October 2006 Archive
- September 2006 -November 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 October comment - asks "Who is responsible for the state of radio?" today and comes up with no simple answers.
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.
2006-10-31: US radio giant Clear Channel has reported third quarter revenues up 7% on a year ago to just under USD 1.8 billion with net income of USD 185.9 million, up 8% before discontinued operations and down 9.5 % overall reflecting the spin off of its entertainment unit: Per share income was unchanged at 38 cents per share a result of its buy-back programme.
In divisional terms, outdoor revenues were up 8% to USD 720 million; radio revenues were up 5% to USD 962 million and other revenues were up 10% to US 143.5 million: Clear Channel also noted that its revenues were boosted by around USD 14.4 million by foreign exchange movements during the quarter.
Clear Channel, as it had said it would, made no comment on the possibility of going private, but CEO Mark Mays said of the results, "We are one of the best performing companies in the media industry. Our healthy fundamentals and solid growth highlight the superior positioning of our assets and the emerging benefits of our concerted investment strategy."
In terms of various activities Mays added, "We are capitalizing on our diverse portfolio of out-of-home media properties to meet the shifting demands of the global media marketplace. Our radio division once again outperformed the industry, demonstrating the strength of our brands in connecting with our audiences. Our outdoor division continues its track record of robust growth, posting considerable revenue gains year-over-year Looking ahead, we continue to maintain strong operating momentum and we are hopeful that we can continue to convert our revenue gains into profitable returns for our shareholders."
President and CFO Randall Mays, President and Chief Financial Officer, added, "We generated strong results in the third quarter, demonstrating the scale and operating leverage in our business model. Even as we continue to invest in our content and distribution assets to position our company to excel over the long-term, we are converting our revenue growth into profitable and tangible cash flows."
The results were roughly in line with expectations and Clear Channel stock, which had risen 10% last week amid speculation about it going private, ended Monday down 0.66% at USD 34.47 although they fell a little more in after-hours trading.
Clear Channel noted that it has now repurchased some 130.9 million shares of its common stock for USD 3.4 billion since announcing its repurchase programme in March 2004: It still has USD 18 million left of USD 600 million authorized for repurchases in March and last month authorized repurchases up to a further USD 1 billion in value.
Also reporting was Beasley Broadcast Group which said its net revenues for the quarter were down 3.1% to USD 31.1 million - for the year to date they are down 3.6% to USD 90.3 million - with operating income for the quarter down 18.5% to USD 6.4 million and net income down 37.1% to USD 2.4 million (from 15 cents to ten cents per diluted share).
Beasley said the income fall in the quarter primarily reflected lower revenues in Philadelphia and Miami and lower national advert sales, partially offset by improvements in Las Vegas and Augusta.
Same station revenues for the quarter - excluding KDWN-AM in Las Vegas which was acquired in August - were down 3.7% to USD 30.9 million.
Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley highlighted the gains in Las Vegas - "driven by our country station, which was re-programmed just a year ago" and in Augusta, "where we're also benefiting from a re-format" and also noted that the company had continued its share repurchases, buying approximately 317,000 shares in the third quarter.
For the fourth quarter Beasley is forecasting a net revenue increase on a year ago of 5% with same station net revenues to fall 2%. Its stock ended the day up 1.44% at USD 7.05.
Previous Beasley Broadcast Group:
Previous George Beasley:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
2006-10-31: BBC World Service and the British Council formally launched their tenth annual International Radio Playwriting Competition on Monday with entries having to be submitted by April 30 next year.
The competition - for which entrants who are new to radio are to submit an original 60-minute radio play on a subject of their choice - has no age limit and is open to people living outside the UK.
There are two first prizes, one for the best play by a writer with English as their first language, and the second for the best play by a writer with English as their second language. Each winner will receive GBP 2,500 (USD 4,750) and a trip to London to see their play being recorded for broadcast on World Service in the World Drama slot.
In addition there will be regional prizes of a digital or shortwave radio for the best plays submitted from Africa and the Middle East; Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, South Asia and Russia and the Caucasus.
Entry forms can be requested by post from the World Service Drama Department or through an e-mail to email@example.com
2006-10-31: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin has upheld three radio fairness and privacy complaints against radio but no standards complaints and also upheld three TV standards complaints and one TV fairness and privacy complaint in part: It also gave details of its reasons for rejecting complaints against a BBC1 TV interview of Conservative Party leader David Cameron by Jonathan Ross that resulted in 251 complaints from viewers who objected to suggestive sexual references to Margaret Thatcher, and also the inclusion of strong language.
The radio complaints upheld all related to the Sikh religion and involved a programme on Akesh Radio, and complaints against Panjab Radio from two individuals, one of them from the presenter on Akesh Radio which was the subject of the complaint against that station- and vice versa in the complaint against Akash Radio.
In the Akash Radio complaint Dr Gurdeep Singh had complained of unfair treatment in an edition of a religious programme in which Akash Radio presenter Kulvinder Singh was interviewed and commented on allegations made against him by Dr Gurdeep Singh, who is a presenter on Panjab Radio.
Dr Gurdeep Singh had alleged, during his radio programme, that Kulvinder Singh breached a Sikh religious edict by taking a copy of the Holy Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy scripture) from a Gurdwara (Sikh temple) to a wedding hall where alcohol, meat and cigarettes were served and in the interview Kulvinder Singh challenged him to prove his allegations, made reference to Dr Gurdeep Singh's alleged involvement with the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat ("the RSS") organization and also referred to the punishment that should be given to Dr Gurdeep Singh if he failed to prove his allegations and that he (Kulvinder Singh) should receive if Dr Gurdeep Singh did provide proof of his allegations.
Ofcom said in this case that Dr Gurdeep Singh should have been given appropriate and timely opportunity to respond to criticisms of him.
In the first of the complaints against Panjab Radio, Akash Radio presenter Kulvinder Singh complained that he was portrayed unfairly in a two programmes that included comments that he should not be called "Giani" or priest; accused him of making money through the conduct of religious services; accused him of supporting an anti-Sikh organization. He further complained that the programmes unfairly accused Akash Radio, of advertising programmes concerned with magic and encouraged listeners not to listen to, or otherwise support, Akash Radio.
Ofcom found no proof of the complaint that Kulvinder Singh was accused of supporting an organization, anti-Sikh or otherwise but upheld the other complaints.
In the case of the second complaint, by Akash Radio managing director Sukhwinder Singh, the complainant said the Gurbani Vichaar programme portrayed both him and Akash Radio unfairly and did not allow him to present his side of the story in a radio phone-in discussion; that the Chardikala programme accused him of consuming alcohol, stealing money and of throwing parties for an anti-Sikh organization and that the Chardikala programme referred to Akash radio as an "unholy place".
Ofcom held that Sukhwinder Sing was unfairly treated and that Panjab Radio failed to take the special care required when broadcasting allegations that were capable of adversely affecting the reputation of the complainant.
In each case Ofcom ordered the stations to broadcast a summary of the adjudications [RNW comment: More fitting in our view would have been to have required them to broadcast the full adjudication that as posted on the Ofcom web site makes us wonder if the combined ages of the three involved reaches the age of majority.]
In addition to the above, Ofcom listed with no details a further 173 TV complaints involving 118 items and 24 radio complaints involving 23 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 110 TV complaints involving 95 items and 24 radio complaints involving 24 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2006-10-31: "Jonestown", the controversial book on Sydney 2GB host Alan Jones written by Chris Masters and which was dropped by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, is reported to have become Australia's biggest seller since Harry Potter.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that several Sydney bookshops ran out of supplies and quoted a spokesman for publishers Allen & Unwin as saying sales had been "fast and furious" and adding, "It is the biggest Monday sale and when you consider it is a AUD 49.95 (USD 38) non-fiction hardback it is extraordinary. There is considerable interest outside Sydney and NSW which is good as Jones is such a Sydney character."
Masters told the paper that some people in the ABC hoped "the book dies and I fall flat on my face" and also said he did not think the book would harm Jones, who is back on air this week after a trip to London last week, saying the host has "a very loyal following."
He did express some concern that he could become a target for Jones whose power he said came "not because he is respected, but because he is feared."
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2006-10-31: A "progressive" UK think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has called for a change in copyright laws to include a "private right to copy" that would allow users of iPod and other MP3 players to legally copy their CDs onto their players, a practice currently illegal.
It says the right would not cause significant harm to copyright holders but would reflect changes in the way people want to consume media.
IPPR deputy director Dr Ian Kearns said of the proposal, "When it comes to protecting the interests of copyright holders, the emphasis the music industry has put on tackling illegal distribution and not prosecuting for personal copying, is right. But it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of Government."
The report, "Public Innovation: Intellectual property in a digital age", also recommends that the government should also act to ensure that Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology does not continue to affect the preservation of electronic content by libraries, that the British Library should be given a DRM-free copy of any new digital work and libraries should be able to take more than one copy of digital work. It also recommends that circumvention of DRM technology should stop being illegal once copyright has expired and that the government should reject calls from the UK music industry to extend copyright term for sound recordings beyond the current 50 years that applies in the EU (The period is 95 years in the US and 70 in Japan).
Allied with the report the Institute gave details of a survey it conducted that showed that 59% of Britons thought it legal to make copies of CDs for personal use as opposed to 19% who thought it illegal and that 55% said they did copy CDs onto other equipment.
2006-10-30: Almost all the main comment on radio in print in the US last week seemed to concern Conservative hosts, whether it be those invited to the White House to provide a boost to the Republicans in the mid-term elections or Rush Limbaugh attacking Michael J. Fox because he had recorded adverts for candidates supporting stem cell research.
Limbaugh, who if he knew a hundredth of what he seems to think he knows, would probably be the most knowledgeable host in the US rather than a fairly ignorant and partisan Republican hack, came under considerable attack for his comments.
In particular he suggested that Fox was faking tremors as he delivered the adverts, commenting, "He is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. . . . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."
The comments aroused so much ire that he issued a rare apology - or rather non-apology - saying according to a transcript on his Web site, "Now people are telling me they have seen Michael J. Fox in interviews and he does appear the same way in the interviews as he does in this commercial," Limbaugh said,. "All right then, I stand corrected. . . . So I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox, if I am wrong in characterizing his behaviour on this commercial as an act."
Enough however of the qualified apologies - we offer a similar one to Limbaugh if he can prove that he is not fairly ignorant and partisan Republican - and on to an attack on and defence of the host in a Baltimore Sun report by Nick Madigan.
On that attack side - not on Limbaugh personally we note but about his comments - his report included comment from Baltimore neuroscientist Elaine A. Richman who co-wrote "Parkinson's Disease and the Family" and who said of Fox's condition, "When people get that sick, they don't go out in public He's faking his symptoms like I'm faking being short. (She is 5 feet, 1 inch tall.). "
Defending him, Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog group, said Fox should have expected criticism and commented - we note with reference to Fox's advert not Limbaugh's accusation of faking - "Michael J. Fox has stepped into a new political world when he starts appearing in ads that make very personal charges that Republicans oppose life-saving cures and thus favour people dying of debilitating diseases. To make a charge that personal and then not expect a backlash is either incredibly naive or remarkably cynical. He is now both a very sympathetic and a very polarizing figure."
He added if the advert that it was a "shameless, uncivil, unproven and a very personal attack" but went on to say Limbaugh "needed to apologize for not realizing that Fox's symptoms have become quite severe."
And the bottom line from two in the business: First Tom Taylor, editor of the trade publication Inside Radio who commented, "I doubt that his core audience thinks he's gone over the line. Rush Limbaugh has a canny sense of what his listeners think and how they're going to react to things. Limbaugh is brilliant at what he does. He and the other guys like him know how to use the medium. You may not agree with them, but they're interesting to listen to."
RNW comment: To which our reaction would be that the attack above on the advert by Graham is as strong as anything Limbaugh said but not personal in terms of something Limbaugh could not know (albeit he could fairly raise the issue that by controlling use of his medication Fox can "time" himself for when attacks will be worse or minimized). If his base audience accept that the insinuations of faking are OK the correct term for them is "Base!"
Next Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers, said the comments were just "show biz" and went on, "It's classic Rush, being politically incorrect. He's in a business whose only mission is to generate ratings and revenue. It's not a matter of getting anyone elected. It's a matter of getting ears to tune in."
RNW: A comment we feel could be said in essence to justify almost anything if the result is financial success.
With a wider perspective Tim Rutten in his "Regarding Media" column in the Los Angeles Times asked of talk radio in the US: "Is this medium's relentless transformation of every imaginable question into a political one simply the reflection of a nation bitterly divided along partisan lines? Or has talk radio's calculated reductionism helped to harden the lines between the red and the blue? ...Does the mean-spirited vulgarity of the people doing the talking reflect a society that has grown just generally meaner over these past years? Or has their harsh intolerance and habitual incivility actually helped to make so much of our civic conversation coarse and vituperative?"
Rutten comments on Limbaugh's attack on Fox - noting, by the way, that Fox did adverts for candidates supporting federal funding of stem cell research including Pennsylvania Republican Senator Arlen Specter - and went on, "Serious-minded people can have serious differences over stem cell research, which is one of those products of human ingenuity that seem to promise great benefits while posing profound ethical questions. But one of the things made clear by Limbaugh's churlish behaviour this week is how ill-suited the commercial talk show ethos is to discussing such issues."
Enough however of the amoral/immoral - our view is that Limbaugh is just too small to just simply apologize about the faking attack - and on to a wider view of talk hosts from Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post writing in reference to the invitation to "42 mostly conservative radio hosts" [Our curiosity was piqued as to which ones invited were not conservative but Kurtz named only one Juan Williams of National Public Radio and Fox News, whom he described as a "liberal"; he also, noted that Air America host Rachel Maddow said the White House did not return her calls when she sought an invitation.].
Interestingly, conservative as some quoted undoubtedly are, not all it would appear to be wholly behind the Republicans this time.
They included Neil Boortz who said maybe he'd like "to see the Republicans take it in the teeth in this election, lose the House and lick their wounds. They just haven't done enough to be rewarded with continued control in Washington" and Des Moines, Iowa, host Jan Mickelson who commented, "I don't really give a rip. The conservatives would say, 'What's the worst that can happen? We're not getting anything we want now. We're getting nothing but frustration and ulcers.' "
And elsewhere with no election looming, we chose comment from Chris Campling in the Times of London, asking a very relevant question: " So why do radio programmers find it a jolly wheeze to allow thespians to dabble outside their chosen sphere?"
The question has been relevant this year in an American context but Campling develops it in a British one: "More to the point, having heard Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp attempt - and fail utterly - to master the comparatively simple art of reading off a piece of paper when narrating tributes to Nick Drake and James Dean over the past couple of years, who was it that gave the green light to Martin Freeman's The Great Unknown (Radio 2, Tuesdays, 9.30pm)?"
Campling then continued by noting Freeman's "love" for the six bands whose music he has been playing and the power current celebrity gives in the context of making it to air.
"And, let's face it, when you're hot you're hot - right now his name opens doors, even when he says: 'I want to go on the radio and play a lot of songs by people I really like, because it's about time the great unwashed bathed in the glow of my superior musical taste.'"
And hear! Hear! to: "But someone should have gone that extra yard and inquired of the star just how he intended to go about his evangelizing. If his intention was to play songs by bands the listeners had not heard of, how was he hoping to open their eyes and make them take up their beds and walk? Actually, maybe someone did ask, and maybe he didn't tell them that he was just going to go in with a bunch of records and play them."
On to suggested listening, all from people who do seem to have a pretty good idea of what they are doing and our first suggestions for listening this week come from BBC Radio 4 and the "Book of the Week" at 09:45 GMT - "Dear Charlie: Letters to a Lost Daughter" - which is comprised of letters Reg Thompson began writing to his late daughter Charlie who had died aged 13 in a train accident.
His motive was to bring himself closer to her and make sense of what had happened, a quest that in a different form is the substance of our next suggestion, also from Radio 4: This is "Humphrys in Search of God" tomorrow at 09:00 GMT in which BBC Today show host John Humphrys, who finds himself unable to believe after reporting on too many tragedies, talks to religious leaders about unfulfilled desire to believe in God.
On a totally different plane we also suggest a dip into the BBC "Electric Proms" web site for a selection of performances posted in connection with the event. As of writing they start with Billy Bragg and James Brown and end with The Zutons and the list still to come includes Basement Jaxx and The Who - who perform next Saturday from 2100-22:00 GMT on BBC Radio 2.
Also from Radio 2 we'd suggest the two-part "The Birth of British Rock'n'Roll" which begins tomorrow at 20:30 GMT. The first "rock" hit from a British performer was "Rock with the Caveman" which entered the UK charts fifty years ago - October 26, 1956 to be precise - not exactly up to American artists like Elvis. Nor did the BBC particularly help rock's development through the practice - by Radio 2's predecessor "The Light Programme" -of playing watered down cover versions of American hits. For those who wish to wax nostalgic contributors include John Barry, Joe Brown, Jack Good, Cliff Richard and Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch of The Shadows, Tommy Steele, Bert Weedon and Marty Wilde with archive from others such as Adam Faith, Lonnie Donegan, and Billy Fury.
Those watered down versions can in our view be considered as a form of what has now come to be termed "political correctness" - and our next suggestion is one a much more worrying version since in our view it is linked with what we think can correctly be termed terrorism.
The suggestion is last Saturday's "Vox Humana" from Radio Netherlands in which Canadian producer Karin Wells in a documentary "Double Dutch" investigates the story (in the light of the November 2nd 2004 murder by young Dutch-Moroccan Muslim of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh after the release of his short movie "Submission" dealing with the topic of violence against women in Islamic societies) of the row that erupted when Dutch theatre director Gerrit Timmers, who had staged successful plays with Dutch and Moroccan actors went a step too far for some Moslems.
Three years before the murder he decided to adapt for the stage an Algerian novel about Aisha, the third wife of the Prophet Muhammad, a classic story told from the women's perspective but the row that erupted led him to cancel the production - and also be unsurprised by the later murder
Those oversensitive will have to note that when Dutch-Moroccan Muslim Fatima Elatik, a Deputy Mayor for the Zeeburg district of Amsterdam, refers to the term popularized by van Gogh about Muslims (goat-fuckers (geitenneukers)) the bleeping is incomplete: Elatic, by the way, notes that van Gogh called her "an S.S. officer, an al-Qaeda whore" but says, "No matter how awful he was to me, he didn't deserve this. He wasn't just killed, he was slaughtered. I would love for him to be alive so we could continue this debate. Tolerance is not something to be taken for granted."
Then from "All in the Mind" last week on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National we suggest "Therapy in the Shadow of Terror" in which Jewish psychotherapist and anthropologist Dr Henry Abramovitch, president of the Israel Institute for Jungian Psychology talks about just that in a country where suicide bombers kill both Jew and Moslem.
After therapy drama - or should it have been the other way round - with BBC World Service whose World Drama last week, timed to mark the start of this year's BBC World Service-British Council International Radio Playwriting Competition 2007 repeated "FOUR FOUR - STRAIGHT TOWN", a winner from last year telling the story of a taxi driver in a poor area of Johannesburg and also from BBC Radio 3 Sunday's "Drama on Three" , "Death and the Penguin" by Andrei Kurkov, a satire set in post-Soviet Ukraine about an obituarist and his relationship with a penguin.
And finally, since there are many hours of listening in The Electric Proms we suggested to start off with, a look at some TV drama differences courtesy of "Corridors of Power" that aired on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday and featured the former British Ambassador to the US Sir Christopher Mayer comparing TV drama treatment of national leaders - "The West Wing" portraying politicians as intelligent and responsible v "Yes Minister" portraying them as venal liars.
Baltimore Sun - Madigan:
Los Angeles Times - Rutten:
UK Times -Campling:
Washington Post - Kurtz:
2006-10-30: The board of SMG threatened to resign en masse after fund manager Fidelity, which owns 15% of the company, attempted to force the resignation of its chairman Dr Chris Masters according to the UK Independent on Sunday.
The paper says the threat to resign is without recent precedent and forced the fund to back down: it quotes an unnamed banker "close to SMG" as saying, "I have never seen a whole board threaten to resign before. It was a last-ditch attempt to win back the right to control its own destiny. Fidelity has been dealt a bloody nose."
Fidelity was said to have wanted to replace Masters with former Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) chief executive Richard Findlay, who teamed up with Rob Woodward, the former commercial director of Channel 4, to make a takeover bid for SMG - rebuffed by SMG's board - with the backing of SVG, which holds 4.8% of SMG.
SMG, which is now valued at around GBP 175 million (USD 332 million) was originally founded as Scottish Television in 1957 and its former chief executive Andrew Flanagan made a series of acquisitions including the purchase of Chris Evans' Ginger Media Group that owned Virgin Radio in 2000 (See RNW Jan 13, 2000) for GBP 225 million (then USD 370 million), and a 29% stake in rival SRH.
SMG had borrowed heavily to make the acquisitions and was left with GBP 400 million of debt, which forced it to sell of the SRH holding - bought by Emap (See RNW Jan 17, 2004), which subsequently took over SRH last year (See RNW Aug 9, 2005). It has now put up for sale its Primesight outdoor and Pearl & Dean cinema advertising divisions up for sale.
Flanagan left the company in July (See RNW Jul 17) and SMG is currently looking for a chief executive. It has rejected a merger proposal from UTV (See RNW Sep 21), whose chief executive John McCann had been expected to take the role of chief executive at a combined company had the merger gone through, and is now looking for a chief executive.
The Independent says that it is believed shareholders have demanded an external candidate and that Virgin Radio chief executive Fru Hazlitt, who was amongst those tipped to take over, is now out of the running as would be current acting chief executive Donald Emslie but other speculation is that SMG will have problems finding a suitable qualified external candidate.
The paper also reports that GCap Media, which sold its two Century stations to Guardian Media Group for GBP 60 million (USD 112 million) earlier this month (See RNW Oct 19) rejected an offer of more than GBP 70 million (USD 131 million) because it did not want them to fall into the hands of rival Chrysalis, which owns Heart FM, the main rival to its London flagship Capital Radio.
The paper, which says Chrysalis had hoped to re-brand the stations as Heart outlets, in this case quotes an unnamed banker "close to GCap" as saying of the offer from Chrysalis, "It is true that Chrysalis made a higher offer than GMG, but it was a last-minute approach and one made without the benefit of detailed information about the two stations."
Previous Guardian Media Group:
UK Independent on Sunday report re GCap:
UK Independent on Sunday report re SMG:
2006-10-30: Australian commercial radio has welcomed the announcement by the country's Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane of an AUD 2.2 million (USD 1.7 million) grant to Digital Radio Broadcasting Australia - a consortium of commercial and public broadcasters - to help develop Australia's digital radio technologies.
Joan Warner, chief executive officer of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, said the funding - an Industry Cooperative Innovation Program (ICIP) grant - would partly be used to conduct a ground-breaking trial of digital radio using a new AAC+ coding which is more spectrum efficient than the current Mpeg 1 Layer II used with Eureka 147 DAB in the UK.
Commercial radio industry leaders met last week to conduct a strategic think tank into radio's future discussing amongst other things including how radio could benefit from the Internet and vice versa, electronic measurement and the future direction of the country's commercial radio brand campaign.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2006-10-29: In what was a fairly quiet week for the regulators the most significant announcement last week came from the UK where Ofcom has decided to allow sponsorship of radio and TV channels as opposed to just of individual programmes.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is to open an investigation into compliance with the commercial radio standards by Radio 2UE Sydney (See RNW Oct 28).
It has also announced that the licence for community broadcasting service 3CCC Bendigo will expire on 12 November 2006 after the licensee, Goldfields Community Radio Cooperative Ltd, failed to lodge its renewal application by the required date.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said that in this case it received the application five months late "despite almost 12 months of frequent reminders."
He described the action as "most regrettable" and added that the "ACMA has no power to renew a community broadcasting licence where the application is lodged a considerable time after the required date."
No decision has yet been made about the long-term future of the frequency used by 3CCC but the ACMA notes that it may be made available for a temporary community service whilst its future use is considered and that 3CCC can apply for a temporary licence to use the frequency.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week in which radio decisions on its agenda included (In order of province):
*Renewal of licence of low-power, commercial specialty (Christian music) CIAJ-FM, Prince Rupert, to 31 August 2013.
*Approval of transmitter relocation and power increase from 4.9 watts to 420 watts for The Kamloops Campus/Community Radio Society's CFBX-FM, Kamloops.
*Approval of application to add a 40,000 watts FM transmitter at Kenora, Ontario, to the licence of Native Communication Inc.'s CINC-FM, Thompson, Manitoba. The applicant said its network service, which has been in operation since 1971, is targeted primarily to Aboriginal peoples, and broadcasts Aboriginal and country music, Ojibway- and Cree-language programs and news and information about Aboriginal peoples and northerners and noted that there is currently no radio service directly targeted to the Aboriginal market in the Kenora area.
The application was opposed by Norwesto Communications Ltd., the licensee of CKQV-FM, Kenora, but the CRTC in approving the application noted that the new station would not be allowed to sell local advertising in that radio market.
*Renewal of licence of CFXJ-FM, Toronto, to 31 August 2013.
*Renewal of licence of CHOM-FM, Montréal, to 31 August 2013.
*Approval of 60 watts FM transmitter at Saguenay (zone La Baie) for CKAJ-FM, Saguenay (zone Jonquière).
The CRTC also posted public notices relating to the following radio applications:
*With a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of November 27:
Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add an 800 watts FM transmitter at Iqaluit to broadcast the programming of its Radio Two service, originating from CBM-FM, Montréal.
*With a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of November 30:
Application by My Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) to change the frequency of new English-language FM approved for Strathroy, Ontario, from 91.1 MHz to 105.7 MHz: The new frequency would reduce the likelihood of interference with the signal of CJRT-FM, Toronto.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed a ten-year contract for the Dublin alternative rock station Phantom FM, which is to go on air on October 31and also announced the receipt of five applications for a new quasi-national Christian and religious AM licence (See RNW Oct 28).
In the UK as noted Ofcom has approved a change to allow sponsorship, subject to some safeguards, of entire channels as opposed to just individual programmes (See RNW Oct 26).
It has also announced that it is to advertise a new national digital licence next month - to be followed by more adverts of local digital multiplexes over the next year (See RNW Oct 25) and gave it reasons for the award of the new Oxford and South Oxfordshire commercial FM licence to Absolute Radio's bid with a Jack-FM format (Also Oct 25).
Regarding community licences it has opened its second round for grant applications for the financial year 2006/07 for which applications have to be submitted by November 21.
It has also published an update of the principles it follows in calculating Qualifying Revenue and Multiplex Revenues to determine related payments by licensees of Independent National Radio (INR) and Additional Service (AS) licensees and the National Radio Multiplex licensee.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it is now ready to grant construction permits for two more licences won in its FM Auction 37 that closed in November 2004 (See RNW Nov 24, 2004). They are for stations in La Veta, Colorado and Walhalla, Michigan.
In another decision relating to Auction 37, the Commission has denied a petition for it to reconsider its decision to refuse to deny an application by Janet Jensen for a new FM broadcast construction permit at La Center, Kentucky.
Benjamin L. Stratemeyer had objected to the grant of the licence, suggesting that the real party behind the application was a third party, possibly one of Jensen's then-employers, Withers Broadcasting or Dana Communications but FCC staff found that not enough evidence had been provided to raise substantial questions about Jensen's qualifications or her entitlement to a 35% new entrant bidding credit.
In relation to two Michigan CPs - for new stations in Escanaba and Houghton - and also for CPs in station in Howard and Rhinelander, Wisconsin, the FCC has allowed an application to substitute the court-appointed representative of the Estate of Lyle Robert Evans for Evans as the applicant.
In Alabama, the Commission has renewed the licence of Alabama A & M University's WJAB-FM, Huntsville, and denied an application to refuse the renewal from a former employee who claimed he was improperly dismissed because of his efforts to convert the station to commercial operations and said he would better serve the local community as the station licensee. .
Also in Alabama, it has renewed the licence of the Board of Trustees/ University of Alabama at Birmingham's non-commercial educational Station WBHM-FM, denying an objection on the basis that the station has not changed its programming to reflect changes in the demographics of Birmingham and should diversify its offering instead of "rigidly adhering to its narrow perspective, programmed around symphony music."
In Massachusetts the FCC renewed the licence of Charles River Broadcasting WCRB License Corp.'s WCRB-FM, Waltham, rejecting objections on the grounds that the station was gong to be sold and the purchasers proposed to change the format from classical to country and western.
In Mississippi, the FCC renewed the licence of Hancock Broadcasting, Inc.'s WBSL-AM, Bay St. Louis, denying an objection on the basis of a forfeiture assessed in 2001 for breach of Emergency Alert System rules and for failure to secure the WBSL-AM tower within locked fencing or another appropriate enclosure.
In Oregon, it has effectively ruled an applicant guilty of sharp practice concerning an application for a new non-commercial educational FM broadcast station at Merrill, has dismissed an application from Fatima Response, Inc. (FRI) d/b/a St. Michael's Catholic Radio for the licence and given the go-ahead for Cove Road Publishing, LLC to apply for a licence for a new commercial FM in Merrill.
In making the ruling it says that the FRI currently incorporated is not the same FRI that originally filed the application for the NCE licence, that the FRI that made the application was involuntarily dissolved on October 22, 1995, approximately two weeks before filing the application, and was not reinstated. An amendment to the application was then filed in 1999 and further amendments then followed leading the Commission to conclude that whatever scenario was considered the current FRI application should be dismissed.
In Washington State, it has approved an application by Thin Air Community Radio to change operations of KYRS-LP, Spokane from Channel 237 to Channel 210 at its licensed site: Thin Air is short-spaced to second-adjacent channel Station KEWU-FM, Cheney, licensed to Eastern Washington University, requested so KYRS can modify its facilities prior to commencement of program test operations by co-channel Station KPND-FM, Sandpoint, Idaho.
The FCC notes that Thin Air and EWU have entered into an agreement under which KEWU has agreed not to object to the grant of the Application provided that Thin Air adheres to certain conditions. These include the requirement that Thin Air resolve actual interference complaints within 24 hours and that if interference is not resolved, Thin Air is required to suspend operations until the interference problem is resolved.
Thin Air is also short spaced to KHQ-TV, Channel 6, Spokane, and has entered into a similar agreement with KHQ.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-10-29: The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has announced the appointment of Danforth W. Austin as the Director of the Voice of America (VOA) and also the appointment of Russell Hodge as Director of VOA Television: Austin takes over from David Jackson who became VOA director in September 2002 and will be returning to the private sector.
The BBG said it looks forward to the leadership and vision that Austin and Hodge will provide in developing a strategic plan to implement VOA's increased use of 21st century technologies to reach its worldwide audience, including satellite television, the Internet as well as FM and AM radio.
Austin's background is in business and print journalism including various senior positions with the Wall Street Journal and as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc., the community media subsidiary of Dow Jones & Co.
2006-10-28: CBS Radio has named industry veteran John Mainelli, who was dropped as a columnist for the New York Post last month (See RNW Sep 23) as Program Director of its New York WFNY -FM (Free FM).
WFNY Vice President and General Manager Tom Chiusano making the announcement said Mainelli was "the obvious choice" for the post an described him as " an innovative programmer", adding that the station's "diverse line-up of personalities ( it carries Opie and Anthony, Leslie Gold - "The Radio Chick" and Penn Jillette) will all benefit from John's experience and guidance."
Mainelli, who as well as his column had been working as a radio consultant, has three decades in radio including spells with WABC-AM in New York from 1988-1995 and before that at KCBS-AM, San Francisco, KSDO-AM in San Diego, and KCMO-AM in Kansas City.
2006-10-28: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has decided to open an investigation into compliance by Southern Cross Broadcasting's Sydney station 2UE with the country's commercial radio standards relating to disclosure of commercial agreements
The decision followed notification by 2UE of a breach of the Commercial Radio Disclosure Standard because morning host John Laws failed to disclose a commercial agreement with communications company Telstra during an interview with Australian Prime Minister John Howard on August 28 in which the topic of privatizing Telstra was discussed.
In a statement ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said the Authority acknowledged 2UE's action in bring the breach to its attention but said it had nevertheless opted to start an investigation.
2UE and its then hosts Laws and Alan Jones, who subsequently move to 2GB, were at the heart of the cash-for-comment scandal in Australia that broke in 1999 and led to the introduction of new regulations on disclosure and impose specific conditions in 2UE's licence (See RNW Mar 28, 2000).
2006-10-28: Sea Launch, which on Thursday (GMT) halted the launch of the XM-4 satellite because of "off-nominal data from its automated launch support equipment" is still as we publish not giving any details as to when the launch will now take place.
The high-powered satellite, which was planned to have 18 kilowatts of total power at the beginning of its time in orbit and a 15-year lifespan was due to have been launched in a 58-minute launch window starting at 23:49 GMT on Wednesday to carry XM's satellite radio broadcasts to North America.
Sea Launch says both the spacecraft and launch vehicle are in excellent condition and it will post additional information on its web site when available.
2006-10-28: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now signed a ten-year contract with Dublin Rock Radio Ltd., licensee of the Dublin alternative rock station Phantom FM, which is to go on air on October 31...
The station will broadcast a minimum of 18 hours of live programme daily with an emphasis on the promotion of Irish artists: it also provides news, current affairs and sports coverage.
The BCI has also announced that it received five applications for its new quasi-national Christian and religious AM licence. They are from CCN Ireland; Radio Maria Ireland Limited; Spirit Radio Ltd.; United Christian Broadcasters; and Yes Radio Limited. All but Spirit Radio, which hails from County Wicklow, are Dublin -based.
2006-10-27: Shares in GCap Media fell by 5.6% to GBP 2.18 on Thursday following the release of latest UK ratings figures by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) that showed its London flagship station Capital Radio for the first time losing the kudos of having the "most listened" to London station breakfast show.
It was overtaken by Chrysalis's Heart FM whose breakfast show, co-hosted by Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott, took a 5.7% share - compared to 5.6% for Johnny Vaughan's breakfast show at Capital and overall Capital Radio was third in reach amongst London stations with a weekly audience of 1.46 million listeners (down from 1.64 million in the second quarter) compared to 1.64 million for Emap's Magic FM (down from 1.87 million) and 1.71 million for Heart (up from 1.66 million).
The breakfast show figures showed Vaughan retaining the lead as regards reach with a weekly audience of 782,000 (down from 852,000) followed by Heart with 768,000 ( Down from 820,000) and Magic with 725,000 (down from 803,000).
Guardian Media Group's "Smooth FM", which it is trying to change to an easy listening format (See RNW Oct 21) was well down - with a weekly reach of 445,000 ( 537,000 in the second quarter) and listening share of 1.0%, down from 2.1%, but Chrysalis's LBC stations were up - from 476,000 to 594,000 for its FM and from 185,000 to 262,000 for its AM with share up from 2.9% to 3.4% for the FM and from 0.5% to 0.9% for the AM.
Despite the figures GCap accentuated the positive it could find, saying in a news release that "Johnny Vaughan is the no.1 commercial breakfast show in London": Its Operations Director Steve Orchard further accentuated the positive commenting, "This has been an excellent set of results for GCap, and they give us much confidence for the future. Our portfolio of local heritage stations is in good growth and our national brands have turned in another impressive performance, with Classic FM and Planet Rock playing starring roles. GCap's digital hours have also reached a record high."
Even regarding London he was upbeat, saying, "In London we have increased our reach and share and remain the number one commercial radio group. The plan for Capital's recovery is well under way. We are number one at breakfast and are building a loyal audience base, with listeners listening longer. Since the survey period, our new Programme Director Scott Muller has arrived and we have launched our first marketing campaign in 18 months. We expect to see the effects of these initiatives over the course of 2007."
Chrysalis, with rather more positives, noted the success of Heart network as "the UK No 1 commercial ILR brand, with 24.8m listening hours, a 2.8% increase year on year" as well as the increases for LBC and its Chief Executive Richard Huntingford commented, "This is a fantastic result for Chrysalis Radio and its hugely talented management, staff and presenters. It underpins our strategy of focusing on strong, major market, branded stations."
"In particular," he added, "I'm delighted that we have achieved our target of becoming London's most listened to breakfast show with Jamie and Harriet - and also performed so well across the rest of the schedule at Heart 106.2."
Emap headlined its "best ever set of RAJAR results delivering its highest ever levels of listening" and Emap Radio group managing director Dee Ford commented, "Emap is leading the way in the continually evolving world of radio with a strategy of engaging communities both locally and nationally with compelling content available whenever, wherever and however a listener wants it."
Nationally commercial radio gained listening share - up from 42.9% to 43.6% for all adults and from 53.8% to 56.4% for the 15-44 demographic - whilst the BBC fell back a little- from 54.7% to 54.3% overall and from 43.4 % to 40.9% for the 15-44 demographic.
The UK commercial radio body the RadioCentre noted the "record 10.9% share of all UK listening" that commercial radio had recorded in the quarter and its chief executive Andrew Harrison commented that the figures showed "a thriving Commercial Radio industry which, hot on the heels of last quarter's results, has once more increased both audience and hours."
"Digital ," he said, "continues to be a significant driver and, among the all-digital hours revealed today, Commercial Radio already takes a 65% share of listening Digital services are changing the landscape of radio as a whole and Commercial Radio in particular. Driving the continued growth of Commercial Radio, as listeners increasingly consume their radio digitally, is the central role for RadioCentre and my colleagues and I look forward to helping our members build on this success over the long-term."
The UK Digital Radio Development Board (DRDB) highlighted the record figures for digital-only stations whose weekly reach is up 4% on the second quarter an 17% year-on-year and noted that four of the BBC's five national digital stations grew their reach as did the majority of commercial stations with Emap's "The Hits" in pole position - it has 1.18 million listeners a week followed by Emap's "The Hits" with 926,000. In third place is BBC7 with 697,000.
DRDB chief executive Ian Dickens said the results were "great news" that "proves that digital radio continues to grow in popularity with listeners."
"RAJAR'S research," he said, "bears out our own findings which show that people who buy a DAB digital radio enjoy the new stations it offers and value the added choice that comes with digital listening."
For the BBC, Director of Radio & Music Jenny Abramsky referred to the success of Radio 1 - which increased its reach from 10.42 million to 10.58 million listeners a week, although its listening share was down from 10.3% to 9.8%, commenting, "I'm pleased to see the continued, steady growth of Radio 1, and our digital-only networks contributing to the rise in digital listening."
Overall the ratings show 44.6 million people - 90% of the UK population - listened to radio each week, down just 15,000 from the previous quarter, and that an unchanged 15.3% of UK adults live in households with a digital radio (DAB) receiver.
RAJAR says that 54% of the UK population can now listen to digital radio, possible through DAB transmissions, digital TV, the Internet, and mobile devices. Digital-only stations increased their listening by 3.5% on the previous quarter and 15% year-on-year with reach up 4% and 17% respectively.
Within this listening by mobile phone is stable at 9.7% of their owners, listening via digital TV dropped slightly compared to the previous quarter but is up 10% year-on-year, and listening via the internet is up 13% year-on-year whilst two million people - 15.2% of MP3 player owners - listen to podcasts, up from 1.9 million (14.8%) in the previous quarter.
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter (and year):
*BBC Radio 1 gained 154,000 listeners to reach a weekly audience of 10.577 million but listening share was down from 10.3, to 9.8% (9.4% a year ago when it had 10.329 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 2 lost 549,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 12.739 million and listening share was down from 15.7% to 15.5% (15.6% a year ago, when it had 12.859 million listeners)
*BBC Radio 3 gained 192,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.026 million and a listening share up from 1.1% to 1.3% (1.2% a year ago, when it had 2.067 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 4 gained 279,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.468 million and listening share was up from 10.7% from 11.8% (11.5% a year ago when it had 9.621 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, lost 286,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5,747 million, and a listening share of 4.2%, down from 4.5% (4.6% a year ago when it had 6,052 million listeners).
(Including Sports Extra it lost 266,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 5.874 million and a listening share of 4.4%, down from 4.7% (4.7% a year ago when it had 6.170 million listeners).
*BBC World Service gained 95,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.352 million and a listening share of 0.8%, up from 0.7% (0.7% a year ago when it had 1.121 million listeners).
*BBC Asian Network gained 37,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 481,000 but listening share fell from 0.4% to 0.3% (0.3% a year ago when it had 524,000 million listeners).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*G-Cap's Classic FM gained 66,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.898 million and an unchanged listening share of 4.2% (4.1% a year ago when it had 5.842 million listeners).
*UTV's (formerly The Wireless Group's) talkSPORT gained 47,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.266 million and a listening share up from 1.7% to 1.8% (1.8% a year ago when it had 2.090 million listeners.)
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) gained 38,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.376 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.5% (1.5% a year ago when it had 2.511 million listeners).
Among digital stations, excluding Emap's Kerrang! which has a substantial digital listenership and a total weekly reach of 1.349 million including its analogue stations but including BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra and Asian Network, the top ten stations in the survey had a weekly audience as below:
1 The Hits (Emap) - 1.182 million
2 Smash Hits Radio (Emap) - 926,000
3 BBC7 - 697,000
4 BBC FIVE LIVE SPORTS EXTRA - 649,000
5 BBC Asian Network - 481,000
6 Planet Rock (GCap) - 422,000
7 BBC 6 Music - 400,000
8 BBC 1Xtra - 394,000
9 Q (Emap) - 392,000
10 Heat (Emap) - 296,000
Previous Guardian Media Group:
Previous RAJAR & UK Ratings:
2006-10-27: The Baltimore Sun, which was one of the first papers, if not the first paper, to report problems of interference with FM stations' signals from satellite radio and in particular that Howard Stern's broadcasts had interfered with the National Public Radio (NPR) signal and that of Christian broadcaster Word FM in the Baltimore area (See RNW Apr 30) is now reporting that US National Public Radio (NPR) has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to order recalls of millions of FM modulators that drivers use to play satellite radios and iPods through their car stereos.
The paper says a field study by NPR Labs found that nearly 40 percent of those devices have signal strengths that exceed FCC limits, enabling them to break into FM broadcasts in nearby cars with unwanted programming: This compared to a 75% exceeding power limits in a separate investigation commissioned by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB - See RNW Jun 24).
The Sun quotes a letter sent by newly-appointed NPR CEO Ken Stern - he took over the role this month - to FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin this month as saying the FM modulators have contributed to "unacceptable degradation of the audio quality of public radio stations": Stern continued, "Left unaddressed these modulators pose a significant threat to the provision of public radio's free, over-the-air public and community service."
Stern urged the FCC to conduct a "thorough technical review" not just of satellite radio equipment but at all the most popular FM modulators on sale in the US and pursue a recall of all those found to be violating FCC rules and said the violations are so widespread they "raise "fundamental issues of misrepresentation" in the paperwork that manufacturers submit to the FCC" to gain certification for their products.
The Sun notes that newer modulators can be tuned to use any FM frequency from 87.9 MHz to 107.9 MHz but most of the problems are with older models that only offer frequencies below 89 MHz, a range reserved for non-commercial radio and many of which are supplied tuned to 88.1MHZ, a frequency used by around 80 public radio stations and a similar number of religious broadcasters.
Mike Starling, executive director of NPR Labs, said manufacturers could be temped to increase the power of their device beyond the prescribed limits to avoid static or "reverse" interference from licensed broadcasters and told the paper that millions of devices already in use need to be recalled and replaced with legal devices, adding, " we don't think it's just the satellite radio units. In NPR's tests, "we can clearly hear flash players, and people listening to podcasts. We thought there should be a much broader inquiry."
The NPR tests says the Sun, checking for just two frequencies commonly used by FM modulators, found around 99 vehicles an hour passed their location with active modulators with around 40 operating at illegally high signal levels.
RNW comment: We believe the NPR figures are likely to be fairly accurate (and NAB's - following its usual practice of throwing everything into the mix - likely to be a gross exaggeration of real problems) and they do indicate a potentially serious problem. We also think it is likely to be much more of a problem in terms of modulators used with portable music players - if only because there are so many more of them - than those used for moving a satellite radio signal to an automobile FM.
The logical conclusion for the FCC would be to urgently conduct the review requested by NPR, for owners of devices to look fairly urgently into an alternative (wired as opposed to wireless links from players of satellite radio do not seem to have that much of a problem); for the manufacturers to be pro-active in offering replacements even before the enquiry (in our view they should not, if found to be in breach, merely have to offer a replacement but the customer should have the right to a full refund); for their shareholders to write down the value of their investment, and maybe in the worst cases for the companies involved to start looking at the implications of Chapter 11 bankruptcy moves now.
Ironically, if NAB were an organization to be believed, rather than treated with scepticism because of its history of exaggeration, we would have been making this argument months ago.
Previous Ken Stern:
Baltimore Sun report:
2006-10-27: Clear Channel has now formally confirmed reports on Wednesday that it is considering going private although it has given no details and says that nothing may result. In a statement it said its board is "evaluating various strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value" and said it had retained Goldman, Sachs & Co. as its "financial advisor with its evaluations. "
It added that the process might not result in any specific transaction and said it did not intend to comment publicly on the matter unless a specific transaction was approved by its board.
The New York Times reported that people "involved in the talks" had said the Mays Family was negotiating to be taken private for more than USD 18.5 billion and that those concerned has said "investors, who have been in discussions with Clear Channel for months, include Providence Equity Partners, the Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company."
The paper adds that other potential suitors have emerged including Cerberus Capital Management, Oak Hill Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
2006-10-27: "The Who" guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend has ducked out of a scheduled interview on the Howard Stern Show - which was being offered free on the Internet by Sirius on Wednesday and Thursday this week - after Stern sidekick Robin Quivers brought up the subject of child pornography and Townshend's claims to have been abused as a child.
Townshend, who was arrested in 2003 in London on suspicion of possessing child pornography but cleared of the charges, was listening to the broadcast as he waited in a London studio with his girlfriend Rachel Fuller and fellow Who member Roger Daltrey : He left on hearing the comments, leaving the others to talk to Stern.
In the interview Daltrey defended Townshend, accused Stern of "sniffing dirty underpants" and added, "Can you imagine you're accused of this stuff and then you're found not guilty? If you had to defend yourself through this stuff? The wounds are so deep on the man, and it's just tragic because he's got so much to offer."
Stern ended up apologizing to Townshend, saying on the show, "Tell Pete I am very sorry. We would have had a great interview with him. I really wish he'd reconsider this. We adore him."
San Francisco Chronicle/AP report:
2006-10-27: Corus Entertainment has followed Astral Media (See RNW Oct 26) in reporting a strong 2006 fiscal year: Its combined radio and TV revenues for the year were up 9% with consolidated revenues up 6% to CAD 726.2 million (USD 646.9 million) and their profits were up 11% although overall net income was halved - from CAD 71.1 million (USD 63.3 million - CAD 1.66 per basic and 1.65 per diluted share) a year ago to CAD 35.5 million (USD 31.6 million - CAD 0.84 per basic and 0.82 per diluted share) a year ago as Corus recorded a CAD 132.0 million (USD 117.6 million) pre-tax debt refinancing charge countered in part by a gain of around CAD 37 million (USD 33 million) in income tax rate changes and other income tax items..
For the final quarter of the year, Combined Radio and Television revenues were up 8% and Combined Radio and Television segment profit was up 7% whilst Consolidated revenues were up 6% to CAD 185 million (USD 165 million) and net income jumped up from CAD 917 million (USD 817 million - CAD 0.23 per basic and CAD 0.22 per diluted share) to CAD 46.6 million (USD 41.5 million - CAD 1.11 per basic and CAD 1.09 per diluted share), thanks largely to the CAD 37 million noted above.
In divisional terms, Corus TV revenues for the year were up 11% to CAD 393.3 million (USD 350.3 million) and for the quarter were up 13% to CAD 94.7 million (USD 84.4 million) with its profit up 17% for the year to CAD 164.2 million (USD 146.3 million) and for the quarter up 11% to CAD 34.1 million (USD 30.4 million).
Radio fared less well with revenues for the year up 6% to CAD 268.4 million (USD 239.1 million) and profits for the year down 1% to CAD 68.4 million (USD 60.9 million) whilst for the quarter revenues were up 2% to CAD 66.2 million (USD 59.0 million) and profit was flat at CAD 15.8 million (USD 14.1 million).
Corus noted that the figures were affected by the sale of its Red Deer assets and a multi-station swap in Quebec province and that same station revenues were up 7% for the year with profits 4% for the quarter with profits up 4% whilst for the year revenues were up 6% and profit was up 7%.
Content revenues fared worst - down 12% for the year to CAD 72.1 million (USD 64.2 million) although profit was up from CAD 3.6 million (USD 3.2 million) to CAD 5.6 million (USD 5.0 million) and down 4% for the quarter to CAD 26.8 million (USD 23.9 million) with profits for the quarter up from CAD 1.8 million (USD 1.6 million) to CAD 2.6 million (USD 2.3 million).
President and CEO John Cassaday said of the results, "It was a strong year for Corus and the fourth quarter was no exception. We had another excellent quarter for our Television division, driven by strong ratings and subscriber growth for our brands Our Content business continued to post positive results and Radio remained strong outside Quebec, where we are integrating newly acquired stations."
Corus has continued to buy back stock - by the end of the year it had spent some CAD 36.8 million (USD 32.8 million) on cancelling just over a million Class B Non-Voting Shares - and Executive Chair Heather Shaw added, "We are particularly pleased with the excellent progress that we are making in generating cash. This supports our desire to enhance shareholder value through such means as increased dividends and share buybacks."
Corus also announced a quarterly dividend of CAD 0.2125 and CAD 0.215 for holders of its Class A and Class B shares, respectively: Its shares ended Thursday up 0/7%
2006-10-27: Arbitron and VNU, the owner amongst other companies of Nielsen Media Research and ACNielsen, have announced that Wal-Mart , whose stores spend around USD 600 million a year on advertising, has signed a subscription agreement for the pilot panel of 'Project Apollo,' the single-source, national research service based on Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) system and ACNielsen's Homescan technology.
Wal-Mart will also join the Project Apollo Steering Committee, a select group of seven advertisers who, along with their advertising agencies, are advising Arbitron and VNU on the design of the Project Apollo service that is aimed at giving advertisers better understanding of the link between consumer exposure to advertising on multiple media and their shopping/purchase behaviour..
Arbitron and VNU have deployed a pilot panel of more than 5,000 households as a demonstration of the 'Project Apollo' national marketing research service and Ramon Portilla, Director of Communication Insights, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., said they were "looking to Project Apollo as an innovative research service that will help us understand how multiple touchpoints of our media strategies work, including traditional vehicles and obviously our own store communication touchpoints."
RNW question: Do any of these people ever speak clear jargon-free English?
Previous Nielsen (VNU):
2006-10-26: According to the Financial Times, Clear Channel Communications has been involved in "serious talks" about taking the company private. The paper quoted "people familiar with the situation" as saying that members of the founding Mays family is now more open to the idea of a buy-out after previously rejecting approaches. It says talks were held with a "number of buy-out groups, including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts."
The FT report says its sources said no deal appeared imminent and the negotiations could lead nowhere. It noted that over the past three years Clear Channel shares, which topped USD 50 in 2002 and were above USD 45 at the start of 2004 are now trading around USD 33, valuing the company at a little above USD 16 billion.
Previous Clear Channel:
Financial Times report (Needs subscription):
MSNBC - FT report:
2006-10-26: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced that it is to allow sponsorship of commercial radio and TV stations subject to what it terms "specific safeguards intended to preserve editorial independence, protect the under 18s and ensure the audience is made fully aware of the sponsorship relationship."
Its decision to lift the ban - companies have been allowed to sponsor individual programmes but not a station for the past 15 years in the UK - follows a consultation that attracted 21 responses, the majority supporting removal of the ban: Later research also suggested that audiences were likely to accept such sponsorship.
Under the new rules Ofcom maintains its ban on sponsorship of news and also TV current affairs programming and also prohibits, as now with individual programmes, sponsorship of some programming by specific products: As an example it says an alcohol brand would not be allowed to sponsor a children's programme or channel and gambling companies may not sponsor material targeted at those under 18.
Under the new rules audiences have to be made aware of the sponsorship arrangement and separate sponsors' credits from other advertising and editorial and Ofcom says a sponsor's presence on a TV channel cannot be unduly prominent. It will not allow a broadcaster to name a station after the sponsor but, as at present, a brand known in another field - such as Saga - can hold a broadcasting licence.
The change comes at a time when UK advertising is weak, particularly for commercial TV, and also likely to be adversely affected next month when Ofcom announced details of planned restrictions on advertising junk food.
2006-10-26: Montréal-headquartered Astral Media has reported 2006 revenues up 8% to CAD and fourth quarter revenues up 4% to CAD with consolidated net earnings from continuing operations for the year up 10% to CAD 115 million (USD 102 million - up from CAD 1.87 to CAD 2.14 per share) and for the quarter up 3% to CAD 29.2 million (USD 26 million - up from CAD 0.51 to CAD 0.55 per share): The figures include a one-off impairment charge of CAD 4.2 million (USD 3.7 million - CAD 2.9 million (USD 2.6 million) net of income tax recovery following a review of the business model supporting the Company's radiolibre.ca musical website: Without this its net earnings for the quarter and year would have been up 13%.
Astral has around CAD 69 million in cash and is thought to be a strong candidate for conversion into an income trust but its CFO Claude Gagnon told analysts it was likely to make a major acquisition before any such conversion. Astral says it will instead buy back shares and increase its dividend.
"We might consider conversion, but that's not for today," said Gagnon. "It might be in the wake of a major acquisition, but we believe that by converting to an income trust we would lose a lot of the financial flexibility that we have."
President and CEO Ian Greenberg said 2006 had been a "solid year" for the company and noted that it marked the tenth year of consecutive growth in net earnings.
"This continued success," he said, "is driven by our strong commitment to the subscriber and advertising audiences that we serve. With highly valuable brands, targeted content and increasingly more high-definition, on-demand and broadband services, our Television, Radio and Outdoor Advertising groups are committed to providing consistent quality with a continued emphasis on innovation in all areas of our business."
Commenting on divisional performances Greenberg said he was "delighted" with the contribution of each of Astral's groups, noting, "Both subscriber and advertising revenues for the Television group were up 8% year-over-year with overall pay-television subscribers reaching 1.6 million. In Radio, revenues increased by 7% over last year and, as a result, its EBITDA margin reached 34.7% for the year. In Outdoor, the group's renewed focus on customer service has delivered an 11% increase in revenues for Fiscal 2006 with a 19% increase in EBITDA."
Astral's comments and the announcement by CanWest Global Communications Corp. that it has retained Citigroup Global Markets Inc. to explore opportunities arising out of the new Australian media ownership law passed this month by the Australian Parliament have spurred renewed expectations of media consolidation in Canada.
Astral had been a bidder for CHUM Ltd, which was bought by Bell Globemedia in a CAD 1.4-billion (US 1.25 billion) deal last month (See RNW Sep 14) and Greenberg said it had "made it clear" that it would be a buyer if an opportunity arose in any of its core business areas - TV, radio or outdoor. Amongst potential targets are said to be Corus Entertainment and Standard Broadcasting although Standard's CEO Gary Slaight has said his company is not interested in a sale although it could revive plans for a public offering (See RNW Oct 3).
2006-10-26: Tony O'Reilly's Independent News & Media (INM) is reported by The Australian to have made an AUD 3.8 billion (USD 2.9 billion) bid to buy out minority interests in APN News & Media, Australia's third-biggest media player in which it already has a 41% stake.
The paper says INM is believed to have teamed up with private equity firms and presented directors with a bid about AUD 6.00 a share, a sharp premium to Wednesday's AUD 5.49 a share closing price.
APN owns regional newspapers and outdoor interest as well as having radio and online interests: It is one of New Zealand's largest radio operators and in a joint venture with Clear Channel owns half of the Australian Radio Network
The Australian report:
2006-10-26: Although the major recording companies have agreed settlement concerning "pay-for-play" practices with New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office, according to the New York Times Universal may already have breached its agreement only five months after agreeing to institute new policies to prevent payola-like practices and paying USD 12 million to charity in a settlement.
The paper reports that songs from two labels distributed by Universal were boosted "on the charts after a radio chain was paid to play the tunes as part of commercials late at night in an advertising program that New York state officials say is used to trick radio programmers."
The paper says the settlement with Universal prohibited its executives from buying adverts to mislead the services that compile airplay and say that should Universal purchase a commercial with more than a minute of a song - potentially enough for a tracking service to count it as regular airplay - it has to provide written notice of the advertisement to the services.
Last week, it says, Blackground Records purchased ads that enabled the song, "Too Little, Too Late" by the teenage singer JoJo to climb to the No. 2 position on the nation's mainstream pop radio chart and earlier a representative for Nickelback, a rock band on Roadrunner Records, a Universal-distributed label, paid for ads that inflated the performance of the song "Far Away", which went to No. 1.
It quotes Universal as saying in a statement that it had no ownership interest in Blackground and no management control in Roadrunner and adding, "We're investigating these allegations but the decisions for these two acts were made by these two companies, outside of our control. We made them aware of our new promotion policies and have encouraged them to follow the new procedures."
A spokesman for Spitzer said his office was "aware of the possible violation of the terms of our agreement with Universal" and was investigating the matter.
New York Times report:
2006-10-25: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has again attacked the satellite radio companies, this time in two letters from its president and CEO David K Rehr to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin about their use of terrestrial translators and the offering of free trial subscriptions. NAB has also posted its filing to the FCC on concerning potential future media ownership rules.
In connection with the offer of free subscriptions Rehr writes, "NAB continues to be troubled by the privileged regulatory position that satellite radio enjoys under the Commission's rules, as compared to free over-the-air radio service. This disparate treatment seems increasingly unwarranted given the expanding delivery of complimentary satellite radio services to non subscribers, including persons who object to receiving sexually explicit and profane satellite radio content" and goes on to detail provision of satellite radios in rental cars and also notes the two days of "free" Howard Stern being offered online by Sirius today and tomorrow.
Rehr comments that "an ever-growing portion of the American public now receives satellite radio content free-of-charge, exposing them to content in the same manner as free over-the-air broadcast programming" and calls for an FCC investigation into the "questions raised by free access to satellite radio programming, and to consider whether the unequal regulatory treatment of satellite and broadcast radio should persist."
RNW comment: In regard to this matter our view is that Rehr is either an ignoramus, intellectually challenged, or dishonestly exaggerating facets of the services. To take one example, it is ludicrous to suggest that people logging onto Sirius to listen to Stern free for a couple of days are exposed to content in the same manner as free over-the-air broadcast programming."
His comments are certainly not fair or balanced and the appropriate response in our view would be to thank him kindly and put on the agenda for any investigation the issue of allowing the satellite companies to accept local advertising. Any squawks should be met with a response that having hoisted the petard, Rehr should go into a period of seclusion for at least a year or accept the consequences. Alternatively NAB could fire him and try and be a bit more balanced.
In regard to the issue of translators, Rehr has more of a point. In that, assuming he is accurate in his statements, the satellite companies have made requests for "special temporary authorizations ("STAs") to knowingly continue or resume operating satellite digital audio radio service ("SDARS") terrestrial repeaters that were constructed and deployed inconsistently with the terms and conditions of the STAs under which the FCC initially authorized (and repeatedly re-authorized) Sirius and XM's terrestrial repeater networks."
The question here is the appropriate response and Rehr could it seems to us have made a strong case for sanctions against both of the satellite companies in terms of translators being sited other than at their authorized locations, operated at excessive power levels, or with antennas at heights greater than were authorized without adding unctuous offers of assistance to the FCC in conducting a "full investigation into both the actual and reported operations of Sirius and XM's terrestrial repeater networks, including both companies' conduct and candour before the FCC." As always he seems incapable of resisting the temptation to over egg.
In relation to media ownership, where NAB has made a 139 page submission, the organization supports further deregulation - saying "it is now increasingly difficult to justify broadcast ownership regulation as necessary to ensure that consumers have access to diverse content and viewpoints" and argues for "continuing relaxation of the radio ownership rules."
The links below are to the PDF files of the NAB comments (130 pages) and Exhibits (207 pages) for those interested. Our view is that NAB is driving itself mad in trying at one and the same time to argue that broadcasters are currently doing a terrific job in providing diversity of services, including news and information, yet can't hack competition. The objective, of course, is almost exclusively to protect its existing patch and exclude others from competing whilst proclaiming devotion to competition and the marketplace.
NAB ownership comments (468KB 139 pages PDF):
NAB exhibits re ownership (1.73 MB 207 pages PDF):
2006-10-25: Clear Channel has again fired from WKLS-FM (96Rock) The Regular Guys duo of Larry Wachs and Eric Von Haessler, whom it had already suspended from following a lawsuit against them and the company by hosts Juan Tapia and José Carias of sister station Hispanic Top 40 WWVA-FM (See RNW Oct 22): The previous firing followed airing of graphic interview with pornographic movie actress Devin Lane over a Honda commercial (See RNW April 11, 2004).
In a posting on his web site Wachs wrote on Monday, "As you may have heard, The Regular Guys Show has been terminated once again by Clear Channel Radio. In the past week, my partner, Eric Von Haessler, and I have been silent during a paid suspension while we awaited the results of a company investigation into a minor incident that has since snowballed into something that now demands a public response due to the fact that the principals on the other side are attempting to distort the facts and smear my reputation as a citizen and broadcaster and, in the short term, withhold my income without review or discussion with us."
He then went on to give his version of the background, relating he said, to "March, when the first national Hispanic illegal alien protests were taking place."
Of the incident that led to the suspension and firing he said that Tapia and Carias, who had subsequently complained about his broadcast of comments made in a restroom, had to have seen him and that the recording contained "them yelling insults at me from behind the stall doors which proves they knew I was there, knew I was recording, blowing up their claims of expectation of privacy They refused to talk to me like men. They chose to go into the bathroom stall and shout epithets in Spanish, not knowing I understand enough to know they were insulting me."
Wachs then concluded the blog by writing, "I have been more than willing, at the company's request, to agree in writing not to even so much as speak of Yogi and Panda on the air going forward, for the sake of company harmony, and clear up any misconceptions they have about my opinion of them personally, which was on the favorable side, since they serve their audience well and deliver good ratings numbers and revenue A case of a humorous prank has turned into a culture clash, a suppression of 1st Amendment rights, and a ridiculous smear campaign against me as well as termination of my income without due process."
Wachs took up the issue again on Tuesday, this time thanking those who had e-mailed support but attacking terrestrial radio in the US, writing, "the way radio is going, everything you love will be available on the internet anyway, including TRG. I give it less than 5 years before everyone's car radio is hooked up to the net, and the subpar people who did this to us will be glancing wistfully at their now worthless FCC licenses and rusty satellite hulks like so many boxes of Brien Taylor rookie cards whilst noshing on another delicious Van de Kamp offering"
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Regular Guys:
Regular Guys web site:
2006-10-25: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced that it is to advertise a new national digital licence in November - to be followed by more adverts of local digital multiplexes over the next year.
The latter will be for Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire in December; Derbyshire in January next year; Wrexham & Chester in February; Herefordshire & Worcestershire in March; Northamptonshire in April; Oxfordshire in May; York & Scarborough in June; Gloucestershire in July; Pembrokeshire & Carmarthenshire in August; Guildford, Surrey, in September; Reigate & Crawley in October; and Lincolnshire in November;
The national multiplex is expected to be awarded in June or July next year with the service to be launched in 2008 following freeing up of the spectrum to be used by the end of next year. When plans for it were initially announced there was strong opposition - and threats of legal action - by GCap Media, which owns 63% of the existing commercial national multiplex Digital One (See RNW Jul 26, 2005) but GCap's opposition was eased when Ofcom said the new multiplex would have to offer services that were distinct from those on Digital One (See RNW Oct 20, 2005).
Ofcom has also posted the reasons behind its decision to award the new Oxford and South Oxfordshire commercial FM licence to Absolute Radio's bid with a Jack-FM format, the first station with this format in the UK. It notes that it had stressed the ability to maintain the proposed service and that in connection with this Absolute planned to co-locate the new station with Oxford's FM 107.9, which it co-owns, thus offering "resource-sharing and cross-selling opportunities which would help to enhance the likely financial stability of the service."
The Radio Licensing Committee (RLC), it said, "recognised the realism of the group's financial projections when compared with the performance of existing stations of a similar size and the forecasts of other applicants; this was considered of particular importance given the strength of competition that the new service is likely to face. It also considered that the applicant had demonstrated demand for the format within the target audience group as well as the results of an advertiser survey that "helped to demonstrate the potential commercial viability of the proposed service."
Previous GCap Media:
2006-10-25: Macquarie Media has responded with a qualified denial to a report in "The Australian" newspaper that it had put a price-tag of AUD 600 million (USD 455 million ) on its Macquarie Regional Radioworks , which has 85 radio licences that cover around 60 per cent of regional Australia,
In a statement it says that it would not normally comment on media speculation but had been requested by the Australian Stock Exchange to respond and then says it " has not received any offer to buy Macquarie Regional Radioworks, nor has there been any decision to sell the business."
The response does not rule out a sell were a suitable bidder to emerge and the company did not comment on the other parts of the report that said the decision to sell was "believed to have been prompted by the new media laws' stricter requirements for regional radio stations to produce more local content, thereby preventing broadcasts from a network's stations from outside local areas" and adds that Macquarie has warned it would have to close at least 10 stations in Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland because of the new laws.
Previous Macquarie Media:
The Australian report:
2006-10-24: "Howard Stern offentliggør indslag og gaester i forbindelse med SIRIUS Internet Radio's verdensomspaendende to-dages show" Sirius, it seems, is trying to promote itself internationally with news releases about its Internet Radio being released in a number of languages other than English.
They included Danish, Finnish, French, German, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish but not so far that we have noted any oriental languages - no Chinese or Japanese - or Russian or countries that were part of the former Soviet Union.
The releases were linked to the launch of an Internet-only service by Sirius with a promotional two free days on October 25 and 26 (See RNW Oct 17) and Sirius has now given details of special programming and guests for the two days.
On Howard Stern's Show this will include interviews with Pete Townshend of "The Who", Sharon Osbourne, and Danny Bonaduce and also a radio drama about relationships - "The Bitter Half", a radio drama about relationships, written and produced by Sam Simon, one of the original developers of "The Simpsons". There will also be various specials on the Sirius music and sports channels.
RNW note: Rival XM also offers its service online -currently at USD 7.99 per month compared to USD 12.95 for Sirius - but seems to have missed out on marketing the service compared to Sirius.
It will presumably rectify this at some stage but with the growth of broadband it certainly seems to make sense for the satellite radio companies to take advantage of the reach of the Internet albeit bandwidth could be expensive compared to broadcast costs if large numbers are attracted. At the same time satellites aren't cheap and we'd love to see some authoritative figures on how much per customer a stream would cost compared to satellite. Whatever the answer it makes sense for the companies to tap into a global market providing they can get over any copyright problems.
2006-10-24: Australian radio broadcasters are to add UBC's Unique Interactive's EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) system to its digital radio trial in Sydney in advance of the rollout of digital radio services across the country.
The system allows broadcasters to manage and update EPG data and Joan Warner, chief executive officer of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, noted that it would allow listeners to see detailed program information about their radio stations up to a week in advance.
"We believe features such as electronic program guides and the ability to download music directly from digital radios will add a lot of consumer excitement to the launch of digital radio in 2009," she said.
In addition to current trials of Eureka DAB radio, Australian stations are to begin a separate technical trial of DAB using the more advanced AAC-plus coding than the MP2 system currently used in the UK, which is also to trial the newer system: The Australian government favours the newer system because it will allow more efficient use of spectrum and would give broadcasters the option of delivering one high quality audio signal or split the signal into more than one signal or a combination of audio and date.
"If the trial is successful, this next generation technology future proofs the industry's investment in digital radio and it's a win win for both the government and broadcasters, because it means we can offer a richer, free to air radio experience for listeners without requiring massive amounts of broadcasting spectrum," said Warner.
"Radio is holding its own against the onslaught of new technology," she added, "but moving to digital will put us on a new playing field in terms of our ability to compete and provide innovative content."
First receivers compatible with the new coding are expected to be available in mid-2008, around the time test transmissions are planned for key metropolitan areas and ahead of the planned full-scale launch of digital radio in key Australian markets the following year.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2006-10-24: BBC radio producer Paul Walters, best known as producer of the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show "Wake Up To Wogan" hosted by (Sir) Terry Wogan, has died in hospital aged 59: He had first worked with Wogan in 1980 and produced the show until his illness was diagnosed last year.
Wogan said of him, "To know Paul Walters was to love him. His character was in his smile. He was charming and he was relaxed, almost to the point of sleep sometimes.
"He was the self-styled 'best putter in the world' and he was also the best music programmer in the world. Millions of listeners will mourn the loss of a friend. Me too."
BBC Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas added to the tribute, saying, "Paul Walters was a uniquely talented producer. He loved radio, music and Wake Up To Wogan.
"In return he was loved by every individual who knew him in Radio 2 and by millions of listeners to the station.
"His relationship with Terry Wogan produced magical radio which will be remembered with affection for years to come."
Walters, who grew up in Hertfordshire, joined the BBC as a Trainee Film Assistant in 9173 but then moved to Radio 2 as a producer working on "The Early Show" in 1977 and later on other shows in the early 80s including "You The Night And The Music", "Nightride", "The John Dunn Show", "Ed Stewart", "David Jacobs" and "The Terry Wogan Show."
He briefly returned to TV in 1983 but then went back to Radio 2 although in 1988 he combined radio and TV when he worked on "Wogan's Web" on mid-morning BBC TV whilst still doing the Radio 2 breakfast show. He had continued to be involved with choosing music for "Wake up with Wogan" during his illness.
2006-10-24: Veteran WCBS-AM radio reporter Mary Gay Taylor has died aged 71 at her home in Vermont of breast cancer, which had first been diagnosed when she was 49 but then went into remission for 17 years, according to her sister.
Taylor was with WCBS for more than 30 years and in her career as a City Hall reporter covered four New York City mayors including Ed Koch, who served three terms, from 1978 to 1989 and told the station, "It was a delight to talk to her, and she was intelligent and responsible."
Taylor had continued to work until 2002, despite her illness and in September 2001 rushed from City Hall to cover the 9/11 attacks, having to dive under a police vehicle to escape falling rubble when the second World Trade Center tower collapsed.
WCBS correspondent Irene Cornell said Taylor thought she had died but "she moved her hand and realized she was alive. She was pulled out by a police officer, but she ended up fighting with him because she left her tape recorder under the truck. He wouldn't let her get it."
She then walked back to the station covered in ash and went on air but, said Cornell "apologized for losing her tape recorder. That was Mary Gay. She was a stoic. She never complained about anything."
2006-10-23: This week, White House meetings and the release of a biography of Australian talk host Alan Jones form the crux of most of our look at print comment on radio, and, particularly in these instances the power or otherwise of the medium to influence politics.
In the first case, the meeting was between President Bush and conservative talk hosts, a meeting picked up by Charles Karel Bouley writing in the Huffington Post as a "major market talk show host under the heading "Talking Points from God".
[RNW note: Bouley under the name Karel is a weekend host at KGO-AM and was with his late partner Andrew Howard half of the first openly homosexual duo to host a show on a major US station ]
After various disparaging comments about the hosts he continued, "I never realized the danger of their kind until recently. On a Friday afternoon, in my house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, my president took almost two hours at a time of war and North Korea blowing stuff up to meet with the higher echelon of conservative talk radio. There he sat, George W., with the likes of Hannity, Medved, Ingram...everyone except Rush. Why? Well, because they were getting out of control. They were beginning to question the administration on air, as even a blind deaf mute would begin to do at this point, and that meant dissent in the ranks. Can't have that, so get them in here."
"No liberals were invited," he continues, " No, just arch conservative talkers were in the room for an hour and a half."
The reason. Mid-terms of course: "The President hopes that winning over these conservative talkers--and it worked from the shows these people did after their visits--will set his party back on track, boost his ratings and win his party both houses. It just proves how out of touch he is, and how much of political whores these hosts are."
And of the host's function, "I have a duty when I go on air to give an honest opinion, one that I have gathered from research of all kinds, talking to various parties concerned and using my own intellect to render a decision. These hosts have betrayed their audiences and their craft by pandering to an unethical, power-crazed regime just so they can sit in the Oval or keep their big fat pay checks coming. They are liars and hypocrites, willing to sell their show and their opinions and hurt the country while doing it."
With less partisan comment - and down a step - or is it sideways? - on the political ladder, Howard Kurtz in his Media Notes in the Washington Post comments, "I'm sure no one was terribly shocked when George Bush sat down with Bill O'Reilly and Dick Cheney chatted up Rush Limbaugh.
It's election season, the White House has launched a media blitz, and those seen as sympathetic get first dibs.
Kurtz then goes on to comment in terms of "playing-to-the-base interviews" about the "questions from commentators who constantly rip the MSM."
He concentrates on Rush Limbaugh's "interview" of Vice President Cheney listing a number of questions - or should it be soft propaganda set ups - posed - or placed - by Limbaugh.
RNW comment: See the link below for details but there is obviously a significant cultural difference between the UK and US in relation to attitudes in that for most Britons anyone asking the questions Limbaugh did would be seen either as a Member of Parliament asking a question solely to ingratiate himself or herself with the leadership or an unctuous creep - maybe the same thing mush of the time - and would have little credibility.
Kurtz by the way goes on to note that Bill O'Reilly did ask "a number of harder-edged questions about the war and detainee interrogations, though never in the adversarial tone that "Factor" viewers have come to know and love" and goes on to cite examples.
In Australia, Alan Jones could fairly be regarded as the nearest equivalent to Rush Limbaugh, albeit he is very much a Sydney host rather than a syndicated national one, and a biography just released about him by Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist and author Chris Masters has led to a spate of articles about Jones, his character, and his political influence.
"Jonestown", which was to have been published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, was dropped by the corporation, leading to some suggestions that it did so because the book outed Jones as being involved in homosexual encounters (See RNW Jul 6): It is now being published by Allen & Unwin and is expected to be a best-seller.
Masters, in an excerpt from the Book published in the Sydney Morning Herald , describes Jones as "Australia's most prolific correspondent" and continues, "And while Jones says he is lobbying for Struggle Street, there is a bulk of evidence to show he lobbies also for powerful mates, and most particularly, if indirectly, for himself."
Obviously no fan of Jones, he later writes, "So if his program is not reliable and impartial, if his audience is neither huge nor representative, and if his influence is understood to be often negative, why do politicians continue to deal with him? The answer has a lot to do with the talk radio medium, which has risen in influence during the Jones era."
He then continues, "As the Australian Broadcasting Authority showed, Jones is for sale. The only thing in doubt is the price. As we have seen, Jones's admiration and aggression have been bought for large sums of money, but they have also been bought for next to nothing. It might take no more than a fawning letter, especially one delivered by a handsome envoy. What is important is a show of homage."
As to the wider picture, The West Australian lists a number of Jones's characters in a report "Alan Jones 'struggles with sexuality'" that says Masters' book has Jones leading "seven separate lives - not one of them his own."
"There is ," it writes, "the blokey, foul-mouthed ex-football coach; the courtly, non-swearing charmer of older women; the farmer's (miner's/union official's/teacher's) son; the thwarted prime minister; the ombudsman of Struggle Street; the Oxford orator; and the hidden homosexual, forever hunting for love among the twenty somethings."
After comment mainly on conservative hosts, we felt we should introduce a little counter comment relating to progressive talk, particularly since the Bankruptcy filing of progressive US talk network Air America has led to some crowing from the right about its failure.
The Los Angeles Times, however, does not see the filing as the end for progressive talk and in a report headed, "As Air America Stumbles, What's Radio Got Left?" Steve Carney writes that while "right-wing critics are gleefully writing the epitaph for liberal talk radio other observers say that regardless of whether Air America survives, an audience exists and will remain for left-leaning hosts."
Carney quotes Perry Michael Simon, news-talk-sports editor of AllAccess.com, an online journal of the radio industry, and himself a former talk radio programmer, as saying, "There's a market for good talk radio, no matter what the political label is. The key is that if it's entertaining talk radio first and liberal second, it can work."
Simon says the problem is "that the entire category of liberal talk is judged by what Air America is doing" and Carney goes on to quote Don Martin, program director at Clear Channel's KTLK-AM , Air America's affiliate in Los Angeles, as saying, "We're trying to take this progressive format and make it radio, not make it a cause. I don't want them [listeners] coming here because they call it 'Air America.' "
In the case of KTLK, which carries around 13 hours a day of Air America, Carney notes that the "key time slots of 6 to 9 a.m., held by Los Angeles-based Stephanie Miller, a self-described 'liberal wacko,' and noon to 3 p.m., with Ed Schultz, a red-state former Republican. Both are radio veterans, another quality lacking in many of the hosts who populate Air America's schedule."
As for Air America, the prognostications from Simon were not good. He said he expected it to continue through the mid-term election and maybe to the end of the year then either fold or change into a syndicate offering a few shows, rather than a network trying to maintain an expensive full slate of programming.
"It's a shame," he said. "This was an opportunity to create really good, new talk radio. It was misbegotten from the start, not a project of people who knew radio and wanted to create something long-term. "Their core audience isn't big enough to sustain a commercial operation the way they're spending money."
Finally a more general article on getting into radio from J.A. Montalbano writing in the Albuquerque Tribune: It says the requirements are "passion, patience and a willingness to work cheap" and quotes Milt McConnell, market manager for Citadel Broadcasting's eight stations in Albuquerque, as saying there's never a problem recruiting young people to help set up speakers or do other work at live remotes.
"There's a payoff for them, because they're in the know now," McConnell said. Or maybe it's a gig as a gofer at the balloon fiesta. "That's not really work for them," he said. "That's them getting paid to have fun. There's still an entertainment value to radio."
The "fun" element seemed high on the agenda for several of those subsequently quoted including Brian McMath who works for USD 7 an hour doing fill-in weekend shifts at hard-rock KTEG-FM.
"People say, `I want a job that I love and look forward to going to every day," McMath says. "This is that job. Sure, loving your job doesn't pay the gas bill. But it's an incredible feeling to be part of this. And that goes a long way."
Not everybody agrees about the prospects for the medium, however, and freelance producer Paul Ingles, who was production director at KUNM in the 1990s, comments in relation to the consolidation of ownership, "The job pool has shrunk dramatically since I got out of college in 1978. I don't tell (students) that story to paint a completely hopeless picture, but it's one thing people should understand when they start looking for jobs."
To break into radio, he says, "You have to be a little more extraordinary. You have to be a little more patient. And you have to live on less, because the dream salaries are few and far between."
On however to listening suggestions and to begin with a complete change of pace as we suggest BBC Radio 3's "Composer of the Week" as a start.
After Sir Malcolm Arnold last week (The first programme will be online for a few hours until today's programme airs - it runs 11:00 to noon GMT on weekdays with a Midnight repeat the following week), this week the composer is Miles Davis.
Also sticking with music, the BBC on Wednesday airs the first of its programmes on the "Electric Proms", a series of concerts being broadcast from various London venues this week with artists including Paul Weller and Jamiroquai on Wednesday (the former airing from the Roundhouse at 20:00 GMT on 6 Music and the latter from the Jazz Café at the same time on 1Xtra but fortunately the web site listen again offerings give a second chance to hear the one that was missed. The events run until next Monday and there is a special web site listing the events.
After music talk - we can't suggest 2GB in Sydney for Alan Jones this week because he's away - but for media talk there is the "Media Report" from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Thursdays; "On the Media" from WNYC, on Fridays, and "Media Matters" from WILL-AM on Sundays. All are available as MP3s with recent programmes or complete archives available as streams or MP3s.
Next history, courtesy of Radio Netherlands whose "Documentary" programme on Wednesday tells the tale of Australia's first European inhabitants, Jan Pelgrom and Wouter Loos, two of the youngest of the Batavia mutineers (The Batavia (What is now Djakarta was then Batavia) was a Dutch East Indies Company ship that was wrecked off the coast of Western Australia in June, 1629, and some of whose crew mutinies and killed many of the other survivors of the shipwreck. The two escaped execution but were marooned on the Australian mainland as punishment. The wreck of the Batavia was discovered relatively intact in June 1963.
Reverting to the BBC and ABC, we suggest two programmes that looked at the issue of the various forms of veil in the light of the current debate in the UK following comments made on the matter by former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and also the case of a British teaching assistant suspended because she wore the niq?b - the full veil that covers the mouth: She lost her claim against her school after it was accepted that the decision was made because the niq?b interfered with the effectiveness of teaching.
The issues were aired last week in the BBC Radio 4 "Moral Maze" programme and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Religion Report", the former online as a stream, the latter as a stream or MP3.
Next history again but this time tomorrow on BBC Radio 4 at 20:30 GMT with "Hungary's Unfinished Business" in which James Maw visits Budapest to see how the Hungarian Uprising is remembered. 50 years after the 1956 uprising whilst on Saturday "The Archive Hour" on BBC Radio 4 at 19:00 GMT features Professor Scott Lucas looking at the key role played by the British intelligence services in the ill-fated invasion of Egypt in the 1956 Suez Crisis - until then last week's edition on the story of the Electrophone, the first sound broadcasting service to operate in Britain is on the web site.
Finally to end the week comedy from the BBC with Radio 4 and "The News Quiz" at 17:30 GMT on Friday and the Saturday noon GMT "Out to Lunch" on BBC Radio 2 .
Albuquerque Journal - Montalbano:
BBC Electric Proms site:
Huffington Post - Bouley:
Los Angeles Times - Carney:
Sydney Morning Herald - Masters on Jones:
Washington Post - Kurtz:
The West Australian on Alan Jones:
2006-10-23: Veteran British DJ John Peel, who died of a heart attack in Peru in October 2004 (See RNW Oct 27, 2004) left his widow Sheila Ravenscroft nearly all of his estate , valued at GBP 1,825,386 (USD 3.43 million) - reduced after liabilities to GBP 1,752,633 (USD 3.3 million) and including GBP 263,000 (USD 495,000) in trust to his children.
It also includes his collection of recordings that has been reported as including 26,000 LPs, 40,000 singles and 40,000 CDs. There were suggestions last year that it could end up housed in the British Library's audio collections (See RNW Oct 10, 2005).
His will, details of which have just been revealed, did not give any instructions as to what should be done with the recordings - mainly stored in outbuildings at his Suffolk home and containing many demonstration discs sent to him by bands as well as commercial recordings - beyond asking his wife "(but without imposing any binding obligation) to give effect to any wishes of mine which may come to her attention as to their disposal."
Peel was known for championing many then-unknown groups and performers including Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Blur, Pulp, and The Undertones, creators of his favourite track "Teenage Kicks." In 2001, Peel said that he wanted his headstone to be engraved with his name and words from a lyric in the recording "Teenage dreams, so hard to beat".
2006-10-23:The New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority has ruled that Radio New Zealand was unfair to Labour MP David Benson-Pope, currently the New Zealand environment minister but at the time the then Associate Minister of Education, in an interview carried on its Nine-to-Noon programme in May last year.
It has ordered it to pay pay NZD 5,000 (USD 3,350) in costs to him and a further NZD 2,000 (USD 1,350) in costs to the Crown: Benson-Pope has said that his legal costs were NZD 20,413.99 (USD 13,650) and asked for an award of at least NZD 12,000 (USD 8.000) with NZD 5,000 (USD 3,350) in costs to the Crown..
Benson-Pope, who had been appointed Minister of Social Development and Employment and Minister for the Environment after the 2005 New Zealand General Election, was alleged to have bullied pupils at a high school many years before as a teacher and as a result of the allegations was stood down from the cabinet.
Radio New Zealand had been accused in a complaint by Benson-Pope of being "unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair" but only the unfairness complaint was upheld: The BSA said regarding balance that the broadcaster had made reasonable efforts to present different perspectives and regarding the inaccuracy complaint declined to determine the accuracy of some allegations but said describing a caning as a "beating" - in an introduction relating to a caning as punishment - was not inaccurate.
The complain upheld related to the airing of comments by an unidentified man who said that he had been bullied by Benson-Pope who had picked on him, on one occasion caned him until he drew blood, had laughed while caning him and enjoyed administering corporal punishment. It also related to a complaint that the presenter had said he refused to be interviewed when Benson-Pope said the programme producer had been told that the Minister denied the allegations but was unavailable for interview because of his ministerial business.
Radio New Zealand had not upheld the complaints and Benson-Pope had then referred the matter to the BSA, which, in upholding the unfairness complaint, noted the anonymity of the accuser - which made the interview likely to be inherently unfair and absence of any serious challenge to the accuser's story by the interviewer. It also said it was not satisfied that the broadcaster took sufficient steps to verify the interviewee's credibility or the information he provided before granting him anonymity.
The BSA rejected another complaint by Benson-Pope over a TV News report concerning allegations that he had treated female students inappropriately when he was teaching some 20 years earlier.
In another radio case, the BSA did not uphold a complaint against Canwest Radioworks Ltd and its "Radio Live" talkback over the manner in which a host cut off a caller after around two minutes , said that she had her own agenda, and said, "Got her own agendas that woman and wants to start talking like that on air, I can't be bothered talking to her because it's just ridiculous. She shouldn't ring up actually, it's not even appropriate but I won't go into who that is."
The BSA, declining to uphold the complaint, said that "in light of the robust nature of talkback radio" it did not accept that the caller was unfairly treated.
Previous New Zealand BSA:
Previous Radio New Zealand:
2006-10-22: Last week the main issues in the news for regulator again related to ownership regulation - in Australia where new laws have now passed through Parliament ( See RNW Oct 20) and the US, where there has been renewed criticism of media consolidation with relation to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans for new rules, including the release of research saying that consolidation had already gone too far in many places (See RNW Oct 21): Otherwise there was a steady flow of routine decisions.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), has found that two community stations breached regulations relating to advertising and sponsorship but said that action taken by the licensees in each case was sufficient to address the compliance issues raised.
In one case the University of Newcastle, the licensee of community radio station 2NUR, Newcastle, broadcast advertisements and sponsorship announcements that ran in total for more than five minutes per hour, in breach of licence conditions.
The licensee says it now intends to limit sponsorship broadcasts to four minutes and thirty seconds per hour and will take steps to ensure that advertisements are not broadcast in the future and the ACMA considered these steps sufficient to address compliance issues raised.
In a second case Deepwater & Districts Community FM Radio Inc, the licensee of 2CBD, Deepwater, was found to have broadcast adverts. The licensee responded by telling the ACMA that all presenters had completed a training program conducted by trainers approved by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, and that training will be ongoing: It also said it had contacted an experienced Sydney community radio station and is using that station's resources "to aid it in the process of an internal audit of its broadcasting procedures and reporting responsibilities to ensure that there is no repeat of the violation".
The ACMA has also announced that it has commissioned an independent review of government spectrum holdings to help it better achieve an appropriate balance between use by the government and others of spectrum (See RNW Oct 20).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) yet again posted only a few radio related matters: These included (in order of province):
*Short-term renewal until August 31, 2010 of English-language commercial station CFQR-FM, Montréal. The CRTC noted that this licence, due to expire on August 31 this year, had already been extended to the end of this year and also that the short-term renewal would allow it to consider apparent non-compliance with a licence condition limiting the broadcast of hits to a maximum 49.9%.
*Approval of an application by Radio Nord Communications inc. for a broadcasting licence to carry on a French-language FM radio programming undertaking in Québec. The station concerned will continue the operation of CHOI-FM, the then-Genex Communications station whose licence renewal was refused by the CRTC in 2004 because failed to comply with repeated demands to end abusive comments by former morning radio host Jean-François (Jeff) Fillion and part-time co-host André Arthur (See RNW July 14, 2004). Radio Nord said it would offer an alternative rock music format that would target an audience of young adults 18 to 34 years of age and focus on local content and provide 100% local programming.
The CRTC also posted a public notice concerning a hearing on December 18 at its Quebec HQ, with a deadline of November 23 for the submission of interventions or comments. Radio related applications were:
*Application by Education Alternative Radio Society for a licence for a 510 watts English-language community-based campus FM in Prince George.
Application by Newcap Inc. to convert CFDR-AM, Halifax, to a 21,000 watts alternative rock format FM. In addition the applicant has requested exemption from Canadian ownership limits that in the Halifax market would limit it to two FMs broadcasting in the same language. In Halifax, Newcap already owns CFRQ-FM and a half-share in CKUL-FM and it says that if it is not given the exemption it would divest itself of its interest in CKUL.
*Application by S. S. TV Inc. for a 1,000 watts day-time and 680 watts night-time English-language commercial (ethnic) AM in Brampton.
*Application by FormationPLUS, Centre de formation francophone pour adultes to operate a 40-watts FM transmitter in Chapleau to distribute the programming of CHYC-FM originating from Sudbury.
*Application by Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation for a 5,330 watts English-language classic adult contemporary format and thematic commercial FM in Goderich targeting a 35-64 year old demographic.
*Application on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a licence for a primarily third-language 1,000 watts day-time and night time ethnic commercial AM in Mississauga.
*Application by CHUM Ltd to convert CKLC-AM, Kingston, to a 15,000 watts FM
*Application by CHUM Ltd to convert CKPT-AM, Peterborough, to a 17,000 watts FM
*Application by Radio Humsafar Inc. to operate a 1,000 watts day-time and night-time commercial ethnic radio programming AM in Montréal.
In Ireland there were no radio decisions from the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) but it has now published the brochure for its National Broadcasting Conference to be held in Dublin on Wednesday, November 8th, and Thursday, November 9th.
The Conference Dinner on the Wednesday evening is to be addressed on the topic of "Identity & Relationships in a Changing Media Environment" by Lord Puttnam (the film producer David Puttnam).
Sessions on the Thursday include an address by the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey and sessions on various topics including Broadcasting and the Internet; Community Broadcasting; funding diversity for broadcasting; a "Comparative Analysis of DAB, DVB-H and Third Generation Mobile from a content and technology perspective" and a debate on the BAI Bill that would create a single Irish communications regulator.
Things were fairly quiet in the UK where the main radio decision from Ofcom was to call for public comment on an application to change Smooth FM, London, to an easy listening station (See RNW Oct 21). Ofcom also published its latest broadcasting bulletin, upholding no complaints against radio (See RNW Oct 17)
It has also published guidance notes for those wishing to develop unlicensed radio equipment, such as micro transmitters to allow portable music players to link to an automobile radio.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as already noted continues to come under criticism in relation to proposals to ease media ownership regulations.
It also announced a number of enforcement decisions, confirming a USD 16,000 penalty on a Puerto Rice AM for antenna visibility breaches (See RNW Oct 19) and the rejection of calls to overturn the settlements it reached with Emmis and Viacom/Infinity Radio - now CBS Corporation - over their breaches of its "indecency" regulations (See RNW Oct 18).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-10-22: US duo The Regular Guys - Larry Wachs and Eric Von Haessler - who were fired from WKLS-FM (96Rock) by Clear Channel after a graphic interview with pornographic movie actress Devin Lane was accidentally aired over a Honda commercial (See RNW April 11, 2004) but were taken back by Clear Channel, Atlanta., last year (On WGST-AM -See RNW Mar 4, 2005 - and then in May returned to WKLS (96Rock) - are being sued, along with the company, by fellow Clear Channel morning hosts Juan Tapia and José Carias.
Tapia and Carias co-host "Yogi y Panda por la Mañana" on Clear Channel's Hispanic Top 40 WWVA-FM (Viva 105.7) and the Atlanta Business Journal reports that in their lawsuit they claim that the Guys made several offensive on-air statements about their sexual orientation, race and nationality, and that Clear Channel "largely ignored" their complaints about the matter.
They allege that Wachs followed them into a restroom at Clear Channel on October 9, recorded their conversation and "certain offensive sounds while they were utilizing the facilities" and then played the recording during their show the next day.
The Journal says the two are seeking unspecified damages for invasion of privacy and for Clear Channel's decision to re-hire the Guys and their attorney says further comment will be made on Monday at a news conference.
It says that Chuck Deskins, who oversees Clear Channel's five Atlanta stations, was not available for comment when it went to press but notes that the Guys have been off air since the lawsuit was filed on Tuesday with "best-of" shows being aired.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Regular Guys:
Atlanta Business Journal report:
2006-10-22: XM Satellite Radio has extended until November 10 the deadline for investors to take up its offer of a premium for conversion of its 10% Senior Secured Discount Convertible Notes due 2009.
It says at midnight on Thursday tenders had only been received for less than a quarter of the notes outstanding - approximately USD 22.6 million of approximately USD 99.9 million.
2006-10-21: Loosening media ownership limits in the US would harm local communities and give them fewer choices for news and views according to research released by the lobby group Media and Democracy Coalition (MDC), which criticized proposals to ease regulation made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
MDC says the research was conducted in 12 states - Arkansas, California, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington - and found that in every one most citizens already live in highly concentrated media markets with few choices for news and views.
It gives various examples of scenarios that could take place were limits relaxed and says more media consolidation would further reduce already insufficient local news coverage, eliminate diverse voices and viewpoints and, in every case, exceed US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission Merger Guidelines.
Chellie Pingree, President of MDC member organization Common Cause, commented in a news release: "If Americans lose access to views and news, media moguls may grow richer, but America's democracy will be poorer. America's democracy works best when citizens have access to a wide diversity of views and plenty of local news. These are two of our nation's most important media policy goals."
Gene Kimmelman, vice president for federal and international policy at Consumers Union, another MDC member, added, "It is simply not acceptable that the Federal Communications Commission would approve a local media merger with 'no questions asked,' when that same merger exceeds US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission Merger Guidelines. A healthy democracy requires that local media outlets compete with each other, not consolidate, to ensure the public has access to diverse and independent sources of news and opinion. The FCC's proposed rules are bad for consumers and bad for democracy."
Ben Scott, Policy Director of Free Press, another MDC member, said "media moguls" planned to "combine local broadcasting with print, cable and telecommunications outlets to create conglomerates with unprecedented power over what we see, hear and read" and that this would mean the moguls would control "which voices are heard -- and which are silenced - across America."
The study's author, Dr. Mark Cooper, Director of Research, Consumer Federation of America, another MDC member, said the evidence was "overwhelmingly clear that further relaxation or elimination of media ownership limits by the FCC is not in the public interest."
"This research," he added, "taken together with the FCC's own research that it suppressed, proves that media concentration in local markets, consolidation into national chains, and conglomeration across media types all harm localism and diversity in local news markets. Local TV stations and local daily newspapers continue to be the dominant sources of local news and the most influential by far. The Internet is not a significant source of local news. In fact, the few who go online for local news frequently surf to the web sites of the local TV station or the local daily newspaper. The misguided rules the FCC proposed are simply out of touch with these facts."
Media Democracy web site - page links to reports on research in each of the 12 states listed.
2006-10-21: SMG shares plunged by nearly a fifth on Friday to end the day at 55.5 pence having dropped to a low of 49 pence following an update that said its profits would fall "materially behind its previous expectations": It added that it was in discussions with its banks in relation to a potential breach of certain of its financial covenants and a satisfactory outcome is expected." SMG had debts of GBP 152 million (USD 286 million) at the end of June.
Although SMG did not give details beyond saying that said that its TV and Pearl and Dean cinema advertising revenues were "being particularly affected "in the fourth quarter of this year, it is thought that these will each be down by about a fifth on a year ago.
SMG, which is disposing of its cinema and outdoor assets said that its Primesight outdoor business and Virgin radio were performing well and that it had "received a significant number of expressions of interest in both Primesight and Pearl & Dean" but added that the Primesight sale was proceeding more quickly.
This has led to speculation that it may have problems getting a good price for Pearl and Dean and also brought renewed speculation that it could become the target of a bid.
UTV had proposed a nil-premium merger in August (See RNW Aug 19) at which stage it was valued around GBP 199 million then USD 377 million) compared to GBP 226 million (USD 428 million) for SMG: It increased the bid slightly to offer SMG shareholders 52% of a merged company but pulled out last month after SMG rejected this, wanting around 55% (See RNW Sep 21). Ironically UTV's current valuation would now give it around 55% of a merged company.
The withdrawal of the offer means UTV cannot now make a bid until March unless there is a material change in circumstances, which would include a rival bid or SMG changing its mind and recommending a merger.
2006-10-21: "Celebrity Drug Disasters", a five piece band from New South Wales who fuse rock and dance, has won this year's Australian commercial radio New Artists to Radio (NA2R) event, organized by industry body Commercial Radio Australia. They took the award in competition from a total of ore than 160 submissions by emerging artists who had yet to sign a record deal.
Their prize includes AUD 100,000 (USD 76,000) in radio advertising across the four major radio networks: Austereo, Nova, Australian Radio Network and Macquarie Regional Radioworks and should boost their album "Art or Porn?" which is to be released this month.
The entries were narrowed down to four finalists - the other three were Mark Wilkinson, a Sydney singer/songwriter; Bobby Kidd, a Melbourne pop/rock musician ;and Kurtis, a Byron Bay outfit performing mostly funky dance tracks: Austereo Network Programming Integration Director Grant Tothill said any of them could easily have won.
He added that all had a "great commercial radio sound" and said, "In the end we went with Celebrity Drug Disasters based on the votes in the room on the night and the panel's final decision. Celebrity Drug Disasters have a great unique sound and will appeal to a broad listening audience."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2006-10-21: UK media regulator Ofcom has called for public comment on an application by Guardian Media Group (GMG) to change its London Smooth FM station - currently described as a station "targeted at London listeners of all ages who particularly like jazz, soul, Blues and R'n'B" to an easy-listening station targeting over-50s, with lifestyle speech.
The regulator says the change would be so substantial that it requires public consultation, although it notes that GMG proposes to retain the 45 hours of specialist jazz programmes it currently broadcasts in off peak hours.
Smooth FM was originally Jazz FM, a station launched in 1990 as a result of a campaign by musician Dave Lee, who was inspired after listening to a Los Angeles jazz radio station. It was subsequently bought by Golden Rose Communications plc in 1992, re-branded 'JFM' in 1994 and then reverted to Jazz FM a year later.
It was bought by GMG in 2002 (See RNW Jun 20, 2002) and GMG, which had gained approval from Ofcom in 2003 to change the format of its Jazz FM stations in Manchester and London to the Smooth FM format - with a promise of more off-peak specialist jazz programming, re-branded the Manchester station as Smooth FM at the end of that year (See RNW Dec 9, 2003) and then re-launched the London station as Smooth FM last year (See RNW Apr 21, 2005).
GMG says in its proposals that it also intends to increase daily news bulletins from six to 18 and boost locally produced programming from six to 18 hours a day.
Previous Guardian Media Group:
2006-10-21: Emmis says it has now completed its offer to purchase at par value, all of the outstanding 6-7/8% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2012 that expired at midnight on Thursday.
In all it says USD 367,433,000 in aggregate principal amount of notes (approximately 97.98% of outstanding notes) were tendered and accepted for purchase.
The offer was made pursuant to an asset sale offer required under the Indenture governing the Notes for a portion of the Notes and Emmis says USD 7,449,000 in aggregate principal amount of notes (approximately 1.99% of outstanding notes) were tendered and accepted for purchase under the terms of the asset sale offer
2006-10-20: CBS Radio has agreed a settlement with New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office over payola allegations under which it will pay USD 2 million which will be distributed through the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, to New York State not-for-profit entities to fund music education and appreciation programs.
CBS has also agreed to undertake company-wide reforms, including the "immediate cessation of receiving payments and other inducements from record labels in exchange for airplay; discontinue using independent promoters as a pass-through for securing airplay; hire a compliance officer to monitor promotion practices; and implement an internal system to detect any future abuses."
Commenting on the agreement, Spitzer said in a statement, "The sale of a station's valuable air time to the highest bidder violates state and federal laws and robs consumers of their right to know why the songs they hear on the radio are being broadcast. Our settlement with CBS Radio represents a significant milestone in our effort to reform the music industry for the benefit of the listening public."
Spitzer's office has already reached settlements with the four major record labels and is involved in a lawsuit against Entercom that is now proceeding after a New York State Supreme Court Judge denied "in all respects" Entercom's suit to dismiss the case (See RNW Oct 18).
The settlement was welcomed by Democrat Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein commended Spitzer for "once again achieving a breakthrough with this settlement."
"CBS Radio," said Adelstein "is leading the radio broadcasting industry by finally admitting wrongdoing and agreeing to change its practices. This should provide new fuel to drive the FCC payola investigation to completion. Since payola saps the vitality out of radio, this is a win not only for listeners everywhere, but also for the radio industry itself."
CBS Radio has not so far posted a statement and a check on the CBS news site before we went to press did not at that stage carry a report on the settlement although it did have earlier stories concerning Spitzer's investigation, settlements with recording companies and issuing of subpoenas against nine radio companies.
2006-10-20: Australia's new media ownership regulations have finally cleared the country's parliament with Communications Minister Helen Coonan rejecting suggestions that her media law changes have been crafted to enrich proprietors.
Interviewed on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Lateline" programme she said that she saw herself rather as a "the consumer who with these new media changes are more likely to be able to get new services, diversified services with new channels, new multichannels and a whole lot of services that are going to be available next year as we move to digital", adding that "the relaxation on foreign and cross media ownership laws allow for investment in media, that's ultimately for the benefit of consumers."
Asked about particular benefits to the Packer Empire and whether there could be any kind of quid-pro-quo she responded, "Well, no, but I might say that this government has been very careful not to make any of the arrangements in the new media package mogul specific. It doesn't relate to any particular proprietor and in fact I've had to endure the sustained criticism and complaints from just about every one of them who are not happy with the whole arrangement."
Also in Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has commissioned an independent review of government spectrum holdings that it says is intended to help it "better achieve an appropriate balance between government use of the radiofrequency spectrum and its use by the broader community."
The contract was awarded to SpectrumWise Radiocommunications Consulting, which will be conducting a survey with "spectrum stakeholders" over the next six months.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman commented, "Due to the growing demand for spectrum from all users, ACMA must sometimes arbitrate on government versus non-government use of the spectrum While it is vital that governments continue to have access to sufficient spectrum to discharge their functions, we need to be forever mindful that spectrum access is emerging world-wide as a 'key enabler' for the information economy. As ACMA faces growing demand for spectrum from both the government and non-government sectors, this is a looming and important challenge for ACMA and requires a preparedness to re-think the status quo and traditional paradigms to continue to optimise the overall public benefit it is charged to deliver."
Previous ABC Australia:
ABC "Lateline" interview transcript:
2006-10-20: Arbitron has reported third quarter revenues up 6% on a year ago to USD 90.7 million but says planned spending on its Portable People Meter (PPM) and Project Apollo initiatives along with the required expensing of share-based compensation helped push its costs and expenses up by 7.8% to USD 56.8 million.
Earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) for the quarter were down 3% to USD 32.1 million and net income was down 3.4% to USD 20.2 million. Arbitron also noted that its equity in the net income of its affiliate, Scarborough Research, went from USD 193 thousand in the third quarter 2005 to a loss of USD 1.8 million in the third quarter of 2006, primarily it says because of changes in the delivery schedule for Scarborough market reports.
Net income per diluted share was up by 2 cents to 68 cents because of a reduction in the number of shares outstanding following a repurchase in the first half of this year.
For first nine months, Arbitron says its revenues are now up 6.5% to USD 250.0 million, EBIT is down 13.4% to USD 73.1 million, and net income is down 18.5% to USD 45.7 million (from USD 1.77 to USD 1.51 per diluted share).
Arbitron President and CEO Stephen Morris said of the results, "We continued to push forward on Project Apollo as a new marketing research service for advertisers and on the Portable People Meter System as the new radio ratings service in the top 50 markets. "
Regarding Apollo he noted that the World Federation of Advertisers - a network of 55 National Advertiser Associations and of over 40 of the world's top 100 advertisers - "officially endorsed the development of Project Apollo in the United States" and added that they continued to gather positive feedback and direction from the advertisers who are participating in the pilot panel for Project Apollo.
Regarding the PPM he noted that Arbitron was continuing to work towards Media Rating Council accreditation for the PPM in Houston and has begun recruiting consumers for the Philadelphia Portable People Meter-based radio ratings service.
Arbitron has also announced that the second largest independently owned and operated Hispanic advertising agency in the United States - Lopez Negrete Communications - has signed a multi-year agreement to use PPM radio ratings in Houston. It now has in place PPM ratings contracts with ten broadcasters and advertising agencies that place more than 90% of US national radio advertising by value.
Looking ahead, Arbitron says it expects fourth quarter revenues to be up around 5% on a year earlier with full year guidance of an increase between 6% and 8% remaining unchanged. Arbitron shares ended Thursday down 0.36% at USD 38.79 having risen initially to USD 39.15 before falling back.
Update: Morris also announced at Arbitron's conference call that Univision Radio has signed an agreement to use the PPM in Houston and Border Media Partners to use it in San Antonio and Austin.
Previous Media Rating Council:
2006-10-20: The chairman of the Bulgarian Council for Electronic Media (CEM) Raycho Raykov has been reported in local media as saying it is to revoke the BBC World Service licence to broadcast in the country as a result of the corporation's decision last year to drop its Bulgarian and nine other language services as part of a restructuring that is to see an Arabic-language TV channel launched (See RNW Oct 26, 2005).
The BBC began Bulgarian language broadcasts in 1940 and they were regarded as an important source of information until the communist party there gave up power in 1990.
The new authorities allowed the BBC to broadcast on FM in Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, but according to Raykov's reported comments the licence required airing of Bulgarian language programmes and the dropping of the language service had invalidated it.
The BBC notes that the CEM, a collective body, has not informed it about any such decisions and says it is concerned that the remarks as reported contained "significant inaccuracies": In particular it says there is no condition in BBC Radiocom's licence requiring a "minimum number of Bulgarian language broadcasts" but adds that as court proceedings are ongoing it feels it "inappropriate to comment further."
2006-10-20: Virginia-based 3 Daughters Media, Inc. has announced that it is to buy - from Clear Channel - ESPN outlets WVGM-AM, Lynchburg, and WGMN-AM, Roanoke, for an undisclosed sum in a deal that it said also included an un-named AM and FM in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as well as two translator stations. .
Clear Channel, owns five stations in the Chattanooga market - Oldies WUUS-AM plus CHR WKJUX-FM (KISS); Classic Country WNGA-FM; Active Rock WRXR-FM; and Country WUSY-FM, has said like CBS Radio that it is to sell some of its stations in smaller markets.
3 Daughters Media, Inc. CEO Gary Burns said he is planning to merge the Virginia stations with its WBLT-AM, Bedford, and WMNA FM Gretna/Danville, commenting, "The combined coverage of 1240 Roanoke, 1320 Lynchburg, 1350 Bedford, and 106.3 Gretna/Danville will provide 24-hour sports from ESPN as well as local sports coverage to all of Roanoke, Lynchburg, Danville, and the surrounding areas."
No mention was made of plans for the Tennessee stations.
*Update: The Chattanooga stations being sold are WUUS-AM and WNGA-FM.
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-10-19: Greater Media President and CEO Peter Smyth has been elected Chairman of the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) Board of Directors to succeed Joe Bilotta, President and Chief Operating Officer of Buckley Broadcasting and will take up the post on January 1 next year.
The RAB Fall Board of Directors Meeting in Atlanta also elected Weezie Kramer, Regional Vice President, Entercom, as Vice Chairman of the Board, and Scott Herman, Executive Vice President, CBS Radio, as Chairman of the Finance Committee.
Smyth, who has been in the radio business for 30 years, has been President of Greater Media since 2000 and CEO since 2002. He is also on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and is a member of the HD Digital Radio Alliance Oversight Committee.
Recently appointed RAB President and CEO Jeff Haley said of Smyth's election, "Peter is perfectly suited to lead RAB at this time of dynamic change in the Radio industry. Peter and his team have shaped Greater Media to fit the new listening environment and are at the forefront of developmental changes in technology like HD Digital Radio. His leadership and vision will help RAB remain ahead of these advancements and ensure that we develop initiatives and platforms that propel our medium upward."
Smyth commented of his new role that he looked forward to "to promoting and sharing the many benefits of Radio to the advertising industry and to the community at large."
2006-10-19: US radio is storing up problems for itself by neglecting a younger audience according to a New York Times report that quotes Edison Media Research president Larry Rosin as putting a decline in listening by teenagers to a combination of new competition including Web surfing, cell phones, video games, movies, television, instant messages, portable music players and downloadable songs and radio's "unwillingness to target listeners in the 12- to 24-year-old demographic.."
Rosin says the "overwhelming majority of stations target the 25- to 54-year-old group, what is known in the industry as the 'money demo' " and notes that listening hours have dropped more than a fifth for 18-24 year-olds in the last decade and almost a fifth for the 12-17 demographic.
The older group still listens, however, for 18 hours per week on average, almost a third more than the younger demographic.
And as for those under 12: "Nobody is targeting them except Radio Disney," according to Rosin.
*Edison last month published a new study on listening by the 12-24 years-old age group in the US (See RNW Sep 19).
Previous Edison Media:
New York Times report:
2006-10-19: Anita and Sheldon Drobny, who launched Air America Radio - now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy (See RNW Oct 14) but subsequently gave up control, together with partner Dr. Mike Newcomb, have announced the launch of a new progressive talk radio network" - Nova M Radio - that is to debut on October 30th with the Mike Mallow Show airing from 21:00 to midnight on KPHX-AM, Phoenix, which is currently airing a progressive talk format mainly sourced from Air America.
The Drobnys say they did offer to fund Air America Radio and prevent the banruptcy but board -chaired by Rob Glaser who is also the CEO and Chairman of RealNetworks, Inc. - was advised by him and its attorney to file a bankruptcy petition. Despite this, they say, as "founders and investors in the company, we have a significant interest in the future of AAR and will do everything possible to protect our investment in the company and its operations."
KPHX, whose licence is held by Continental Broadcasting, started airing the current line-up under a local marketing agreement in March this year: It has a directional 5 kW day and 500 watts night signal and the deal was negotiated in less than three weeks after Air America's previous affiliate KXXT-AM was sold by James Crystal to religious broadcasting company Communicom that dropped Air America.
In a letter posted on the Nova M web site, Newcomb, a former Democrat gubernatorial candidate and physician who is CEO and Chairman, says that the network has a strategic partnership with Joe Trippi and associates: Trippi is a is a long-time American Democratic campaign operative who has worked on the presidential campaigns amongst others of worked on the presidential campaigns of Edward Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, and Dick Gephardt and, most recently, Howard Dean. Newcomb also says that pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International, is to co-hosting a weekly one hour show, "The Pulse of the Nation" in which he polls particular issues from politics and pop culture to the War in Iraq and stem cell research.
Other shows will come from Newcomb, who will host his own show weekdays from 09:00 to Noon on the station, and San Francisco-based syndicated host Peter B. Collins.
Previous Air America/Piquant (Its owner):
Nova M web site:
2006-10-19: GCap Media stock got a boost on Wednesday with the announcement that the company had sold its remaining two Century FM regional stations - the Gateshead -based North East station and Manchester-based North West station - to Guardian Media Group for GBP 60 million (USD 112million): GCap shares reached 232.25 pence at one stage before falling back to end the day at 224 pence, up 3.3%.
GCap says that for five years it will retain the right to sell advertising on the stations to national agencies and also regional sales apart from in the North East. This, it says, will enable the Group to maintain its attractive national advertising proposition, and provide potential aggregate future revenues over that period of around GBP 5 million (USD 9.3 million) and it also notes that GCap and GMG have developed a strong commercial relationship, which opens the way to further joint ventures.
The Century network was originally owned by Border Radio Holdings, a subsidiary of Border Television, and was bought by Capital Radio in 2000. GCap last year sold the East Midlands regional Century station to Chrysalis Group, who re-branded it as a Heart station, for GBP 29.5 million (then USD 55.5 million - See RNW May 10, 2005) and it has dropped Century programming on the other -former- Century station, Ocean FM, which covers (Southampton & Portsmouth).
GCap Media Chief Executive Ralph Bernard said of the disposal, part of a plan announced last November to focus on building a strong portfolio of national brands and heritage local stations, "We have carefully considered the priorities for the business at this time and the objectives of our national and local radio portfolio. These disposals make strong commercial and strategic sense. This deal not only allows us significantly to reduce our debt levels but will also provide us with the financial flexibility to continue to invest in priority areas of the business."
He added, "The negotiations with GMG have been conducted in an excellent spirit and both parties believe there are partnership opportunities for our respective businesses in the future."
GCap noted in connection with the sale that its net debt at the end of September was approximately GBP 76 million (USD 142 million) and total pension scheme deficits at the end of March were GBP 8.5 million (USD 15.9 million).
"The Group's stronger balance sheet," it said, "will provide GCap Media with greater financial flexibility to focus on its important national portfolio which now includes a national digital jazz station due to launch in December 2006. The Group expects to launch its new national contemporary and classic hits digital station in the first half of next year, bringing to six the number of national brands the Group will have to compete against the BBC."
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Guardian Media Group:
2006-10-19: CBS veteran Christopher Glenn, who retired in February after 35 years with CBS including anchoring the CBS Radio flagship newscast, "The World News Round-Up" from 1999 until he retired (See RNW Feb 26) has died of cancer aged 68: He was one of five men names as to be inducted in the US "National Radio Hall of Fame Class of 2006" in a ceremony on November 4. (See RNW Aug 9) and will now be inducted posthumously.
New York born, Glenn gained a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Colorado and began his radio career working for US Armed Forces Broadcasting whilst in the Army in 1960. He joined CBS as a radio producer in 1971 having worked in various radio posts in New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.
When he retired he told CBS news that although he had also worked in TV, his personal preference was for radio. He added that the highlight of his career was covering the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, commenting, "I had to get back on the air real fast to describe that, and had a very difficult time doing that. It was a very, very emotional moment - probably the most emotional of my career. It was tough to keep it under control while I was doing the broadcast."
CBS World News Roundup Producer Paul Farry wrote on the CBS web site, "I'm one of the tens of millions of American 30- and 40-somethings whose first memories of news and currents events are of Christopher Glenn. His Saturday morning "In the News" segments made Watergate, the Mideast oil crisis and the economy understandable. Kids more interested in the antics of Bugs Bunny, Batman or Mr. Magoo learned a few things about the world around them as a result. I happen to have been one of those who actually thought those little news reports were better than the cartoons they followed. From a very early age, Christopher Glenn taught me about so much."
He added, "During the four years before he retired this past February, I worked closely with Chris every day, producing the "CBS World News Roundup," which he anchored. I would be amazed at his way with words. He'd constantly come up with clever ways to explain a story to make even the most complex topics relatable and understandable. I recall Charles Osgood saying upon Chris's retirement in February that in his broadcasts for children, Chris knew the best way to tell a story was to make it as clear, simple and straightforward as possible. As Charles pointed out, that's the best way to give the news, not just to kids, but to adults too Chris was a first-rate broadcaster and teacher... so many of us are much richer for having known him and listened to him for so long."
CBS Posting re Glenn:
2006-10-19: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected an application by Radio X Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of WXLX-AM, Lajas, Puerto Rico, to further reduce a forfeiture of USD 16,000 for its failure to clean or repaint its antenna structure to maintain good visibility and its failure to maintain Station WXLX's public inspection file at the main studio.
It had initially proposed a USD 20,000 penalty but reduced this to USD 16,000 in 2004 on the basis of a previous history of compliance (See RNW Sep 29, 2004) and said that all the arguments presented for a further reduction were reiterations, largely verbatim, of its past arguments and confirmed the penalty.
2006-10-18: A New York State Supreme Court has rejected Entercom's arguments for dismissal of the suit brought against in relation to alleged payola by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office according to Radio and Records, which says it obtained a 25-page Memorandum Decision containing the decision by Judge Ira Gammerman.
Entercom has so far not said whether it will appeal against the decision - it has 20 days to respond - but R&R quoted a company spokesman as saying, "While we are disappointed by the court's decision to permit this case to proceed beyond this early stage, we continue to believe that the evidence will show that the Attorney General's case is without merit."
"This ruling," he added, "was not an assessment of the merits of the case, but rather of whether the allegations were sufficient to avoid dismissal at the outset of the case Entercom continues to comply with federal sponsor identification rules, and we continue to enforce our policies prohibiting payola."
Since Spitzer's office began its investigation all four major record companies have agreed to settlements involving millions of dollars in penalties and changes to how they deal with radio stations; the most recent was with EMI (See RNW Jun 16, which has links to reports on earlier settlements with Universal in May, Sony-BMG in July 2005 and Warner Music in November 2005).
Spitzer's office, which issued subpoenas against nine radio companies - Clear Channel Communications, CBS Radio (the former Infinity), Citadel Broadcasting, Cox Radio, Cumulus, ABC Inc, Emmis, Entercom, and Pamal Broadcasting (See RNW Feb 9) - is still pursuing radio settlements.
2006-10-18: More than half of British households are likely to have digital radio receivers by 2010 according to the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB), which in its annual forecast says sales this year will be around 2 million to take to around 14% the percentage of households with receivers. The penetration is expected to top 40% by 2009 and 50% in 2010.
DRDB chief executive, Ian Dickens, said of the advance of DAB, "Over the past four years, we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of DAB digital radio sets available to consumers and there are now around 300 different models available from all the leading consumer electronic brands. Having established a firm product base in the traditional radio market, our aim is to ensure DAB digital radio is also available across a broader range of devices as digital convergence continues. To meet these needs, DAB digital radio must be included in new multi purpose devices and the good news is that the first such products are already hitting the streets."
Amongst those devices are mobile phones incorporating DAB receivers - Virgin launched the first such phone this month - and MP3 docking stations incorporating DAB receivers. In addition automobile makers are beginning to offer DAB - BMW is the latest manufacturer to add the option, offering it across its 3; 5; 6 and 7 series of cars.
In addition manufacturers are offering chips combining DAB and FM reception - Frontier Silicon announced its Naples FS2011 miniature dual-band DAB / FM radio module earlier this week (See RNW Oct 17) - and also have chips under development to combine analogue radio with DAB and DRM and Dickens commented, "As DAB chips appear in converging technologies such as mobile phones and MP3 players, and we see new DAB stations launching over the coming months, we expect this attraction to grow, presenting a healthy future for the UK's radio industry."
2006-10-18: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected attempts to overturn the settlements it reached with Emmis and Viacom/Infinity Radio - now CBS Corporation over their breaches of its "indecency" regulations.
Under the settlements, Emmis agreed to agreed to make a "voluntary contribution" of USD 300,000 to the United States Treasury, (See RNW Aug 13, 2004) and Viacom agreed to make a "voluntary contribution" of USD 3.5 million (See RNW Nov 24, 2004), with both companies agreeing compliance plans to prevent further breaches.
Their settlements followed one by Clear Channel, which agreed to pay USD 1.75 million (See RNW Jun 10, 2004).
In the Emmis case, David Smith, the Illinois Family Institute, the Illinois Chapter of Concerned Women for America, and Julie Cordry had sought reconsideration of the FCC decision whilst in the case of Viacom a similar petition was filed by Right to Decency, Inc. and the American Decency Association.
The Commission in making the settlements said both companies had the "basic qualifications, including its character qualifications" to hold FCC licences and in each case the petitioners argued that the Commission essentially allowed them "to purchase a finding of basic character qualifications" and also argued that the settlement was illegal because it required the agency to "ignore a significant portion" of their records in relation to licence renewals.
The Commission in rejecting the arguments said its "concern in evaluating the impact of wrongdoing on a licensee's character is the licensee's probable future behaviour" and said their acknowledgement of the violations and introduction of compliance plants would help to avoid future violations.
Earlier CBS and Viacom executive chairman Sumner M. Redstone had attacked the FCC for censorship when he accepted a Freedom of Speech award from The Media Institute in Washington D.C.
The Hollywood Reporter described his criticism as being in the "most blatant terms yet expressed by a top media executive" and quoted him as saying "musicians and artists were living in fear because of the regulator's approach, of which he commented: "Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a world where, increasingly and alarmingly, a couple thousand form complaints from people condemning shows that they have never watched can result in an indecency fine 10 times higher than an year ago."
Redstone, who suggested the marketplace would regulate content were there no intervention by the regulator because people would turn off shows they found objectionable, spoke of a " world where these same form complaints can lead regulators to dictate business models that ultimately do more harm than good. "
2006-10-18: The US Republican Party is trying to "reclaim and re-energize" conservative radio hosts for the party's cause ahead of next month's mid-term elections according to the New York Times, which says that the hosts have been expressing dissatisfaction with Republican policies in ways that have not been heard for a decade.
It cites a White House meeting, not listed on the president's public schedule, last month as an example of the effort being made, which it says will peak on October 24, when the administration will hold something of a talk-radio summit meeting, inviting dozens of hosts to set up booths on the White House grounds, where top cabinet officials are expected to sit for interviews.
The report quotes White House press secretary Tony Snow, a former conservative host himself, as saying of the White House meeting, "You want to make sure that your friends are friendly." Snow, who before taking his White House post had been critical of the President, said there was little division among Republicans on the top two issues Mr. Bush has tried to push this year - terrorism and taxes - and the fight against terrorism dominated the discussion at the meeting.
Mike Gallagher , one host who attended the meeting - the others were Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Neal Boortz and Michael Medved - said that the meeting was "clearly, clearly an effort to kind of rally the troops when the troops need rallying" and that they had talked about the experience on their programs "for days and days and days.
Hannity was quoted as saying after the meeting, "I think he'd have an 80 percent approval rating if he could bring people into the Oval Office six people at a time and explain it all to them."
RNW comment: Somehow we doubt that any insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan will take much notice of any of the hosts and irrespective of what they say it would seem to us that the administration has grossly exploited US reserve forces and just doesn't have a large enough regular force to turn around the situation in the former country. Maybe there's an honourable answer - re-introduce the draft and put the hosts in the first wave of inductees with no deferments for any of them.
New York Times report:
2006-10-17: WIYY-FM (98 Rock) in Baltimore has become the 1,000th U.S. station to start broadcasting HD radio and iBiquity says the rollout of HD is gaining momentum with new receiver models going on sale.
Its president and CEO Robert Struble noted that in just over a year the number of US HD stations has doubled and says the company expects the number to reach 1,200 by the end of this year.
He added, "Equally exciting is the corresponding growth in HD2 multicasting, which provides listeners with increased content and program choices, and the rapid influx of new HD Radio receivers, that expands the range of product categories and price points."
In a further development of DAB digital radio, Frontier Silicon has announced its Naples FS2011 miniature dual-band DAB / FM radio module for handheld battery powered products.
The unit combines both DAB and FM in a module 35mm x 38mm x 2.7mm (1.38 x 1.5 x 0.11 inches) and Frontier Silicon says it is an ideal low cost route to market for manufacturers needing to quickly incorporate both DAB and FM radio functions in next generation hand-held radio enabled devices such as DAB/FM portable radios and multimedia-enhanced PDAs.
The module also supports various software features such as DAB dynamic DLS radio service text, 256 kbps decode capacity, stored presets and manual tuning when configured in system applications.
In another development, Sonarics Labs says a ClearSignal-DAB radio can now be ordered as an option in high-end German car models: ClearSignal technology includes an unprecedented anti channel fading performance for a DAB car receiver, by including state-of-the-art algorithms.
Previous Frontier Silicon:
2006-10-17: Sirius has announced that it is to offer its service on an Internet-only basis at USD 12.95 per month and as a promotion is offering two-days of free services on October 25 and 26, the first time Howard Stern will be available without charge since he moved from terrestrial radio.
The Sirius service is already available on the Internet but only to existing satellite subscribers - who pay the same USD 12.95 per month and an additional USD 6.99 for online - and Internet customers will be able to add extra subscriptions at USD 6.99.
RNW note: In its release Sirius describes the new offering as "a CD-quality, Internet-only version" and we would be interested to hear from anyone taking it if the company does indeed offer a level of audio that can be accurately described as "CD quality" since there is no doubt that other digital radio offerings including HD and DAB are not of this standard. If it isn't we will be happy to publicize the shortcomings.
We have asked Sirius to comment on this and will update with any response we get, assuming there is one.
2006-10-17: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld just one TV standards complaint in its latest Broadcast Bulletin although it also considered three more TV standards complaints and three radio complaints resolved by action taken by the broadcasters: In addition it listed two TV fairness and privacy complaints that were not upheld.
The radio complaints considered resolved involved Invicta FM, Vibe FM (South Wales and South West England), which is now Kiss 101, and Fox FM.
In the first case a presenter asked a listener who had called to enter a competition how old she was and when the caller said she was a pensioner asked if she smelt.
Station owner GCap Media said the presenter in question, who had subsequently offered his apologies for any offence caused, was a replacement covering the normally scheduled 'Morning Zoo' breakfast show and said it had reminded him of his obligations in relation to broadcasting codes.
The Vibe case involved a sponsorship where a listener complained that a price given and ticket cited for bus travel were only available to children not everyone. Vibe owner Emap said "demo" material had been broadcast in error and said it had withdrawn the material after the error had been discovered and put procedures in place to check demo versions.
In the case of Fox FM, a World Cup Competition prize was described as "500 pounds worth of stuff" and listeners were offered a choice of a television package or GBP 500 (USD 930) to spend in the pub or on pampering sessions. The husband of a winner claimed that listeners were led to believe the package alone was worth GBP500 and she had chosen a TV package that had subsequently been valued at only GBP 329 (USD 612) and said the broadcaster told him the total prize value included administration and shipping costs.
In this case GCap accepted that listeners could have interpreted the amount referred to in the prize description as its retail value but said it believed listeners could also have interpreted it as the total cost to the broadcaster in providing the package. It added that it had now put in place procedures, "to ensure clarity of description particularly where values are ascribed to prizes."
Ofcom said it thought the reference "clearly indicated prizes of a similar value to the winner" and said "This interpretation was supported by the detailed descriptions of the alternative prizes to the television package, as they allowed the winner to spend £500 in specific ways."
However it said it did not think there was intention to mislead and welcomed GCap's assurance concerning future transparency [RNW comment: In this case the winner, we think can feel aggrieved that Ofcom did not uphold the complaints and we take the view that at the very least GCap should have had to pay the additional amount to the winner.].
In addition to the above, a further Ofcom listed with no details a further 110 TV complaints involving 95 items and 24 radio complaints involving 24 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 189 TV complaints involving 145 items and 14 radio complaints involving 14 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2006-10-17: Democrat Federal Communications Commission (FCC) members Jonathan S.Adelstein and Michael J. Copps have announced that they will take part in a town hall meeting/public hearing on diversity in the broadcast industry in New York City on Thursday.
In particular they say whey will hear from the public and a panel of experts their views on how television and radio stations serve the news and informational needs of people of colour and the impact of media consolidation on communities of colour.
The meeting, which is sponsored by the National Hispanic Media Coalition/National Latino Media Council, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Institute for Latino Policy, is to be held at the Hunter College Kaye Playhouse, East 68th Street.
Panellists will include New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez; Alliance for Community Media executive director Anthony Riddle; WPIX-TV vice president/general manager Betty Ellen Berlamino; Writer's Guild of America East executive director Mona Mangan; and Arlene Davila, professor of anthropology and American Studies, New York University.
2006-10-16: We start this week's look at print comment on radio with a genre that has largely disappeared in the segmented commercial marketplace and that according to Paul Schlesinger, BBC Radio's Head of Entertainment quoted in a UK Independent report by Charlotte Stacey, is having problems bringing on new talent in its UK stronghold on BBC Radio 4.
It's radio comedy and Schlesinger commenting in the context of the success of the TV comedy series "The Office" says the programme "really changed things for comedy...It was part of a move, which also included things like "Nighty Night" and "People Like Us", towards niche comedy; what you might call the comedy of embarrassment, which edged away from laugh-out-loud shows."
The article ends with a list of BBC radio shows that have succeeded and been translated to TV but
Stacey says BBC executives admit there's now "a lack of writing talent coming through the ranks and an over-reliance on established names" and quoted Schlesinger as saying, "Tom [Jamieson] and Nev [Fountain], who started "Dead Ringers", were still the only writers on it six years later. When I asked why, they said, 'Well, there's no one coming through.' That impression is mirrored by talking to people in this department - the same five or six names keep coming up. Very good they are, but the thing is to try to get another wave."
The problem for Radio 4 it seems is in part the change in broadcasting as extra TV channels have proliferated - Schlesinger commented, "Let's be honest; whereas 10 years ago radio comedy was the first port of call, it no longer is, and we have to work a lot harder to ensure that that flow comes in. New comedians are looking at BBC3 or E4 and all the support channels are after the same talent as we are."
Part of the answer is a talent search "Show Me the Funny" launched by the BBC that has just ended: It had a performing part - "Witty and Twisted", which invited would-be comedians to send in their show reels; and a writing part, the "Sketch Factor" that pushed new writers towards a late-night Radio 4 series called "Recorded For Training Purposes."
"We're making a real commitment to writers," said Schlesinger. "If they're chosen they will be on that show and paid for the duration of the series as salaried writers in a similar model to American writing teams."
"Recorded for Training Purposes," he adds, "looks at the world of communications, where technology has pushed forward yet we're not really talking to each other at all. Things like podcasts and blogs. We made a pilot, which is streamed online so people can look at it and then write specifically for the existing characters. Half the team will be established writers and they will script-edit the new ones."
Stacey notes the function the now-defunct "Weekending" series on Radio 4 performed in providing an informal entry point for new writers - it gave Schlesinger his first job in 1991 - and notes that she remembers script sessions in "an atmosphere of a very witty student party, with writers sitting around and indulging in a quick fire stream of consciousness, with the good jokes getting written into the script."
This time it seems the process will be more managed with new writers being "mentored" by existing writers and attending workshops and Stacey wonders what this will do to the "anarchic spirit" of comedy, commenting amongst other things, "Peter Cook in a "producer-led talent workshop initiative" sounds like a sketch in itself."
Schlesinger she says is having none of this and responded, "Of course you have people who know totally what they want, but on sketch-writing there is an element of learning your trade. Having gone through that system myself and seeing what came out of it, it's more like a comedy dating agency. Like when Armando Iannucci was producing "Weekending", he met up with Stewart Lee and created On the Hour, which became "The Day Today", which I script-edited."
The report concludes with Schlesinger commenting on radio v TV comedy, saying "I've never been in a job like this before. In television there's a huge army of logistics, but in radio it's basically the writer and director. They come and pitch to me and those are the moments I relish, when you have a meeting and find a good idea and laugh. There's so much flying around at the BBC in terms of value for money, public value tests and all of this stuff for people in management, so it's important to keep tabs on why you're actually doing the job."
On from comedy, where industry changes have altered the environment, to comment on how well - or badly - US terrestrial radio is doing when it comes to influencing perceptions of the medium.
In his October "From the Corner Office" posting on the Greater Media web site, the company's President and CEO Peter H. Smyth plumps for the latter in a column on what he terms "Radio's New Mission" and says the problems lie with the industry itself.
Saying "all of the PR firms in the world can't solve our perceptual problems if we don't believe in our own effectiveness" Smythe writes, "Those of us who work in radio need to step back for a moment and recognize the true value of our medium for what it is worth. It has always amazed me that we allow ourselves to be devalued, every day. How? By not being able to intelligently and forcefully respond to the assertions and accusations of the marketplace."
He goes on to detail some of the points that should have been made but weren't - terrestrial numbers of some 260 million compared to 11 million for satellite radio and says "It is we who have let radio be reduced to a secondary medium in the eyes of agencies of all sizes across this nation, and it is we who now have work to do."
"We have the tools, we have the arguments, and we have the truth on our side. We have an army of people whose livelihood is based on selling radio but who spend too much of their time selling time. In the past several years, the Radio Advertising Effectiveness Lab has given us even more concrete research - proof that radio functions as a primary medium for millions of consumers - but still the advertising marketplace is ill-informed. Not uninformed, but ill-informed."
Smythe then goes on to list some of radio's strengths including being the "prime outlet where people hear about new music"; "the medium of choice in an emergency situation"; having a "are uniquely personal and credible" with listeners to their home-town stations; the ability of radio stations websites and streams to present "advertisers with an integrated marketing solution on the local level, where their customers are."
"We need," writes Smythe, "to re-educate every seller in our country to be able to defend our medium and to have the courage and spirit to take the fight to decision-makers of all sizes. Whether it's the owner of a small business or the CEO of a major ad agency, each one needs to hear clearly and repeatedly that a new spirit and voice has taken root in the radio industry."
Scythe also mentions the co-operating in radio in developing HD radio but this is an area where scepticism about likely success abounds including that of hear2.0 president Mark Ramsey who in his latest blog decries the likely chances of success for the current iBiquity Holiday Rebate Program at a number of retailers.
After commenting on the "sweet rebates", Ramsey later writes that the assumptions being made about HD by the industry are, "incorrect and pervasive in the radio industry."
He lists these assumptions as assuming that high price is the problem and the thinking behind the slogan "If radio needs get behind it"
Ramsey suggests this is a case of iBiquity setting the industry to take the can should HD fail but disagrees with their assumptions, writing that "Arrogantly swaggering around consumers is not the same as servicing their wants and delighting their expectations."
More interesting to us than Ramsey's comments were the responses posted, admittedly self-selected and thus carrying no statistical validity when it comes to drawing lessons from them about the real state of HD.
One to us seemed to fairly neatly encapsulate the problems of price -"Even with rebates, the prices are still way too high - the prices need to come close to analogue radios ($10 - $25) and that will never happen" - and another that of the HD rollout that skewers the whole idea: "The Big HD Radio Rollout has been a complete joke and a failure. When I hear the commercials on radio, there is no explanation of what HD Radio is - what is the HD Radio Alliance going to tell the public, that IBOC has only 60% the coverage of analogue, poor penetration into structures, causes adjacent-channel interference, and that the HD channels are just low-bitrate streams of the same repetitive terrestrial radio ?..."
On then, this time via some more articles to some listening suggestions, two of which are on BBC digital stations.
The first is not due until next week when BBC6 Music will broadcast the first of four half-hour shows constructed from a "bootleg tape "of the whole five-and-a-half hours of the late John Peel's final broadcast of his "Perfumed Garden" show from the pirate ship Galaxy just before offshore stations - then the main outlet for pop in Britain -were made illegal in 1967.
Of the broadcasts 6 Music has prepared, Anthony Barnes in his UK Independent report, quotes comments from producer Hermit Chatham: "We have cleaned up some of the sound but not too much. Listeners will once again be able to hear what it was like to listen to John Peel in 1967 as though he was speaking directly to you. It's incredibly idealistic and at his heart he was a real hippie."
We'd also suggest one of this week's programmes from 6 Music, "Bowie at the Beeb", which airs on Wednesday at 20:30 GMT and features Bowie performances from 1967 to 1971 in BBC sessions.
Next another programme for which there will be a wait, mention courtesy of Paul Donovan in his Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times. This is the BBC Asian Network report on Asian pornographers, originally scheduled to be broadcast on October 2, slap in the middle of Ramadan, something a BBC spokesman said the corporation realised "this was an insensitive date, and it will now go out on October 30 (a week after Ramadan ends)."
Donovan comments on the delay in terms of getting timing right and then comments that the programme is "one of a number of punchy programmes in a new weekly slot called "Asian Network Report", which began with honour killings and continued with the conflict over the filming of Brick Lane. Tomorrow [RNW note - This is today at 17:30 GMT and we would also note that streaming audio of all the programmes from September 4 is available on the web site with the latest programme there as a podcast cum MP3], Aasmah Mir considers money-loving Asian millionaires; last week, Huq explained tensions between Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, and how a growing number of Hindus dislike being called 'Asian'."
Of the network itself Donovan comments, "BBC Asian Network, though it may at some point have to change its name to reflect this, is a vibrant mix of speech and music, English and other languages that deserves to be better known than it is."
After that the coming and past week, starting with the BBC Radio 4 "Book of the Week" this week: It's "The Blunkett Tapes" - excerpts read by former British Home Secretary David Blunkett of the recording he made during his eight year's in the British Cabinet.
On this one we couldn't resist the comment made in his "Radio head" column in the UK Times by Chris Campling: "Blunkett himself will be doing the reading, presumably out of fear of being misquoted, and one should imagine that most of the country will be tuning in to the first instalment at least. If that proceeds along the lines of "Dear Diary: Met an American lady at a party. She's sexy, blonde and wants my babies" then the country will continue to tune in. If it's all minutes of sub-committees and the tedious details of Westminster village infighting, perhaps not."
Then a timely report from Radio Netherlands on last Friday when "The Good Life" included a report on Professor Muhammed Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank - just as the Professor and his organization were awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
It also included and interview with Dr Mohini Giri, a leading women's activist fighting to improve the lives of India's 40 million widows, an item that allied with the September 4 edition of the Asian Network Report on "Honour Killings" should be enough to persuade all but the most terribly brainwashed that there are some very positive comparisons to be made between Western values and those of the Asian sub-content when it comes to treatment of women- or indeed justice and a fair number of other things..
After those maybe some relief is needed so we end with suggesting a dip into comedy from BBC Radio to fill in any time left.
From Radio 2 we suggest "Out to Lunch"- an hour of comedy currently airing on the station from 12:00 to 13:00 GMT on Saturdays and "The Green Guide to Life" on Thursday at 21:00 GMT.
Next from Radio 4, this week's "Woman's Hour" includes (09:45 GMT and a repeat at 18:45 GMT) "Inner Voices" - five character monologues by top comediennes; "Quote... Unquote" tonight at 17:30 GMT; "The Party Line" tomorrow at the same time and also tomorrow "The Party Line" at 22;00 GMT; from Wednesday "The Cavity Within" at 10:30 GMT and also on Wednesday "Banter" at 17:30 GMT and "The Hudson and Pepperdine Show" at 22:00 GMT; from Thursday "The Unbelievable Truth" at 17:30 GMT and "Rubbish" at 22:00 GMT; and finally on Friday "Tomorrow, Today!" at 10:30 GMT, and "News Quiz" at 17:30 GMT. Which for all but those with a lot of time on their hands should be enough!
BBC "Show me the Funny" web site:
Greater Media - Smythe:
Mark Ramsey - Ramsey:
UK Independent- Barnes:
UK Independent - Stacey:
UK Times Campling:
UK Sunday Times- Donovan:
2006-10-16: Legendary Australian rugby league caller, Frank Hyde, who dominated the ratings at 2SM in Sydney for more than 30 years, has been inducted into the Australian Commercial Radio Hall of Fame at the 2006 Australian Commercial Radio Awards held in Sydney.
Hyde, who turned 90 this year, began playing rugby league at school in 1925 and went on to play for Newtown and Balmian - dependant on where he was living - until 1943 when he captained the North Sydney 'Shoremen' in the premiership Grand Final against Newtown (won by his old team as the Norths were missing star lock-forward Harry Taylor who had secretly been shipped out to fight in New Guinea earlier in the week and also affected by injuries other Norths players acquired during the finals), retiring shortly afterwards.
He joined 2SM, Sydney, in 1953 as a rugby league and boxing caller, replacing Reg Grundy, and was Australia's favourite rugby broadcaster from 1953 to 1986, winning in all ratings and calling 33 consecutive grand finals. He finished his career working at 2UE from which he retired when he was 70.
His award was presented by 2GB host Ray Hadley who took on the job of heading 2UE's rugby team in 1987 and in 1994 became the first League broadcaster since Hyde to gain almost 200,000 listeners per quarter hour.
Hadley himself, now with 2GB, was the recipient of this year's "Best Current Affairs Commentator" award and other top award winners included the "The Kyle and Jackie O Show" on Sydney's 2Day FM, which took the metropolitan "Best On-Air Team" and "Best Networked Program" awards.
The winners this year were:
INNOVATION AND EXCELLENCE AWARD - Grant Johnstone and Carmen Braidwood - "The Grant and Carmen Breakfast Show", Mixx FM, ACE Radio Broadcasters, Colac, Victoria.
Candice Bruzgulis - Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Sydney, New South Wales (Non Metropolitan)
Paul Rogers - SA FM, Austereo, Adelaide, Southern Australia (Metropolitan).
BEST NEWCOMER OFF-AIR
Amanda French - 101.9 Sea FM, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Maryborough, Queensland (Country).
Sunny Sengupta - Sea FM 90.9, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Gold Coast, Queensland (Provincial).
Sean Sowerby - "3AW Sport", 3AW 693, Southern Cross Broadcasting, Melbourne, Victoria (Metropolitan).
BEST STATION SALES ACHIEVEMENT
Sales Team - 5RM and Magic 93.1, Star Broadcasting Network, Riverland, Southern Australia (Non Metropolitan).
Philip Reid - 4BC / 4BH, Southern Cross Broadcasting, Brisbane Queensland, (Metropolitan).
BEST SALES PROMOTION
David Bye - "Tinny Full of Tinnies", 5RM / Magic FM, Star Broadcasting Network, Riverland Southern Australia (Country).
Star 1045 Promotions and Breakfast Team - "Star 1045's Wedding Crashers", Star 1045, DMG Radio Australia, Erina, New South Wales (Provincial).
Alexandria Gillett - "Pepsi Max Confessions", Nova 100, DMG Radio Australia, Melbourne Victoria (Metropolitan).
BEST STATION PRODUCED COMMERCIAL
Nick Lowther - "Secret Agent Col Matthews Motors", 2MG / Real FM, Super Network, Mudgee New South Wales (Country).
Bill Bailey and David Horspool - "Mackay Family Funerals", 107.7 2GO, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Central Coast, New South Wales (Provincial).
Rob Sharples - "Timmy - NEC", 2Day FM, Austereo, Sydney, New South Wales (Metropolitan).
BEST NEWCOMER ON-AIR
Includes the presentation of the Macquarie Radio Network Encouragement Award
Louise Poole - Gem FM, Super Network, Inverell, New South Wales (Country - winner of Macquarie Radio Network Encouragement Award).
Michael Etheridge - The Edge 96.1, Australian Radio Network, West Sydney, New South Wales (Provincial).
Ryan Fitzgerald - Nova 91.9, DMG Radio Australia, Adelaide, Southern Australia (Metropolitan).
BRIAN WHITE MEMORIAL AWARD
No Brian White Memorial Trophy will be awarded in the country and provincial divisions in 2006.
Clinton Maynard - 2UE, Southern Cross Broadcasting, Sydney, New South Wales (Metropolitan).
COMMERCIAL RADIO AUSTRALIA - HALL OF FAME
BEST NETWORKED PROGRAM
Brendan McIntosh - "The Nitemix Hot 30", Mixx FM, ACE Radio Broadcasters, Hamilton, Victoria (Country).
Age and Renee - "The List with Age and Renee", Sea FM 90.9, Macquarie Regional Radioworks (Provincial).
Kyle and Jackie O - "The Kyle and Jackie O - Hour of Power", 2Day FM, Austereo, Sydney, New South Wales (Metropolitan).
BEST SYNDICATED AUSTRALIAN PROGRAM
MCM Entertainment - "My Generation", Melbourne, Victoria.
ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE AWARD - Ross Forgione and Innovation Team - "Launchpod - Podcasting Upload Services", Austereo.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION
Michael Pfeiffer - 3YB / Coast FM, ACE Radio Broadcasters, Warrnambool, Victoria (Country).
Ben Abbott - Sea FM 100.9, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Hobart, Tasmania (Provincial).
Sideshow Mike Andersen - Triple M, Austereo, Sydney, New South Wales (Metropolitan).
BEST STATION PROMOTION
Rick Knight and Lauren Williams - "STAR FM Star Search", 93.9 Star FM, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Young, New South Wales, (Country).
Sea FM - "Bridget's Life Swap", Sea FM Sunshine Coast, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Sunshine Coast, Queensland (Provincial).
92.9's Ben Cousins Fun Run - 92.9 FM, Austereo, Perth Western Australia (Metropolitan).
BEST STATION PRODUCED COMEDY SEGMENT
Kewy and Dazza - "Where the Bloody Hell are We", 93.5 Star FM, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Dubbo New South Wales (Country).
Christopher Welldon and Daniel Bozykowski - "Bank Phone Survey", Canberra's 104.7, Austereo / Australian Radio Network, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory -(Provincial).
Jon Blake - "International Talk Like a Pirate Day", Fiveaa, DMG Radio Australia, Adelaide, Southern Australia (Metropolitan).
BEST PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR
Steve White - Sea FM / Mix FM Sunshine Coast, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Sunshine Coast Queensland (Non Metropolitan).
Melanie Lindquist - Triple M, Austereo, Brisbane Queensland (Metropolitan).
BEST MUSIC DIRECTOR - Includes the presentation of the Best Music Director Scholarship
Jessica Hinchliffe - 1503 2BS Gold / B-Rock FM 99.3, Bathurst Broadcasters, Bathurst New South Wales (Country).
Al Dobie - 102.9 Hot Tomato, Hot Tomato, Gold Coast, Queensland (Provincial).
Scott Baker-Smith - Fox FM, Austereo, Melbourne, Victoria (Metropolitan) - winner of Best Music Director Scholarship trip.
MOST POPULAR STATION MANAGER
Vin Dawes - Hot FM / Radiowest, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Narrogin Western Australia, (Country).
Peter Upton - Sea FM / Hot FM, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Rockhampton, Queensland p
Steve Rowe - Mix 102.3 / Cruise 1323, Australian Radio Network, Adelaide, Southern Australia (Metropolitan).
BEST SPORTS EVENT COVERAGE
Alex Dean, Tim Gilbert, Susie Thompson, Alan Hunter & Craig Foster - "The A-League Grand Final", Star 1045, DMG Radio Australia, Erina, New South Wales (Non Metropolitan).
3AW Football Team - "AFL Finals Series 2005", 3AW 693, Southern Cross Broadcasting, Melbourne Victoria (Metropolitan).
BEST SPORTS PRESENTER
Geoff Mann - 2DU, Super Network, Dubbo New South Wales (Country).
Beth Rep - 95.5 K-Rock, Grant Broadcasting, Geelong Victoria (Provincial).
Andrew Martin - Nova 969, DMG Radio Australia, Sydney New South Wales (Metropolitan).
BEST PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Jon Vertigan - Coast FM, ACE Radio Broadcasters, Warrnambool, Victoria, (Country).
Jason Matthews - 92.5 Gold FM / Sea FM 90.9, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Gold Coast, Queensland P
Greg Cary - 4BC, Southern Cross Broadcasting, Brisbane Queensland (Metropolitan).
Adam Williscroft - Nova 106.9, DMG Radio Australia, Brisbane Queensland (Metropolitan).
BEST MUSIC SPECIAL
Cheryl Lardner and David Bye - "Retrober", Magic FM, Star Broadcasting, Riverland Southern Australia (Country).
Erin Miller and Daniel Bozykowski - "3 Decades in 3 Days", Mix 106.3, Austereo / Australian Radio Network, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (Provincial).
Grant Tothill, Sideshow Mike Andersen, Byron Cooke & Mike Fitzpatrick - "Live 8", Triple M, Austereo, Sydney, New South Wales (Metropolitan).
Marc McCreadie and Lee Dixon - "75 Years of 7LA", 7LA, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Launceston TASMANIA N M
Sideshow Mike Andersen - "Remembrance Day", Triple M, Austereo, Sydney. (Metropolitan).
BEST COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECT
Eagle FM - "Blair at Brekkie Christmas Appeal", Eagle FM 93.5, Capital Radio, Goulburn, New South Wales (Country).
92.7 Mix FM - "Radford's Rescue", 92.7 Mix FM Sunshine Coast, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Sunshine Coast, Queensland (Provincial).
Ben Latimer and David Smith - "Mix 106.5's Variety Kid's Radiothon", Mix 106.5, Australian Radio Network, Sydney, New South Wales (Metropolitan).
BEST NEWS PRESENTER
Jennifer Menchin - 1503 2BS Gold, Bathurst Broadcasters, Bathurst New South Wales (Country).
Rod McLeod - 92.5 Gold FM, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Gold Coast Queensland P
Monique Dews - Nova 969, DMG Radio Australia, Sydney New South Wales M (FM)
Rowan Barker - 2GB, Macquarie Radio Network, Sydney New South Wales M (AM)
BEST MUSIC PERSONALITY - sponsored by RCS Australia
Matthew O'Reilly - 101.9 Sea FM, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Maryborough, Queensland (Country).
Lynne Hayes - Star 1045, DMG Radio Australia, Erina, New South Wales (Provincial).
Bianca Dye - Nova 969, DMG Radio Australia, Sydney, New South Wales (Metropolitan).
BEST CURRENT AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR
Ray Hadley - "Ray Hadley Morning Show", 2GB, Macquarie Radio Network, Sydney, New South Wales.
BEST TALK PRESENTER
Matt Conlan - "Territory Today", 8HA, Alice Springs Broadcasters, Alice Springs, Northern Territory (Country).
John MacKenzie - Easy Mix 846, Elmie Investments, Cairns, Queensland (Provincial).
Neil Mitchell - "3AW Morning Program", 3AW 693 Southern Cross Broadcasting, Melbourne, Victoria (Metropolitan).
BEST ON-AIR TEAM
Grant Johnstone and Carmen Braidwood - "The Grant and Carmen Breakfast Show", Mixx FM, ACE Radio Broadcasters, Colac Victoria (Country).
Phebe Irwin and Dave Gorr - "The Big Breakfast with Phebe and Dave", Wave 96.5 FM, Grant Broadcasting, Wollongong, New South Wales (Provincial).
The Kyle and Jackie O Show - "The Kyle and Jackie O Show", 2Day FM, Austereo, Sydney, New South Wales (Metropolitan).
Previous Australian Commercial Radio Awards (2005):
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2006-10-16: According to the UK Sunday Times, GCap Media has been talking for several weeks with Birmingham City soccer club managing director Karren Brady about her quitting the soccer club to become managing director of its flagship London station, Capital Radio.
The paper reports that friends of Brady, who early this year recovered from surgery for a brain aneurysm, is keen to return to London but it is unclear whether the Birmingham City - owned by David Sullivan and David Gold both of whom made their initial fortunes with soft-core porn magazines - will agree to let her go.
Brady began her career in radio, joining LBC when she was 18 before moving on to Saatchi & Saatchi as Account Handler. She joined Sullivan's Sports Newspapers in 1988 and became a Director within twelve months and in 1993, aged 23, became Birmingham City managing director, a role in which she has taken the club into the black.
Previous GCap Media:
UK Sunday Times report:
2006-10-15: The biggest developments for and from the regulators last week were in Australia, where new media ownership legislation seems certain to pass and ease ownership limits, although the country's competition regulator has pointed out he still has powers to scrutinize mergers independently of the media laws (See RNW Oct 14) and the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken a tentative step towards allowing greater use by low power devices of spectrum freed up as TV goes digital.
In Australia, apart from the media laws debate, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) had a quiet week as regards radio decisions although it did cancel the licence of Perth Community station 6AR, which had ceased broadcasting after having additional licence conditions imposed on it (See RNW Oct 10).
It also ruled that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Science Show" had breached the broadcaster's Code of Practice by not making every reasonable effort to ensure that the factual content of an edition about science whistleblowers was accurate and by not ensuring that the program was balanced (See RNW Oct 13).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) again posted only a few radio related matters with just one decision, the approval of an application by Blackburn Radio Inc. to add a 2,288 watts FM transmitter in Bluewater, Ontario, to broadcast the programming of CIBU-FM, Wingham.
The Commission also issued two public notices, one with a deadline for submission of interventions/comments of 14 November that included an application by Sirius Canada to change the terms of its satellite subscription licence by amending a condition requiring a minimum contribution of 5% of its gross revenues to Canadian talent development.
Sirius want to change the condition to one that says that by the end of each broadcast year of the licence term, it shall have "contributed over the licence term to that point no less than 5% of the cumulative gross revenues derived from broadcasting activities "
The second notice, with a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of 17 November, included the following radio-related matters.
*Application by TFG Communications Inc. to amend the licence of the low power CJEF-FM, Saint John (previously CFHA-FM), by removing a condition relating to specialty format content with one that required more than half its broadcasts to be spoken word and no more than 40% to be of hit material. The licensee is now proposing to offer a blend of Urban, Dance, Contemporary Hits Rock, Rock and Alternative musical selections, targeting the 12-24 year old demographic.
*Application to change the frequency of CHMY-FM, Renfrew, decrease its antenna height and increase its power from 50 watts to 1,000 watts, a move that would change the station's status from an unprotected low power service to a regular Class A service.
There were no radio decisions from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom announced the award of the new Oxford and South Oxfordshire to Absolute Radio International Limited's bid with a "Jack FM" format (See RNW Oct 14).
Ofcom also announced that it and the BBC Governors had extended the deadline for submissions and comment on the market impact and public value testing of the corporation's planned iPlayer, developed to deliver all of the corporation's audio and video programming on demand (See RNW Oct 11) and published a statement on the policy implications arising from its Communications Market: Nations and Regions research - a 68 page PDF.
The document deals with research conducted by Ofcom into the availability, take-up and consumption of internet, telecommunications and broadcasting services that compares findings across Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the nine English Regions among consumers and small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).
Regarding the rollout of digital radio some concerns were raised around multiplex availability in Wales - the figures show that awareness of the availability of DAB digital radio was lowest in Northern Ireland (21%) followed by Rural areas and Wales (28%); Scotland 30% ; and England - with the highest awareness figure of 33%. The national average was 32%.
Interestingly digital TV had been taken up most in Wales - 72% of households, followed by England with 66%; Scotland with 690% and Northern Ireland with 53%. The national average was 65%
Ofcom notes in relation to DAB that "of those not taking up digital radio, 78% say that they are satisfied with current radio networks available. Not listening to much radio (8%), frequency concerns (7%); expense (6%) and understanding (6%) are also cited as issues."
"Stakeholders," it says, "felt that while digital radio was widely and increasingly available on a number of platforms there was consumer confusion over the services available and the various access mechanisms. Specific concern was raised over the lack of provision of coverage data at the point of sale of DAB radios."
It adds that in England it found from its workshops that "there was considerable confusion about, and lack of understanding and awareness of digital radio" and says that in regional terms South East and the South West had the highest hours of radio listening in the country and London had the lowest claimed access to digital radio services even though combined digital television and internet ownership was not significantly lower than elsewhere in the UK.
Of other regions it says:
Scotland has availability of DAB services in line with the UK average across BBC, Digital One and local commercial services. 92% of the population live in areas localized for local multiplexes (transmitter networks are not complete so actual population coverage is between 70% and 95% of the licensed area).
Wales had the lowest availability of DAB digital radio services for each multiplex: BBC UK multiplex, 54% compared to 85% UK average, Digital One, 53% compared to 86% UK average,
Northern Ireland - 100% of the population have access to digital radio via the local commercial DAB multiplex, while 75% have access to the BBC multiplex. Digital One is not currently available in Northern Ireland due to the need to co-ordinate the use of frequencies currently in use for analogue television services in the Republic of Ireland.
In the US, as already noted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken a tentative step towards allowing greater use of spectrum - "white spaces" - freed up as TV goes digital in the US in 2009 - see below:
In other more routine actions it has confirmed a USD 10,000 penalty on a New York pirate operator and also asked two stations to show because why they should not move frequencies to permit other services.
In the case of the penalty a notice of apparent liability had been sent to Shawn Deroux of the Bronx, New York, in August last year but he did not reply and the commission confirmed the full penalty.
Relating to the frequency changes, the FCC is proposing to move Citicasters Licenses, L.P.'s KSAS-FM, Caldwell, Idaho, from Channel 277C to 278C so as to permit a number of other changes that include providing first local services elsewhere.
The proposed change follows a counterproposal from Cherry Creek Broadcasting - initially involving sixteen interrelated proposals but now amended - that would involve allocating Channel 248C3 to Owyhee, Nevada, to provide its first local service, but would require KPHD-FM, Elko, Nevada, change its channel from Channel 248C to 249C and its community of license to Melba, Idaho, thus providing Melba with its first local service.
This in turn means Citadel's KQFC-FM, Boise, Idaho, must change its channel from Channel 250C to 274C and this in turn means Citicaster's KSAS-FM, Caldwell, Idaho, must change its channel from Channel 277C to 278C.
Regarding this last move the FCC says KSAS-FM's licence can be modified to specify operation on Channel 278C at its currently authorized transmitter site, notes that College Creek has agreed to reimburse Citicasters for the reasonable costs incurred in connection with the change, and asks Citicasters to show cause why the change should not be made.
The FCC is also similarly asking Citadel to show cause why KQFC-FM's frequency should not be changed.
Previous Licence News:
Previous Sirius Canada:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-10-15: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has moved to allow use of spectrum freed up by the country's switch to digital TV - due to be completed by February 18, 2009 - by low-power devices for services such as wireless broadband.
It says of the move that the "action will enable the development of new and innovative types of devices and services for businesses and consumers" but the details indicate some significant limitations on the spectrum that will be available. Some channels are ruled out - Channel 37, which is used by radio astronomers and channels 52-69, which are reserved for public safety use - and in addition the FCC is asking for further information concerning channels 14-20, which in some cities contain spectrum used for public safety communications.
Manufacturers will be able to begin the process of designing and certifying devices almost immediately but marketing will not be allowed until February 18, 2009, and the FCC says it will conduct extensive testing to ensure that such devices of not interfere with digital TV signals. It will also require devices to contain a dynamic frequency selection mechanism so that a device does not interfere with others close by.
All the commissioners welcomed the move but Democrat Michael J Copps added some notes of concern as well as noting the benefits, particularly in the context of provision of such services as wireless broadband in cities and rural areas.
In a statement he said of the positive aspects of the proposal that "the use of the TV white spaces is one of the truly promising opportunities before us in the near term to remedy this grave situation," adding, "And make no mistake about it - it is a very grave situation. There is simply no way that our country can remain in the forefront of the global economy without developing a broadband infrastructure that is up to the task. "
He then put in caveats about the need to "technical standards that will maximize use of the TV white spaces while at the same time preventing inappropriate interference with free, over-the-air broadcasting," saying, "As with so much of the Commission's work, the devil is in the details. I will be watching closely to make sure that we strike the appropriate balance between innovation and caution."
Copps also raised the issue of whether use of the spectrum should be on a licensed or unlicensed basis, arguing strongly for unlicensed use and writing, "So while I am more than happy to give careful consideration to comments from those who favour licensed use of the white spaces, I would have preferred that today's item announce a rebuttable presumption in favour of unlicensed use. I believe this approach would have provided greater clarity to innovators, entrepreneurs and the American people."
His fellow Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein in his comment brought up the issue of spectrum to be looked at further concerning possible use, writing, "I am particularly pleased with our decision today to allow channels 14-20 and 2-4 to remain "on the table" for further testing to determine their suitability for possible unlicensed services in the future. Of course, our priority in evaluating this spectrum will be to protect existing operations in the bands, particularly public safety services that are licensed on channels 14-20 in thirteen major markets. So I support our decision to limit our inquiry with respect to these seven channels to fixed devices only. But I think the potential use of this spectrum for fixed wireless broadband services in rural areas is too great to take the spectrum completely out of consideration at this time, particularly as channels 14-20 are not in use across most of the country. So I want to thank my colleagues for agreeing to changes to the item that allow us to keep this spectrum "in play" pending the results of future tests."
He also argued for unlicensed use, writing, "I want to specifically express my preference for use of this spectrum on an unlicensed basis. Unlicensed services, with their low barriers to entry, present such a great opportunity for the deployment of broadband offerings in communities across the country no matter their size or financial status. Considering the favourable propagation characteristics for wireless broadband services in the 700 MHz band and the important obligation to protect existing television operations from harmful interference, I believe that unlicensed operations present the best use of the spectrum for this country.
2006-10-14: Air America Radio, which a month ago denied it was heading into bankruptcy (See RNW Sep 14) has now declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a move that gives it protection from creditors while it reorganizes.
In a filing with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan, Air America - filing as Piquant LLC, doing business as Air America Radio - said it has lost about USD 40.9 million since the spring of 2004, including USD 13.1 million so far in 2006.
The filing follows a move by Multicultural Radio Broadcasting to block the company from drawing on its bank account that new chief executive Scott Elberg - who took up his post on Monday - told Reuters left it without money to operate.
When it launched in March 2004, Air America went on air in Chicago and Los Angeles under a time-brokerage arrangement with Multicultural's WNTD-AM (Chicago) and KBLA-FM (Los Angeles) but the deal fell apart with Multicultural owner Arthur Liu alleging that a cheque had bounced (See RNW Apr 15, 2004)
Elberg said the bankruptcy filing will allow Air America to again use its bank accounts and the broadcaster says it will seek court permission to obtain up to USD 3 million of financing from an entity known as Democracy Allies LLC so that it may operate while under Chapter 11.
Air America says it has around 4 million listeners, some of them premium subscribers who have complained in blogs that they learned of the bankruptcy move from news reports rather than the company itself. The subscriptions - ranging from USD 6.95 a month to USD 49.95 a year for a single show pass to USD 10.95 a month or USD 69.95 a year for a SuperPass covering all shows - give access to podcasts of Air America shows and also to its archived shows.
Previous Air America/Piquant:
2006-10-14: Comedian John Cleese has opened this year's National Commercial Radio Conference - organised by Commercial Radio Australia - in Sydney with a combination of jokes about his experiences, including some about making radio commercials, and advice to broadcasters to take risks and innovate.
Cleese said that film and TV executives had become "terrified" about costs and were operating out of fear with the result that they say they want something original and edgy and then try to make what they get more familiar.
Cleese also said technology had played a part because nowadays there was no "downtime" for audiences who at one time would just switch off.
Cleese's speech came as the Australian media industry is waiting to see the results of the passage of new media regulations that lessen ownership limits and which passed the Australian Senate earlier on Thursday.
Many expect a wave of consolidation but the country's competition regulator fired a warning shot speaking at the conference where he said he will block any anti-competitive merger regardless of this week's changes to ownership laws.
According to The Australian newspaper Graeme Samuel, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), said many analysts had either "substantially underestimated" or were "simply forgetting" section 50 of the Trade Practices Act, which gives the ACCC the power to stop deals deemed likely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition.
"Our role is to consider how competition will be protected," he told the Conference in Sydney. "There may well be many media mergers that satisfy government rules while still potentially running aground under section 50."
Samuel said the ACCC was also concerned about incumbent media operators seeking to shut out competition by corralling content, for example by securing exclusive rights to a string of major sports events.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
The Australian report:
2006-10-14: According to the UK Guardian, whose parent also owns Guardian Media Group Radio, Australian investment bank Macquarie may be seeking to leave UK radio before even launching the Plymouth licence it was awarded by UK media regulator Ofcom in March. Its Diamond FM bid offered local news and information plus mainstream classic rock in the day and alternative rock in the evenings (See RNW Mar 10).
The paper cites "sources within the radio industry" as saying Macquarie has held talks with third parties about selling the station for which it won a licence: It says that Macquarie intended to launch the station when it won the bid, fronted by former Emap executive Tim Schoonmaker, but sources said it wanted more than one station in the UK.
Subsequently Macquarie did not apply for the Liverpool and Manchester FM licences and with no new licence bids outstanding the paper says the solitary Plymouth station may not make economic sense.
The paper then reports that a spokeswoman said Macquarie was working towards the launch and making "good progress" and , although declining to be definite about the launch, said , "We are very much moving towards that."
Macquarie has two years from the date it was awarded the licence to get on air but it would be allowed to sell the station, which would have to retain the winning bid format.
Also in the UK, Ofcom has announced the award of the commercial FM licence for Oxford and South Oxfordshire to Absolute Radio International Limited's Jack FM, based on the North American music-intensive Jack FM format. Ofcom had received five applications for the licence (See RNW Jun 13).
UK Guardian report:
2006-10-14: Arbitron has promoted its vice president, Communications Thomas F. Mocarsky to Senior Vice President, Press and Investor Relations.
Mocarsky, who has been with the company 24 years, oversees Arbitron's integrated press and investor relations programs and serves as the company's chief spokesperson: The company says he also played a pivotal role in introducing and marketing Arbitron's Portable People Meter and has been instrumental in promoting Project Apollo, a national marketing panel designed to provide advertisers with multimedia and purchase information from a common sample of consumers.
2006-10-13: Australian metropolitan radio revenues everywhere except Sydney continued to advance in the in most recent quarter according to figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers just released by industry body Commercial Radio Australia.
As in the previous figures to the end of June, Sydney revenues in the quarter to the end of September were down on a year earlier, this time around 6% to AUD 54.7 million (USD 41.1 million).
Overall revenues were up 0.9% to AUD 150.8 million (USD 113.2 million) with the strongest performance coming from Adelaide, where revenues were up around 8 per cent growth to AUD 14.4 million (USD 10.8 million): This was followed by Perth- up around 7.5 per cent to AUD 16.0 million (USD 12.0 million); Melbourne - up 5% to AUD 42.4 million (USD 31.8 million); and Brisbane - up 3 per cent to AUD 23.0 million (USD 17.3 million).
Commenting on the Sydney results, which pulled the overall percentage rise down substantially - excluding Sydney it was 6.1% up on a year earlier - Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner put it in the context of the New South Wales economy compared to the rest of Australia, saying, "The continuing sluggish state of the whole NSW economy and the last interest rate rise in August have weakened business confidence, but we are still seeing good growth in other metropolitan advertising markets."
Looking towards the future, Warner added that Australian radio was beginning to increase revenues through new initiatives such as online activities including podcasting and said, "While the market, in Sydney in particular, is more short term in nature, the fundamentals of the radio industry remain strong, our audiences remain strong, and stations are adapting new technologies to enhance and enrich the radio offering Radio is keen to work more closely with online partners, particularly as we move towards digital broadcasting in 2009, to demonstrate to advertisers that radio and the Internet are a very powerful combination."
She noted that the industry had held on to its share of advertising revenue "despite the challenging environment, due in part to the industry's successful brand advertising campaign that has been on-air over the past three years" and added, "We'll be holding a think-tank in October to discuss ways to refresh the campaign and the industry's strategy going forward to 2010."
The results were published as new Australian media ownership regulations are making their way through parliament with particular objection from regional radio operators to having to broadcast more local content.
Under the compromise agreed with Nationals senators to get the plans through, regional radio stations will have to broadcast 4 hours 30 minutes a day of local and live content and twelve-and-a-half minutes of news on weekdays and operators say this will add significantly to costs when they are already against tight budgets.
Tim Hughes, executive chairman of Australia's largest regional network, Macquarie Regional Radioworks (MRR), told The Australian newspaper, "There will be more cost in it and for small operators, it's going to be very, very tough it's quite ridiculous that FM radio stations, where 98 per cent of what we do is entertain people, have been caught up in this ridiculous political debate."
He said the main cost would come in providing local news, with a particular problem for very small markets and said of this, "To produce 12 1/2 minutes of local news a day, you'll have to employ two journalists and under that scenario you'd have to hand the licences back to the Government because the costs become unviable and no one will ever buy the licence from you."
The paper noted that MRR has developed a successful comedy show, "The Benchwarmers", for syndication across much of its network, something Hughes said the audience would prefer. "...It's the kind of quality that the audience wants," said Hughes. "People don't want a guy talking to their local politician."
Kevin Blyton, managing director of Capital Radio, a network of seven stations across four towns, said of the requirements, "To bring all these programming quotas on top of cross-media, we think it's Dark Ages stuff," and added that he understood every regional radio operator in Australia opposed the legislation."
Stuart Simson, owner-operator of the Easy Mix network of AM stations said it seemed "a number of independent regional radio operators are going to pay the political price for the media reform package".
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Macquarie Regional Radio:
2006-10-13: In further moves to expand beyond traditional revenues, Arbitron and Scarborough Research have announced a new mall shopper audience measurement and Clear Channel-owned Katz Media has added Katz Mobile, a new division to add text messaging and other cell phone-related options to radio.
The Scarborough Mall Shopper Audience metric says Scarborough will add more precision to measurements of mall shoppers and will offer information on "past 7-day" shopping for individual malls and shopping centres on top of the "past 30-day" and "past 90-day" metrics already offered and the company says shopping venues also can now be credibly evaluated as part of the communications mix in a traditional multimedia advertising campaign.
Stewart Stockdale, chief marketing officer, Simon Property Group and president of its business-to-consumer group, Simon Brand Ventures commissioned Arbitron two years ago to study a sampling of Simon Malls, the results of which prompted further studies that eventually led to the announcement of the new service. He described the move as a "major breakthrough for the shopping centre industry as it relates to the advertising and marketing community", adding, "For the first time, we can quantify the specific value of national brand advertising, marketing, and consumer promotions in our malls using terms that are familiar to the advertising community and a measurement the industry understands."
The Katz announcement says its move stems from its partnership with Hip Cricket and its president Mark Gray, who described mobile messaging as "the fastest growing communications medium" in the US said, "By partnering radio with mobile messages we believe we can increase revenues for our client stations."
The new unit will be led by Dennis Jackson, who spent five years as manager of Katz Events Marketing: he becomes Director of Sales for Katz Mobile and added in a statement on the development," "The synergy of our broadcast media and mobile messaging is very powerful. It allows consumers to respond immediately and directly to the marketing messages of advertisers while providing marketers with tangible real time results of their campaigns."
2006-10-13: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation breached its Code of Practice by not making every reasonable effort to ensure that the factual content of an edition of "The Science Show" about science whistleblowers was accurate and by not ensuring that the program was balanced.
It made the ruling following a complaint about the September 3 last year edition of the programme - "Scientific Whistleblowers" that explored cases of alleged scientific fraud: most of the programme concerned four cases of alleged scientific fraud, one of which involved transplant immunology research at the University of New South Wales, and allegations made against the complainant, described in the program as 'one of the Transplant Society's top scientists', by members of his laboratory.
The programme also included references to two 'significant inquiries' into the allegations against the complainant, the 'Brennan inquiry' - headed by former High Court Chief Justice, Sir Gerard Brennan who found the complainant "seriously deviated from practices commonly accepted for reporting research and that he'd stated a material and significant falsehood with reckless disregard for the truth and with deliberate intent to deceive" - and a later one conducted at the University of New South Wales by its then Vice-Chancellor who found the external experts had erred and there were extenuating circumstances and ruled the complainant guilty only of the lesser charge of academic misconduct-meaning he would be censured and not sacked..
The complainant had submitted that the whistle blowers were wrong and had made their claims by providing the ABC with falsified and scientifically inaccurate material - he said the Brennan Committee who found the allegations on over 80 of the 85 matters it originally formulated as allegations were false allegations and were based on false material and misconceptions about the science and English - and that Brennan's findings on a few original complainant allegations and others that the Committee made up have been found to be nearly totally wrong by a more careful and expert investigation at UNSW.
He also said that to describe the Brennan Committee as a 'battery of world experts' was misleading for a science program, as no member of it had any expertise in my field of science.
The ACMA found that the complainant had not been given sufficient opportunity to respond to the information to be broadcast about him and also that not enough care had been taken to ensure factual accuracy bit it noted that the ABC had corrected the factual error by inserting a footnote on the transcript it posts of the programme and had added an addendum giving the university's viewpoint on a matter requiring balance and said it "considers that the ABC's prompt and constructive actions adequately address the compliance issues raised by the investigation but will continue to monitor the ABC's performance against the relevant code provisions."
Previous ABC, Australia:
2006-10-13: Search engine Lycos, says that based on web searches Howard Stern retained the crown of most popular talk radio personality for the sixth consecutive year this year. The rankings are based on the LYCOS 50 weekly list of the most popular people, places and things web users search for everyday and it gave this year's top five as Howard Stern; Adam Carolla - not listed a year ago; Tavis Smiley - up from 29; Don Imus - not listed a year ago; and Rush Limbaugh -down from second.
Outside the US the top ranked names were Emma B (Emma Battersby, formerly of BBC Radio 1 and now with Heart FM: 14 but not listed last year); Chris Evans (Now with a BBC Radio 2 show: 17 but not listed last year); and Sara Cox (BBC Radio 1: 20 but not listed last year).
Amongst those apart from Smiley who rose in the rankings apart from the British entries were newcomers Adam Carolla and Don Imus - presumed to have gained because Stern moved from terrestrial radio; Tom Joyner (6th but not listed a year ago); Lionel (7th but not listed a year ago); Wendy Williams, host of the syndicated Wendy Williams Experience (8 but not listed a year ago; and Al Franken (9 but not listed a year ago).
Those who fell in the rankings included Art Bell (from 7 to 10); Opie and Anthony (from 10 to 12); Michael Savage (from 5 to 16) and Bob and Tom (from 9 to 19).
2006-10-12: Arbitron has filed a lawsuit against potential competitors the International Demographics, Inc. (The Media Audit) and Ipsos, claiming that they have infringed three of its patents for electronic audience measurement.
The complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and seeks a permanent injunction against International Demographics and Ipsos plus "adequate compensatory damages."
Arbitron President and CEO Steve Morris said in a news release, "As a leading innovator of electronic audience measurement technology, we welcome competition as a way to foster the growth of the market. However, we must take action against companies that attempt to profit from our innovation by infringing Arbitron's patents on the technology that we have worked so long and at such expense to develop."
He continued, "We have invested significant financial and other resources during the last 15 years in the development and testing of our PPMSM System and we will work aggressively to protect our investment and our intellectual property. We believe in the merits of our claim and in the strength of our Intellectual Property portfolio, and are confident that the Court will recognize the validity of Arbitron's intellectual property in this matter."
RNW comment: Apart from the obvious nature of the comment about welcoming competition that is probably in the ultimate analysis mere wind, the crux of the matter here seems to us a combination of whether there has actually been significant breach of patents and any damage so far to Arbitron's investment if there has.
As regards the first that is a matter of detail not yet revealed and not obvious from reading the patents concerned but as regards the latter there would not seem to us to be evidence of any significant harm: Certainly so far some potential users have delayed because of inadequacies in Arbitron's system and no competitor has put a device into use as Arbitron has done with the PPM.
In that light, therefore, our view at the moment is that "adequate compensatory damages" should probably be a matter of a few hundred dollars at the most, albeit we doubt that this view would be shared by Arbitron.
More importantly, should there have been patent infringement and a permanent injunction granted, The Media Audit/Ipsos will be considerably delayed in mounting competition at a crucial stage of development of audio metering, thus giving Arbitron what looks like an unassailable lead.
What we do think would be against the public interest would be a long-drawn out case that will benefit Arbitron even if no infringements are found to have occurred.
Previous Media Audit/Ipsos:
2006-10-12: CBS has agreed the sale of seven more stations - four in Kansas City, Missouri, and three in Columbus, Ohio - to Wilks Broadcast Group - which already owns stations in Wilks currently owns radio stations in Fresno, California, Reno, Nevada, and Lubbock, Texas - as it moves to divest itself of stations in smaller markets.
In the latest transaction it is to be paid USD 138 million for KFKF-FM, KBEQ-FM, KMXV-FM and KCKC-FM in Kansas City, and WLVQ-FM, WHOK-FM and WAZU-FM in Columbus.
Wilks Broadcast Group CEO Jeff Wilks said of the deal, "We are excited to add these assets to our portfolio and build upon the success we have achieved in our other markets. Kansas City and Columbus are tremendous markets with dominating stations and employees that have consistently outperformed their competitors in ratings and revenue."
Craig Klosk, Managing Partner of The Wicks Group, the New York-based private equity firm behind Wilks Broadcast Group, which was established as a platform to acquire and operate radio broadcasting stations in attractive mid-size U.S. markets, added, "We continue to feel that there is significant long-term growth and value in radio broadcasting and the markets we serve have particularly attractive local growth prospects."
CBS put stations in ten markets up for sale and with the Wilks deal will have raised USD 570 million from its sales of stations in eight markets: It had previously announced stations sales to Entercom (15 stations in Austin, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Memphis, Tennessee; and Rochester, New York, for USD 262 million - See RNW Aug 2); to Border Media Partners ( Two stations in San Antonio, Texas, for USD 45 million - See RNW Aug 24) ; and Regent ( Five stations in Buffalo, New York, for USD 125 million - See RNW Sep 6).
It still has stations in Fresno, California, and Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, North Carolina, up for sale.
Previous Wilks Broadcast:
2006-10-12: International market research company Eureca Research in a new report, "Digital Radio 2006 - A Global Review" is forecasting a global market of 145 million DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) radios by 2012, a major turn round in the past few years when the future of the technology was still in the balance: Eureca notes that in 2003 there were less than 40 receivers on the market and concern that European broadcasters would not seek additional spectrum for DAB.
Now there are 250 DAB audio products and 100 DMB mobile TV products on the market with prices starting as low as GBP 30 (USD 60), some 3.5 million receivers have been sold in the UK, rapidly increasing sales in several other European countries. In addition the new GE-06 spectrum plan published recently by the ITU guarantees a minimum of three national DAB coverages (or equivalent) for the majority of ITU Region 1 countries with field strength levels sufficient to provide portable indoor reception.
The company's Research Director Gareth Owen commented, "Dab's progress in the last three years has been quite impressive but the adoption of the Eureka-147 DAB standard for mobile TV services in large countries such as China, India and possibly Russia - in addition to several other European and Asian countries - over the next three years could boost its commercial prospects significantly, and guarantee its future as a dominant global broadcasting standard for radio, mobile TV and multimedia content."
Eureca in a survey of 50 countries found that commercial broadcasters in Western Europe are putting digital radio back on their agendas following the publication of the GE-06 plan with regulators in several European countries expected to issue licenses this year and next. ER also found increasing interest in Eastern Europe with several public broadcasters expected to launch commercial services in the next twelve months and others starting their first trials.
Eureca says that over the next five to six years DAB will move from being a virtually audio-only platform into a fully interactive multimedia and mobile TV platform capable of delivering a
range of revenue-generating services such as subscription radio services, music downloads, live TV services, visual radio content (graphics, images), pay-podcast services, TPEG traffic and travel information.
At the same time it notes significant challenges for DAB - to re-start growth in key European countries where DAB has stalled, in particular France and Germany; the introduction of a new codec without adversely affecting growth in established markets and increasing DAB penetration in vehicles and also the challenge of other technologies including , HD Radio and the Japanese ISDB-TBS standard.
In particular Owen noted the development of DRM, commenting, "The introduction of DRM+ in 2009-2010 will make DRM a very flexible digital radio standard suitable for local, national and international broadcasting on all frequencies from 150 kHz to 120 MHz."
Regarding HD, Owen says, "iBiquity will have to revamp its US business model if it is to have any chance of seriously penetrating markets outside the US" and adds, "Even in the US, its proprietary nature coupled with AM night-time interference issues may yet open the door to other IBOC standards in the AM bands."
2006-10-12: An online poll conducted by the San Antonio Business Journal shows two-thirds of those polled opposing any lifting of existing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) caps on local radio ownership, although it notes that the survey is not a scientific one but is designed to provide a snapshot of what readers are thinking on a given topic.
The publication says that as well as opposing the lifting of the current caps, a number of people said allowing further consolidation would lead to an even greater degradation of content and several called for the caps to be lowered rather than raised.
Only 24% said the caps should be lifted and 8% said they were undecided.
In Australia, however, media consolidation is now expected fairly soon as the government seems certain to get its new media ownership plans through parliament.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that shares rose steeply after it became clear that the media reform package would pass in the Australian parliament. Under the plans, foreign investors will be allowed to control Australian media interests from next year and companies will be able to own two of the three media platforms - radio, television, and newspapers - in the same market.
Commenting on the plans, media mogul James Packer commented, "We think the Government has done the right thing and are positive about it. I think it's been incredibly difficult to reach consensus among both industry and political constituents."
Southern Cross Broadcasting managing director Tony Bell, whose company is regarded as a prime takeover target, said, "I do think consolidation will take place and I do think it will happen reasonably quickly."
Previous Southern Cross:
San Antonio Business Journal report:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2006-10-12: BBC Director-General Mark Thompson has said that moves of some departments to Manchester and the transition to digital could be affected unless it gains "realistic funding" through a new, long term licence fee settlement.
In a speech at the Smith Institute, Thompson said , "If all that was wanted in the new Charter was a steady-state BBC with the same line up of services and the same level of quality, we could deliver that well within our current resources.
"If you want a BBC which does no more than it is currently doing, then a budget that reduces in real terms - RPI-minus - is the right settlement."
Thompson said recent benchmarking and independent reports show the BBC is close to the "efficiency frontier" and its proposals for continuous efficiency improvements should keep it there but to deliver the full mission set out by the Government the BBC could only fund 70% of the costs itself though savings and efficiencies.
He added that the BBC's current licence fee bid could reduce to around RPI +1.8% (from RPI +2.3%) if, among other factors, the broadcasting regulator Ofcom decided not to levy a spectrum tax on the BBC over the next licence settlement period.
This would mean a licence fee of GBP 149 (currently USD 277) in 2013/14 in today's prices, well below the GBP 162.66 (currently USD 302) that the recent Work Foundation report commissioned by the Government says that licence payers would be willing to pay.
If there were a low settlement , said Thompson, he would not be able to recommend to the Trust that the BBC should go ahead with the plan for moves to the North based around a new broadcast centre in Salford, adding, "We would have to find other, more modest ways of increasing our investment in the North.".
2006-10-11: Interep President and COO George Pine has left the company after taking a Voluntary Separation Agreement, which was offered in August to Interep employees over the age of 50 years old.
He is the third senior executive to leave in recent times - at the end of September Interep announced that Marc Guild, president of Interep's Marketing Division, and CIO Jim Mazzarella were leaving to form Bungalow 3 Media - a company that will partner with new technology vendors to provide media-based marketing solutions to advertisers.
No details were given of Pine's package but it emerged through an SEC filing after Guild left that he was to receive USD 360,000 a year in severance and consulting payments to the end of March 2013.
Pine said of his decision in a news release, "My decision to leave Interep after 33 years was very difficult. I have lived every day at Interep full of passion for the company, our clients, our customers and my co-workers. But I am truly looking forward to taking this next step in my life."
Interep Chairman and CEO Ralph Guild, who is to oversee Pine's responsibilities until a successor is found, said, "George has been an asset to our company for over 30 years. He led our company at a time of tremendous change within our medium and should be commended for resilience in the face of challenge. George is truly one of the top executives in our industry. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours and are grateful to him for his leadership, dedication and service through the years."
In other US radio management moves, Salem has announced that M. Susan Lucchesi is to take over as general manager of its New York cluster, WMCA 570 AM and WWDJ 970 AM, effective November 1, and current Vice President and NY General Manager Dave Armstrong will return to California to manage Salem's San Diego stations KPRZ 1210 AM and KCBQ 1170 AM.
Previous Ralph Guild:
2006-10-11: The BBC has won six of the seven Premiere League soccer rights packages for the three seasons to 2009/10 but UTV-owned talkSPORT has taken the second pick package - one of two each covering 32 games that are to kick-off at 15:00 - the first time a commercial station has held national rights. The BBC took the first pick package for these kick-offs, allowing it to decide which of the games it wishes to cover.
The remaining packages, each for 32 games, all went to BBC Radio - the packages are split according to kick-off time and these cover Sunday 16:05 matches, Saturday matches kicking off before 15:00, Sunday matches kicking off before 16:00, Saturday 17:15 and Wednesday evening matches; and Monday 20:00 matches.
Commenting on the awards, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said, "The BBC has been synonymous with radio broadcasts of top flight live football for some 80 years and it is pleasing to see their continued commitment to extensive coverage through this latest deal for the majority of the Premier League matches available."
He added, "We welcome talkSPORT as a new national live rights holder and look forward to working closely with them as we seek to offer fans increased choice and accessibility to follow Premier League action."
BBC director of sport Roger Mosey said he had tried to balance the interests of the licence-fee payers with the rising price of football rights.
"Figures for television rights have undergone massive inflation and there hasn't been the same massive jump in the radio market," Mosey he told BBC Five Live. "But we are paying tens of thousands of pounds per game and that's because we think Five Live audiences want to hear live football commentary."
2006-10-11: The Australian Government is reported to have stuck a deal with the Nationals, the ruling Liberal Party's coalition partner, under which it has acceded to the Nationals prime requirement to retain its "two out of three rules" to get through new media ownership laws. The rules are to apply not only in rural and regional areas but also to metropolitan ones.
The Australian reports that the Nationals have also run a concession requiring regional radio stations to run local content - 12 1/2 minutes of news five days a week and 4 1/2 hours of "live and local" radio (down from six hours originally called for) every day - and says that although Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce was still talking with Communications Minister Helen Coonan on a number of technical issues he had earlier indicated he would support the bill in the Senate.
The paper says the bill is likely to pass in both houses of parliament and is expected to trigger a wave of takeovers, mergers and foreign investment in Australia's media industry after its passage, which could come as early as this week.
It says speculation on the most likely acquisition targets has centred on Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and radio group Southern Cross: Other major players such as James Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd and Kerry Stokes's Seven Network are controlled by majority shareholders.
Some media companies criticized the changes and a spokesman for News Limited, which owns the Australian, said, "This is policy on the run. The compromise that has been reached is exactly that - a compromise on bad policy."
Joan Warner, chief executive of the industry body Commercial Radio Australia, said regional radio was "being hit from all fronts" and added that the organization would push for exemptions from the tough new rules for radio stations in small markets.
Liberal backbencher Wilson Tuckey, reports the paper, described the push to enshrine local content demands as "silly", arguing it was simply about country members wanting to promote themselves on the local TV news.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
The Australian report:
2006-10-11: Emmis has reported second quarter revenues down 4.6% on a year earlier at USD 99.9 million, a decrease it attributes to "weakness in the New York and Los Angeles radio markets" but Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan remained optimistic, saying the challenges in the markets were similar to those of competitors but "several recent actions suggest that the innovative team at Emmis is leading a resurgence in these markets."
He added, "I'm particularly excited by the early response to our new morning show at Q101 in Chicago and the Movin 93.9 format in Los Angeles, as well as our rebound at Power 106. We remain focused on our operations, particularly in our largest radio markets, and on delivering value to our shareholders."
Operating income for the quarter fell from USD 27.6 million a year earlier to USD 22.0 million but Emmis notes the figure this year includes USD 2.4 million in costs incurred to evaluate Smulyan's proposal to acquire all the company's stock and take it private. Station operating income was down from USD 40.8 million to USD 34.4 million.
In divisional terms radio reported and pro forma net revenues were down 6% and those for publishing were flat with overall reported and pro forma net revenues down 5%.
International radio net revenues and station operating expenses for the quarter 2006 were USD 9.3 million and USD 5.4 million, respectively.
Emmis also noted that it had now sold 14 of its 16 TV stations after putting its TV operations up for sale in May last year. It now only owns WVUE-TV (New Orleans) and KGMB-TV (Honolulu).
It also noted that its board has now authorized a special cash dividend of USD 4 per share and says that to facilitate the dividend it expects to enter into an amended and restated credit facility and will be formally commencing that process with a bank meeting today. In addition it has commenced an offer to purchase at par USD 339.6 million of its outstanding 6 7/8% Senior Subordinated Notes due in 2012.
Looking ahead Emmis said it expects third quarter pro forma radio net revenues to fall by low double digits whilst its radio operating expenses are expected to rise by low single digits compared to a year ago.
Emmis shares ended Tuesday down 2.1% at USD 11.65
2006-10-11: The BBC Governors and UK media regulator Ofcom have extended the deadline for submissions and comment on the market impact and public value testing of the corporation's planned iPlayer, developed to deliver all of the corporation's audio and video programming on demand.
The new service is to be evaluated through a joint steering group with Ofcom examining the market impact and the BBC governance unit the public value of the service.
Originally submissions had to be in by the end of this week and the results were to have been published in mid-December but now the deadline for comment is November 7 and the Governors have also extended the deadline for completion of the Market Impact Assessment is now January 19 next year and for the overall PVT no later than 28 March.
Commenting on the delay, BBC Chairman Michael Grade said in a statement, "As Chairman designate of the BBC Trust I am committed to a fair and transparent process that will enjoy the full confidence of all stakeholders. We are on a steep learning curve and are happy to extend the deadline, and to publish additional information from BBC management about their proposal, to meet the requirements of those who wish to participate in the process."
2006-10-10: XM Satellite Radio, whose most recent figures showed that it added a third less new subscribers during the third quarter than rival Sirius although it still has a lead of around a half as many again - a total of 7.2 million compared to 5.1 million (See RNW Oct 5), has announced a new Fall Marketing Campaign.
The "multi-platform" campaign, it says, will include network and cable television, print, interactive, direct marketing and retail and automotive channels, and is to be handled by its new advertising agency, Lowe New York.
The TV commercials, which it has also posted on its web site, feature the XM logo "sound waves" along with simple, line art drawings animated against a black backdrop and pulsing music and the first two spots, "Switch" and "Hair", were launched on Monday. Both end with the line "170 channels to find what turns you on. Are you on?"
XM President & COO Nate Davis said of the campaign that Lowe had "succeeded in finding an elegant and flexible way to communicate XM's core consumer appeal of choice, simplicity and fun -- all at the touch of a button."
XM "Adverts" site:
2006-10-10: Sally Oldham, the former director of strategy and development director for Capital Radio, who was appointed managing director of The Local Radio Company in March, has left the company just after last week's trading update showed it increasing revenues 2% year-on-year compared to an industry-wide decline of around 4%, and a steep rise in its share price.
The rise, from 14 pence a week ago, followed a purchase on Friday by an unnamed institutional investor of a million shares and further heavy trading in Monday that saw the price up 10% to end at 22 pence
The company has not so far posted an announcement about the departure but the UK Guardian quoted chief executive Richard Wheatly as saying, "Sally joined on an eight-month, fixed-term contract and has done a smashing job. We brought her in to do the restructuring and wish we had the money to keep her. We were looking for someone to do the reorganise, increase effectiveness and streamline the business, which she has done consummately and now control will be handed back to regional managers."
The paper contrasted this with his comments at the time of her appointment and he said, "Sally will bring invaluable operational and strategic experience to our business as it expands over the next year and beyond."
In its trading update, the company had noted that in its interim report had said the company was "pursuing a number of strategic options to increase shareholder value" and added, "To date we have successfully disposed of a significant loss making station [WIN FM in Winchester] for a cash consideration of GBP 400,000 [USD 747,000] and are continuing to review our portfolio Furthermore, we have closed our Enterprises Division, which staged large outdoor concerts for our stations. Many of these concerts were individually successful, but over supply and increasing regulation has reduced market profitability. The head of the Division, Simon Cooke, will leave the Company and will stand down from the Board with immediate effect."
The company said that in the year to the end of September this year the Enterprise Division lost around GBP 250,000 [USD 467,000] and said it was continuing to cut costs, and was reducing staff numbers by making increasing use of technology in such areas as programming and news. This it said would initially cut costs by more than GBP 500,000 [USD 933,000] in a full year and it expected to make further cuts.
It also noted the launch of Durham FM and Brunel FM in Swindon, saying that although these had incurred start-up losses of some GBP 300,000 [USD 560,000], Durham FM had gone into operating profit before group charges in August
Regarding the share price rise, the Guardian quoted Wheatly as saying he did not think anyone was trying to gain a foothold in the company and commenting, "There isn't a buyer out there, these are small packages. No one is acquiring large blocks. There have been 119,000 [shares traded] today, worth less than GMP 70,000; and one million shares at the end of last week. That was an institutional shareholder but we don't know who. It's not a notifiable interest [3%]."
Previous Local Radio Company:
UK Guardian report:
2006-10-10: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has cancelled the licence of 6AR, Perth, operated by the Western Australian Aboriginal Media Association (WAAMA), which had already had additional licence conditions imposed on it after receiving several complaints from members of the Perth Aboriginal community.
The licence was issued in 1992 to represent the Perth Aboriginal community and to promote awareness of Aboriginal issues in the wider community and the station ceased broadcasting on September 1 but its chair indicated that it would not be surrendering its licence.
The station was found in May this year to have breached its licence conditions relating to serving the Perth Aboriginal community and additional licence conditions were intended to ensure that WAAMA ascertained the community's needs and interests, encouraged members of the community to become members and/or volunteer at 6AR and provide a mix of music and talk of specific interest and relevance to different sections of the Perth aboriginal community.
The station was required to report on its compliance by the end of July this year but did not meet the deadline and was issued with a written notice on September 8concerning its non-compliance and asking why the ACMA should not suspend or cancel the licence: It failed to reply by the dealing of September 15.
Commenting on the cancellation ACMA chair Chris Chapman said the decision had not been taken lightly. The ACMA says it has not made any decision about the use of the frequency freed up by the cancellation.
2006-10-10: VNU Group B.V., which already owns 60.5% of the common stock of NetRatings, has announced that it is proposing to acquire the outstanding minority interest in the company and convert it into a wholly-owned subsidiary.
It is offering USD 16 per share in cash, a 10% premium over the closing price last Friday and a 16% premium over the average closing price over the previous six months and says the offer is "an excellent opportunity for NetRatings' stockholders to realize a fair price for their shares."
VNU, which also owns ACNielsen, Nielsen Media Research, Billboard, and The Hollywood Reporter, is itself owned by a consortium of private-equity investors.
2006-10-09: This week's look at print and online comment on radio starts off by being a little incestuous with items from the BBC, Slate, and the New York Daily News on the inner workings of radio and pitching a radio script.
First BBC News and "Who does what in a radio studio?" - part of the BBC News School Report project, one of whose aims says the report is to "develop students' communication and teamwork skills, mirroring what happens in a real newsroom, studio and cubicle."
Those in many a small station may well envy those commenting the resources they have as the report includes comments from editor Jon Zilkha; reporter Barnie Choudhury; story producer Jason Korsner; studio manager Darynn Garrett; studio producer Rebecca Hughes; and presenter (host) Justine Green.
For full details see the report but those without the full back-up - and in some cases nowadays also being expected to combine the work with producing and editing their own video (VJs) - for other broadcasters as well as outsiders it does illuminate how a well-resourced set-up operates. Still it's not that long ago that editing for audio, and briefly for video (2" Quad), was done using a block and razor blade plus joining tape.
Then radio scripts and an article "Put Me on the Air!" from Doree Shafrir in Slate: It begins as so often with a list of celebrities, in this case those with shows on satellite radio, but then notes that "Both Sirius and XM accept unsolicited pitches for shows and channels, although the odds of actually getting on the air are slim if your idea comes in over the transom."
Stating the obvious it continues, "If you're not a celebrity, you're more likely to succeed if you have broadcast experience, a strong pitch for a show, and a demo tape" and then notes that XM accepts brief e-mail pitches at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Sirius suggests sending your show idea to the programming department by U.S. mail.
It also notes, in terms of shows that could make air, that the number of channels and subscription income of the satellite channels means they can run niche programming that would not rate highly enough for terrestrial channels serving one market.
Finally on the topic, David Hinckley in the New York Daily News gives space to "Joe Bevilacqua, a long-time champion of old-style radio drama", who is soliciting new scripts- for a 22 minute production (to be e-mailed in text format to Joe) - that "use classic radio characters: Jack Benny, Fred Allen, the Bickersons, the Great Gildersleeve, Our Miss Brooks, Baby Snooks, Fibber McGee and Molly and the folks at Duffy's Tavern."
Bevilacqua, says Hinckley, has acquired the rights to the books "It's That Time Again! New Stories of Old-Time Radio!" - known as the Bear Manor series - that put old-time characters in new stories.
"The series," reports Hinckley, "is tentatively titled 'The New Old-Time Radio Show' and selected submissions will be produced and aired on XM Satellite Radio, where Bevilacqua works on a show called "Comedy-O-Rama" that also plays off old-time radio."
RNW comment: One of the beauties of radio combined with modern technology is that it is now possible comparatively cheaply to make your own programmes using techniques that in the past required much more equipment and cumbersome working. No longer is it a matter of fairly bulky Uhers, multiple reel-to-reel tape decks and a complicated mixer when there are sophisticated audio editing programmes (of the cheaper ones we have been happy with the facilities offered by GoldWave) that will produce pretty good results on a fairly standard computer and portable digital recorders - remember though, that a good microphone is also needed - that will record in WAV or MP3 for subsequent transfer. Add in the cheapness of CD/DVD burners and it's quite possible on a low budget to produce good quality demo discs to send in to a broadcaster.
On next to a brief mention of a decision in Geneva last week concerning diverging interests - in this case as seen by a number of big broadcasters and by a wider public - that in our view bodes well - for the moment at least - in terms of general home and other recording: The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) meeting that ended on Tuesday rowed back on calls by broadcasters to protect their signals - as opposed to content - a development that would have created yet another form of copyright and that had looked set for approval.
The battle isn't over but the proposed Broadcasting Treaty has been made contingent on two prior meetings and the resolution of all outstanding issues so there is a fair chance that the big business pressure to control almost everything may yet be defeated by developing countries and public interest groups although we expect the business lobby to put on major pressure, particularly through the US where it would seem a politician's need for campaign funds makes it possible for monied interests to exert undue pressure compared to that from the general public interest.
Finally before listening suggestions a tale of other diverging interests from Gerry McCarthy in his Radio Waves column on Irish radio in the UK Sunday Times.
It concerned a decision by RTÉ Radio 1's Drivetime programme, which had been carrying a live feed from the Dail (Irish parliament) where Prime Minister Berti Ahern was "confronting a critical opposition"
The programme carried Ahern for around 15 minutes followed by speeches from the leaders of the two main opposition parties but then, just as the Green Party spokesman was winding up, abruptly dropped the live feed, thus cutting out other parties.
Dismissing the idea of a "conspiracy to exclude dissident voices", McCarthy says the point was that the programme could not stay on the one topic for too long and continued, "It is like the dilemma faced by print media when confronted by rolling news television. Newspapers adapted by changing focus to commentary and analysis. Now radio needs to do the same. On Tuesday, the live Dail coverage continued on RTÉ television as Drivetime went into analysis mode."
He adds, "This should work fine in theory. In practice, it is still having trouble getting the details right. Wilson [The programme's host Mary Wilson - See RNW Sep 4) is an excellent reporter and can deliver a prepared script superbly. She has a fast brain honed by her experience as RTÉ's legal affairs correspondent, and she is good at picking out a story's essentials What she still lacks is authority in her current role. She seems uncomfortable, and sounds as though she would be happier out in the field with the rest of the reporting pack."
So yet another clash of interests in the sense that the requirements of the reporter and the presenter, who may be the same person, may differ- and perspectives may also change as was evidenced in comments in our first listening suggestion - last Sunday's "Archive Hour" on BBC Radio 4 - "Fortress Wapping", which looked through the eyes of Andrew Neil, the then editor of The Sunday Times, when News International 20 years ago decided to take on the print unions and moved its printing to Wapping and printed using new technology. It led to bitter clashes and Neil recounts preparations to evacuate by helicopter should the pickets storm the plant, which was already surrounded by razor wire.
Also from Sunday on Radio 4 we would suggest the feature from "The Westminster Hour" - "Live Free or Die" - in which Justin Webb reflects on America's role in the world and in particular whether Americans are imperialists at heart.Remaining with the US but a very different perspective we would suggest two documentaries from the BBC digital station 1Xtra, which is marking Black History Month throughout October. The site has streams of its documentaries on Marcus Garvey and The Apollo Theater in Harlem.
Then changing continents, we suggest Sunday's "All in the Mind" from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"Bird Brains: Smarter than the Average" posits the argument that the term is a misnomer since songbirds are amongst the few animals that can learn new and complex vocal skills.
On the same ground in part, Sunday's "Ockham's Razor" was "Bird Brains and Animal Rights" in which Emeritus Professor John Bradshaw talked about the cognitive abilities of birds and other animals.
Also from the ABC we suggest Thursday's "Media Report" that looked at the potential impact of the Australian government's proposals to allow more cross media ownership on news coverage in regional Australia.
Back towards Europe and last Friday's "A Good Life" on Radio Netherlands was a special on the Sri Lankan coastal town of Galle, hard hit by the December 2004 tsunami, and now having to decide how it is to rebuild.
And then firmly in Europe, "The Sunday Feature" on BBC Radio 3 was "Henze at 80" in which Piers Burton-Page talked to the composer as well as people who know him well.
Also on Radio 3 this week nightly at 21:15 GMT are the "British Composer Awards" - various pieces for which listeners can vote - in all nine entries are being aired - all of them BBC orchestral commissions which had their premieres last year.
As a final suggestion -and in reference back to the articles on scripts - we suggest this Friday's "Weekender" at 21:00 GMT on BBC Radio 2: It contains the winning drama from the station's " Imagine" competition" -- "My Lighthouse" , which has Pulp's Jarvis Cocker as its hero.
BBC News - "Who does what in a radio studio?":
New York Daily News - Hinckley:
Slate - Shafrir:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
WIPO --Documents on last week's meeting. (This includes links to various documents including a PDF on the "Protection of Broadcasting Organizations."):
2006-10-09: Australia's Senate is expected to spend much of its time this week to debating proposed new media laws that would ease ownership limits with a total of four bills on the matter on the table.
There is expected to be more horse trading between the two parties in the ruling coalition - the dominant Liberals and the Nationals, who want to retain greater limits than have been proposed in rural and regional markets: A Senate Committee has already recommended that in regional markets a single owner should not be allowed to control a newspaper, radio and TV station - the essence of the Nationals' "two out of three test" that would allow ownership of only two of the three in such markets - but some of the Nationals want tighter rules and in particular greater protection for radio content in rural areas.
They include Queensland senator Barnaby Joyce who said that he has reserved the right to vote against the legislation if he is not "comfortable" about it.
In addition tothe Nationals, Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) president Sharan Burrow has also opposed some of the legislation, saying the proposed changes could threaten Australian democracy.
In an AAP report in the Sydney Morning Herald she is reported as saying, You narrow media ownership, narrow media voice and it doesn't serve a robust democracy well" and backing the Nationals calls for more media diversity in regional areas. She also said more time should be spent considering the Bill.
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2006-10-09: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ in its submission concerning the Irish government's Broadcasting Bill, 2006 has welcomed it in general but also warned that the changes could mean it becoming State- controlled and saying that as the "national Public Service Broadcaster (PSB), it is essential that it is independent of Government, from a legal point of view, and that it is seen to be so.
Noting that much of the proposed change is based on legislation covering State-owned companies, RTÉ says that if it is converted into a company "it is all the more important that the directors can discharge their duties without any risk of undue influence."
The Bill would create a single regulator, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to control public and s=commercial broadcasters and RTÉ terms this a "laudable objective" but adds of the overall effect that "in so as it imposes a regime of control either by the State itself or by an over-empowered regulator, is a retrograde and unnecessary step."
RTÉ also opposes plans to treat "specialist channels such as RTÉ lyric fm" as "National, Regional or Local general radio provision channels", a designation that means the channel would have to carry 20% news and current affairs content and that has also raised concern amongst commercial niche stations.
RTÉ response to draft bill (360 Kb 102 page PDF):
2006-10-08: Last week the most important topic for the regulators came in the form of plans to deregulate various areas in various countries including the US, where the Federal Communications Commission held the first of its planned public meetings concerning new media ownership regulations that broadcasters want eased but many consumer groups do not; Australia where planned looser media ownership rules are currently making their way through the political system; and the UK where among other things Ofcom is planning to allow micro-transmitters to allow MP3 players to send signals to automobile radios, devices currently banned.
In Australia there were no radio announcements and in Canada things were fairly quiet with only a few radio-related decisions from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). They included, in order of province:
*Approval of application by Christian Broadcasters Canada for a new religious English-language specialty audio service offering a Christian music service offering a middle ground "catch all" format directed to families with specific programs for older and younger people for national distribution by broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) on a digital basis.
The application had been opposed by Forerunner Global Media Inc., which has been authorized to operate two English-language, religious specialty audio services; Voice of Adventist Radio (VOAR), an AM radio station that airs religious programming in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, and said it felt the licence would reduce diversity and cause a competitive disadvantage for individual radio stations, such as VOAR, that currently provide similar programming; Sound of Faith Broadcasting, the licensee of three radio stations that provide Christian music services to communities in southern Ontario, which expressed about a negative financial impact on its stations and argued that, unlike its radio stations, UCBC's proposed service would not offer any local programming; and Christian Hit Radio Inc., licensee of CHRI-FM, Ottawa, which offers a Christian music service, and felt the proposed service would duplicate Forerunner's specialty audio services.
UCBC in response to various objections said it was incorporated in Canada, would broadcast from a new studio that had already been built, and would feature uniquely Canadian stories.
The Commission in granting the application noted that the proposed service would include a significant amount of news and talk programs directed to families, felt it would not duplicate or compete directly with Forerunner's specialty audio services, would not have an undue negative impact on existing local radio services, or national specialty audio services would increase the diversity of radio programming available nationally.
*Approval of new 50 watts FM transmitter at Rothesay for CJEF-FM, Saint John.
*Approval of 1,750 watts Adult Contemporary/Middle of the Road music format - with a focus on local news English-language - commercial FM in Strathroy.
*Approval of 5 watts English-language, developmental community FM in Dawson City.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has released details of the oral hearing it is holding tomorrow in Galway to hear applications for the youth service licence it is offering for the north-west region. There are five applicants - FRESH FM; i 105 FM; Red FM North West; SPIN; and Vibe FM (See Licence News Jul 16).
In the UK, Ofcom as already noted has announced moves to loosen regulation relating to various spectrum is proposing to allow unlicensed use of micro-transmitters and also citizens band radio, walkie-talkies, and some short-range radar and satellite phones (See below).
It also announced the bidders for new FM licences for Aberdeen and Manchester (See RNW Oct 7) and also appointed its COO Ed Richards to the position of CEO to succeed Stephen Carter (See RNW Oct 6).
Earlier it had published its latest broadcast bulletin, upholding no complaints (See RNW Oct 3).
In addition it released its Disability Equality Scheme, for which responses have to be submitted by November 10. Its remit to ensure that disabled people have fair access to electronic communications mainly concerns TV in terms of such areas as sub titles and audio description and also encouraging the availability of easy to use equipment.
In the draft (a 123 kb 40-page PDF) it notes that disabled adults under 65 watch more TV and listen to more radio than the average for all adults but use the internet and mobile phones to the same extent.
It also notes that The Advisory Committee on Older and Disabled People (ACOD), which advises Ofcom on matters relating to disability, has raised concerns about the portrayal (or lack) of disabled people on radio and television and also felt that people with learning disabilities and those with mental health issues are particularly subject to negative portrayal in broadcast media when they do appear. In relation to this it says that the use of derogatory terms for disabled people can amount to a breach of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as already noted, has held the first of six planned hearings into new media ownership rules (See RNW Oct 5).
It also confirmed a USD 7,000 penalty on a New Hampshire AM for failing to enclose on of its three antenna structures within an effective locked fence or other enclosure (See RNW Oct 7) and announced details of Notice and Filing Requirements, Minimum Opening Bids, Upfront Payments and Other Procedures for its FM auction 68 to commence in January next year.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-10-08: Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters, chosen on Friday by the California State Long Beach Foundation to take over operation of jazz-format non-profit KKJZ-FM, has told the Los Angeles Times in response to voiced fears about the future of the station that it will maintain the station's format of 25 years.
Mt. Wilson is to take over the operation of the station in the New Year, having won in bidding against competitors including current operator Pacific Public Radio, which has run the station since 1987, and Southern California Public Radio, sister to Minnesota Public Radio. Final contract details have to be agreed although Mt Wilson was awarded the contract unanimously and this could take up to six months.
Mt Wilson founder and owner Saul Levine told the paper, "There is no way that it won't be classic jazz. We are committed to traditional classic jazz and we look forward to it with great eagerness. I want to tell people, 'Don't worry, don't fear; you're going to have the best classic jazz you've ever heard.' "
The paper says some fans remain concerned about the future of the station and note that both of Mt Wilson's frequencies were used for commercial jazz formats before its KMZT-FM was switched to classical in 1989 and its KKGO-AM was moved to Adult standards in 2002.
Whitey Littleford, who served on the board for Pacific Public Radio, for nearly 20 years, told the paper, "The university has just destroyed jazz. I don't believe they are going to play the same kind of jazz we've been playing. They'll mix in smooth [jazz]."
The paper says that when they opened the bidding process in May university officials said they wanted management that would strengthen ties between the station and the campus and one that could also provide greater financial stability than Pacific Public Radio, which ran a break-even operation with an annual budget of about USD 3 million.
The paper reported that Pacific Public Radio, which has been operating the station since its contract ran out in December , said the university undercut its ability to compete when the news broke about interest in new management since this hampered their ability to raise funds. Officials estimate it lost more than USD 750,000 because of the uncertainties.
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-10-08: UK media regulator Ofcom has now formally published a notice of its intention to remove the need for a licence for "micro" FM transmitters used for such purposes as linking MP3 players to automobile radios, Citizens Band radio, walkie-talkies, plus some short-range radar and satellite phones. Any interventions or comments concerning its plans have to be made by November 6,
The move is part of a harmonization of regulations over Europe where a number of countries, including Britain currently ban micro-FM transmitters although there has been a significant amount of importing such devices from the US and elsewhere.
Radio companies have expressed concern about interference from such devices as well as a potential loss of audience as people switch from listening to an automobile radio to using it to play their own choice of stored music.
In its document Ofcom notes the use of similar short-range radio for such devices as remote garage door openers, wireless headphones, Wi-Fi, and cordless phones and that in making a device exempt it "normally carefully specifies the characteristics of the equipment that can be used."
In particular it notes that, although there are no guarantees that there will be no interference from the devices, by proper specification, particularly of maximum power, it can "keep the probability of interference low."
It had already published a consultation on the matter (See RNW ) to which it received 69 replies of which two were confidential. The remaining responses have been posted on its website.
Ofcom says that there was strong support for removing licensing for CB radio although a few felt there could be merit in life-time licensing so as to track users when there were issues of enforcement.
Allowing micro-transmitters it said received "the greatest report" although some objected that the power level was too high as it could lead to interference and one suggested specific spectrum should be made available exclusively for such transmitters, something Ofcom said was not possible in Europe because of the demand for spectrum. Regarding interference it said it was "committed to taking enforcement action against the sale and use of illegal equipment" to ensure that the problem was minimized.
2006-10-07: Although Air America Radio seems to hit the news mainly because of problems, US radio giant Clear Channel is confident enough in the prospects for progressive talk to have joined with The Center for American Progress Action Fund, Jones Radio Networks, and MSS, Inc, an Washington-based independent radio production and consulting company to launch a nationwide search for the next Progressive Talk Radio Star.
The contest, which begins on Monday, will start with local promotions at participating stations and end with a final broadcast in front of a live studio audience in Washington, DC on Thursday, November 16. The entries will be judged by a panel of experts including syndicated progressive talk host Ed Schultz.
In addition to the station promotions a national contest is to be held through a web site TalkProgress.com that will hold a national "At large" contest and follow contestants' progress.
The local winners and an at-large winner will each receive a USD 1,000 cash prize. Eight final participants will then be named on November 4 during the inaugural broadcast of the network program, Progressive Talk Radio Star, and the numbers will then be narrowed down through quarterfinal and semi-final broadcasts, with two finalists winning an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC to participate in the final broadcast.
Clear Channel gives itself a boost by saying it launched the Progressive Talk Format in March 2004 on its 50,000 watt Portland, Oregon, AM, whose call letters were changed to KPOJ and that moved from 23rd to first in the market's ratings.
John Podesta, President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said talk radio has "emerged as a potent force for driving the national debate" and added, "We're working towards a return to a balance in the airwaves by supporting this initiative to bring more progressive voices to the microphone" and MSS president and radio entrepreneur Paul "Woody" Woodhull commented, "Progressive Talk has grown so big, so fast, that all of us in the industry are searching high and low for more great Progressive Talk radio talent. Great talkers like Ed Schultz, Bill Press, and Al Franken are hard to find."
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-10-07: UK media regulator Ofcom says it has received four applications for a new Aberdeen FM licence and 11 for a new Manchester FM including two applications for talk licences - and a third that is heavy on speech.
There were also applications backed by Emmis and CanWest, both of which have previously bid for UK licences and the latter of which was the first non-British company to win a licence - the Solent licence last year - See RNW Sep 6, 2005 - to which it later added a Bristol licence -See RNW Sep 15. CanWest is also bidding in Aberdeen.
The talk bids are from Chrysalis and Emap: Chrysalis is making two bids, one with its adult rock format "The Arrow", which currently airs on digital, and the other is for talk-format "GMBC", for which it would be able to rely on experience gained with its London LBC stations.
Emap's talk bid is for "Piccadilly Talk" that is described in its bid as to offer "sensible and intelligent conversation, skilfully laced with news, sport, current affairs and Mancunian issues."
In addition the Guardian Media Group bit with "Rock Talk Manchester" - a "speech and rock music service for 35-64 year olds, which contains a strong commitment to local news, current affairs and interactive debate for the Manchester area" - includes a strong speech content.
The remaining Manchester bids are from:
*Manchester Radio 1061 Limited - Jack FM - described as a "variety classic rock music station for Manchester aimed primarily at people aged 45-59 years with an all-speech peak time breakfast show and news bulletins with local content 24 hours a day."
*Manchester Citylife - a "locally-focused speech, information and music station aimed at Manchester's 45-64 year olds."
*Manchester Sound - to "serve Manchester's young Asian community-aged predominantly 15-34 with a distinctive mix of ethnic music."
*Masti Radio Ltd - Sunrise Radio's bid of a "contemporary Asian/Urban/Popular Music led service primarily targeting young people of Asian ethnic origin up to the age of 35."
*MNR FM - Emmis's bid of a "rolling news, information and music service with a wide variety of adult orientated music styles which appeal to a 40+ audience."
* Original 106 FM -CanWest's bid with the formula with which it has already gained two licences of "an eclectic mix of adult-orientated music with particular ABC1 appeal, with 24 hour local news."
*UK1 FM Manchester - a "speech and music service for 30-60 year olds playing an individually selected contemporary and unpredictably wide music mix as well as producing a fresh and intelligent approach to news, sport, current affairs and talent development in key genres such as music, journalism, comedy and enterprise."
The four Aberdeen bids are from:
*Aurora FM - Aberdeen FM Limited's full service bid for a 24-55 demographic with "mainstream adult contemporary, classic hits/soft rock music during the day and themed music and interactive features during the evenings and weekends.."
*Original 106 FM - The CanWest adult alternative bid similar to that for Manchester.
*Real Radio Aberdeen - Guardian Media Group's bid with an offering of adult contemporary music and speech targeting primarily 25-54 year olds.
*Waves Radio - a "music and information service for all adults in the Aberdeen area."
Previous Guardian Media Group:
2006-10-07: Veteran Australian radio writer Gwen Meredith, best known as the author of the "Blue Hills" series that ran from 1949 to 1976, has died aged 98 at her home in Bowral, New South Wales.
Prior to"Blue Hills", for which she wrote each of the series' 5795 episodes, she had been best known for creating another radio serial, "The Lawsons" for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: That ran for five years - 1299 episodes- until February 5, 1949 and "Blue Hills" went to air three weeks later.
Lawson, who was born in Orange, New South Wales, later moved to Sydney, where after completing school she studied at the University of Sydney. She later gained a Bachelor of Arts degree. She ran a bookstore "The Chelsea Bookshop" for a while until she gave it up in 1938 to become a freelance writer, marrying engineer Ainsworth Harrison on Christmas Eve that year.
She joined the ABC in 1943 and remained there for 33 years, writing radio plays, documentaries and the drama series that made her best known.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard paying tribute to her said, "Blue Hills told us stories of bush life that struck a sympathetic chord with Australians in all parts of the nation."
The Australian, quoting a close friend Ian Doyle, said the dramas struck a chord because of her method of working - "She didn't write it, she spoke it ... recorded it on a tape machine and it was then transcribed at the ABC," he said. "That's why the people who were in Blue Hills felt as if the serial had a real life to it, because Gwen actually spoke the words before they were typed."
The Australian obituary:
2006-10-07: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined a New Hampshire AM USD 7,000 for failing to enclose on of its three antenna structures within an effective locked fence or other enclosure.
WSMN Broadcasting, LLC, former licensee of WSMN-AM, Nashua, had argued that the penalty - proposed in a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) issued in September 2005 - should be rescinded because it did not own the structures.
The FCC noted that the regulation applied to licensees not the antenna structure owners and confirmed the full penalty.
2006-10-06: UK media regulator Ofcom has appointed Ed Richards, previously its COO, to the position of CEO to succeed Stephen Carter who announced in May that he was to move on after three-and -a - half years in the post and subsequently left at the end of July - he was put on "gardening leave" after his announcement (See RNW Jul 21).
Before joining Ofcom's board in 2003 Richards was Prime Minister Tony Blair's Senior Policy Advisor on Media, Telecoms, Internet and e-Government, in which role he worked on drafting the Communications Act that set up Ofcom. Prior to that, he was Controller of Corporate Strategy at the BBC.
He was promoted by Ofcom to the post of COO in July 2005 after two years as Ofcom's senior partner, in which he oversaw many of the regulator's policy reviews (See RNW Jul 22, 2005).
Commenting on the appointment Ofcom Chairman (Lord) David Currie said in a statement, "Ed has played a critically important role in the establishment of Ofcom. He has a profound understanding of the markets we regulate and is ideally placed to lead the organization into the future."
Richards commented, "This is a fascinating job in a fascinating and fast changing area. We have a strong organization, committed people and a track record that we intend to build on. I am thoroughly looking forward to the challenges."
In his new role Richards is expected to be paid around GBP 400,000 (USD 750,000) a year, a rise of around a half on his previous remuneration of just under GBP 270,000 (USD 510,000)
2006-10-06: A letter published in Robert Feder's Chicago Sun-Times column last week has cost Chicago radio veteran Cara Carriveau her job at Emmis's classic rock WLUP-FM according to Feder's latest column which quotes WLUP vice president and general manager Marv Nyren as saying the letter was "the last straw" in a relationship that had been deteriorating since Carriveau was replaced as midday personality last March.
In her letter, Carriveau wrote, "It's unbelievable how many Chicago radio icons are not currently on the air in this town. It's amazing that we can no longer flip through the dial and hear Mancow, John Landecker, Fred Winston, Dick Biondi, Bobby Skafish, among many others. My heart goes out to those talented personalities, and I am empathetic to the many disappointed listeners. This situation is sad. Very, very sad."
Nyren said of Carriveau, who has recently been working weekend and fill-in shifts at WLUP, "I don't think Cara is a fan of what's happening here. I have no problem with my people talking to you, but I want to have people here who believe in our industry and believe what we're doing is right."
Nyren, who said he was a "big fan of Turd", then added that he and program director Tim Dukes felt there were "more talented" people than Carriveau who deserve opportunities for part-time positions at the Loop -- including Jeff "Turd" Renzetti, who was long-time sidekick to Mancow Muller, former morning personality on Emmis's alternative rock station WKQX-FM (Q101.1) who is to audition as a solo host on WLUP from 2 to 5 a.m. Saturday.
Feder says that in a message to fans Carriveau questioned whether free speech exists in her industry, noting that in her letter she "did not speak negatively about any person or company."
Her case has now been taken up by the broadcasters' union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and its Chicago local executive director said they were n touch with Emmis's attorneys.
The Chicago Tribune quoted Carriveau as saying, "They seemed to have difficulty with what I said," and adding, "Emmis, as a whole, is a phenomenal company. I greatly respect them. I don't believe what was quoted [in the paper] said anything negatively about them at all. In fact, I didn't even mention them."
It said Nyren said her departure had little to do with the comments, which he referred to as "more bad timing than anything else" and "the last straw."
RNW comment: Without knowing the full facts. it is perhaps unfair to judge but if the letter was a factor rather than just coincidental in its timing the logic of Nyren's comment seems to be that you can say what you like so long as I like what you say. Not a resounding defence of free speech and we would argue that such a letter should not have been a factor for anyone who does believe in freedom of speech.
Also in Chicago, ABC Radio sports station WMVP-AM - ESPN Radio 1000 - has promoted evening and weekend Program Director Justin Craig to full-time PD to replace veteran Jeff Schwartz, who quit in June after less than a yeear in the post and Salem has launched its new local morning team of Big John Howell and Cisco Cotto. Their show on news/talk WIND-AM, replaces Bill Bennett's syndicated 05:00 to 09:00 weekday show (See RNW Sep 9)
Salem Radio Chicago vice president and general manager David Santrella said of the show, "For the first time since the station re-launched as News Talk 560 WIND, our listeners will not only receive a national take on the issues, but will have the opportunity to understand how those national issues affect them right here in Chicago. John and Cisco have spent nearly their entire radio careers covering, talking about, and living in Chicago. They know the issues that are important and how to talk about those issues from a conservative point of view."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
Chicago Tribune report:
2006-10-06: Arbitron says it has added Buckley Broadcasting to its customer list for its Portable People Meter with an agreement for Arbitron's services that include use of the PPM when it is deployed in New York.
In a statement Buckley chairman and CEO Richard Buckley said that its WOR-AM has always been on the leading edge of broadcast technology and continued, "We were the first AM station in New York to go HD. In signing for the Arbitron Portable People Meter service in New York, we are taking advantage of the most advanced audience ratings technology to better serve our advertisers and our listeners."
Arbitron's SVP Sales Carol Hanley said the PPM would "provide additional integrity to the ratings results which weF believe will be embraced by the advertisers on Buckley Radio" adding, "With wide spread industry use, the Portable People Meter will help radio enhance its credibility among advertisers and help improve the programming it offers to listeners."
Previous Buckley Broadcasting:
2006-10-06: GCap Media has unveiled a multi-media marketing campaign for its London flagship station Capital Radio that will include advertising in print and targeted gossip, community and entertainment web sites as well as on the street and at main radio stations promotional activity including scrawling messages in lipstick at around 5,000 key locations such as on pub mirrors, match books, "handwritten" cryptic notes, plus street stickers and "200 legal fly posters." The intention behind the notes p promoting a "Who's Doing Who?" competition is to engage curiosity and motivate people to tune in to the competition in which listeners guess which artist is singing another's song on special recordings for the company - with prize money of around GBP 100,000 (USD 190,000) over the next month to six weeks.
The campaign, devised by Dialogue - DLKW and Rocket PHD, is the first for the station in 18 months and marks the beginning of a marketing drive that the company says "aims to address brand perception and drive trial."
GCap had previously held back from promoting the station - which lost its London top ranking to Emap's Magic FM and also lost ground to Chrysalis's Heart FM - until it had instituted what it considered necessary changes and GCap Operations Director Steve Orchard said of the campaign, "After several months of revitalization Capital Radio is now at a stage where we can begin marketing again. We have bottomed out the decline and are confident we can build from this point on. This is the first stage of a much larger marketing campaign commitment. We are expecting to see positive results throughout 2007. "
The company has not said how much it is to spend on the campaign but Group Marketing Director Jim Cruickshank, who has termed its approach "smarter use" of funds, said, "Capital's marketing activity needs to help rebuild its relationship with Londoners. As such, we are pursuing an integrated, multi-media approach designed to engage Londoners and drive trial."
He also said that the station was now clear about its position as a hits station and Paul Biggins, CEO of Dialogue DLKW, commented, "Capital has adapted its offering to reflect changing listener needs - however, ex-listeners remain unaware of these changes. The 'Who's Doing Who' campaign aims to give a surprising and compelling reason to re-visit Capital Radio".
The market gave a cautious welcome to the news, marking GCap shares up 1.1% to 211 pence on Thursday.
Previous GCap Media:
2006-10-05: Sirius Satellite Radio has announced that it has passed the five-million subscriber mark whilst its rival XM says it now has nearly 7.2 million but the news seems to have disappointed the markets, which were expecting better and marked Sirius down 3.2% to USD 3.94 and XM down 4.9% to USD 11.96 on Wednesday.
Sirius said that it ended the third quarter with 5,119,308 subscribers, 135% above the figure a year earlier, having added 441,101 net subscribers in the quarter: It notes that it has now led the satellite radio industry in net subscriber additions for four consecutive quarters, taking 61% of total satellite radio net additions in the latest quarter and re-iterated guidance of reaching 6.3 million by the end of this year.
XM meanwhile said it added 285,000 new net subscribers during the quarter to reach more than 7.185 million subscribers and said the figures were consistent with previous guidance of a total between 7.7 million and 8.2 million by the end of the year.
XM also announced that George W. Haywood has resigned from its board, a departure that leaves it out of compliance with NASDAQ rules requiring a majority of the board to be independent directors although XM says it expect to have rectified the situation by the time of its next annual meeting
Haywood in his letter to XM chairman Gary Parsons said," It is with deep regret that I inform you of my decision to step down from the Board of Directors of XM Satellite Radio. I have enjoyed working with you and the whole XM team during these past few years, and I take pride in the growth and accomplishments of the company as it has led the adoption of satellite radio as an exciting new entertainment medium for American consumers.
I continue to have a strong belief in the consumer value and attractiveness of the product, and I fully support the current direction of the company and the company's management. Nonetheless, for personal reasons, I will be leaving the Board at this time. I wish you and your team all the best and intend to stay in touch and follow the company's continued growth with great interest."
2006-10-05: Although Federal Communications Commissioners in Los Angeles have been hearing criticism of the degree of consolidation of US media (See below), US National Association of Broadcasters' President and CEO David Rehr chose to ignore the criticisms and deliver a speech praising the achievements and strength of US broadcasters in a speech at The National Press Club in Washington on Wednesday.
He opened by saying that ten months after taking the NAB post he had found the business "20 times more exciting than I could have ever imagined."
"One surprising thing I've learned," he continued, "is that most Americans are unaware of the dramatic changes taking place in our industry. And they are also unaware of the strength of broadcast radio and television among all media."
He then went on to say that the industry might inadvertently given up ground by not being more proactive and then added, "That ends today, because we have a very compelling story to tell. Broadcasting is a vibrant business. It is a business that embraces the future. We are switching from analogue to digital technology, a literal 'reinvention.'"
Technological change said Rehr had brought "an exploding number of new competitors" but, given the choice, they would prefer to be in the broadcasters position "because, by any measure, broadcast remains the undisputed leader in news and entertainment - by far."
Rehr went on to comment on the benefits of HDTV and on the expanded offerings being brought by HD radio, noting that HD broadcasters like their digital TV counterparts "can also offer multiple program streams."
"More than 350 stations are doing just that," he said, "- rolling out additional channels with new music formats, local information and local creative content."
He also spoke of radio's strength, noting a study released in August by Omnitel/American Media Services that showed "local radio's continued impact" with 21% of respondents saying they listened to local radio more than they did five years ago and a further 51% saying their listening was about the same and 63% saying local radio was their primary source to learn about new music.
"The bottom line," said Rehr "is that broadcast television and radio are the overwhelming media of choice. And we need to continue to reassert that reality in people's minds."
2006-10-05: Australia's Communications Minister Helen Coonan is reported to be preparing to give way to the ruling Liberal Party's coalition partners the Nationals over the issue of a tougher diversity test to get proposed media regulation charges through the country's parliament.
The Melbourne Age says she signalled that she is prepared to accept the Nationals' so-called "two out of three" rule, which prevents one company owning a television station, radio station and newspaper in a single market and that a key Nationals senator, Barnaby Joyce from Queensland has also eased his position and told the paper he could accept changes to local content requirements for regional radio stations.
Joyce and fellow Nationals senator Fiona Lash along with Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald have expressed concerns about the proposed reforms and Macdonald, as well as concerns over some TV elements in the plans has also called for the government to scrap its plans on local content for regional radio.
Melbourne Age report:
2006-10-05: A Los Angeles hearing on US media ownership regulations - first of six planned public hearing on media ownership regulations being held by the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) -attracted noise and opposition to further consolidation from the audience and elicited bland statements from the Republicans members of the commission with more critical statement from the Democrat members.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times those present at the meeting told the Commission broadcast consolidation was stifling competition, creativity and diversity and had resulted in fewer jobs, lower wages, bland programming and decisions made by a handful of conglomerates, not local operators.
Amongst those attacking the results of consolidation were the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Los Angeles representatives Diane Watson and Maxine Waters: Waters said "Without diversity in ownership and participation, our democracy is in danger" and specifically opposed media cross ownership with reference to KTLA-TV, which is owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co. that also owns the Los Angeles Times.
Tribune hopes that the FCC will end the current ban on a company owning a newspaper and broadcaster in the same market and is requesting a waiver when the TV licence expires on December 1 so that it can retain ownership of the newspaper and TV station and Waters said she would oppose the waiver.
Jackson commented that there was something "inherently undemocratic" in control of the Los Angeles Times along with other newspapers and broadcast stations by an organization operating from Chicago.
John Connolly, president of the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists(AFTRA), noted that those speaking were working actors and writers and commented that their watchword was that the airwaves belonged to the American people and it was "time to take them back."
Mike Mills, bass player for the rock group R.E.M., who was one of the few present who specifically mentioned radio, said artists now had less chance to build a regional following because of the ownership of stations by large conglomerates that often programmed them from afar: he received a resounding "No!" answer from the audience when he asked if American radio was better now than a decade ago.
In his statement FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin noted that the media touches on "almost every aspect" of people's lives and said, "I recognize many of the concerns expressed about increased consolidation and preservation of diversity. But, also critical to our review is exploring and understanding the competitive realities of the media marketplace. It is our task to ensure that our ownership rules take into account the competitive environment in which media companies operate while also ensuring the promotion of localism and diversity. "
He continued, "We must also recognize, though, that some of our rules have not been updated for years and may no longer reflect the current marketplace. The Third Circuit recognized this when it upheld the Commission's elimination of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban. We need to develop a rule for cross-ownership that reflects current market characteristics, including the struggling nature of today's newspaper industry, and recognizes how ownership rules impact the ability of newspapers and broadcasters to serve their local communities."
In their statements Republican commissioners Robert M. McDowell and Deborah Taylor Tate both spoke of the importance of the media for democracy and need for public involvement and feedback but eschewed criticism of the previous attempt under Chairman Michael Powell to change the rules.
In his statement Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein noted the predominant audience share held by the broadcasters -noting that in 2004-05 TV broadcasters had the "top 255 highest rated programs on television" whilst in radio the satellite companies had a total of around 11 million subscribers compared to more than 200 million for terrestrial radio.
He then went on to criticize past FCC actions, saying, "Over the years, the FCC has embraced a reckless deregulatory policy to eliminate, relax and sometimes simply ignore the obligations that broadcasters have to the American public. As a result, there has been a wave of consolidation, which has led to unprecedented levels of concentration in radio and television ownership and program production. Correspondingly, there has been a decrease of general public access to the airwaves. "
He also spoke of the mismatch between the ownership of broadcast stations by ethnic minorities, who made up more than 30% of the US population but owned around 3% of TV stations.
"Despite these abysmal minority and women ownership numbers, the Commission didn't even acknowledge the disappointing state of minority ownership in its 2003 media ownership decision<" said Adelstein. "To make matters worse, it repealed the only policy specifically aimed at fostering minority ownership. Luckily, the federal courts, the Congress and you - the American people - rejected the FCC's attempt to relax the media ownership rules intended to protect your interest in the public airwaves."
His fellow Democrat Michael J. Copps also criticized past commission actions, saying, "Three years ago, under Chairman Michael Powell, and over the objections of Commissioner Adelstein and me, the FCC severely cut back-some would say eviscerated-the rules meant to check Big Media's seemingly endless appetite for more consolidation. The agency did so under cover of night, without seeking the input of the American people."
He then asked, "Can you imagine that-authorizing a sea change in how news and entertainment are produced without even involving the citizens who rely on those products every day?" and went on to criticize consolidation and calls for more, commenting, "It might be amusing if it weren't so sad. The consequences are surely no joke-local newsrooms devastated by job cuts, local citizens despairing about the state of the news, and minorities shut out of America's most powerful industry. "
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-10-04: The 2006 Proms and Edinburgh Festival again boosted BBC Radio 3's online figures as well as its broadcast audience according to BBC online statistics for August just released that also show boosts from the Reading and Leeds Festivals and the Notting Hill Carnival. For BBC Radio 3, on-demand listening hit a record total of more than 500,000 hours, outstripping live online listening for only the second time.
Most stations increased their figures over July and in terms of network listening in August this year, the rankings were - Total listening hours - live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to July 2006 then to August 2005:
Radio 1 - 5,983,941; +8.9%; + 45.6%
Radio 2 - 3,879,585; +11.2%; +46.2%
Radio 4 - 2,831,076; +7.9 %; +31.8%
BBC 7 - 1,372,281; +6.6%; +3.0% - up a rank.
Radio 5 - Live - 1,357,312; +12.6%; +35.1% - down a rank.
Radio 3 - 949,701; +14.2%; +33.0%
6 Music - 754,421; +8.9; +24.3%
1Xtra - 496,474; +2.16%; -5.0%
Asian Network - 174,495; -1.9%; -15.8%
5 Live Sports Xtra - 1,039,249; +14.9%; -48.4%
The top five on-demand programmes were:
1 - "The Archers" on Radio 4 with 700,374 listens - up 52,260 on July;
2 - BBC Proms 2006 Live on Radio 3 with 464,604 listens, up 126,018 and up from third rank.
3 - "Chris Moyles" on Radio 1 with 431,092 listens - up 92.506 but down a rank;
4 - "The Afternoon Play" on Radio 4 with 256,296 listens - up 1,572;
5 - The "Essential Selection" on Radio 1 -with 219,071 listens, up 5.123. This pulled it up a rank and pushed "Essential Mix" on Radio 1 with 199,111 listens, a decrease of 14,837, down to sixth.
Amongst daily podcasts cum MP3s the top five were:
1- BBC News "Radio Newspod" with 695,657 listens, up 96,795.
2 - Radio 1 "Scott Mills Daily" with 387,761 listens, up 62,269 and up a rank.
3 - Radio 4 "Today 8.10 Interview" with 319,200 listens, down 24,237 and down a rank.
4 - World Service "The World Today" with 176,231 listens, up 34,359 and up a rank.
5 - World Service "World News Bulletin" with 156,625 listens, up 2,700 but down a rank.
Of the weekly podcasts the top five were:
1 - Radio 1 - The "Best of Moyles" with 417,251 listens, down 76768.
2 - Radio 4 "From our own Correspondent" with 147,401 listens, down 74425 but up from third as "Start the Week", which had been second, took a break.
3 - Radio Five Live "The Rumour Mill" with 146,401 listens, up 141941 and up from 30th.
4 - Radio 4 "The Now Show" with 145,399 listens, up 139431 and up from 28th.
5 - Radio Five Live "Mark Kermode's Film Reviews" with 133,646 listens, down 44 and down from fourth.
Previous BBC Online figures:
2006-10-04: Beasley Broadcast Group has agreed to buy NextMedia's WJBR-FM in Wilmington, Delaware for approximately USD 42 million in a deal expected to close in the first quarter of next year.
It has already started operating the station under local marketing agreement and says it intenders to fund the purchase with borrowings under its existing credit facility.
Beasley chairman and CEO George G Beasley said they expected the acquisition to be "an attractive strategic and financial transaction"£ and added, "With a 50,000 watt signal, the station reaches listeners in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey and represents a solid addition to our radio station portfolio and good complement to our existing Philadelphia station cluster."
Previous Beasley Broadcast Group:
Previous George Beasley:
2006-10-04: The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has thanked Clear Channel's Twin Cities top 40 station KDWB-FM for "reacting positively to concerns about an on-air skit that offended Muslim listeners" and apologizing on air and on its web site.
CAIR had received a complaint about a programme segment in which the complainant said a person reportedly used a fake South Asian accent in announcing contest categories such as "infamous infidels," "potent portables" and "smells like a Shia" and also that a female host was threatened with beheading when she got an answer wrong.
CAIR had written to the station saying that "Islamophobic rhetoric can and does have a negative impact on the lives of ordinary American Muslims" and subsequently morning host issued an apology.
In addition the station posted a statement on its web site saying, "KDWB does not condone making light of Islam and Muslims. We regret that listeners found the 'Muslim Jeopardy' comedy skit of one of our on-air hosts to be insensitive" and has also agreed to work with CAIR and the Minnesota Muslim community to offer public service announcements that would promote interfaith understanding.
"We thank KDWB for responding positively to the Muslim community's concerns," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "Freedom of expression and respect for the religious sensitivities of others need not be mutually exclusive concepts."
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-10-03: Internet advertising will overtake outdoor this year and is also set to overtake radio,albeit not for a while, according to latest figures from media planning and buying company ZenithOptimedia, which says Internet advertising will take a double-digit share of total ad expenditure in two countries this year and in eight countries by 2008.
Zenith is predicting an 84% growth in internet advertising expenditure between 2005 and 2008 and says smaller advertisers in particular are embracing Internet advertising because of its affordability and targeting capabilities. These capabilities, says Zenith, make the internet "suitable for smaller advertisers, for some of which mass-media campaigns would be too expensive and have too much wastage."
"The internet," it adds, "therefore encourages these advertisers to spend more than they would otherwise have done, and is not just cannibalising ad expenditure that would have gone elsewhere."
In comparison to the rise for internet advertising it forecasts a rise of 6% this year, 5.4% next year, and 5.9% in 2008 for global advertising expenditure.
Zenith says internet advertising took 4.7% of global advertising expenditure in 2005 and it predicts this to rise to 5.7% this year and 7.3% in 2008, potentially reaching a double-digit share worldwide by 2011: it says it expects it to take 12.9% of UK advertising expenditure this year and 10.5% in Sweden and by 2008 it is predicting the internet to take more than 10% of total spending in Australia, Israel, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as the UK (where we think its share will be 17.2%) and Sweden (13.3%).
Comparing various media, Zenith predicts television advertising revenues to take a stable share of around 37.7% up to 2008, when it expects it to be 37.9%, followed by newspapers whose share will gradually decline from 29.9% last year to 28.0% in 2008; magazines, whose share will also steadily decline from 13.3% last year to 12.7% in 2008; and then radio, whose share will gradually decline from 8.6% last year to 8.0% in 2008.
Internet advertising will then be in fifth place, having increased its share from 4.7% last year to 7.3% and overtaken outdoor although the latter will increase its share from 5.5% to 5.6%. Cinema, it says, will retain an 0.4% share.
2006-10-03: Young Australians are the fastest growing group of listeners to radio overnight according to figures from the latest, annual Midnight to Dawn survey conducted by Nielsen Media for Commercial Radio Australia: The figures show that the among the 10-17 age group 9% are now listening, up from 6% a year ago and that on average listeners from this group are tuned in to commercial radio four four-and-a-half hours a week, more than an hour above the overall average of 3 hours 22 minutes.
Overall more than 1.7 million Australians a week listen to radio between midnight and dawn with 62% listening at home, 20% at work, 16% in their car and the remaining 2% elsewhere.
There was also an increase in listening from the 18-24 group with almost a fifth of Australians in this demographic tuning in between midnight and dawn with average listening up nearly half-an-hour a week to just under three hours.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive Joan Warner said that the figures were turning on its head the notion that only the elderly and lonely listened to radio overnight although the 55-plus demographic remains the largest listening group - accounting for around 31% of the audience, some 522,000 people. The next largest group was those 25-39, who accounted for a quarter of the audience, some 422,000 people.
"This latest survey shows that radio has increased its relevancy to young people despite the presence of other media and technology such as the internet, iPods and interactive television," said Warner. "This is good news for radio stations across Australia and reflects the general trend of young people listening more to radio and for longer periods of time."
Commercial Radio Australia has also announced the names of the four finalists, chosen from more than 160 artists who have yet to sign a recording deal, in its 2006 New Artists to Radio (NA2R) event.
*Mark Wilkinson: A Sydney singer/songwriter who credits U2, Coldplay and Jeff Buckley among his influences
*Bobby Kidd: A Melbourne pop/rock musician who plays a diverse range of instruments
*Celebrity Drug Disasters: A five piece band from New South Wales who fuse rock and dance.
*Kurtis: A Byron Bay outfit performing mostly funky dance tracks
All four acts will perform live before a panel of judges and radio company representatives on October 13 and the winner will then perform the following night at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) and will also receive AUD 100,000 (USD 75,000) worth of radio advertising across the four major radio networks down the east coast of Australia.
"The winner will be heavily promoted by Austereo, Nova, Australian Radio Network and Macquarie Regional Radio which is a fabulous kick-start to their career," said Warner.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2006-10-03: Toronto-headquartered Standard Broadcasting, the radio empire built up by Allan Slaight, is close to a decision on whether to revive "its mothballed initial public offering (IPO) after ruling out the outright sale that some analysts expected" according to The National Post.
The paper quoted Standard chief executive Gary Slaight - Allan Slaight's son - as telling it, "We are not selling the company. We are re-evaluating the income trust."
Standard has received approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to transfer its wholly-owned broadcasting interests into a limited partnership owned by an income trust (See Licence News Oct 1) and the paper quotes an unnamed "source with knowledge of the family's deliberations" as saying the Slaight family will make a decision over the next few days whether to remain private or go ahead with an IPO that would allow it to cash in some of its stake.
It adds that investment bankers think the market is now more inclined to favour a radio income trust than it was in June when Standard shelved IPO plans because of "market conditions".
The Post quotes an investment banker who works on media deals but is not involved with the Standard IPO as saying, "After the CHUM transaction [the sale of Waters-family controlled CHUM to Bell Globemedia- see RNW Sep 14], people perked up and I think the environment is positive."
It adds that Scotia Capital and RBC Capital Markets were the banks lined up to do the deal and says sources familiar with the IPO deal said Standard's plan before the IPO was shelved was to raise CAD 310 million (USD 278 million) in equity and hive off CAD 190 million (USD 170 million) of debt, which would have valued the company at about CAD 1-billion (USD 897,000).
Regarding speculation that an IPO would be a setback to expansion plans by cash-rich Astral Media, the Montreal-headquartered radio plus pay and specialty TV company, the Post says Astral CEO Ian Greenberg rejected sugggestions that this would be a setback and quotes analyst Carl Bayard of Desjardins Securities as saying, "Nothing prevents Astral from trying to buy out the company once it becomes public. The only thing that would change is the price they would have to pay."
Previous Gary Slaight:
National Post report:
2006-10-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now announced details of the sessions at the first of its media ownership hearings - being held in Los Angeles today as part of the 2006 Quadrennial Broadcast Media Ownership Review that the Commission is currently conducting.
The panel discussion to be held in the afternoon at the University of Southern California will be on "Creative Community / Independent Programming" with panel members from the Caucus of Television Producers, Writers & Directors; the Directors Guild of America; the Screen Actors Guild; the Writers Guild of America, West; Producers Guild of America; the Recording Artists' Coalition; the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists; Ion Media Networks; and the Parents Television Council.
The evening meeting at El Segundo High School will include a panel discussion "Market Overview / LA Case Study" with panel members including Bruce Owen of Stanford University speaking on behalf of CBS, FOX and NBC networks; Dr. Frank Wright, President and CEO, National Religious Broadcasters; and other panellists from Children Now; New America Media; KNBC; KTLA; NABET/CWA; Univision; the Media Alliance; Maya Cinemas; and Dr. S. Huw Anwyl - Senior Minister of Shepard of the Hills Church, Laguna Niguel, California.
The commission is to provide a Spanish language translation service at both locations and the panels will be moderated by former FCC commissioner Henry Rivera, now a Partner at Wiley, Rein & Fielding and a live audio and video web case will be available at the FCC web site.
2006-10-03: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld no complaints in its latest Broadcast Bulletin although it did consider two TV standards complaints resolved through action taken by the broadcasters. In addition it released details of three fairness and privacy complaints, two radio and one TV that were not upheld.
The radio complaints both involved reports - on Juice FM and Radio City - relating to an overturned lorry carrying a load of frozen chips that had caused traffic disruption when the load was shed in an accident in Liverpool.
The complaints came from the family of the lorry driver, who died and Ofcom said that while it recognized that the comments had been upsetting they did not amount to an infringement of privacy in either case.
Radio City's presenter Kev Seed had commented of the accident that if the chips "had been McDonalds fries it would have been cleared about 5 minutes after. It's obviously those big thick, chunky, chips isn't it?" and the traffic bulletin reader responded "it's ... jumbo chunky chips - no worries."
Station owner Emap said of the comment by the presenter that it was solely intended to reflect the surprise of the programme's presenter, which was no doubt shared by many of the station's listeners that the spillage was going to cause road closures for far longer than had initially been expected and reported. It added that the driver was not named and said that at the time the comment was made, the station had no indication that the accident had involved any injuries to the lorry driver or to anyone else and the police only announced the fatality some hours after the comment.
On Juice FM the bulletin reporter commented in an afternoon bulletin report on the accident that it was "actually a shed load of frozen chips, funnily enough" and after the bulletin the presenter commented, "the next time you do the travel I want a chip related pun when you talk about the chips", and went on to gave as an example, "I would have thought that when everyone gets into work if they're delayed, their heads would have been battered wouldn't they?"
In this the member of the family complaining said that at the time of the broadcast police had already issued a press release saying that the driver had been killed and the Liverpool Echo newspaper had already published a report, with photographs, on the accident.
Juice FM responded by apologizing wholeheartedly for offence caused but said that the time the presenter and traffic bulletin reader had been unaware of the serious nature of the accident and had they been they would have treated it with the sensitivity it deserved.
The presenter it said had apologised for causing distress and for not first finding out the extent of the incident before commenting.
Again the driver was not identified but Ofcom commented that although it did not uphold the complaint, the case highlights the care that is needed when handling live programming. It also welcomed the broadcaster's undertaking that its traffic news provider had agreed to talk to traffic bulletin readers regarding the use of due care and consideration, particularly with regard to local incidents, and that procedures had been put in place to ensure such a situation would not arise again.
In addition to the above, a further Ofcom listed with no details a further 189 TV complaints involving 145 items and 14 radio complaints involving 14 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 153 TV complaints involving 119 items and 18 radio complaints involving 18 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2006-10-02: Half-taking a cue from a week ago, we begin this week's look at print comment on the media in the UK with comments from Paul Donovan in his Radio Waves column in the Sunday Times, which he uses to focus on what he terms "an extraordinary expansion" in the airing of long dramas on BBC radio.
He begins by noting the airing in "The Saturday Play" slot on BBC Radio 4 last weekend of David Hare's play "Plenty", the scheduling in the same slot next week of Robert Bolt's "A Man for All Seasons" to be followed by "the long-awaited sequel to Peter Pan, commissioned by Great Ormond Street, which is so hush-hush I am being allowed a preview copy only after signing a confidentiality agreement."
"These are all big, splashy, Saturday-afternoon productions," writes Donovan, "but the most significant thing is that they last 90 minutes. This has been an endangered species at Radio 4 for the best part of a decade, with only two or three a year This year, however, there will be no fewer than 16, plus one (Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, starring Timothy West) lasting two hours.
"It is an extraordinary expansion. The playwrights have included John Osborne, Caryl Churchill, Alan Bennett and Hugh Whitemore, and the casts Miranda Richardson, Michael York and Hollywood's Teri Garr."
Of the success of the move, Donovan quotes Jeremy Howe, who commissions drama on Radio 4, as saying, "We don't know whether the 90-minute plays have gained bigger or smaller audiences than our 60-minute ones, and we have commissioned some research on listeners' reactions. Anecdotally, we feel people have enjoyed them. The production that created the most waves this year, which was shortly after I arrived, so I can claim no credit for it, was Death of a Salesman. That was both the longest and a repeat. There will be another season of stage plays next year, too. Mark [Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer] is keen to get the different drama strands clearly differentiated."
Putting the audience size into context - nearly all the dramas are radio versions of stage plays, Donovan notes," one outing for a play on Radio 4 gets a bigger audience than a six-month run in the theatre, so is not to be sneezed at. And a 90-minute play can be a wonderful thing to settle down with, just as a novel is more satisfying than a novella. Length isn't everything, though sometimes it helps."
Sticking to BBC Radio 4 for a little longer, Sunday saw Kirsty Young's first programme hosting "Desert Island Discs" - the longest-running music programme in the history of radio according to Guinness World Records as Chris Campling noted in his Radiohead column in the Times on Saturday [It will be repeated on Friday at 08:00 GMT but copyright restrictions mean it is not vailable as a Listen Again stream.].
Having speculated that the show might in the future also be on a webcam - not an idea Campling favours - he asks what can be expected from the programme and answers his question by saying, "If Young and her producers have any sense, more of the same as that to which we have grown accustomed the years since the dark days of January 1942, when Plomley invited the actor and musician Vic Oliver to appear. Actually, Dr C. E. M. Joad, of The Brains Trust, had been Plomley's initial choice, but he was busy and Oliver was appearing in the West End, just down the rubble-littered road from the BBC's Maida Vale studios and so, quite by chance, it was."
And after further ruminations he says, "It's a perfect format, and should be retained as it is so that others may learn from its perfection Desert Island Discs is the enduring proof of the great B. B. King's dictum that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.."
The ain't broke dictum, it would appear is not one shared about radio in general by John C. Dvorak who writes in PC Mag of "The Death of Radio", starting his comment with reference to a report in the International-Herald Tribune about various shortwave-radio towers along the Spanish Costa Brava being blown up and says of the article that it "reminisced about the short-lived shortwave radio era that begin with the first installation in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, by Philips in 1927. It was used so the folks working in the Dutch East Indies could get their daily dose of local news and feel connected."
"Shortwave evolved into a clever technique to broadcast beyond borders, because the signal essentially bounces like a basketball between the Earth and the ionosphere for unimaginable distances," continued Dvorak. "Apparently, this technology is no longer needed." (RNW comment: We rather hope not. See the report below regarding DRM.)
Dvorak then continues, "What's overlooked in all this is that it's not just commercial shortwave that is over. Commercial radio itself is under the gun. It's no coincidence that the shortwave era is ending with the advent of podcasting. Podcasting is a much bigger threat to normal radio than it is to shortwave. In fact, radio is being assailed from every angle you can imagine. Why?"
To which he answers, "Perhaps I should get to the point here: Commercial radio sucks. Seriously. It genuinely stinks. It has been deteriorating since the 1980s and now is just dreadful."
Dvorak then goes on to comment about the ownership of stations by large corporations who "do plain-vanilla national programming, hoping to maintain their investment" and says that because of this there are "few music stations worth listening to, since the music is generally bad and not a reflection of current tastes."
"Because of this," he continues, "various personality shows and talk shows have taken over the airwaves. There are various models, but the three that seem to dominate are the "morning zoo," "conservative talk radio," and "sports talk."
He then comments on these models and yet another problem to him - "my biggest complaint about radio: incessant commercials. There are too many of them, and they continue for too long" - and says, "Because of this narrow range of programming, commercials galore, and the miserable music stations, the door was wide open for an alternative to broadcast radio. Enter podcasting, with a worldwide audience of Internet users and a narrowcast model that works only in massive distributed markets."
Dvorak comments of his involvement in a weekly technology podcast that can achieve 500,000 to 700,000 downloads and says, "Having done local radio about computers myself, I can assure you that no such numbers are possible except through podcasting."
He then piles on the agony, saying that digital players are "finding direct connections to the car radio" thus bypassing the radio itself, notes the choice of satellite by many people who "relish music programming" and says, "Podcasting has not yet found a legal way to exploit music programming. When it does, the impact will hurt radio more than anything. Already people are listening to their own mixes rather than the radio."
In many instances, comments Dvorak, there is no need for a radio version of a radio show leaving news reporting and traffic information as the "only sort of programming that radio can own."
There was also potential bad news for US commercial radio in the announcement last week that Arbitron was to include non-commercial stations in its rankings (as we noted in our September comment). The decision prompted Mark Ramsey, the president of hear2.0, to comment on what the new rules meant - and he didn't see a plus for commercial radio.
His first paragraph said the implication of the inclusion was that "The prestige and profitability of public radio has just skyrocketed. And your ability to get on a buy has just been complicated. In many markets public radio stations are surprisingly high-ranked (and I say "surprisingly" because they have not been in the book and have been "invisible" to advertisers - not because I am surprised). Result: Lower revenues for your station, if not lower shares."
And later, noting that satellite radio information is not to be included, he commented that the implication was "Satellite radio is not being accurately measured in Arbitron now and that will not change anytime soon. Listening is stronger than what you're seeing."
He also commented on a wider implication in a redefinition of "Listening" to cover any "any time you can hear a radio station - whether you choose the station or not." [RNW comment: This, of course, is what an electronic meter measures and it can't tell that you find the audio an annoyance, maybe to the extent of resenting the advertisers; that you mentally filter it out; or that you might have been listening to something else on headphones from an MP3 player].
Of that redefinition he comments, "When listening is defined as broader than 'radio' alone, then you are no longer in the 'radio business.' You're in the business of audio entertainment and information, regardless of distribution channel. That little home-grown Internet radio station from Zimbabwe is now your competitor. When 'Listening' is defined according to things that do not require a radio, you are no longer in the "radio business." Get it?"
Taking our cue from Ramsey, on the suggested listening: And we may not be mentioning little stations on the Internet from Zimbabwe but the suggestions we do make are available on the Internet and thus can compete for your listening time with a local station (and with suitable software, even if not offered as MP3s, the streams can be converted to MP3 form and taken with you on a journey.
So what is on offer? Comedy, drama, speech, music in a context that includes documentary, history, science, technology, medicine, religion, politics and much more.
To begin with- drama - The Saturday Play on BBC Radio 4 has already been mentioned and from BBC Radio 3 there is "Drama on 3" on Sundays and "The Wire" - next Thursday's programme (21:00 to 21:55 GMT) is Stefan Weigl's play "Stripped - A Life in Bank Statements" - and World Drama on BBC World Service. And , of course, The Afternoon Play on BBC Radio 4.
So if you enjoy radio drama and have access to broadband you needn't worry too much that there isn't much of it on American radio if you are prepared to listen to non-American accents.
Prefer comedy? Try the BBC Radio 2 lunchtime comedy hour on Saturdays (12:00 GMT) with "That Was Then This Is Now" followed by "Jammin'" or from BBC Radio 4 various offerings including in its 17:30 GMT comedy slot "The Party Line" on Tuesday, "Genius" on Thursday, and "The News Quiz" on Friday.
News and current affairs plus documentary- apart from regular news programming that is streamed by stations from many areas and countries - there's a pretty good choice from The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National, BBC Radios Four and Five Live, the CBC in Canada, Radio Netherlands and many others - we suggest last Saturday's "From Our Own Correspondent" from BBC Radio 4; last week's Amsterdam Forum from Radio Netherlands - the most recent edition was replaced with " Nuremberg: Law on Trial."
The same goes for science and technology - here we suggest "Leading Edge" from BBC Radio 4; "Digital Planet" from BBC World Service; "Research File "from Radio Netherlands; and "The Science Show" and "Ockham's Razor" from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
We could go on but there's enough there to keep all but the most devoted radio listener busy this week.
hear2.0 - Ramsey:
PC Mag - Dvorak:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times - Campling:
2006-10-02: Looking at the potential for Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) digital radio transmissions in this months edition of "IEEE Spectrum", the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' monthly publication, Michael Dumiak notes that the revolution that was promoted is still to come and that two of the largest manufacturers Sony Corp. and Blaupunkt "show no signs of putting a DRM-compatible radio on the market, and they declined to offer comments for this story."
Dumiak notes that DRM began "a decade ago in the R&D labs of the United Kingdom's BBC, Germany's Deutsche Welle and Deutsche Telekom, and the United States' Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Voice of America" who wanted to develop a non-proprietary digital technology for terrestrial broadcasting at frequencies of 30 megahertz and below.
Of the technology he comments, "Among the advantages of digital broadcasting are its consistency of signal quality and its efficiency. A 50-kilowatt transmitter using DRM can reach Warsaw from London, while an analogue transmitter with the same reach would have to be 200 kW, observes the BBC's John Sykes, a DRM pioneer" and adds, "Not surprisingly, dozens of major international broadcasters are backing DRM, which also lets them get out of analogue shortwave broadcasting without leaving its bandwidth fallow."
"But" continues Dumiak, "for DRM to take hold, listeners will have to go out and buy new radios, and so far that's put a full stop to DRM. Why would people throw out perfectly good radios and plunk down the equivalent of USD 200 to buy supposedly better ones, considering they can already get all the content they want with their existing sets?"
There are developments - Dave Hawkins, a business development strategist at RadioScape, which makes the decoding module for DRM receivers, says "pilot production runs" are already under way and he is confident that receivers will be available for the Christmas marker in Europe this year.
Dumiak says DRM boosters are confident that when consumers hear DRM they will like it with shortwave and FM stations "coming in at near-FM quality" and many more stations than before being available but he notes that so far only "more obscure" manufacturers have said they will produce DRM sets and they do not have the "marketing clout of a Sony."
RNW comment: IEEE Spectrum also has a handy listing of the other digital radio options including HD, DAB and satellite and presented them in a neutral fashion. Our view remains one of preferring non-proprietary to proprietary solutions in general and we still think that the major reason behind the approval of HD in the US was not technological but political - it preserved the interests of existing broadcasters. As we have commented before we can't see countries like China, for whom a good wide-area digital system would be very valuable, going for a solution like HD and thus expect in the long run to see DRM the winner world-wide. And of course should China opt for the system on a large scale, there will be a mass market for receivers in a country that will be able to produce them cheaply thus rendering Sony's presence in the market almost irrelevant.
If sets can come down to a price of around GBP 20-25 (USD 40 to 50) - not the figure of USD 200 cited - for a reasonable quality travellers' or home receiver and broadcasters use the system internationally we could well see it take off suddenly as the word spreads, the pattern that DAB followed in the UK where there are now plenty of portable receivers on the shelves at under GBP 40 (USD 75)..
From speaking to RadioScape we gain the impression they share our views that eventually there will be a massive market and with our preference for future digital systems to be as near as possible universal we continue to be amongst the DRM boosters.
2006-10-02: Bridge Ratings has revised downwards its near-term projections for podcast use last published in August 2005 following interviews conducted this year for an update but is increasing them in the longer term where it sees existing terrestrial broadcasters attracting new users as they extend their use of podcasts..
The new research showed a continuing increase in the number of podcast users but at a slower rate than originally projected and Bridge also notes that "during the summer of '06 listening was significantly off compared to the summer of 2005" although it rebounded in August among most demographics.
The largest change noted by Bridge was in the composition of the audience - initially comprised overwhelmingly - nearly 95% - of people who considered themselves "innovators" and "early adopters": These groups still dominate but Bridge says their listening levels have decreased and more early and late majority" consumers have slowly tried and enjoyed podcasts.
These latter listeners it says prefer "more professional podcast production such as those programs produced and distributed by professional broadcast organizations like NPR and the major television and radio networks" and it notes that "Over the last year, many traditional broadcasters have adopted podcast technology as a way to enhance their listeners' experience and for the radio stations to extend their reach."
Quantifying the changes, Bridge in a presentation to the Portable Media Conference held in Ontario, California, said, "By August 2006, Bridge Ratings estimates that 22% of the podcast listener universe is comprised of mainstream America. By March of 2007, the composition of this audience will have evolved to the point that less than 60% of the audience base are hobbyists."
It also projects that the numbers of people in the US downloading podcasts weekly will hit 2.6 million next year - compared to the 3 million it predicted in 2005 - but by 2010 this will rise to 7.7 million, around a million more than it predicted in 2005.
In terms of how people listen it notes that the percentage listening on portable devices such as iPods or MP3 players - some 17% a year ago - has fallen further - down to 13% and also that the heaviest users in 2006 spend 396 minutes a month listening to podcasts, down 27% from the results a year earlier. The vat majority of podcast listeners it comments "are not listening to 'podcasts' but rather 'netcasts' on their PC's."
Bridge adds that it is "is finding that NPR, for example, has been able to significantly improve its already excellent 'loyalty' scores among those who already listen" and continues, "In general, this approach to embracing new technologies is helping terrestrial radio among adults - specifically 30+ years of age."
Commenting on the trends in overall use of podcasts, Bridge says, "Recent slips in podcast use can be attributed to the first wave of users losing some interest. Many have reported more dissatisfaction in the quality of podcasting over the past 12 months. In August, however, a strong influx of late-comers has changed the landscape; their podcast passion is still high and their use remains high and a reverse trend has occurred."
Looking forwards Bridge comments that the "single biggest obstacle to podcast audience growth remains 'ease of use'" and says "The process for searching, identifying, delivery and listening needs to be simplified if a much larger audience is going to become involved. Terrestrial radio is the one key proponent for the growth of the medium. With its huge audiences and professional production and marketing abilities, traditional radio can rapidly introduce mainstream America to the benefits of podcasting."
It concludes, "Terrestrial radio's adoption of the medium as a way to offer a Tivo-like experience (time shifting of favourite programs) to its listeners has vastly helped and with continued high-quality traditional broadcasting content, the medium will show improved growth trends over the near-term. "
Previous Bridge Ratings:
Bridge Ratings summary of presentation to Portable Media Conference:
2006-10-01: Last week was one of routines rather than big issues for the regulators with a steady flow of radio-related activity everywhere except the UK where there were no radio announcements.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority has ruled that 3MMM, Melbourne, broadcaster Sam Newman breached the Australian commercial radio code of practice when he described a caller who had criticized his comments on a match in the Saturday Football programme on May 6 as a "fuckwit."
Triple M told ACMA that following the incident Newman was immediately suspended and has not returned to the programme and that in addition he and the producer of the programme had undergone training in the commercial radio code of practice. The licensee has also introduced six-monthly staff training on the code and the ACMA said it considered that the actions addressed the compliance issues raised although it would continue to monitor the licensee's performance to satisfy itself that this was an isolated incident.
It also published two rulings regarding community stations and also announced that Radio 2GLF, Liverpool, New South Wales, whose licensee the Liverpool-Green Valley Community Radio Cooperative Ltd has been found to have exceeded allowed sponsorship limits in its Radio Lehren broadcasts on January 14 and 21 (See RNW Licence News Jan 15) has provided a written undertaking to monitor Radio Lehren for four weeks during September and October 2006 to ensure that sponsorship announcements do not exceed the five minutes allowed in any hour.
The ACMA has also found that 2RBR, Coraki, New South Wales, breached the Community Broadcasting Codes of Practice by not presenting factual material accurately in a local news bulletin and also that Scenic Rim Broadcasting Association Inc, licensee of 4RIM, Boonah, South-East Queensland, breached the Community Broadcasting Code of Practice by failing to have volunteer guidelines or conflict resolution policies in place.
In the case of Community Radio Coraki Association Inc it had investigated a complaint about cover 2RBR broadcast about a public meeting and also that it had vilified and demeaned individuals in discussion of Australia Day events broadcast on 27 January 2006. ACMA found no breach of rules concerning the latter complaint but did find a breach relating to the presentation of factual material: it says that, as this is the first breach, it considers the breach finding sufficient action but will continue to monitor the station's performance.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week as regards radio-related matters (In order of province):
Approval, subject to various filing requirements, of an intra-corporate reorganization involving the broadcasting undertakings of Standard Radio Inc., which is the licensee of 51 stations and seven transitional digital stations in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, as well as 2 conventional television stations in British Columbia and 3 radio networks in British Columbia and Quebec. Under the re-organization Standard's wholly owned broadcasting interests would be transferred to SR Limited Partnership, a limited partnership to be established (See RNW Jun 10).
The reorganization would not affect organizations, including Sirius Canada, in which Standard holds minority interests but it does put ownership of the stations into an income trust, thus potentially allowing part of the company to be sold.
*Denial of application to delete condition of licence of CFEQ-FM, Winnipeg, that requires that a minimum of 95% of all musical selections broadcast during each broadcast week be devoted to selections drawn from subcategory 35 - non-classic religious music.
Approval of application to change the frequency of CKUE-FM, Chatham's transmitter CKUE-FM-1, Windsor, and increase its power from 1,950 watts to 3,840 watts.
*Denial of application by Ramanjeet Sivia for a stand-alone, ethnic digital station, primarily broadcasting in the Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Tamil languages, to serve Montréal. The CRTC commented that given the relatively small size of the potential audience and the requirements for listeners to purchase digital receivers it was not convinced by the applicant's financial projections.
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of November 1, which includes the following Ontario radio-related matters:
*Application by Durham Radio Inc. to increase the power of its transmitter CKDO-FM-1, Oshawa, from 250 watts to 665 watts. Durham says this would counteract co-channel interference from U.S. station WLKK-FM, Weathersfield, New York.
*Application by CJRN 710 Inc. to increase the height of and relocate the transmitter of CKEY-FM, Fort Erie and decrease its power, from 19,700 watts to 13,000 watts. If this is approved it also proposes to delete the synchronous transmitter CKEY-FM-1, St. Catharines.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has signed a ten-year contract for a quasi-national news/speech service with Newstalk 106 (See RNW Sep 26) and has also advertised a new youth-based regional service in the Midlands/North East region- to cover the Counties of Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Kildare, North-East Laois, Offaly and Westmeath. Applications have to be submitted by noon on November 24.
There were no radio decisions in the UK but in the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) imposed a number of penalties in enforcement actions (See RNW Sept 29 and below). It also announced further details of its planned October 3 Los Angeles field hearing regarding media ownership (See RNW Sep 28) and announced the launch of its "Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau" (See RNW Sep 27).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2006-10-01: In another run of enforcement actions the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed penalties totalling USD 53,500 for various breaches including marketing of unauthorized equipment and unlicensed operation.
They were (In descending order of amount):
*A penalty of USD 25,000 against Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores, Inc. for offering for sale non-certified Citizens Band ("CB") transceivers. Loves had argued for cancellation on the basis that the transceivers as manufactured operate only on Amateur Radio Service bands and did not require certification but the FCC rejected the argument on confirmed the full UD 25,000 penalty.
* A penalty of USD 10,000 against Moises Cabrera and Juan Cabrera of New York for unauthorised operation of an FM transmitter. The Cabreras had requested cancellation in the basis of inability to pay and had finished operating the station but the FFC rejected this and confirmed the full penalty.
*A penalty of USD 8,000 against Richard A. & Joann R. Peterson, Joint Tenants, the licensees of KBSZ-AM, Wickenburg, Arizona, for failing to ensure the operational readiness of KBSZ-AM's Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment.
The Peterson's had argued for reduction of the penalty n the basis that they were in "technical compliance" because the station aired all EAS tests received and transmitted by KSWG-FM, with which it had once been co-located and that the infrequent use of the state-wide EAS system did not support the severity of the penalty. The FCC said that the station was not in compliance and rejected other arguments, confirming the full penalty.
*A penalty of USD 7,000 against Clegg Industries, Inc., Torrance, California, for importing and marketing unauthorized radio frequency devices - "Space Needle" FM radios. Clegg had responded to a notice of apparent violation by saying that it had not been aware that the radios did not comply with regulations and said it had subsequently been tested and received verification. The CFCC pointed out that verification was required prior to sale and confirmed the full USD 7,000 penalty.
*A penalty of USD 3,000 against Renda Broadcasting Corporation of Nevada, licensee of WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and owner of two antenna structures for WJAS, for failing to register each antenna structure used in the operation of the station. Renda had argued for a reduction based on a history of compliance but the FCC noted various previous breaches and confirmed the penalty.
*A penalty of USD 500 against Joni K. Craig of San Diego, California, for operating an unauthorized FM transmitter. The FCC originally proposed a UD 10,000 penalty and Craig had argued that she played only a passive role in operating the station, had taken steps to close it down after receiving a notice of unlicensed operation, and could not afford the proposed forfeiture. The FCC rejected the arguments but reduced the penalty to USD 500 on the basis of inability to pay.
2006-10-01: To coincide with the 60th anniversary of BBC Radio 3, which originally went on air as the Third Programme on September 28, 1946, BBC News has polled a number of experts, listeners and industry professionals for their opinions on the station and what they thought it should do for the future.
Robert Van Leer, head of music at the Barbican Centre in London, commented favourably on changes made by its current controller Roger Wright, saying it has "become much more diverse and interesting" and adding, "What I admire, as an American, is its great sense of purpose and its commitment to quality." As to changes he felt that it would be an asset to open up the BBC music archive to the public to a greater degree.
John Gilhooly, director of the Wigmore Concert Hall, said of the station's style, "The fact you can eavesdrop on performances not just from England but from all over the world is one of its great strengths. It doesn't have any gimmicks, which is how it should be. It presents the music and makes no apology for it."
In similar vein, John Jolly, editor-in-chief of Gramophone Magazine, said, "Radio 3 is for people who can take all four movements of a symphony. It's grown-up classical music. And it's managed to keep up with the times and remain relevant to the world we live in" but added that it would be good to see "something that brings people a little closer to new music."
Amongst musicians commenting, Halle Orchestra head of artistic planning Geoffrey Owen said he would like more variety of presenters but that it had "been one of the most formative cultural influences of my life It's educated, broadened and deepened our tastes, and I think many of us owe it a huge debt of gratitude" and Leo Green, music director of Ronnie Scott's jazz club, gave it measured praise for its jazz broadcasts, although he said there was "nowhere near enough coverage" and added, "I think a live broadcast of a night in a jazz club would be great. The essence of jazz is it's an improvizational art form - an organic thing."
Sarah Spillsbury of the pressure group "Friends of Radio 3"was more critical than others, noting that it was "quite a triumph" that it still exists but adding, " it's getting less and less distinctive, which is a shame."
BBC News report:
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