment with antibiotics can stop.
Finally we suggest BBC Radio 4 at 14:30 GMT this week when the "Afternoon Reading" slot contains a series of short stories from Iran and is followed by the "Invention of Childhood" series that continues over the next six weeks looking at childhood and the experiences of children in Britain (See RNW Sep 16).
National Public Radio - Arar story (and audio link- interview is 7 minutes 25 seconds):
Nation News, Barbados - Moore:
The Australian - Bodey:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times - Campling:
2006-09-24: The most significant regulatory events last week that we noted came from Australia and the UK in relation to preparations for potential Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) transmissions and reports that UKRD that it was to hand back a licence rather than try and sell it on.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that it was embargoing a number of frequencies for other uses so as to keep them available for DRM, potentially a way for digital technology to reach remote areas where DAB transmissions could present problems (See RNW Sep 20): There were no other radio announcements from ACMA.
Canada was fairly quiet with a fairly small number of routine decisions from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) including the following radio-related matters (in order of province):
*Approval of request to increase the power of CJSI-FM, Calgary, from 47,000 watts to 100,000 watts.
*Denial of application to relocate the transmitter of low-power Christian music format CKOE-FM, Moncton, and increase its power from 50 watts to 725 watts. The CRTC noted that it had already denied an application to increase the power to 2,800 watts and said that the current parameters were adequate for the low-power service originally proposed and added that the applicant had not presented compelling evidence of either an economic or technical need for the proposed changes.
*Approval of a 200 watts English- and French-language FM radio station in Greenstone to broadcast emergency information and information for area residents relating to danger from such threats as forest fires, train derailments and severe winter storms.
*Approval of power increase from 2,070 watts to 4,000 watts and increase in antenna height for CKSG-FM, Cobourg. The application was opposed by Corus Entertainment Inc., licensee of CKRU-AM and CKWF-FM, Peterborough, and CHUM Limited , licensee of CKPT-AM and CKQM-FM, Peterborough, on the basis that the increase would allow CKSG's signal to encompass Peterborough but the CRTC said that the aggregate profit before interest and tax (PBIT) for Peterborough market last year was much greater than for Cobourg and it did not consider that approval would result in significant financial hardship to the CHUM and Corus stations in Peterborough.
The CRTC also issued a public notice in which in connection with a public hearing to be held in Regina, Saskatchewan, on October 30, that the application by Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR) for a licence to operate an English and Aboriginal-language native Type B FM radio programming undertaking in Saskatoon is technically mutually exclusive with an application by Rawlco Radio Ltd., 587681 Saskatchewan Ltd. and Dekkerco Holdings Limited to convert CJNB-AM, North Battleford, to FM.
*Renewal of licence of CKMB-FM, Barrie, to 31 August 2013. Concern had been expressed by the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA) about the way the licensee is distributing its Canadian Talent Development (CTD) expenditures and the Commission noted a shortfall. It therefore said it was requiring the licensee to fulfil its obligations in a timely manner and also submit a report to be filed with its 2008-2009 annual return detailing the manner in which it has addressed its arrears to CTD and non-CTD Native broadcasting initiatives.
*Denial of application for a 250 watts FM transmitter at Iqaluit, Nunavut, for CJLF-FM, Barrie. The application was opposed by among others Nunavut Nalautinga Ltd., licensee of CKIQ-FM, Iqaluit. In refusing, the CRTC noted that CHR format CKIQ-FM has been in operation for only three years and has not gone into profit and also that the proposed transmitter to broadcast programming originating at Barrie would provide minimal local reflection of the Iqaluit community.
*Denial of application to add a 5,750 watts FM transmitter at Rivière-du-Loup for CFVD-FM, Dégelis. In refusing the application the CRTC noted that the Rivière-du-Loup radio market is currently served by two local stations, CIEL-FM and CIBM-FM, and that the overall financial position of these two stations is precarious and said that the transmitter would have expanded the station's service area rather than improving the signal along highway 185, which is located within its existing contours.
*Approval of application by CJNE FM Radio Inc. to change the programming source of VF2212, Carrot River, from "local programming and programs received from CFMI-FM, Vancouver, British Columbia" to "local programming and programs received from CFMI-FM, New Westminster, British Columbia and from CJNE-FM, Nipawin, Saskatchewan".
CJNE said the change would allow it to continue to augment its local programming with programming received from CFMI-FM and added that it would continue to broadcast three hours of locally-originated programming in the English and Cree languages each week.
Also in Canada the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a January broadcast on the CKAC-AM, Montréal "Doc Mailloux" phone-in programme breached Canadian standards and contained inappropriate insults and sexually explicit dialogue (See RNW Sep 23).
There were no radio announcements from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom had a fairly busy week in relation to radio. As already noted it is having to consider UKRD's intention to hand back its Stroud licence (See RNW Sep 23) - a matter on which we have already said that its response should be to simply say thank-you, offer the licence again either to a commercial applicant or community service, and bear the matter in mind whenever UKRD is involved in a licence application for an area where its station is facing financial difficulties.
Ofcom has also been involved in controversy over a suggestion by its director of radio and multimedia, Peter Davies, that the AM frequencies of national commercial services talkSPORT -owned by UTV - and Virgin Radio -owned by SMG - could be used for Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) transmissions in six years' time when the licences, recently extended for four years, are due to expire (See RNW Sep 22).
In other radio decisions, Ofcom published its reasons for the award of the Bristol and Exeter licences earlier this month to CanWest-controlled Original Bristol FM Ltd. and Exeter FM respectively (See RNW Sep 15).
In the case of the Bristol award against five competing bids it said the winning bid demonstrated a detailed understanding of the Bristol market, and in particular identified a notable gap in current local commercial radio provision for ABC1 and male listeners. Its licensing committee, it said "felt that Original's album-led 'Adult Alternative' format was a coherent one that would broaden choice in the Bristol market in a distinctive and well-considered manner" and it also noted that apart from an occasional network or syndicated programme the station would be locally produced and presented and would feature a 24-hour local news service.
Of the Exeter winning bid, one of three, it noted that it had said it would pay particular attention to the ability of each applicant to maintain its proposed service for the duration of the licence period and also that speech content was likely to be considered more important than music proposals.
In this case it said it felt "the synergies which would be open to Exeter FM as a result of its co-ownership with neighbouring Palm FM in Torbay and the opportunity to share its resources, coupled with the backing of parent company Sunrise Radio, offered the strongest business case in a comparatively small market."
It also commented on a "strong commitment to local news" in the winning bid and its provision of "a solid body of research which demonstrated evidence of a demand for the proposed service."
In relation to national digital licences Ofcom approved a change that would allow GCap Media to launch a national jazz station and in other local licensing decisions it allowed format changes by Sunrise Radio that would allow it to move obligations to broadcast 18-hours a week in Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Tamil and Sinhalese onto its Kismat Asian Talk Radio and also to allow Guardian Media Group to co-locate Paisley station Q96, which it is buying from UTV, with its Real Radio in Glasgow.
In yet another decision of relevance to the Asian audience, Ofcom refused to allow Spectrum Radio, which serves the Greater London area on AM, to increase its Asian output from eight hours to 12 hours a day (See RNW Jul 11).
Spectrum had said that it would also to increase the Format requirement to serve eight communities from the existing six. Ofcom said that in this case the change would be a substantial one to the character of the service and would narrow the range of programmes available in London where there were already three AM services providing Asian programming.
Ofcom also published its seventh quarterly Media Literacy Bulletin which as well as references to its "Communications Market 2006" report released last month (See RNW Aug 11) included a section on Community radio from Paul Steele of the Community Media Association (CMA).
Steele reported on a pilot project in which two community radio stations- Desi Radio in Southall and Forest of Dean Radio in Gloucestershire (one urban and one rural) - were enlisted to perform various media literacy activities and then test their effectiveness.
Each station hosted a media literacy workshop aimed at staff and volunteers and also produced five media literacy Public Service Announcements (PSA's) and one dedicated media literacy programme.
The Forest of Dean approach was to focus on 'editorial' issues and misrepresentation in the media; looking at how media literacy should inform people and raise awareness of how the media is put together and how editorial decisions influence how the media is presented and understood whilst Desi focussed on more practical issues surrounding media literacy such as raising awareness of technological issues and digital services.
The first step was to hold a media literature workshop with input from Ofcom and Steele said these were considered a success by the station staff and volunteers taking part.
The PSAs focussed on raising awareness of "Generic, TV, Radio, Internet and Mobile' issues" and these and other information have been posted on a new media literacy sub-site on the CMA website.
The CMA is still evaluating the pilots and will post the evaluation on its site: It says following on this it plans to submit proposals for a national scheme.
In the public sector, Ofcom announced that it was to subject the BBC's plans for on-demand services via the Internet to a Market Impact Assessment (MIA) for which purpose it is to set up a Joint Steering Group with the BBC governors although it stresses that the "substantive findings of the MIA, however, will remain a matter for the judgment of Ofcom."
Ofcom also published its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld two standards complaints against radio and considered two more resolved (See RNW Sep 19).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received further calls for an investigation into allegations that it had suppressed 2003 and 2004 reports that did not fit in with its agenda (See RNW Sep 22), an investigation its chairman Kevin J Martin has said he supports.
The FCC also ended its latest spectrum auction - Auction 66 - for mobile services, raising USD 13.7 billion (See RNW Sep 19): It also issued a notice seeking comment on bidding procedures to be adopted for its Auction 70 of FM broadcast licences, currently scheduled to begin on March 7, next year.
In all 124 construction permits are to be put up for sale in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
Community Media Association web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-09-24: Former Michigan Public Radio salesman Jeremy Nordquist has been sentenced to 18 months probation - or less if he pays USD 5,000 in restitution - for misappropriating goods and services intended for the University of Michigan's WUOM-FM according to the Ann Arbor News which quotes Nordquist as saying the way the case was conducted was unfair.
Nordquist was one of three former employees charged with misappropriating nearly USD 60,000 in goods and services provided by sponsors in exchange for on-air mentions: the other two, his supervisors Justin Ebright and Michael Coleman, now the general manager at public radio station WDET-FM in Detroit, made plea bargains.
Ebright was sentenced to two years probation, 50 hours of community service and ordered to pay USD 10,000 in restitution in April after pleading no contest to a felony charge of embezzlement (See RNW Apr 14) whilst Coleman was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay USD 3,500 in restitution after pleading no contest to a misdemeanour charge of embezzlement under $200 (See RNW Jun 24).
The paper quotes Nordquist as saying, "There are a lot of things in life that aren't fair, and this is one of them" in relation to the embezzlement case.
He had argued that he had full approval of his supervisors when he accepted Persian rugs, a pool table and golf club memberships but Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Blake Hatlem said at the trial that Nordquist knowingly did wrong by personally benefiting from the goods or services that became U-M property once an in-kind trade agreement was made.
Jurors had convicted Nordquist in July of conspiracy to commit embezzlement but acquitted him of a count of embezzling (See RNW Jul 28) and his attorneys had tried and failed to have the verdict set aside.
Nordquist had returned the rugs when police began investigations and offered to return the pool table, which will be donated to a local youth club or the YMCA, his attorney Kelly Roberts told Washtenaw County Circuit Judge David Swartz.
Swartz ordered Nordquist to pay more than $1,000 in court fines and to relinquish any tax refunds he received from the gifts so they could be applied toward restitution but he allowed him to travel and even move to any state where he finds employment.
Ann Arbor News report:
2006-09-23: US National Public Radio (NPR) has named Ken Stern to take over as CEO from the start of next month in succession to Kevin Klose: Klose will remain president and also stay on as a member of the NPR Board.
The two men worked together in previous roles with the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Klose, who is also a former Washington Post editor and correspondent, joined NPR as President and CEO in 1998S and Stern joined as EVP in 1999.
Since Klose and Stern joined NPR its revenues have grown from USD 75 million in 1998 to a projected USD167 million for 2006 and in 2003 it received the largest cash bequest ever made to an American cultural institution, nearly USD 235 million from the late philanthropist Joan B. Kroc, widow of MacDonald's founder Ray Kroc (See RNW Nov 7, 2003).
On the editorial side NPR doubled its audience to 26 million weekly listeners and completed a multi-year expansion of NPR News that significantly increased the number of staff, beats and bureaus and also expanded in digital media.
Commenting on the appointments NPR chair Tim Eby said Klose had "led NPR through an era of dramatic accomplishment, infusing the organization with his belief in journalistic excellence and the ideals of public service."
Klose is now to take on the development of a major new initiative for NPR and public radio designed to strengthen financial resources and Eby commented, "The financial resources of NPR and the entire public radio system have been a critical issue to Kevin for quite a while and the Board agreed with his idea to empower him with this initiative as a formal responsibility."
Of Stern's role Eby said, "Ken Stern's new role reflects his achievements as well as his dedication to a vision for the future. During his tenure, Ken has rebuilt the organization from the inside out, creating a new level of leadership and stability. He has also actively and strategically redefined NPR's place in the larger media environment of the future, while nurturing the organization's crucial position of trust in radio."
2006-09-23: According to the UK Guardian, media regulator Ofcom is in a quandary over what to do about the Star FM commercial licence for Stroud in Gloucestershire that licensee UKRD has said it is handing back, the first time a UK operator will have surrendered a licence.
UKRD has said that it will stop broadcasts at the end of the month, with its chief executive William Rogers, who moved into the role last year from his previous position as managing director, saying that the move was made in protest at the way smaller radio stations are regulated.
Rogers told the paper, "Someone has got to do this to get the whole area of smaller radio stations which is over-regulated and over-burdened and lacks sufficient flexibility from the regulator. So we have taken the very bold decision to hand back the Stroud licence where we will cease broadcasting at the end of the month."
In March UKRD had been refused permission to simulcast the majority of programme output from Star in Stroud and its sister station in Cheltenham although Ofcom said it would allow the two stations to be co-located (See RNW Mar 22).
UKRD said the station had been loss-making during the whole of its eight-year life and Rogers told the paper, "We need a serious and meaningful debate in the industry to help smaller stations work and become commercially successful. There are scores of radio stations losing money that will never work and the regulator has got to have a serious look at how to manage this sector. It would have been almost unethical to sell the licence on; it's not a sound business and never would have been."
Asked about the matter an Ofcom spokeswoman told the Guardian, "We don't know what we are going to do with the licence. This has only just happened and a decision has not yet been made."
Ofcom added in a statement that its forthcoming radio review will look at the issues highlighted by UKRD and continued, "We note the announcement made by UKRD. This is a commercial business decision for the radio station itself. However, Ofcom is naturally disappointed that UKRD have decided to close Star 107.9 in Stroud."
"We are aware and mindful of the pressures facing all local radio stations - particularly small stations," said the statement. "We are in the process of preparing a consultation, scheduled for publication early next year, which seeks to address directly issues and challenges currently facing radio operators in smaller areas such as UKRD."
RNW comment: To us the Ofcom decision should be very simple. It should say thank you, take the licence back and then make the frequency speedily available to others who are interested.
If a commercial group says it can make the station pay and produces a suitable business plan they should be presumed to be commercially competent and given the chance. If not the frequency should be made available to a community station.
UKRD is putting a gun to the regulator's head in a way that no regulator worth having should, in our view accept, and we would consider it quite reasonable of Ofcom should UKRD apply for any future licences - or renewal of any existing licences where it may be thought to be operating at a loss or with minimum profitability -to insist on suitable cast-iron financial guarantees related to ability to continue the service before allowing renewal or awarding a new licence.
If UKRD is correct in its assessment of the chances of the station having no commercially-viable future it would presumably not have received any bids for the licence: That may indeed be the situation, in which case UKRD is not acting with relation to ethics but is calculating that this action will force lighter future regulation in general to its overall benefit - in other words a business gamble being presented as one taken on principle.
UK Guardian report:
2006-09-23: The winners of this year's National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Awards have been announced at the annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show, which this year was held in conjunction with The NAB Radio Show in Dallas and sponsored by HD Radio.
Winners of the 21 awards, which this year did not include a classical station award but did add Spanish Format Personality of the Year - won by Eddie Sotelo - were:
Legendary Station - WBEB-FM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
AC Station of the Year - KOIT-FM San Francisco, California:
Network Syndicated Personality of the Year- Bob & Tom (Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold), Premiere Radio Networks:
CHR Station of the Year - WSTW-FM Wilmington, Delaware:
Major Market Station of the Year - KGO-AM, San Francisco:
Country Station of the Year- KYGO-FM Denver, Colorado:
Large Market Station of the Year - WEEI-AM, Boston, Massachusetts:
News/Talk Station of the Year - KGO-AM, San Francisco:
Medium Market Station of the Year - WIVK-FM, Knoxville, Tennessee:
Oldies Station of the Year - WMJI-FM, Cleveland, Ohio:
Small Market Station of the Year - KGMI-AM, Bellingham, Washington State:
Religious Station of the Year - KJIL-FM, Meade, Kansas:
Major Market Personality of the Year - Scott Slade, WSB-AM, Atlanta, Georgia:
Rock Station of the Year - WEBN-FM, Cincinnati:
Large Market Personality of the Year - Tom Barnard, KQRS-FM, Minneapolis, Minnesota:
Spanish Station of the Year -KSCA-FM, Los Angeles:
Medium Market Personality of the Year - Brent Johnson, WTCB-FM Columbia, South Carolina:
Sports Station of the Year - WEEI-AM, Boston, Massachusetts:
Small Market Personality of the Year - Lacy Neff, WVAQ-FM, Morgantown, West Virginia:
Urban Station of the Year - WGCI-FM, Chicago, Illinois:
Spanish Format Personality of the Year - Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo, KSCA-FM, Los Angeles, California:
Previous Marconi Awards (2005 Winners):
2006-09-23: The New York Post has dropped its radio writer John Mainelli following complaints from Howard Stern according to a report on Radar online that quotes Mainelli, who is also president of Mainelli Consulting, as saying that he was given an ultimatum between his freelance work covering radio for the paper and his consulting work.
Radar says Mainelli told it, "I consider myself fired .I can't live on what I earn from the Post" and adds that he says he's has made no secret of his consulting work and has always been careful to recuse himself from stories where there is a potential conflict of interest.
A Post spokesman told the paper that its editor in chief Col Allan was unaware of the arrangement and would have stopped it.
Radar says Stern has been waging war on Mainelli since Tuesday, when Mainelli reported on speculation - following a report in Inside Radio - that Stern might do a deal to get part of his broadcast back on terrestrial radio and also added that Stern was having problems getting high-profile guests and had lost popularity in Internet searches.
It notes that the Howard 100 news team called attention to Mainelli's consulting - the Stern web site carries a link to the radar story but says it "could very easily be as much of a rumour as the one Mainelli wrote about earlier this week that started this ball rolling in the first place" - and quotes Mainelli as saying he was a fan of Stern's but no longer is.
"I'm very disappointed, and I'm really pissed at Howard Stern," he says. "From now on, anything I write about him will have to have a disclaimer: John Mainelli has an axe to grind against this man."
2006-09-23: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a January broadcast on the CKAC-AM, Montréal "Doc Mailloux" phone-in programme breached Canadian standards and contained inappropriate insults and sexually explicit dialogue.
During the programme, which was on adolescent sexuality, eponymous host psychiatrist Pierre Mailloux commented in talking to co-host Janine Ross about comments by actor Bruce Willis that he had warned his teenage daughters that teenage boys were really thinking of sex that Willis was "plein de marde" ["full of shit"], said that he "really is dumb, that damned half-wit", suggested that Willis's warnings related to the way he was as a teenager.
Mailloux then added of himself, "I would not have been able to fuck a woman at 14 or 16" and alter returned to criticism of Willis, commenting amongst other things, "As a stroke of narcissism, it beats everything I've seen and then some. Secondly, little Wil, could you go jerk yourself off with your repressed sexual desire towards your daughters? Short of, hey, I'll tell you this. Short of fucking them, it, he screwed them. In other words, short of fucking them, he fucked them in the head. I find that, it's an, it's an aberration He's a damn good actor, but he's rotten as a father. Rotten, rotten, rotten, rotten, harmful, detrimental."
Mailloux in conversation with a caller, Julien, asked if when he saw a young girl giving one of his boys the eye would tell him, "Listen son, she's a damned little cock teaser? " and in conversation with another caller Philippe referred to Willis as "that maggot"
In its ruling the CBSC Quebec Regional Panel criticized the station both for the programming and the response from its "Directeur des Resources Humaines et des Affaires corporatives" whose reply to a complainant it described as "only on the edge of acceptability " although it said it had not gone so far as to breach the broadcaster's obligation of responsiveness. It said of the remarks that "that there were several examples of comments that were unduly sexually explicit for a time of the day when children could be expected to be listening. Moreover, it was perfectly clear that a child had been listening, as the host carried on a dialogue with Émilie, who had identified herself as being 11 years old."
Considering specifics it added, "The following references, whether individually or cumulated, exceed the bounds of the acceptable in a broadcast at that time of day: [translations] "fuck a woman", "screw with other girls" (a comment made, in this instance, by a caller, but one for which the broadcaster is nonetheless responsible), "screw his daughters", "I got sucked, I ate a woman's clitoris", "the little [ ] vagina will begin to lubricate", the lengthy and detailed description by caller Alexandre of his first experience of sexual intercourse, even the dialogue with Émilie regarding the sexual activities of her parents, and caller Claude's description of having "felt up girls".
It ruled that the broadcast violated the CAB Code of Ethics both in terms of being unduly sexually explicit, use of coarse language, and in insulting the host: It said that for example to say that Willis was out of his depth in making the comments he did or "wrong" would be acceptable but to term him "full of shit" was not.
RNW comment: Totting up the bill, were the station broadcasting in the US and facing FCC penalties rather than Canada, where all it faces is stricture, we think that the station would by now be bankrupt and Mailloux find difficulty in ever being allowed to speak into a microphone. The real issue, of course, is the audience because presumably they stayed listening - thereby showing themselves deserving some of the comments made about Willis.
2006-09-22: A group of 34 House Democrats has joined in the calls for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Inspector General Kent R. Nilsson to conduct what in a letter they term "recent revelations that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may have intentionally suppressed two important studies on the impact of media consolidation during the term of former FCC Chairman Michael Powell."
The reports dealt with the effect of consolidation on local TV news cover (See RNW Sep 16) and a draft 2003 "Review of the Radio Industry" (See RNW Sep 20) and the group in its letter to Nilsson writes, "If one or both of these reports were suppressed because they did not support official FCC policy, such actions could not only constitute fraud, but could also run counter to the FCC's stated goals of transparency and public involvement in its media ownership proceedings."
"We believe," they continue, "that a full accounting of the circumstances surrounding the possible suppression of these reports is essential if the FCC is to be perceived as acting in good faith on media ownership issues by Congress and the American people. We urge you to quickly initiate a thorough investigation, as requested by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, to ascertain whether these reports were suppressed, identify the parties involved, and recommend any appropriate disciplinary actions.
New York Democrat Congressman Maurice Hinchey, one of the leaders of the group and founder and chairman of the Future of American Media Caucus, commented, "The FCC does not want to play fairly when it comes to media ownership. By apparently suppressing information that showed the clear negative impacts of media consolidation, the FCC sought to limit the information the American people and Congress had to counter the administration's agenda of reducing media ownership diversity Just as this White House did in the lead up to the war in Iraq, if information supports its desired outcome then the administration will release it to the public, but if information contradicts the administration's desired outcome then it is shelved and barred from public consumption. This is not how a democracy is supposed to function. The information and knowledge this country has, the better off it will be."
Another leader, North Carolina Democrat David Price said, "If these allegations of suppressed studies are true, they are part of a disturbing pattern of the Bush administration twisting the facts to further its own policy objectives. Good public policy is supposed to reflect what is best for the American people. If the FCC can't be trusted to present the results of its own studies to the public, how can it be trusted to act in the public's interest when it comes to the ownership of our airwaves?"
The row over the FCC reports is only one of a number that have arisen over US broadcasting policy, the latest of which is the nomination of TV sitcom producer Warren Bell to the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) , which has been opposed by a number of groups.
Following the opposition the Senate Commerce Committee removed discussion of his nomination from the agenda for its meeting on Thursday although it did discuss the nominations of two others - Democrat David Pryor and publishing executive Ms Chris Boskin(See RNW Sep 13) - put forward by President Bush: Bush has not withdrawn Bell's name and White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore told the Los Angeles Times that the President continued to "support his nomination."
A spokesman for Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, the committee chairman, told the paper Bell was removed from the agenda because several senators on the panel had concerns about his nomination.
The paper adds that differing views of Bell have come from his former and current colleagues with the married writing-and-producing team of Jeffrey B. Hodes and Nastaran Dibai who worked with Bell saying they often heard him say that federal money should not be "wasted" on programs like public broadcasting.
Bell denied this saying in an e-mail, "I wholeheartedly support federal funding for public broadcasting, and I always have" and a number of his staff have backed him.
Los Angeles Times report:
News release and letter from Hinchey and colleagues:
2006-09-22: SMG and UTV have reacted strongly in opposition to suggestions that the AM spectrum currently used by their national Virgin Radio and talkSPORT services could be better used for new digital stations according to the UK Guardian.
The paper said that Peter Davies, Ofcom's director of radio and multimedia, told the "New Platforms, Fresh Futures" digital radio conference organised in London by the broadcast and transmission company WRN, that the spectrum used by the two services could instead provide three new digital national stations and a range of local services.
The paper says talkSPORT said considering ditching AM broadcasts was "crazy" and "illogical" whilst Virgin said it would lobby for preferential treatment in the auction of the digital spectrum.
Davies had suggested a switch in six years time when the licences, which were recently extended for four years (See RNW Jul 5), are due to expire and added that Ofcom was considering the option of ditching the AM licences rather than auctioning them and using the spectrum for "Digital Radio Mondiale" (DRM).
The paper says Davies told the conference, "You could get potentially two more national networks using a high-powered frequency and a range of local services [from talkSPORT's licence]. With Virgin you could get a national frequency and a number of local services When those licences are up for re-advertisement in 2012 they have to be auctioned off. There is no mechanism to allow the incumbent to hang on to them."
He added that whether Ofcom auctioned them "on a technology-neutral basis or not is something we will look at nearer the time."
Scott Taunton, the managing director of UTV Radio, said the AM frequency was essential for his business and turning it off in 2012 would be "commercial suicide", adding, "Surely Ofcom is not thinking about turning talkSPORT off. We have increase listening hours by 30% since 2000 on AM."
Taunton said Ofcom should set an analogue switch off timetable before making any changes and suggested 2020 as about the right time, saying that talkSPORT, whose speech-based service is less affected by AM quality issues, could be allowed to keep its AM service even if Virgin switched to DRM
A Virgin spokesman told the paper, "We believe, that having persevered with the AM signal, we should be given preferential treatment on the allocation of any DRM spectrum."
Davies said the UK was nowhere near an analogue radio switch-off but would be putting the idea to a consultation next year. He suggested that DRM could be a means of providing a digital service to areas that DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) could not reach but added, "But there is no point in auctioning DRM if there are no DRM sets available. It is a chicken-and-egg situation. By indicating now that there is a long-term plan to put services on those frequencies using DRM should encourage manufacturers [to produce DRM sets]. But we are only starting to talk about it now. It's early stages."
Previous Digital Radio Mondiale:
UK Guardian report:
2006-09-22: Arbitron is promoting US terrestrial radio's success in holding onto listeners during advertising breaks in a news release linked to a study, "What Happens When the Spots Come On: The Impact of Commercials on the Radio Audience", that it has prepared using radio ratings date from its Portable People Meter (PPM) and commercial spot information from Media Monitors.
The study, says Arbitron, will be the first in a series to look at radio audience behaviour during commercials: It adds that the lowest-rated minute during an average commercial break retains 92% of the audience before the break began and says the study "dispels the mistaken belief among advertisers, agencies and radio executives that radio loses a considerable portion of its audience during commercial breaks.."
The study was prepared by Arbitron's SVP of Marketing Bill Rose, Media Monitors president Philippe Generali, and Coleman (media research company) president Jon Coleman who analyzed 93,876 radio commercial breaks from November and December 2005 in Houston, Texas, comparing the audience level for each minute of a commercial break to the audience for the minute before the commercials began.
It shows that during morning drive - the day part that had the greatest retention with midday the next best - the lowest rated minute of an average commercial break is 94% of the lead-in audience and for one-minute breaks the audience retention is 99.6% of those listening before it started whilst for two-minute breaks the retention is 94.7%. For longer breaks from three to six minutes, the retention ranges from 87.7% to 89.4% and retention is greater during weekdays than at weekends
Arbitron says younger listeners are more likely to tune out than older ones and adds that the figures are in stark contrast to perceptions in the advertiser/agency industry. An Internet poll conducted by Arbitron and Coleman amongst 200 people identifying themselves as members of the industry showed that they thought on average that the size of the audience during a break fell to 6% of that prior to the break whilst the average from 324 respondents identifying themselves as members of the radio industry thought that only 68% kept on listening.
It also shows that only 34.6% of listening is in automobiles whereas people working in advertising through that a far higher percentage of listening was in automobiles where button-pushing was perceived as most likely.
"This study shows that the long-held perception that listeners tune away from commercials in large numbers is simply not true. Radio does a remarkable job of holding its audience through commercial breaks," said Bill Rose, senior vice president, Marketing, Arbitron Inc. "Radio's ability to hold onto 94 percent of its lead-in audience during commercial breaks in morning drive suggests greater listener engagement while people are starting their day and reinforces the value of advertising during radio's prime-time."
Jon Coleman added, "For years, people in the industry have assumed that many listeners change stations or turn off the radio when the ads come on. These findings indicate that audience loss due to commercials may not deserve the hyper-focus it has received from radio programmers."
The report says broadcasters need to make advertisers more aware that radio is a "commercially-friendly medium" and programmers should focus on building brands that generate listener loyalty rather than "worry a lot about the negative impact of running commercials." Programmers of stations that target a younger audience, it says, should be "more aware of potential loss due to commercials but even they should not obsess over the issue." It also says radio should cautious about too much emphasis on in-car listening.
RNW comment: Our reaction to the figures differs somewhat from that of Arbitron, who presumably feel that they have to put a gloss on information that will please the radio industry, their main source of revenue.
It would seem to us that in general, if people want to listen to a programme, they have no real way of safely switching channels during a commercial break whose duration they cannot be sure of. Add inertia and physical constraints - in busy traffic pushing a button to change channels can be dangerous - and we're not surprised that most people stick with a station.
This does not mean, however, that people are necessarily receptive to the advert and we doubt that we are unique in finding various adverts in all audio-visual media more likely to make us swear never buy from the company concerned than be receptive to its blandishments. The reactions will very from format to format - interruption to a classical piece from a crass advert, for example, is likely to be more annoying than interruption to a crass host talking.
We'd like to see the research extended: How about for example, a device that can be set to mute all adverts being tried out with a sample of people to see how many prefer silence to the ads. If that's as low as 5% we'd be genuinely surprised, except for those formats whose function it seems to us is primarily to provide background noise and excitation.
Arbitron-Media Monitors-Coleman study (82-page, 320 KB PDF):
2006-09-22: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which was hit by a 24-hour strike on Thursday, is facing what the unions - the CPSU or Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) - say will be a sustained guerrilla-style series of strikes to force management to talks over pay.
For much of the day the ABC carried a BBC news feed on its Radio National and News Radio channels and it also used a BBC feed for its flagship TV current affairs programmes.
Senior management including Sue Howard, the ABC Director of Radio and Peter Longman, the head of ABC radio sport, were amongst the managers who were on air.
MP3s are usually posted of audio of various ABC shows including its Life Matters and Late-Night Live programmes but their web sites not only did not provide audio but also omitted Thursday when we last checked. The Corporation's home page carried a brief "ABC ONLINE" note saying that because of the industrial action some sections might not be updated or available.
The unions say around 2,500 of their members -from some 4,000 ABC staff - took part in the strike: The unions want a 16% pay rise, plus two additional rises of 5% whilst management offers a 3.5% annual wage increase, that the unions say is less than inflation, which is currently 4% and the unions say 94% of members endorsed a campaign of stoppages in a secret ballot whose results were counted last week.
ABC Managing director Mark Scott, who only took up his post in July, said strikers would lose pay for the day of their action but there would be no penalty on staff who turned up for work but could not do so because of the action.
The Corporation said it was trying to keep services on air and apologized to its audiences for disruption caused.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Mark Scott:
2006-09-22: BBC Radio Five Live has announced that Gary Stubbs, who has worked in BBC Sport for over 20 years and currently presents Score and Final Score on Saturday afternoons, is to join the station's soccer phone-in show 6-0-6 from Wednesday next week.
Spoony (Jonathan Joseph), the show's current host who last Sunday presented his last BBC Radio 1 show, will move to Sunday evenings, taking over the slot from Adrian Chiles, who has been with the station since its launch in 1994. Alan Green will continue hosting the Saturday night show Chiles is leaving Radio Five Live to concentrate on TV work. Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates are taking over SPoony's weekend Radio 1 breakfast show (See RNW Aug 1).
Five Live Controller Bob Shennan said of the changes, "I'm delighted to welcome Ray to 606. His insight and football knowledge will be a key benefit to the Wednesday night programme."
The BBC has also announced that Dan Carter is to take over The Radio 1 Rock Show starting on Monday, when the station re-launches its evening schedule. Carter takes over from Mike Davies who is relocating to his native USA and is to continue to host The Radio 1 Punk Show live from Los Angeles.
The new schedule will include new shows from Colin Murray, Tim Westwood, Steve Lamacq, Pete Tong, Jo Whiley and Annie Mac.
2006-09-21: Australia's commercial radio industry advertising revenues in the first half of this year were up 2.15 to a total of AUD 325.1 million (USD 245.8 million) according to the latest figures released by the Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia (CEASA).
CEASA's Advertising Expenditure in Main Media report for the six months ended June 30 shows radio advertising in metropolitan markets growing by 1.8% to a total of AUD 280.4 million (USD 212.1 million) and regional markets growing by 2.5 per cent to a total of AUD 144.7 million (USD 109.4 million).
Joan Warner, CEO of industry body Commercial Radio Australia said the lower level of growth in comparison to last year reflected the short-term nature of the advertising market but radio remained an important component of any advertising mix.
"The radio industry is working hard at keeping the industry top of mind for advertisers. The award-winning, multi-million dollar advertising campaign which has been running for more than three years highlights the many benefits of radio advertising and also shows how well radio partners with other media," she said, adding that the growth of internet advertising was good news for the radio sector as recent research had highlighted how well radio worked with the medium.
Citing the "Radio's Advantage - Advertising Effectiveness Study", she said, "Radio advertisements with a strong call to action have been proven to increase website hits by 60 per cent according to research conducted by Millward Brown."
Warner said the study also looked at creative attributes of effective radio campaigns and would be extended to look at the overall impact of combining internet and radio advertising and commented, "Today's media market is increasingly competitive and as a traditional medium we must work with emerging channels to ensure radio exposure in any advertising campaign is maximized. We are well underway with initiatives in this area."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2006-09-21: Shares in both UTV and SMG fell on Wednesday after the former announced that it was pulling out of a bid to merge with SMG. UTV shares ended the day down 2% at 357.75 pence and those of SMG were down 9.7% at 67.25 pence, having fallen at one point to 67 pence.
In a news release, UTV said it had written to SMG's board saying it did not intend to "pursue its merger proposals" and adding that in reaching its decision UTV's board had "taken into account the interim results of SMG announced on 13 September 2006 and the ongoing weakness in the advertising market faced by the ITV network."
Under the UK City Code on Takeovers and Mergers UTV is now prohibited from making any offer or possible offer for SMG within six months unless there is "a material change of circumstances or there has occurred an event which UTV has specified in this statement as an event which would enable the statement to be put aside" and UTV's board says that it accordingly reserves the right to announce an offer or possible offer in the case of such events as an agreement or recommendation on a merger from SMG's board, a third party offer for SMG, or SMG announces a "whitewash" proposal or a reverse takeover.
In other UK radio business Chrysalis Group's pre-close update for the year to the end of August said the results were "broadly in line with our expectations, with both our Radio and Music divisions continuing to outperform their respective markets."
Despite "widely reported difficult trading conditions in the UK radio advertising market," it said, "Chrysalis Radio delivered overall revenue growth in the 12 months to 31 August 2006 of 4.2% to reach GBP 65.5m (USD 123.8 million). On a like-for-like basis, excluding the acquisition of Heart 106 in the East Midlands in May 2005, revenues were flat at GBP 61.7m (USD 116.6 million).
Chrysalis said that "tight control of overheads and improved trading arrangements with key agencies mean that profits are expected to be significantly ahead of the previous year" but noted that for the period it estimated a UK radio advertising market decline of around 4% with the current outlook for the radio market remaining short-term and subdued."
Group Chief Executive Richard Huntingford said of the performance, "Our radio and music businesses have met the expectations we set out in November last year and once again outperformed their peers in what has been another challenging period for all those involved in the media industry. We are now seeing the benefits of focusing on these two strong businesses, with their market leading positions, materializing as planned."
Chrysalis shared dipped 1.2% to end Wednesday at 121.25 pence.
Also in the UK, media regulator Ofcom has announced its approval of a variation to the Digital One national digital multiplex that is required to allow GCap Media to launch a national jazz station about which we have already reported (See RNW Sep 20) and also of format changes by Sunrise Radio that would allow it to move obligations to broadcast 18-hours a week in Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Tamil and Sinhalese onto its Kismat Asian Talk Radio (See RNW Jun 25).
In Scotland, Ofcom has approved a request by Guardian Media Group (GMG), which is buying Paisley station Q96 from UTV - UTV acquired the station when it took over the Wireless Group - to co-locate the station with its Real Radio in Glasgow (See RNW Jun 29). It notes that its consultation on the matter attracted nine responses, three of which were from stakeholders.
All five members of the public who responded, it noted, opposed the change and said they felt that GMG's motivation was purely economic, and that the interests of listeners in Paisley and Renfrewshire were not best served by permitting their local radio station to move so far away (physically) from the area that it actually serves.
Their concerns, it adds, were echoed by the Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander MP (Paisley & Renfrewshire South) who wrote, on behalf of constituents who had contacted him, to express concern that the specifically local Renfrewshire focus of the service should be maintained.
Ofcom said that it found GMG had made a convincing case and noted that GMG was not seeking to reduce the commitments contained within its Format relating to the type and quantity of output that should be broadcast but had committed itself to doubling the minimum number of local news bulletins broadcast each weekday.
2006-09-21: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) chair Guy Fournier has resigned amid a row over comments he made in a magazine column in which he claimed Lebanese law allowed men to have sex with female animals but not male ones for which they could face the death penalty and also over a May interview in which he said the physical pleasures of defecation were superior to those of sex.
Fournier, a 75-years-old author, producer and journalist had been appointed to the position of CBC chair in February 2005 by Canada's then Liberal government.
He initially said in a newspaper interview of the reaction to his column, which is intended to be humorous, that he saw no problems with the comments that he said were "rather funny."
He later apologized in the CBC French-language TV show "Tout le monde en parle" on Sunday, saying he had meant the comments as a joke but it had shocked many Lebanese to whom he apologized. The show also played an excerpt from the May interview.
Fournier's departure was announced by Minister of Canadian Heritage Bev Oda to the Canadian House of Commons and received with cheers and applause from her uling Conservative Party colleagues.
Despite the resignation, the CBC reports that Alain-Michel Ayache, a political science professor at l'Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) who is of Lebanese descent and who has hired a lawyer to file a formal complaint against TVA Publications, the company that publishes the gossip magazine 7 Jours, where Fournier's comments appeared, says Fournier should still make a public apology.
Toronto Star report:
2006-09-21: Sirius Satellite Radio and the Metropolitan Opera are to create a "Metropolitan Opera Channel" on Sirius featuring performances from the opera's archives and new performances to be broadcast live: It will launch on Monday with a live broadcast of the Met's opening night gala performance of Puccini's Madame Butterfly, conducted by Music Director James Levine and directed by Anthony Minghella.
The new service will replace the Classical Voices channel on Sirius and the Met's new General Manager Peter Gelb described it as "a significant step in our plans to use digital technology to relay our extraordinary content."
For Sirius, its President, Entertainment and Sports, Scott Greenstein said the channel will "bring opera lovers the best performances of our day and an unparalleled and definitive collection of historic broadcasts", adding, "Sirius' broad reach and superb digital quality sound make us the perfect vehicle to help Peter Gelb and the Met fulfil their mission to both super-serve existing opera lovers and create new opera fans nationwide."
Margaret Juntwait, who has hosted the Saturday matinee Metropolitan Opera Radio broadcasts since 2004, will be the announcer for the new channel's programs and will join the Met full time.
The deal has been made possible through a new deal with the Met's unions that will allow it wider distribution to audiences round the world on digital media including the transmission by satellite from the end of this year of six live Met performances in high definition to movie theatres in the US, Canada and Europe.
2006-09-20: Following his earlier posting of a 2004 report that indicated that locally-owned TV stations carried significantly more local news (See RNW Sep 16), a report that it is alleged Federal Communications Commission (FCC) staff tried to suppress, FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin has now ordered an FCC draft 2003 "Review of the Radio Industry" on the US radio industry to be posted on the FCC web site.
The 82-page report, like the earlier report, was brought to Martin's attention by California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer and in a letter to Martin she notes that this second report "seems to have been suppressed by the FCC" and notes that "For reasons I do not understand, this report was never finalized even though the FCC had released similar reports in 2002, September 2001, January 2001, and 1998."
"Moreover," she continues, "the Commission has not released a "Review of the Radio Industry" report since 2002. This is in spite of the fact that this information would be highly relevant to the Commission's ongoing proceedings on localism and media ownership Recently, it was reported in Radio and Records that Clear Channel had visited two Commissioners' offices on August 31, 2006 "to influence their positions on expanding ownership cap limits in the largest radio markets." I trust that you will update and release this report prior to the conclusion of the media ownership proceeding so that the Commission will be able to make its decision based on the most current industry data."
Boxer says she is growing "more and more concerned" and will ask the "the Inspector General of the FCC to thoroughly investigate not only the draft 2003 "Review of the Radio Industry" and the 2004 localism study, but also to examine whether it was then or is now the practice of the FCC to suppress facts that are contrary to a desired outcome."
Martin responds by saying that as with the previous study he had not seen or been aware of the draft report before she brought it to his attention, says he too is "concerned about what happened to the two draft reports" and, as she had requested, has asked the Inspector General to conduct an "Investigation into what happened to these draft documents."
The report posted is in the form of a PDF of a scan indicating that officials presumable succeeded in destroying electronically stored versions of this - and the 2004 report. It was the fifth such report by the FCC since passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act - prior to which no company could own or control more than 20 AM or 20 FM stations - and it notes that in the period from then until that covered by the report, the number of US radio stations had increased by 5.9% but the number of radio owners was down 35%; the number of groups owning 20 or more stations had nearly doubled - up from 25 to 49; and Clear Channel had grown from fewer than 65 stations to 1,233 in March 2003.
In terms of market dominance it notes that in each Metro market the largest firm had 46% of total radio advertising revenues and the two largest firms combined a 74% share and that, although radio listening had declined slightly radio advertising rates had increased by almost 76%.
In regard to the Commission's 2006 Quadrennial Regulatory Review that is currently under way looking at its ownership and other rules, the FCC has extended the deadlines to file comments and reply comments from the current dates of September 22 and November 21 respectively to October 23 and December 21.
The extensions were made following applications for extensions from ION Media Networks, Inc. and Free Press, et. al., who said they needed additional time to complete research and analysis and to compile data necessary to fully address the complex issues raised in the Further Notice.
Free Press also suggested that an extension of time would allow parties to respond to issues raised at the Commission's upcoming hearing on media ownership, scheduled to take place on October 3, in Los Angeles.
Boxer letter to Martin - 1 page PDF:
Martin letter to Boxer - 1 Page PDF:
FCC - Draft 2003 "Review of the Radio Industry" (RNW note: This is an 82-page 3.1 Mb PDF scan of a printout of the report.).
2006-09-20: The UK is to get its first national jazz station from GCap Media, which is to launch the format on digital radio as a sister service to its national classical station Classic FM, which is also available on digital.
The new station, which it expects to launch towards the end of this year, will be based in Leicester Square in London and will play a broad range of jazz including "Bebop, Swing, Cool jazz, Trad, Blues, Soul jazz, Modern jazz and Smooth/Fusion."
GCap says the station will primary target the "commercially attractive 35+ ABC1 demographic" and adds that its feedback and market research point to a strong demand for the format that, it says, "is best delivered on a national platform where the station can generate significant audience."
The company says it thinks the audience will be similar to that for Classic FM, thus creating "cross promotion and endorsement opportunities for both" and adds that they will "work in tandem to provide advertisers with greater access to the ABC1 demographic and to further GCap Media's strategy of targeting listeners to BBC Radio 2, Radio 3 and Radio 4. "
Classic FM station manager Darren Henley is being given responsibility for the new station and commented, "We want to do for jazz what we've done for classical music at Classic FM. The service will be programmed in a similar style to Classic, treating jazz with the respect it deserves while making it accessible to people who enjoy jazz but may never have been able to listen to specialist jazz programmes before."
The UK has seen jazz on commercial radio decline in recent years as Guardian Media Group changed its former Jazz FM stations to the Smooth FM format but on the BBC jazz is carried in a number of regular programmes on Radios 2 and 3.
Previous GCap Media:
2006-09-20: Initial results just released by Arbitron for its RADAR 90 network survey, due to be released in full on Tuesday, show radio in the US reaching 93% of the US population aged 12 and above, more than 230 million listeners in all: At weekends the figure falls to 73%, some 182 million.
The percentage rises to 94% for adults 18-plus in households with an annual income of USD 75,000 of more and is higher for college graduates - 94% - than for those who did not attend college - 91%.
In terms of listening location 81% of adults listen in their cars and 24% at work.
Arbitron notes that the sample size for RADAR 90, which measures 56 radio networks, has been increased to more than 112,000 diary keepers.
Another survey, this time from Bridge Ratings, concluded that linking station output with digital technology strengthens its competitive position and improves listener loyalty.
Bridge, which questioned a sample of 2000 listeners aged 12-64 and asked them to compare listening habits against those they had a year earlier, said the results showed 42% saying they were now listening to their favourite station more than a year earlier and in 63% of those cases total listening had been improved through the station's web site, streaming audio, or podcasting.
It quotes one 38-years-old female listener as praising her talk station's provision of podcasts so that if she misses something she will be able to hear it and a 20-years-old male who said he found himself listening to his favourite alternative rock radio after a friend sent him a link to an internet station sponsored by the terrestrial and commented that he was listening to hear more about the alternative stream.
Bridge Ratings' President Dave Van Dyke said it was clear that its sample of listeners "gravitated more positively to their favourite stations which were effectively utilizing these new technologies to enhance the listening experience."
"Those stations that seamlessly incorporate podcasting, for example, as another way of enjoying their programming, are enjoying stronger listener loyalty," he added. "Almost two-thirds of the stations with improved loyalty scores saw these increases as a direct function of the additional digital tools the stations used. As terrestrial radio embraces these technologies and aggressively markets them, listeners are responding positively. The next three years present a window of opportunity for terrestrial radio to retool and effectively compete in this digital age."
Previous Bridge Ratings:
Previous Van Dyke:
Previous RADAR (Radar 89):
2006-09-20: Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) technology has received a potential boost in Australia where the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced that it is to embargo various frequencies that could be used by DRM services and will consider licence applications for trials to investigate the use of the bands for DRM transmissions.
The ACMA notes that it is currently considering international development of DRM using the bands and needs to preserve the availability of the bands for potential future use by DRM services, thus meaning it needs to ensure that they are not used by other services.
The frequencies involved are 7100-7300 kHz 19 KB; 9500-9900 kHz 19 KB; 11650-12050 kHz 19 KB; 13600-13800 kHz 19 KB; 15100-15600 kHz 19 KB; 17550-17900 kHz 19 KB; 21450-21850 kHz 19 KB and 25670-26100 kHz 19 KB.
Various DRM products were shown off at IBC, Amsterdam, earlier this month including working receivers and prototype receivers including multi-standard receivers that can handle DAB, DRM and analogue signals.
Previous Digital Radio Mondiale:
2006-09-20: Former circus performer Mario Wallenda, who was paralyzed in an accident in 1962, has successfully crossed the Chicago River on a cable strung between two cranes in a stunt promoted by Emmis's WLUP-FM (See RNW Sep 18).
Wallenda, now 64, went across the river and back on his specially-designed "Skycycle", watched according to the Chicago Tribune by around a thousand people.
He said afterwards, "It was a little spooky but it turned out well" adding, however, "At one point there I was saying, 'Oh my God, what the hell have I gotten myself into?'"
The Tribune reports that Wallenda hoped the Skycycle could be a way back into the family business and suggested it could prompt a sponsor for future trips across, say, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or Idaho's Snake River canyon -- "wherever my sister can find us work.''
Chicago Tribune report:
2006-09-19: American radio is losing listening amongst the 12-24 years-old age group according a new study by Edison Media Research that is to be published in full next week with details being released daily before then on its infinite dial site.
The report shows that since its 2000 report, "Radio's Future: Today's 12-24 Year Olds" was published Time spent listening (TSL) has been falling significantly amongst younger listeners: Among 12-to-17-year-olds it is down 22% since 1993, when listening was 65 quarter-hours a week having gone down below 60 by 2,000 and to 51 in the most recent survey.
The decline has been even steeper amongst he 18-24 demographic for whom listening is down 24% - it was 95 quarter hours a week in 1993 and is now down to 72 and Edison says that more than 11% of boys 12-17 now report no weekly radio listening at all.
Edison President Larry Rosin notes in a news release that the 2000 report - "the first publicly-available study of 12-24 radio listening, urged broadcasters to take more aggressive steps to fight young-end erosion and cultivate new users. Now, with iPods, podcasting and Internet radio, today's 12-24 listeners have even more alternatives to terrestrial radio. It is vital for broadcasters to study this newly-updated data and take action."
Previous Edison Media:
Edison Media web site:
Infinite dial web site:
2006-09-19: Saga, the group which offers goods and services for the over-50s, may put its radio business up for sale following confirmation that it has appointed of auditors KPMG to review the business, which owns four regional FM licences.
The UK Guardian says that Saga, owned by the private equity company Charterhouse, is thought to be considering a GBP 2 billion ( U billion) flotation and is looking at ways to improve the business before the flotation.
It quotes a Saga spokesman as saying, "We are undertaking a review, with the assistance of KPMG Corporate Finance, of future developments of our radio business." At this stage, we don't know what the outcome of the review might be, or what the options are for the business. We are not currently conducting an auction of the business ... we are looking at what the options might be for future development ... nothing is ruled in and nothing is ruled out."
UK Guardian report:
2006-09-19: Westwood One has announced the appointment of former Air America Radio President Gary Krantz to the newly-created the position of Chief Digital Media Officer in which role he will oversee all the company's digital portfolio.
This included newly-launches sites for The Osgood File, Randy Jackson's Hit List, Loveline, and Notre Dame Football.
Krantz will be based in New York and report directly to Peter Kosann, Westwood One President and CEO.
Kosann said the appointment highlighted the "immediate shift of Westwood One's Digital Media portfolio from the developmental stage to execution" and added, "Destination web sites for key personalities and programs have been launched and the syndication of local content to broadcast affiliates and non-broadcast affiliates is rapidly expanding. Gary's unique strengths in programming, sales, and marketing will enable our new platforms to quickly gain traction with consumers, affiliates and advertisers."
Before he joined Air America Radio, Krantz held a number of roles at Clear Channel-owned Premiere Radio Networks, including those of EVP/Operations, SVP/Music and Entertainment, and SVP/Sales of Mediabase. He joined Premiere after a spell as SVP of AMFM Networks, which was taken over by Clear Channel in 2000 (See RNW Aug 23, 2000).
Previous Westwood One:
2006-09-19: Salem, which recently closed its USD 7.7 million sale of WBGB-FM to Cox Radio (See RNW Jul 7) , has announced agreement to sell its remaining stations in the Jacksonville, Florida, market to Chesapeake-Portsmouth Broadcasting Corporation for USD 2.8 million.
The stations involved are WZAZ-AM, WJGR-AM and WZNZ-AM and Salem says it expects the deal to close this year. Salem notes that Chesapeake-Portsmouth is a company controlled by Nancy Epperson, wife of Salem's Chairman of the Board Stuart W. Epperson and sister of CEO Edward G. Atsinger III.
Salem has also confirmed its third quarter 2006 total revenue guidance of between USD 57.9 million and USD 58.4 million.
2006-09-19: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld two standards complaints against radio and considered two more resolved in its latest Broadcast Bulletin after two bulletins when no radio complaints were upheld. No TV complaints were upheld and one was considered resolved by action taken by the broadcaster and in addition Ofcom gave broad details of complaints- 272 in all - against the Big Brother TV programme that were not upheld. In the previous bulletin Ofcom as noted upheld no radio complaints but did consider one resolved and also upheld three TV complaints and considered ten TV standards cases resolved.
The radio complaints upheld in the latest bulletin involved GCap Media's SGR in Colchester and Belfast restricted service licensee Feile FM.
The GCap case involved a breakfast host's comments about a hair product whose manufacturer sponsored the show and that was held to have breached codes barring promotional references to sponsors in a show unless they are editorially justified and incidental
In the case of Feile FM the licensee was unable to provide a recording of a broadcast in which a listener complained about the use of the word "f'ing" by a presenter but had spoken to the presenter who confirmed use of the term - as opposed to the word fucking - and said it wanted to apologize for any offence caused. Ofcom noted the failure to supply the recording as required under its licence and said this breach would be held on record.
The radio complaints considered resolved involved BBC Radio Five Live and Choice FM: In the BBC case a listener complained about airing of the word "fuck" that the BBC explained was spoken by one of the two brothers - in recounting words spoken by someone else - whose home had been mistakenly raided in an anti-terrorist operation.
In the Choice FM complaint the listener complained about the airing of the word "motherfucker" in a musical track "Things to Say" by Method Man and Lauryn Hill that parent GCap said was a radio edit supplied by the record company. It said that Choice thought that only the "mother" part of the word was audible but that for future airings the entire word would be edited out.
In addition to the above, a further Ofcom listed with no details a further 153 TV complaints involving 119 items and 18 radio complaints involving 18 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 121 TV complaints involving 98 items and 11 radio complaints involving 11 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2006-09-19: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction 66 of spectrum for mobile communications ended Monday with a total net amount of USD 13,700,267,150 in provisionally winning bids (PWBs) made for a total of 1087 licences. A further 35 licences were held by the FCC. The gross amount bid was USD 13,879,110,200 and five bidders topped USD 1 billion in total.
Largest bidder was T-mobile with a net total of USD 4,182,312,000 for 120 PWBs for a combination of metropolitan and regional licences.
It was followed by Cellco Partnership (Verizon Wireless), which bid a net total of USD 2,808,599,000 13 regional licences; SpectrumCo LLC (Sprint Nextel Corp) with a net total of USD 2,377,609,000 for 137 licences); MetroPCS AWS, LLC with a net total of USD 1,391,410,000 for eight licences and Cingular AWS, LLC with a net total of USD 1,334,610,000 for 48 licences.
2006-09-18: Yet again concern about media consolidation is surfacing and last week it was a topic of interest in Australia, where the government put its plans to ease media ownership before parliament, as well as the US.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to hold its first public hearing on the matter in Los Angeles on October 3, the matter rose through publicity given to a 2004 FCC study that officials are alleging to have tried to bury (See RNW Sep 16).
The issue brought out the lobbying groups and responses from Michael K. Powell, the FCC chairman at the time, and current chairman Kevin J. Martin, saying they had no knowledge of the study, which Martin has now ordered posted on the FCC web site.
Most stories carried allegations that officials had tried to bury the study and have all copies destroyed but at leas one group, the Media Access Project (MAP), almost accused Powell: In a statement it said, "In a USA Today Op Ed in 2003 on the FCC's media ownership proceeding, then-Chairman Powell accused opponents of 'substituting personal ideology for and opinion for the facts.' According to the Associated Press, however, when a study Powell ordered to prove deregulation did not hurt local news coverage proved the opposite, Powell ordered the study not merely suppressed, but destroyed."
MAP then quoted its vice-chairman Harold Feld as saying, "It appears that it was Michael Powell, not the public, who preferred to make decisions based on 'personal ideology."
MAP goes on to say, "There is no evidence that the FCC's current Chairman, Kevin Martin, ever knew of this report - let alone participated in Powell's effort to destroy it. Furthermore, Chairman Martin has shown a commendable willingness to open the ownership process to the public by committing to holding six public hearings outside of Washington DC. At his confirmation hearing for another term yesterday, Chairman Martin confessed that he was no longer "comfortable" with the FCC's decision to deregulate in 2003, and pledged to approach the new ownership proceeding with an "open mind."
" Nevertheless, the public deserves to know the truth about whether Martin's predecessor tried to destroy valuable evidence about the most critical question facing the FCC then or now. We join with Free Press, Consumers Union, and Consumer Federation of America in calling on Chairman Martin to set up an independent investigation into today's allegations."
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) in its comment on the matter refers to an Associated Press report in which Powell denies any knowledge of the report or responsibility for its suppression and is urging that the FCC Inspector General should conduct an investigation into suppression of the study.
RNW comment: We trust there will in this case be a thorough report. If nothing else Powell's name should be cleared if he had no complicity in the matter - although the fact that in that case officials felt that under his watch it was prudent to suppress a study that produced results contrary to his perceived wishes says a lot about their estimations of the man's character irrespective of any involvement he may have had. If Powell was complicit then in our view he is a crook and we can only hope he is appropriately tarred for life but if he was not this needs to be clearly established and appropriate action and condemnation made of the officials involved.
On then to Australia and its planned media deregulation and indications are that there, as in Australia, there is no unanimity amongst politicians of the ruling party about the wisdom of deregulation.
In the Sydney Morning Herald an Australian Associated Press report says that although National Party MPs "put on a show of unit" in reality "behind the scenes the party is more divided than ever." [RNW note: Australia is governed by a Liberal-National Party coalition and its Prime Minister John Howard is from the Liberals].
Outside parliament it went on "Nationals MPs were openly attacking the legislation.
Nationals' senators Fiona Nash and Barnaby Joyce both have expressed fears about the laws. They are backed by deputy Nationals deputy whip Paul Neville" and it notes that PM John Howard "could make changes depending on the findings of a bipartisan Senate committee, which will have three weeks to review the bills."
The plans were attacked strongly by Howard's predecessor, former Australian PM Paul Keating [from the opposition Labor Party], who was the architect of the current media ownership rules and who told ABC TV the bills are a gift to media moguls and added, "There's no reform in any of this. There should be one signature tune to any of this now, and it ought to be enhanced diversity. That, in effect, is not happening here."
Howard reacted by saying, "I think Mr Keating is still sort of carrying on his decade-and-a-half-long vendetta against, principally, the Packer media empire. He is not on the scene any more. I won't be guided by his advice, let me put it that way."
Australian Communications Minister Helen Coonan has said that fears of lack of diversity are misguided and insisted that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has sufficient powers to ensure diversity in rural and regional areas, telling the Australian Senate, "There will be strenuous safeguards to prevent concentration of ownership, and that will be secured by the number of voices not being able to fall below five in a metropolitan region, and four in regional and rural Australia."
For the opposition Labour Party, its communications spokesman Sen. Stephen Conroy has echoed some of the criticisms made in the US during the FCC's moves to push through deregulation under Powell: He said the government had been consulting on the changes with media moguls for months but the public would only have three weeks to review the legislation.
"This is a massive concentration," said Conroy. "John Howard has one question to answer: why are we giving so much power to some of the most powerful people in Australia already."
In the argument the National Party - which grew from The Country Party that was founded by small farmers - has a different agenda to that of its larger partner and Joseph Kerr writing in The Australian comments that they "believe extra restrictions should be imposed to stop one proprietor buying more than two out of the three main media - television, radio and newspapers - in any one town."
Kerr says analysis shows that most smaller towns already have four or fewer media outlets and thus the proposed regulations would prevent further ownership concentration but there are 19 large regional areas - including Ballarat, Geelong, Newcastle, Cairns and the Gold Coast - where proposals from the nationals for a two-out-of-three test would rule out mergers that the current legislation - which would set a minimum number of four media groups in regional areas and five in cities - would allow.
The analysis came from the Labor Party and showed that the Nats proposed extra restrictions would only potentially be relevant only in the 19 biggest regional markets.
Amongst media owners, the Ten Network has supported the plans but News Limited and Fairfax want them amended.
After one Howard to a passing reference to another the form of a Fox News article by its Entertainment Correspondent Lisa Bernhard, who refers to Howard Stern and what the calls "his ego-fuelled delusion" in calling himself "the King of All Media" and then goes on to ask whether actress Joan Fonda could be the "Queen."
The reference comes as she notes the launch of Greenstone Media, a radio station whose programming is aimed primarily at women and that includes Fonda and Gloria Steinem on its board. Greenstone, currently broadcasts on the internet and has plans to launch on satellite with programming aimed primarily at women, and Bernhard uses the launch as a peg to compare Fonda with Stern.
In film she notes Fonda has a clear advantage since Stern's output is limited to just one move, "Private Parts" and she gives Fonda the second round for video and DVDs, listing her workout videos compared to Stern's, "The Girls of Scores," "Howard Stern: Shut Up and Listen," and "Butt Bongo Fiesta" and the third round for TV on the strength of talk and award show appearances.
Stern only wins on radio - "for now" comments Bernhard albeit we would suggest that to any dispassionate observer the changes of Fonda having the time - never mind any issue of talent - to overtake Stern in this medium is rather slight. What the article does do, however is point out the limitations in facile slogans and self-boosting labels so beloved of many.
Which is a cue for a brief look at Paul Donovan's "Radio Waves" column in the UK Sunday Times - "Comeback Kings" - which he leads off with a note on the return to the Classic airwaves of Henry Kelly: Kelly is no great self-publicist and in an age of "celebrities" being promoted across different media, often with resulting dire results, has stuck very much to his strength. He was reduced in circumstances when Classic dropped him from its breakfast show in 2003 since when he has had spells with LBC and BBC Radio Berkshire.
Of those spells Kelly, a former presenter of BBC Radio 4's "The World Tonight", comments, "I have enjoyed my return to news and old-fashioned journalism, but what I have learnt is that I must be kept away from a phone-in. Get London talking and all that, which is just prejudices masquerading as opinions. 'I've got nothing against Muslims, Irish, or blacks, but...' You can always hear the 'but' coming. Such is the nature of LBC that I lasted only a year there. I'm uncomfortable with provoking people in this way."
"Such is the gentlemanly streak about him," continues Donovan of Kelly, "that he has never criticized Classic, even off the record. He does not mention that Bates [his successor Simon Bates] gets only 2.91m listeners, which is 450,000 less than the total he inherited. Sensibly, he wants to get on well with Classic's new regime, which is also introducing other changes to try to halt the steady but largely unpublicized drop in audience."
Donovan then goes on to say that Kelly's return "offers heartening proof that sacking - contracts not being renewed or outright dismissal - is not always the end" and cites examples of others in the UK including David Jacobs, Kenny Everett, Tony Blackburn, Chris Evans, and "Christian O'Connell [fired] from hospital radio in Winchester for telling his audience that the lady who had requested a particular song had just died, and thus didn't want to listen to it any longer; and Russell Brand, now our hottest young entertainer, as well as one with a sordid life story, never looked back after getting fired from Xfm for bringing vagrants into the studio and reading out obscene letters."
"It seems a bit hard on Henry to bracket him with someone like that," concludes Donovan, "but, as David Jacobs said when they axed his show, 'It's a funny old world.'"
So on to suggested listening and first a most successful manufactured pop group and BBC Radio 2 on Saturday. "40 years of Monkee Business" looked at the creation of the group, created for a TV show to ride on the success of the Beatles and a testament if nothing else to the capabilities of a strong team of songwriters and backing musicians.
On the same station tomorrow (19:30 GMT), a conjunction of politics and popular culture in "Coming in from the Cold", the first of a two-part look by Jeremy Vine at how the cold war affected artists and popular culture and how the culture in turn affected the Cold War, one in which the fears were of a full=scale nuclear war that on any rational scale makes the threat presented in the current war on terror seem rather a minor one.
Next Saturday at 21:00 GMT the station features Bob Harris live from Nashville, during the week of the Americana Music Awards.
Changing stations but not broadcasters, the BBC on Saturday began a season of programmes about Iran with "Iran: a Revolutionary State", the first of three programmes in which John Tusa, former managing director of the BBC World Service, looks at the influences that have made modern Iran what it is -- and in our view offers a welcoming and rather better informed perspective of the country than that currently emanating from Washington.
The whole season has a dedicated web page that amongst the other programming listed includes in the "Book of the Week" slot at 08:45 GMT "Iran Awakening", the biography of Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Prize winning Iranian human rights lawyer ; this evening (19:00 GMT) "Darius the Great and the End of History" in which Tom Holland looks at the history of Darius, the world's most powerful man in the late 6th century BC; on Wednesday "Iran and her Neighbours" (10:00 GMT) in which correspondent John Simpson looks at how her neighbours regard Iran and in "The Afternoon Play" slot, "Uncovering Iran: The Interview" a look at the assessment of how Islamic Iranian career woman Roxanna really is; and on Saturday [18;00 GMT]in the "Profile " slot, a profile of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The season continues until the end of the month.
After Iran, Iraq and Sunday's "Amsterdam Forum" from Radio Netherlands in which the discussion was with former US Ambassador to Croatia and currently a Professor at the National War College in Washington, DC. Peter Galbraith .
In his book "The End of Iraq", Galbraith argues that Iraq is already broken apart following the US invasion and says he is not in favour of the effort that would now be needed to put it back together again. He says of continuing with the US present strategy of trying to build a unified Iraq without putting in the resources needed will ensure that by the time Bush leaves office the US will still be where it is now in Iraq but with another thousand dead American troops, another couple of hundred billion spent and the US reputation in the world will be even lower than it is today.
Also on the topic of Iraq, this week's "On the Media" from WNYC included items on how the Iraq war was sold at its commencement and makes a convincing case of senior members of the current US administration being liars in any normal meaning of the term (i.e. deliberately spreading information known to be false) and also looks at the hiring of the Lincoln Group by the Pentagon to ensure getting positive reports in Iraqi media through an interview with Willem Marx whose account of his summer internship in Baghdad for the group was published earlier this month by Harper's.
Changing areas completely last Thursday's (Sep 14) "Late Night Line-up" on the Australian Broadcasdting Corporation, has a strong mix including reports on a "blue ice" Antarctic Runway, the Wonga Coup, and recently discovered Soviet diaries showing attempts being made to "fit-in" during the Stalinist era.
Finally classical music and the continuing BBC Radio 3 broadcasts from this year's Edinburgh Festival that include Sir Charles Mackeras' Beethoven cycle, which is being accompanies with performances of Bruckner's symphonies.
Tonight's "Performance on 3" (18:30 GMT) has the fourth symphonies of both; tomorrow the fifth; and Wednesday the sixth: On Thursday onwards the slot is taken with highlights from semi-final recitals at this year's Leeds International Piano Competition (Thursday) and then the finalists on Friday and Saturday, the last an hour earlier at 17:30 GMT.
FAIR on FCC report:
Media Access Project on FCC report (PDF):
Sydney Morning Herald /AAP on Australian media ownership:
The Australian - Kerr
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2006-09-18: Emmis' Chicago WLUP-FM (The Loop) host Jonathan Brandmeier is behind a stunt to be staged tomorrow in which Mario Wallenda of "The Flying Wallendas" is to continue his family's high-wire act by crossing the Chicago River on a steel cable some 30 metres (100 feet) above the river between two cranes.
Wallenda was paralyzed from the wait-down in a January 1962 high-wire accident in which after being performed without serious incident from 1947 a seven-person chair pyramid collapsed with the resulting deaths of two men and the injuries that paralyzed Mario. The pyramid was made up of four men on a wire 10 metres (35 feet) up on whose shoulders were two more men who in turn supported a woman sitting, and then standing on a chair.
Mario now uses a specially-constructed motorized "Skycycle" to continue to perform the high-wire act: He told Brandmeier of his return to the act - the first in more than two years and only the third attempt since his first performance with the Skycycle in 2001, "I want to feel alive and productive. I just can't sit around the house and not do anything. I'd rather be a live hero than a dead martyr."
2006-09-17: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators albeit rather embarrassing for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when a 2004 document surfaced indicating that stations controlled by local owners broadcast significantly more local news than those controlled by distant or corporate ones - along with allegations that FCC staff had deliberately buried it because the conclusions did not fit in with the FCC's ownership agenda (See RNW Sep 16): Elsewhere it was mainly a matter of routines.
There were no radio announcements as such from Australia, where the main media focus was on the government's proposals for easing of media ownership regulation, although the Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) did published a paper with current regulations relating to Amateur licences.
In Canada, it was also fairly quiet but radio related matters under discussion by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included a public hearing in Quebec City that amongst other things was considering an application by Radio Nord Communications for a licence of a French-language FM commercial radio station in Québec City, using the 98.1 MHz frequency, "in order to continue operating the CHOI-FM radio station."
Genex Communications inc. was denied renewal of the CHOI-FM licence in 2004 (See RNW Jul 14, 2004) and various court hearings then upheld the CRTC refusal.
Most recently Genex in June this year filed a motion with the Supreme Court of Canada seeking a 1-year adjournment of its consideration of Genex's application for leave to appeal and also saying that it had entered into an agreement with Radio Nord Communications under which the latter would apply for a new licence to continue the operations of CHOI-FM. The Supreme Court agreed to agreed to adjourn its consideration of Genex's application for leave to appeal until 31 May 2007.
Radio Nord is proposing a 40,000 watts rock alternative music format and says that for the first seven years of operation of the station will contribute CAD 1,056,000 (USD) to direct initiatives for the development of Canadian talent and it adds that Genex will contribute, as part of its transaction with RCNI, an equivalent amount to direct Canadian talent development initiatives.
Also being considered at the hearing is an application by MX Média Inc. for a licence to operate a French-language commercial FM pop-rock and country musical station in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.
The CRTC was also involved in the following radio decision (In order of province):
*Approval of application by Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation for a 200 watts English-language pop, soft rock and oldies commercial FM in Wasaga Beach.
*Denial of application by Thunder Bay Christian Radio to increase the power of CJOA-FM, Thunder Bay, from 50 watts to 250 watts, which would change its status from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A1 service. Approval was given to delete from the licence its transmitter CJOA-FM-1, which ceased operation in June 2004.
The power increase application was opposed by C.J.S.D. Inc., licensee of CJSD-FM and CKPR-AM, Thunder Bay, and from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), which said approval would create a dangerous precedent by allowing a low-power licensee to effectively bypass the normal procedure for considering commercial radio applications by simply filing an application for a technical amendment to its licence.
The CRTC also issued a public notice, with a deadline for the submission of interventions or comments of October 18 that included the following radio-related applications.
*Application by Canadian Satellite Radio Inc. to change conditions of licence of XM Canada relating to the contribution of a minimum of 5% of gross revenues to Canadian Talent Development in terms of the definition of "eligible third parties" to whom payments can be made and also to allow overpayments that could then be set off against future years' payments.
*Application to renew the licence of English-language commercial station CIKR-FM, Kingston, and to amend licence conditions relating to Canadian Talent Development.
There were no radio announcements in Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom has announced the award of new Bristol and Exeter licences to Canwest-controlled Original Bristol FM Ltd. and Exeter FM respectively (See RNW Sep 15).
It also advertised a new commercial FM for the South Wales area: Applications, including a non-refundable fee of GBP 10.000 (USD 18,800) have to be submitted by December 12.
Ofcom also issued various updates including details of proposals to implement a permanent scheme for Community Audio Distribution Systems (CADS), which it says should be able to cp-exist with Citizens' Band (CB) radio in the same spectrum band, as soon as is practicable.
Ofcom says that subject to suitable conditions it thinks CADS can be exempt from needing a Broadcasting Act licence but believes this should go before Parliament for legislation.
Ofcom also published details of a new licence class for satellite earth stations on board trains, designed to provide authorization for the use of broadband internet and multi-media on trains: it has already published a number of procedures manuals in relation to aircraft earth stations, earth stations on trains and earth stations on board vessels.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as noted, has been embarrassed by the revelation of a 2004 study concerning the effects of local media ownership: The matter was raised by California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer at a Senate Committee hearing that heard from commission chairman Kevin J. Martin concerning his nomination for a second term (See RNW Sep 13).
The FCC has set October 3 for its first public hearing, to be held in Los Angeles, on new plans to amend media ownership regulations (See RNW Sep 12).
The FCC also confirmed a USD 20,000 penalty on a Mississippi AM for various breaches of regulations and a USD 10,000 penalty on a San Diego company for unauthorized use of a microwave link (See RNW Sep 15)
In the Commission's auction of mobile communications spectrum the net total bid at the end of round 151 on Friday had reached just under USD 13.7 billion for a total of 1086 licences.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-09-17: Piquant-owned Air America Radio, which earlier this week denied rumours that it was to declare bankruptcy following lay-offs (See RNW Sep 14) has now posted a new line-up commencing on Monday.
The daily schedule will start with "The Mark Riley Show" from 05:00 to 06:00 after which, as already reported, "The Young Turks" will cover the morning drive slot from 06:00 to 09:00.
They will be followed by "The Sam Seder Show" until noon, then, as now, Al Franken in his current noon to 15:00 slot followed by "The Randi Rhodes Show" to 18:00.
"The Rachel Maddow Show" then follows to 20:00 with "Politically Direct" with David Bender for an hour after which "Ecotalk" with Betsy Rosenberg fills the 21:00 to 22:00 time.
Previous Air America/Piquant:
2006-09-16: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now posted on its web site a 24-page draft working paper prepared in 2004 that indicates that locally-owned TV stations in the US broadcast significantly more local news than those owned by conglomerates or distant owners.
The paper was brought to public attention when its existence was raised with current FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin by California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer and a former FCC attorney has alleged that the agency, then under the chairmanship of Michael K. Powell, killed the study because it conflicted with the FCC's agenda.
The Commission subsequently voted on a party-line split to introduce new media regulations that would have allowed further consolidation and Adam Candeub, now an assistant law professor at Michigan State University, told the Los Angeles Times of the study, "The initial results were very compelling, and it was just stopped in its tracks because it was not the way the agency wanted to go. The order did come down from somewhere in the senior management of the media bureau that this study had to end and they wanted all the copies collected."
Candeub said he did not work on the paper and it is not clear if he was the whistleblower to whom Boxer referred when she raised the issue: She has subsequently called for an investigation by the FCC's inspector general after learning of Candeub's allegation.
The Times reports that W. Kenneth Ferree, who headed the media bureau in 2004 and has since left the FCC - he is partner in the Entertainment and Media Practice Group in the Washington D.C. law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP -, said that he had no recollection of the study "or anything to do with it" whilst Powell did not return a call seeking comment although a spokesman for him has subsequently said he was not aware of the study.
Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein, who voted against the proposed FCC changes ( which were supported by Martin, then a Commissioner, and Powell) told the paper, "It's an outrage that this study was deep-sixed."
The paper itself used a 1998 database of more than 4,000 news stories carried by 60 stations that was originally gathered by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and commented that over the five days studied, "We find that local ownership of stations adds almost five and one-half minutes of local news and over three minutes of local on-location news." [This in a 30-minute bulletin].
The FCC is currently engaged in a further exercise related to changes in its media ownership regulations and this revelation could affect perceptions of its work. Boxer commented of the paper, "Here they are overseeing the media and supposed to be protecting free speech in the media and destroying every piece of a document they didn't like."
Martin, in a letter to her that the FCC has also posted on its web site, says that before she brought the matter to his attention he had "not seen - nor was I aware of - this draft report" and adds that nobody on his staff was either and that he was now aware "of any other commissioners past or present, who knew of the report."
He goes on to say it is unclear why it was "never released to the public" and says he is attempting to find out and than adds that it "appears to cover issues relevant to both our open localism proceeding and our recently commenced media ownership proceeding." Because of this, he says it has now put in the record for these proceedings and made available on the FCC website.
RNW comment: We agree with Boxer that this matter should be investigated as either some officials were seriously derelict in their duty in attempts to protect what they perceived as the Powell agenda but did so without commissioners being aware of the paper or members of the commission were aware and are liars. In the first scenario, the officials concerned are not deserving of employment and if the second were to be true those concerned deserve most serious censure and are obviously unfit for any public duties and indeed were corrupt in their pursuance of past duties and should have to worry about their liberty.
FCC draft paper (24-page 733 KB PDF):
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-09-16: BBC Radio 4 has announced that it is to broadcast what it terms "a major 30-part narrative history series exploring British childhood and the experience of British children over the last thousand years" over the six weeks from Monday September 25.
"The Invention of Childhood", the first ever chronological history of British childhood, will air in daily segments from 15:45 local time (currently 14:45 GMT) with the first week's programmes being on children in the Middle Ages. This will then be followed by weeks dealing with the 16th and 17th centuries; the 18th Century; Victorian Britain; the first half of the 20th century; and then from the 1950s to the present.
The presenter is broadcaster and children's writer Michael Morpurgo and the series has been written by Professor Hugh Cunningham, Emeritus Professor of Social History at the University of Kent. Readings will be by Timothy West, Sara Kestleman, Adam Godley, Anna Maxwell Martin and many children.
Amongst key themes says the BBC are the impact of infant and child mortality on children and their families; children's economic contributions to family life and the persistence of poverty in the lives of some children; the impact of Christianity on the lives of British children; and recent curtailment on their liberty to roam and also attitudes such as "children should be seen not heard."
It also looks at the impact of technology on children from the invention of printing and how it and later inventions such as cinema, radio, the TV and the internet have appealed to them and worried parents and how the education of children progressed with the early growth of boys' education and later in Victorian times the development of Public Schools and the separation of boys and girls.
2006-09-16: Reporting on trends in radio listening the New York Times says that whilst more than nine tenths of Americans still listen to radio each week they are listening less - down 14% over the past decade according to Arbitron ratings, and the resulting impact on what the report terms the industry's the swiftness of "fall from grace on Wall Street."
A possible reason for this surmises the report's writer Richard Siklos is that "radio appears to have come late to the game of focusing on viable online business models."
"Although digital revenues are growing fast," he adds, "they accounted for only USD 87 million of the industry's USD 20 billion in 2005 revenues, according to Veronis Suhler Stevenson Communications."
He quotes Michael Nathanson, media analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, as saying, "It's not a debate any more that radio is a structurally declining sector. What you're starting to see are strategic changes in operating models to address the sluggishness of growth."
Amongst reasons cited for individuals turning away from radio are those of a senior at Boston University who has turned to music downloads from web sites and commented, "I just sort of stopped listening to radio, because I had access to all this music online" and a New York surgeon who now listens to XM radio on his 40-minute drive to work instead of to terrestrial radio and cites advertising and limited playlists on terrestrial stations as reasons for his preference for the satellite service.
Radio advertising revenues notes the report was up only 0.3% last year, lagging behind growth in gross domestic product for the third consecutive year with Veronis Suhler predicting that this pattern will continue for the next five years, ahead only of the newspaper industry's predicted growth.
Part of the reason the report suggests its perception, particularly about satellite radio which has only 11 million subscribers compared to a weekly audience for radio of some 230 million.
Emmis chairman, president and CEO Jeffrey H. Smulyan said of this, "As an industry, we've lost the hipness battle. Like a lot in life, it may be more perception than reality."
As to what radio can do to fight back it cites Clear Channel's less-is-more reduction of advertising clutter and recent deals with BMW earlier this month to provide real-time free traffic updates to navigation systems in the automaker's new models and with Cingular wireless to offer mobile phone users audio streams and on-demand content.
"We're going to go to all sorts of different distribution platforms and have an additional five, six or seven revenue streams that we didn't have even 24 months ago," Mark P. Mays, Clear Channel's chief executive, said in a recent interview and the report notes that in its latest quarter Clear Channel increased its revenues by 6%.
The company says the report already has one of the most visited music sites on the Web, while CBS Radio has aggressively stepped up its Internet presence.
CBS Radio it noted reported operating income down 17% in the first half of this year but it quoted chief executive Joel Hollander as saying that it still generated a lot of cash for CBS Corporation and required relatively little capital investment, terming it "still a fabulous business."
Peter L. Supino, an equity analyst at Wallace R. Weitz in Omaha, said the radio industry had awakened to the need to revamp the way it sold advertising and focus on improving its product, both online and off noting, "It seems like an industry that had a nice run in the 1990's that didn't have to worry - it was just 'step on the gas and take more in sales every year'."
Of HD radio the report says this is still at least three years from becoming a big enough business to have an impact on industry revenues. It quotes John S. Rose, a partner in the media practice at the Boston Consulting Group, says the industry has not yet figured out ways to use the sound quality of HD Radio to offer paid downloads of songs.
"Amid so much uncertainty" concludes the Times report, "it is little wonder that sessions at next week's National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) radio convention in Dallas advertise things like: 'Learn to steal money from your local newspaper' and 'Harnessing the power of blogging.' It is also a sign of the times that the convention's opening reception does not have a broadcaster as a host. Instead, Google will be buying the drinks. "
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
New York Times report:
2006-09-15: Radio One Inc. is to acquire the format of "Jammin' Oldies" WMOJ-FM ("MOJO"), in Cincinnati from Susquehanna Radio Corp. (now owned by Cumulus), for USD 5.0 million in cash and move it to WIFE-FM, which it agreed to acquire in March 2006 for USD 18 million from Whitewater Broadcasting, which had used it to air a country format (See RNW Mar 11),
Radio One says it expects to close the acquisition of WIFE within the next week and then change its call letters to WMOJ-FM.
Radio One President and Chief Executive Officer Alfred C. Liggins, III said of the deal, "This acquisition is a fantastic strategic move for us. First, it enables us to hit the ground running with our new Cincinnati station. Second, it should provide us with a rapid revenue and cash flow ramp for this new station. Finally, this acquisition further solidifies our urban competitive position in the Cincinnati market."
Susquehanna/Cumulus meanwhile will have to find USD 15 million following a decision by the 11th Circuit Appeals Court in Atlanta in favour of a claim by Bridge Capital.
Bridge claimed that in 1996 when Susquehanna acquired WWWQ-FM ("All the Hits Q100") in Atlanta from Bridge the station- licenced to Anniston, Alabama- was part of Alabama-based broadcast assets purchased and Susquehanna said it intended to obtain authorization to move it to the much larger Atlanta market.
The agreement, it said, included payment of a minimum additional USD 10 million when Susquehanna acquired a federal permit to construct the station and broadcast in the Atlanta metro area but the payment had not been made after authorization was approved and the station went to air in Atlanta in 2001.
Bridge retained attorneys Garrard, Blasingame and Wages to represent them and its claim was upheld by Federal Judge Richard W. Story and confirmed by the Appeals Court.
In other US radio business Mapleton Communications has announced the California acquisitions of KWWV-FM, San Luis Obispo, and KXTY-FM, Morro Bay, from Salisbury Broadcasting, Inc. No figure was released for the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
Previous Cumulus (Now owns Susquehanna):
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2006-09-15: Former Clear Channel WWPR-FM (Power FM) DJ Star (Troi Torain) has filed a USD 10 million lawsuit in the US District Court in Manhattan in connection with his firing by the company.
Clear Channel took the action after he threatened in May to sexually abuse and urinate on the 4-year-old daughter of DJ Envy (Raashaun Casey) of Emmis's WQHT-FM (Hot 97), another station from which he has been fired ( See RNW May 12 and RNW May 22, 2003).
According to an Associated Press report Torain's lawyers claim in the lawsuit that the comments about the child "given the entire context, were clearly not serious nor would any reasonable listener of his show deem them so" and also that his words were equivalent to those in some songs Clear Channel directed Torain to play during the syndicated "Star & Buc Wild Morning Show."
The lawsuit cites one song that mentions condoms being left on a baby seat and another that discusses shooting someone's daughter in the leg and says Clear Channel promoted insult games between rival broadcasters in which disk jockeys traded insults and barbs, attracting media coverage and listeners and adds that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has not fined or reprimanded Clear Channel nor any other broadcast company because of statements by Torain.
"The fact that Torain's audience accepted him, his style and the music he played, in spite of Clear Channel's encouraged rotation of songs with sexist, racist and degrading lyrics is evidenced by the relatively few complaints from listeners and program directors," the lawsuit said and noted that Clear Channel did not immediately terminate its agreements with Howard Stern and others when Stern made on-air statements that resulted in FCC action.
Torain said in an interview he was looking for relief from the courts while he plans his next career move and added, "I'm enjoying life, as I've always done. People seem to think I should,"
RNW comment: From our past reports on Torain it will be clear that we have no sympathy whatsoever for him and would be quite happy to see the court not only reject this claim but order him - and his lawyers - to pay the costs of the case.
In our view the claim, apart from success in garnering publicity, is a prime example of chutzpah and amounts in essence to the argument that because no action has been taken against one party in a case where regulations or law may have been broken another party is therefore not to blame.
Clear Channel's lawyers will doubtless have checked through his contract and it would be a strange one were the company not entitled to fire him in such a case. The comments regarding Stern completely misunderstand, probably wilfully, the concept of freedom of speech and Clear Channel's legal duties and rights as opposed to actions it might take that were justified morally or ethically.
In the latter terms it has seemed to us on a number of occasions that that there is a problem with Clear Channel - and much business in general - because of the nature of corporate law and requirements of business in terms of conducting it profitably.
That, of course, is the reason why a society needs laws to regulate business and we would have had nor have any problems with licence revocation for broadcasting companies that operate against the public interest in their use of "leased" airwaves, be it for deliberate misinformation or for actions that may be illegal or support illegal actions as in incitement to violence.
Overall we would hope that Torain and his lawyers not only lose this case but are criticized by the court but at the same time would be happy were a group to successfully lobby for the FCC to hold licence revocation hearings for Clear Channel and WWPR - and Emmis in relation to Hot 97 - if only to get proper public debate on the nature of the stations and their broadcasts. We suspect that in the end freedom of speech arguments would probably rightly outweigh the criticisms but it would do no harm for the stations, their owners, and their audiences be held up to obloquy or ridicule.
Previous Clear Channel:
Houston Chronicle/AP report:
2006-09-15: CanWest, whose Adult Alternative Original 106 bid was the first by a non-UK company to win a British commercial licence when it took the Solent licence last year (See RNW Sep 6, 2005), has now won the bidding for the Bristol FM licence whose award, together with that of an Exeter FM, has been announced by media regulator Ofcom.
The Bristol licence went to Original Bristol FM Ltd., which has a similar adult alternative format to the Solent station (See RNW Jun 13) and was one of six bids: The company is 95% owned by CanWest MediaWorks UK Ltd with the remaining 5% held by Seven Broadcast Ltd.
It is described as "Adult Alternative Radio - an eclectic mix of adult-oriented music with particular appeal to 40-59 year-olds, with 24 hour local news", is targeted at the ABC1 demographic, and will reach a potential adult audience of around half a million. CanWest says it will put an investment of around GBP 1.5 million (USD 2.8 million) behind the business to see it to profitability.
The Exeter licence was awarded to Exeter FM, owned by the London Media Company Limited and Riverside Radio Limited.
It was competing against three other applications (See RNW Licence News May 14) with an offering of "comprehensive news and local information, engaging speech features and conversation and a wide variety of music from the 60s to the present day." Its service will reach a potential adult population of around 140,000.
2006-09-15: Looking ahead to the new morning show to be launched in place of Mancow's Morning Madness on Emmis's WKQX-FM (Q101) in Chicago on Monday, Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder says that the station will be sticking to its word that they would replace him with "something entirely different."
The show to be aired from o5:30 next Monday writes Feder "will be unlike anything that's ever been heard on morning radio in Chicago -- or probably anywhere else for that matter."
Of it he comments, "An ensemble cast of relatively unknown comedy actors and writers -- few with any radio experience whatsoever -- have been hired to present a news and information show heavy on humour and entertainment Or is it a humour and entertainment show heavy on news and information?"
Mike Stern, vice president of programming for Emmis Radio Chicago and the man Feder labels "godfather of the bold new concept" said they didn't have a name for what they planned but that he had borrowed from the "newsradio model with his use of a tightly formatted "clock" to schedule such fixed elements such as news, sports, weather, traffic, interviews, parodies and other bits down to the second" but that everything would be done for laughs.
Stern said of the plan," "We know that more and more young people are getting their news from 'The Daily Show,' 'The Colbert Report,' 'Saturday Night Live' and other sources that combine news with attitude and humour But up to now, radio hasn't provided that. We think there's a place for smart, topical humour that doesn't talk down to people."
"Listeners have been telling us for years that radio sucks, but we keep putting the same thing on the air," he added. "Well, maybe the listeners are right. We believe it's worth the risk to try something new on radio."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2006-09-14: A report on the progressive thinkprogress site saying that Air America Radio is to declare bankruptcy in a major restructuring tomorrow has been denied by the broadcaster, which responded with the comment, "No decision has been taken to make any filing of any kind, we are not sure of the source of these rumours and frankly can not respond to every rumour in the marketplace."
Air America said of the reports, for which thinkprogress had claimed three independent sources, "If Air America had filed for bankruptcy every time someone rumoured it to be doing so, we would have ceased to exist long ago."
The site said five employees were laid off on Tuesday and it was told there would be no severance payments without a capital infusion or bankruptcy.
Earlier this week the New York Daily Post reported that the network was dropping Jerry Springer, although he would remain in syndication elsewhere, and reshuffling other hosts with speculation that the Young Turks (Cenk Uygur, Ben Mankiewicz and Jill Pike) from Sirius Satellite Radio were to take over the morning-drive slot (Air America has posted a start date of Sept 18), that Rachel Maddow would move to nights in the slot formerly held by Janeane Garofalo and Garofalo's former partner Sam Sedar was to move from nights to take the Springer 09:00 to noon slot. Al Franken and Randi Rhodes, said the post, were to remain in their existing times.
Previous Air America/Piquant:
Thinkprogress web site:
2006-09-14: SMG has furthered feelings that it is keen on a merger with UTV by announcing that it has put its cinema and outdoor advertising businesses, Pearl & Dean and Primesight up for sale as it released interim results showing it to have been hit by the slump in UK TV advertising.
The company added to the speculation by saying that the SMG board, which rejected UTV's initial offer of a nil-premium merger and subsequent amendment of the bid to give SMG shareholders 52% of the combined business, was still waiting for a further response from UTV.
It said it had confirmed in writing to UTV that "while it rejects UTV's proposal for a merger of the two businesses under which SMG shareholders would receive only a 52% interest in the merged entity, it would be willing to hold discussions with the Board of UTV on the basis of a proposal which has regard to the relative market values of SMG and UTV, SMG's prospects and the value of SMG's portfolio of assets."
As of lunchtime on Wednesday, SMG, whose shares fell 2.3% on release of the results and the disposal announcement and ended 2.1% down, was capitalized at just under GBP 251 million (USD 471 million) whilst UTV, whose shares dipped 0.5% was valued at just under GBP 214 million (USD 402 million), a difference of GBP 37 million (USD 69 million). This compares with valuations shortly after the initial announcement of an approach- See RNW Aug 19 - of around GBP 226 million (USD 428 million) for SMG and GBP 199 million (USD 377 million), a difference then of GBP 27 million (USD 51 million).
The sale of the advertising assets - Pearl & Dean generates 25% of cinema advertising revenues in the UK and Republic of Ireland through 989 screens at 315 cinemas and Primesight owns 13,500 six sheet outdoor advertising panels across the UK and a further 141 large format
Backlight panels, principally in the London area - has been put in the hands of Hawkpoint Partners Limited.
SMG chairman Chris Masters said of the sale that the company's "future strategy is firmly based on strong television, radio and online brands; exciting content; and close connection with our audiences."
"Having reviewed the Group's businesses," he added, "the Board believes that, while Pearl & Dean and Primesight are excellent advertising businesses, they are no longer core to the Group."
SMG's interim results showed underlying turnover for the six months to the end of June down 2% to GBP 88.6 million (USD 166 million - statutory figures were a fall of 7% to the same amount); underlying operating profit down 4% to GBP 12.3 million (USD 23.1 million - statutory operating profit was down 10%); and underlying profit before tax up 38% to GBP 8 million (USD 15 million - statutory profit before tax was up 19%): The underlying figures exclude the impact of the former UGC Cinemas contract, which generated GBP 4.2 million (USD 7.9 million) in turnover and GBP 900,000 (USD 1.688 million) of operating profit in 2005.
In divisional terms SMG's TV profit was down 4.3% to GBP 9 million (USD 16.9 million) on external sales down 6.9% to GBP 57.9 million (USD 108.6 million); its radio profits were down 20% to GBP 2.0 million (USD 3.75 million) on external sales up 4.7% to GBP 11.1 million (USD 20.8 million); and cinema lost GBP 300,000 (USD 563,000) as last year on external sales up 4.7% to GBP 8.5 million (USD 16 million -both excluding the UGC contract) and outdoor was up 33.3% to GBP 1.6 million (USD 3 million ) on external sales up 13.3% to GBP 11.1 million (USD 20.8 million ).
SMG also noted that it made a net gain of GBP 2.3 million (USD 4.3 million) on the sale of its 19.9% stake in Hearts of Midlothian plc and an agreement for the disposal of its entire holding of convertible loan stock in Hearts.
Masters highlights SMG's online activities saying it continued to "make excellent progress in developing our strategically important on-line presence aimed at creating new revenue streams" whilst Acting Chief Executive Donald Emslie said SMG had made "good progress in the first half of 2006 on many fronts."
"We have grown pre-tax profits, despite unpredictable advertising markets, made headway in lightening the impact of regulatory costs and taken significant steps in creating new businesses and sustainable revenue streams, most notably in the online environment," he added.
2006-09-14: Bell Globemedia Inc. (BGM) and CHUM Limited have announced that at the closing of the former's extended CAD 1.4 billion (USD 1.2 billion) offer for shares in CHUM it has been offered some 6.71 million common shares amounting to more than 99% of the issued and outstanding common shares of CHUM and some 21 million Class B shares, representing more than 98% of the issued and outstanding Class B Shares.
BGM says it is instructing the depositary for the Offer to take up all of the shares offered as soon as possible and adds that it also intends to acquire all remaining shares, which it can do compulsorily, as soon as is practicable.
The price being paid is CAD 52.50 cash per Common Share and CAD 47.25 cash per Class B Share.
The deal has put pressure on other Canadian media companies to look at consolidation and the Canadian Press reports that CanWest Global Communications Corp. CEO Leonard Asper told the BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. media industry investors conference that it was urgently looking for an acquisition to build up its Global television network TV interests but finding potential deals scarce.
Tony Viner, CEO of Rogers Media backed up the comments saying at the same conference, "You get six of the big broadcasters up here and you've got six people who want to buy, and we don't have any sellers yet. The truth is that in Canada all of the big media companies are controlled by families . . . so until somebody like the Waters (The Waters family controlled CHUM) decides to sell, I don't think much is going to happen."
Corus Entertainment CEO John Cassaday told the conference that industry consolidation was inevitable and added that Corus, which is owned by Shaw Communications Inc., has consulted "game theorists" to help the company figure out what might happen in the coming years.
"Everybody's talking to everybody. And it's really no different than any other game," he said. "We've had game theorists in to talk to us about how things might play out."
The acquisition requires regulator approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the federal Competition Bureau.
Previous Leonard Asper:
CBC/Canadian Press report:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2006-09-14: Poet and novelist Dr. Maya Angelou is to join the line-up of hosts on the "Oprah & Friends" channel on XM Satellite radio, hosting a weekly show whose title has yet to be announced.
The channel is produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Radio and is to be launched on September 25th with a line-up of hosts that includes Winfrey herself, Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene; Turkish-American surgeon and author Dr. Mehmet Öz; psychologist Dr. Robin Smith; spiritual activist, author, and founder of The Peace Alliance, Marianne Williamson; Chicago-based interior designer Nate Berkus; financial expert Jean Chatzky; and former TV host and Oprah friend Gayle King.
2006-09-14: BBC World Service has announced the addition of an English-language FM relay in Kuwait, the first such service in the Gulf. The new service complements an existing BBC Arabic service relay on FM in Kuwait.
2006-09-13: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin J. Martin speaking to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation on his re-nomination has said that reconfirmed, he would "continue to make decisions based on a fundamental belief that a robust, competitive marketplace, not regulation, is ultimately the greatest protector of the public interest. Competition is the best method of delivering the benefits of choice, innovation, and affordability to American consumers."
"Competition," said Martin, " drives prices down and spurs providers to improve service and create new products", adding that the "Commission should focus on creating a regulatory environment that promotes investment and competition, setting the rules of the road so that players can compete on a level playing field."
Martin added, however, that government had to "act when necessary to achieve broader social goals" and continued, "Thus, while I support eliminating economic regulations, I recognize that there are issues that the marketplace alone might not fully address. For instance, government should ensure that people with disabilities have access to communications in the same manner as all Americans, that people in rural areas, schools and libraries have access to affordable, current technology, and that the communications needs of the public safety community are met."
In talking of the work of the commission during his period as chairman, Martin concentrated on broadband deployment which he said he had made his "highest priority" as a "key driver of economic growth" and also public safety and emergency preparedness.
Martin, who was re-nominated in spring for a further five-year term, has been backed in a letter sent by National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) President and CEO David K. Rehr in a letter to the committee in which he "strongly recommended" a second term for Martin and also confirmation of John Kneuer as Assistant Secretary of Commerce and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Director.
"Broadcasters," said Rehr in his letter, "applaud the great job and balanced approach that the Chairman has taken on public policy regulatory issues."
2006-09-13: Latest Australian radio ratings again offered cold comfort for DMG's Vega stations, targeted at an older audience, had mixed fortunes with the Melbourne station considerably increasing its share - from 1.0 to 1.8 but only managing to rise one rank to next to bottom just above ABC Newsradio which had an unchanged 1.1 whilst in Sydney Vega dropped a rank as it lost share from 1.9 to 1.7, giving it an equal share with bottom ranked Newsradio that increased its share from 1.5 to 1.7.
Even amongst the 40-54 demographic, where it had its highest ratings, the station only managed a 2.8 share, less than a fifth of the 14.6 share of ABC 702, the leader for the demographic.
Austereo pronounced it pleased with the results as 2-DAY in Sydney and Fox FM in Melbourne topped the FM rankings and chief executive Michael Anderson also noted a strong performance from SAFM in Adelaide this year although in the current rating it fell back behind Mix.
"The performance of both the Today and Triple M networks this year has showed the importance of having a clearly developed and differentiated strategy - focusing on long-term success and sticking to it," he commented, adding, "The strength of both networks has seen us continue to build our market leadership across the nation in the key 25 to 39-year-old demographic."
Austereo chairman Peter Harvie, whose contract has been extended until the end of June 2009, added, "A year ago Austereo led the east coast markets in the core 25 to 39-year-old demographic. Today we continue to retain that leadership - this is an excellent result"
DMG focused on the success of Nova in its comment, noting its increased share, particularly for the Merrick and Rosso breakfast show, which increased its share from 6.8% to 9.0% and also the network's overall strength in the under 40-demographic where it had a 19.7% overall share across the country's five capital cities.
In Sydney 2-Day held the lead in the 10-17 demographic with a 30.0 share to Nova's 21.0 but Nova led amongst those 18-24 with 23.2 to 2-Day's 20.2 before falling back again amongst the25-39 demographic where it had 10.4 compared to 16.3 for Austereo's Triple M and 13.7 for 2-Day.
Overall in Sydney, Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB retained its dominance although share again fell back - from 13.3 to 13.0 with the Alan Jones' breakfast slot again retaining the lead but falling back from 16.1 to 15.6: Commercial talk rival 2UE, owned by Southern Cross Broadcasting, remained fifth but took its share up from 8.0 to 8.5 and in Melbourne Southern Cross's 3AW again held onto the lead although there its share fell from 16.5 to 16.0. 3AW's breakfast show hosted by Ross Stevenson and John Burns was top ranked with 19.5, down from 19.9 in the previous ratings.
John Laws also had a positive rating in the Sydney morning slot where his 2UE show increased share from 8.0 to 8.6 whilst the 2GB share fell back from 14.6 to 14.4.
The ABC did well in Sydney, where ABC 702 retained third rank but took its share up from 8.7 to 9.4, and Melbourne where ABC 774 held on to second prank but increased share from 12.4 to 12.7.
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA 16.6 (17.1) - same rank; Mix 15.2 (15.0) - Up from third; SAFM 15.0 (15.5) - Down from second.
Nova with 11.5 (11.4) remained fourth with ABC 891 in fifth rank pulling back with 10.7 (10.2).
*Brisbane - Nova with 15.0 (15.9) - Same rank; Triple M with 13.7 (13.7) - same rank;
97.3 FM with 10.7 (11.4) - same rank.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 16.0 (16.5) - same rank; ABC 774 with 12.7 (12.4) - same rank; Fox FM with 11.9 (11.7) - same rank.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 18.2 (17.7) - same rank; 96FM with 14.3 (13.1) - same rank; Nova with 11.8 (11.2) -. Same rank.
*Sydney: 2GB 13.0 (13.3) - same rank; 2-DAY with 9.7 (8.4) - up from fourth; ABC 702 with 9.4 (8.7) - same rank.
* Triple-M with 8.6 (9.2) swapped places with Austereo stable mate 2_Day and fell to fourth; 2UE with 8.5 (8.0) remained fifth and Nova with 7.5 (6.4) was up from eighth to sixth, overtaking Mix.
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-09-13: Veteran British character actor Frank Middlemass, best known for playing Dan Archer in the BBC Radio 4 farming soap" "The Archers" has died aged 87.
Born in Eaglescliffe, on the Yorkshire-County Durham border, Middlemass went into the army when he was 19 and was wounded in the retreat from Dunkirk. He had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel when he left the Army aged 30.
He began his acting career in rep in Penzance, Cornwall and later joined the Old Vic Company with whom he toured widely before joining the Shakespeare Memorial Company.
As well as his stage career Middlemass appeared in a few film roles and various TV ones. He took on the role of Dan Archer in 1982, the fourth and last actor to play the role. He was still touring at the age of 84 when he played Canon Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest.
The Stage obituary:
2006-09-13: US lobby group Common Cause has started a campaign to oppose the nomination of Warren Bell to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the non-partisan body that distributes federal funds to public broadcasters.
Common Cause notes that Bell was one of three people "quietly nominated" by the White House in the summer to serve on the CPB board and says the other two are well qualified - they are Democrat David Pryor ,former Arkansas governor and the U.S. Senator from Arkansas from 1979 to 1996, and publishing executive Ms Chris Boskin, who is on the board of KQED-FM/TV in San Francisco and is active in various causes including the Laura Bush Foundation for American Libraries: She is the wife of Michael Boskin, who served as head of the Council of Economic Advisors under former President George H.W. Bush.
Bell, who is a writer and producer of situation comedies and a columnist for National Review Online, has, says Common Cause "no discernable background in public broadcasting, education, or public service. But he has left a trail of inflammatory comments in his wake. "
It cites various remarks he has made and adds, "His extreme partisanship makes him an inappropriate candidate for the board of the CPB, an institution charged with insulating public broadcasting from partisanship and political pressures."
2006-09-13: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 20,000 penalty on a Mississippi IS for various breaches of regulations and a USD 10,000 penalty on a San Diego company for unauthorized use of a microwave link.
Jason Konarz, licensee of WQMA-AM, Marks, Mississippi, was issued with a Notice of Apparent Liability for UD 20,000 in July 2004 for failing to maintain operational Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment, operating his station with excessive power and failing to discontinue operation at night, and failing to make available for inspection all of the required materials in the station's public inspection file.
He did not respond to the notice and a forfeiture order was made in October that year to which he had responded by requesting reduction or cancellation based on inability to pay and also admitting the violations but saying corrective measures had been implemented.
Konarz has provided copies of bank account statements, Internal Revenue Service Forms 1099-MISC, and documents entitled "Cash Flow Reports" covering years 2003, 2004, and 2005, to substantiate his claims but the Commission found these4 insufficient, saying none of them "provides us with reliable, objective information reflecting his financial status." It confirmed the full penalty.
In the other case Uniradio Corporation of San Diego, California, had been found to be using an unlicensed microwave radio station in January 2005 and Uniradio had admitted using equipment on 21225 MHz, saying it had a pending application to use frequency 22464.75 MHz but the equipment company that installed the radio transmitter had inadvertently switched the receiver and transmitter frequencies. It argued that other potential cross border microwave operators had been assured by staff from the Commission's International Bureau, in 2001, that the International Bureau would no longer grant special temporary authority ("STA") to cross-border microwave operators, such as Uniradio, but that no enforcement action would be taken against these operators either.
The commission noted that it has held that applicants should comply with its rules and should not rely on informal oral opinions from Commission staff. Again it confirmed the full penalty.
2006-09-12: Arbitron, whose Portable People Meter (PPM) system currently relies on broadcasters encoding tracking information in their broadcasts, has announced that it is now field testing audio matching software, a technique of matching audio to the audio from a broadcast system that some of its competitors already offer.
It says its current test, using a dual-function PPM device that can identify signals using the encoded PPM system or through matching audio to that broadcast, is designed to calibrate radio listening estimates produced by audio matching to the estimates produced by the PPM encoding system for the same set of stations.
It says it has also successfully downloaded updated versions of audio-matching software into the current generation PPMs that are in the hands of the 50 former PPM panellists who are participating in the dual-function field test, thus converting the equipment into dual-function. Delivered through household phone lines, the software upgrade demonstrated that Arbitron could remotely convert "encoding-only" portable meters to a "dual-function" metering device.
Arbitron's president Sales and Marketing Pierre Bouvard said the goal was "to ensure that our audio matching results are consistent with those we have achieved and validated using the encoding/decoding technology."
The company's president, Operations and Research Owen Charlebois said they hoped the new capability would "help the industry better appreciate how flexible and adaptable the PPM system is."
"Over the past ten years, we've kept the PPM system ahead of the curve in terms how it can handle any number of compression schemes, distribution platforms and location tracking technologies," he added. "At the same time we have been expanding the technical capabilities of the PPM system, we've also been improving the methodological foundation that is essential to the reliability of an electronic audience measurement service. This can only be accomplished through years of experience in the field working with a large number of real respondents."
Arbitron is also facing a potential new competitor for radio ratings following the revelation that Nielsen Media Research, which in March this year opted not to take up an option to form a joint venture to develop the PPM for TV and radio measurement (See RNW Mar 2), is holding talks with Clear Channel's electronic ratings committee about measuring radio listening.
Adweek, which like Nielsen is owned by Dutch company VNU, said that Nielsen could use its cell-phone-based "go meter" that uses audio matching to identify signals to measure radio. The device has been earmarked by Nielsen to measure out-of-home TV viewing and Adweek says Nielsen is preparing a test of the device by around 30 Nielsen employees.
It also notes that Nielsen and Arbitron are partners in Project Apollo, a national marketing service that combines Arbitron's PPM with ACNielsen's consumer scanner panels to provide advertisers with multimedia and product purchase data from a common sample of consumers, a partnership that could be in jeopardy should Nielsen compete with Arbitron for the latter's core radio-ratings business.
RNW comment: Forgetting the marketing elements of Arbitron's announcement this is a significant change, especially since, much to our surprise, some of the UK tests showed audio matching software then on offer to be more accurate at identifying signals than the PPM.
At the same time, we wonder whether the development could turn out to Arbitron's disadvantage since it may well be behind competitors in audio matching development and obviously from a broadcaster's point of view a technology that could identify signals as accurately as the PPM without needing anything to be encoded would be preferable.
If this proves to be the case and other companies are ahead of Arbitron in audio matching development then the whole of Arbitron's investment in PPM encoding technology could be rendered worthless although we did note that on Monday the company's shares ended up 0.1% albeit this could be because the Nielsen news came too late for investors to judge its possible impact.
2006-09-12: Radio has boosted UTV whose interim results showed profits for the six months to the end of June up 30% before exceptional items to GBP 12.4 million (USD 23.1 million) on turnover up 60% to GBP 57.1 million (USD 106.5 million). Overall pre-tax profits rose by 5% to GBP 8.5 million with diluted earnings per share up 4%.
UTV noted that whilst its TV operating profit was down 23.3% on a year earlier to GBP 5.6 million (USD 10.4 million) that for radio before exceptional items more than tripled - up from GBP 1.9 million (USD 3.5 million) to GBP 6.3 million (USD 11.8 million) - after deducting start-up losses of GBP 1.4 million (USD 2.6 million) for Talk 107 in Edinburgh and U105 in Belfast. Its New Media operating profit was up 25% to GBP 500,000 on revenues up 16%.
UTV noted that although its TV revenues fell 6% it had outperformed the ITV network, which was down 8%: Radio advertising revenues in comparison were up 16% on a like-for-like basis in both Great Britain and Ireland.
Group chief executive John McCann said in a statement, "We have once again outperformed our peer groups in delivering improved operating and pre-tax profits in an advertising market which has been challenging for the industry as a whole. I am particularly pleased with the successful integration of the former Wireless Group where a 16% improvement in like-for-like revenue was recorded against a 3% decline in the market. A similar 16% increase in our Irish radio advertising helped lift radio's total share of group turnover to 56% and share of operating profit to 51%... Our outperformance has continued into the second half and, although the advertising environment remains difficult, I am confident that the group will maintain its leading position throughout the rest of the year."
Of its UK national radio station talkSPORT, UTV noted that it had "invested heavily in the production of talkSPORT around the football World Cup and also in promoting the brand to listeners and advertisers and this helped to drive a 38% increase in revenue at the station over the first half."
It also noted that under the new terms for the extension of talkSPORT's licence (See RNW Jul 5) it had gained considerably with payments under the current licence - running to the end of 2008 - of GBP 560,000 (USD 1.04 million) plus 6% of qualifying revenue being reduced to GBP 100,000 (USD 186,500) and no payment relating to qualifying revenue.
Looking ahead UTV said it expected a "solid" revenue increase in the third quarter with overall figures up 2% on a year ago within which TV advertising revenues are expected to fall by 9% - half as much as the anticipated fall for the ITV network - whilst talkSPORT is expected to be up 7% and advertising revenues for its local stations expected to be "in line with last year" compared to an industry total expected to fall 6%.
Chairman John B McGuckian commented, "Overall, strong performances from our radio divisions in both the U.K. and Ireland should help to mitigate weakness in the television marketplace and enable your company to outperform its peer groups."
Nothing was said about continuing discussions with SMG about a merger, initially proposed by UTV on a nil-premium basis despite it being valued significantly less than SMG. UTV later proposed a merger that would give SMG shareholders 52% of the combined company but this was also rejected and there is speculation that SMG wants around a 55% share.
McCann said of the current situation," "Obviously it makes sense to put the two organizations together. There are significant synergies on the TV and radio side. Beyond that I can't add anything."
2006-09-12: Jones Media Group (JMG) has announced agreement on a USD 13 million purchase of Dallas-based TM Century Inc., which provides music based products including jingles for all media and comedy & prep material for radio stations
Under the deal, ,expected to close on September 29, Jones Media Group and a wholly-owned subsidiary will merge with TM Century and the latter will then become a wholly-owned subsidiary of JMG: Jones says it expects to pay TM Century shareholders approximately USD 4.8 per share, of which some 34 cents would be held in escrow under the Merger Agreement.
JMG President Robert W. Hampton said they were "pleased to be able to acquire such a quality company with experienced, strong and talented management," adding that the "combination of Jones and TM Century will spawn new, exciting products and services and provide additional opportunities for the associates of each company."
For TM Century its President and CEO David Graupner said, "We were looking for a partner to take TM Century to the next level and a partnership that would be a win-win-win, for our shareholders, our employees and our clients. With Jones, we got it all and then some. The Jones team gets it. They see the future of media more clearly, and more dynamically, than anyone else in the business. I haven't been this excited about going to work in a long time."
Previous Jones Media:
2006-09-12: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set October 3 for its first public hearing, to be held in Los Angeles, on media ownership issues.
FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin said of the meeting, "Public input is integral to this process" and added, "The Commission will hold public hearings in diverse locations around the country to fully involve the American people in its review of our media ownership rules."
"I look forward to hearing," he said, "from the American people on a variety of subjects at these hearings such as the impact of the Commission's rules on localism, minority ownership, and various types of programming like independent and religious programming and children's and family-friendly programming."
The meeting will follow meetings on the issue already held in Los Angeles earlier this month (See RNW Sep 5) and Milwaukee last week that were attended by Democrat Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps but by none of the Republican Commissioners: Each meeting heard speakers oppose greater media consolidation.
2006-09-12: Somali radio station Radio Jowhar, which was closed down by local Islamic courts in the Middle Shabelle region township of Jowhar because it was playing local love songs are reported to be back on air but no longer playing any music.
The BBC reported that according to its correspondent the station, formerly controlled by a local warlord before the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) took control in June, was dependant on the local administration because it had little advertising revenue.
The Shabelle Media Network said the Islamic Courts acting chairperson in Jowhar Sheik Mohamed Mohamoud Abdirahman had said that because Islam does not allow whatever can mislead Moslems it was their obligation and responsibility to act and thwart the devil-driven actions broadcast by the FM stations.
It said that in an announcement last Saturday he officially announced that "no secular music or programs can be broadcast through Jowhar FM. Violating this will result an incarceration, a fine and flogging."
Shabelle Media Network report:
Jowhar.com web site:
2006-09-11: Last week's print comment on radio in the US was more about politics -those of leading talk host Rush Limbaugh and his audience - than technique or the medium itself and exposed a strain of narrow-minded bigotry amongst some of them that was startling in some ways for its stupidity.
The issue was Limbaugh agreeing to deliver a commentary in the "Free Speech" slot on the CBS Evening News, now hosted by Katie Couric, and we found ourselves in agreement with the host in his reaction to the critics, although even then he was true to form in terms of an inflated ego and misrepresentation of facts.
To quote him from his website (the italicized segments are our italics):
"Many of you accusing me of being a sell-out, a phoney, going over to the dark side, what have you, and I sat there and I smiled in stunned amazement at this One friend sent me a note with nothing but question marks in the subject line, and I just wrote back, "Do you think I'm an idiot? Do you think I'm a fool?" Eighteen years I have been sitting here in the prestigious and distinguished Attila the Hun Chair and yet there are those isolated moments in time where all of you or some of you think I'm going to be the biggest blithering idiot that you've ever encountered."
"I understand why this is, ladies and gentlemen. As conservatives, for being downtrodden for so long, being in the minority for so long, you have become conditioned to the left outsmarting even the best and brightest of our movement "
"This is, I think, an opportunity. If I might say this -- I probably shouldn't say this because I don't talk about myself much, and I certainly don't brag. Let me just ask you this. They wanted to get some conservative. They wanted to get "a leading conservative" to appear, who did they call? Me. And so, there it is. It's probably going to be a win-win, ladies and gentlemen. I understand some of you are upset. "All you're going to do is increase viewership for Katie!" Yeah, but at the same time, viewers of the CBS Evening News will hear things that they probably haven't heard and don't expect to hear on the network. I don't want to build it up. It's just 90 seconds. I don't want to build up expectations that can't be met, but it is what it is.
As for his arguments being able to stand scrutiny, Limbaugh felt the need to explain that it was "an opportunity for me to express our views, my views, without debate, without somebody coming on afterwards to refute it -- and that's part of the feature, by the way."
RNW comment: So for dittoheads the position is they're downtrodden by the left - obviously because the Democrats have the Presidency, and control both Houses of Congress; the mainstream media are leftist conspiracies to slant the news and their owners -frequently rich conservatives - are happy to allow this to continue; and as for giving an opportunity for refutation of a faulty argument - well forget it.
And as for the commentary, a transcript is easy to find on the web -it was posted by CBS and Limbaugh on their websites: We'd suggest that a thoughtful reading in the context of the most effectual way to deal with those termed "Islamo-fascists" by the Bush administration (albeit Limbaugh uses the terms "Militant Islam" and "islamofascism") allied with Limbaugh's well publicized views on Abu Ghraib and the effect those views are likely to have had amongst non-militant Moslems could well lead one to conclude that Limbaugh and his ilk are more part of the problem than of the solution.
Enough, however, of the politics of one of America's most successful hosts and on to a duo from the past who got a plug from Ben Fong-Torres in his "Radio Waves" column in the San Francisco Chronicle. They are the late Jim Coyle and Mal Sharpe - "Coyle and Sharpe" on KGO-AM in the early 60s.
Fong-Torres notes that the two found they shared "what Sharpe calls a 'sick' sense of humour" after meeting in 1959 and compiled a comedy album "The Absurd Impostors" in 1963 that, although it didn't sell particularly well, attracted attention including that of Jim Dunbar who'd been hired to revamp KGO and who hired them to fill three hours a night.
Their method of operation was to ask people about absurd things and Fong-Torres comments that "while some of today's jokers on radio and TV can be mean-spirited, even vicious, Coyle and Sharpe were as cerebral as they were audacious and outrageous."
He cites Sharpe as naming one track - the "Druggist" -on a new compilation just released as a classic. It involved the two going into a drugstore and Coyle asking the pharmacists for something to sterilize surgical instruments because his buddy had chest pains and couldn't afford a hospital visit, so he planned to operate on him in a station wagon parked across the street. (For most the rest the column gives more details plus details of some other stunts and the recording is available via the Coyle and Sharpe website amongst other places). The punch line was that when the pharmacist asked how they knew surgery was required, Sharpe replied, "It's a stab in the dark, but I'm willing to take it."
Sharpe is still on radio with "Back on Basin Street," on jazz station KCSM-FM from 9 to 11 p.m. PST Sundays (07:00 to 09:00 GMT Mondays -it is streamed) and as for Coyle, who died of diabetes in 1993, when the Chronicle called Sharpe for information on his obituary, he said he couldn't give it straight, commenting, "Jim would've killed me if I did, so I said that he died in a parachuting accident."
The paper's obituary said, "Coyle moved to Europe in the 1970s and, according to Sharpe, opened a skydiving school in Cambridge" and Sharpe commented, "The reporter knew me. That's why he put 'according to Sharpe.' "
So after radio for the prejudiced and those with a sick sense of humour, on to something completely different from another Radio Waves column, that of Paul Donovan in the UK Sunday Times.
"Most radio," starts his most recent column, "is for humans, but one show today is aimed at a four-legged audience. Prick up your ears, canines, at 3pm. That is when "high frequencies audible only to dogs and certain other animals" will be relayed from St James's Park, in London, by Britain's most unusual radio station, Resonance 104.4FM."
He continued, "If you or your poodle live outside the area to which the station broadcasts, which is within a three-mile radius of its transmitter on the roof of Guy's Hospital, fear not. Most people, in Britain and abroad, listen to it on the internet - which soon will be the most important platform for many other radio stations."
Donovan goes on to give details of some other Resonance programming - today, it is to broadcast a talk that is being given today at the Roundhouse, the performing-arts venue in Chalk Farm, by the former astronaut Alan Bean - and says of the station, "Resonance is doing it proud, with cosmic weather reports, readings of Victorian sci-fi, planetary music - from Holst to DJ Rocket 88 - recordings of the first satellite, Sputnik, in 1957, and a feature on the animals that have gone into space. All this is at the more coherent end of Resonance's output, and some of it would fit perfectly well into the BBC's schedules. At the other end, though, are speech deliberately run backwards, incoherent noise and radical artists such as Xentos "Fray" Bentos and Fluxus. It comes as no surprise that the dog show (which may be audible to children, who often have better hearing than adults) is part of an ICA-based radiophonic commission by the French conceptual artist Loris Gréaud, called Illusion Is a Revolutionary Weapon. And what does that mean? Search me."
As we write we're listening to it and rather than going on for more comment think this is an appropriate spot to start the listening suggestions by suggesting a dip into Resonance - its site offers streams in OGG, Real Audio and MP3 (including a 128MBPS stream). It also offers podcasts of various material - with MP3 downloads also on offer.
If you don't have an offbeat sense of humour most of it won't be for you- if you find it is then note that, although most of its funding comes from the Arts Council and a mix of trusts and foundations and most of its programming comes from volunteers (four full time staff and several hundred volunteers), it could always do with more and for the originality of its output deserves more.
After the plug for Resonance we rather think that, if this appeals, the Coyle and Sharpe compilation could be worth a purchase and for Sharpe without Coyle then the KCSM stream is online on Sundays
And from more mainstream stations, we begin with the interface of comedy and tragedy and the first selection that related to 9/11: This is last Friday's "Vox Humana" from Radio Netherlands that looked through the eyes of three American and two British comedians on how the events affected their comedy material.
For programming on the events as such, we first suggest the latest "Archive Hour" on BBC Radio 4 - "New York Reflections Five Years On" in which BBC reporter Stephen Evans, who was in one of the Twin Towers on September 11, returns to New York to find out how the city and its people have changed.
Then there's the longer term context for which we'd suggest another Radio Netherlands programme, the latest "Amsterdam Forum" that on Sunday considered how far security and surveillance measures introduced following the attacks are actually helping the so-called "War on terror" and whether there is adequate return for the civil liberties lost.
For a US perspective on the events and subsequent reactions we suggest a dip into the US National Public Radio web site and also the latest "On the Media" from WNYC.
That last included discussion on the now-controversial ABC drama documentary "The Path to 9/11" that has come under criticism for inaccuracies - mainly from Democrats -
Which is as good a cue as any for another drama - no misleading documentary tag added - this time from BBC Radio 4 whose latest Classic Serial is a dramatization of Graham Greene's 1943 novel "The Ministry of Fear". Unfortunately only the second part is on the website (until next Saturday).
And finally in regard to 9/11 we suggest two "Late Night Live" programmes from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last week. On Thursday the programme looked at the increasing number of groups labelled as "terrorist" to whom governments refuse to talk (until, that is, the strength of the group and its persistence sometimes compels a change in policy) and on Friday, albeit not directly linked, the slot aired a "Classic LNL" from 1995 about "Apocalyptic Fears and Fantasies."
Then music-documentary and a suggestion from BBC 1Xtra and Wednesday when at 13:30 GMT the digital and online station airs Jacqueline Springer's "Tupac - the First Martyr of Hip-Hop" - timed to mark the death on September 13, 1996, of Tupac Amaru Shakur.
From BBC Radio 2, very different music with last Saturday's "Prom in the Park" as the 2006 Proms came to an end whilst next Saturday the station airs (at 20:00 GMT) "40 years of Monkee Business", a group that may have been created for an ABC TV Series but who are also responsible for a number of recordings that have become classics.
And finally BBC Radio 3 and from last week the "Last night of the Proms" - on the site until next Saturday, whilst this week sees it airing material from the 2006 Edinburgh Festival: Performances will include Sir Charles Mackerras' Beethoven cycle starting from tonight when "Performance on 3" at 18:30 GMT includes him conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with the first symphony: The Beethoven is being aired in tandem with performances of all of Bruckner's symphonies with tonight's performance of Bruckner's first coming from the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo.
Wednesday sees the second symphonies of both composers (Again 18:30 GMT) and Friday starting at the same time the third symphonies.
Coyleandsharpe web site:
KCSM web site:
Resonance FM audio page (carries links to various streams):
Resonance FM podcasts page (Links to various podcasts with MP3 download options):
Rush Limbaugh web site:
San Francisco Chronicle- Fong-Torres:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2006-09-11: UTV, which publishes its interim results today, gets the thumbs-up from brokers quoted in a UK Sunday Times look at the company that notes its expansion from its TV roots - it was the first commercial TV company in Ireland when it went on air in 1959 - into radio plus phone and Internet services.
TV still accounted for more than 70% of its revenues and operating profit last year and recently it proposed a merger with the larger SMG, so far rebuffed by the latter although the paper says "the smart money is on a deal eventually being completed."
Of the brokers quoted, Kevin McConnell, head of research, Bloxham Stockbrokers, noted that UTV reported a 14% increase in full year profits -"led by an outperformance in its radio operations" - although it warned about TV advertising difficulties and says it expects "the recent trend of radio outperformance will again be evident when the group reports interim results tomorrow. Like-for-like advertising revenue growth in UK radio stations is expected to rise 15% during the first half, as national radio station talkSPORT profits from additional revenue associated with the World Cup."
TV revenues, now about 40% of sales, he says, is set to fall by 6% but overall he ends with a "buy" recommendation based on unfair rating based on a deteriorating British TV advertising market, saying that he expects the group to benefit from double-digit radio advertising revenues and exposure to a booming Irish economy.
Philip Kearney, senior fund manager, Hibernian Investment Managers, also recommends "Buy" based on its radio assets, noting that "UTV's stable of Irish radio stations enables it to provide a pseudo-national offering to advertisers. Q102 has trebled its market share and the firm's stations in Cork, Limerick and Drogheda have dominant local positions."
UK Sunday Times report:
2006-09-11: Beijing Radio has launched a Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) service that broadcasts digital audio and video to mobile devices and is intended to provide cover of the 2008 Olympic Games free of charge on devices that Games' visitors will be able to rent.
The current service is only available in the area inside Beijing's Sixth Ring Road and is carrying twelve Beijing Radio channels, as well as TV programmes from CCTV-News and BTV 1 according to Wang Liang, head of Beijing Radio who said at the launch ceremony that services are to be added from China National Radio and China International Radio.
He added that TV programmes designed especially for mobile terminals with small screens are also under development and said that from the beginning of next year DAB services will begin to transmit information about government affairs, daily life, the city and real-time traffic and weather conditions.
The Chinese government estimates that there will be over 1 million DAB system terminals in the city by the opening ceremony of the 2008 Games and cellular phones that can handle the service will be available from the end of the year at a cost of around 5,000 yuan (US 625) according to sources from Lenovo, the first designated manufacturer of DAB cellular phones in Beijing.
In a similar development in the UK, BT has announced the launch of its new wholesale mobile broadcast entertainment service, BT Movio, with BBC One, ITV1, Channel 4 and E4 confirmed as the initial TV channel line-up on top of which it will offer DAB digital radio channels, a seven-day programme guide and 'red button' interactivity for mobile phones.
The service is broadcast via the existing national commercial DAB digital radio network that covers more than 85 per cent of the UK population and information in the seven-day electronic programme will include programme guide data for the UK's national commercial radio stations.
So far the service has been launched using the Virgin Mobile Lobster 700TV phone, the first in a series of mobile phones being developed to support the BT Movio service.
China Daily report:
2006-09-11: Former Detroit WDMK-FM morning host John Mason is being sued by station owner's Radio One Inc. over his plans for a syndicated morning show to be broadcast in Detroit and Flint amongst other affiliates according to the Detroit News.
Radio One in the suit says that Mason, who left the company on July 29, had agreed in his contract with them not to appear on any competing stations or solicit business from any Radio One advertisers until Jan. 29, 2007.
It is asking the U.S. District Court to award damages for action already taken by Mason and his company, Drum Major Consulting Inc., to bar him from breaching the agreement and to extend the non-compete agreement by whatever length of time the court says he has been in violation of it.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
Detroit News report:
2006-09-10: Last week was mainly one of routines for the regulators although in the US the issue of broadcast indecency regulation again came to the fore when the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has put on hold a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling that four TV broadcasts - on ABC's "NYPD Blue," CBS's "The Early Show" and the 2002 and 2003 Billboard music awards shows on Fox - violated its indecency regulations (See RNW Sep 8).
There was nothing relating to radio from Australia but in Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of routine radio-related decisions including (in order of province):
*Approval of use of frequency 88.5 MHz by92 watts new community-based campus FM radio station in Abbotsford approved in March subject to the applicant finding a suitable alternative frequency to that originally proposed.
*Approval of 3.6 watts English-language, low-power Type B community FM radio programming undertaking in Powell River.
*Approval of licence for radiocommunication distribution undertaking in Kitimat that will distribute, in non-encrypted mode, the programming service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio Two service originating from CBU-FM, Vancouver, British Columbia, using a 150 watts FM transmitter.
*Approval of application from Radio Miracadie inc. for an 11,000 watts French-language Type A community FM in Miramichi. Music programming would largely be composed of a mix of several styles, such as folk, country, blues, jazz, popular and classical music.
**Approval of use of frequency 98.5 MHz for Coopérative Radio-Halifax-Métro limitée 's 2,350 watts French-language Type A community FM in Halifax approved in April subject to the applicant finding a suitable alternative frequency to that originally proposed.
*Approval of 50 watts English-language, low-power community-based campus FM in Antigonish.
*Approval of 47 watts FM transmitter in Candiac for French-language Type B community radio station CHAI-FM, Châteauguay.
The CRTC also issued a public notice, with a deadline for comments or interventions of October 10, concerning an application to add a 1,260 watts at Yorkton to broadcast the programming of CJLR-FM, La Ronge to the area.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has awarded the new youth-based licence for the south west of Ireland in principle to Spin South-West Limited (trading as SPIN). The service will cover the Counties of Kerry, Limerick, Clare, North Tipperary and South-West Laois and the licence will run for ten years.
The Commission had received three applications for the service and invited two - SPIN and Red FM South-West - to an oral hearing in Limerick (See RNW Licence News Jul 16).
In addition the Commission announced that all the five applications for a youth service in the North West Region (Also Licence News Jul 16) all qualified for a second phase in the process and are to make presentations at a public oral hearing in Galway on October 9: A decision on the award of the licence is expected to be made by the BCI Board at its November meeting.
The BCI has also launched the draft of its Code of Programme Standards that will apply to Irish radio and TV broadcasts concerning such matters as the standards the audience can expect from broadcasting services and providing guidance to broadcasters on what is required (See RNW Sep 6) and welcomed the publication of the General Scheme for Ireland's Broadcasting Bill, 2006.
This, amongst other things would create a single content regulator - the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland - with a remit covering all commercial, community and public service broadcasters in Ireland and may also extend the definition of a TV, which requires a licence, to cover laptops, PCs and possibly mobile phones
In the UK, Ofcom has received four applications for a new Preston commercial FM licence (See RNW Sep 9) and also published its latest Broadcast Bulletin, upholding no radio complaints (See RNW Sep 5).
It also updated its information relating to Band III Business Radio: Band III was used in the UK up to 1985 primarily for the 405-line black and white TV service and part of it was made available for mobile business radio when the TV transmissions were ended although other European countries continued to use the frequency for broadcasts.
Changes to the UK use of spectrum in this band are required following a meeting of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to produce a legally binding International treaty covering Bands III and Bands IV/V, in Europe, Africa and the Middle East
In the US, as well as the issue of broadcast indecency already noted in relation to the courts, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued its quarterly report for the second half of this year, showing a large drop on the number of broadcasting complaints (See RNW Sep 9).
In addition the FCC reduced the penalty on a Missouri AM for failure to maintain a main studio, operating overpower during night-time hours and failure to make available for inspection the station's public inspection file and also extended waivers relating to Joint Sales Agreements in two cases (All RNW Sep 7).
The FCC is also involved in the auction of spectrum for mobile communications use in its Auction 66: The net total bid has only crept up slightly during the past week - from USD 13.574 billion at the end of Round 73 a week before to USD 13.681 billion at the end of the most recent round (105).
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-09-10: US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO David K. Rehr has written to the US Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to, as NAB puts it, "set the record straight" over a proposed treaty concerning copyright of broadcast signals.
NAB says Rehr sent the letter in response to what the NAB calls "highly inaccurate statements" issued by "representatives of a number of organizations" in opposition to the proposals: It does not say who they are or what they have said but does attach "answers to 25 commonly asked questions" regarding the treaty.
At issue is a proposed World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaty, the " Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasts and Broadcasting Organisations ", which opponents say goes far beyond NAB's claimed aim to "to combat international piracy of broadcast signals and update the rights of broadcasters in their signal. "
The latest draft of the treaty is to be considered at a WIPO meeting in Geneva this week and the opponents, who include communications companies such as Verizon and computer and electronic equipment manufacturers as well as the American Library Association, the Broadband Service Providers Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Home Recording Rights Coalition, argue that "Creating broad new intellectual property rights in order to protect broadcast signals is misguided and unnecessary and risks serious unintended negative consequences."
They say the proposals would give broadcasters and webcasters exclusive, 50-year rights to authorise re-broadcasting of their signals (as opposed to content copyright); create additional legal hoops for the average internet user to jump through to use material and could reduce existing protections in US law for public domain works and "fair use" of material. This they say could imperil websites such as MySpace and YouTube and in a statement they
These groups say existing US laws need only be supplemented by a much narrower proposal if the aim is simply to prevent piracy of signals but the Digital Media Association, one of the backers of the plans, says their proposals are intended to cover webcasting of signals similar to broadcasts not of individual audio and video files.
The NAB question and answer document (a 14 page 68 KB PDF) is heavy on background, the "losses incurred by broadcasters because of inadequate protection" and inadequate - as seen by NAB - current regulation. It also argues that the extension of signal protection would not affect consumers as this concerns only protection of a broadcaster's signal not the content; that it would not affect material in the public domain (the argument here is that the public can go to the same source as the broadcaster but should not get a free ride when a broadcaster then makes such material available); and that it would not affect the use of archives.
RNW comment: The essence of the arguments in this case it seems to us come down to issues of trust and fair play. NAB and other representatives of content producers and creators make many valid points in a world where technology has made it much easier to copy and redistribute material and, had they a reputation for fairness in their approach and imaginative understanding of technology their arguments would be much strengthened.
In fact however many of them have a history of narrow-minded opposition to technological innovation that in the event in many cases has turned out to benefit them. Adam Smith, we suggest, was on the nail when he wrote, "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."
NAB Questions and Answers PDF:
2006-09-10: GCap Media, whose shares dropped 4.1% on Friday to 200.75 pence, valuing the company at just under GBP 330 million (USD 615 million) following a bearish report from US investment bank Merrill Lynch, may be forced to cut its dividend because it is at risk of breaching its banking covenants according to the report.
The warning came as the UK advertising market, already weak, slipped further and the bank estimates that GCap advertising revenues will fall by 9.5% this year to produce underlying earnings of GBP 25 million (USD ) compared to the previously expected GBP 32 million (USD ).
Analyst Wilton Fry put a sell recommendation on GCap shares in a circular, warning that the company was "now likely" to breach its banking covenants and adding "this may trigger a refinancing, in turn causing the dividend to be cut." The bank also says that it does not expect a bid for the group because no other media group is interested and the current market makes a debt-backed private equity bid too risky.
GCap's bankers TSB, Barclays and HSBC have been promised by the company that its debt will not be allowed to rise to more than thrice its underlying earnings and should it fail to meet the condition they may increase the interest charged to GCap, putting more pressure on the stock price.
2006-09-10: Southern Cross Broadcasting has reported net profit for the year to the end of June down 22.3% on a year earlier at AUD 50.2 million (USD ) after taking into effect one-off items including costs of AUD 2.6 million that related to 60 redundancies, the costs associated with its frequency swap for 3AW in Melbourne and the closure of a TV joint production venture in Singapore, and also interest of AUD 4.6 million on Convertible Preference Shares.
Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) went down 1.9% and EBITDA was down 0.6% whilst revenues rose 1.7% to AUD 543.9 million (USD ).
Within the figures, other revenues more than tripled from USD 2.2 million to USD 7.2 million but radio was the strongest performer with revenues up 6.6% to AUS 103.9 million ( USD ) whilst Southern Star TV production revenues were up 2.6% to AUS 121.4 million (USD ) and TV revenues were down 1.7% to AUS 311.4 million, a decline the company put down to soft advertising conditions, national ratings and the performance of both the Ten and Nine networks.
SCB said its radio division "performed well" with its growth of 6.6% well above the market growth of 2.9% and it noted that radio earnings were up by 19.6% with special mention of strong performances in Perth 86FM and 6PR) and Brisbane (4BC and 4 BH).
In Melbourne, 3AW has been the top rated station for more than a decade and during the year the company successfully swapped it from its former 1278 AM frequency to the 693 AM frequency that had been airing its Magic service, thus increasing its potential audience whilst in Sydney it says it "invigorated the critical breakfast shift" on 2UE in January buy bringing in Peter FitzSimons, to co-host with Mike Carlton,, a move it says it is confident will "generate a ratings improvement." In addition it says it has cut the base operating costs for 2UE by around AUD 2.5 million ( USD ) a year without affecting the broadcast product.
Looking ahead for radio it says that it expects "continuation of the current strong performance from all of our stations and, in particular, we should see a good improvement in 2UE's financial
position" although overall it comments that "Given the uncertainty around the growth of the television and radio advertising markets it is difficult to provide definitive guidance around earnings growth" although it does say it expects to be in "positive" territory in its 2007 financial year given a modest recovery in the advertising market.
As regards digital media, it says that towards the end of this year it will launch its mytalk.com.au. site, which is intended to be a home page with national and local news, sports and financial
Southern Cross has also announced plans to buy back up to 7 million ordinary shares- just under 10% of its issued total, partly to counter dilution from the issue of 7,665,210 ordinary shares upon conversion of the Convertible Preference Shares on 31 March 2006.
It also notes that the " proposed changes to cross media ownership laws are expected to provide
opportunities for the company, and we continue to review potential acquisition targets within the media sector" and adds that it will also consider acquisitions outside of main media that would fit with the profile and skills of the company, including digital media opportunities.
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-09-10: Veteran British broadcaster Margaret Hubble, who began her career during the Second World War, has died aged 91.
Born in Kent, she worked in the commercial radio department of advertising agency Erwin Wasey from 1938 until the following year when war broke out and she joined the Women's Land Army.
She joined the BBC as overseas presentation assistant in 1941 and became chief announcer for the African Service the following year with duties that included writing and timing scripts and introducing the programmes.
She was also the first female announcer of the Allied Expeditionary Forces Programme, which replaced the General Forces Programme and when it was dissolved in 1945 became the first announcer on the Light Programme.
Hubble left the corporation on her marriage but returned three years later following the death of her husband Albert Cuthbert and during the period 1945 to 52 presented Two-Way Family Favourites and also, from 1951, presented Woman's Hour along with Jean Metcalfe and Marjorie Anderson.
She again left on her second marriage to Philip Horne who predeceased her, to but continued to work freelance on programmes including Woman's Hour and Children's Hour and much later presented Call from Home for the British Forces Broadcasting Service for several years from 1969.
UK Times obituary:
2006-09-09: The Media Audit-Ipsos has pronounced itself "pleased" with the reaction to its demonstrations in New York on Thursday of its smart cell phone electronic media measurement technology.
The first demonstration was to Clear Channel's Next Generation Committee, which is evaluating bids for a new electronic radio measurement system with later demonstrations to other media and industry groups.
The smart cell phone device is the remaining serious competitor for Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) system but the latter has the advantage of being two-to-three years ahead in testing and has already agreed deals with a number of groups including CBS Radio, Beasley Broadcasting, Bonneville International, and Emmis plus a number of major advertising companies.
Those agreements undercut the Clear Channel-led evaluation and representatives from the groups involved were thrown off the evaluation committee because they had opted to sign agreements before the evaluation had been completed. Clear Channel points out that the groups that have signed represent only hundred of stations out of some 13,000 in the US and has said that any system to be adopted must have Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation, which the PPM has not yet received.
Arbitron currently seems to have an edge in the fight for a UK radio ratings system through a short-term renewal of a diary contract combined with a London area pilot panel using the PPM (See RNW May 23).
Earlier this week its Scarborough Research subsidiary announced that it had gained mull MRC accreditation for its core syndicated services: the 75 Top-Tier Local Market Studies and the Multi-Market Study, beginning with the 2006 product year and that its proprietary data analysis software PRIME NExT has been fully accredited for the core syndicated services.
Scarborough describes itself as the leading marketing and media research firm for identifying the shopping, media and lifestyle patterns of adults in the United States
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Media Audit/Ipsos:
Previous Media Rating Council:
2006-09-09: UK media regulator Ofcom says it has received four applications for a new commercial FM for Preston in Lancashire. They are from:
*Central Lancashire Radio - offering a genuinely local radio station for 35 to 64 year olds, focused on Preston and the surrounding area, with significant speech content
* Preston Broadcasting Company Ltd - Plc FM - offering a locally-focused, full-service, music and information station primarily aimed at adults aged 25-64.
* Proud FM Ltd - UTV bid offering a local speech and music station for Preston and the surrounding area, featuring local news, information and community-orientated programming and a broad, varied and engaging mix of music from the 1960's to today.
* Ultimate FM Ltd - UFM - offering a music and information service with a local feel targeted at a 25-55 demographic.
2006-09-09: Salem-owned news-talk WIND-AM has hired Big John Howell, for 17 years a DJ on CBS Radio's country WUSN-FM, most recently as morning personality, to co-host a new local morning show.
Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times says Howell, who will co-host the show with Cisco Cotto, former news anchor and reporter at ABC-owned news/talk WLS-AM has agreed a three-year deal for the show, which is to replace the syndicated Washington-based morning show hosted by Bill Bennett.
WIND VP and general manager Dave Santrella said of the move, "Chicago is an awfully big town that doesn't live vicariously through any other city. This market can sustain a number of fabulous radio stations, and we're excited about joining them with this new show."
Feder says WUSN had tried to keep Howell, whose contract ended on Thursday, and quoted its VP and general manager Dave Robbins as saying, "We know John has had a passion to do talk radio for years, and we wish him great success."
The new show is tentatively schedule to debut on September 25 and Howell commented, "It's a big risk, but if I didn't take it, I'd kick myself forever."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2006-09-09: The Macquarie Radio Network in Australia has joined the ranks of broadcasters podcasting its content to mobile phones through a deal with the Optus network and is also moving further into new media with a number of web sites to be launched within the next few months. They will include a 2GB interactive site and a national news site to be launched by Christmas, and a sports website to be launched in the New Year.
The podcasts directly to mobiles join a number already on offer from the 2GB website and Optus customers will be able to select from a menu of "lifestyle, entertainment and travel" podcasts. These, some of which are to be developed specifically for mobile platforms, will be free for an initial trial and then be subscription services.
The company has also revealed at its annual results briefing that it expects to complete two acquisitions - not radio stations - by the end of the year although it gave no details.
Macquarie reported a 57% rise in net profits to AUD 5.7 million (USD 4.3 million) in the year to the end of June on revenues - excluding figures for airtime exchanged for goods and services, which in the year it had cut back to AUD 445,000 (USD 335,000) from AUD 1.31 million (USD 988,000) - up 1.5% to AUD 41.3 million (USD 31.1 million). Overall revenues were down 0.59% to AUS 41.75 million (USD 31.5 million).
Macquarie's advertising was up 5.64% in the second half, a period when the overall market was down by a similar amount.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2006-09-09: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says the number of Radio and Television Broadcasting complaints received in the second quarter of this year dropped dramatically from the total for the first quarter - down from 141,994 to 53,352 - still above the final quarter numbers in 2005 when they totalled 44,287.
Within the radio and TV complaints, those relating to broadcast indecency or obscenity as previously comprised the dominant part - a total of 52,067 of the 53,352 in the second quarter compared to 275,131 of the 275,257 in the first.
Among complaints in other categories Wireless complaints, which decreased from 4,956 in the 4th quarter to 4,616 in the 1st quarter fell to 4,050 and Wireline complaints were down from 23,358 to 15,753.
Previous FCC complaints figures:
2006-09-08: The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has put on hold a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling that four TV broadcasts - on ABC's "NYPD Blue," CBS's "The Early Show" and the 2002 and 2003 Billboard music awards shows on Fox - violated its indecency regulations, giving the FCC two months to consider rebuttals by the broadcasters.
The broadcasters had asked an appeals court in New York to throw out the FCC's ruling as unconstitutional, arbitrary and capricious and the stay was welcomed by the FCC and the broadcasters.
Andrew Butcher, a spokesman for News Corp. which owns the Fox network, told Reuters the court had "recognized the serious First Amendment (free speech) issues raised in this appeal and the chilling effect of the FCC's indecency enforcement scheme" whilst the FCC welcomed the review period, which it said would allow it the opportunity to consider all the broadcasters' arguments, but said it would stick to its guns.
"Hollywood argues that they should be able to say the f-word on television whenever they want," said FCC spokeswoman Tamara Lipper. "The commission continues to believe they are wrong, and there should be some limits on what can be shown."
Andrew Schwartzman, president and chief executive of the Media Access Project, added, "It cuts the heart out of the FCC's strengthened enforcement (the maximum indecency fine was increased tenfold to USD 325,000 per offence earlier this year|) effort for the time being."
Previous Media Access Project:
2006-09-08: Sir John Drummond, a former Controller of BBC Radio 3, Director of the BBC Proms, and former director of the Edinburgh International Festival, has died in hospital at the age of 71.
Drummond, who was born in London and did National Service in the Royal Navy before gaining a First in history at Trinity College, Cambridge, joined the BBC in 1958 as a general trainee and worked in both radio and TV.
His work included the major TV series "Tortelier Master Classes", broadcast in 1964, an award-winning film of the 1966 Leeds Piano Competition and biographies of Diaghilev and Kathleen Ferrier.
He left the BBC, where he was assistant head of Music and Arts for BBC Television, in 1977 to become director of the Edinburgh International Festival, and returned to the corporation in 1985 - turning down the offer of a second five-year term with the EIF - as controller of music, the role expanding two years later to include controller of Radio 3. In 1992 he became director of the Proms.
Commenting on his legacy on the Bloomberg News Service, Norman Lebrecht the broadcaster, critic, and journalist, said that at the BBC he was "progressively relieved of his titles by executives who, unlike Drummond, never poked their heads out of their broadcasting warren to sniff the public air."
After his retirement he wrote a portrait of Diaghilev and an autobiography, "Tainted by Experience.''
Paying tribute to Drummond the director of BBC radio and music, Jenny Abramsky, BBC Radio 3 controller, Roger Wright, and Nicholas Kenyon, the director of the BBC Proms, said in a joint statement that he was "one of the great cultural figures of our time and a passionate defender of excellence in the arts".
They continued, "He upheld the highest standards and fought constantly to ensure that classical music and dance kept their place at the centre of our cultural life. He was fiercely committed to the cause of new music and an adventurous repertoire and, during his time, the BBC Proms became a truly international festival of great orchestras - a beacon for the BBC's commitment to cultural patronage."
BBC Chairman Michael Grade added, "The arts in this country have lost a great champion. He was a showman and impresario with exquisite taste and made a lasting contribution to BBC arts and music programming."
The BBC is to dedicate the 60th anniversary concert of Radio 3 on 29 September to his memory.
2006-09-08: XM Canada says that it had 120,000 subscribers at the end of its first fiscal year and nine months of operations adding half as many subscribers again in the most recent quarter as in the previous quarter.
President and COO Stephen Tapp said the level "exceeds all of our expectations" and added, " we look forward to momentous growth in 2007."
"XM Canada," said Tapp "offers the most extensive automotive partnerships, the greatest music and entertainment as well as innovative technology that Canadians want. In addition we are excited to have XM Satellite Radio now available in more than 80 models offered by General Motors, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Suzuki and Subaru in Canada starting with the 2007 model production this month"
Previous XM Canada:
2006-09-08: Britons appear prepared to spend significantly more than previously anticipated on downloads to mobile phones of songs they have heard on radio stations according to UBC Media, which presented to analysts the results of a trial in the West Midlands.
The trial used technology developed by UBC's Unique Interactive that allows listeners to purchase tracks instantly, as they are broadcast by digital radio stations, and to download them to mobile devices, such as digital radio enabled mobile phones that will begin to appear later this year.
The audio is broadcast as encoded and encrypted music files alongside a radio station's audio stream and the files are loaded into cache memory in the mobile device allowing them to be bought and played immediately and the track is also be simultaneously downloaded to a web-based music library compatible with popular music player applications.
The trial involved 100 users who listened to the DAB digital simulcast of Chrysalis Radio's 100.7 Heart FM service for a period of four weeks using mobile phones incorporating digital radio and those involved bought an average of seven tracks per week priced at GBP 1.25 ( USD 2.35), a significantly more than UBC had expected.
UBC Media chief executive Simon Cole said of the results, "I'm delighted that our original assumptions are validated by this research - and particularly by the strong response to interactive digital radio services in a mobile. Although we have to be cautious about reading too much commercially into a restricted trial, the appetite for impulse purchase from radio is clearly there. As we expected the group who found the service most attractive were those currently untapped by online music downloading."
Chrysalis Radio chief executive Phil Riley added, "I am delighted that Heart has played an instrumental part in this trial and to see how popular the service has been. Digital Music Downloading is clearly hugely value enhancing for our radio stations and our listeners."
2006-09-08: US National Public Radio (NPR) has announced that American Public Media (owned along with Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) by American Public Media Group) is to take over production and distribution of the Performance Today and SymphonyCast programmes from NPR from the first quarter of next year when broadcast production of the programmes will move from NPR's H.Q. in Washington D.C. to American Public Media's HQ in St Paul, Minnesota.
In addition APM and NPR have reached agreement in principle for the former to actively participate in the recently-announced NPR digital music service, tentatively set to launch in the first half of 2007 (See RNW Sep 1).
Commenting on the agreement in a news release, APM's SVP of Content and Media Sarah Lutman said they "couldn't be more pleased to begin producing the renowned Performance Today and SymphonyCast. Classical music is one of our strengths and producing and distributing these two programs further reflects our deep commitment to expanding the nation's classical music audience. We look forward to building on the past success of Performance Today and SymphonyCast and to bringing fresh, new energy to these programs that will help them reach listeners around the United States and around the world."
NPR will provide American Public Media with access to concerts, independent productions, Performance Today and SymphonyCast archives and contacts with arts organizations and festivals and its EVP Ken Stern said the partnership assured "he continued broadcast presence of two important, respected programs devoted to classical music by American Public Media while NPR focuses its efforts on establishing a significant presence for classical music, and all music genres, in the digital media environment."
Previous American Public Media/MPR:
2006-09-07: Clear Channel has announced that its board has approved an additional share repurchase programme that will allow it to purchase USD 1 billion of its common stock over the next 12 months and says that it has substantially completed its previously authorized repurchase programme. That authorized it to purchase USD 600 million of shares and so far it has purchased USD 582 million.
Commenting on the scheme, CEO Mark Mays said the announcement of a new programme was "a reflection of our Board's confidence in the Company's financial strength and our overall commitment to our shareholders."
"We continue, he said, "to believe that the purchase of our common stock at the current stock price represents an attractive opportunity to benefit the long-term interests of the Company and its shareholders."
In other US radio business, Entercom has announced that its board has authorized a regular quarterly cash dividend of 0.38 per share for its Class A and Class B common shares. This dividend is payable on September 29, 2006, to shareholders of record as of September 15, 2006.
And in Canada, Bell Globemedia is within a week or so of closing its CAD 1.4 billion (USD 1.2 billion) takeover of CHUM Ltd.(See RNW Jul 14). It has said that almost all CHUM's 6.7 million voting shares and some 19.2 million of its non-voting shares have been tendered, along with notices of guaranteed delivery for tenders of 750,000 additional shares.
Bell is offering CAD 47.25 per share bid for CHUM'S non-voting stock and CAD 52.50 per share for the voting stock
The stock so far offered represent more than 93% of CHUM's non-voting stock - including stock from the estate of CHUM founder Allan Waters who died in December and who owned 88.6 % of the voting and 13.2% of the non-voting stock - allowing it to acquire the remaining shares under Canada's Business Corporations Act. Bell has extended the offer to Sept. 12.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2006-09-06: Building on the success of its broadcasts of the complete works of Bach and Beethoven, BBC Radio 3 is to broadcast the complete works of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky in February next year: Its broadcasts will follow what the corporation is terming a "winter celebration of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky" to be broadcast on BBC TV in January.
The Radio 3 broadcasts will be aired in the week from February 10-16 and with live performances, legendary historic recordings and more recent interpretations that will include a concert series of Tchaikovsky symphonies from Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic.
Radio 3 Controller Roger Wright said of his station's plans, "Listeners have responded to BBC Radio 3's unique Beethoven and Bach seasons with great enthusiasm. We hope that by presenting the complete works of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky alongside each other, it will enable a more comprehensive exploration of both composers' outputs, providing both insight and unexpected delights."
2006-09-07: Clear Channel Radio has announced a national rollout of radio programming to Cingular Wireless mobile phones, starting with a output from its New York hit music station WHTZ-FM (Z100) that is to be extended to up a hundred more of its stations over the next 12 months
Subscribers to the Z100 mobile service will be able to listen to both streamed and on-demand content including podcasts of celebrity interviews and popular segments: Clear Channel says they will also be able to find the title and artist of the last 10 songs played on-air, make a song request directly to Z100 and receive a text message alert 15 minutes before the song is played, get free station wallpapers for their phone, rate listener-submitted photos and obtain real-time reports on local traffic.
The service is initially being sponsored by DKNY Jeans, which will provide daily fashion tips integrated within the mobile content package and Clear Channel says similar exclusive sponsorship opportunities will be available across local markets for terms as short as one month.
Jeff Littlejohn, Executive Vice President of Distribution Development for Clear Channel Radio, said in a news release, "With Z100 reaching 2.5 million listeners each week, and 50 million consumers subscribing to Cingular Wireless, we are creating one of the largest audiences for any radio or mobile phone application in the U.S., thereby monumentally expanding Clear Channel Radio's mobile content portfolio. By connecting listeners to their favourite radio stations via cell phone, and adding interactive features, Clear Channel Radio has found an additional platform to deliver on-demand entertainment to, and drive listening among its active, on-the-go audiences across the country."
In its news release announcing the move Clear Channel refers to a "minimal monthly subscription" for the supply of its mobile content to cell phones and carries a link to sign up - at a cost of USD 2.99 per month for the basic subscription and an additional 99 cents a month to listen to live radio
RNW comment: Which seems pretty - we nearly used a shorter P-word - value for the content when compared with satellite radio at USD 12.95 a month with significantly more than thrice the choices and no adverts or puffery from a sponsor or the USD 7.99 charged by XM for around 20 channels through a deal with Alltel (See RNW Aug 11).
In our August comment (2006-08Comment.html) we speculated on devices that will be able to receive via broadcast signals, wireless (wi-fi or wi-max) and the signs are already there of development under way. In that context I would seem that you've got to be pretty dumb to pay at all for what Clear Channel is offering unless you have very specific reasons.
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-09-07: The US Federal Communications Commission has reduced from USD 21,000 to USD 16,800 the penalty on a Missouri AM for failure to maintain a main studio, operating overpower during night-time hours and failure to make available for inspection the station's public inspection file.
KLFJ-AM, Springfield, licensed to 127, Inc. , was monitored after the Commission received a report that it was not reducing power at night and various phone calls made following a monitoring on December 14 last year were not answered.
On the following day the FCC agent contacted Linda Morgan, the executive assistant to C.J. Perme, the station's owner, and was told that the station had no studio and that programming was done via computer from West Hollywood, California. She added that she did not know the location of its public file but suggested a check at the Econo Lodge in Springfield, which is where the listed KLFJ phone number is supposed to be answered and where the stations transmitter and equipment is located. A subsequent inspection in the presence of the station's contract engineer showed no studio or equipment that would allow origination of programming in Springfield. In addition the engineer was able to reduce power manually and by remote control and said instructions on this had been left at the lodge when it was owned by Perme but said he did not have any knowledge about the station's operation or its records.
The new owner of the lodge said neither he nor current employees had any knowledge about operating the station operation and a check of the telephone system found a phone at the front desk that has been unplugged but operated when connected.
Following receipt of a Notice of Apparent Violations proposing a penalty of USD 21.000, 127, Inc. did not deny the violations but said it requested cancellation or reduction of the proposed forfeiture due to its "spotless track record" and "many years of untarnished service." The FCC responded by reducing the penalty to USD 16,800 on the basis of a history of compliance.
In two other decisions, the FCC has allowed waivers of ownership limits relating to joint sales agreements (JSAs) that were introduced on September 3, 2004, that brought such agreements into account when assessing station numbers in a market with a requirement that such agreements breaching the new rules had to be terminated within two years.
In one case Triad Broadcasting was granted a temporary waiver in connection with a Joint Sales Agreement it made with Guderian Broadcasting, Inc. in 2002 in relation to KEKG-FM, Wahpeton, North Dakota.
Under the revised rule Triad holds attributable interests in five FM stations and seven stations altogether in the Fargo market and thus would have had to divest itself of an FM or end the agreement. Triad had requested a waiver noting that the stations attributable to it accounted for 41.2% of the revenues of the 15 commercial stations in the market, around 2.7% of the total being generated by KEGK whilst its principal competitor in the market, Clear Channel, owns in five FMs and two AMs in the market, generating 49.4% of the revenue for the market, but the rules do not require divestiture of stations owned by a company that exceed the limit.
Triad, which had also filed for reconsideration of the 2002 Biennial Review Order in relation to attributable JSAs, requested a permanent waiver on the basis that requiring it to divest but not Clear Channel was "unfair and contrary to the public interest because it will diminish Triad's ability to compete against Clear Channel in the Fargo Market."
The FCC concluded that the competitive balance in the market justified a waiver that was granted until six months after it decided on a petition filed by Triad for Reconsideration of the 2002 Biennial Review Order
In another case involving a JSA, this time in relation to MCC Radio, LLC (Morris) of licensee of KGNC-AM and FM, Amarillo, Texas, the FCC also deferred the requirement to terminate a JSA with JMJ Broadcasting Company, Inc., licensee of KXGL-FM, Amarillo.
A Morris affiliate publishes the Amarillo Globe-News and in 1996 the FCC granted a temporary waiver, subsequently extended, to own both the paper and stations pending the outcome of a Notice of Inquiry on newspaper/radio cross-ownership.
The JSA, like that in North Dakota, commended in 2002, and Morris, which is applying for renewal of its licences, argued that it complies with the local ownership limits in relation to this agreement and the rules applying to cross-ownership should not be applied to deem it was in breach. The committee agreed and renewed the licences.
2006-09-07: Former London Kiss FM breakfast host Peter Poulton (Bam Bam ) has gone to the Internet with a daily podcast, using the large fines against him as a promotional tool - he was responsible for the largest ever fine imposed on a UK radio station when Ofcom fined Kiss owner Emap GBP 175,000 (then USD 323,000) for comments made on his show including wind-ups by his sidekick "Streetboy" and what Ofcom termed breaches of rules "primarily concerning the protection of children" including "inappropriate" comments about anal and group sex.
Streetboy is also back with the podcasts, offered on theshow.com website for GBP 1.50 (USD 2.80) a week and promoted as "Earlier this year BAM BAM made history as the 'most fined' broadcaster in the UK and was dumped by his radio station. Now he's back - with STREETBOY -unleashed and uncensored."
Expanding on this it says on the page for his podcasts, "As the morning show host for London's Kiss 100, Bam Bam consistently ranked as one of the UK's most listened to and talked about radio hosts. Earlier this year, Bam made history by becoming the UK's most fined broadcaster (thanks to lame broadcasting regulations)."
The show will be recorded late at night and be available for download from 05:00 on weekday mornings and the UK Guardian quotes Poulton as saying the podcast will feature "extremely explicit language" and will be "free from all the bullshit that surrounded me at Kiss."
He went on to attack Ofcom's regulation, which he described as being "completely out of touch with reality", saying, "Radio and television are struggling to engage a young audience against the appeal of pirate stations, the internet and computer games. There are 12-year-olds all over London using the c-word yet Kiss are fined £8,000 because I said 'muff' on the radio - what a joke."
He added, "I truly feel sorry for traditional youth broadcasters who are trying to create programmes for the next generation with their hands strapped behind their backs. That's why podcasting is such a breath of fresh air for young people" and said of his show's style. "I am not a shock-jock like Howard Stern in America. I never went out of my way to 'outrage' the audience but I did connect with them. Sometimes, that meant I had to talk about things that a few people may consider to be inappropriate or offensive."
RNW comment: We're not quite sure how, to take one example, winding up and denigrating a man who left a message on Streetboy's voicemail in error believing it to be his Human Resources officer with whom he hoped to discuss redeployment opportunities following his redundancy, fits in with Poulton's comments nor indeed airing comments that seemed more a matter of crudity pf expression than talking about things "that a few people may consider to be inappropriate or offensive." We won't be rooting for the success of this offering.
Previous Poulton (Bam Bam):
UK Guardian report:
2006-09-07: XM Satellite Radio has revealed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it has been asked by the SEC for documents relating to its subscriber targets and various details to do with subscriber acquisition costs and other details relating to its third and fourth quarters last year.
It says the questions asked seem to relate to lawsuits filed against it alleging that it fraudulently boosted its stock price by issuing false statements (See RNW May 4) and adds that it will cooperate fully with the SEC's informal inquiry.
2006-09-06: Regent Communications has announced agreement to acquire CBS Radio's Buffalo, New York, stations for USD 125 million in cash in a deal expected to close in the final quarter of this year.
The deal follows two announcements last month of CBS station sales totalling USD 307 million as part of its plans disposal of stations in ten smaller markets: They were of USD 262 million for the sale of 15 stations to Entercom (See RNW Aug 2) and of USD 45 million for its two San Antonio stations that were sold to Border Media Partners (See RNW Aug 24).
Regent says it intends to start operating the Buffalo stations - WBLK-FM, WBUF-FM, WJYE-FM, WYRK-FM and WECK-AM - next month through a local marketing agreement and adds that the deal is being financed through part of USD 240 million of senior credit facilities being arranged by Banc of America Securities.
Regent President and CEO Bill Stakelin said in a news release that this was "an excellent transaction from both a strategic and financial standpoint."
He added, "We are acquiring one of the best performing and most profitable station clusters in Upstate New York, which will solidify our footprint across the region and provide us with a substantial opportunity to develop regional sales synergies. This will increase the value and growth potential of our station group overall. This acquisition is a key step in the execution of our strategic plan to rationalize our portfolio of radio station assets in order to maximize our growth profile. This transaction combined with the several other transactions announced over the past few months will lead to enhanced shareholder returns over the long-term."
EVP and CFO Tony Vasconcellos said of the finances of the purchase, "Because we will leverage our existing resources to integrate these stations without any increase to our corporate overhead, the transaction will be immediately accretive on both an EBITDA trading multiple and free cash flow basis."
When the deal and other pending deals are completed Regent will own and operate 19 radio stations in the Upstate New York region including stations in the Buffalo, Albany, Utica/Rome and Watertown markets.
2006-09-06: BBC World Service has launched its "Africa Radio Awards" scheme that will end with a final in the Kenyan capital Nairobi next May with the awards for Radio Station of the Year; New Radio Station of the Year; 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).
The awards will be judged in two phases - a first phase of regional heats for East, West and Southern Africa with winning regional entries going forward for the pan-African awards and the closing date for entries is December 31 although the BBC says anyone interested in recommending an entry should contact it by November 15.
As well as judges from the BBC and VIPs the BBC World Service interactive programme, Network Africa, is running a competition for listener judges with one listener from each region to take part in the judging for their region. Thos wishing to take part are invited to submit a 200-word essay on the subject "How Radio Changed My World" by the end of October.
Commenting on the awards, BBC World Service Head of Africa and Middle East Region Jerry Timmins said radio in Africa was a vary important medium and evolving rapidly, adding, " as a radio broadcaster ourselves, we are keen to highlight this evolution, encourage the hard work of African journalists and producers and recognize some of the great programming being made."
The BBC audience in Africa he said regularly talk to the corporation and it now wanted to "encourage them to tell us about the stations who work alongside us so we can boost the African talent which we come across so frequently in our work and celebrate it on air. We want them to tell us about the stations and staff who have really impressed them, so together we can shine a light on the best of African radio."
Ghanaian-born World Service presenter Vera Kwakofi, who will be in charge of the contest, said that the competition showed the BBC "recognizing the vibrant radio scene that has flourished across Africa and the hard work that has gone into the growth of radio in Africa."
2006-09-06: Katie Couric has made her debut on CBS Radio News half-an-hour before becoming the anchor of the CBS Evening News - the first solo woman anchor for a US network news- with her "Katie Couric's Notebook" news feature that is being distributed by Westwood One.
The company describes it as the "the Largest Network Radio News Feature Launch in History" and says it is being taken by more than 200 stations and notes that from October 9th, Couric will also anchor the CBS Radio News 5:00PM ET afternoon drive-time newscast
Amongst the CBS stations taking the service is WCBS-AM in New York whose Program Director Crys Quimby commented, "The mission of WCBS Newsradio 880 is to provide not only the news headlines, but also, more depth into the stories that shape our world Katie Couric's Notebook is a great example of how to deliver that extra insight in an entertaining and informative way and I'm confident the report will become appointment listening for our audience."
Previous Westwood One:
2006-09-06: Emap has put its radio division under the control of its Consumer Media chief executive Paul Keenan in a move that means Emap Radio group managing director Dee Ford now reports to him.
Keenan is already responsible for the rest of Emap's UK consumer businesses in the UK including magazines, TV stations and mobile phone, online and events divisions and the UK Guardian quotes Emap group chief executive Tom Moloney as saying the change fits in with Emap's cross-platform strategy.
"The strategy has always demanded excellence by platform above all other considerations," he told the paper," adding that Emap as "led the way, through innovation, in cross-platform brand development and advertising sales."
"Paul's new role," said Moloney, "will accelerate those initiatives and further increase cross-promotion, shared consumer insight and talent development."
Emap Radio management was recently severely criticized in June by UK media regulator Ofcom when it imposed a record fine of GBP 175,000 (USD 323,000) on Emap following complaints about comments on the breakfast show on its London Kiss FM by former host Bam Bam (Peter Poulton) who was dropped in a shake-up in May this year (See RNW Jun 21) but the paper says Ford denied any link between that attack and the restructuring.
"These are two completely separate issues. While we acknowledge there were weaknesses in our system, we have dealt with them. This is the next stage in our development and will let us realize the benefits of getting closer to consumer insights," she said, adding, "Emap Radio is in rude health and this stage of our evolution will put us in an impeccable position to take advantage of Emap's breadth of platforms and strength of our brands."
Emap has also announced that Derek Carter, Chief Executive of Emap Communications, the Group's business-to-business division, has joined its board as an executive director. He is one of four such directors- the others are Moloney, Keenan, and finance director Ian Griffiths.
On the financial side the company, which has just completed the GBP 380 million (USD 720 million) sale of its French business has announced details of its plans to return GBP 285 million (USD 540 million) of the proceeds through a B share scheme representing 110 pence per ordinary share in issue and an associated share capital consolidation.
UK Guardian report:
2006-09-06: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has launched the draft of its Code of Programme Standards that will apply to Irish radio and TV broadcasts concerning such matters as the standards the audience can expect from broadcasting services and providing guidance to broadcasters on what is required.
The launch was the third and final phase of consultation about the code that aims among other things to "promote responsible broadcasting where entertainment, education and access to
information and a range of views is enhanced and offence and harm is reduced." Responses to the draft have to be submitted by the end of October and the Commission says it aims to finalize the Code at the end of this year.
BCI chairman Conor J. Maguire said at the launch, "The Code aims to balance the requirement to set down broadcasting standards with the need to facilitate programme content that will cater for a diversity of tastes. In this context the Code will provide guidance and information for broadcasters, listeners and viewers. We are also mindful in implementing this Code that standards in contemporary Irish society will develop and change over time. To address this fact, the Commission will produce ongoing research in this area which will illuminate and update the understanding of all stakeholders as to what constitutes 'community standards' ".
2006-09-05: Reporting on the hearing held last week at the University of Southern California to consider new attempts by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to rewrite media ownership rules, the Los Angeles Times says that it revealed deep frustration with the standards of US broadcasters and also opposition to allowing further consolidation in the sector.
Only two Commissioners - Democrats Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps - attended the meeting and Copps said of the previous attempt - passed by a Republican majority vote of the commission under then chairman Michael J. Powell in June 2003 (See RNW Jun 3, 2003) but subsequently overturned by Congress and the Courts - that it was "a near-disaster for the United States of America, and we cannot let that happen again."
The paper says around 250 people attended the meeting, organized by the National Latino Media Council and one of four that Copps and Adelstein are planning to specifically address the concerns of Latinos - others are planned in New York, Chicago and Austin, Texas.
Speakers, who included members of Congress, labour leaders, and librarians, said consolidation of station ownership had led to a pronounced decline in in-depth news reporting, diversity of viewpoints and quality children's programming.
One group criticized KABC-AM in particular over a host Doug McIntyre's campaign attacking the Eastside Charter School "Academia Semillas del Pueblo "in El Sereno and accusing it and its founders of being racist separatists and of excluding non-Hispanic students from attending the school.
Reports at the time said threats were made against the school after radio reporter Sandy Wells who works with KABC appeared on campus, failed to identify himself, and was observed by school parents to be taking pictures of the students. After Wells was asked to leave the campus an unidentified person chased after Wells and confiscated a tape leading Wells to file a police report.
The school also received a bomb threat and had to be evacuated and the Times reports that the school's co-founder played an audio tape of the KABC broadcast and called for the FCC to revoke its licence whilst the father of a pupil accused the station of spreading hate and lies and said it threatened the lives of the children.
Adelstein said he was alarmed by what he heard and would investigate the matter further and added that he was impressed by the turnout and the variety of issues raised at the hearing, commenting, "This was a powerful statement of the deep level of concern within the Hispanic community about the state of the media in Los Angeles. The frustration is understandable."
RNW comment: Understandable though the feelings of parents at the school may be, the way for this matter to be pursued as the group has a recording of the KABC programme, is surely to make an official complaint to the FCC if the comments made amount to incitement to violence- and if such is the case to push hard for licence revocation.
If however the comments are just the usual prejudiced right-wing rants that are aired frequently in the US then they are protected by the First Amendment and the FCC should not be involved.
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-09-05: An application by Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR) for a new 100,000 watts FM in Saskatoon (See Licence News Sep 3) is being backed by radio groups Rawlco and Elmer Hildebrand's 629112 Saskatchewan Ltd., which each own the maximum permitted holding of three stations - an AM and two FMs - in the market, as a way to retain a monopoly of advertising there according to commercial rivals as reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
It says that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has revealed that the two companies are behind the trust that has applied for the licence and that potential competitors allege this is a way to get round the ownership limit. The companies say their intention is to get more aboriginal people working in the local media, promising they will even eventually sell the station to an aboriginal group for CAD 1 and deny underhand motivations.
Amongst competitors applying for Saskatoon licences is CJVR Radio, an independent station based in Melfort, about 160 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon that has put in applications for a 100,000 watts classic rock English-language commercial FM and a 100,000 watts Oldies English-language commercial FM.
Its vice president of broadcast operations Ken Singer said of the backing for the AVR application, "I see this as an opportunity for them to just strengthen the monopoly they already have."
2006-09-05: British media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upheld no complaints against radio and three against TV and also considered one radio and ten TV standards cases resolved through action taken by the broadcaster.
The radio case considered resolved related to a late-night phone in to Chrysalis's LBC in which the delay system malfunctioned allowing the word "cunt" used by a caller to be broadcast. LBC had explained that the seven-second delay it used had enabled it to "dump" the call but the system malfunctioned and only removed the word from the digital transmission and not that on FM. The presenter had apologized for any offence caused after the problem was identified and did not put any further calls to air while the matter was being investigated.
In addition to these items, Ofcom listed with no details a further 121 TV complaints involving 98 items and 11 radio complaints involving 11 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 160 TV complaints involving 121 items and 13 radio complaints involving 13 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2006-09-04: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with a jaundiced view of the capabilities of US radio executives from Audio Graphics which, in an article headed "Coming to Grips With Radio's Faded Respect" started off by referring to comments from them about "the promise of HD radio" and possibly about the "wide array of programming that's being produced today."
It then suggests a search of sites such as Google, MSN, and Yahoo! using such topics as "radio programs"; "radio industry"; "radio advertising"; "local radio"; and "HD Radio" and continues, "What you'll find, which is the real story about today's radio industry, is a lack of articles on anything positive."
" Though there are a few mentions of radio stations taking a stance on local issues" - the article cites examples of DJs at Beasley Broadcast Group's Las Vegas classic rock station KKLZ giving food to the homeless in a city park in response to the introduction of a ban on doing that and Radio One Inc.'s Hot 96.3 (WHHH -FM) sponsoring an Indianapolis anti-violence forum - "not much is being written that speaks of radio's positive impact on the community it serves."
"What is prominent are stories cast in a negative light about radio, like Canton, Ohio's, Q92 producing a contest that has its audience singing songs "as if they have mental retardation and listeners tried to guess the song to win a prize." Dumb! But it's not alone " The article also notes that apart from announcements of new HD stations there is a "distinct absence of names like Clear Channel, Cumulus, Entercom, or CBS Radio."
The article goes on to argue that much of the problem began with consolidation and the departure of thousands of employees and continues, "Radio has lost the ability to lead. Instead, it is now entrenched in a game of catch-up, and it's using none of the tools that are required to push itself back to respectability."
It also cites comments made to Clear Channel radio CEO John Hogan about action to boost self-esteem, possibly by bringing back the local commentary once commonplace on US radio stations: His response was "People don't care."
"The opening," says the article, "was there, six months ago, for a radio chain to start a local campaign which would help a severely-stagnated city by using the power of radio for creating awareness, forward movement, and solutions. Instead, all we've heard is how people should 'discover" HD Radio. Or, on one Clear Channel station, a daily 'Name the Whore' contest."
The article then argues for stations to realize that their future lies in localism and dismisses HD as "not the answer, because its programs will only show the low-cost route of playing all music."
RNW comment: Noting the audience growth of community radio in Australia (see below) it seems to us that there is indeed a valid point being made here. Only, of course, in the US, the NAB lobbying has severely restricted the growth of such radio using the argument of potential interference - the kind NAB speaks of is that of the airwaves, which evidence seems to indicate is generally a fraudulent argument as presented by the body, whereas in our view the main concern is of interference with profits because having local radio of this nature might well mean local stations having to devote effort of their own to local affairs - more costly than syndicated programming - or lose listeners, both of which would affect bottom lines.
After the above, we felt we had to check some of the links to see what they brought up and first, from the Yahoo! search for "local radio", the story of a S. Carolina station whose owner obviously is in radio for the love of it according to a report from Mark Washburn in the Charlotte Observer.
"Radio Dave" - real name David Lingafelt - is according to the report "the odd-duck independent broadcaster in the Charlotte radio pond, a guy who started small, and now, 30 years later, turns down big-bucks offers from corporate giants for his peculiar FM station called "The Ride."
After noting his record of hard work from the time as a 17-year-old he "he drove a school bus in his native Morganton, bagged groceries at Winn-Dixie and worked an early-morning on-air shift at the local radio station" Washburn says that now, aged 57, "he rises at 3 a.m., gets to his Newton radio stations by 4, and is off and chugging. That's seven days a week."
Vacations? "The sad thing is, except for going to broadcasting conventions, I've never taken a vacation. Never."
The work? "There are few businesses where people enjoy themselves as much as radio. I'm doing exactly what I was doing 30 years ago. I'm still getting to do what I want to do. There isn't much that's better than that -- making a living and loving life."
Lingafelt, reports Washburn, takes many roles at his three stations - Newton-based WNNC-AM (1230) and WAIZ-AM ("63 Big Ways" 630) and Charlotte-based WXRC-FM ("The Ride" 95.7) - acting as tycoon, broadcast engineer, football play-by-play man, ad salesman, and host of the "Wacky Wake Up Crew" morning show on the two AM stations among them.
The show relies heavily on the local .. road kill being amongst the elements and dead skunks in particular "It's amazing the things people pick up on," says Lingafelt. Listeners don't care any more about the bloodmobile, have little interest in the board of county commissioners. But dead skunks. That gets them."
His radio career began when he was at school and Nathan Cooper, owner of WMNC-AM in Morganton, let him try his hand at radio after which he moved to Gretna, Virginia, near Danville, and worked on a station there before returning to Morganton in 1970 and working in sales, engineering, and as host of the morning show at WMNC.
Six years later WNNC in Newton came up for sale and he went over to talk about buying it from owner Earl Holder. Holder financed the USD 250,000 sale -" I was just a punk kid of 27. I didn't have money," Lingafelt says - and he took over on September 1, 1976, making regular payments in person to Holder for years thereafter.
His wife and high-school sweetheart, Janet, took over the office, and he concentrated on the broadcasts. "We could roll up our sleeves and keep the payroll small, which we had to do, because we had no money," he said. In 1993 the couple acquired WIRC-AM - now WAIZ-AM, for USD 240,000 - but he says he knew the future lay in FM and a year later he got the chance to buy WXRC, then "Rock 97" - for USD 3.5 million - later renamed "Deep Cuts 95.7" with an album sound, then in 2002 re-formatted as progressive rock station "The Ride"
Of his business philosophy and intentions he comments, "A lot of businesses keep doing things the same way. And they wind up wondering what went wrong ... I don't worry about survival. I want to have fun I decided that I was never going to look back on my life and say I wish I had done this, done that. At whatever part I look back on, I know that I was doing exactly what I wanted to do."
The money? His empire is now conservatively valued at USD 30 million according to Washburn but he says of that, "Radio is all-consuming. ... You can't complain about that. It's radio. It's what I enjoy. It was never about the money. Never."
On Google the search brought up a report on the Indianapolis anti-violence campaign referred to in relation to Hot 96.3 (as did the others but in different ranks).
The searches also brought up a report from Christopher A. Wardell of the Lansing State Journal, one of a series on Lansing-area radio personalities, that profiled classic rock WMMQ-FM morning co-host Rich Michaels.
He was quoted as saying of his role at the Citadel-owned station, "I just try to be me" and of his callers, "I don't care if they disagree. If I'm wrong on a subject, hopefully, they will call in and enlighten me."
He went on however, intentionally or not, to express what might reasonably be considered scepticism about his audience, saying, "People don't want to stake a claim in their own beliefs. Some have no idea or opinion on anything The country is not in a real deep-thinking mode right now, but I do try to be smart."
And after a DJ who indicated in our view problems ahead ( It is surely a time for a little deeper-thinking at the moment for a country mired in an expensive war, in hock to the world and potentially facing severe economic problems if oil prices shoot up higher and creditors get concerned about the safety of the dollar) on to signs of similar lack of deep thinking from radio executives.
It came from California and a report in the Bakersfield Journal by Danielle C. Belton about changing habits in the US radio industry.
She quoted Jeffrey Dvorkin, a professor of community journalism with the University of Missouri, Columbia, on the decline in listening to commercial stations and a move away from localism allied to a decline in station numbers -- "There were 10,000 radio stations in the United States in 1997. Now there's fewer than 7,000" -- and an increase in listening to public radio.
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) spokeswoman Kris Jones, however, said the report painted a rosier picture and as well as pointing to 180 million listeners a day said HD radio would be revolutionary.
"It will bring in greater ad revenue, greater sales, greater formats as it continues to (grow)," Jones said, a view in which she was backed up by Steve Darnell, general manager of Buckley Radio in Bakersfield who said of HD, "We're going to be broadcasting in HD radio in the next couple of years. Big future for radio. The clarity is unbelievable."
Local broadcasters, said the report, said they did not see satellite or the Internet as a threat and Darnell said Buckley's KLLY-FM had tried putting its signal online, saying, "We did that years ago -- pre-2002 -- and did not at the time find it beneficial for us. We really have no plans to do it now. We certainly didn't see any gain in audience. (Internet radio) has to find a way to make that pay for itself. The revenue just wasn't there, and I'm not sure that it's there right now."
And of satellite, "In my opinion they haven't proven it's a successful business model. They haven't made money yet," Darnell said. "It's like the Internet boom. At the end of the day, a lot of people were left holding the bag."
American General Media General Manager Roger Fessler also took the view that satellite was not a serious threat, commenting, "They've been crashing to the floor. You got Sirius, XM that are banging away trying to get people to pay for radio. ... Not everyone can afford paid radio. Radio is always going to have a niche."
It would seem from Canadian experience however that satellite radio may be a threat according to a report by Darrell Winwood in the Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune.
Grand Prairie, it would seem is outselling major centres when it comes to sales for XM Canada and the company's CEO John Bitove Jr., visiting the town to present an award to the local Future Shop for being its top seller in Canada, commented that the company always knew northern Alberta would be a strong market and added that the sales showed "the telling need for the service here", noting that it was keeping up with Toronto in terms of volume.
Future Shop general manager Todd Salter linked the sales to the relatively smaller choice of terrestrial stations compared to the major centres, saying, "It's very popular because of the limited radio selection."
RNW Comment: We tend to think that the term "fools paradise" may well be applicable to some of the radio execs in Bakersfield and that Audio Graphics could well be more on the nose when it comes to the future. They may well be right that so far the satellite radio companies shave not made money and that neither has Internet audio but similar comments about profitability were made in the past about CNN and other TV news channels and about cable whilst technological change and more and more broadband availability will certainly change the impact of Internet audio. As regards Lingafelt however, it would seem that he is a success story in the terms that matter to him and we certainly wish him well.
Which takes us to the first listening suggestion which is Lingafelt's Charlotte station "The Ride", which streams its signal at 64kbps in both Real Audio and Windows Media.
Then sticking with the US, last week's "On the Media" ended with a look at the profile of the National Public Radio listener and how far it fits the stereotype typically associated with it.
Then on to medical matters and from Radio Netherlands today's "Research File", which looks at the current scientific battle against AIDS and in particular the search for a vaccine against it.
After which two from BBC Radio 4 on Sunday - the latest edition of "Analysis" that looked at current views on masculinity - and in so doing illuminated some of the prejudices that go along with the perceptions - and also "The Westminster Hour", which included a report on a UK survey indicating very significant differences in the way men and women discussed and viewed politics and also the first of a two-part series "The Step-Parents" in which Michael Rosen hears from step-parents who have dealt with warring factions and divided loyalties.
Also from Sunday we suggest BBC Radio 3 and the first in a new three-part series of "Meetings of Minds": This looked at the Fifth Pan-African Congress held in Manchester in October 1945, a meeting whose influence is still reverberating in today's world and whose attendees included intellectuals and revolutionaries and the future leaders of Kenya, Ghana and Malawi - Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah and Hastings Banda.
Also from BBC Radio 3 we'd suggest two of the features being aired in the evening this week, tonight's (20:15 GMT) "Southern Road" in which writer and poet Anthony Walton uses a car journey from Montgomery, Alabama - the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement - to Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital during the Civil War, to explore and experience the multiplicity of Souths that go to make up what we often refer to as simply The South, and the role that history plays in defining the South today.
Tomorrow night (20:00 GMT) the feature is "When the Statue Walks" in which broadcaster Harry Allen walks the few blocks from his home in Harlem to the old latino heartland of Spanish Harlem to consider how far the increase in numbers of the Spanish-speaking population of the US will or won't confer power on what is now the second largest ethnic group in the country.
We'd also note that the 2006 Proms continue this week on Radio 3, ending with The Last Night of the Proms on Saturday.
Next two programmes from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation - last week's "Ockham's Razor" that on Sunday featured Dr Barrie Pittock of the country's Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO) talking about climate change and risk management and what to do about the former. Climate change was also features the on Saturday in "The Science Show", also from the ABC.
Finally as a break from the gloom, comedy and drama starting with last week's World Service Drama "Objects of Insane Desire" by Marcy Kahan, a tale of consumerism featuring a salesman and a garrulous laptop computer that he has to sell.
And for comedy, BBC Radio 2's comedy hour from Saturday - "That Was Then This is Now" followed by " Jammin'" - new series of which began last Saturday and will be on the website until next Saturday - plus from BBC Radio 4 "The Department" at 22:00 GMT on Wednesday night and "Genius" at 17:30 GMT on Thursday.
Audio Graphics on US radio failings:
Bakersfield Journal - Belton:
Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune - Winwood:
Lansing State Journal - Wardell:
2006-09-04: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ Radio 1 today launches its new drivetime show with hosts Mary Wilson, Des Cahill and Dave Fanning as part of a new look schedule being phased in this month and next (See RNW Aug 19).
The re-vamp also includes a new weekday afternoons show the "Mooney" programme, hosted by Derek Mooney that will air from 15:00 to 17:00 from Monday to Thursday from October 4, displacing "The Creedon Show" whose host John Creedon takes over the "Late Date" programme from then: He is currently taking a break and Alf McCarthy is standing in.
Long-time Late Date host Val Joyce, one of Ireland's best-known broadcasters presented his last "Late Date" on Friday after more than 15 years with the show - tonight it will be hosted by Catriona Chambers- and paying tribute to him Ana Leddy, Head of RTÉ Radio 1, said: "Val has made an enormous contribution to Irish broadcasting over the past few decades, with groundbreaking music programmes and a unique approach. Val will continue to contribute to RTÉ Radio 1 and his loyal listeners can look forward to hearing his familiar voice on the airwaves again soon."
2006-09-04: Long-time Vancouver favourites Fred Latremouille and Cathy Baldazzi, who retired six years ago from their Latre-Mornings show on CKSS-FM (KISS-FM -See RNW Apr 20, 2000) will be back on the air in the city tomorrow.
They have been hired by Rogers Broadcasting to host the morning show (weekdays 05:30 to 09:00) on its 104.9 Clear FM - formerly alternative rock format CKVX-FM which was flipped to a smooth jazz/ adult contemporary format in December 2003 and has now changed to adult contemporary format and has been airing commercial-free music from Saturday.
The Delta Optimist, whose area covers Tsawwassen where the couple have a home, says that since their retirement the couple have split their time between this home and Maui in Hawaii: It says that the station agreed to build a studio in their home so they could avoid commuting and quoted Latremouille as saying, "How good is that? It's one those dream deals. When you're young, you think if only I could do it (the show from home), and play the music I like. We're looking forward to it."
Rogers' EVP in British Columbia Paul Fisher told the paper, "Even after six years, when you say 'Fred and Cathy' everybody knows who you're talking about. Now that Latre-mornings are back, thousands of listeners who've missed Fred and Cathy can join them again in a really casual setting as they're getting ready for their day."
2006-09-04: Nearly half of Australians above 15 listen to community radio stations each month according to new audience research into community radio listenership conducted by McNair Ingenuity between March and May 2006 that has just been released.
The survey showed community radio listening had risen from an average monthly total of 7,054,000 people (45%) in 2004 to 7,515,000 people (47%) in 2006 and McNair Ingenuity CEO Matt Balogh said this amounted to more than four million a week, "an audience that would be the envy of any commercial network."
The most commonly cited reason - given by half the listeners surveyed - for listening to community radio was for local information and news and the local theme was also cited in other areas with almost half stating that "they play Australian music/ support local artists" as their reason for listening, 46% saying that they listen because they have "specialist music or information programs".
Barry Melville, General Manager of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA), said of the survey, "Listeners are turning to community radio because it is vibrant, relevant and connects with their local interests."
He added that many listeners were "searching for something different to mainstream format-driven radio" and commented, "Every one of our 300+ stations are engaged with their community at the local level, finding out what they want and programming to meet those needs. Local news, specialist music, ethnic voices, whatever your interest - it's available on community radio. So it's not surprising that more people are tuning in."
Announcing the survey results Australian Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Helen Coonan said, "This is a clear demonstration of how people continue to value community radio. In rural and regional areas in particular, community radio is a strong and valued local voice."
Australian Community Broadcasting web site (Links to results of survey- various PDF files).
2006-09-03: Last week the most noteworthy news from the regulators came from the US where the total bid for spectrum released from military and emergency service use has neared USD 14 billion, reflecting the value placed by mobile communications companies on such spectrum. Elsewhere matters were fairly routine.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has made capacity available to allow community radio service 2AAA Wagga Wagga to improve and extend its coverage and to extend the licence area of community radio service 2TVR Tumut.
2AAA Wagga Wagga will extend its cover to the townships of Gundagai and Coolamon and also be able to add new transmitters to rectify signal deficiencies within 2AAA's existing licence area at Wagga Wagga South and Junee.
2TVR will be able to extend its coverage to include the townships of Gundagai and Talbingo.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of routine radio-related decisions including (in order of province):
*Approval of application by CIMM-FM Radio Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of McBride Communications & Media Inc., to acquire, as part of an intra-corporate reorganization, the assets of the English-language FM radio programming undertaking CIMM-FM, Ucluelet, from McBride Communications & Media Inc.
*Approval of acquisition by Primetime Radio Inc. to acquire from 1210361 Ontario Inc. (the general partner), and Whiteoaks Communications Group Limited, Peter Gilgan, Ken Harrigan, Terri Patterson and George E. Patton (the limited partners) the assets of English-language CHWO-AM and the transitional digital radio undertaking CHWO-DR-2, Toronto.
*Denial of application by 1656810 Ontario Limited to acquire the assets of CKTT-FM, Timmins, Ontario as well as the applicant's proposal to modify the service offered by the station from that of a tourist information station to a commercial specialty FM station offering religious programming.
*Approval of application by Jiska Westbroek to acquire the assets of English-language tourist information CFKW-FM, Sorrell Lake, from Mr. William J. Smith.
*Approval of application by MZ Media Inc. for authority to acquire the assets of the English-language specialty radio programming undertaking CFMX-FM-1, Toronto, its transmitter CFMX-FM,. Cobourg. and the English-language transitional digital radio undertaking CFMX-DR-1, Toronto, from Trumar Communications Inc.
*Approval of acquisition by Groupe Radio Antenne 6 inc. of the assets of CFGT-AM and CKYK-FM, Alma, from Radio CKYK FM inc. as a result of a corporate reorganization involving the wind-up of Radio CKYK FM inc.
The CRTC also published notice of a public hearing in Regina, Saskatchewan, on October 30 the consider various applications for which the deadline for comments or interventions is October 5.
Radio-related matters included applications made in response to calls for radio services for Medicine Hat in Alberta and Regina and Saskatoon in Saskatchewan.
The applications listed are:
Medicine Hat applications:
*Application by Lighthouse Broadcasting Limited to amend the licence of Christian format CJLT-FM, Medicine Hat, by changing the frequency from 99.5 MHz to 93.7 MHz, relocating the transmitter and increasing the power from 48 to 2,300 watts, which would change the station's status from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A service.
*Application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. for a 100,000 watts Popular music English-language commercial FM on frequency 101.5 MHz.
*Rogers Broadcasting Limited for a 77,900 watts broad-based rock format English-language commercial FM.
Note- This is technically mutually exclusive with an application filed by Natotawin Broadcasting Inc. to use the same 90.3 MHz frequency to add a 43,000 watts FM transmitter at Regina to rebroadcast the programming of CJLR-FM, La Ronge, Saskatchewan.
Mutually exclusive applications proposing use of 102.1 MHz from:
*Radio CJVR Ltd. for a 100,000 watts Classic Rock format English-language commercial FM.
*1182743 Alberta Ltd. for a 100,000 watts Adult Standards/Modern Nostalgia music English-language commercial FM.
*Pat Lough, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a 100,000 watts classic rock/hits format English-language commercial FM.
Mutually exclusive applications proposing use of 105.3 MHz from:
*Newcap Inc. for a 100,000 watts rock and classic rock English-language commercial FM.
*Vista Radio Ltd. for a 100,000 watts classic hits format English-language commercial FM.
*Harvard Broadcasting Inc. for a 100,000 watts rock format English-language commercial FM.
*Radio CJVR Ltd. for a 100,000 watts classic rock English-language commercial FM.
*Radio CJVR Ltd. for a 100,000 watts Oldies English-language commercial FM.
*Standard Radio Inc. for a 100,000 watts New Country music format English-language commercial FM.
Mutually exclusive applications proposing use of 96.1 MHz from:
*Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc. for an 86,000 watts Christian music specialty English-language commercial FM.
*Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR) for a 100,000 watts English and Aboriginal-language native Type B FM.
*Newcap Inc. for a 100,000 watts broad-based classic-hits English-language commercial FM.
*Harvard Broadcasting Inc. for a 100,000 watts Pop, Urban, Alternative and Modern Rock English-language commercial FM.
*Standard Radio Inc. for a 100,000 watts Soft Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM.
*Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc. for a 100,000 watts Christian music specialty English-language commercial FM.
*Radio CJVR Ltd. for a 100,000 watts classic rock English-language commercial FM.
*Radio CJVR Ltd. for a 100,000 watts Oldies English-language commercial FM.
*Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR) for a 100,000 watts English and Aboriginal-language native Type B FM.
Mutually exclusive applications proposing use of 106.7 MHz from:
*Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Ltd. for a 100,000 watts contemporary hit English-language commercial FM.
*Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. for a 100,000 watts gold-based soft Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM.
The public hearing will also consider the following applications (In order of Province):
*Application by Rogers Broadcasting Limited for a licence to operate a national pay audio service - Rogers Pay Audio - whose programming will consist of a minimum of 30 audio channels, in a wide variety of music formats.
*Application by CFCP Radio Ltd. to convert CHQB-AM, Powell River, to FM. The new station would have a power of 9,200 watts and applicant is requesting permission to simulcast the AM and FM signals for three months.
*Application by CFCP Radio Ltd. to convert radio station CFWB-AM, Campbell River, to FM. The new station would have a power of 663 watts and the applicant is requesting permission to simulcast the AM and FM signals for three months.
*Application by the Bute Inlet Development Corporation for a licence to operate a 540 watts Type B native FM in Campbell River.
*Application by Standard Radio Inc. to acquire the assets of the English-language commercial radio programming undertaking CILK-FM in Kelowna and its transmitters, CILC-FM, Magna Bay, and VF2329, Big White Mountain, from Silk FM Broadcasting Ltd.
British Columbia and Ontario:
*Applications by Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR) to renew the licences of the Native Type B radio programming undertakings CKAV-FM Toronto, CKAV-FM-2, Vancouver, and its transmitters at Abbotsford, Calgary and Ottawa which are expiring on 31 March 2007.
The CRTC notes that the licensee may have failed to comply with Radio Regulations concerning the provision of complete logger tapes in the case of CKAV-FM, Toronto, and that the licensee may have failed to comply with its condition of licence that it "ensure that a minimum of 25% of all programming broadcast each broadcast week is spoken word programming".
*Application by Natotawin Broadcasting Inc. add a 43,000 watts FM transmitter at Regina to rebroadcast the programming of CJLR-FM, La Ronge, Saskatchewan. This is mutually exclusive with the Rogers Broadcasting Limited application for a broad-based rock format English-language commercial FM in Regina as noted above.
*Application by Rawlco Radio Ltd., 587681 Saskatchewan Ltd., and Dekkerco Holdings Limited, partners in Northwestern Radio Partnership, to convert CJNB-AM, North Battleford to FM. It is proposing a 100,000 watts station using 102.9 MHz and the applicants are also asking to simulcast the FM and AM signals for three months.
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to convert CBA-AM, Moncton, to FM. The new station would have a power of 69,500 watts and the applicant as asking to simulcast the FM and AM signals for three months.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Application by Newcap Inc. to convert radio station CHVO-AM, Carbonear, to FM. The new station would operate at a power of 14,000 watts and the applicant is requesting permission to simulcast the AM and new FM for six months.
*Application by Windsor Pentecostal Church for a 50 watts religious English-language FM in Grand Falls-Windsor.
*Application by Radio CJFP (1986) ltée, on behalf of Radio Rimouski inc. whose acquisition of CJFP was approved in April, for a licence to operate the undertaking on the terms and conditions specified in that approval.
*Application by L'Association d'Églises baptistes reformés du Québec for a 13-watts French-language commercial religious FM in Québec City.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed a ten-year agreement with Claremorris Community Radio Limited for its FM service to Claremorris town and environs in County Mayo.
The station will initially broadcast from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays with a service news and current affairs, sport and special interest programming, including some repeat programming, to promote community development in the area.
Also in Ireland, the Commission for Communications Regulation (Comreg) has updated its regulations concerning ships licences and has now commenced issuing licences valid for the lifetime of the vessel with a lifetime fee of Euros 100 (USD 128). Transfers of licences will cost Euros 30 (USD 38).
In the UK, Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upheld no complaints although it did consider two radio and two TV standards cases resolved (See RNW Aug 25).
It also published proposals for the liberalization and simplification for business radio licensing and pricing that would amongst other things extend the ability to trade spectrum to a considerably increased range of licensees and update its fees approach to reflect such a business radio environment.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction of 1,122 licenses for spectrum currently being used by the military and law enforcement has now attracted bids totalling more than USD 13.5 billion.
At the end of the most recent round (73) the net total of bids was USD 13.574 billion with the top bidders in terms of amount being T-Mobile - which needs spectrum for 3G services - (USD 4.159 billion); Cellco Partnership/Verizon Wireless (USD 2.799 billion) and SpectrumCo /Sprint Nextel Corp (USD 2.341 billion). Two other bidders had topped USD 1 billion.
The FCC has attempted to speed up the closing of the auction by adding two extra rounds of bidding a day and shortening the time of each round to 30 minutes.
The FCC also confirmed a USD 14,000 penalty on a Utah company for marketing two unauthorized FM broadcast transmitters (See RNW Aug 30).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-09-03: GCap Media has announced a six-month deal with mobile network O2, its first such deal, that will see the companies create dedicated mobile and online channels to give listeners the chance to create an entire hour's play list, take the role of presenter and explain the story behind their favourite chill selection.
02's Head Of Sponsorship and Interactive Partnerships Paul Samuels termed the deal a "groundbreaking programming alliance": It will see the creation of a daily show "The O2 Chillout Room" that will air from Monday to Friday from 19:00 to 20:00 on the digital channel "Chill".
Listeners will be able to listeners to text The O2 Chillout Room to request a track-listing which will then be delivered to them via a WAP page sent their mobile.
Chill last month replaced modern rock channel "The Storm" - on the Wolverhampton multiplex and has also taken the place, in mono, on the Birmingham multiplex of the Xfm Scotland channel.
The Storm in its original format died in January this year and was replaced by Xfm on most digital radio multiplexes and by Chill on digital TV platforms: It had then survived as an automated service playing modern rock on the three multiplexes -Bristol, London, and Wolverhampton - where there were Xfm channels and is still for now on the third Greater London DAB multiplex: In Bristol it was replaced last month by the Great American Songbook station "OurKindOfMusic".
In its first set of listening figures Chill had 115,000 listeners a week and the highest ABC1 reach profile (73%) of any other pure national digital station.
Chill Programme Manager Bern Leckie said of the deal, "We started Chill by sharing compilations of tunes, and O2 is a perfect partner to help listeners get involved. We're all about helping people chill in a stressful world, and O2 have helped by making it easier to get in touch, swap ideas and find out what other Chill listeners are into. Listeners are already loving taking part, so it's an ideal fit for us."
Also on UK digital radio, Chrysalis's LBC has expanded its audience to a potential 17m nationally through additional digital services- it adding DAB multiplexes serving the North West, West Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East, South Wales and the West from September 1.
The regional service will simulcast the range of entertainment programmes from the London service, including hosts such as Nick Ferrari and Anna Raeburn, plus tailored regional news and information.
On the DAB technical front, a new programmable chip, The Chorus 2 FS1020, has been introduced by Frontier Silicon which says it offers up to 40% space saving, 35% cost saving, and up to a 50% reduction in power consumption compared to other integrated DAB baseband receivers currently available.
Frontier says many components previously outside the chip are now incorporated on-chip and it will have the capacity to run other embedded applications such as software FM, audio decoders, digital rights management, graphics and audio equalisers. It is already in mass production with 640 Kb of memory and products that incorporate it will hit the market early next year.
2006-09-02: The US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has announced that Jeff Haley, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing for Time Warner is to take over from Gary Fries as its President and CEO.
Haley will take up his post on September 18 : He was selected by a RAB search committee following an executive search and his appointment has been endorses by RAB's board.
Joseph M. Bilotta, Chairman of the RAB Board and Search Committee and COO of Buckley Radio said in a news release of the appointment, "Jeff is an extremely strong match with the selection criteria outlined by the RAB. He brings a long and impressive track record in sales and sales management within the media industry. In addition, Jeff also brings a clear understanding of, and expertise in, multiple media platforms - including digital media that is critical to the RAB role. And having managed across a large and highly complex media company with a multitude of key influencers, Jeff has demonstrated a strong capacity for working with different constituencies with sometime competing agendas."
Haley added, "The Radio Advertising Bureau is a dynamic organization with a strong team in place. I'm looking forward to joining them in their efforts. Radio like all media faces great opportunities from new technology and shifting consumer habits. I'm confident the RAB will play an important role helping its member stations and their advertisers succeed in this changing environment."
Fries, who left his post as President of the Unistar Radio Networks to join the RAB as President and CEO in October 1991 will remain a consultant to the RAB through a brief transition period.
2006-09-02: Southern Cross Broadcasting's Sydney station 2UE is fortunate it is not in the U.S. following slow action in pressing the "dump button" this week by overnight host John Kerr who allowed the word "cunt" to be broadcast three times.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph says that a pre-delay version of the incident was doing the email rounds on Friday showed that a caller said the word nine times before the plug was pulled on the call.
After the incident, reports the paper, Kerr apologized to antiques dealer Liz Stephens who was in the studio at the time for his antiques and collections hour, saying, "Yes, very good. Sorry that you've heard that Liz but nobody else heard that.''
The paper then comments, "Yes we did." It adds that 2UE general manager Simon Ruhfus said Kerr had been "taken to task'' for hitting the dump button too late, adding, "John didn't get to it quickly enough. He stopped the majority of it but just wasn't quick enough to stop the first few obscenities. In terms of what goes to air, that's John's responsibility.''
Kerr himself said the incident was a "non issue'' and the station had received no complaints about the expletives.
Previous Southern Cross:
Sydney Daily Telegraph report:
2006-09-02: Sirius has now started to make use of the library of Howard Stern material it acquired from CBS Radio (See RNW May 27) with the start of a Labor Day weekend of "classic Stern."
The all-request programme began airing at 15:00 ET on Friday and will run until midnight ET on Monday, drawing on Stern material from the past two decades. It is to be aired unedited and Sirius said of the programming in a news release: "The special programming, which has been censored, criticized, fought over and locked away is now making its triumphant return to the airwaves. The material, culled from thousands of fan requests and drawn from their favourite moments from Howard's coveted canon of radio broadcasts, will be played unedited and censor-free, the way it was meant to be heard."
Among the content says Sirius is unedited interviews with guests such as Paul McCartney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, Sylvester Stallone and Sam Kinison.
Sirius adds that in addition it will air items featuring famed impersonator and past long-time Stern show regular Billy West will air throughout the weekend, as well as classic prank calls, song parodies, live musical performances and much more.
2006-09-02: The self-billed "97X The Future of Rock and Roll" station WOXY-FM, which moved to the Internet after Doug and Linda Balogh sold their Oxford, Ohio, terrestrial signal in 2004 (See RNW Jan 30, 2004) now has no future according to a posting on its web site.
It had been rescued once after the Baloghs closed it down because it wasn't paying its way (See RNW Jun 19, 2004) but now says it has to close down on September 15.
A note on the site signed by general manager Bryan Jay Miller and his colleagues Mike Taylor, Matt Shiv and Barb Abney says, "Listeners, fans and friends, This sucks This is the moment all of us hoped would never come. After plugging away at this for the past two years, it's become pretty clear that operating woxy.com as a stand-alone Internet "radio station" is not going to cut it. Our operating costs are higher than you might think, and the revenue we were able to generate from advertising isn't close to supporting what we're doing. Even membership revenue wasn't enough to get us there. When your business doesn't make money, you eventually go out of business."
It continues, "With this in mind, we've been looking for either a significant partner - someone with a larger plan into which woxy.com could be plugged - or an outright buyer. That search hasn't been fruitful. We're still willing to entertain offers and explore possibilities (email firstname.lastname@example.org), but our time is short. We thought it was time to share our situation with you ... to give you a heads-up."
The message then says that help would need significant investment capital "and a way to profit from the wonderful programming we create" and that it is now no longer "selling or renewing memberships or accepting contributions."
It concludes by saying "THANK YOU to our incredibly patient, generous and kind angel investors" and that it did investigate cutting back to a bare minimum but decided "it wasn't worth it. It wouldn't have been true to what woxy.com is, and it wouldn't have honoured the legacy of 97X . For those lucky enough to have been part of it, The Future of Rock and Roll will forever be in our minds and hearts. So enjoy these last two weeks with us. Shall we rock? "
RNW postscript: The former WOXY signal is now being moved from Oxford to, Mason (See RNW Licence News Jun 4).
WOXY web site:
2006-09-01: US Radio revenues in July showed positive for national figures but negative for local advertising with the grand total for spot and not-spot revenues flat compared to a year ago according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
The figures for national revenues were up 5%, for local revenues down 2%, for total combined national and local advertising were down 1% and for non-spot revenues were up 12%.
For the year so far, national advert sales are now up 1%, local adverts are down 1%, combined local and national adverts are down 1%, non spot revenues are up 9% and the grand total of combined spot and non-spot dollars is flat.
RAB's Ad Sales Index that equates pre-dot.com boom base year 1998 to 100 showed July figures of 136.8 for total combined local and national with the local index 140.2 and the national index 131.2 and the year-to-date figures as total combined local and national, 139.3; local, 138.3, and national 142.3.
Previous RAB and RAB figures:
2006-09-01: The BBC Governors have announced that the Corporation's first Public Value Test (PVT) - tests required under its new system of governance, which takes effect with the new Charter and Agreement at the start of next year - is to be on a management plan to launch expanded on-demand facilities in the UK.
The include the new BBC i-Player that would incorporate existing BBC services such as the Radio Player and would make available to UK audiences a TV simulcast of BBC TV programming, a seven-day view again facility and non-time limited audio downloads as well as the current radio player listen-again facilities.
The PVT is comprised to two elements - firstly whether the proposal is justified by benefit to licence-fee payers and secondly a market assessment of the effect on commercial rivals. The first part of the test will be conducted by advisers to the governors and the second part by UK media regulator Ofcom.
Commercial companies in the UK have complained in the past that they have been put at an unfair disadvantage by new BBC services including its digital radio channels because the licence fee funding allows the corporation to run services that would not be commercially viable and that detract from the commercial viability of their services.
RNW comment: In the case of the i-Player we would expect to see the usual moans from some of the small-minded and unimaginative in the commercial sphere just as we saw the same over digital radio (only Oneword, the commercial digital speech channel, has in our view any significant case as undoubtedly BBC 7 will have reduced its potential audience and in our view the expansion of digital radio households spurred by BBC involvement far outweighs this in benefit to listeners and the wider commercial radio industry).
The changes mainly involve TV, as they did with BBC involvement in the Freeview digital terrestrial TV service in the UK - this was languishing until the BBC got involved but has now taken off. Our view is that as with Freeview, the boost to the potential online audience from the i-Player, is likely to be such that the forward-looking commercial companies will welcome the idea providing there is sufficient attention given to making the relevant player of use for their services as well, and the others deserve to go out of business.
2006-09-01: The Republican-controlled US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has decided not to take any action concerning the re-nomination of Kenneth Y Tomlinson for a further term as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the body that oversees federally-funded US overseas broadcasts.
A State Department report has said Tomlinson had given a contract to a friend and signed invoices presented without supporting evidence and also misused the office for personal business (See RNW Aug 31).
Committee spokesman Andy Fisher told Reuters, "We're not going to schedule it for the remainder of the year, and at that point it (the nomination) expires."
Under US law Tomlinson can remain in office until he or a successor has been confirmed by the US Senate and in addition President Bush could bypass Congress and install Tomlinson to another term using a so-called recess appointment, a tactic the President used before for a number of controversial appointments including those of Charles Pickering to the federal appeals court on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and of Julie L. Myers to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau at the Department of Homeland Security.
Washington Post-Reuters report:
2006-09-01: Emmis's WKQX-FM (Q101), Chicago, has now announced details of its planned replacement for "Muller's Morning Madhouse" that went off the air last month after it opted not to renew the host's contract (See RNW Jul 12).
Starting from September 18 the station will fill the weekday 05:30-10:00 time with a locally produced and written show that will be comprised of current events and pop culture. The station, which has not posted a name for the show yet, says it will be "the morning show for a new generation."
It will be hosted by Alan Cox, who began his radio career at WLUP-FM in Chicago on the Jonathon Brandmeier show and also worked as a stand-up comic. He had been morning host at Clear Channel's WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh from 1999 until he was dropped at the end of June this year by the station, which officially just said it wanted "to go in a different direction." He began at WXDX as afternoon host and was moved to mornings in 2004 after the station had dropped Howard Stern. Cox will co-anchor with James Engel, who worked with the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe, and Ginger Jordan, who was one of the co-hosts at Entercom's WXSS-FM in Milwaukee who was dropped in a shake-up in September 2004.
The head writer will be Michael McCarthy, who has worked on "The Drew Carey Show" as a writer as well as working as an actor, and he will be supported by Amelia Scott.
2006-09-01: In a further development of its online services, US National Public Radio (NPR) has announced that it is to create a "major digital music service", tentatively scheduled to roll out in the first half of next year that will pool" the public radio system's collective resources, enabling users to learn and explore, creating communities and offering exposure for emerging and non-mainstream artists. It will encompass all music forms - including classical, jazz, folk, opera, AAA, electronica and alternative."
In a news release NPR EVP Ken Stern said of the development, "From the start, music in all forms has been a cornerstone of public radio. NPR, public radio producers and our station colleagues are recognized as important music presenters and curators for the public, wherever they are."
He added, "While this role began with traditional program broadcasts, we have pioneered innovations - independently and collaboratively - including a modular music production and acquisition program service, NPR Music online, live streaming concerts, podcasts and, most recently, digital radio multicast channels. The digital music discovery arena is a new and barely-explored one, and a logical place for NPR and the public radio system to take a leadership role."
NPR notes that its current musical output encompasses "every genre and platform, often concurrently" and highlights the "All Songs Considered" franchise that began as an extension of the music content on the top-rated daily news magazine All Things Considered and was developed into an online-only program, a podcast that ranks among iTunes' "Most Downloaded".
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