November 2006 Archive
- October 2006 -December 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 November comment - Broad or narrow? We argue against the current narrow formats of much radio.
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?
2006-11-30: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which in June last year launched a consultation on plans to streamline some of its radio licence form-filling (See RNW Jun 10. 2005) has now said it wants to go ahead with the plans.
It has adopted a Report and Order that as it puts it "sets rules to revise and improve the FM Table of Allotments and AM community of license modification procedures. "
In particular the proposal eases regulation of changes of a station's community of licence by removing one step of the process.
Republican Commissioners the FCC Deborah Taylor Tate and Robert M. McDowell issued statements welcoming the move with Tate referring to a "win-win scenario" that promised "to ease administrative burdens on Commission staff, substantially reduce regulatory delays experienced by licensees, and, most importantly, benefit the public by expediting improved radio service."
McDowell, whilst welcoming the changes, said they didn't go far enough, saying he was "disappointed that the Order is not more de-regulatory with respect to notice issues."
The FCC has also, in a round of licence renewals and linked enforcement actions, proposed penalties totalling USD 57,000 and ranging from USD 14,000 down to USD 1,500 to US radio stations for public file and other violations.
In Georgia, the FCC has issued a notice of apparent liability for a USD 14,000 forfeiture to WRBX/WTN, Inc., licensee of WRBX-FM and WTN-AM, Reidsville, for failure to file its renewal applications by the deadline required and for unauthorized operation after its licences expired.
The FCC, in renewing the licences, noted that the company did not deny the operation for more than two months but reduced the standard penalty - usually applied to pirate operators - of USD 10,000 for unauthorized operation to USD 4,000 for each station on top of which it proposed the standard forfeiture of USD 3,000 for failing to apply for renewal by the required deadline, making a total of USD 14,000.
The next highest penalties proposed are of USD 10,000 to WVRM, Inc., licensee of WDDM-FM, Hazlet, New Jersey, for failing to retain required documentation in the station's public inspection file and of the same amount to Radio One Licenses, LLC., licensee of WKAF-FM, Brockton, Massachusetts, also for public file offences. In each case it also renewed their licences.
In California, Regent Licensee of Chico, Inc. is facing a penalty of USD 7,000 along with its licence renewal for FM Translator Station K300AD, Chico, whose licence renewal it accepts was filed late.
Forfeiture notices for USD 4,000 along with their licence renewals were sent to Morgan County Industries, Inc., licensee of WMOR-AM, Morehead, Kentucky, for operation at unauthorized location and to New Northwest Broadcasters, LLC., licensee of KCRX-FM, Seaside, Oregon, for public file offences. In the latter case the penalty carries a base forfeiture of USD 10,000 but the FCC said it felt the lower amount was appropriate in the circumstances.
In the case of WMOR-AM, Morgan County purchased the station along with WMOR-FM from Morehead Broadcasting Co., under whose period of licence the WMOR-AM tower had been demolished after the land on which it was sited was sold. The station was off air fir five months after which Morehead was given special temporary authorization (STA) to operate the AM transmitter from its FM tower
The new owner continued to operate the AM station from the site but did not extend the STA and was thus operating without authorization from November 1999 until the end of August 2004, a breach for which the base forfeiture is USD 4,000: It is now operating from a site for which it was granted a construction permit in 2003.
Next lowest penalty proposed along with licence renewal was one of USD 2,000 on Detroit Public Schools licensee for Station WRCJ-FM, Detroit, Michigan, for public file offences.
In a further four cases licences were renewed but a penalty of USD 1,500 as opposed to the base forfeiture of USD 3,000 was proposed for failure to file renewal applications on time. Involved were Roberto Feliz, licensee of KRRP-AM, Coushatta, Louisiana; Fort Stanton, Inc., licensee of KEDU-LP, Ruidoso, New Mexico; Alan Towle , licensee of FM translator Station K232BE, Wausau, Wisconsin; and Mountain Mist Media, LLC , licensee of WTKI-AM, Huntsville, Alabama.
2006-11-30: An Australian commercial radio think tank has concluded that there are major opportunities for radio to innovate and expand its sources of advertising revenue with the advent of digital developments that allow delivery of content on multiple platforms including digital radio and the internet.
Following a meeting of industry leaders convened by industry body Commercial Radio Australia, its chairman Michael Anderson, who is also Austereo chief executive, said that with advertisers taking more business to the Internet, radio has an enormous opportunity to develop its own online content, create online partnerships and demonstrate how it can be the front door for the online experience for both listeners and advertisers,
He added that radio of all mediums still commands the most personal and loyal relationship with its audiences and this is a great advantage when partnered with the Internet, which on its own is a very cluttered environment.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner said delivering radio content through new devices, podcasts and new features presented by digital radio, such as multimedia, data and electronic program guides, were natural extensions of the radio experience and would extend opportunities for advertisers.
Commercial Radio Australia is holding a seminar in Brisbane today looking at international trends, and the future of radio.
It is to be attended by more than 100 radio station executives, media agencies and advertisers and the guest speaker will be international creative expert and creator of the award-winning radio brand campaign, Ralph van Dijk of Eardrum Australia. He moved to Australia from the UK earlier this year
The seminar is part of the organization's national strategy to provide information for radio stations and agencies about the effectiveness of radio advertising and the importance of good radio creative and Warner commented that the industry was "beginning to increase revenue streams through new initiatives such as online activities and podcasting."
"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 added.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2006-11-30: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has published details of Phase 2 of its commercial radio licensing plan that will see four licences advertised next year.
The first, in April will be for a Classic Gold/easy listening/smooth service targeted at those 45 and above and covering Dublin City and County and commuter belt, Cork City and County, Limerick City and County, and Galway City and County
It will be followed in September by a Dublin and Commuter Belt Area Classic Rock service for a 25 plus target audience and then two Country and Irish music service licences for a 35 plus licence to be advertised in November, one for the North-East Region covering North Kildare, Co. Meath, Co. Louth and parts of Counties Cavan and Monaghan and the other for a Mid West Region covering Counties Limerick, Galway, Clare and parts of Co. Tipperary and Co. Kerry.
2006-11-30: Despite the growth of private FM stations in India, more listeners are still tuning into All India Radio (AIR) FM channels than those of private broadcasters in most cities according to information given to the lower house of the Indian Parliament, the Lok Sabha, in a written reply by Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi.
Citing figures from a none-city survey conducted by AIR's Audience Research Unit, Dasmunsi said that in the Indian capital of Delhi 52.5% of listeners went for AIR's FM "Gold" service and 47.4% to its "Rainbow" service compared to 48.8% for leading private FM, Entertainment Network (India) Limited (ENIL)-owned Radio Mirchi; 42% for its nearest private rival "Radio City" and 26% for "Red FM."
In Mumbai, Rainbow leads with 51.2% reach followed by Radio Mirchi with 45.8% and in Bangalore Rainbow takes 76%. AIR also had the lead in Lucknow
Private FMs did better than AIR in Chennai where "Suryan FM" led with 34% compared to 18.8% for Rainbow and also in Kolkata where Radio Mirchi was just ahead of Rainbow with 23.1% listening to it compared to 21.9% for Rainbow.
Previous Indian Radio:
2006-11-29: Australian-born Alan Freeman, who became one of the UK's most popular broadcasters in a career spanning half a century has died at his London home aged 79.
Freeman was born in Melbourne and, after deciding that his voice was not good enough to successful as an opera singer, began his broadcasting career in the city in 1952 working for "teenagers' station" 7LA and later 3KZ, which he left in 1957 to take an agreed nine-months round-the-world trip but after arrival in London decided to stay, starting his career as a summer relief DJ on Radio Luxembourg and later presenting late-night programmes on the station until the early 1970's.
He began his BBC career on the "Light Programme", predecessor to Radio 2, presenting the "records Around Five" show in 1960 and a year later took over as host of "Pick of the Pops" on BBC Radio 1 from David Jacobs as well as being one of the founding team of presenters of "Top of the Pops" on BBC TV.
After working on various Radio 1 shows over the years, Freeman left to join Capital Radio in 1979, remaining with them until 1988 and then returning to Radio 1 in 1979, remaining with the station until in October 1993 he and many other long-serving hosts were axed in a revamped by then controller Matthew Bannister.
After this Freeman had a brief spell presenting the Alternative Chart Show on a trial broadcast by Xfm in London before returning a spell, hosting "Pick of the Pops Take Three" on Capital Gold as well as spells on Virgin Radio and presenting one-off shows on Classic FM.
Freeman then returned to the BBC, this time to Radio 2 where he presented "Pick of the Pops" until 2000 and the opera programme "Their Greatest Bits" from 1997 until 2001.
Freeman who suffered from arthritis, moved in 200 to Brinsworth House, a retirement home for actors and performers run by the Entertainment Artistes Benevolent Fund until his death.
Paying tribute BBC Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas said, ""The words 'unique' and 'iconic' are overused but in Alan Freeman's case they are absolutely appropriate. He was a great broadcaster who was loved by listeners and colleagues alike."
His personal manager for the last 20 years, Tim Blackmore, said Freeman was "a naturally warm man who never quite understood the nature of his appeal."
"He cared passionately for music of all kinds, for his family and for his friends," added Blackmore, "yet through all his professional success, he still retained a total bewilderment that so much success and affection should have come his way. His was the creation of the chart countdown, his was the stunning combination of rock music and classical music, and his was the creation of minimalism in the art of the DJ.
Freeman gained the nickname "Fluff" from is fellow presenters, not because of any verbal faults, although the Corporation censured him for his brash style a number of times, but because of his habit of continuing to wear a woollen jumper, reputedly given to him by his mother, that was covered in balls of fluff.
The persona was one mocked by Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse in their fictional DJs "Smashey and Nicey" and in 1994 he appeared as himself in the TV special "Smashey and Nicey, the End of an Era", the last outing for the fictional duo.
2006-11-29: US radio gets a message of decline from Bridge Ratings President Dave Van Dyke following a recent study it conducted on radio listening.
He says that the responses to the question of where people listened to the radio showed at home listening to be "Surprisingly strong - but not if compared with 15 years ago but that in-vehicle listening was falling.
Those who said they listened in a vehicle remained the largest group - 76% of respondents - but the figure was 89% only six years ago. In comparison, 46% said they listened in the living room, 45% in the kitchen, and 32% in the bedroom.
Van Dyke says radio should respond by improving its content and cutting through clutter but on the positive side he adds that listening will increase with convergence and as it begins to appear on cell phones although he also says it will need to become increasingly visual and interactive.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
Previous van Dyke:
2006-11-29: Shares in GCap Media, the UK's largest radio group, fell 4.4% on Tuesday to end at 212pence, valuing the group at just under GBP 250 million (USD 488 million) following release of its interim results that showed its underlying profits down 32.3% on a year ago to GBP 8.4 million (USD 16.4 million).
Underlying revenues were down 8.4% to GBP 102.2 million (USD 199.7 million) with basic earnings per share down 44.4% to 2.5 pence.
Statutory results showed revenues almost flat - up from GBP 102.1 million (USD 199.5 million) to GBP 102.2 million (USD 199.7 million) with a pre-tax loss reduced from GBP 10.1 million (USD 19.7 million) to GBP 7.8 million (USD 15.2 million) and a basic loss per share up from 3.5 pence to 5.7 pence.
GCap noted that the worst performance came from flagship Capital Radio where "as anticipated, we have seen the impact of our inventory reduction": Excluding Capital like-for-like revenues were down by only 4% and, warned: "The current advertising market remains very difficult and visibility poor. We anticipate tough trading conditions will persist over the next quarter."
It said it expected revenues for October and November to be won 8% on a like-for like basis but also noted that digital multiplex revenues increased 48% year-on-year to GBP 7.4 million (USD 14.5 million) and commented that it had "developed further our existing national brands Xfm and Core (targeting Radio 1 listeners) and Classic FM and Planet Rock (targeting Radio 2 listeners) to attract new audiences and to challenge the BBC, and we are extending these brands across other platforms to generate additional revenue."
Chief Executive Ralph Bernard commented, "During the first half, we have achieved a series of key operational goals. We have increased reach, share and hours across the One Network and entered the next phase of our recovery plan for Capital Radio with the launch of a new marketing campaign."
GCap sold two stations for GBP 60 million (now USD 117 million but at the time USD 112 million) in cash to Guardian Media Group in October (See RNW Oct 19) and is to launch a new digital jazz station, "'theJazz'", next month to be followed by the launch of a contemporary and classic hits station within the next six months following the merger of Capital Gold/Life and Bernard said the sale of the stations had " strengthened our balance sheet and given us greater financial flexibility to develop our portfolio of national brands, with two new stations set to go on air within the next six months."
"Despite a very difficult advertising market," he concluded, "we are confident that we are taking the right steps to align our business to a rapidly changing environment."
2006-11-29: The US Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says callers reactions to a parody of anti-Muslim bigotry aired on WMAL-AM, Washington D.C. are a wake-up call about the problems.
In his show on Sunday, focussing on public reaction to the removal of six Imams, or Islamic religious leaders, from a US Airways flight in Minnesota last week, talk show host Jerry Klein seemed to advocate a government program to force all Muslims to wear "identifying markers" and he commented, "I'm thinking either it should be an arm band, a crescent moon arm band, or it should be a crescent moon tattoo."
Klein said: "If it means that we have to round them up and do a tattoo in a place where everybody knows where to find it, then that's what we'll have to do."
Some calls, says CAIR, rejected anti-Muslim prejudice - the first caller tells Klein he is "off his rocker" and "99% of Muslims are not terrorists" - but others suggested even more severe measures with one caller saying, "Not only do you tattoo them in the middle of their foreheads; you round them up and then ship them out of this country, period" and another commenting, "I don't think you go far enough ... you have to set up encampments like they did during World War II like with the Japanese and Germans."
Klein himself later in the programme commented of the calls, "I can't believe any of you, any of you, are sick enough to have agreed for one second with anything that I have said in the last half hour."
CAIR notes that audio of the show is currently available online as a stream or MP3 (30 minutes 8.6 Mb).
WMAL audio stream - (Link at bottom of page):
WMAL MP3 download:
2006-11-29: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has given the go-ahead for Rogers Cable Communications Inc. to add either or both of the Canadian satellite radio services to its cable distribution undertakings in various locations in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, a move expected to lead to other cable companies considering addition of the satellite audio services to their content.
Rogers already distributes two licensed national pay audio services, Galaxie and Max Trax, on a digital basis, taking advantage of their Joint Marketing Agreement, under which approximately 20 channels from each of the Max Trax and Galaxie services are offered in a combined package to distributors. It said it could not assess the impact of adding the services on them until negotiations were concluded with Sirius Canada or Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR), licensee of XM Canada.
Its application was opposed, on the grounds of the potential effect on their services, by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which owns Galaxie, and Corus Entertainment Inc., which owns Max Trax and various Canadian cultural organizations, including the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada, the Canadian Conference of the Arts, the Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la video, the Canadian Independent Record Producers Association, the Union des Artistes, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists.
It was supported by various other cable companies including Shaw Communications' subsidiary Star Choice Television Network Incorporated and Bell Video Group plus Sirius Canada and CSR, which said it could not accurately assess the impact of the proposed carriage on its own business plan until it had concluded an agreement with Rogers or any other BDU.
The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) did not oppose the application although it did raise some concerns.
Previous CSR/XM Canada:
Previous Sirius Canada:
2006-11-29: Clear Channel Radio's Online Unit has announced agreement to add news and video content from Reuters to its News on Demand service, an addition that it says will give its audience of some 8 million visitors a month the "the most comprehensive news product on the Web."
Evan Harrison, Executive Vice President of Clear Channel Radio and head of the company's Online unit said of the arrangement: "Our listeners can now stay connected with their favourite stations to get the news they want online and on-demand. Reuters, a leader in newsgathering, will absolutely enable us to deepen our relationship with our listeners."
For Reuters, Walker Jacobs, Vice President of Media Sales said Clear Channel listeners would have "fast access to Reuters news, keeping them smart and informed."
RNW comment: Jacobs' comment, as a glance at a dictionary would show, is drivel. Reuters might keep them informed but if they're not very bright to begin with that won't change. But it would be nice to have a salesman who doesn't abuse language.
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-11-29: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin again upheld no radio complaints but TV had a tougher time with one digital station being closed down and fined GBP 175,000 (USD 342,000) for a whole series of regulation breaches plus rulings of breaches in another two cases: In addition it considered a further four TV standards complaints resolved by action taken by and gave details of one standards TV complaint as well as upholding fairness and privacy complaints against two programmes.
In addition Ofcom listed with no details a further 360 TV complaints involving 145 items and 38 radio complaints involving 36 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 271 TV complaints involving 123 items and 13 radio complaints involving 13 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2006-11-28: BBC chairman Michael Grade, who only took up the position two years ago after the resignation of Gavyn Davies in the wake of the row over a BBC Radio 4 "Today" programme report alleging that the British Government had "sexed -up " reports of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, is to join its main terrestrial rival ITV. The BBC says he has resigned from the Corporation and that a formal announcement is to be made in the morning that he will join ITV as Executive Chairman on January 1 with a three-year deal.
The story was broken in the UK Daily Telegraph by Editor at Large and former BBC Business Editor Jeff Randall and is considered a coup for ITV, which has been looking for a new head since current Chief Executive Charles Allen announced in August that he was to leave, although he said he would remain with ITV while head-hunters carried out the process of finding a replacement.
Randall told BBC radio that senior BBC executives were "incandescent" about the defection.
Grade, whose departure is seen as a significant blow to the BBC, He has been heavily involved in negotiations for an increase in the BBC licence fee but under changes to the Corporation's structure his current post has less of a hands-on role and more of a regulatory one.
Grade comes from a show business family - his father Leslie was successful as a talent agent and his uncle Lew (Lord) Grade was a pioneer in commercial TV in the UK where he was a co-founder with Val Parnell of ATV - but has not built up a large fortune and speculation is that he will have demanded a large remuneration package.
UK Telegraph report:
2006-11-28: UBC Media shares ended Monday up just above 1% following its announcement that it is to launch its Digital Music Download (DMD) Service - which it terms "the digital radio killer application" - in London early next year with a full UK launch in May and despite it reporting a half-year pre-tax loss of GBP 415,000 (USD 805,000) to the end of September.
The figure compares with a pre-tax profit of GBP 132,000 (USD 256,000) a year ago when the figures were boosted to the tune of GBP 629,000 (now USD 1.22 million) from the sale of 51% of Oneword Radio Limited to Channel 4 Television.
Excluding exceptional items UBC cut its operating losses from GBP 329,000 (USD 638,000) to GBP 250,00 (USD 485,000) and made an operating profit before goodwill amortisation of GBP 21,000 (USD 41,000) compared to a 2005 half-year loss of GBP 58,000 (USD 112,000).
Turnover fell slightly - from GBP 9.4 million (USD 18.2 million) to GBP 9.1 million (USD 17.6 million) but its digital division turnover was up 96% to GBP 659,000 (USD 1/28 million) and the company summarized the period as one in which it maintained "a strong trading position whilst developing ground breaking digital radio revenue models." Broadcast division turnover, however, was down 7.4% to GBP 8.39 million (USD16.26 million), partly the company said because of the negative impact on overall radio advertising of the soccer World Cup.
UBC said it had invested GBP 552,000 (USD 1.07 million) in the half-year in music downloading, and noted that the results of its West Midland trials (See RNW Sep 8) had exceeded its expectations. It also noted it had gained a major US contract worth GBP 387,000 (USD 750,000) for the full year, GBP 279,000 (USD 530,000) of which was taken in the half-year and that software trials are underway in Australia and New Zealand.
Chief executive Simon Cole said of the performance, "The UK radio industry is in a period of structural change. Radio listening remains strong and radio is being consumed more on new digital platforms. It is clear, however, that the future of the industry relies on the development of new revenue models. These are the models UBC have been developing - like the direct sale of music via digital radio stations - and they are now bearing fruit. I'm proud that our staff are managing a period of rapid and exciting development whilst maintaining strong cash-generative business models to fund it."
Regarding music downloads, UBC said Research by Universal Music shows that two-thirds of music is purchased by consumers as a result of hearing it played on the radio and the capability to download music tracks as you listen to them has the potential to become a substantial new revenue model for the radio industry, and builds on the radio industry's great strength of being the place where consumers discover music.
For its planned download service UBC says it has reached in principle agreements with key radio groups in all major UK radio markets, has deals with Universal Music Group, Warner Music and EMI, and is finalizing terms with Virgin Mobile as customer service and billing partner.
By May next year it says that it expects Chrysalis Radio's Heart and another music service; Emap's Smash Hits and The Hits; Guardian Media Group's Smooth; and the GCap-UBC -owned Classic Gold Digital to all be DMD (Digital Music Download) enabled.
UBC says its initial line-up is limited by the availability of digital multiplexes to carry the music files but it has also announced a software development that will enable the service the by available more widely than originally envisaged by allowing the same impulse buys but only delivering the audio files to a user's home internet equipment rather than also direct to the radio receiver, thus meaning much less digital radio capacity is required.
The initial station line-up is limited by the current availability of data capacity to carry the music files on digital radio multiplexes. However, today, UBC is also announcing a development to the software that will make the service available on more radio stations than was originally envisaged. This new version of the application will allow exactly the same impulse purchase of songs as they are played but with the music file only being delivered to the user's home internet account rather than also to the radio itself. This requires minimal digital radio data capacity and it is therefore possible for it to be enabled on a far wider number of stations. The technology also operates in tandem with 3G telecom networks to allow users to choose this method of delivery for the files to mobile devices.
Cole said of the developments that the "pieces of the DMD jigsaw are in place" and added, "We know there is a demand for DMD, our trial this summer demonstrated this, the logistics of delivery are almost finalized, and I am delighted that we have now got every key player in the radio and music industry on board to ensure the successful launch of the service next year. This is digital radio's killer application."
2006-11-28: Salem has announced that it has boosted the daytime power of its Los Angeles conservative news-talk station KRLA -AM 20,000 to 50,000 watts, potentially adding a further 1.3 million listeners.
The boost makes the station amongst the most powerful AMs in the market.
2006-11-28: BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music controller Lesley Douglas has delivered a fairly harsh put-down of US radio in the UK Independent.
The put down comes after comments on her decision to buy the Bob Dylan "Theme Time Radio Hour" that airs on XM Satellite Radio.
Of the Dylan show, she writes that when she "a buzz building around the shows in America that I went out and got hold of a couple and listened to them. What I heard blew me away. It was nothing short of public service broadcasting - Bob Dylan sharing his musical enthusiasms in a Bob Dylan way.
"The result," she continues, "was the first buy-in of a radio show I have ever done. And it begs a question: could there be a whole raft of other audio gems out there in the world of English-language broadcasting waiting to be snapped up by British radio stations?"
And the answer to that last question, a resounding NO! After praising US TV she comments, " there is a difference between radio and television. The nature of radio is about that special one-to-one relationship between the listener and the presenter, who should be able to provide reference points that the audience can relate to. Bob Dylan manages that perfectly."
But of buy-ins - she says here that you are talking about America or Australia for English-language programmes [RNW comment: We do not know if Canada's absence was an oversight or deliberate qualitative judgment] - Douglas comments, " I'm afraid that for quite a long time American radio has been in the doldrums I do think that XM and the other satellite broadcaster, Sirius, are doing some quite interesting things in the States, and when I have been in America I have been listening to them. The problem is the things that they are doing are actually the sort of things we are already doing. They have got a Sixties service on XM and a lot of the music they play you wouldn't hear anywhere else. Except on Sounds of the Sixties on Radio 2."
Of Howard Stern - "The one presenter who has always stood out in America" - she comments, "Nowadays I'm not so sure about him. I know he has got this considerable satellite deal with Sirius but in my view he is pushing it too far now. In his heyday he was a radio genius, the ultimate shock jock. But would I ever think of taking Howard Stern into Radio 2? No, I would not."
"I was listening to him when I went to Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest Music Festival. I thought to myself 'This sounds old-fashioned. It's purely shock.' There was a time when Howard Stern was witty and shocking and pushing the boundaries. Now it feels like all he's doing is pushing the boundaries. And he's pushing them further and further and further."
Douglas is dismissive of Australian radio " I've heard little bits but I don't think there's anything that would enhance what we already do" and concludes that there is little scope to buy radio programmes from overseas although she does concede the influence of America and also notes the use of "big American names to front documentaries and other shows" but concludes that she thinks as far as radio is concerned "we have, I think, the greatest craft skills here in the UK, both in terms of production and presenters."
RNW comment: From fairly regular dipping into other broadcasters via the Internet, our view is that Douglas is largely accurate when it comes to the output of her stations although we would certainly give Australia some high marks for much of ABC Radio National's factual output.
UK Independent article:
2006-11-27: This week we start our look at print comment on the medium of radio with ruminations from Paul Donovan in his Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times, a column that in our view addressed well in a short space many of the issues facing the medium in the face of major technological change.
He began noting that when he bought a "portable radio" around 45 years ago "it did not change what was broadcast, but merely made it easier to listen to" and says the same was true of the Walkman but that more modern technology and gadgetry has now "revolutionised" availability of audio.
"All around us," wrote Donovan, "radio is no longer just on radio, but on devices, as a Radio Academy conference pointed out last week" and then went on to note details of listening to some stations on digital TV, digital radio and computers, a change he noted was behind the BBC's announcement last week that it has renamed its "Radio and Music Division" as "Audio and Music Group" to, as its head Jenny Abramsky put it in an e-mail to staff "reflect more accurately the multiplatform, multimedia world in which we operate."
Donovan comments somewhat wryly, "The BBC is quick to say that Radio 1 and Radio 2 (and so on) will not be changing their names to "Audio 1" and "Audio 2", but it is surely only a matter of time before subsections follow suit. It will gradually be considered illogical, for example, in a group called Audio & Music, to have BBC Radio Drama (as it still is), rather than BBC Audio Drama, with all that implies about how people now listen."
He then goes on to comment of Ofcom's recent consultation document on the future of radio (See RNW Nov 17) that "This is tentative, and long-term. But the thrust is clear: if more and more people choose to listen digitally, there will be less and less point in radio on either AM or FM."
And his conclusion: "Others may disagree, but, thankfully, I see no evidence that the 'multiplatform, multimedia world' has in itself affected the actual output. (And I don't think it matters if Radio 4's classic serial is called a radio or an audio drama: what matters is how good it is.) 'How people listen is less important than having well-researched products and famous brands available wherever consumers expect to find them,' says Steve Parkinson, Emap's national brand director. The jargon is hideous, but the sentiments are admirable."
After that more from the Radio Academy conference, in this case from the UK Guardian and John Plunkett who in a report on UK Channel 4's ambitions for radio - an ambition its chief executive Andy Duncan said was to "rethink and reshape the UK's commercial radio landscape".
Duncan, whose company is to bid for the second national commercial digital multiplex, which is to be awarded next year by Ofcom, is promising a "fresh creative approach" and a mixture of contemporary speech and news and current affairs programming, documentary, comedy, entertainment and music.
Not one to eschew the jargon, he was quoted as saying, "DAB - with its potential to provide new services, interactivity, EPGs [electronic programme guides], colour screens, instant music downloads and enhanced advertising - can transform the listening experience yet still retain radio's core values in an ever more confusing world 'Generation Lost' [the 16-34 audience], as we've christened them at Channel 4, are digital savvy, mobile driven, conditioned to on-demand environments, community focused [and] acquiring content by all means. One day, all consumers will be like this - 'traditional' broadcasting media will no longer be enough to engage them.'"
In another report on the conference on its blogs, the Guardian also noted that Pru Hazlitt, radio chief executive for SMG, the owner of Virgin Radio, reckons that within the next few years it will make sense to just switch off its national AM signal.
It quoted her as saying, "It just isn't worth it. I would like to switch it off tomorrow. At the current rate of decline [of AM listening] 2010 would be the outside number for us, but if we could speed it up in two years' time then we would."
"If lots of people are listening on AM that is a problem. The big strategic direction at Virgin is to get them off I don't want them listening to the Killers on that dreadful frequency, and the Killers don't want them listening on that frequency either. You can't hear the intro. It's over, it's fucked Young people coming to radio will not consume it on AM. They just won't want to. The comparison [with digital radio] is so huge it's just ridiculous. You didn't watch colour TV and decide you wanted to go back to black and white. AM radio is not the future. We have to more forward."
So after the above- and during the week we also noted various pessimistic comments about US radio and HD- where does the medium go? In our view Donovan has the best approach when he suggested that it didn't matter "if Radio 4's classic serial is called a radio or an audio drama: what matters is how good it is."
And on that note on to our first listening suggestion and what we found a real gem of a programme as we caught up this week on some of our listening to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's podcasts.
The programme was the latest "Street Story" from ABC Radio National - "Before the War it was the War", which is about Beirut blogger Mazen Kerbaj who on his website says his "main activities are comics, painting and music."
The programme was more about his blogs during Israel's recent attack on Beirut and as well as being excellent radio technically had a range of comment and wry humour that seemed to us in many ways far more informative about the nature of the conflict than most news reports. It really is worth a half-hour to listen to it and also spending a little time on Mazen's web site.
Then some more strong programmes from the ABC - Sunday's "Night Air" - "Adult R-Rated", which to quote its promotional blurb on the web site "conducts down-low interviews with the patrons of a down-town swingers club; we discover the tricks lonely housewives use to get their husbands home at lunchtime and later in the evening there's a visit to a B&D club - just to perk us up. It's a bit naughty and a bit nice" - and Saturday's "All in the Mind", "Moral Minds: The Evolution of Human Morality", which examined through comment from evolutionary biologist Marc Hauser and philosopher Richard Joyce the idea of whether we all born with a moral instinct - an innate ability to judge what is right and wrong? Quote a contrast in programmes but actually making quite a strong trilogy - for the traditional moralists we'd suggest Street Story, Night Air and All in the Mind in that order whilst for those with a rather less traditional view the same start, adding in Sunday's "Background Briefing " and Richard Dawkins on religion then "All in the Mind" and ending on "Night Air."
Sticking, loosely as one might say, with the topic of morals, our next two suggestions are from BBC Radio 4 on Saturday. First from the morning was "The Lying Game" in which comedian Sue Perkins attempts to beat the locals to win the World's Biggest Liar Competition in the annual festival of lying held in Wasdale in the Lake District in England.
In the afternoon the "Music Feature" in the "Real History of Opera" series featured Huw Edwards taking a look at "Semele", Handel's opera based on a libretto by William Congreve and such topics as lust, infidelity as Semele the Theban Princess abandons her betrothed, Athamas, to seduce Jupiter and ends, thanks to the upset this infidelity by her husband causes to Juno. in the death of Semele.
Tomorrow Radio 4 in "Taking a Stand" (09:00 GMT) Fergal Keane talks to leading British neurosurgeon Professor Tipu Aziz, a pioneer in the treatment of such diseases as Parkinson's and uses primates in his research, thus attracting condemnation and threats from animal rights activists, many of whom he describers - together in our view with a fair degree of evidence - as "misinformed and sometimes illiterate."
Then a little history that should probably be more widely disseminated in America: It comes from "Crossing Comments" (Radio 4 11:00 GMT on Thursday) and a programme on the forced deportation in the 1930s of up to two million Mexicans. They were forced to leave the US to try and preserve jobs for Americans and many of them as it happened had been born there. The expulsions had, of course, been preceded by others - after the US-Mexican War of 1846-48; during economic downturns in the earlier part of the 20th century - and were to be followed by more during the 1954 "Operation Wetback."
UK Guardian - Plunkett:
UK Guardian - Radio Academy blog:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2006-11-27: Southern Cross Broadcasting is embarking on a cost-cutting programme at its Sydney talk flagship 2UE even though that may mean it risking losing some key presenters according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The paper notes that chief executive Tony Bell was as it puts it "horrified at the salary levels when 2UE joined the media stable five years ago. He was used to far more moderate pay scales for the stars of Melbourne's top-rating 3AW." It then continues, "But the only impact he had on the salary bill back then was the unintended consequence of losing Alan Jones."
This time it says confronted with "the harsh reality that mega-salaries are no longer sustainable" - it notes that 2UE has a salary bill of AUD 8 million (USD 6.2 million) a year for its four man presenters - Breakfast host Mike Carlton; morning host John Laws; drivetime host Steve Price; and Late-night host Stan Zemanek - and says that as each of the station's presenter's contract comes up for renewal it is preparing for tough bargaining, in some cases proposing to halve payments.
Laws, who takes the lions share - some AUD 4 million (USD 3.1 million) a year - is safe for now as his current ten-year contract has another three -and-a- half years to go and Carlton, on around AUD 1.5 million (USD 1.2 million) a year and Price on around AUD 1.2 million (USD 940,000) another year each thus leaving the station with limited options in the short term.
It already took action in summer when it made 16 posts redundant to save around AUD 1 million (USD 780,000) a year and the paper says that when the first contract due comes up - that of breakfast co-host Peter FitzSimons who took the post on a 12-month trial - 2UE will want to keep him but not at any cost. It adds that 2UE has offered FitzSimons a small increase on his current deal - of around AUD 500,000, which his a third that of his co-host Mike Carlton who's on nearly three-times as much - but that the host has hired Laws' manager John Fordham in the hope of getting a significant boost.
The next contract up after that is that of Zemanek who, the paper says is on around AUD 600,000 (USD 470,000) a year but in his case he is fighting cancer ( a malignant brain tumour) and 2UE management fears a public relations disaster if it appears unsympathetic to his plight.
Cuts have also been reported by Austereo, which is dropping Sam Newman and Steve Quatermain from its Triple-M football team for the next season, citing budget reasons for not renewing their contracts. Newman, who was suspended from the commentary team in June and later rapped on the knuckles by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for describing a caller who had criticized his comments on a match in the Saturday Football programme as a "fuckwit" (See RNW Licence News Oct 1), is said to be paid around AUD 350,000 (USD 273,000) a year but Austereo said the reason his contract was not being renewed was not related to his suspensions but because after signing a new three-year deal with the Australian Football League (AFL) it couldn't keep them within its salary cap.
Previous Southern Cross:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2006-11-26: Last week was another in which more of the regulator's work involving radio was in general about consultations, reports and guidance than licence decisions.
In Australia , the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) highlighted convergence in its first major report on the communications industry (See RNW Nov 22): it also issued one radio licensing decision, the renewal of the licence of Otway FM Community Radio Group Inc. in Colac, Victoria, following various concerns raised about the station.
Commenting on them ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said, "In the course of the Otway FM licence renewal process ACMA raised several issues with the licensee over what can only be described as severe management failure. Of most concern is that the station was off air for almost 18 months and has not provided a service to significant parts of the licence area. Membership, sponsorship and volunteer levels are all low for these reasons."
"Fortunately," he added, "over the course of the licence renewal period a new management team at Otway FM has begun to address ACMA's concerns, either directly, or through specific undertakings. ACMA has taken this into account and has decided to renew the licence of the only community broadcaster in the Colac region. Instead ACMA will work with Otway FM to revive the service. However, Otway FM will have little room for error. ACMA will continue to monitor the operations of the station and is expecting to see significant improvement over the coming months."
The ACMA has informed the station that it reserves the right to take further action if it does not meet its undertakings, including imposing additional licence conditions or ultimately cancelling the licence.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of licensing decisions including the approval of conversion of four Quebec AM's to FM (See RNW Nov 25). Other decisions relating to radio included (In order of province):
* Approval of application by 912038 Alberta Ltd., which currently operates CKLM-FM-1, Bonnyville, as a transmitter of its CKLM-FM Lloydminster service, for conversion of the Bonnyville transmitter to a new 50,000 watts English-language commercial FM
*Approval of application by My Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) for a 5,000 watts Adult Contemporary English-language, commercial FM in Napanee.
There had been interventions by CHUM, which wanted a prohibition on the station soliciting local adverts in Kingston and by Starboard Communications Ltd., licensee of CJOJ-FM and CHCQ-FM, Belleville; K-ROCK 1057 Inc., licensee of CIKR-FM, Kingston; and Quinte Broadcasting Company Limited, licensee of CJTN-FM, Quinte West (Lite 107.1)., all of whom were concerned about the possible effect on the Belleville and Kingston markets. In addition Mohawk Nation Radio opposed the application on the basis that it intended to apply for a Type B Native Radio undertaking on the frequency involved to serve Mohawks in the Bay of Quinte area
MBC said it had no interest in the Kingston or Belleville markets, and that it would be willing to accept a condition of licence not to solicit advertising in those markets and in relation to the Mohawk Native Radio concerns said it had selected 88.7 MHZ as the most appropriate of three possible frequencies for its purpose but that if Mohawk were to gain a licence it would allow it to use at no charge, the MBC broadband antenna and would provide technical assistance if required.
The CRTC said there was no need to imposing licence conditions relating to prohibit soliciting local adverts and agreed that other frequencies were available that Mohawk could utilise.
*Approval of application by Radio Drummond for a 710 watts French-language Type B community FM in Drummondville.
*Approval of application by Club de solidarité du Bois-Joli inc. for a 5 watts French-language, low-power, specialty FM Trois-Rivières. The station will serve primarily the students of a primary school and programming will consist of sports and cultural reports, poetry and recorded or live interviews. The applicant does not anticipate broadcasting during school breaks.
The commission has also approved the acquisition by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. (the general partner) and Jim Pattison Industries Ltd. (the limited partner), carrying on business as Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership, to acquire for around CAD 15.75 million (USD 13.88 million) from O.K. Radio Group Ltd. the assets of CKKQ-FM, Victoria, its transmitter CKKQ-FM-1, Sooke and its transitional digital radio undertaking CKKR-DR-1, Victoria, and of CJZN-FM, Victoria, its transmitter CKXM-FM-1, Sooke and its transitional digital radio undertaking CJZN-DR-1, Victoria,
The CRTC also posted a public notice concerning to Alberta radio applications - one by CHUM Limited for the use of frequency 101.5 MHz for a new 48,000 English-language Hot Adult Contemporary FM in Calgary that it had approved in August on the basis of a suitable frequency being found (See RNW Licence News Aug 6),
The second came from CKUA Radio Foundation which asked to change the frequency of its transmitter CKUA-FM-6, Red Deer, from 101.3 MHz to 107.7 MHz. This application was filed to allow CHUM to use 101.5MHz for its new Calgary station (above).
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the receipt of five applications for a new youth licence for the midlands/north-east region (See RNW Nov 25). It also announced details of the third round of its "Sound & Vision" Broadcasting Funding Scheme.
Adverts were placed inviting applications from programme makers for funding for new radio and/or TV programmes dealing with the themes of Irish culture, heritage and experience and also for new programmes aimed at improving adult literacy. Radio applications have to be in by December 15 and those for TV by 12th January next year.
In the UK, Ofcom published the reasons behind its award of earlier this month the new Liverpool FM licence, for which there were ten applications, to Radio City, Emap's speech-based bid, and the award of a new Perth FM, for which there was only one applicant, to Perth FM (See RNW Nov 21) and it has also announced a change in regulation that from December 8 will allow the use of micro FM devices to transfer signals from devices such as MP3 players to an FM radio: it had advised its intention to do this last month (See RNW Oct 8).
Ofcom has also been involved in publishing a number of consultations and updates including a Summary Report and Statistics on Broadcasters' Returns on Equal Opportunities 2005; Guidance on arrangements for the promotion of equal opportunities in the broadcasting industry; and Higher power limits for licence-exempt devices - Relating to such matters as whether to promote such services as wireless broadband it should raise current power limits in rural areas where it opted against allowing higher powers at 2.4GHz in rural areas nut is to go ahead with the proposal to adopt the higher power limit of four watts EIRP (in all geographical areas), from the draft ECC Recommendation (06) 04 in 5.8GHz.;
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it is to conduct ten economic studies as part of its review of its media ownership rules and was criticised by the two Democratic Commissioners on the basis of openness and transparency (See RNW Nov 24) and has also become involved yet again with the issue of indecency regulation following court action by CBS, Fox and NBC (See RNW Nov 22).
It also published its latest figures on licensed station numbers in the country, showing a fall of six in the second quarter of this year compared to the previous quarter (See RNW Nov 21).
On the enforcement front the FCC announced a consent decree - involving payment of USD 40,000 and a promise to abide by regulations in future - terminating an investigation into whether control of whether control of KHMB-FM, Hamburg, Arkansas, was delivered to R&M Broadcasting, Inc. by Kenneth Diebel without authorization.
The investigation began after a complaint made in 2004 that R&M had been operating the station for five years including payment of employees and running day-to-day operations although Diebel had failed to notify the commission: The commission said it and the other parties acknowledged that "any proceeding that might result from the Investigation will require the significant expenditure of public and private resources" and that it was not in the public interest to proceed further but Diebel and R&M confirmed that they understood that their conduct was "inconsistent with the requirements of the Communications Act and assert that they will not engage in such conduct or similar conduct in connection with any licensed station that they now or may hereafter control or be associated with in any manner, including station KMYY(FM). "
Diebel and R&M will each pay the US Treasury USD 20,000 and each will be jointly severally liable for the full USD 40,000.
It also issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) to Communications Specialists, Inc. for marketing radio frequency devices - its PT-1 "Petlocator" transmitter - that do not comply with the radiated emission limits.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-11-26: Memphis black radio pioneer John R. Pepper II, who in 1947 with Bert Ferguson (both white) co-founded WDIA-AM, which became the first US station for black listeners in 1947, has died aged 91 after a long illness.
The station- the sixth in Memphis- began as a service for city and farm listeners with a mix of country and western music, classical, and light pop but when the format foundered switched it to target a black audience.
It hired local African-American high school teacher and nationally syndicated columnist Nat D. Williams, to host a show and his "Tan Town Jamboree", first aired on October 25, 1948, proved a success and Williams brought in Rufus Thomas, who with Williams co-hosted the "Palace Theater Amateur Night" and soon had a 2-hour night-time show called "Hoot and Holler."
By 1949 the station with partial black programming was second in the ranking and in the fall of that year it started to programme entirely for an African-American audience: That year it also took on B.B. King, who recorded his first single in the station's studio during off hours, and other artists who appeared at the studio included Rufus's daughter Carla, the "Queen of Memphis Soul" and Isaac Hayes, a regular on the station's "Big Star Talent Show".
The combination took it to the top of the ratings in Memphis for many years and, now an Urban Adult Contemporary owned by Clear Channel - it was sold by the original owners in 1957 - it is still amongst the top stations in the market: In the summer Arbitrons it was behind Country WGKX-FM and Urban Contemporary WHRK-FM.
It also had a significant effect on stations elsewhere in the US leading it to term itself the "Mother Station of Negroes."
Memphis Commercial Appeal report:
WDIA-AM web site:
2006-11-26: The owner of a new ethnic commercial AM in Vancouver, licensed in July last year (See Licence News Jul 24, 2005) says she is concerned that a robbery at its premises was aimed at keeping it off the air.
Sushma Datt, the owner of I.T. Productions Ltd., which is readying to start CJRJ-AM 1200, told the Toronto Globe and Mail, "Someone doesn't want us to launch. They knew what they were looking for."
The thieves took the station's main server, back-up system and specialized production equipment that contained music collections, taped station identification spots and other software and the police, who say a van that turned out to be stolen and was later recovered was seen leaving the premises, say it was a routine break-in.
Ms Datt, however, said the thieves had bypassed seven computers at work stations near the front of the office, and only removed equipment from the office's two production studios and on-air suite and said of the equipment taken, "This equipment would be useless to most people, even to other radio broadcasters. All our programs are designed in-house."
The paper notes that Datt has received death threats and her car tires were slashed on numerous occasions, after speaking out on talk-show programs about violence against women, infanticide and religious differences but that she said she had not recently said anything that would upset people or provoke the theft at her new station.
Kenyan-born Datt began her broadcasting career in England with the BBC, and moved to Vancouver in 1972, becoming the first Hindi and Punjabi announcer at CJVB Radio in Vancouver until 1978 when she started Radio Rim Jhim, which broadcasts an ethnic service via an SCMO (subsidiary communications multiplex operation) signal of local country station CJJR-FM.
Her I.T. Productions Ltd., a privately owned company, was one of eight competitors for two licences, an AM and FM, put up for bidding by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
I.T. Productions won the AM bid with a submission that committed it to provide programming directed to a minimum of 11 different ethnic groups in 17 different languages in each broadcast week and the FM went to South Asian Broadcasting Corporation Inc. for a service in at least 15 languages to at least 15 ethnic communities, none of which will be Chinese with at least three-quarters of programming to be Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.
CJRJ in its subsequent approval was required to broadcast not less than 73% of the programming in each broadcast week in Hindustani and Punjabi languages and none in a Chinese language.
Vancouver at the time the licences were granted already had two ethnic AMs and an ethnic FM and the l Fairchild Radio Group Ltd., the licensee of one of them - CJVB-AM that is required to provide programming directed to a minimum of 23 cultural groups in a minimum of 23 different languages - and indirect owner of CHKG-FM, which is required to provide programming directed to a minimum of 20 cultural groups in a minimum of 15 different languages and is not authorized broadcast any programming directed to the Chinese community during weekdays between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. had intervened with concerns about broadcasts to ethnic Chinese.
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2006-11-25: Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin in an interview with Smart Money has again pushed the idea of a merger with rival XM and said that he did not believe regulators would be a problem: He also hinted that a subscription increase could be on the cards some time in the future.
Commenting on the idea of a merger, which he'd previous raised at a trade conference, Karmazin said, "Mergers often lead to creating shareholder value. I've always been open to that," and then added as to how far the idea had progressed, "I'm really not allowed to say. I have focused my entire career on shareholder value and wealth creation. Often mergers allow for that. I combined my radio company with CBS, and I combined CBS with Viacom. "
He then said of possible regulatory intervention, "I personally believe regulatory agencies are not a problem. If there's an iPod with terrestrial radio, it's hard to believe government is worried about two satellite radio companies combining."
Regarding Sirius itself he said, "I am having a blast. I love taking over a company that's not making money and having it make money. That's why I came here: Everyone says, 'Gee, it's a great service and I love the content, but what's the business model?' I'm going to show them exactly what it is."
Karmazin noted the steep start-up and fixed costs - "Before we got a single subscriber, we had to launch three satellites and program more than 100 channels. We have high fixed costs" but then noted that as subscription numbers increased "a significant amount of money falls to the bottom line. It's similar to a cable company Subscribers pay USD 12.95 a month, the same price they paid before we offered Howard Stern and the National Football League. We have NASCAR starting January. We have a great opportunity to increase our pricing, but I can't say when."
And of the financials and the fact that the stock price is lower now than when he joined Sirius? - "This year we will have over USD 600 million in revenue; next year we will have USD 1 billion. By 2010 we will have USD 3 billion in revenue and USD 1 billion in free cash flow. Using the 15 to 20 times cash flow valuation Wall Street gives growth companies, that's a market value of USD 15 billion to USD 20 billion. Today it's USD 6 billion. The stock will take care of itself."
RNW comment: Karmazin, like many who argue for the market to rule, tempers that when it comes to self interest and in our view that's exactly what a merger to one satellite company is an example of. It would make more money for shareholders but restrict choice to listeners. Our view is that far from allowing a merger, the FCC should be making it clear that licences in some time in the near future will not be renewed for either company until they are each offering a reasonable range - without any significant cost above that of receivers for one service - of receivers that can handle both services and thus increase choice for the listener. Sure it might hit Karmazin's pocket but on his projections the companies will be able to afford it and in the end he and the shareholders who'll make a smaller profit are far fewer in number than the potential listeners to their services.
We are supportive of satellite radio as a competitor to terrestrial broadcasts and an extra choice for listeners: We see no reason that regulators should allow that extra choice to be diminished.
Smart Money report:
2006-11-25: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received five applications for a new youth licence for the midlands/north-east region that will cover the Counties of Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Kildare, North-East Laois, Offaly and Westmeath.
Earlier this month it awarded the north-west region youth licence covering Counties of Galway, Mayo, Longford, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal, for which it had also received five applications (See Licence News Jul 16) to I Radio Limited, which trades as i 105FM (See Licence News Nov 19).
The applicants in the latest case are: Midlands North East Limited,( FM107); ICE FM Limited (ICE FM); I Radio North East & Midlands Limited, (i 107 FM) ; and Carrarush Limited (Red FM).
2006-11-25: Tests to verify whether there is a link between emissions from Vatican Radio and an Italian Navy Centre are to go ahead over the next two years at a cost of around Euros 200,000 (USD 262,000) after the Milan European Institute for tumours said it would proceed on the basis that it would be paid for them after they had been conducted.
The tests had been at risk because the Italian justice ministry will only pay for tests that have been carried out and the court hearing allegations that individuals had been made ill by the emissions did not have the Euros 75,000 (USD 98,000) to start work on them.
Last year an Italian court imposed suspended prison sentences on a Roman Catholic cardinal and a director of Vatican Radio and ordered them to pay damages to be set by a civil arbitration body after finding them guilty of polluting the atmosphere through electromagnetic emissions from Vatican Radio's transmission complex at Santa Maria di Galeria near Rome.
The case arose after complaints from residents of nearby Cesanoresulted in investigations that showed a higher incidence of tumours and leukaemia than average and electromagnetic energy three times the Italian legal limit (See RNW May 10, 2005).
Previous Vatican Radio:
2006-11-25: Quebec is to gain four French language commercial FMs following approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to approve conversion of existing Corus AM stations that were included in the Quebec station exchange announced by Montreal-based Astral Media and Toronto-based Corus Entertainment that the Commission approved in January last year (See RNW Jan 22, 2005).
They are in:
Gatineau - a 2,900 watts talk-based FM to replace CJRC-AM.
Saguenay - a 51,000 watts talk-based FM to replace CKRS-AM.
Sherbrooke - a 58,000 watts talk-based FM to replace CHLT -AM.
and Trois-Rivières - a 60,000 watts talk-based FM to replace CHLN-AM;
2006-11-24: BBC Radio 4 "World at One" presenter for the past 12 years Nick Clarke has died of cancer aged 58: He had returned to air in June following an announcement in December last year that he was to have treatment that included amputation of his left leg (See RNW Dec 9, 2005), an experience that he turned into a radio programme "Fighting to Be Normal" made from a taped diary kept by him and his second wife Barbara (See RNW Columnists Jun 26).
Tributes have been paid by many senior BBC figures and colleagues including one by BBC chairman Michael Grade who said in a statement, "Nick Clarke was one of the outstanding broadcast journalists of his generation, and held in great respect by his Radio 4 audience. His series of audio diaries, in which he chronicled events both emotional and physical during the course of his illness, provided one of the most moving and courageous broadcasts in memory."
Simon Elmes, who produced the programme, said, "Until making the documentary about his illness, 'Fighting to be Normal', earlier this year, I had only ever known Nick as a wonderful voice on the radio and a BBC party-acquaintance. But working closely with him I felt the searing incisiveness of his journalistic intelligence, his fearsome honesty, not least about himself and his condition and - just as pervasive - his wry, often dark, sense of humour."
Commenting on Clarke's wider range, BBC Director-General Mark Thompson said Clarke was "one of the BBC's finest broadcasters and a brilliant political interviewer, who was also a great listener. Nick's interviewing style was penetrating but unfailingly courteous."
Colin Hancock, Editor of The World at One (WATO), which Clarke presented from March 1994 after five years on The World This Weekend on Radio 4, said, "Nick was the most brilliant interviewer I've ever known. He had an instinct for exactly the right approach, every time: never hectoring or offending, always probing in precisely the right areas. "
"More than that," added Hancock, "he absolutely believed that everything we did on The World At One mattered, inspiring all of us to think more rigorously and chase harder. Our listeners rightly saw WATO as Nick's programme. They, his colleagues and public service broadcasting have suffered a great loss."
Jenny Abramsky, Director, BBC Radio & Music, said, "Nick was the consummate radio broadcaster - rigorous, fair, polite and tough. He had a warmth that made listeners feel he was their champion and their friend. He had breadth and a curiosity to appreciate the wider world beyond politics. Listeners loved him and Radio 4 is the poorer for his loss."
Clarke's fellow presenter James Naughtie said: "The reason listeners adored Nick was that his integrity and decency as a journalist was also the truth about the man. It's awful that his voice has gone, but he inspired such love and respect among his colleagues that we will never forget it."
Clarke was born in Godalming, Surrey and educated at Bradfield College, Berkshire and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where he studied modern languages. He began his journalistic career on the Yorkshire Evening Post as a trainee and joined the BBC in 1973 as a reporter in Manchester.
He became the BBC's industrial correspondent in 1976 and in 1979 moved to BBC2 TV's Money Programme, where he remained for five years before joining BBC2 TV's late night news and current affairs programme Newsnight as political correspondent and occasional presenter.
He started presenting work on The World This Weekend on Radio 4 in 1989 and then moved after five years to the World at One.
He also worked on various BBC TV documentaries and appeared on various quiz shows and chaired Round Britain Quiz and Any Questions on Radio 4 : Outside broadcasting wrote a biography of the veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke, which was published in 1999, and "Shadow of a Nation: The Changing Face of Britain", which was published in 2003.
Clarke leaves a widow and five children, three from his first marriage and twin sons from his second.
Radio 4 said it had received more than 2000 e-mail tributes from listeners about Clarke on Thursday, a number of which were read out on The World Tonight programme.
2006-11-24: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an announcement late on Wednesday said that it is to conduct ten economic studies as part of its review of its media ownership rules and was immediately criticised by the two Democratic Commissioners on the basis of openness and transparency.
Commissioner Michael J Copps said in a statement, "Any FCC decision that could fundamentally reshape the nation's media environment must be reached through a process that is open and transparent to the American people. Today's announcement of the Commission's new media ownership studies, unfortunately, raises more questions in the public's mind than it answers. How were the contractors selected for the outside projects? How much money is being spent on each project-and on the projects collectively? What kind of peer review process is envisioned? Why are the topics so generalized rather than being targeted to more specific questions?"
He added, "When the majority of the previous FCC voted to loosen the ownership rules in 2003, a federal court took them to task for inadequate justification of their handiwork. My hope has been that the Commission would not head off on the same tangent again-especially at a time when many people already doubt the credibility of the research we do. "
He was backed up by similar comments from Jonathan S. Adelstein who said the "unilateral release of this Public Notice on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday ultimately undermines the public's confidence by raising more questions than it answers."
"The legitimacy of the studies," added Adelstein, "is directly correlated to the transparency of the process undertaken to develop the studies and select the authors The descriptions of the studies are scant, lacking any sense of the Commission's expectations for scope, proposed methodology and data sources. In certain instances, the truncated period of time to complete the studies is an ingredient for a study that doesn't engender public faith and confidence. The release of this deficient Public Notice is unfortunate given the importance of these studies in evaluating the impact of media ownership on the American public."
In its announcement the commission said the studies would be as follows:
Study 1: How People Get News and Information. To be authored by Nielsen.
Study 2: Ownership Structure and Robustness of Media. To be authored by C. Anthony Bush, Kiran Duwadi, Scott Roberts, and Andrew Wise, FCC.
Study 3: Effect of Ownership Structure and Robustness on the Quantity and Quality of TV Programming. To be authored by Gregory Crawford, University of Arizona.
Study 4: News Operations. To be authored by Kenneth Lynch, Daniel Shiman, and Craig Stroup, FCC.
Study 5: Station Ownership and Programming in Radio. To be authored by Tasneem Chipty, CRAI.
Study 6: News Coverage of Cross-Owned Newspapers and Television Stations. To be authored by Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri.
Studies 7 & 8: Minority Ownership. To be authored by Arie Bersteanu and Paul Ellickson, Duke University and by Allen Hammond, Santa Clara University and Barbara O'Connor, California State University, Sacramento.
Study 9: Vertical Integration. To be authored by Austan Goolsbee, University of Chicago.
Study 10: Radio Industry Review: Trends in Ownership, Format, and Finance. To be authored by George Williams, FCC.
2006-11-24: CHUM Ltd, which is currently being taken over by Bell Globemedia, has promoted its Executive Vice President Radio, Paul Ski, to the new post of President, CHUM Radio.
Making the announcement CHUM president and CEO Jay Switzer said the appointment acknowledged Paul's tremendous contribution to CHUM Radio's outstanding performance and commented, "Paul Ski is an exceptional media executive who has played a significant role in our company's success. This appointment recognizes Paul's leadership, and the achievements of the CHUM Radio team.
Ski will be responsible for all CHUM Radio including in addition to the CHUM Radio Network and CHUM Radio Sales. He has been with the company for more than 30 years, having joined it in 1972 at CFRA-AM, Ottawa.
He then worked for the company in Halifax, Nova Scotia, before moving to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1981 where he became President/General Manager of CHUM Radio's Western Operations, a role he held until his promotion to EVP. Ski is also a member of CHUM Limited's Senior Management Group.
2006-11-24: Citadel Broadcasting Corporation has announced that it and The Walt Disney Company have renegotiated details of their February agreement for a merger of Citadel and ABC Radio (See RNW Feb 7).
Under the new agreement, Disney gets USD 300 million less in cash, USD 100 million of which is a straightforward reduction and a further USD 200 million of which is counterbalanced by an increase in Disney shareholders share of the combined company from around 52% to 57%.
This will be calculated on the basis of USD 100 million of Citadel common stock at a price expected to be between USD 10.89 and USD 14.51, and determined during a pre-closing measurement period based on a formula in the merger agreement and a further USD 100 million of common stock priced at USD 10.40. Both will be subject to adjustment for the special distribution expected to be paid by Citadel to its pre-merger shareholders.
Citadel also announced that the merger is not now expected to close before the end of May next year.
2006-11-23: The BBC has announced that it has agreed a deal to air Bob Dylan's radio show "Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour" that began airing on XM Satellite Radio in May this year (See RNW May 1): It will launch a year-long run with a preview of six shows over the Christmas period.
The shows will air on BBC Radio 2 starting on December 23 running through to Thursday 28 December 2006 - all at 19:00GMT except for Christmas Eve when the show airs at 17:00 GMT: Sister digital station 6 Music will air them from December 31 a 21:00 GMT and then from January 12 the shows will become a regular Friday night feature.
Lesley Douglas, controller of Radio 2 and 6 Music commented in a news release, "Bob Dylan is a legendary figure and I'm sure these shows will be of great interest to our audience. It'll be fascinating to hear who his favourite artists are and who has influenced him throughout his career."
RNW note: This show iwll be available for the usual seven days on the station wbesite but for UK isteners only: Others will be barred.
2006-11-23: Sirius Canada, which went on air on December 1 last year (See RNW Dec 2, 2005) says it ended its first year of business with more than 200,000 subscribers and was well ahead of rival XM Canada with more than 70% of the retail market in the country: XM Canada said in September that it had 120,000 subscribers at the end of its first fiscal year and nine months of operations (See RNW Sep 8).
Its President and CEO Mark Redmond said of the performance, "Sirius Canada's first year anniversary, and the significant success we have experienced during this time, is a celebration to be shared with our 200,000 subscribers and our retail and automotive partners. We are proud to be the number one choice for satellite radio in Canada. It has been an incredible first year, and we look forward to continuing a tradition of delivering the very best satellite radio products and programming available in Canada."
Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin added, "Sirius Canada's incredible progress in less than 12-months of operating is testament to the quality of SIRIUS' programming, and reinforces the country's interest and excitement in satellite radio as an entertainment medium. As we grow our business and extend programming options across North America, we are confident Sirius Canada will continue to connect with Canadians as the country's preferred satellite radio service, and build off the tremendous success it has achieved during its first year."
Previous Sirius Canada:
2006-11-23: Chicago classical station WFMT-FM boosted its support this year with an innovative offer according to Robert Feder, who reported in the Chicago Sun-Times that it raised USD 552.000 from some 3,400 listeners in its must successful pledge drive ever.
It ended the pledge drive an hour early and contributions up 10% on a year ago and Feder says the success was boosted by a premium offer of an iPod loaded with a basic library of classical music in the form of 100 CDs to all those who offered a pledge of USD 10 per day (USD 3,650 a year).
WFMT's senior vice president and general manager Steve Robinson, who conceived the idea with the Naxos classical label, said that there were 25 calls for the offer (which would mean a total of USD 91,250) and added, "At a time when there seems to be gloom and doom in the world of classical music radio, WFMT is still a shining light."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2006-11-23: Listening to podcasts is growing rapidly in the US according to figures just released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project following surveys conducted in August: This showed that the percentage of internet users who said they had downloaded a podcast shad increased from 7% in a February to April survey to 12% with increases for men from 9% to 15% and for women from 5% to 8%.
In demographic terms those 18-29 were most likely to have downloaded a podcast - up from 10% to 12% followed by those 30-49 and 50-64 where the figures were 8% and 5% respectively in February-April and 12% for both in August.
The percentage increased with education - from 6% to 9% for a high school graduate; from 6% to 13% for those with some college education; add from 9% to 13% for college graduates. When it came to income there was a smaller difference: Listening by the poorest group, with household income less than USD 30,000 a year, went up from 8% to 12%; for those with household incomes from USD 30,000 to USD 49,999 it was up from 8% to 14%; for those with household incomes from USD 50,000 to USD 74,999 it was up from 7% to 12% and for those with more than USD 75,000 a year household income it went up from 7% to 13%.
In technological terms the percentage with a dial-up connection was up from 6% to 10% and with broadband up from 9% to 14%.
Pew Intenet web site:
2006-11-22: CBS Radio has agreed to sell its three Greensboro, North Carolina, news-talk AM stations -- WSJS, WMFR, and WSML - to Curtis Media Group for USD 8,375,000: The stations were the last to be sold in the ten markets - the others are Austin; Buffalo; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Fresno; Kansas City; Memphis; Rochester, N.Y.; and San Antonio - in which CBS had said it was to sell up and the sales have added up to just under USD 670 million.
Curtis says it expects to retain the same management at the stations and its President Donald Curtis commented, "We are delighted to have this family of great News/Talks Stations join our group of North Carolina Stations. We feel that along with our existing operation at WZTK, News/Talk 101, and our presence in the State Capitol with WPTF, we will be able to offer the listeners in the Triad an even better list of choices in the News/Talk arena."
As well as the five-station News-talk cluster Curtis will have after the acquisition it also owns a dozen stations in the Raleigh-Durham market as well as having ownership interests in other North Carolina radio stations.
The other part of CBS, its TV operation, has meanwhile filed a formal appeal against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling that it breached indecency standards in the broadcast of the 2004 Superbowl half-time show in which a shot of a Janet Jackson breast was briefly shown.
The FCC had levied a USD 550,000 penalty - based on the then maximum amount of USD 27,500 that has now been increased to USD 325,000 - against 20 CBS affiliate stations and in its appeal CBS denies that it did anything wrong in its broadcast of "an unscripted, unauthorized, and unintended long-distance shot of Ms. Jackson's breast for nine-sixteenths of one second."
CBS says it wants the FCC to return to its "previous time-honoured practice of more measured indecency enforcement" and says, "CBS will continue to pursue all of our legal remedies to that end, and this week's filings are another step in that pursuit."
Together with News Corporation's Fox, Walt Disney Co's ABC, and General Electric's NBC, CBS is expected to jointly file another appeal on a different incident involved Fox. The broadcasters want the Third Circuit Appeals Court to spell out the FCC's powers relating to indecent broadcasts.
The FCC has responded by defending its ruling, accusing CBS of continuing to ignore the "the voices of millions of Americans, Congress and the Commission" in saying the broadcast was not indecent and its spokesman added, CBS believes there should be no limits on what can be shown on television even during family viewing events like the Super Bowl; we continue to believe they are wrong."
[RNW comment: What matters, surely, are the rules the FCC had published at the time and our view is that even if every single American had felt the broadcast was indecent any ruling should be on the basis of the law as laid down not what the population might have felt, albeit strong feelings could legitimately lead to a change in the law.
As for CBS believing there should be "no limits" that seems to us a ludicrous statement that in a society with respect for the meaning of words would see the individual concerned looking for work. Mind you, he would probably be joined by most, if not all, US politicians and the executive and PR ranks would also be rather more than decimated if there were such respect.]
Interestingly as a side-bar, the New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority earlier this month updated its guidance on the matter of requiring broadcasters "maintain standards which are consistent with the observance of good taste and decency."
It notes that the broadcasters are to "take into consideration current norms of decency and good taste in language and behaviour bearing in mind the context in which any language or behaviour occurs and the wider context of the broadcast e.g. time of day, target audience" and as regards radio - which "does not have a classification or time band system" - says different criteria have to apply to those used by TV broadcasters.
The Authority notes that it "uses two key principles to determine radio complaints alleging a breach of good taste and decency - children's interests, and target audience expectations" and says "All radio stations should moderate their content at times when children are most likely to be listening - in the morning before school, and immediately after school."
All stations should exercise car, it says, when children are likely to be listening but assessment will differ "in light of the station's target audience; a station whose target audience includes children might encounter trouble with overtly sexualised material while a station with an adult target audience may be able to discuss sexual matters more openly. "
It then comments on "Lines that cannot be crossed" including "sexually explicit song lyrics; the use of high-level swear-words; sexually explicit jokes or comments; racist language or jokes; or the gratuitously explicit description of highly offensive illegal behaviour (violence against women, necrophilia and sexual assault).
*Update: ABC, whose NYPD Blue programmes were earlier this month held not to have breached FCC rules, has now dropped out of the challenge to the FCC rules but the other three networks are expected to continue with the action.
Previous New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority:
New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority web site:
2006-11-22: National Grid Wireless, a wholly owned subsidiary of National Grid formerly known as Crown Castle Communications, has announced that it is to bid for the second UK national digital radio multiplex, which is due to be advertised by Ofcom later this month.
The company, which developed and deployed the BBC's DAB network and operates 9 of the 11 national radio networks, says it believes it can provide a 'neutral host' role to the radio industry, similar to the one it already provides for digital TV with the " Freeview" platform.
Its general manager, broadcast Tony Moretta said in a company news release, "The decision to bid for this licence is based on extensive consultation with the radio industry and we are confident that we can provide an open, non-competitive platform that will enable digital radio to achieve the next stage in its development."
2006-11-22: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in its first "first major report on the communications industry" highlights issues of what its chairman Chris Chapman terms "the emerging dynamics of convergence."
"We're in an historic phase," added Chapman, "and this report is an important first step on the road to charting our perspectives on the future of communications in Australia.'"
Regarding the radio industry, the "ACMA Communications Report 2005-06" notes that as of July this year, Australia had 274 commercial radio broadcasting licences, including 13 non-broadcasting services bands services, of which 124 new licences had been granted since Australia's Broadcasting Services Act was introduced in 1992.
In all there are 24 radio licence owners or controllers who hold fewer than five licences each and 12 who control five or more commercial radio licences - ACE Radio Broadcasters, Alice Springs Commercial Broadcasters, Austereo Group, ARN, Broadcast Operations, DMG Radio, Elmie Investments, Grant Broadcasters, MRR, PRIME, Redwave Media, Rural Press and Southern Cross Broadcasting.
Unlike Canada, the Act does not require radio broadcasters to carry minimum levels of Australian music content but the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice and Guidelines set out quotas that range, on the basis of the Australian music available for a format, from not less than 25% for various formats -- Mainstream rock, Album oriented rock, Contemporary hits, Top 40, and Alternative - to not less than 5% for Nostalgia, Jazz, and NAC (smooth jazz).
The codes also include News talk/sports talk - in a grouping of not less than 15% along with Soft adult contemporary, Hits and memories, and Gold - encompassing classic hits.
The other groups are not less than 10% for Hot/mainstream; Adult contemporary; Country; and
Classic rock; and not less than 10% for Oldies; Easy listening; Easy gold; and Country gold.
Community radio is covered by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia's (CBAA) Community Radio Broadcasting Code of Practice which requires not less than 25 per cent of Australian music items for all community broadcasting licensees except ethnic and classical stations where the requirement is not less than 10% but the report notes that in practice in 2003-04 community stations broadcast an average of 35% Australian music with the percentage nearly half for indigenous stations and 40% for youth stations. The percentage was higher in rural areas - an average 48% - than metropolitan and regional ones - 33%.
ACMA Communications Report 2005-06 (330 page 4MB PDF):
2006-11-22: Piquant-owned US progressive talk radio network Air America Radio, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month (See RNW Oct 14) and earlier this month was given a deadline of today to have a sale deal in place and to have filed a motion seeking court approval of the sale to guarantee continuing financing (See RNW Nov 2) has now been given a further week to come up with a buyer.
The Associated Press in a report carried by various US newspapers, says Air America lawyer Tracy Klestadt, told a bankruptcy hearing Monday that the company was in "advanced negotiations with a few parties" about a sale, and expected to have more definitive news on a deal in a week.
Klestadt said the network's lender had informally agreed to extend the deadline by about a week.
Previous Air America/Piquant:
Houston Chronicle/AP report:
2006-11-21: Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) is about to take off according to RadioScape which is now shipping a module that will handle Eureka DAB, DRM (LW, MW & SW), FM-RDS AM (LW, MW & SW) including AMSS, automatic alternative frequency switching (AFS), EPG (DAB), SDCARD Recording (DAB/DRM) and playback of MP3/WMA files.
The first receiver with the module, the Morphy Richards 27024 is priced around Euros 199 (USD 255): It was recently launched in Germany and this week has become available in other European countries including France, Portugal, Spain, Holland, Belgium, and the UK. Other manufacturers are to launch models early next year.
Robert Hein, CEO of 004 GmbH, which is selling the receiver online, says the combined DRM/DAB/analogue receivers have been selling sell and adds, "Customers are really excited by this new generation of digital radios and the new services that they bring."
Germany was chosen to launch the receivers because many new DRM broadcasts originate there including Deutsche Welle DRM programmes, which can be clearly heard throughout most of Europe: Some 30 broadcasters are already transmitting in DRM and Russia is to use the system in its radio network with other countries including China, Australia and Canada expected to take up the system.
John Sykes, Project Director for Digital Radio at BBC World Service, commented, "There is a huge amount of collaborative effort behind the rollout of DRM. Manufacturers, retailers and broadcasters are all working together to help make this happen as quickly as possible. DRM opens up new markets for broadcasters and advertisers by exploiting the huge geographical coverage of these services. Consequently consumers will have more new stations to choose from, especially in rural areas."
RadioScape CEO John Hall said they are "already talking to half a dozen radio manufacturers who also want to bring out multi-standard DRM radios next year" and added, "We use a world-class, contract manufacturing facility in China and so we are confident that we can ramp module production to meet this demand."
RadioScape anticipates that as total sales of combined DRM/DAB receivers grow, economies of scale in production will take the price down to close that of DAB/Analogue receivers.
RNW comment: In line with our belief that a common world standard for radio is very valuable - and already exists for AM/FM/SW - we welcome the introduction of "world radios" that can handle new digital signals but still cope with all existing analogue transmissions. The only pity is that the US in going for a proprietary solution with HD, has probably, because of the licensing costs likely to be demanded by iBiquity, ruled out a true world radio that could be used in the US and the rest of the world. We can only hope that iBiquity sees the light and keeps licensing costs down to minimal amounts for multisystem receivers.
2006-11-21: The US lost six licensed broadcast stations in the second quarter of this year but then gained 104 in the third quarter according to latest figures from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just released to the end of June and September respectively.
They showed the total at the end of June as 27,550, down from 27,556 at the end of March but at the end of September it was up to 27,654.
Within the figures, the number of licensed radio stations at the end of June was 13,742, up 18 from the previous total of 13,724 with AM station numbers down 15 to 4,744, commercial FMs down 5 to 6,243 and FM educational up 14 to 2,760 while the number of FM translators and boosters was down 23 to 4,026 and the licensed low power total was up 9 to 721.
By the end of September the number of licensed radio stations had risen a further 51 to 13,793 with AM station numbers up seven to 4,751; commercial FMs up nine to 6,252; and educational FMs up 30 to 2,790 whilst the number of FM translators and boosters was up 61 to 4087 and the licensed low power total was up 25 to 746
Previous FCC station numbers:
2006-11-21: UK media regulator Ofcom has published the reasons behind its award of earlier this month the new Liverpool FM licence, for which there were ten applications, to Radio City, Emap's speech-based bid, and the award of a new Perth FM, for which there was only one applicant, to Perth FM (See RNW Nov 10 for both).
In the Liverpool case it said it took the view that "the provision of an all-speech service, with a commitment to studio discussions, documentaries, and other non-phone-in based programmes, will both cater to the particular local tastes and interests identified in CityTalk's application, and broaden choice."
It added that it felt that the "applicant's track record of success in the operation of Radio City in this marketplace, coupled with opportunities for cross-promotion and the sharing of resources, gave confidence in its ability to maintain a service that will require comparatively high levels of resources to operate."
Ofcom also said the applicant had "conducted a good range of research whose methodology was considered to be robust and the findings from which were deemed to be reliable. This research also identified the challenges likely to face this type of service, allowing the applicant to address these in its application. It identified a clear market gap, particularly amongst older listeners, and found a high level of support for its programme proposals."
In the case of the Perth award , Ofcom said it "recognised the realism of the applicant's financial projections, which demonstrated an understanding of the local marketplace" and also "noted that the board of directors offer a mix of business acumen and relevant radio experience, which includes considerable experience of operating small stations with modest budgets."
2006-11-21: Veteran Australian broadcaster Ric Paterson is to retire after 42 years in radio and 19 with the "ABC Giving Tree", Tasmania's largest Christmas charity that he launched in 1988.
He made his announcement at the launch of this year's Giving Tree and commented on his good fortune, saying, "I have been so lucky to have been doing something that I truly love. It has never, ever been just a job I would have actually paid you (ABC) for the privilege of going on air . . . but, it's too late now because the money's been spent."
Paterson, who estimated that he had played around about 87,360 records and done roughly 16,400 interviews, will make his final broadcast on December 22. He said of the charity, "It's a loveable monster. It is a project that involves so many volunteers, and so many ABC staff who give willing. It has grown from something very small 19 years ago into this mammoth."
ABC Radio's state director, Rob Batten, paying tribute to Paterson, commented, "I've always admired Ric for being a big voice, a big personality, but most importantly a big heart. I think that heart is reflected in what he does with the Giving Tree, what he does behind the scenes, what he for people who need and he helps them all the time."
Previous ABC, Australia:
Tasmania Mercury report:
2006-11-20: This week we start our weekly look at radio with comments from Corey Deitz, in "About Radio" on the changes in US radio currently under way and specifically decisions by CBS Radio and Clear Channel to launch major sales of stations in smaller markets.
Under the title "Radio Showdown: High Noon at Media Gulch"some of the points made are that what is happening is a major shift in how "how AM and FM will compete in the future" and that "Radio companies are circling the wagons to protect their most important assets because New Media has finally cast a shadow of vulnerability over Old Media."
Noting the new competition from the internet, portable players, content on cell phones and so on, the article says "This Clear Channel announcement is a big reality check many in Radio knew was inevitable but were reluctant to face. Radio is not the same business it was even five years ago and New Media has guaranteed it will never again be what it once was. "
Dietz says the monopoly broadcast radio once had has gone for ever but foresees a silver lining as he sees the sale of the smaller stations by the corporations as helping "to promote more independent ownership as well as smaller companies to run them", something he foresees will "make the marketplace more competitive and as a result will make programming better for listeners."
Next with a topical, slightly odd, but nevertheless potentially serious digression - to an article under the headline "How the wrong sort of radio adds to C02 emissions".
It comes from a UK Guardian report by its environment correspondent David Adam that commences, "Digital broadcasting is increasing the threat of global warming by pumping massive amounts of extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, official figures suggest" and then continues, "The millions of Britons who listen to the radio through their power-hungry digital televisions and computers together release an extra 190,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. According to the Stern review of the economics of climate change, that amount of carbon pollution will cause GBP 8.5million (USD 16.1 million) damage to the planet."
Adam's report was based on a combination of The Stern Report (Available through this link) on the "Economics of Climate Change" and UK radio ratings figures that show more than a fifth of people in Britain now listen to radio on digital TV equipment at least once a week and around 12% listen through their computer: This, as Adams, points out, uses considerably more energy than a radio receiver - Some 200 watts upwards compared to 20 watts or so for a typical mains-powered radio receiver.
RNW note: Adam comments that digital and analogue receivers use roughly the same amount of energy but this depends very much on the nature of the receiver. For a high-quality mains set-up fed to good speakers this would seem to be accurate but for portable players cum receivers digital consumers markedly more - Pure, for example says its PocketDab 2000 (DAB, FM and MP3 player) has a battery life of around 10 hours on DAB and 22 on FM. In any assessment, however, TV screens - consume a lot more power than radio and listening via TV is thus much less "Green" whilst a portable player, good headphones and FM rates highly!
And sticking with the ethical for a moment, we couldn't resist a slight diversion to Australia and a review of the (unauthorized) biography by Chris Masters of Sydney radio host Alan Jones: It comes from Phil Shanon and GreenLeft and began with a pretty thorough deprecation of the host.
"Almost anyone else found to have been cheating, lying and secretly on the take," comments Shanon, "would have been the subject of a frothing rant over the airwaves by Sydney shock jock Alan Jones, but when Jones was caught being paid millions in commercial sponsorships over the past decade to present advertising as news, there was no public self-flagellation. As Chris Masters' biography of Jones argues, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) hearings showed that "Jones was for sale", despite Jones's proclamations that his opinions are his alone."
And then of the interplay between politics and publicity (Now why did we think of Rush Limbaugh here?): "Jones was not alone, however, in tossing off the 'cash for comment' challenge. Within two weeks of his ABA debacle, he was hosting a AUD 500 (USD 380) -a-plate Liberal Party fund-raiser. NSW politicians continued to offer him homage and to seek his blessing, and his ratings-leading 20% radio market share was hardly dented. For Jones and his loyalists, says Masters, 'facts matter less than what is believed' and they wanted to keep believing what they heard from Jones."
And continuing, "To his devoted, mostly older, audience (half his listeners are over 65 and he has nearly two-thirds of the total radio audience aged over 70 - RNW note Limbaugh's audience is around 62% male and some 51% of them above 50), Jones offered a voice and surrogate power to those angry about what they perceived as minorities (non-white immigrants, Aboriginals, "welfare mothers") getting handouts at their expense, with crime rampant and unpunished, and militant trade unions needing to be taught their place."
And of the comment-for -cash: "Just as Labor and Liberal sought improved market share through Jones, so did rival telecommunications corporations, Optus and Telstra. In the "cash for comment" scandal, Optus bought Jones as their ventriloquist in 1993, attacking Telstra (then Telecom) and, through "advertorials", extolling Optus under the guise of editorial opinion. Jones's loyalty to Optus lasted only as long as Optus kept paying Jones his AUD 500,000 (USD 380,000) a year. When Telstra ended its sponsorship with Jones in 2005, Jones resumed his attacks the company. With secret sponsorship deals with other corporations (Qantas, Colonial State Bank, Sunraysia, HarperCollins and the property developers Walker Corporation) Jones received millions of dollars to dishonestly plug his auxiliary paymasters."
And on the link between public persona and excoriation of others and private behaviour: "Jones," says Masters "hides his homosexuality to preserve his listener base, 46% of whom believe homosexuality is immoral. Masters speculates that the self-imposed repression of Jones's sexual identity may have promoted a self-loathing perversely expressed as a public contempt for the openly homosexual and a worship of homophobic politicians."
"Masters comprehensively dethrones Jones as the tribune of 'Struggle Street'. The multi-millionaire Jones, with his extensive race-horse and luxury property holdings, the BMW, the butler and the chauffeured Mercedes, hypocritically criticises 'elite' journalists for losing touch with ordinary people. Jones's socially divisive diatribes also seek to ensure that 'Struggle Street' remains struggling against its own residents rather than the big end of town."
Categorizing the Jones audience, the review comments: "The petit-bourgeois class consciousness of the small businessperson (struggling individualists) makes ideal fodder for Jones, but so, too, do his devoted older and retired workers, feeling unrepresented by politicians and ignored by mainstream media. The working-class Tory, ready to strike out at the nearest and weakest scapegoat, laps up Jones's angry prejudice."
And of the reality of how much power a host really has but how perceptions and lack of moral spine may enhance it: "Masters is careful, however, not to fertilise the myth of Jones's power, reminding us that if 20% are listening to Jones, then 80% aren't. The same reality check, alas, was not performed by ABC management which, in June 2006, canned Masters' book after the ABC Board (by now stacked with conservatives appointed by the Howard Government) pulled the plug, not because they were fearful of the cost of litigation (commercial publishers had no such qualms) but to defend one of their own. The ABC's publishing shame, as Masters warns, is an example of an ABC afraid to tackle the big subjects, to show up those like Jones for the right-wing bullies they are."
After noting for the record that for those drawing any parallels with Limbaugh that there are no suggestions that he is anything other than heterosexual, a return to odd items and a report from the UK Independent: "Rugby fans baffled as ground is named after DJ Moyles".
The report by Ian Herbert concerns 104-years-old Featherstone Rovers rugby league club in what used to be the West Riding of Yorkshire (now much less evocative of the area's history and plain West Yorkshire) which had failed to find a corporate sponsor for its Post Office Road ground, capacity 6,750, that had been previously been known as the Lionheart Stadium.
Chris Moyles, the BBC Radio 1 breakfast host, is not a rugby supporter - he hails from nearby Leeds and is a fan of Leeds United soccer club - but, reports Herbert, his name cropped up because of the Leeds connection and "in the words of the club's chief executive, Phil Young, "needs something to talk about with all that airtime to fill".
Moyles apparently "jumped at the idea" and gave "Fev" mentions on his show as well as an entry on his web site where he posted an old image of the team accompanied by an explanation that Rovers are "a small West Yorkshire rugby club".
Fans of the club had mixed views: One entry in the in the Rovers chatroom (actually run by run by rugbyleague.org but the club site carries a link). said, "Why not name it after someone who has done something for the club? Not a fat baffon who doesn't give a shit about us and another commented, "We're a club with a proud tradition. I am sure that a much better name from our area could have endorsed the ground."
Herbert says, however, that the balance was positive with one posting following the appointment of a new joint coach reading, "When was the last time you heard Fev Rovers mentioned on national radio?" and another saying, "The point was and is, we need to attract attention to the club, interest for the club, if it is Nationwide then the opportunities for larger sponsorships are endless. As you say you do not have a background in marketing, but Phil does and knows a good idea when he sees one."
Next a different sport but in its way a significant tribute to the power of radio, an aural medium, when it comes to covering sports: This came from Chris Campling in his "Radio head" column in the UK Times, which he begins, "I learnt to love cricket by listening to it. A wonderful man named Charles Fortune was the chief cricket commentator for the South African Broadcasting Corporation, and he could describe the game he was watching so that we schoolboy novitiates, with our radios clamped to our ears, could see it too."
Campling then comments on the quality of the teams of the time before moving to the present and commenting, "It's difficult to know, 40 years on, whether any of the Test Match Special crew mustering for the start of the first Test at Brisbane next week (Wednesday, 5 Live Extra and Radio 4 long wave, 23:30 GMT) will be able to breathe a love for this most wonderful of games into new listeners" but recommends a method of listening that seemed to us to have the odd practical problem unless you have a servant standing by to end your naps or the Campling link with some higher power.
"Train yourself and you can sleep between the interesting bits. I slept through Mark Waugh's century on debut in 1991, waking up when he hit fours and reached milestones. The cricketing gods woke me up just in time to hear Darren Gough's hat-trick in 1999. And I was listening to the radio as I left the hospital where my daughter had just been born in 1994. It was lunch in Brisbane, Australia 99 for one. And that was when I decided that her middle name would be Ash. Well, Ashes [the name for the trophy at stake in England v Australia international cricket] would have been silly."
Which mention of higher powers leads us on before listening suggestions - but encompassing our first suggestion (The whole series is still currently available as a stream -together with transcripts -on the BBC Radio 4 web site) - to a review of the BBC Radio 4 trilogy "Humphrys in Search of God" courtesy of Gillian Reynolds in the UK Daily Telegraph.
It starts by looking at Humphrys' range through an arresting introduction: "This, they were saying at the BBC, is John Humphrys as you've never heard him before. They were describing his current Tuesday morning series on Radio 4, Humphrys in Search of God, and they were talking, with the best will in the world, rubbish."
Having set up the interest, Reynolds then praises Humphrys: "Anyone who has listened to Humphrys in On the Ropes, the series he has done for years on Radio 4 of interviews with people who've come through times that might have broken them, knows that he can be patient, thoughtful, understanding, empathetic when trying to share the experience of being in their shoes. His purpose on Today is different: it is to question the case being made by the interviewee, sharply and in a much shorter time."
Of this series she speculates that were odds to be offered on whether Humphrys' conversations with Christian, Jewish and Moslem leaders could convince him to convert, "I'd have said it was 1000-1 that the result would be God 0 Humphrys 3" and then continues, "but, as with all bets, you never really know and anyway, with a series like this, the aim is not to get any of the participants leaping from his seat at the end, shouting 'Result!'"
And, after commenting on the various programmes, she concludes, "If I mistrusted the premise of this series when it began, the cumulative experience of listening to it and thinking about it has been unexpectedly rich. I have a sneaking suspicion Humphrys may have found it so, too."
Sticking with BBC Radio 4, our next suggestions are yesterday's two literary programmes - "Open Book" at 16:00 GMT in which Mariella Frostrup talked to Martin Amis about his father Kingsley and the following programme "Barrack-Room Ballads" (which will be repeated next Saturday at 23:30 GMT but is online as a stream) in which Kenneth Cranham presents a selection of his favourites from Rudyard Kipling's 1892 collection of poems - the reading of "Gunga Din" in particular is worth both a listen and some thought about the inherent attitude of the time to other races by white Britons and the genuine conclusion, "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" and also for "Tommy", whose comments on the way soldiers are valued in times of peace and war still rings true.
Moving forward by a generation but staying with poetry our next suggestion is last Saturday's edition of "The Verb" on BBC Radio 3 in which Ian McMillan focussed on war poetry and the following programme "Between the Ears", the concluding programme of Wilfred Owen Week that featured serving soldiers choosing an Owen poem to read
Also from Radio 3 we suggest this week's "Composer of the Week", who is George Gershwin (Noon GMT for an hour with a repeat a week later midnight starting from Sunday).
Then switching to Radio 2 and from last Saturday we suggest "George Michael: 25 and Live" - a programme that improved our opinion of the singer, particularly when he ruefully comments on knowing the culture has move on when Paris Hilton leads a recording of songs as good as he has made.
The station has a fairly strong period in musical documentaries at the moment with the first of a two-part Barry Manilow Profile starting tomorrow at 20:30 GMT followed at 21:30 GMT by the second of a four part series "Outlaw: The Willie Nelson Story" presented by Kris Kristofferson (The first part is online until then); the second of a four-part "You Send Me: The Sam Cooke Story" on Wednesday at 22:00 GMT"; and on Friday at 19:00 GMT the first of a four-part series "The Dust Bowl Balladeer" on Woody Guthrie.
Friday also sees (at 21:00 GMT) the second of eight readings of James Bond stories that began last week with the first part of "The Living Daylights" (second part is on Friday) to be followed by "A View to Kill", "The Property of a Lady" and "For Your Eyes Only."
Sticking with readings, this week's "Woman's Hour Drama" - 10:45 GMT inside Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 with a 1945 GMT repeat is "Immigration Stories"a series of stories told from the perspective of immigration officials working at a large airport, whose job it is to deal with asylum seekers and the "Afternoon Reading" (15:45 GMT) features Alan Bennett reading extracts from "Untold Stories", his book of essays and diaries.
And to end with comedy, BBC Radio 4 currently has "The Now Show" in the 18:30 GMT slot on Fridays and the station also has fairly strong contenders in "Ed Reardon's Week" on Thursday and at 23:00GMT Thursday "One", a comedy show where no sketch features more than one voice.
About Radio - Dietz:
GreenLeft - Shanon:
UK Guardian - Adam:
UK Independent -Herbert :
UK Telegraph - Reynolds:
UK - Times - Campling:
2006-11-19: The most notable regulatory news last week came from British media regulator Ofcom which in looking at the future for radio commented on the need to consider an analogue switch off (See RNW Nov 17): Elsewhere there was a steady flow of activity.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) did not issue any radio decisions but has posted notice of its first annual conference on spectrum management, RadComms 2006, to be held on 11 and 12 December at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.
Topics will include digital radio, satellite spectrum planning issues, the 'digital dividend' - television spectrum in the next decade - and municipal broadband wireless access and Giles Tanner, General Manager of ACMA's Inputs to Industry Division, commented, "We are starting to look at how the radiocommunications industry will be using spectrum in ten to twenty years' time. The conference will also allow spectrum users, current and prospective, to meet with ACMA to share ideas on how Australia's radiofrequency spectrum should be planned moving forward."
The ACMA has also posted the latest edition of its ACMAsphere magazine in which it highlight's the organizations first annual report, published last month, in which ACMA chairman Chris Chapman commented on the importance of managing the country's radiofrequency spectrum with particular reference to the development and deployment of wireless access services.
The ACMA has also published the agenda for its "Communications and Entertainment Conference" to be held in Canberra on November 23 and 24. Amongst sessions on its agenda are one on "The Converged Business Model" on the first morning; on the "Digital Future" in the afternoon of the first day; and on "Challenges for Regulatory Philosophies and Models", which will look at the delivery of material by various means such as broadcasts and the Internet, on the morning of the second day.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved six new FMs in Alberta together with power increases for two existing stations in the province (See RNW Nov 16).
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) awarded in principle its North-West Regional licence for a youth-based service covering the Counties of Galway, Mayo, Longford, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal to I Radio Limited, which trades as i 105FM (See RNW Nov 15).
It is also involved in the release of radio ratings, the most recent of which showed only minor changes compared to the previous survey with national commercial station Today FM gaining whilst RTÉ Radio 1 lost ground although it is still by far the most popular station (See RNW Nov 18).
In the UK, Ofcom was more involved in policy than matters concerning specific radio licences although it has announced the receipt of two applications for the Herefordshire & Monmouthshire FM. They are from Herefordshire & Monmouthshire Classic Hits, which is offering "A distinctive speech and music led radio station for Herefordshire and Monmouthshire, with local news and information" and Radio Herefordshire & Radio Monmouthshire, which is offering two distinct programme outputs that would be "highly localised adult mainstream services acting as the "voice" of their respective county through a commitment to local speech and an emphasis on local news and information."
In addition Ofcom has published its latest Broadcast Bulletin, upholding no complaints against radio (See RNW Nov 14) and also number of lengthy documents concerning such topics as its review of media regulation (See RNW Nov 16); "The future of FM and AM services and the alignment of analogue and digital regulation " that amongst other things says Ofcom should start considering analogue switch off before getting into a round of licence renewals that could tie-up the spectrum for up to another 24 years (See RNW Nov 17); its second annual report on its Technology Research Programme; and "The Consumer Experience: Telecoms, Internet and Digital Broadcasting."
This last concentrates on telecommunications and digital TV - of radio it says "Satisfaction with digital radio services was not included in this year's research" - although it also notes "For digital radio, the key pricing issue affecting take-up is around the cost of DAB sets. The average cost of a set had fallen to GBP 78 (USD 145) in Q1 2006) from GBP 109 (USD 200) in 2004).
Regarding radio it says that excluding community radio services the UK had 384 stations - AM, FM and DAB - by June this year, up from 372 in April 2004 plus some 90 stations on digital satellite and that take-up of digital radio has continued to grow. Some 89% of UK residents are now in areas where there is DAB coverage and DAB listening now accounts for 5.8% of the total to which has to be added 3% listening via digital TV and 1.9% via the internet. More than 3 million DAB receivers have been sold "fuelled by falling prices; enhanced functionality; and a broadening product range with over 230 models available."
It also notes that it is to advertise a second national DAB radio multiplex and has identified 31 new local DAB radio multiplex licences that will be advertised to fill gaps in the existing local DAB coverage.
Its technology review - it notes it spent some GBP 6.6 million (USD 12.5 million) in the year to September on research - says that in the next decade Ofcom expects a significant impact on the use of new spectrum through mesh networks and dynamic spectrum access but it thinks it will take longer to benefit from technologies such as Cognitive Radio and Software Defined Radio.
In the US, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin has been confirmed for a second five-year term (See RNW Nov 18) and the Commission has announced that its next public meeting on media ownership regulation is to be held in Nashville, Tennessee, on December 11 (See RNW Nov 15).
In enforcement actions the Commission has confirmed penalties of USD 10,000 each on a Puerto Rico and Iowa pirate operator, and cancelled a USD 4,000 penalty on a Florida FM (See RNW Nov 14).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-11-19: The acquisition by Macquarie Media Group (MMG) of 10 million shares of Southern Cross Broadcasting (SCB) - approximately a 13.8% stake in the company - for AUD 165 million (USD 127 million) has spurred speculation in Australia about more media deals as companies position themselves ahead of new media ownership laws that will allow foreign investors to buy Australian media companies and also ease restrictions on the holdings a single proprietor is allowed in a market.
So far moves made have included last month's AUD 4.5 billion (USD 3.5 billion) deal by James Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd (PBL) to spin off its key media assets into a separate company, that will be jointly owned by PBL and private equity group CVC Asia Pacific and the acquisition of a 7.5% strategic stake in newspaper publisher John Fairfax Holdings for AUD 360 million (USD 277 million) by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
News Corporation says it does not want to control Fairfax but Kerry Stokes' Seven Network says it has not ruled out raising its 14.9% stake in West Australian Newspapers Holdings Ltd.
Macquarie, owner of Macquarie Regional Radioworks and its string of 85 regional radio stations in Australia, had already said it was hoping to extend its radio holdings and denied reports that it was considering selling (See RNW Nov 1 and Oct 25).
Macquarie Media Group executive chairman Tim Hughes said the Southern Cross acquisition - which will make bids by potential rivals for SCB much more difficult - was "friendly and strategic, and long-term".
MMG has said it is looking at investment opportunities in Australia, Asia and the US but is reported to be considering pulling out of attempts to build up a UK radio business (See RNW Oct 14).
Reacting to the Macquarie purchase, Southern Cross noted that the AUD 16.50 price paid - a 14% premium on its previous closing price of AUD 14.49 although the stock went up 7.7% to AUD 15.60 following announcement of the Macquarie purchase - highlighted "the underlying value of Southern Cross' valuable media franchise" and went o to say that as reported at its AGM "Southern Cross' management and Board continue to explore opportunities that will maximise long-term shareholder value."
At the AGM, Southern Cross, which reported a strong radio performance in the year to the end of June (See RNW Sep 10) warned that the Australian "advertising market remains very short term and unpredictable in the current financial year."
Chairman John Dahlsen added that the "downturn in the television market is partly offset by our radio network achieving positive revenue growth."
He forecast "marginal advertising revenue market growth" in the second half of the 2007 financial year and said Southern Cross's "radio division should continue to perform well in the second half following solid ratings from all stations and the cost reduction program at 2UE at the end of the last financial year."
Regarding the changes in media ownership regulation, expected to take effect early next year, he said, "The new legislative regime will result in consolidation of media assets. Whilst there are no reportable events for Southern Cross with an acquisition or sale of assets, we have been active in exploring opportunities to maximise shareholder wealth."
Austereo Group, which also held its AGM last week, has said it is keeping its options open in regard to the pending legislative changes. Chairman Peter Harvie told the meeting it would "obviously review any growth opportunities which may emerge" but added that "we will not allow ourselves to be diverted, in any event, from our prime commitment to our core businesses and central revenue resource."
Austereo is also considered a potential target but Harvie declined to comment on suggestions that PBL was eying the group.
Harvie said Austereo was expecting radio industry revenues to grow in by around 2% in the first half of the 2007 financial year.
Macquarie Radio Network (MRN), owner of Sydney 2GB and 2CH (and not connected with MMR) is also interested in acquisitions its Chairman Max Donnelly told the company's AGM. He said the company was pleased with its performance from the end of June to the end of October noting "Despite a continuing softness in the Sydney radio market, MRN has grown its share year-on-year and has increased revenue."
The company increased its net profit by 57% to AUD 5.73 million (USD 4.4 million) in the 2006 financial year on revenues of AUD 41.3 million (USD 31.7 million) excluding non-cash revenue where airtime is exchanged for goods and services.
The company's chief executive officer Angela Clark said that the impending change in the law had given rise to opportunities for acquisitions but that it was a matter of adding value to its business and noted that at the moment many media companies "are very expensive."
Commenting on a ratings fall for 2GB breakfast host Alan Jones for the third survey running in the latest Australian radio ratings (See RNW Nov 1l) Clark said the last couple of surveys had been bad for talk but said they would have to see what happened over he coming months.
Previous MacquarieBank/Macquarie Media Group:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-11-18: The pending USD 18.7 billion acquisition of Clear Channel Communications by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital in what Thomson Financial termed "the largest buyout ever in the media and entertainment industry" could run into regulatory concerns and has already raised a law suit according to reports in the New York Times.
The papers says regulatory concerns could be aroused because of the increasing holdings by private equity groups in media businesses including Thomas Lee Partners share in the consortium that bought Univision (See RNW Sep 29); that of Bain Capital, partnered with Thomas Lee Partners in the Clear Channel deal, and of Thomas Lee Partners and The Blackstone Group in Cumulus Media Partners, which bought Susquehanna Radio for USD 1.2 billion (See RNW Nov 1, 2005).
The paper notes that Clear Channel already has or is close to the currently maximum permissible holdings in some markets and quotes Washington-based lawyer Andrew D. Lipman as saying of the takeover, "When you are as close to the ownership ceilings in so many markets in so many ways as Clear Channel is, it doesn't take much in terms of a media-savvy or media-involved buyer to start tripping over some of the ceilings."
Lawyers at the US Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, says the paper, will review the Clear Channel deal to determine if the new owners could drive up ad rates on radio and TV airwaves and in local newspapers through their control over the properties and it quotes Robert C. Walters, a partner specializing in antitrust law at Vinson & Elkins as saying the analysis will be more complicated than in standard mergers between competitors because private equity firms are widely expected to argue that they do not exert control over pricing and other operational aspects of the companies in which they invest. "What you have to do is figure out who does or does not have control," he said.
The conflicts notes the report are not just in media holdings: Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain it says are members of the investor group that controls Warner Music, which could prompt concerns about whether Warner's songs will get favoured positions on Clear Channel's radio playlists.
In addition to the regulatory matters, a Reuters report in the paper says Clear Channel and its directors are already being sued in a Texas state court on the basis that they "are acting contrary to their fiduciary duty to maximize value on a change in control of the company."
Plaintiff, Lou Ann Murphy, is asking for an injunction against the deal, or damages should the transaction be completed, and says in the suit, for which class action status is being sought, that The deal is unfair "because it will take Clear Channel private at a wholly inadequate price,'' and this will "deny (the) plaintiff and other members of the class the opportunity to share proportionately in the future success of the company and its valuable assets.''
RNW comment: Our regular readers will know we are not fans of Clear Channel nor indeed of many US business practices but lawsuits like this strike us as frivolous and time-wasting in that the winning bid has already considerably increased the value of shares in Clear Channel and there seems no reasonable chance that a higher offer will be forthcoming.
Indeed, should it be, Clear Channel is not locked into this deal, albeit there would be some loss of face for the board to reverse its recommendation of the current deal in such a case.
It does seem to us that rather than whinging about not getting enough extra the plaintiff and lawyers should be trying to get another bid going if they are really convinced of their case: if they're not able to do so, the courts should slap them down in as humiliating a way as possible.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
New York Times/Reuters report on lawsuit:
2006-11-18: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin says he is "deeply honoured" to have been confirmed - by the US Senate on Thursday evening - for a second five-year term in the post.
Martin, who was nominated for the term in April this year, said he looked "forward to working with the Administration and Congress, as well as with my fellow Commissioners and the incredibly able staff at the FCC to ensure that all Americans share in the benefits and opportunities offered by the best communications system in the world" and added, "I will continue to work to provide a regulatory environment that promotes competition and drives investment and innovation while protecting consumers and promoting public safety."
US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO David K. Rehr said in a statement on the nomination, "NAB has great respect for Chairman Martin and strongly supported his re-nomination. We look forward to working with him and the other FCC Commissioners going forward."
2006-11-18: Latest Irish radio ratings from the JNLR/TNSmrbi survey covering October 2005 to September 2006 show only minor changes compared to the previous survey with noteworthy increases for national commercial station Today FM , owned by Emap as a result of its takeover of Scottish Radio Holdings, whilst RTÉ Radio 1 lost ground.
Overall an unchanged 85% of the adult population listened to radio daily but within the figures overall listening to any regional or local station was down 1 to 57%, listening to RTÉ Radio One was down 1 to 23% and to RTÉ 2FM was also down 1 - to 18%. Today FM was up 1 to 16% and RTÉ Lyric FM maintained 3%.
For share in the daytime 07:00 to 19:00 period the figure for any regional/local station was up 0.4 to 52.1%; that for RTÉ Radio One was down 0.6% to 21.1%; that for RTÉ 2FM was down 0.4 to 13.0% and that for RTÉ Lyric FM was down 0.1 to 1.5% but Today FM increased its share by 0.2 to 11.7%.
In terms of weekly reach, national listening saw RTÉ Radio One down 1 to 39%; RTÉ 2FM down 1 to 36%; Today FM unchanged at 30%; and RTÉ Lyric FM also unchanged with 8% whilst south-east regional station Beat 102-103FM was down 1 to 31%.
For weekly reach elsewhere:
In Dublin the top five stations were RTÉ Radio 1- down 3 to 39%; FM104, which lost 1 to 35%; 98FM, which retained 30%; RTÉ 2FM, which lost 2% to end with 28%; and Q102, which lost 1 to end with 21%: Today FM remained in sixth place - down 1 to 20%.
Cork's top five stations were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103 FM, which lost 2 to end with a 69% reach; RTÉ Radio 1, which lost 2 to end with 34%; Cork's Red FM which retained 31%; RTÉ 2FM, which lost 1 to end with 24%; and Today FM, which gained 1 to end with 24%. RTÉ Lyric FM remained sixth and bottom with an unchanged 7%.
Most successful local stations were Highland Radio - down 1 to 88%; Limerick's Live 95FM - up 1 to 85%; Galway Bay FM - up 3 to 83% and going ahead of Radio Kerry, which had an unchanged 80%; and Mid West Radio , up 2 to 77% and pushing Ocean FM , which was down1 to 75% into sixth.
For weekday reach:
In Dublin the top five stations were RTÉ Radio 1 -down 1 to 27%; FM104 - up 1 to 23%; 98FM - an unchanged 18%; RTÉ 2FM - an unchanged 15%; and Spin 1038 - an unchanged 12%.
Cork's top five stations were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103 FM, with an unchanged 48%; RTÉ Radio 1, - an unchanged 20%; Cork's Red FM -an unchanged 17%; Today FM up 1 to 13%; and RTÉ 2FM -an unchanged 10%. RTÉ Lyric FM in sixth and bottom had an unchanged 3%
Most successful local stations were Highland Radio - down 2 to 70%; Limerick's Live 95FM - an unchanged 64%; Ocean FM - down 2 to 58%; Mid West Radio - up 2 to 56%, which took it above Shannonside/Northern Sound - down 2 to 55% and Radio Kerry - down 2 to 53%.
Previous Irish Ratings:
2006-11-18: Arbitron in an update to its Portable People Meter (PPM) rollout plans says Philadelphia will become the first electronically measured US radio market in January next year to be followed by New York, Nassau-Suffolk, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union and then Los Angeles and Riverside-San Bernardino in January 2008.
Houston, which has been Arbitron's radio and television demonstration market for the Portable People Meter since mid-2005, is to switch from diaries to PPM-based ratings after Arbitron obtains Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for the market: An MCR audit for Philadelphia is already underway and Houston MCR accreditation is down to two final outstanding items.
Arbitron president and CEO Steve Morris said in a news release that the updated schedule "balances our commitment to the MRC process, the demands of our PPM customers, and the recent recommendations of our station and agency advisory councils" and added "Arbitron is committed to having MRC accreditation of all PPM markets. We have further committed to achieving accreditation prior to commercialization of the PPM service in Houston. That commitment for Houston remains. We understand that, while accreditation was not granted at the November 15 MRC PPM audit committee meeting, the list of question areas has now been narrowed to two. We will be working with the MRC to address those issues as quickly as possible."
He said that outside Houston Arbitron thought it had a "critical mass of radio broadcaster support today in Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles" and that "Together with an overwhelming number of agencies and advertisers, these broadcasters are urging us to begin the commercialization of the PPM ratings service as soon as possible."
Arbitron, said Morris, would "continue to pursue MRC accreditation after a market is commercialized" but that it expected to make the move "once we complete the independent MRC audit for Philadelphia and subsequent markets, illuminate the audit results with a report to the MRC audit committee and provide time for customers to review the impact on their business of PPM data as compared to diary data."
Previous Media Rating Council:
2006-11-18: Entercom has axed the news team of its WRKO-AM station in Boston in what the Boston Herald terms a "dramatic move to build an all-star talk-show line-up."
Seven people are out according to the paper - news director Rod Fritz; news anchor and reporter Paul Tuthill, and news anchors Listo Fisher, Mary Blake, Marga Bessette, Sharon Smith and part-timer Deb Daigle.
Fritz, who said those involved received "fair" severance packages, said he thought the move was unwise, commenting, "WRKO has always had a strong news image and I think to do away with that strong news image is a mistake. Unfortunately, it apparently is a sign of the times ahead on radio, with duopoly and the de-emphasis of news. It's just a shame."
The paper says dropping the news department will allow the company to invest fully in its "core identity" as a talker according to station officials and it adds that sources say station management wants a strong cast of personalities in place before WRKO begins broadcasting Red Sox games this spring.
It adds that news coverage will now be "outsourced" with some of it coming from Fox News Radio and also says that station executives have been talking to former Massachusetts House Speaker Tom Finneran, indicted last year on federal charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, about a possible on-air role.
RNW note: WRKO's mention of the terminations on its website is limited to carrying the Herald report.
Boston Herald report:
2006-11-17: Clear Channel has agreed its purchase for USD 18.7 billion including the assumption of USD 8 billion of debt by a private equity bid from Boston-based Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital a deal that gave it a 10% premium on its closing price on Thursday and 34% above its price in early September before its October announcement that it was considering a sale (See RNW Oct 27).
The valuation is approximately 25% over Clear Channel's average closing share price of USD29.99 during the 30 trading days before it acknowledged that it was evaluating its options and since its peak in 2000, Clear Channel has lost around 60% of its valuation.
In addition the company has announced that it is to sell 448 of its 1,150 stations and all of its 42 TV stations. The formal announcement strongly indicated that CEO Mark P Mays and CFO Randall Mays, whose family owns around 7% of the stock, would remain in their positions.
The winning bid was USD 37.60 per share and it confounded earlier reports by some indications that a rival bid from the Blackstone Group, Providence Equity and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts was in the lead after the Texas Pacific Group pulled out of the Lee and Bain consortium. Providence Equity is part of a group bidding for Tribune Co, which owns the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times and had it won could have been affected in its Tribune bid by current Federal regulations that limit media ownership.
Amongst the organizations funding the deal are Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Scotland.
The deal was unanimously approved by the Clear Channel board excluding directors with an interest in the dale who were recused from the vote.
Commenting in a news release, Clear Channel CEO Mark P. Mays said, "We are very pleased to announce this transaction which provides substantial value to our shareholders. We look forward to working with Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners to continue our business plan to provide exceptional programming to our audiences and value to our advertising partners."
Scott Sperling, Co-President of Thomas H. Lee Partners, commented, "Clear Channel is one of the nation's truly great companies that has the finest collection of outdoor and radio assets in the industry. We are extremely pleased to be partnered with the management team led by Mark and Randall Mays and to have the opportunity to work with them and to grow this company that was created by its Chairman and founder, L. Lowry Mays."
"Clear Channel has tremendous long term growth opportunities in the radio and outdoor businesses," he added, "and we look forward to partnering with Mark and Randall to create value in the years ahead."
John Connaughton, a Managing Director at Bain Capital, said, "We are very impressed with Clear Channel's strong management team and the company's leadership positions in a variety of markets and media formats. Clear Channel is an exceptional media franchise that is well-positioned to grow thanks to the solid foundation the Mays family has created. We look forward to partnering with Clear Channel as it continues to innovate in meeting the changing needs of the audiences and advertisers it serves."
Scott Sperling, Co-President of Thomas H. Lee Partners, said, "Clear Channel is one of the nation's truly great companies that has the finest collection of outdoor and radio assets in the industry. We are extremely pleased to be partnered with the management team led by Mark and Randall Mays and to have the opportunity to work with them and to grow this company that was created by its Chairman and founder, L. Lowry Mays. Clear Channel has tremendous long term growth opportunities in both the radio and outdoor businesses and we look forward to partnering with Mark and Randall to create value in the years ahead."
The agreement leaves Clear Channel free to solicit competing bids until December 7 and negotiate with any parties that submit offers until January 5 next year. It also includes a provision made "At the request of the disinterested directors" that "three members of senior management have agreed to significantly reduce payments that could be payable upon a change of control by an amendment to their employment agreements. This refers to criticism of the Mays family about their agreements for "change-of-control compensation
The deal does not depend on the sale of the assets that were also announced to clinch the deal and The Mays were reported to have reduced its original demands for change-of-control compensation.
Concerning the decision to sell stations - those to be disposed of are all in smaller markets outside the top 100 - Mark Mays said in a statement, "Our decision to divest these broadcast properties was reached as a result of the ongoing optimization of our diverse portfolio of media assets. These are profitable and well-managed properties in excellent markets. We believe that the sale of these stations will allow us to position our business to provide even greater value to our listeners and shareholders."
Also disposing of stations in smaller markets is CBS Radio which is reported to have agreed a USD 90 million cash sale of its stations in Fresno, California, to Peak Broadcasting, which is to begin programming them through a time-brokerage agreement next month.
Stations involved are CHR KWYE-FM; Country KSKS-FM; Jack format KFJK-FM; Rhythmic Oldies KMGV-FM; regional Mexican KOQO-FM; and news/talk KFPT-AM and talk KMJ-AM.
The deal marks the first acquisition for a recently-formed partnership of Peak and San Francisco-based investment firm Duff, Ackerman and Goodrich and in a news release Peak CEO Todd Lawley said "To acquire these significant radio stations in fast-growing central California is the first step towards building a new generation of radio operations."
Peak will relocate its corporate office and operations to Fresno on closure of the deal. CBS put stations in ten markets up for sale in May and when it released its third quarter results (See RNW Nov 3) had sold stations in eight of them for some USD 570 million. Left to go are its stations in Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, North Carolina.
In other US radio deals, Greater Media, Inc., Nassau Broadcasting Partners, L.P., and Charles River Broadcasting Company jointly announced that they have closed the previously announced station swap that included Nassau taking over the classical WCRB-FM format formerly operated by Charles River (See RNW Aug 1).
The completion will see country format WKLB-FM start broadcasts on WCRB-FM's 102.5 frequency from December 1 whilst WRCB will switch to the 99.5 frequency that Nassau acquired from Greater Media.
Greater Media's Smooth Jazz WJJZ-FM will start broadcasts at 18:00 today on the 97.5 FM frequency in the Philadelphia market, formerly used by Nassau's WTHK "The Hawk" and before that the frequency will be used from 05:00 today to simulcast Greater Media's Classic Rock 102.9 WMGK.
Nassau Chairman and President Lou Mercatanti said of the WRCB acquisition, "We are extremely pleased to have WCRB in Boston as part of the Nassau family of stations. We have been overwhelmed with the positive response from Boston listeners about Nassau preserving WCRB's long standing classical heritage and we welcome WCRB as the new flagship of Nassau's classical network of stations throughout New England."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Greater Media:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
2006-11-17: UK media regulator Ofcom in a consultation - "The future of FM and AM services and the alignment of analogue and digital regulation "published on Thursday suggests the ultimate end of analogue radio broadcasts in the UK to free up the spectrum for other uses such as such as mobile TV, more digital radio or data services
It says that, although some people argue that there is no pressing need to cut off analogue radio transmissions - unlike analogue TV where the demand to do so is driven by alternative uses for the analogue spectrum - there are two reasons for it to now consider analogue switch off.
One is that the regulatory burden on analogue local commercial radio may be unsustainable because of competition from other platforms and the knock-on effect on an analogue industry established primarily as a local system with consequent high costs. The principles of ensuring "diversity, localness requirements and ownership rules to ensure plurality may still remain valid it says but require a radical overhaul to achieve the aims.
The second is that existing analogue FM and AM licences are about to start coming up for re-advertisement in a rolling process that will last for many years and new licences could tie-up the spectrum for up to another 24 years.
It suggests that to make alternative use of the "patchwork" of frequencies around the UK used for FM would require large chunks of that spectrum to be freed-up simultaneously - something a rolling re-licensing process does not allow for."
"We have no immediate plans to switch off FM radio and would not do so without fully considering the impact on consumers," says Ofcom, "but in the long-term other services may make more efficient use of the spectrum used by existing FM radio services and may provide a better consumer outcome. This could mean an end to the broadcasting on FM of those commercial and BBC services which are also available on digital."
"We simply do not yet know what the best use for this spectrum might be in ten years time," comments Ofcom, "but we need to start thinking now about how to give ourselves future flexibility to do different things when the time is right."
Regarding AM is says "There are also other uses for the Medium Wave spectrum currently occupied by AM radio (in particular for DRM digital radio)" and adds, "For technical reasons, the need for frequencies to be freed-up simultaneously is not so great for Medium Wave and it may be possible to switch-off some AM services and re-use the spectrum for other things earlier than it is for FM services. Again, the costs and benefits would be taken into account before a decision was taken."
The consultation, for which responses have to be submitted by December 14, also asks for comment on such areas of regulation as the role of Formats and localness provisions in analogue local commercial radio, the radio ownership rules, and the rules for community radio.
Ofcom notes that since it published an earlier report "Radio - Preparing for the future" there "has been much coverage in the press of the problems faced by commercial radio - from the financial situation of GCap to the first instance of a local commercial radio licence (the one for Stroud) being revoked at the licensee's request."
It also notes regarding radio listening in the UK, "Overall listening hours have been robust; but while listening to national commercial radio stations is up, listening to local commercial radio is down. And across all sectors, the number of young adults who listen to radio is falling as they consume media in new ways, through social networking on the internet or by downloading music and listening to iPods and other similar devices."
Commercially it paints a gloomier picture, noting that "Radio advertising is stalling as advertisers switch to internet advertising... We believe this is being driven partly by a process of structural adjustment in favour of new media."
"Rapid growth in radio advertising revenue up to 2000," it says, "has given way to decline in real revenue and static or declining share of the advertising market internet advertising overtook radio advertising and is forecast to become the third largest advertising sector (behind regional newspapers and TV) in 2007. Forecasts suggest this trend is likely to continue, putting huge pressure on the commercial radio sector - and in particular on local stations - although the radio industry may be able to access some new sources of revenue to offset the loss of spot advertising to some extent."
RNW comment: One absolutely glaring omission from the report is that nowhere does it contain mention of MP2 - the current MPEG-2 system used for coding UK Digital Audio Broadcasts - or AAC - the advanced audio coding that seems set to replace MP2 in DAB broadcasts in other countries (See RNW Nov 11).
If Ofcom's other arguments about being tied in to older technologies when the technological future is uncertain have validity then it seems to us that using more advanced coding for DAB is an essential for any rational discussion of the future of radio. We have already commented that until there is a worldwide system available to take over from the current universal analogue systems we would be reluctant to switch off analogue and it logically follows that it makes sense that any digital replacement be as efficient as possible in its use of spectrum. It also still seems to us to follow that - unless there is a way to force iBiquity to keep its licensing costs to small amounts sustainable in third world countries, a non-proprietary system such as DAB/DRM is much preferable.
As the former is unlikely - who is the US is going to regulate iBiquity's intellectual property that way or is iBiquity going to give cast-iron guarantees that it would license on this basis - we can only hope for a failure of HD outside the US and hopefully success of other systems elsewhere to the degree that as technology advances HD is eventually supplanted in the US as well.
The logical time to do it would be with an analogue switch off at which time the advantages to commercial stations - a prime reason the US went for IBOC as we see it because it preserved their empires - of carrying digital along with analogue dies.
Ofcom report (48 page 908 kb PDF):
2006-11-17: Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., the XM Canada parent, says that it has exceeded all its goals and targets in its first year of operation and ended the financial year to August 31 with 120,000 subscribers, more than 91,200 of whom were "self-paying subscribers", comfortably exceeding its predicted 75,000.
During the final quarter CSR made an adjusted operating loss of CAD 14.4 million (USD 12.6 million) on revenues up 46% on the previous quarter at CAD 3.4 million (USD 3.0 million) whilst for the year its Adjusted Operating Loss was CAD 56.4 million (USD 49.4 million) on revenues of CAD 6.9 million (USD 6 million).
XM Canada's subscription subsequently been increased from CAD 12.99 (USD 11.37) to CAD 14.99 (from CAD 11.4 to USD 13.1 ) a month and the company says this is expected to be positive for future revenues.
During the final quarter the company spent CAD 59 per subscriber (USD 51.7), down from CAD 69 (USD in the previous quarter and its Cost Per Gross Addition was effectively unchanged at CAD 242
Chairman and CEO John Bitove commented of the results in a news release, "We are off to an incredible start and I am very pleased with what our management team has achieved in such a short period of time."
Looking ahead he said, "We are very well positioned for long-term success with all that we have completed this year. We look forward to continued growth in 2007 with the most extensive automotive partnership network and by offering the music and entertainment as well as innovative technology that Canadians want."
Previous CRS/XM Canada:
2006-11-16: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved six new FMs in Alberta together with power increases for two existing stations in the province.
Awarded were three new radio licences each for Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray, as well as licence amendments to allow power increases for two existing FMs in Fort McMurray.
In Grande Prairie, where the commission received ten applications for new licences, the awards - of three new licences - were to:
*New entrant Bear Creek Broadcasting Ltd. for a new 100,000 watts English-language Classic Rock/Classic Hits commercial FM
*Vista Radio Ltd - formed through the amalgamation of Vista Radio Ltd., CFCP Radio Ltd., CCIR Holdings Ltd. and Coast Radio Ltd. - for a new 100,000 watts English-language Classic Rock commercial FM radio station
*Allan Hunsperger, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a new 100,000 watts English-language Gospel music commercial Specialty FM radio station
In Fort McMurray, where it received nine applications for new licences, the awards were to:
*Harvard Broadcasting Inc. for a 20,000 watts new Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM.
*Newcap Inc. for a new 20,000 watts gold-based Classic Hits English-language commercial FM.
*King's Kids Promotions Outreach Ministries Inc. for a 35 watts English-language low-power commercial Christian Hot Adult Contemporary/Contemporary Hits specialty FM.
In addition the Commission approved powers increases from 2,790 watts to 40,000 watts and an increase in antenna height for O.K. Radio Group Ltd.'s CKYX-FM and from 10,700 watts to 40,000 watts and an increase in antenna height for O.K.'s CJOK-FM.
2006-11-16: Latest US radio results from Interep and LBI Media show mixed fortunes with the former's commission revenues down by a little over 11% and the latter's up by a similar amount.
Interep's figures - third quarter commission revenues were down 11.3% on a year ago to USD 17.9 million - reflected the ending of its Radio One contract in September last year.
This was responsible for most of the drop and also for most of the fall in contract termination revenue for the quarter - down from USD 5.9 million a year ago to USD 600,000 this year.
Interep's selling expenses were up 30.6% to USD 20.1 million, mainly because of severance costs associated with its "voluntary early separation program."
Interep had an operating loss before depreciation and amortization of USD 3.8 million this year compared to operating income before depreciation and amortization of USD 8 million a year ago and net income for the quarter was a loss of USD 9.336 million compared to net income of USD 602,000 a year earlier: Net loss applicable to common shareholders was USD 9.5 million compared to net income of USD 500,000 a year earlier.
For the first nine months of the year, Interep's commission revenues are down 12.5% to USD 51.9 million, mainly because of the termination of its agreements with Cumulus and Radio One, and contract termination revenue was down from USD 19.4 million a year ago to USD 1.0 million.
Selling expenses were up 15% to USD 52.5 million and operating income before depreciation and amortization of USD 24.5 million in 2005 became an operating loss of USD 7.9 million.
In a separate announcement Interep and Arbitron said they had reached an agreement on Interep's use of Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in the top 50 US markets when Arbitron has the system up and running.
Interep chairman and CEO Ralph Guild said of the agreement, "The advertising community has made it clear that radio must adopt an electronic measurement system in order to effectively compete in the current media environment. As a result, we are delighted that we can begin to offer this service to our customers - the agencies and advertisers - on behalf of our client radio stations that have subscribed to the Arbitron PPM ratings service."
At LBI Media, revenues for the third quarter of this year were up 11.8% on a year ago to USD 28.9 million, mainly due it said to growth at its radio and TV stations in Texas and its California TV stations offset by a lower performance from its Los Angeles radio stations.
Operating expenses were up 9.4% to USD 14.2 million in the quarter and overall LBI recognized net income of USD 5.2 million compared to USD 500,000 a year ago.
Within the figures TV division net revenues were up 24.3% to USD 15.1 million and radio division revenues were up 0.7% to USD 13.8 million.
For the first nine months of the year, LBI net revenues were up 10.5% to USD 80.4 million with net income up 42.6% to USD 12.3 million: Within the figures TV Division net revenues were up 21.4% to USD 42.9 million and radio division net revenues were up 0.3% to USD 37.5 million.
EVP Lenard Liberman said of the performance, "2006 continues to prove to be a great year for our company. We have experienced organic revenue growth in our television business resulting directly from the success of our original programming. Television revenues have benefited from a wider acceptance by our viewers and by our advertisers for our programming line-up. Our Spanish radio initiative grew with the conversion of KNOR-FM in Dallas-Fort Worth to an exciting Spanish language format. We are also excited that just twelve days ago we added five more radio stations to our mix of assets in Dallas-Fort Worth. Our acquisition on November 2, 2006 of four FM stations and one AM station in Dallas-Fort Worth will allow us to expand our presence in this important, fast growing Hispanic market."
Previous LBI Media:
2006-11-16: The BBC has openly if indirectly rapped the knuckles of a local radio editor who in a leaked memo said that callers to phone-ins who sounded old should be kept off the air.
In a statement released after reports of the memo became public, David Holdsworth, the Corporation's Acting Controller of BBC English Regions said the memo did "not reflect BBC policy and there is no ban on callers of any age gaining access to our airwaves."
"We welcome everyone, as long as they have something interesting to say, and every day people in their seventies, eighties and nineties light up BBC local radio with vivid contributions," he continued. "Our Editors do not want to exclude older listeners, although they do have to review their schedules to reflect changing tastes and times. I am today reminding Editors of our policy."
The original reports quoted a memo from Mia Costello, managing editor of BBC Radio Solent, as saying, "I don't want to hear really elderly voices", and saying they should appeal to an imaginary couple she called "Dave and Sue", who would typically be aged between 45 and 64. "Only do caller round-ups about people in this age range," she said.
The memo became public after she dropped several older broadcasters form the station including 59-years-old Peter White, the BBC's disability affairs correspondent, who began his corporation career on the station and hosted a Saturday breakfast show on it until a week ago.
White was quoted in the UK Daily Telegraph as saying the memo was "condescending and contemptuous of older listeners who are as entitled to contribute to programmes as any other age group."
Radio Solent has been losing listeners and Ms Costello said it needed to "nurture" younger listeners and added, "Whatever your view of this policy, this is what the business needs, so please make sure you're doing the right thing."
RNW comment: Does anything really need to be said on this one? Any executive who in this day and age thinks such memos will stay secret is in our view too naïve to hold their post and Ms Costello would probably benefit from a spell as a plain reporter a few grades down with a remit to cover the elderly.
2006-11-16: US President George W. Bush has re-nominated Kenneth Y. Tomlinson as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the body that overseas Federally-funded US overseas broadcasts despite the fact that Tomlinson's re-appointment was put on hold by the US Senate (See RNW Sep 1) amidst allegations of misconduct by him.
His name was amongst a list of "Nominations and Withdrawals Sent to the Senate" released on Tuesday and is for a further term to August next year.
Under US law Tomlinson can remain in office until he or a successor has been confirmed by the US Senate and in addition President Bush could bypass Congress and install Tomlinson to another term using a so-called recess appointment.
A number of Democrats have called for Tomlinson to be removed from the post and also from the Broadcasting Board of Governors to which he was also re-nominated as a member.
RNW comment: Although the U.S. attorney's office in Washington said no criminal investigations was warranted the report by the State Department's inspector general released in August (See RNW Aug 31) that said Tomlinson misused government funds chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors allied with previous controversy about his conduct as chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), from which he resigned, would indicate to us that this re-nomination is not one the Senate should approve. Indeed the honourable course of conduct to us would to hold hearings to find out the facts and then, if misconduct is proven push for criminal charges and if not approve the nomination.
Instead it looks as if this will be end up as more dishonourable political horse-trading in D.C. as the administration tries to portray the Democrats as refusing to co-operate with the President. If so, we can only hope, the President is the one who gets burned.
2006-11-15: In its first triennial review of media ownership rules, UK media regulator Ofcom says that since UK regulations were changed in 2003 there has been some consolidation in most areas but not as much as the Broadcasting Act permits and that in general no rule changes are justified but in the case of radio further deregulation should be considered.
It concludes that in various areas - including television, national cross-media and national newspaper ownership, religious bodies - "while the media landscape is changing rapidly, such as growing use of alternative news sources on the internet, the assumptions about the influence of the traditional media and spectrum scarcity, which underpin the present rules, remain valid and justify continuation of the existing rules. "
It adds, however that "In the case of local radio services, radio multiplexes and local cross-media ownership between radio, newspapers and television, the position is rather different: the Media Ownership rules here, despite the reforms carried out in 2003, remain complex" and says that the rules "have not always operated in the public interest."
As an example of this it cites the requirement on Emap to divest a service (Smash Hits) from three local digital multiplexes (Ayr, Aberdeen and Dundee) after it bought SRH (See RNW Aug 9, 2005).
"No alternative service providers could be found to take up the capacity," says Ofcom, adding, "Emap therefore withdrew the services and the capacity was then left unused. In this case, the application of the rules led to a reduction in choice on these multiplexes as a result of the removal of a service."
It adds, "Ofcom's research indicates that the use of radio and newspapers as sources of local news appears to have reduced slightly1; and further liberalisation may assist local commercial radio to expand, innovate and compete more effectively with the BBC."
Ofcom says it has "considered in some detail the effect of the current MO rules on commercial radio. A model was produced looking at 21 potential mergers involving the large groups (Emap, GCap, Chrysalis, Classic Gold Digital, Guardian Media Group, Scottish Media Group and Ulster Television). This enabled us to identify where issues would be likely to arise under the three sets of rules i.e. those which apply to analogue local radio, digital local radio and local digital multiplexes."
It concluded that a similar situation to that which involved Emap "could well arise again in different parts of the UK, especially if either GCap or Emap were to merge with another large radio group."
and then says it has considered various options to tackle the issue among them allowing Ofcom the discretion to disregard this particular ownership rule; to allow digital radio take-up to increase, thus possibly leading to an "increase in digital take-up by listeners could lead to an increase in demand from service providers to go on multiplexes and could solve the Emap issue without reducing plurality."
"As regards the wider issue of the general complexity of the radio MO rules," it says, "options include combining the rules for local analogue and digital services or abolishing them altogether and relying instead on cross-media ownership rules or competition regulation. The benefits of allowing further consolidation need to be weighed against the importance of maintaining plurality in commercial radio at a local level. "
In the end it recommends no change in regulations at this stage but sys that further deregulation should be considered in relation to the "rules for local radio analogue and digital services, radio multiplexes and local cross-media ownership" in conjunction with other changes to commercial radio regulation that will be subject to consultation under Ofcom's Future of Radio Review.
2006-11-15: Clear Channel received two bids from private equity groups as expected - but in each case in the evening, after its noon deadline yesterday- according to Reuters quoting "sources familiar with the situation": It adds that Clear Channel reviewed the bids at a board meeting on Tuesday and notes reports that bids could be around USD 36 per share.
This price would value the company at some USD 18 billion compared to a Tuesday closing price of USD 44.11, down 0.8% on the day and valuing the company at USD 16.85 billion.
The agency says that the groups expressing interest were comprised of Providence Equity Partners, The Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and of Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners - Texas Pacific Group, which had previously been involved in the latter consortium, was not part of the bid according to Reuters' source.
The New York Times reporting on the story says the idea of taking the company private came from a Harvard Business School classmate of Clear Channel president and CFO Randall Mays, Paul J. Salem of Providence Equity Partners who some six months ago suggested that the Mays family consider a leveraged buyout of the company.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Randall Mays:
New York Times report:
2006-11-15: Radio proved a bright spot for UK Emap in its half year to the end of September with its revenues up 5% on a pro-forma basis assuming that it had owned SRH for the whole period and 39% overall from GBP 58 million (USD 110 million) to GBP 81 million (USD 154 million) although pro-forma operating profit on the same basis was down 1% and overall operating profit was up 16% to GBP 15 million (USD 28 million).
The figures compare with flat group revenues of GBP 554 million (USD 1.05 billion) - underlying group revenues were down 2% - and continuing group revenue up 7% to GBP 435 million (USD 825 million) - underlying figures were again down 2%.
Group operating profit and continuing group operating profit were each up 4% -to GBP 107 million (USD 203 million) and GBP 93 million (USD 176 million) respectively with underlying figures in each case down 6% and pre-tax profit was flat at GBP 95 million (USD 180 million).
Statutory figures were revenues up 7% to GBP 435 million (USD 825 million), operating profit down 17% to GBP 63 million (USD 119 million) and pre-tax profit down 23% to GBP 51 million (USD 97 million).
Emap noted that the sale of Emap France had generated GBP 380 million (USD 720 million) in cash, GBP 285 million (USD 540 million) return of cash to shareholders and profit on disposal of GBP 237 million (USD 450 million) and said that based on current trends it expects to deliver full year results in line with its expectations.
Tom Moloney, Group Chief Executive, said of the results, "The performance of the continuing business and the steps we have taken in the period illustrate our strategy to position Emap for growth. The interim results reflect the challenging conditions in a number of our markets, but, based on current trends, we remain on track to deliver full year results in line with our expectations."
Moloney said the group was "taking rigorous steps to improve operational efficiencies across all of our businesses and to focus resources on growth opportunities," and added, "This year we are planning to invest a record £25 million in NPD, including increased investment on digital projects. Digital revenue now accounts for over 10% of Group revenue and is up 50% as we pursue initiatives to migrate resources onto faster growth platforms and to extend our digital reach and capability."
In divisional terms apart from radio, UK Consumer magazine revenues were down 4% to GBP 185 million (USD 351 million - down 1% underlying); International consumer magazine revenues were flat at GBP 22 million (USD 42 million - down 15% underlying); Business-to-business revenues were up 11% to GBP 134 million (USD 254 million - down an underlying 5%) - and TV revenues were up 12% total and underlying to GBP 13 million (USD 25 million).
2006-11-15: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has awarded in principle its North-West Regional licence for a youth-based service covering the Counties of Galway, Mayo, Longford, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal to I Radio Limited, which trades as i 105FM.
The award of the ten-year licence is now subject to successful contract negotiations and these are expected to be completed in the coming months.
2006-11-15: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set December 11 in Nashville, Tennessee, for its second public hearing on media ownership issues.
It has already held a meeting in Los Angeles in October (See RNW Oct 5) at which various people and groups expressed concern at current levels of media consolidation and opposition to further easing of restrictions.
The announcement was welcomed by Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate who hails from Nashville and commented, "Known as "Music City, USA" because of its vibrant entertainment industry, Nashville is home to some of the greatest songwriters and musicians in the world. It is hard to think of a more appropriate location for discussing how the Commission's rules may affect these artists and their audience. I look forward to hearing from the music industry, the media, and the public."
2006-11-14: The deadline set by Clear Channel for those interested to place a bid for the company passed on Monday with no announcement from it or its financial advisers Goldman, Sachs and Co. about any bids placed.
Clear Channel stock had risen in the wake of the announcement last month that it was considering going private (See RNW Oct 27) but on Monday they fell back ending the day at USD 34.38 - valuing the company at USD 16.97 billion - down 1.6%, having at one stage risen to USD 35.21. Over the past year Clear Channel shares peaked at USD 35.55, valuing it at USD 17.55 billion.
Reports on Monday said that two private equity groups were potentially interested in a bid, one made up of Providence Equity Partners, the Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and the other of Bain Capital, Thomas H. Lee Partners and the Texas Pacific Group.
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-11-14: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upheld no radio complaints and only two against TV with a further TV complaint considered resolved by action taken by the broadcaster, all of these standards complaints.
In addition it listed details of one radio and three TV fairness and privacy complaints that were not upheld: The figures compare to three radio fairness and privacy complaints against radio upheld in the previous bulletin along with a three TV standards complaints upheld and TV fairness and privacy complaint upheld in part.
The radio complaint of these involved comments made to a caller to The Mike Parr Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Newcastle during a discussion on the topic of whether women should be allowed into working men's clubs and also the general topic of single-sex clubs and organizations.
At one stage he was asked why he "didn't like women" and subsequently complained to Ofcom that he was treated unfairly because he was not given the opportunity to respond.
Ofcom after listening to the programme said it was satisfied that he was given "an adequate and timely opportunity to respond to the suggestion" and also that in view of "his ability to put forward his views in an articulate way and robustly counter the suggestion" the audience was unlikely to have had its opinion of him materially affected. It noted that he "chose not to answer the question but, instead, outlined why he thought the question was irrelevant and took the conversation into areas which were not the subject of debate" at which point he was taken off air.
In addition Ofcom listed with no details a further 271 TV complaints involving 123 items and 13 radio complaints involving 13 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 173 TV complaints involving 118 items and 24 radio complaints involving 23 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2006-11-14: The New Orleans news-talk market became more competitive on Monday when Clear Channel finally made its long-vaunted move and switched classic rock-format WRNO-FM to news/talk "Thenew995fm.com".
It had announced plans for the switch in May with a planned June 1 changeover (See RNW May 16) but then missed that deadline and a further revised one.
"Thenew995fm.com" on its "Mission statement" on its web site says it is taking the name because "we're more than just a radio station. Here at thenew995fm.com, we're committed to providing you with everything you need to know, on the radio at 99.5 FM and on demand at theNew995fm.com."
It adds that the "website is a natural extension of the radio station; the two are, on many levels, one in the same" that to see New Orleans - "a city we love" - come back "bigger and better than ever before" it believes that the city "requires a new multi-media outlet to confront these challenges head on"
Entercom, whose WWL-AM is the dominant player in the market, had switched a third signal to carrying the station's output on Thursday last week in what was seen as an attempt to pre-empt Clear Channel.
It had already been carrying WWL-AM on its 105.3 WWL FM licence and dropped progressive talk Air America programming, which it had been carrying since July last year without much ratings success,.
Entercom made the switch on Thursday last week in favour of re-running many of WWL's shows although not the syndicated Rush Limbaugh show: The local programme "The Food Show" has been moved from evening drive to take over the Limbaugh time on WSMB, which Entercom is promoting as WWL On Demand. [RNW comment- hardly an accurate use of the term!].
Entercom has already changed the call letters to WWWL.
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-11-14: In three enforcement actions the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed penalties of USD 10,000 each on a Puerto Rico and Iowa pirate operator, and cancelled a USD 4,000 penalty on a Florida FM.
Neither Carlos M. Colon of Coamo, Puerto Rico, who had been issued with a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) on September 28, nor Raul Guzman Reyes of Des Moines, Iowa, who was issued with an NAL on September 1, had responded to the Commission which affirmed both penalties.
In the Florida case, CSN International, licensee of WYJC -FM, Tallahassee, was issued with an NAL for USD 4,000 on October 4 following an inspection during regular business hours when the General Manager was unable to produce copies of the station's Issues-Program lists for any quarter or copies of the station's local public notice announcements.
CSN had responded requesting cancellation or reduction because it has only been on the air since August 2005 and its license was granted November 9, 2005 and it also noted notes that it is not a renewal applicant and is not required to maintain local public notice announcements.
The Commission on this basis pointed out that CSN was required to maintain any issues/programs lists in its public file and admonished it for failing to maintain and make available a complete public inspection file but cancelled the monetary forfeiture.
2006-11-13: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with comment on BBC Radio 3, the mainly classical music station that has been in the news in the UK because of planned schedule changes that have led to controversy, particularly over commitment to live broadcasts.
An article in the UK Guardian by Charlotte Higgins wrapped up the topic pretty well with comments not only from Radio 3 Controller Roger Wright but also from Darren Henley, station manager of the UK national commercial classical music station Classic FM and also from Resonance FM Programmer Ed Baxter whose London community arts station has a very different style.
First Wright who says of his changes that what matters is now whether a programme is broadcast live or "as live" later but crucially the difference "between CDs and specially recorded performances" and notes that live broadcasts will continue from the Proms, special events and festivals.
Amongst the changes is to move the evening "Performance on Three" programme from its current regular slot of 19:30 to 19:00, affecting live broadcasts because many concerts start at 19:30: Wright says this will free up a space at 22:30 for a new half-hour artist-based programme and also solving the problem of what to do in the "Interval" which is currently used for the "Twenty Minutes"programme. Wright says the programme is terrific but because its timing depends on the interval in a live event "you never know when it's on."
One of Wright's successful innovations has been the broadcast of events such as "The Beethoven Experience" and "A Bach Christmas", in which everything ever written by the respective composers was broadcast, undiluted, over a period of several days. In the case of the first, the BBC made MP3 downloads available of performances of all nine symphonies.
They were taken up on a massive scale - some 1.4 million downloads - nice free research for the recording companies on the potential for downloads but something that gave them concerns about potential effects on sales of their recordings.
Wright, who consulted the industry about the experiment, says of the downloads that he is not itching to repeat them, saying, "The Beethoven symphonies were a pilot. We never had a plan to suddenly issue lots more, even though we have the rights to do it. The model of being able to stimulate interest, learn from it, and for the whole industry to benefit is a happy outcome. It isn't frustrating."
On the topic of why radio is till valuable in a world of podcasts and internet audio streams Wright says, "The reason radio is still so strong is because the medium matches our busy lives. It is portable: you can have it in the house, the car, the office, on the computer, when you are walking around. The real-time experience of radio is still very important."
And of the purpose of Radio 3 he says it is to be a guide and expert voice, commenting, "We want to take our audience further. The audience, or at least the majority of it, isn't asking us to broadcast Harrison Birtwistle. But is doing that something that we regard as being really important? Absolutely. Because we are not a museum; we don't just give people what they already know."
The fuss about the schedule changes is he says is "great", adding, "It reminds you how much people care. To broadcast to an audience who didn't mind what you did - that wouldn't be anything like as much fun".
From his main commercial competitor came a call for the station to do things that commercial stations can not provide: Classic FM station manager Darren Henley noted that "Radio 3 enjoys the luxurious comfort blanket of being funded by the licence fee, with a further sum going to the BBC's orchestras" and said that this meant the BBC "trustees have a responsibility to licence-payers to ensure that Radio 3 makes use of its cash to create content that is unavailable on commercial radio."
Henley spoke of Radio 3 as super-serving classical music connoisseurs and said there were "encouraging signs" that it would continue to offer a different service to Classic FM, which would "continue to broadcast for children, request programmes, and a film soundtrack programme - all areas downgraded in Radio 3's new schedule."
From Resonance FM, Ed Baxter said Wright's comments pointed to wider problems both for broadcasting and contemporary music. He defended the idea of "live", saying," What radio still does best, it does live. It has the advantage of surprise, the ability to lure an audience into accepting, and embracing, the unknown" and also some of the other changes such as cutting "Late Junction" from four nights to three, commenting that it had reflected market developments when CDs came in but then noting the decline in CD sales and other changes commented, "The idea of a radio station as a one-stop shop of experience is no longer sustainable."
We're not convinced about that last statement but certainly technological change has made massive differences to the means of listening to audio and amongst those digital broadcasting now seems the inevitable future although we still maintain our belief in the value of a worldwide system such as we have with AM and FM rather than a plethora of competing and incompatible digital systems.
In this context the decision of the former WorldDAB to rename itself WorldDMB to reflect changes that include using the Eureka system to provide multimedia services not just audio and also to push for the use of AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) with Eureka 147 not just the older MPEG-2 audio currently used by DAB has provoked comment about its implications.
Introduction of the new coding, still under negotiation as we reported earlier (See RNW Nov 11) would mean existing DAB receivers in countries like the UK will be outdated but the technology does allow - if the spectrum is available - broadcasters to transmit in both the old and new modes and newer receivers could be made capable of receiving both signals, a little like - according to the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau - buying HD-ready TVs in advance of widespread HD TV broadcasts.
Another report in the UK Guardian however, in an article by Jack Schofield, reckons that manufacturers are unlikely to develop dual-mode equipment unless "someone decides that AAC+ is the future for the UK, not just the rest of the world."
Schofield, as indicated by the headline to his report - "Britain refuses to listen to new digital radio format" - is in favour of such a move but British regulator Ofcom for the moment says it is unlikely to change with a spokesman being quoted as saying, "It wouldn't be right for us to consider changing at the moment - it could have a severe adverse effect on the interests of citizens and consumers, and more widely on the market for digital radio services in the UK. But we welcome developments and we are keeping the situation under review."
That, comments Schofield, "leaves the UK likely to be left behind, because we have rolled out a version of DAB based on the obsolete and much less efficient MP2 codec Using AAC+ provides much better sound quality at the same bitrates as MP2. Switching over would enable most radio stations to transmit at lower bitrates, saving them money, while still delivering better sound quality. This would also free bandwidth for extra stations, for which there is currently no room. Everybody wins - except for the UK consumers who have already bought DAB radios, which are incompatible with the new system."
All of which makes a review by Alex Pell of DAB radios currently on the UK market in the Sunday Times somewhat less valuable and the paper duly carries a warning that current sets could become obsolete and also one about the audio quality: "In fact you shouldn't expect truly wonderful sound from any DAB radio. The highly compressed nature of the signals transmitted for digital radio ensures they are better suited to background music while chopping carrots for dinner than to pleasing audiophiles. The reason for this underwhelming sound quality is that Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, insists that we prefer greater choice to ultimate sound quality, and has sliced the cake extremely thinly. Hence the bitrate (amount of digital data transmitted per second) is risibly low on most DAB stations, and the broadcast system is based on the ageing MP2 audio standard."
In the US, iBiquity already uses coding more advanced than MP2 for its HD Radio - being a proprietary solution we have been unable to find full details but as we understand it the system, developed by Coding Technologies who are also the AAC+ developers, has 96KBPS of bandwidth for FM HD transmissions, and various feedback that is beginning to surface, indicates that all is not quite as near to CD quality with this either.
Amongst the forums, we have looked at we were intrigued by one suggestion - that rather than bother with AM HD, which gets a fairly though panning - AM stations should instead buy FM secondary channels from FM stations, thus gaining the chance for a better signal, putting money into the FM stations, and improving the quality.
Enough for now, however of the technical, what about that which really matters? - the content. And in the week of the midterms, we first suggest three programmes, all of which can currently be downloaded as MP3s as well as listened to as streaming audio.
First with a look at US media cover, we suggest "On the Media" from WNYC and secondly two programmes that certainly have a link: They are "The Baghdad Billions" and "Baghdad's Missing Billions" from BBC World Service - we would suggest the MP3s for quality reasons since the BBC programmes are posted in the World Service Documentary Archive as 56 KBPS MP3s, the same rate as the On the Media offering.
If nothing else the Baghdad tale - of billions literally being handed out without procedures to check on what it was being used for - and the people appointed, describer by Democrat Rep Henry Waxman - "The CPA was made up of people whose test for being there was that they were good Republicans. They were asked, not if they knew anything about Iraq, but whether they had voted for Bush and what their views were on abortion" and another contributor speaks of bribes of USD 1.5 million to get a USD 3 million contract - provide some pretty strong reasons to stop any but the ignorant or dishonest from voting Republican in those elections.
For other listening, we will update later today but first note that the BCB Radio 4 Book of the Week this week is "Seize the Hour" by Margaret Macmillan, the tale of how a previous -and crooked -Republican President Richard Nixon opened up US relations with China with the aid of Henry Kissinger on whose relations with telling the truth there have also been some significant doubts expressed by biographers.
Until then (09:45 GMT), last week's "Book" -"The North Face of Soho", the fourth of Clive James Unreliable Memoirs - read by the author will be available on the web site and it is worth a listen.
AVC forum on HD radio:
UK Guardian - Higgins:
UK Guardian - Schofield:
UK Sunday Tomes - Pell:
2006-11-13: India's Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsh has said his ministry will soon appoint a task force to look into the modernization and development of state broadcasters All India Radio (AID) and Doordorshan.
Speaking in Kolkata (Calcutta) on Public Service Broadcasting Day yesterday he said an announcement is to be made on the matter today and added that Rainbow FM, which is run by AIR, would be revamped to boost its listening.
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian Financial Express/Press Trust of India report:
2006-11-12: Yet again last week was very quiet for the regulators with no major moves and a low level of activity everywhere when it came to radio-related decisions.
In Australia, there were no radio announcements and in Canada only the posting of a public notice by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that included two Ontario radio items.
These are an application by Sound of Faith Broadcasting to relocate the transmitter and decrease the power of CJFH-FM, Woodstock, from 50 watts to 37 watts and an application by Pineridge Broadcasting Inc. to extend the three-month period during which it can simulcast the signal of CHUC-AM, Cobourg, which has been converted to FM. The request has been made because the FM has generated intermodulation products that fall in the NAV/COM band and Pineridge requests an extension to the simulcast period to allow it time to resolve the problem.
Comments or interventions relating to both applications have to be submitted by December 15.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) made only one radio announcement - of a public hearing of the applications for the Limerick City and County franchise to be held tomorrow in the Castletroy Park Hotel, Dublin Road, Limerick.
Applications for the licence are from Limerick's Heart FM and Limerick's Live 95FM.
In the UK, Ofcom announced the awards of new Liverpool and Perth FM licences to Emap's CityTalk speech-based bid and sole bidder Perth FM respectively. It also announced receipt of 21 new community licence applications (All Nov 10).
On more general matters Ofcom published an update relating to the legislation under which it manages the radio spectrum: Six different Acts are to be consolidated into a single statute but apart from changes "to remedy a small number of minor anomalies" there are no changes involved and existing licences and regulations continue to apply.
It also updated an earlier statement with respect to making the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz bands available for point to point fixed wireless systems (FWS) on a light licensed basis in the UK, on which it has held a consultation.
Most responses it says were in favour of the approach although two supported a fully licensed and co-ordinated approach, similar to the lower fixed link bands. It re-iterated its decision to go ahead on the light licensed basis and noted that it will permit the operation of the Amateur and Amateur Satellite allocations on a primary basis within the upper guard band of the 71-76 GHz block i.e. 75.875-76 GHz band. Amateur and Amateur Satellite use between 75.5 - 75.875 GHz will be permitted on a secondary basis.
In the US, the most publicized decision from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was to rescind rulings that TV broadcasts on the CBS Early Show and of NYPD Blue breached its indecency regulations a decision that was criticized by Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein (See RNW Nov 8), and also led as was presumably expected to complaints from organizations like the Parents TV Council. Otherwise it was a matter solely of routine decisions as regards radio related matters.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-11-12: SoundExchange, the US body that collects and distributes royalties to artists and record labels for music the satellite radio companies air. is promoting its claim for an increased payment with an "independent study" that it says shows that "music -- not big name celebrities, sports or talk radio -- is what attracts listeners to those services and keeps them subscribing."
The survey was conducted for SoundExchange by Dr. Yoram "Jerry" Wind, professor of marketing at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the organization and was included in SoundExchange's recent filing before the federal Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) in which for the next six-year licensing period beginning from the end of the year it seeks payment starting at 10 percent of revenues and gradually increasing over the licence term (See RNW Nov 2).
Figures from the survey - of 428 subscribers to Sirius or XM - showed that 43% said they would cancel their subscription or not subscribe in the first place if satellite radio lacked music - triple the number of respondents who would cancel if any other type of programming were unavailable.
It also said that respondents spent 49% of their time listening to music programming and that the average price they said they would pay were music not available would be a little over half the current rates charged by the companies - USD 6.15 per month instead of USD 12.99.
The satellite companies have proposed a rate, says SoundExchange, of less than 1% of their revenues for the next licence period and it says this is not a fair figure.
Its executive director John Simson commented, "One clear takeaway from this survey is that the foundation of satellite radio is built on music. Without music, satellite services would crumble."
He added, "We are great fans of satellite radio. The wide variety of music offered on dozens of channels and the depth of the music catalogue offered to consumers is terrific. The mutual dependence that has evolved between satellite radio and the labels and artists who provide the music cannot be understated. It is in many respects a partnership. However, it is time for the satellite companies to pay artists and copyright holders a fair royalty."
Putting the figures into one context, he commented, "Not giving artists their due -- and proposing a rate of less than one percent of their revenues -- is clearly a slap at the music community. Sirius currently pays Howard Stern at least USD 100 Million per year for content on a couple of channels. At their proposed rate, their payment for music on 64 channels would equal less than one-tenth that amount."
2006-11-12: Fired Entercom WRKO-AM host John DePetro, dismissed after calling Green-Rainbow gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a "fat lesbian" (See RNW Nov 4) is trying desperately to get his job back according to the Boston Herald, which adds that according to insiders he has no chance.
The paper reports that DePetro at a news conference at his lawyer's office called on Entercom to follow the procedures it used to punish other hosts for offensive remarks, promised to undergo sensitivity training, and offered Ross a weekly one-hour segment on his show, to be called "Amazing Grace".
The paper reports that DePetro, whom it calls "ratings-staved", received no severance pay and his health insurance was cancelled. It quotes WRKO program director Jason Wolfe as saying, "His discharge was appropriate and justified. We do not intend to reinstate him. We have moved on and wish him well."
DePetro's lawyer Peter Bellotti, called Wolfe's statement "premature" and said they would consider "options, including filing suit." They have requested a meeting with Entercom officials next week.
Boston Herald report:
2006-11-11: Walt Disney Company's CFO Tom Stagg has told analysts that the company expected to close on the sale to Citadel of its ABC Radio business in the first half of next year.
He added that the company had held discussions regarding possible modifications to the agreement to facilitate Citadel's post-closing financing and said that when the deal closed the portion of Disney's radio assets involved, which currently account for around 4% of Disney revenues, would be treated as discontinued operations in financial reports.
2006-11-11: The "WorldDMB" forum, which voted at the end of last month to change its name from "WorldDAB" as better reflecting the potential of Eureka 147 digital broadcasts has now published further details of its plans to use the more advanced AAC coding with such broadcasts as well as the older MPEG-2 coding currently in use.
It says a draft technical specification "DAB Audio Broadcasting (DAB); Transport of AAC audio" is being submitted to the international standard body ETSI and that following the it is expected compatible receivers can be designed and broadcast services able to be introduced as early as 2007.
WordDMB says the new MPEG-4 audio codec delivers "exceptional performance efficiency", especially at lower bit rates, thus allowing more efficient use of spectrum and that new receivers would be backwards compatible with existing DAB transmissions leaving MPEG-2 services and consumers unaffected. It would also be compatible with existing scrolling text and multimedia services and broadcasts would be able to select either the existing MP2 system or the advanced coded - or both - to suit their needs and regulatory requirements.
WorldDMB's President Quentin Howard in his report to the organization's 2006 General Assembly meeting in South Korea said that the Task Force including international audio experts that had been set up to review technical options had examined not only "the possible coding schemes, but also different ways of broadcasting the encoded audio within the DAB system."
"In the past few months they have drawn up a draft specification, which will be submitted to ETSI this autumn," he added. "We owe each and every member of the Task Force our thanks for the excellent work they have done."
Of the name change he said that the organization had outgrown its former name and added, "We're recognising that while radio will always be the main focus for many of our members, we also need properly to represent countries and companies who see mobile TV and multimedia as the core proposition. The Steering Board unanimously supported changing the name to 'WorldDMB' because 'digital multimedia broadcasting' is an inclusive category which covers radio, television and new media content."
Howard noted that the original system, based on the Eureka 147 project and the digitisation of traditional radio broadcasting had been enhanced with complementary standards developed to facilitate the commercial launch of multimedia and video services and continued, "In the context of this evolution and diversification, continuing to use the name 'the WorldDAB Forum' risked confusion. Some audiences have sometimes assumed that we only represented digital audio. In addition, it allowed some commentators wrongly to suggest that 'DAB' and 'DMB' are competing technologies, instead of the truth that they are different layers of the Eureka 147 family of standards."
The DAB term and others used for existing Eureka 147 standards will continue in use and countries where DAB has already achieved significant penetration such as the UK, Denmark and Norway, are expected to continue to use the older MP2 system for the foreseeable future but Howard said the new standard would give countries keen to start digital radio broadcasting - such as Australia where the government had expressed interest in using a more efficient coded - "increased confidence to commit to the Eureka 147 family of standards."
WorldDMB has not yet concluded negotiations with organizations who hold the relevant Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) relating to the more advanced coding but Howard noted, "The lowest price DAB digital radio costs under Euros 45.00 (USD 60) in the shops and given the market potential of the new audio codec the WorldDMB Forum has confidence that the IPR owners will not create an unreasonable cost burden that could risk the market success of this exciting development."
Previous WorldDMB forum (former WorldDAB):
2006-11-11: "Darfur Lifeline" - The BBC World Service Trust's humanitarian radio service in Sudan - has shared first prize in this year's "Radio for Peacebuilding, Africa, Awards" for Youth Radio with Radio Maendeleo, Democratic Republic of Congo.
The awards are made in three categories - Talkshow, Drama and Youth Radio - by Radio for Peacebuilding, Africa, and are made to recognize the best programmes that contribute to peace by reducing tensions in groups and communities, enhancing and valuing shared interests, breaking down listener stereotypes, and providing positive role models.
The Radio Maendeleo entry was "La communauté lutte contre le phénomène des enfants dits sorciers" and that from BBC World Service the children's programme "Ursom ala el ard makaanak" (Draw Your Place On Earth).
The half-hour magazine style programme is targeted at Darfuri children and is broadcast on Tuesdays and Saturdays: It is comprised of testimonies from Darfuri children, an information spot where children get to voice their opinions, story time, recordings of children singing or playing and a short drama skit.
The Darfur Lifeline project was launched at the beginning of this year with the aid of ECHO and the Ford Foundation, and is currently funded by DFID Sudan. The team that produced it is from Sudan and Egypt and its members were specifically recruited and trained for the project.
Programme editor, Zeinab Mubarak, and her team operate out of a base in Nyala, South Darfur, broadcasting in Darfuri Arabic and she commented of the award, "Winning the prize is wonderfully gratifying; especially that it came after almost a year of work in very challenging conditions. It is a sign of confidence in all our work, not just this one programme."
Presenter Eptihag Homri added, "It is not difficult to put together an episode because we work together as a team. We help each other."
The Darfur Lifeline Radio project also broadcasts a programme for adults called Salam ila Darfur (Peace/Greetings to Darfur), airing five days a week with testimonies, informative reporting, features, dramas, discussion time and family reunification items.
The Talkshow and Drama categories were won this year by "Inyanduruko" (The roots of evil) produced and broadcast by Radio Isanganiro, Burundi, and by "Slayed Dog" produced and broadcast by BBC World Service, African Productions respectively.
The second prizes in each category went to:
"Agateka K'abana" (Children's rights) produced by Studio Ijambo and broadcast by Radio Isanganiro (Burundi).
- "Paroles d'enfants: mésaventures de mineurs au-delà des frontières" produced by L'Agence La Cible and broadcast by Radio Gerddes, Benin.
- "Africa Have Your Say" produced by BBC World Service, African Productions.
- "Our Peace" produced and broadcast by Miraya/Mirror FM ,Sudan.
"Domestic Violence" -produced and broadcast by Radio Sem Fronteiras, Mozambique.
-"Gande Mbatsav vo" (Beyond Witches and Wizards) - produced and broadcast by Radio Benue, Nigeria.
- "Libération des prisonniers politiques" -produced by Studio Ijambo and broadcast by Radio Isanganiro, Burundi.
Radio for Peacebuilding Africa web site:
2006-11-11: Jim Pattison Group is reported to be focussing on the expansion of its radio operations but is also considering buying several TV stations that are being sold as a result of Bell Globemedia's takeover of CHUM Ltd (See RNW Sep 14).
The Toronto Globe and Mail says that Pattison has looked at the TV assets and quoted Rick Arnish, president of Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, as saying, "They're definitely [a consideration]" but adding that his group was concerned about the outlook for conventional TV and commenting, "The question is where do you get your programming. We're very concerned about where is the future of small market television in Canada. We want to get bigger, but we're getting bigger in radio."
Previous Bell Globemedia:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2006-11-10: In more US results, Westwood One has reported third quarter revenues down 15.3% on a year ago at USD 114.3 million, a decrease it puts down primarily to "adverse market conditions." It noted that during the period national commercial revenues were down 15.1% and local and regional ones were down 15.5%.
Net income for the quarter was nearly halved - down from USD 20.1 million to USD 10.5 million (From 22 cents to 12 cents per basic and diluted share).
For the first nine months of the year, revenues are down 11.4% to USD 364.2 million within which national advert revenues were down 5.3% and local and regional advert revenues were down 16.3% on a year earlier. Net income for the period was down even more - from USD 55.4 million a year earlier to USD 19.1 million ( from 60cents t0 22 cents per basic and diluted share).
Westwood says it expects the decline to continue in the final quarter when it is forecasting double digit declines in revenues and low single digit increases in operating expenses, resulting in double digit declines in operating income before depreciation and amortization.
The company , which is managed by CBS Radio, has also announced that its Board of Directors has established a Strategic Review Committee comprised of independent directors to see how it can improve its performance and says the committee's initial principal task will be to "seek to modify and extend the Company's various agreements with CBS Radio Inc. and its affiliates, including the Company's management agreement and programming and distribution arrangements with CBS Radio" with whom its current contract expires at the end of March 2009.
Also reporting has been international satellite radio company WorldSpace, which reported the addition of 16,866 net subscribers during the third quarter to reach a total of 176,831 subscribers, 136% higher than a year earlier.
In India, where it has been concentrating its efforts, it added 18,568 net subscribers to reach 138,065 subscribers, 287% higher than a year ago. Earlier this week WorldSpace launched India's First National 24-Hour Marathi channel, adding a further language to its existing seven regionally and culturally dedicated radio channels with programming in Tamil (KL Radio), Malayalam (RM Radio), Telugu (Spandana), Kannada (Sparsha), Bengali (Tara), Punjabi (Tunak Punjabi), and Urdu (Falak).
Revenues in the quarter were up 42% on a year earlier at around USD 3.3 million with subscription revenue up 89% to USD 1.8 million but losses were also up with a net loss of USD 28.9 million for the quarter compared to USD 15.4 million a year earlier (Up from 48 cents to 77 cents a share) but the company noted an improvement - due to an increased income tax benefit - compared to the second quarter when it lost USD 36.7 million (98 cents a share).
Subscriber Acquisition Costs (SAC) in the third quarter were USD 37 on a blended basis and USD 38 in India with the Cost Per Gross Addition (CPGA) up in the quarter to USD137 on a blended basis, from the USD 131 CPGA in the second quarter.
Chairman and CEO Noah Samara commented, "We remain confident in the medium to long term value proposition of global satellite radio. WorldSpace continues to be well positioned with a number of assets and real market opportunities to capitalize on our existing infrastructure. Over the third quarter, we focused on fixing the issues that we identified in India -- in marketing, sales and distribution, and customer care -- and on building our technology and regulatory infrastructure."
Previous Westwood One:
2006-11-10: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the new Liverpool FM licence to Emap's CityTalk speech-based bid against competition from nine other bids (See RNW Jul 15) and that for Perth in Scotland to Perth FM, the sole bidder, which is offering a mix of local news and information plus popular music(See RNW Licence News, Aug 13)..
It also announced that it had received 21 bids for new community FM licences for Southwest England and South/ Mid Wales.
These are from:
10Radio - Wiveliscombe and neighbouring parishes, Somerset.
A39 Radio - Falmouth & Penryn, Cornwall.
Aspire FM - Poole, Dorset.
The Bay - Poole.
Bay FM -Exmouth, Devon.
Culm Valley FM - Culm Valley, Devon.
Community Radio Swindon -Swindon, Wiltshire.
Swindon FM Community Radio - Swindon, Wiltshire.
ECFM - Exeter, Devon.
Glastonbury FM - Glastonbury, Somerset.
Lyneham Radio - Lyneham, Chippenham, Wiltshire.
Plymouth Community Radio - Plymouth, Devon.
Radio St Austell Bay - St Austell, Cornwall.
Somer Valley FM - Midsomer Norton & Radstock, Somerset.
Soundart Radio (South Devon) - Totnes, Devon.
Stroud FM - Stroud, Gloucestershire.
UJIMA Radio - Bristol.
South and Mid Wales:
BRfm Community Radio- Brynmawr, Blaenau Gwent.
Bro Radio -Barry, Glamorgan.
Flame Radio (Torfaen) - Pontnewynydd, Pontypool.
Radio Tircoed - Swansea.
2006-11-10: BBC Radio 4 has announced that City Broadcasting, run by Anne and Philip Reevell, is to take over production of its "Feedback" programme from Testbed Productions from the middle of next year: Testbed, who have produced the programme, which is currently fronted by Roger Bolton, for 12 years, did not seek renewal of its contract.
City Broadcasting has a strong track record in factual programming on Radio 4 for which Anne Reevell has worked for more than two decades including a spell as Chief Producer of Network Radio in Manchester.
She said they were "delighted" to win the contract that and added, "In a media world in transition, Feedback is an important programme for the BBC and its relationship with its listeners and we are excited by the possibilities for developing the programme over the next three years."
2006-11-10: Ed Bradley, best known for his work on CBS' "60 Minutes", has died aged 65 of complications from leukaemia. He had been ill and undergone heart transplant surgery but continued forking for the programme.
Bradley, who was born in Philadelphia, was a jazz fan and began his broadcasting career as a Jazz DJ and news reporter for a radio station in the city in 1963, moving to WCBS radio in New York four years later. In recent years he has hosted "Jazz at Lincoln Centre", the concert series headed by Wynton Marsalis.
Marsalis in a posting on the organization's web site says in tribute, "Ed Bradley was a great American, one of our definitive cultural figures, a man of unsurpassed curiosity, intelligence, dignity and heart. We of course are shocked and experiencing that unspeakable grief that always attends the finality of the death of a loved one. We have lost a trusted friend and mentor. Our nation has lost a voice of integrity and wisdom. We love him and miss him and it will always be that way."
Bradley joined CBS news as a stringer in its Paris Bureau in 1971 and a year later transferred to its Saigon bureau during the Vietnam war and after various other postings, including becoming CBS' first black White House correspondent, was hired by 60 Minutes on the strength of a 1979 series of award winning stories including "The Boat People," Vietnamese boat refugees which won duPont, Emmy and Overseas Press Club Awards.
CBS News report:
2006-11-09: Sirius Satellite Radio says it ended a "strong" third quarter with a total of 5,119,308 subscribers; revenue up 150% year-on-year and losses down more than a fifth from a year earlier.
Sirius said its revenues for the quarter were USD 161.7 million compared to USD 66.8 million a year earlier, reflecting "nearly three million new subscribers added in the last twelve months"; that its subscriber acquisition costs increased USD 12.2 million to USD 80.9 million but the cost per gross acquisition was down 23% on a year earlier to USD 114; and that its net loss for the quarter was down 9.7% year-on-year to USD 162.9 million ( From 14 cents to 12 cents per share).
It also noted a slight increase in "churn" - up from 1.8% a year ago to 2% in the quarter - that is said was due to a 177% larger OEM subscriber base year-over-year.
Over the quarter it added some 205,900 net subscribers from its retail channel and 236,500 net subscribers from its automotive OEM channel.
CEO Mel Karmazin said of the company's performance, "Sirius continues to focus on excellence in programming and solid execution of our business plan. Over the last year, we generated USD 100 million in new revenue, increased our share of satellite radio net subscriber additions by 24 percentage points and reduced our SAC per gross addition by 23%."
"Sirius," he added, "has never been in a stronger position heading into the key fourth quarter holiday season, with exciting new products, compelling programming, and strong relationships with our retail and exclusive OEM partners. We are well prepared to meet fourth quarter demand and remain focused on achieving positive free cash flow."
Looking ahead Sirius reiterated its previous guidance of 6.3 million subscribers at the end of this year with an average monthly churn for 2006 of 1.8% and total revenues of USD 615 million with an Adjusted loss from operations of approximately USD 565 million and a free cash flow loss of approximately USD 500 million. It says it could reach its first quarter of positive free cash flow, after capital expenditures as early as the fourth quarter of this year.
Sirius shares ended Wednesday up 0.73% on the day at USD 4.12.
2006-11-09: Despite a lawsuit launched by Arbitron last month (See RNW Oct 12), The Media Audit and Ipsos say they remain "fully committed" to what Media Audit President Bob Jordan and Ipsos Media Worldwide CEO Richard Silman termed "bringing US radio and the US advertising communities the fairest and most accurate electronic measurement system."
The two confirmed that their partnership is to start encoders in Houston radio stations and initiate an "Expert Witness" test next month. Jordan said the test is "is a critical step in The Media Audit/Ipsos' introduction of its electronic measurement in America" and added, "Here, the current diary measurement system measures 'perceived radio listening' while electronic devices measure 'actual exposure'. The metrics of these two different measurement systems need to be evaluated and documented thoroughly in order to fully evaluate the significance of their differences."
Jordan said they believed "the selection of an electronic measurement system is far too important to be made without an "Expert Witness" test in which both a diary measurement and a metered measurement come from the same respondent in the same test" and said no other research company has done such a test.
"There is also a need," he commented, "to understand the importance of the device that is used to electronically measure audience estimates. Different data collection devices can have a significant impact on audience estimates if panel members are more likely to have one device with them at all times over another measurement device. Thus, we have a responsibility to work with the radio and advertising community, in understanding and adapting to the effects these differences have on the results."
Silman said they had received great interest in their Smart Phone device from round the world and Ipsos, the sixth largest media and market research firm in the world, had invested a significant amount of time and money in developing the criteria for an ideal media measurement system.
Previous Media Audit/Ipsos:
2006-11-09: In line with other recent reports that showed a difficult third quarter, Cox Radio has reported third quarter and year to date net revenues down 0.5% to USD 112.7 million and USD 327.4 million respectively with station operating income down 2.2% to USD 50.1 million and 0.7% to USD 138.2 million for the quarter and year to date respectively.
Its net income fared better - up 11.6% to USD 23.95 million (from 21 cents to 25 cents) for the quarter and up 13.9% to USD 63.6 million (from 55cents to 66 cents) for the year to date.
Cox said its local revenues for the quarter were won 1.8% and national ones were down 0.3% and regionally spoke of solid growth from its stations in Orlando, Tampa, Southern Connecticut and Birmingham offset by revenue decreases in Island, Richmond, Dayton and Louisville. "Other" revenues were up 9.9% compared to a year ago, primarily thanks to a 47.1% increase in Internet revenues.
As with most other radio companies Cox also bought back shares this year: It had spent some USD 84.8 million of an authorized USD 100 million at the end of September.
President and CEO Robert F. Neil said he was "pleased with our bottom line performance this quarter, growing free cash flow 5% and net income 12%" and added, "While it's no secret that the revenue environment has remained challenging for all traditional media recently, we have continued to invest in our content, sales, and marketing resources to support and grow our audience shares. We have also continued to expand our digital footprint and monetize our presence on the Internet, growing those revenues 47% this quarter."
2006-11-09: BBC radio veteran John Taylor, described by BBC Radio Norfolk as the country's oldest BBC local radio presenter, has died aged 85: Norwich-born, he had been with the station from its launch in 1980, joining it as bowls correspondent and later becoming a regular on the mid-morning show that began in 1983 with stories of the city and county before the second World War.
His radio career went back to 1957 when he joined the Hospital Sports Commentary Service providing live coverage of Norwich City's matches for hospital patients.
In 1986 he was offered his Sunday afternoon show, "Radio Times" in which he played "Melodies from the Golden Years" with music from pre and post-war orchestras and singers and he also made a number of documentaries for the station.
Radio Norfolk Editor David Clayton paying tribute said, "It really is an end of an era for us. John was a real character who could talk with knowledge and passion about Norwich and Norfolk from his own special perspective of 85 years. He loved coming into Radio Norfolk and it won't be the same without him. We are all very sad here and share the loss with his family."
This Sunday the 1400-16:00 GMT afternoon slot that he hosted is to be used for a tribute to him including contributions from many people who worked with him over the years and also from his son, the author D.J. (David) Taylor.
Radio Norfolk was also in the news this week for a rather strange reason when the BBC was reported to have opted to play Radio Norfolk's music from loudspeakers outside the BBC's eastern regional headquarters in Norwich to drive away gangs of noisy teenagers who had been loitering outside the studio.
According to Metro.UK BBC staff were asked to suggest songs that would repel the teenagers and the winning suggestion was the station's own music.
Metro UK report:
2006-11-08: Yet more US radio results who the continuing difficult climate in US radio advertising: Cumulus Media reported net revenues down 1.6% on a year earlier for the third quarter to USD 83.95 million and up 0.7% to USD for the year to date with net income for the quarter plummeting from USD 9.1 million to USD 1.27 million (from 14 cents to three cents per basic and diluted common share) but for the year to date net income was up 37% to USD 6.82 million (from seven cents to 12 cents a share.)
Cumulus said the third quarter revenue decrease resulted mainly from the loss of revenues from its Houston and Kansas City stations, which were transferred to its affiliate, Cumulus Media Partners (CMP) in May as part of the USD 1.2 billion of Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Company's radio business. (See RNW May 6) although there was a partial offset in management feed from CMP.
Cumulus noted that pro-forma figures for the quarter, excluding stations then went to CMP, showed revenues up 1.3% on a year earlier but pro forma station operating income was down 0.9%. For the year to date pro forma revenue were up 2.4% and pro-forma station operating income was again down 0.9%. It also noted receipt of approximately USD 1 million for the quarter and USD 1.6 million for the year to date in management fees from CMP.
Like many other companies, Cumulus has continued to buy back shares, in its case purchasing 749,500 shares of Class A Common Stock in the third quarter for around USD 6.9 million.
Fisher Communications reported revenues from continuing operations up 9% to USD 3.1 million, helped by political advertising for the mid-term elections, for the quarter and up 9% for the year to date to USD 9.2 million.
Overall it had a loss from continuing operations of USD 784,000 for the quarter -down from a loss of USD 1.1 millions a year earlier and including a tax expense adjustment of USD 388,000 as a result of an audit of the 2003 federal tax return- whilst for the year to date its loss from continuing operations was slashed from USD 7.7 million a year earlier to USD 779,000.
Fisher has now closed on the sale of 18 of its 24 small-market radio stations that was announced in June. The stations were all to have gone to Cherry Creek Communications for USD 33 million (See RNW Jun 2) but six stations were subsequently excluded to gain Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval and the price paid went down to US 26.1 million.
The six stations are in Great Falls, where Cherry Creek owns four stations and Cherry Creek is currently operating one Fisher station - KAAK-FM - and is expected to gain approval for its purchase whilst the remaining five - KXGF-AM and KQDI-AM plus KINX-FM, KIK-FM, and KQDI-FM are still on the market.
Fisher is changing emphasis to TV and earlier this month announced finalization of its previously announced acquisition of two Oregon TV stations for USD 19.3 million.
Fisher president and CEO Colleen B. Brown said of the results that Fisher's "consistent revenue growth and cost controls enabled us to significantly outperform prior year results" and of the radio stations sales said they together with "the purchase of these affiliated stations in the Seattle, Portland, and Boise markets enable Fisher to leverage the synergies of our emerging cluster of Northwest stations."
Spanish Broadcasting System bucked the general trend with net revenues up 7% on a year earlier to USD 45.9 million for the quarter and up 8% for the year to date to USD 132.5 million. Radio net revenues for the quarter were up to USD 44.6 million 3.7% to USD 44.6 million whilst for the year to date it is up 5% to USD 129.3 million.
Overall SBS Income before Income Taxes and Discontinued Operations for the quarter was ISD 6.4 million, which compares to a loss of USD 22.4 a year earlier whilst for the year to date it was turned round from a USD 22.3 million loss to USD 60.1 million in the black, largely because of a USD 50.8 million gain related to the sale of its Los Angeles radio stations KZAB-FM and KZBA-FM.
Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón said SBS said it continued "to capitalize on the strength of our top-ranked Hispanic content and the prime positioning of our diversified media assets to strengthen our value proposition in a transitioning media environment" and added, "Once again, our radio division posted revenue growth ahead of the industry, reflecting our consistently strong ratings in the nation's top markets and our focus on monetizing our audience shares."
2006-11-08: The BBC Radio 4 daily soap, "The Archers" on Tuesday night aired its 15,000th edition with a storyline in which Ruth Archer, whose husband David has in recent editions resisted his urges to commit adultery, set off evening for an illicit hotel-room assignation with cowman Sam Batton.
Traffic jams, a call from her daughter and decency of course prevailed.
The rejection of adultery garnered coverage in most British national newspapers and is widely regarded as reflection the nature of listeners to the programme, an attitude that is not shared across the corporation and particularly on its pop channel Radio 1.
There afternoon host Edith Bowman, regarded as much more staid than fellow hosts such as Chris Moyles and Sara Cox, has sparked many protests for referring to Japanese as "Nips". In a discussion about modern slang she read out an e-mail from a listener who commented, "When the weather is a little cold, we say that it's a bit Pearl Harbour, meaning that there's a nasty Nip in the air."
Bowman had to issue a formal apology and the comment was condemned by race-relations groups.
In a statement Radio 1 said, "Edith was reading out a number of slang terms sent in by listeners, and read this particular term out in error. No offence was intended, and Edith apologised on air for any that may have been caused."
Radio 1 and its sister station 1Xtra are also to have a change in senior management with an announcement by BBC Director of Radio and Music Jenny Abramsky and Radio 1 and 1Xtra Controller Andy Parfitt of new appointments.
Ben Cooper, the station's head of mainstream, has been promoted to the new role of head of programmes for Radio 1, making him responsible not just for the daytime but for day-to-day running of the station. In his previous role he has overseen changes to the daytime schedule including the appointment of Moyles as breakfast show host, Bowman and Colin Murray to the afternoon show, and Scott Mills to Drivetime.
At 1Xtra Lorna Clarke, currently Festival Director of the BBC Electric Proms, adds the role of Head of Programmes.
Both appointments were instituted by Parfitt in response to a request by BBC Director-General Mark Thompson to lead in strengthening the BBC's offerings for the younger teenage audience.
In a third appointment, Ian Parkinson becomes Head of Editorial Standards, Radio 1/1Xtra and Music Development Projects, Radio & Music interactive, a role that the BBC says will see him leading senior development work within Radio & Music interactive along with having responsibility for ensuring exacting editorial standards across Radio 1 and 1Xtra.
Parkinson will report both to Parfitt and Simon Nelson, Controller Radio and Music interactive whilst Cooper and Clarke will report to Parfitt and Clarke in her Electric Proms role will also continue to report to Abramsky.
2006-11-08: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has backed off partially in relation to finding in March that broadcasts of "The 2003 Billboard Music Awards," "The Early Show," "The 2002 Billboard Music Awards," and several episodes of "NYPD Blue" were apparently indecent and profane although it did not levy any penalties in these cases although it confirmed USD 3.37 in fines relating to the revelation of Janet Jackson's breast during the 2004 Super Bowl show.(See RNW Mar 16)
In the new ruling, the FCC continues to find that "the use of offensive language by participants in 'The 2003 Billboard Music Awards' and 'The 2002 Billboard Music Awards' was indecent and profane" but reverses itself in the other cases, finding that the broadcast of the word "bullshitter" on the Early Show "was neither indecent nor profane in this instance due to the fact that it occurred during news programming", and that the material in the NYPD Blue episodes was "inadequate to trigger enforcement action."
Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S Adelstein in a statement said he had hoped that the Commission, which had been asked to reconsider parts of its ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, would take the opportunity to "clarify and rationalize our indecency regime, but regulatory convenience and avoidance have prevailed instead. "
In particular he says the "Commission's justification for denying the complaint against the December 12, 2004, broadcast of "The Early Show," and reversing its indecency and profanity findings reflect the arbitrary, subjective and inconsistent nature of the Commission's decision-making."
He did not accept that the reversal was justified, saying that the interview concerned was cross-promotion of a CBS programme "Survivor" and added, "The only news here is how far this Commission is willing to stretch the definition of "news."
Adelstein also did not agree with the reversal of the decision relating to NYPD Blue.
In another enforcement action, the FCC has increased the penalty on a New York pirate operator from USD 10,000 to USD 17,000. It commented that in issuing a USD 10,000 forfeiture to Shawn Deroux of the Bronx it inadvertently failed to address the USD 7,000 forfeiture proposed in the prior Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) of Deroux's failure to permit a station inspection.
2006-11-08: Arbitron in its Summer 2006 format trends survey says News/Talk/Information has retained its lead position although its 16.9 AQH share of those 12 plus is down half a point and also highlights the success of Spanish formats, which have taken their share up to 11.1, a one point increase from Summer 2005.
The top five formats are (with 2005 figures in brackets):
News/Talk/Information - 16.9 (17.4):
Adult Contemporary - 12.7 (12.9):
Contemporary Hits 11.6 (11.5):
Spanish 11.1 (10.1):
Urban - 10.4 (10.2):
Lower down the rankings, Country in sixth rank increased its share from 9.1 to 9.3 but Rock in seventh was down from 8.7 to 7.7 followed by Oldies (down from 6.3 to 6.0) and Alternative (down from 3.8 to 3.5) and then Religious, which saw an increase to 2.7 to 3.0 and Adult Hits with an increase from 2.0 to 2.7
2006-11-07: In more US radio results, Citadel Communications has reported net revenues for the third quarter up 2.6% to a record USD 112.5 million but operating income was down 1.2% to USD 40.3 million and net income was down 10.4% to USD 18.37 million, including non-cash stock-based compensation expenses of around USD 3.3 million, and net income per diluted share was down from 16 cents a year ago to 15 cents.
Station operating income was up 4.2% to USD 52.1 million, an increase noted by Chairman and CEO Farid Suleman in his comments on the figures that he said "meet or exceed the expected growth rates for the radio industry despite the challenging advertising environment."
Suleman added that Citadel has continued to focus on shareholder value and since starting a stock repurchase programme in 2004 has purchased "24.1 million shares, or approximately 43% of its public float, for USD 317.8 million and in 2006 the Company has repurchased 4.3 million shares for USD 50.7 million. In addition, the Company has paid cumulative dividends in 2006 of USD 82.7 million, or USD 0.72 per share."
For the first nine months of the year, Citadel revenues were up 2.4% to just under USD 319 million with operating income going from a positive 108.4 million to a negative 46.1 million and net income from a positive USD 53.9 million to a negative USD 46.9 million (from a positive 42 cents per diluted share to a negative 42 cents).
Citadel noted agreement to merge with ABC Radio a deal that will make it the third largest radio group in the US.
Also reporting was Salem Communications, which announced a 9.3% increase in total revenues to USD 57.9 million, largely because of growth at its Internet and publishing businesses although radio had net broadcasting revenue growth of 4.3% - same station revenues were up 1.3% to USD 50.3 million - against a backdrop of what president and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III termed "continuing weakness in the radio advertising market."
Atsinger said Salem's "News Talk stations grew net revenue by 20.1% and our Christian Teaching and Talk block programming business grew net revenue by 11.9%" and added, " We continue to focus on integrating our proven radio platform with our newer Internet and publishing businesses, a strategy that we believe offers substantial growth."
Overall Salem's net income was down 57.6% to USD 1.5 million (from 13 cents to six cents per dilute share) including a USD 500,000 loss on the sale of assets and a further USD 100,000 loss from discontinued operations.
For the year so far, Salem's revenue is up 7.9% to USD 168 million, operating income is up 48.1% to USD 57.8 million, and net income is up 68% to USD 15.7 million ( from 36 cents to 65 cents per diluted share),
Salem highlighted the success of its non=broadcast operations with non-broadcast revenue up 70.7% to USD 13.3 million and non-broadcast operating income up 57.7% to USD 0.8 million.
Like many other companies Salem has repurchased shares during the year, in its case 511,250 shares of its Class A common stock for approximately USD 5.5 million during the third quarter and 2,130,418 shares of Class A common stock for approximately USD 32.2 million since it began the repurchases.
For the final quarter of the year it says it expects same station net broadcasting revenue to increase from USD 51.7 million to USD 52.2 million with same station operating income to fall slightly.
2006-11-07: XM shares rose 15.6% to USD 13.17 on Monday following its release of third quarter results which showed a 36% reduction to USD 84 million in its net loss compared to a year ago whilst revenues rose 57% to USD 240 million and subscriber numbers rose 43% year-on-year to 7,185,873.
The total amounted to a gross addition of 868,007 and net addition of 286,002 subscribers and XM says its year-end predicted total will be between 7.7 million and 7.9 million, a figure it said was "within the previously announced guidance range" although last month when it originally released a third quarter total it had 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 (See RNW Oct 5).
XM says it will provide 2007 guidance when it releases full year results, indicating that it expects subscription revenues for 2006 to be between USD 810 million and USD 815 million with EBITDA loss is expected to be in the USD 205 million to USD 215 million range.
XM CEO Hugh Panero said of the results, "The more than 2.8 million gross subscriber additions year to date underscore the demand for XM. With significant growth in revenue and narrowing losses we are on track for positive cash flow from operations in the fourth quarter of this year."
XM also noted that its first advert campaign from its new advertising agency Lowe, New York, rolled out its first campaign last month (See RNW Oct 10) and that the "Oprah & Friends" channel, which launched in September (See RNW Sep 26) has attracted 13 first time advertisers with XM, making it the company's most successful channel launch in this regard.
Amongst other developments noted were the launch of its fourth satellite (See RNW Nov 1), also deals with Cingular and Alltel to provide selected XM channels to their cell phone customers, and also a number of senior appointments including that of Vernon Irvin, a former Executive Vice President and General Manager for VeriSign, as Chief Marketing Officer and of Joe Zarella as Executive Vice President of business operations, and Blair Kutrow as Senior Vice President for XM product development.
2006-11-07: BBC on-demand listening in September reached a new record although overall listening hours were down on August according to latest figures from the corporation that show 12.5 million on demand requests in the month and a continuing growth in the numbers listening to downloads/podcasts with a total of 4.8 million downloads.
Overall online listening hours were down just over 1% on August at 19,368,298 hours compared to 19,570,576 hours within which live listening fell 2.75% to 12,810,165 hours and on demand listening rose 2.50% to 6,558,133 hours with on-demand listening requests up 9.22% to 12,499,720. The year-on-year figures all showed significant rises - of 18.71% for total listening hours, 18.87% for live listening hours, 18.40% for on-demand listening hours and 22.77% for on demand listening requests.
Station rankings - Total listening hours - live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to August 2006 then to September 2005 - were:
Radio 1 - 5,870,853; -1.89%; + 38.8%
Radio 2 - 4,090,287; + 5.43%; + 38.1%
Radio 4 - 3,017,369; + 6.58%; + 15.0%
Radio 5 Live - 1,610,342; + 18.64%; + 14.3% -up a rank.
BBC 7 - 1,471,525; + 7.23%; + 9.5% - down a rank.
Radio 3 - 968,597; + 1.99%; + 31.7%
6 Music - 725,926; -3.78%; + 13.3%
1Xtra - 467,421; -5.85%; -8.5%
Asian Network - 146,724; -15.92%; -31.7%
5 Live Sports Xtra - 276,457; -73.40%; -74.0%
The top five on-demand programmes were:
1 - "The Archers" on Radio 4 with 682,304 listens - down 18,070 on August.
2 - "Chris Moyles" on Radio 1 with 503,088 listens - up 71,996 and up a rank;
3 - "The Afternoon Play" on Radio 4 with 276,242 listens - up 19,946 and up from fourth rank.
4 - BBC Proms 2006 Live on Radio 3 with 243,047 listens, down 221,557 and down from second rank.
5 - "Essential Mix" on Radio 1 with 207,582 listens, up 8,471 and up from sixth, swapping ranks with "The Essential Selection" , also on Radio 1, with 193,475, down 25,596.
Amongst daily podcasts cum MP3s the top five were:
1- BBC News "Radio Newspod" with 778,664 listens, up 83,007.
2 - Radio 4 "Today 8.10 Interview" with 345,827 listens, up 26,627 and up a rank;
3 - Radio 1 "Scott Mills Daily" with 399,649 listens, up 11,888 but down a rank.
4 - World Service "World News Bulletin" with 259,375 listens, up 102,750 and up a rank.
5 - World Service "The World Today Select" with 196,508 listens, up 20,277 but down a rank;
Amongst weekly podcasts cum MP3s the top five were:
1 - Radio 1 - The "Best of Moyles" with 574,067 listens, up 156,816.
2 - Radio 4 "From our own Correspondent" with 258,534 listens, up 111,133.
3 - Radio Five Live "Mark Kermode's Film Reviews" with 165,329 listens, up 31683 and up from fifth.
4 - 6 Music "Russell Brand" with 140,440 listens, up 30,061 and up from sixth.
5 - World Service "Digital Planet" with 99,167 listens, down 10161 but up from seventh.
Previous BBC Online figures:
2006-11-06: In the ultimate analysis in our view it's what on the radio that matters most, a view it would appear that is shared by Gillian Reynolds, whose UK Telegraph column leads off this week's look at print comment on the media.
She noted the successes highlighted in coverage of the latest British radio ratings and then continues: "Nobody mentioned Five Live Sports Extra, whose audience clearly leaped at uninterrupted Test Match Special, or World Service (with the biggest UK audience of any of the BBC digitals), or how well two of the commercial services, The Hits and Smash Hits, are doing, or the solid success of the Asian Network I mention all this to support my convinced opinion: that people listen for what is being broadcast more than for the quality of its sound. Both are important. Content is what conquers."
Reynolds notes quality issues with digital but considers that content matters more, writing, "I've had letters this year, quite rightly complaining about the reduction of bit rate on digital transmissions, which means that, for services such as Radio 3, the promise of "CD-quality sound" is not being kept. A proper aerial produces as good a sound, if not better, from FM, providing you stay still while listening and don't cross the signal to produce that squoosh whoosh effect. Digital radio gives clear sound more consistently but what truly endears it is the wider choice of listening it brings."
That wider choice, we would suggest, lies behind much of the success of satellite radio in the US - boosted there, of course, by offering programming without advertisements - and we have seen comparatively little effort devoted by the US commercial radio industry to providing a truly wider choice of listening to compete with those offerings.
Instead the industry, as represented by the NAB (the National Association of Broadcasters) has been putting its efforts into trying to deny that choice to listeners. The current attacks are being made in terms of both technology and content and in the case of one issue, that of interference from transmitters used to move a signal from a portable player or satellite receiver to an automobile FM, the NAB has been joined by National Public Radio (NPR) as we reported last month (See RNW Oct 27).
The actions of the terrestrial players were summed up in a report "Shooting Down Satellite Radio" by Olga Kharif in Business Week that had the sub-heading, "Terrestrial broadcasters are going for an FCC-aided kill in their long-raging fight with XM and Sirius."
Kharif picks up the calls from the NAB and NPR to investigate interference from interference from FM modulators, an area where we think there is a significant problem and also other issues raised by NAB where we think the evidence is of the NAB trying to protect its members irrespective of, or at times at variance with, the wider public interest.
Kharif in this context notes the action of the NAB in seeking to influence the FCC to prevent XM from acquiring wireless licences through the purchase of WCS Wireless, Inc (See RNW Aug 5, 2005) that would allow it to provide new services and also issues with the satellite radio companies' terrestrial repeaters and offers of free trial subscriptions (See RNW Oct 25).
She quotes Tom Watts, an analyst with Cowen & Co. (COWN) as saying, "The NAB has tried to kill satellite radio from the beginning. Because the FCC has listened, broadcasters are using the regulators as a weapon now." That's proving easier, however, since XM and Sirius have recently admitted to some of the violations-which is partially why the terrestrial broadcasters are taking their fight further in this latest skirmish."
She also quotes from the NAB letter an implicit call for licences to be revoked - NAB spokesman Derek Wharton said the satellite companies had displayed "a lack of candour in dealing with the FCC" concerning their terrestrial repeaters and added, "In such cases, a licensee can have the license taken away."
Speaking, it would appear from the same hymn sheet, Ted Taylor, editor of Clear Channel-owned "Inside Radio", says of the repeater problems that in an industry where terrestrial radio stations have followed FCC rules to the dot, the violations "bring into question the fitness of the licensee."
Kharif says the worst-case scenario is unlikely, although according to John Garziglia, a lawyer specializing in FCC issues at law firm Womble Carlyle in Washington, fines totalling tens of thousands of dollars could be levied.
The final issue is that of offers of free subscriptions concerning which NAB contends that these should subject satellite radio to the same FCC regulations as those governing terrestrial radio.
RNW comment: On the technical issues of interference and terrestrial repeaters there is a strong case for the FCC to take action as it does with breaches of technical rules by terrestrial broadcasters - meaning fines where appropriate as well as requiring companies to comply with regulations. If there were to be any question of licence revocation then we think the same should apply to the terrestrial companies and obviously to be equitable would have to apply to all the licences held by a corporate group. That from various breaches we have reported on would appear to mean a significant chance of giants including Clear Channel being out of the business and we do not think this is a likely scenario.
As regards free offers, we think the NAB is on very thin ice indeed. There can be no way a normally sentient human would not realise that the satellite radio provided does offer programming that is not on terrestrial radio and there is no way it can be tuned to in error in the way that can occur with a terrestrial station. We would therefore find it surprising were the courts to depart from precedent and allow the FCC to regulate content and rather hope that the FCC has enough intelligent humans to tell the NAB - politely of course - where to put itself on this issue.
Back to the UK and the world's longest running radio daily soap, which has been attracting adverse comment about racy storylines recently and on Sunday was the subject of a leader in The Observer.
The programme is, of course, "The Archers" on BBC Radio 4, the "racy" storyline concerns a continuing plot, in which David and Ruth Archer each contemplate being unfaithful, and the leader "Strewth Ruth" first notes the creation of the series as the "the best way to get across new theories about agricultural practice and animal husbandry."
It continues, "Well, it is husbandry of a different nature that concerns listeners to our oldest soap opera as it reaches its 15,000th episode on Tuesday evening. The warning now concerns not bovine TB, but the dangers of succumbing to the flesh. The lesson is that there are two kinds of people: those who give in to temptation and those with self-discipline. In other words, those who listen to The Archers in the evening and those who wait for the Sunday omnibus."
For those who are fans of the series the paper also carried a feature by Amelia Hill on the reaction of some of the residents of Inkberrow, whose village pub the Old Bull was the inspiration for the fictional Bull in the Archers, to the storyline.
Parish councillor Richard Hocknell, who has run a dairy farm in the village for 30 years, commented, "We used to be honoured by our connection with The Archers, but now I have to admit it's more of an embarrassment."
On the other hand, publican Alan McKendrick, who took over management of the Bull just before The Archers' 50th anniversary, is far more tolerant.
"'I know there are complaints about the various shenanigans that are going on in the programme at the moment, but anyone who thinks people don't get up to naughty stuff in villages wants to come and spend a few days here,' he said, pointing to the News of the World front page 30 years ago that uncovered a wife-swapping club in the village.
Finally changes planned for BBC Radio 3 about which UK Sunday Times radio columnist Paul Donovan is not happy and which formed the theme of his Radio Waves column on Sunday.
Donovan says of the changes that the "key ingredient of the new schedule, in my view, is its increased use of the BBC's own orchestras and singers. As members of staff, they do not have to be paid any extra, however much of their recordings is used on air. Programmes featuring them are therefore much cheaper than those that employ outside experts."
"This," he continues, "will enable Radio 3 to implement some of its efficiency savings, which all parts of the BBC (which is also losing 3,000 posts) are now having to make. Radio 3 knows that it is an expensive service to run (GBP 31 million - USD 59 million per year, plus another GBP 28 million - USD 53 million - for the orchestras) in relation to its tiny audience of 2 million."
Donovan then express puzzlement over one change, "The reduction of live concert broadcasts, which Radio 3 confirmed 12 days ago without giving any details, seems the oddest thing of all, given its oft-proclaimed and admirable commitment to live music."
And finally he counsels, "Those keen to make representations should not approach Wright. Although a decent man, his mind is made up, and he wants to inform, not consult. They should write instead to the BBC's chairman, Michael Grade."
On then to suggested listening and first BBC Radio 3 and two shows that will go under the planned changes: "Brian Kay's Light Programme" on Thursday at 16:00 GMT - a selection of light classics - and "3 for All", also hosted by Kay on Sunday at the same time.
Then music of a different temp from BBC Radio 2 tomorrow at 20:30 GMT and the second and final programme of "The Birth of British Rock 'n' Roll ": It is preceded at 19:00 GMT with Bob Harris's round-up of the 40th Annual Country Music Association Awards.
And then back to BBC Radio 3 for "Jazz File", which on Saturday aired the final programme in Michael Point's three-part "Black British Swing" that looked at the history of black and mixed British swing bands that prospered from as early as 1917 through to the 1950s.
Also from BBC Radio 4 we suggest "Palace of Laughter, Stateside" tonight at 23:00 GMT, a series about American vaudeville presented by Charles Wheeler. Tonight's programme is set in Memphis.
After music, drama, and "Drama on 3", which marks Remembrance Sunday next week with "In Parenthesis" a dramatization of David Jones's epic war poem about the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, most of whom died in the Battle of the Somme in the First World War.
Then poetry as such and "Poetry Please", which at 16:30 GMT on BBC Radio 4 next Sunday also marks Remembrance Day: In this case Roger McGough presents poems by Pablo Neruda, Evangeline Patterson Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and Alun Lewis.
Also with poetry, last weekend's Vox Humana from Radio Netherlands featured Seamus Heaney, the 1995 Nobel literature prize winner, talking with Perro de Jong at the 2006 Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam about his latest book of poetry "District and Circle" the importance of remembering history, and his finally writing about the Second World War.
On then to religion and this time a perspective from "The Science Show"on Australia's Radio National which on Sunday in "The Science Show versus God" featured Richard Dawkins talking about why he rejects religion.
The programme ties in nearly with another science programme from Radio National, "Ockham's Razor", which on Sunday featured retired Sydney solicitor Peter Tesoriero considering disasters and the differences between those who seek scientific explanation for such phenomena as earthquakes and tsunamis and those who put them down to God's punishment.
Finally, to end on, some light relief and comedy from BBC Radio 4 last Friday when the 18:30 GMT comedy slot featured a One-off special of the "Absolute Power" featuring Stephen Fry and John Bird.
Business Week- Kharif:
UK Observer - leader re The Archers:
UK Observer - Hill:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Telegraph - Reynolds:
2006-11-06: Christmas, it used to be said, comes but once a year but the time at which it arrives seems to be getting earlier - it's already here on Chicago radio where Robert Feder reports in his Chicago Sun-Times column that WLIT-FM switched from adult contemporary to all-Christmas music on Thursday last week, annual switch that gives the station its highest ratings of the year.
Feder, who notes that Clear Channel has been lining up advertisers "teasing" the move in on-air promos for a while, says this is the earliest switch yet and quotes Darren Davis, vice president of programming and operations for Clear Channel Chicago as saying, "When I saw a snowflake this morning, that's when I decided. I hadn't planned on it. It just felt right."
The columnist then continues, "A recent dip in the ratings no doubt played as big a part as the weather in prompting the early start to the holiday cheer. (Last year's start date was Nov. 18.)"
RNW note: Although this is an early switch for Chicago, the station is not alone in the US in providing Christmas music well before the event. Mike's Radio World when we last checked was already listing three Christmas offerings from terrestrial channels - Bonneville's KSFI-FM and Clear Channel's KOSY-FM in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Saga's WSNY-FM in Columbus, Ohio, as well as five Internet-only stations.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder report:
Mike's Radio World Christmas music station list:
2006-11-05: Last week was very quiet for the regulators with for the first time we can recall in recent memory no significant radio-related decisions from Canada and not a great deal elsewhere.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has invited applications for 28 high powered open narrowcasting radio services to serve areas in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
A reserve price of AUD 4,000 (USD 3,080) has been set for the Canberra licence and AUD 2,000 (USD 1,540) each for the remaining 27 licences. The licences will be issued to the highest bidder or, where there is one application, at the reserve price.
The areas covered by the licence are:
Australian Capital Territory - Canberra:
New South Wales - Balranald; Brewarrina; Henty; Wakool; and Wilcannia.
Queensland - Bedourie; Birdsville; and Quilpie.
South Australia - Woomera.
Western Australia - Beagle Bay; Carnamah; Coorow; Cue; Fitzroy Crossing; Jerramungup; Hopetoun; Lake Grace; Marble Bar; Mingenew; Morawa; Mullewa; Pannawonica; Perenjori; Ravensthorpe; Telfer; Three Springs; and Wiluna.
As already noted, we spotted no radio-related decisions from Canada and the situation was the same from Ireland whilst in the UK Ofcom was more concerned with personnel and spectrum than with broadcast radio.
On the former front it announced that its chief policy officer, Kip Meek is to leave early next year (See RNW Nov 3).
Ofcom also announced that it had received nine submissions in relation to its proposals for simplified fees that encourage online licensing for ships and amateur's licences that are due to come into effect on December 1.
It says that all concerned Amateur Radio licences, most relating to lifetime licences and others to a fear that the changes could lead to further deregulation with the result that amateur frequencies would not be safeguarded. Ofcom says none justified reconsideration of the proposals, which now go ahead.
It also published a note following a workshop and issues raised in its consultation that updates its plans to move forward on Spectrum Usage Rights (SURs), in particular noting that clarification of various detailed regulatory and technical issues associated with the practical application of SURs would be best handled by applying SURs to new licences rather than varying existing ones. It added that it is likely that either or both of the 1452-1492MHz or 2500-2690MHz awards will present a suitable opportunity.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been pressed by Wisconsin Democrat Senator Russ Feingold over the status of the agency's investigation into possible violations of "payola" legislation (See RNW Nov 3) and is also seeking comment on possible measures to reduce migratory bird collisions with communications towers (see below).
The FCC has also been involved in decisions regarding broadband that could significantly affect its future development, a matter that could affect radio listening through the Internet as wireless broadband offerings expand.
In one decision it declared declares Broadband over Power Line (BPL)-enabled Internet access service to be an information service thus putting it on an equal regulatory footing with other broadband services. In another it granted a petition from Continental Airlines, which had appealed against a decision it said had come from the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), the owner of Logan Airport, to ban use of a Wi-Fi antenna within its lounge at Boston-Logan International Airport.
The FCC said that the commissions Over-the-Air Reception Devices (OTARD) rules took precedence and allowed use of the Wi-Fi.
The decision was welcomed by Democrat Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps as re-affirming what Copps termed the Commission's "dedication to promoting the widespread deployment of unlicensed Wi-Fi devices" and both noted that the success of Wi-Fi so far on the basis of unregulated use with a trade-off that operators had to risk interference from others offering Wi-Fi in a location.
Regarding radio licensing it has adopted a Report and Order that would allow a one-step system to allow requests to change AM and FM station communities of license by eliminating the rulemaking step for FM requests and the auction application step for AM requests: The new system would allow changes through first-come/first-served minor modification applications. In this case statements of support were issued by Republican commissioners Deborah T. Tate and Robert M. McDowell.
Tate said the changes promised to "promise to ease administrative burdens on Commission staff, substantially reduce regulatory delays experienced by licensees, and, most importantly, benefit the public by expediting improved radio service" and McDowell, although welcoming the move said he was "disappointed that the Order is not more de-regulatory with respect to notice issues."
In specific licensing decisions the FCC has announced a consent decree with Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation that resolves public file issues relating to the licences of three Pennsylvania stations on the basis of a USD 40,000 penalty and the institution and maintenance for three years by the licensee of a Compliance Plan for the stations.
These are WAMO-AM, Millvale; WPGR-AM, Monroeville; and WGSM-FM, Greensburg and the plan includes requirements that program hosts and other appropriate staff of the Stations will log all broadcasts of public affairs programming, compile the logs into quarterly issues/programs lists and place these in the public file of each of the stations: Should there be any late filings, these lists will be reviewed and signed by the Stations' management and accompanied with a statement indicating the nature of the document, the date placed in the public file, and the reason for the late filing.
On the enforcement front the FCC confirmed a penalty of USD 15,000 on a Puerto Rican AM (See RNW Nov 4) and also levied a USD 11,200 - reduced from an initial USD 14,000 made up of USD 7,000 each for the transmission and reception equipment - on a UK Company for marketing unauthorized radio frequency devices in the United States. Vitec Group Communications Limited of Cambridge was said to have advertised its unapproved digital wireless intercom system called the "CellCom Digital Wireless Intercom" in the April 2005 issue of Broadcast Engineering and also displayed it at the 2005 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Vitek had said that it obtained equipment certifications covering its digital wireless intercom system on November 2, 2005 and that it did not sell or distribute the product in the United States prior to the grant of the certifications but acknowledged the advertising and display at NAB which it said was aimed at marketing the "product prior to launch."
It had argued for cancellation on the basis that pre-certification advertising was not in breach of the rules and also said that if there is a basis for forfeiture the amount proposed was excessive.
The FCC agreed a reduction to USD 11,200 on the basis of a history of compliance but rejected the other arguments.
In California, the FCC has conditionally allowed an application by of San Diego Community College District, licensee of non commercial educational KSDS-FM, San Diego, to increase its power from 0.83 watts to 22kW and change it from class A to Class B1.
The application was opposed by Bay City Television, Inc., the programming and sales representative for Radio Televisión, S.A. de C.V., licensee of XETV, Channel 6, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, on the basis of likely interference with its signal. Subsequently following negotiations various tests were conducted and the FCC has allowed the KSDS application on the basis that the College takes "reasonable steps to assist XETV viewers in San Diego in mitigating interference from KSDS operations in accordance with this authorization and providing copies of all interference complaints it cannot resolve to the Audio Division, Media Bureau."
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-11-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which three years ago released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) that sought information on the impact of communications towers on migratory birds (See RNW Aug 22, 2003) following a lawsuit filed earlier that year (See RNW Feb 24, 2003), has now adopted a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that seeks comment on whether the FCC should take measures to reduce the number of migratory bird collisions with communications towers.
Following the earlier NOI the agency's wireless bureau announced that the state of Michigan is to initiate a study assessing the impact of communications towers on migratory birds (See RNW Sep 18, 2003) but in April this year it dismissed or denied most of a 2002 petition filed by the Forest Conservation Council, American Bird Conservancy and Friends of the Earth that claimed that its policies in relation to tower construction in the Gulf Coast region, which it says is critically important for migratory birds, breached various environmental statutes (See RNW Apr 18).
The latest notice seeks comment amongst other things on the FCC's legal authority to adopt regulations related to migratory bird collisions with towers regarding to which it has tentatively concluded that its obligation under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to consider the environmental effects of the actions it authorizes may provide a basis for such regulations.
It is also seeking information on the role of tower lighting on migratory bird collisions in relation to which it says medium intensity white strobe lights at night are preferred over red obstruction lighting systems, to the extent possible without compromising aircraft navigation safety, and of the role of other factors such as tower height, tower location, the use of guy wires and the collocation of new antennas on existing towers - on migratory bird collisions.
The move was welcomed in separate statements by three commissioners, Democrats Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps and Republican Robert M. McDowell.
Adelstein said the item represented a "balanced look on a challenging issue", noting that migratory birds are "a prized natural resource" and that "communication towers represent a critical component in the continued deployment of basic and advanced telecommunications services throughout the country. " He specifically said that in his view the Commission, had "authority under the NEPA and the Communications Act to take action, if appropriate."
Copps in his statement noted the scale of the problem saying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tells us that millions of birds, perhaps as many as 50 million, die each year through such accidents and said that "Put bluntly, for too many years this agency treated a widely-recognized problem with not-so-benign neglect. "
McDowell, who noted that he grew up in a rural setting in Virginia, said he looked "forward to working closely with my colleagues and all stakeholders to ensure that the Commission moves forward to carefully balance the need to protect against avian mortalities associated with communications towers, while not unduly hampering the ability of industry to deliver new, advanced services to American consumers as quickly and economically as possible. "
2006-11-04: In more US radio results Entercom's revenues are down and those of Regent more or less flat, reflecting the pattern of other recent results.
Entercom reported a 1% decline in net revenues to USD 114.3 million which combined with a 2% increase in station operating expenses to USD 64.3 million cut net income, which was down 26.8% to USD 16.2 million ( from 48 cents to 41 cents per basic and diluted share).
Entercom noted that during the quarter it also had higher interest expenses, recognized a USD 1 million loss in connection with the relocation and consolidation of the studio and office facilities in the company's Kansas City market, and was also adversely impacted by an increase in non-cash compensation expense of USD 1.6 million, USD 400,000 relating to station operating expense and USD 1.2 million to corporate general and administrative expenses.
Same station revenues were down 2%, also to USD 114.3 million, and same station operating expenses flat at USD 64.3 million with same station operating income down 5% to USD 50 million.
For the year to date, net revenues were down 2.1% to USD 321.9 million with Station Operating Expenses (Excluding Non-Cash Compensation Expense) up 1.4% to USD 189.8 million and station Non-Cash Compensation Expenses of USD 678,000 - nil in 2005. Overall operating income was down 16.3% to USD 99.7 million with net income down 34.4% to USD 41.1 million (from USD 1.35 per basic and USD 1.34 per diluted share to USD 1.02 per basic and diluted share).
President and CEO David J. Field said of the performance and current situation, "Entercom's prospects have brightened during the past sixty days due to improving industry conditions and operating performance. Third quarter results improved sequentially as same-station revenues declined 2% while costs were held flat as we continued to demonstrate disciplined expense management. We anticipate materially stronger results in the fourth quarter due to accelerating business conditions, significant growth from our investments in new brands and content and escalating business development revenues. The improving results are broad-based with significant revenue growth expected in the vast majority of our markets in the fourth quarter."
Entercom has just commenced operations under a Time Brokerage Agreement of 11 stations in Austin, Texas, Memphis, Tennessee and Cincinnati, Ohio, that are among 15 stations it is purchasing from CBS for USD 262 million (See RNW Aug 22). It has subsequently agreed to exchange one Cincinnati station acquired from CBS - WRGG-FM - for Cumulus's WPRV-FM (including certain intellectual property of WYGY-FM) and the two companies have now commenced operations of their new stations under a Time Brokerage Agreement. On completion of the transactions, Entercom will have four stations in the Cincinnati market.
Looking ahead, Entercom says it expects fourth quarter same station net revenues to increase by mid single digits same station operating expenses (excluding non-cash equity compensation expense noted below) to increase approximately 3% percent year-on-year.
Regent reported net broadcast revenues up 0.3% to USD 21.2 million but station operating expenses were up 6.5% to USD 14.1 million and net income was down 42.9% to USD 800,000 (from 3 cents to 2 cents per share, including the effects of a one time loss of USD 1.84 million or 0.3 cents per share attributable to the sale of three stations in the Peoria, Illinois market). Same station net broadcast revenues were up 0.7% to USD 20.4 million.
For the first nine months of the year net broadcast revenues were effectively flat - up USD 207,000 to USD 59.4 million, operating expenses were up 5.7% to USD 41.4 million and net income was down 27.4% to USD 2.9 million ( From nine cents to seven cents per share).
President and CEO Bill Stakelin said the results met guidance and added, "Our ability to consistently outperform the industry highlights the power of our station brands in the nation's mid-sized radio markets. During the quarter, we continued to invest in our content, sales and digital distribution, while operating as efficiently as possible. In addition, we remained active in the M&A market with the goal of further maximizing our assets to the benefit of our shareholders."
Regent is also buying stations from CBS, in this case five stations in Buffalo, New York, for USD 125 million (See RNW Sep 6), an acquisition that Stakelin said was of a "a well-run, profitable cluster of stations that has generated consistent revenue growth ahead of the industry year-in and year-out, but still presents upside opportunity."
"Given our clusters in Albany, Utica/Rome and Watertown, our entry into Buffalo will solidify our presence in Upstate New York and provide us with ample opportunities to pursue regional sales opportunities," he added.
Regarding Regent transactions Stakelin commented , "The Buffalo transaction follows the announcement of our pending acquisition in Albany, which will add our sixth station in that market, our recent station upgrades in Peoria, which greatly improved our strategic position in that market, and the pending sale of our mature station clusters serving Chico and Redding, California. We are confident that these strategic transactions will increase our growth profile."
Looking ahead, Regent says that, excluding the results of the Redding and Chico markets in California - their results will be accounted for in discontinued operations - it projects fourth quarter 2006 reported consolidated net broadcast revenues and station operating income of approximately USD 25.4 to USD 25.8 million and USD 9.3 to USD 9.6 million, respectively. Regent expects earnings per share to be 11 cents per share.
2006-11-04: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a penalty of USD 15,000 on a Puerto Rican AM for failure to enclose an antenna tower having radio frequency potential at the base within an effective locked fence, its failure to make available a complete public inspection file, and its failure to operate its station in accordance with the terms of its station authorization.
A Radio Company, Inc., licensee of WEGA-AM, Vega Baja, did not dispute that there was no fence round the tower and that there was a hole in the perimeter fence round its tower but asked for a reduction, saying that the nearby sewage treatment plant flooded the area, creating a swampy area around the tower, which contains leeches and an occasional crocodile and that this serves as an effective locked fence around the tower. It also argued that vandals made it impossible to maintain an intact perimeter fence
The FCC accepted that the conditions might be a deterrent but said this did not justify a reduction.
Regarding failure to operate within terms of authorization and maintain a public file, the licensee said it acquired the station in a state of serious disrepair but the FCC again did not accept that this justified a reduction, saying that A Radio should have researched the station's condition prior to purchasing it and could have insisted the previous owner correct any violations prior to consummation of the sale. It confirmed the full penalty.
2006-11-04: Entercom has fired Boston WRKO-AM morning host John DePetro for calling Green Party gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a "fat lesbian" on his show on Thursday, a move that the host told the Boston Herald left him "stunned and very disappointed."
A statement from Entercom Boston's vice president of AM programming and operations Jason Wolfe said of the action, "In the context of what he said and the tone with which he said it, the comments were completely inappropriate, derogatory and will not be tolerated. I met with our corporate staff last night after listening to the tapes, and we decided to terminate John at that meeting. I informed him of that decision this morning."
He added, "I had told John after his suspension in July for describing then Massachusetts Turnpike Chairman Matthew J. Amorello with a homosexual slur [he called him a "fag"- See RNW Jul 24] that any further comments of this kind would be dealt with in a severe way. .. I have no doubt that terminating John's employment was the right action to take."
Of Entercom's position Wolfe said, "WRKO believes that talk radio is an informative media that benefits all of us by providing a forum for public discussion. However, there is no place at WRKO for the use of such inappropriate references as made by John. WRKO regrets the reference to Grace Ross."
The Herald has posted an MP3 of the audio in which DePetro says, "I could go now a lifetime without Grace Ross. She has nerve. This whole business of you know, 'Well since we're being ignored. . . .' No, you're irrelevant. Get off the stage. I couldn't stand her at the end. At one point I was about to yell, 'Will somebody tell that fat lesbian to shut up!' "
He said of the comments he didn't break any Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and told the paper, "It seems to be selective punishment. There wasn't obscene language used. It was a throwaway two-second comment that I apologized for I was voicing on the air my frustration of watching the debate with four (candidates) instead of two. I didn't mean anything mean-spirited. She knows I like her."
Ross said the comment was "offensive" and added as regards the firing "They run their own business. They have to set a standard and that's fine" whilst Massachusetts lieutenant governor Republican Kerry Healey, who has been the candidate of choice among most of WRKO's right-leaning hosts, called DePetro's comments "inappropriate".
The WRKO web site on Friday carried a link to the Herald report and in its schedule listed the host for the weekday morning show as "TBA".
RNW comment:We commented at the time of the July suspension that DePetro's comments at the time that they reflected a lot about both the host and his audience. The comment seems doubly true and either he is prejudiced or is commenting to gain support from a prejudiced audience.
Street cleaning rather than radio show hosting would seem appropriate future employment for DePetro as long as those prejudices or the attitude of exploiting them, whichever fits most, remain.
Boston Herald report:
Boston Herald - MP3 of comments:
2006-11-03: US Radio revenues in September just released by the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) were down 2% on a year ago and for the third quarter and nine months were flat.
Within the figures September national revenues were down 1%; local revenues were down 3%; and total local and national revenues were down 35 but non spot revenues were up 11%
For the third quarter national revenues were up 5%; local revenues were down 2%; total local and national revenues were down 1%; and non spot revenues were up 11% and for the first three quarters national revenues were up 2%; local revenues were down 2%; total local and national revenues were down 1%; and non spot revenues were up 9%.
RAB's Sales Indexes, which equate pre-dot.com boom base year 1998 to 100 for September, were 135.6 for local; 147.4 for national and total combined national and local 138.5 whilst for the year so far they are 138.9 for local; 145.8 for national and 140.3 for combined local and national.
Previous RAB and RAB figures:
2006-11-03: In a run of results reported Thursday radio proved a weak spot for most companies although Univision still managed to grow radio revenues if not by as much as for its TV operations.
CBS Corporation reported third quarter revenues up marginally from USD 3.372 billion to USD 3.379 billion with radio proving the weakest division. Its revenues were down 6% to USD 508.1 million compared to TV revenues down marginally from USD 2.155 billion to USD 2.151 billion, outdoor revenues up 9% to USD 536.2 million and publishing up 2% to USD 197.4 million.
For the first nine months of the year the picture was similar with total revenues up 1% to USD 10.437 billion within which radio was down 7% to USD 1.462 billion; TV was up 1% to USD 6.926 billion; outdoor was up 7% to USD 1.523 billion and publishing was up 5% to USD 544.5 million.
Net earnings from continuing operations for the quarter were up 26% to USD 323.6 million (earnings per diluted share from continuing operations rose from 33 cents to 42 cents) with discontinued operations reflecting a net loss of US 6.7 million (One cent per diluted share) compared to net earnings of USD 451.6 million (57 cents per diluted share) a year earlier.
The radio figures include stock-based compensation of USD 3.8 million for the third quarter this year compared to USD 700,000 a year earlier.
Executive chairman Sumner Redstone said CBS was "right on track" and added, "We remain committed to escalating shareholder value as we continue to drive our businesses forward. I am encouraged by the strategic vision Leslie (President and CEO Leslie Moonves) and his team have put forth to capitalize upon the tremendous opportunities unfolding in the digital age."
Moonves added, "This was another strong quarter, posting solid profit increases in Television and Outdoor, generating significant free cash flow, and delivering the third of three dividend increases since the start of the year."
On radio he commented that CBS's plan "to strategically reduce the number of markets in which we operate is well underway We have signed agreements to sell 29 stations for a terrific value [RNW Note: CBS put stations in ten markets on the block in May and so far has sold in eight for some USD 570 million. Moonves said on the company's conference call that he still expects to sell in the two other markets.]. We also believe that the growth we're seeing in key formats such as JACK, Spanish and Talk bodes well for improved performance at Radio in 2007."
Entravision reported net revenues for the quarter up 4% to USD 78.3 million with Consolidated adjusted EBITDA up 6% to USD 28.4 million but its net loss was also up - from USD 12.8 million a year earlier to USD 108 million although it cautions that these figures are subject to change.
Entravision notes that there was an understatement of income tax expense in some USD 6.5 million in its second quarter, resulting in an overstatement of net income applicable to common shareholders and that the third quarter's results reflect correction of the error. The company says it is still evaluating whether it will have to re-state its second quarter figures.
Year-to-date figure are not affected by it and Entravision says that for the first nine months of the year its net revenues are up 5% to USD 217.5 million, Consolidated adjusted EBITDA is up 10% to USD 74.4 million and its net loss went from USD 13.1 million to USD 156 million with net loss per basic and diluted share applicable to common stockholders up from 11 cents to USD 1.46.
In divisional terms pro-forma figures show TV revenues in the third quarter up 8% to USD 40.8 million, radio up 4% to USD 27.5 million and Outdoor up 7% to USD 10.0 million
Chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa said of the performance, "The growing demand for Spanish-language media from both viewers and advertisers continues to drive our results. Further, we are benefiting from the adoption of new audience measurement methodologies, the 2006 elections and investments in our asset base, specifically our research and sales functions, which strengthen our ability to capitalize on our expanding audience shares. With prudent cost controls and a highly leverageable operating platform, we are in a strong position to generate additional cash flows."
He added, "We are actively pursuing and investing in new opportunities across our business segments and with sound operating fundamentals and the growth of the Spanish language market, we expect to continue to outperform our industry segments. Finally, our Board's approval of a USD 100 million share repurchase program strengthens our strategic flexibility as we seek avenues to enhance shareholder value."
Radio One Inc. reported net broadcast revenue for the third quarter down 2% to USD 99.1million but station operating income was up 2% to USD 48.5 million whilst operating income was down 6% to USD 35.9 million and net income applicable to common stockholders was down 30.4% to USD 8 million (from 11 cents to 8 cents per diluted share).
For the year to date net broadcast revenue is down marginally from USD 278.1 million to USD 277.9 million, operating income was down 17.5 % to USD 93.4 million and net income applicable to common stockholders was down 51% to USD 18.73 million (From 36 cents to 19 cents per diluted share).
President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III, put a positive spin on the figures, commenting, "This quarter was a fairly decent one, with the exception of our continuing poor performance in Los Angeles and some softness in Atlanta. In fact, if our LA radio station had performed in line with market industry results, we would have outperformed the radio industry for the quarter. We are working hard to correct our problems in these two locations and recently made significant senior level personnel changes in each of these markets. While we continue to have a lot of work to do, we are optimistic that 2007 will be a year of growth and renewal after what has been the most challenging year we have faced in our 25-year history."
Saga Communications reported third quarter net operating revenue down USD 200,000 for the quarter to USD 35.8 million with operating income down 1.4% to USD 7.8 million and net income down USD 200,000 to USD 3.3 million( 16 cents per fully diluted share). Same station operating revenue was down 0.5% to USD 35.8 million and same station operating income was flat at USD 7.9 million whilst station operating expenses were down 1.7% to USD 25.7 million.
For the first nine months Saga's net operating income was down 0.6% to USD 104.7 million, operating income was down 2.9% to USD 21.2 million and net income was up 1.1% to USD 8.8 million (from 42 cents to 43 cents per fully diluted share). Same station operating revenue was down 1.5% to USD 102.7 million and same station operating income was down 3% at USD 21 million and station operating expenses were down 2.1 % to USD 75 million.
Univision reported a 7.8% increase in net revenue to USD 536.1 million with pro forma operating income before depreciation and amortization up 12.2% to USD 202.5 million in 2006 from USD 180.5 million in 2005; Pro forma net income up 22.2% to USD 96.8 million in 2006 and pro forma diluted earnings per share up from 23 cents to 29 cents.
The increases were driven by its TV operations, which had revenues up 14.8% to USD 394.2 million, and pro forma operating income before depreciation and amortization up 23.3% compared to a 6.5% revenue increase to USD 103.2 million and pro forma operating income before depreciation and amortization up 1.7% to USD 42.3 million for radio. Music revenues were down from USD 50.8 million to USD 29.5 million and it went from pro forma operating income before depreciation and amortization of USD 9.4 million a year ago to a loss of USD 1.7 million this year and internet revenues were up 41.5% to UD 9.2 million with pro forma operating income before depreciation and amortization up from USD 100,000 to USD 2.3 million.
For the year to date net revenues were up to 11.6% to USD 162 billion within which TV Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization was up 24.5% to USD 463.1 million and radio was up 2.9% to USD 105.5 million
Chairman and CEO A. Jerrold Perenchio said it was "another successful quarter for Univision, as reflected in our strong financial performance and continuing ratings leadership" and added, "We are very pleased with the momentum we are experiencing in the key areas of our business, as we continue to benefit from the strength of our assets and the rapidly increasing interest in Spanish-language media in the U.S. We remain on track to complete the previously announced sale of Univision during the first quarter of 2007."
President and COO Ray Rodriguez added, "Univision continues to grow and deliver excellent results. The Univision Network further strengthened its competitive position, delivering more 18-34 year old viewers than at least one of the major English-language networks on four out of every five nights of the third quarter. TeleFutura delivered double-digit audience growth in primetime and total day among the major demographics, our radio group achieved another quarter of strong ratings results, and Univision.com was once again named the #1 Spanish-language website by Simmons Research."
In other US radio business, Emmis declared a special cash dividend of USD 4 per share, the first in the company's 25-year history. Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said the move demonstrated Emmis's "commitment to creating shareholder value and our enthusiasm about what lies ahead for our core radio and publishing businesses."
The company says it expects the dividend to be treated for tax purposes as approximately 35% return of capital and 65% dividend.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2006-11-03: BBC Radio 2 has hired comedian Russell Brand, credited with being a major factor in boosting the audience of the corporation's 6 Music digital station, to host a two-hour 21:00 to 23:00 Saturday night music show beginning on November 18.
Brand will leave 6 Music, where he currently presents a 3-hour Sunday morning live show - a move that led the British tabloid the Daily Star, which presumably had only half the story - to lead on Thursday with an "exclusive" story saying he was being axed by the station after bosses ruled him "too wild" for the BBC.
Russell in a BBC news release said he "had a brilliant time on 6 Music and I now can't wait for the challenge of Radio 2" and BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music controller Lesley Douglas added, "I'm sure Russell's new show will become a 'must listen' for Saturday nights."
"Russell established himself as a genuine radio talent on 6 Music and has done a brilliant job there," she said, "Radio 2 gives him a fresh challenge, and a new audience. He proved a hit with Radio 2 listeners when he stood in for Mark Radcliffe earlier this year."
Highlights of the show will be made available for download and podcast each week on the Radio 2 website and Russell will also be writing a weekly blog for the network: He is also working on a new comedy for Radio 2 to be broadcast next year.
Brand, who is 31 and hails from Essex, is a reformed drug addict who has been arrested 11 time: He was fired by MTV for dressing up as Osama bin Laden after the World Trade Centre attacks and has been in hot water for various other jokes.
The move, considered as one to bring in younger listeners, follows the earlier hiring of Chris Evans to present the station's weekday drive time programme (See RNW Mar 3) and like the Evans appointment has led to criticism of the hiring on the station's notice boards.
One comment read, "The list of programmes not to listen to grows ever longer" to which there was a response, " Sadly you are right. Brand, Ross, Evans, O'Leary...who can they get next? Smug irritating candidates only need apply" and yet another took up the issue of age, commenting, "Why can't 'our' generation (40s-50s) have a more appropriately mature R2 like previous decades did, instead of this R1.5"
2006-11-03: Arbitron says it is to delay reporting of non-Commercial and public stations that in September it had announced would be eligible for reporting in its local market ratings from the release of the Fall 2006 Survey (See RNW Sep 2).
The company says the it is revising its plans based on input received from the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council during the October 23-25 meeting held in Houston: The council requested Arbitron to delay reporting public and non-commercial stations in local market ratings until it was ready to report individual satellite radio channels and Internet radio channels.
When Arbitron announced that it was to include non-commercial stations in its rankings it said it expected to start rating satellite channels some time next year, saying the reason for the delay was that it needs to develop further rules governing diary entries on programming that could be satellite listening or over-the-air listening.
Public and non-commercial radio stations are currently reported in Arbitron's Maximi$er® and Media ProfessionalSM respondent level data services and in the special public radio service marketed by the Radio Research Consortium (RRC) and non-commercial stations are also currently reported in Arbitron's national radio ratings services such as Nationwide and the National/Regional Database (NRD).
RNW comment: Are we being cynical or accurate when we suggest the reason for the delay is most likely to be nothing to do with technical problems and everything to do with the fact that showing ratings for public and non-commercial stations could affect the ratings - and thus advertising revenues - of commercial stations, who after all are Arbitron's main source of income.
In other words he who pays the piper calls the tune - and forget accuracy and comprehensive reporting if this affects bottom lines.
2006-11-03: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced that its Ofcom's chief policy officer, Kip Meek is to leave early next year. He joined the Ofcom Board in 2003 and is responsible for Ofcom's content and standards, legal and international functions. He is also Chairman of the independent European Regulators' Group (ERG) - a post he holds until January 2007 - in which role he leads the work of 33 national regulatory authorities in advising the European Commission on the regulation of electronic communications markets.
Ofcom Chairman Lord David Currie said on behalf of its Board that he would like to express "our gratitude to Kip for his incisive leadership and significant policy achievements at Ofcom and, more widely, in Europe."
Meek said in a statement issued by Ofcom, "I have enjoyed my time at Ofcom immensely. However, with the completion of my term as ERG Chairman next year - and as my fifth year with Ofcom approaches - the time is right for me to move on."
Meek had been thought to be amongst those in the shortlist to succeed Stephen Carter as chief executive, a post that went to COO Ed Richards (See RNW Oct 6).
2006-11-03: Wisconsin Democrat Senator Russ Feingold has posted on his website a letter he has sent to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin asking about the status of the agency'sies investigation into possible violations of "payola" legislation.
In his letter Feingold notes the reliance by Americans on radio and asks about the FCC inquiry which has followed an inquiry by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer into payola practices that has already led to settlements with four major record labels and CBS Radio.
Feingold says in the letter: "The most recent incarnation of payola relies on a complicated web of questionable relationships between record labels, middlemen called independent promoters and radio station conglomerates that goes well beyond the bribery of DJs in the 1950s."
He then continues, "I understand that Attorney General Spitzer has been able to dedicate a relatively large full-time group of investigators to collect evidence about these complicated schemes. Considering the complexity of these relationships, I would like to know how many investigators you have been able to assign exclusively to this investigation."
Feingold also notes that although aim is still to "unfairly manipulate radio station playlists" some have claimed that their actions are beyond FCC jurisdiction and asks for a statement of the FCC's interpretation of current laws: He also refers to recent disclosure of possible manipulation buy two semi-independent labels distributed through Universal (See RNW Oct 26) and concludes that what is needed is "strong and broad enforcement of the law starting with a clear statement by the FCC that payola in these new forms will not be tolerated."
Feingold letter (2 page 908 kb PDF):
2006-11-02: The US Department of Justice has said that provided Entercom divests itself of some of its stations in the market it is suspending its investigation into Entercom's purchase of four stations in Rochester, New York, as part of its USD 262 million deal to buy 15 CBS stations in Rochester; Austin, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Memphis, Tennessee (See RNW Aug 22).
Entercom already owned four stations in the market - News/Talk WROC-AM plus country format WBEE-FM; "Best of the 70's & 80's" WBZA-FM; and "Random Radio" WFKL-FM - and under the deal is also acquiring four CBS FMs - AC WRMM-FM; Active/Alternative Rock WZNE-FM; CHR WPXY-FM ; and Classic Rock WCMF-FM, which according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle would have given it more than 57% of the radio advertising in the market.
The paper adds that Entercom initially said it planned to sell WRMM-FM and WZNE-FM plus WFKL-FM but that Michael Doyle, vice president and general manager of Entercom Rochester has said the decision on which stations to divest was not final.
He said the company would look at the marketability of each station as well as how it fits with the other Entercom stations and added, "There's not a bad station in the bunch."
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle report:
2006-11-02: Despite nearly doubling its operating profits over a year ago - up from GBP 5.1 million (USD 9.7 million) in 2005 to GBP 9.2 million (USD 17.6 million) in the year to the end of August - excluding goodwill and exceptional items they more than doubled from GBP 2.5 million (USD 4.8 million) to GBP 5.8 million (USD 11.1 million) on revenues down 1.3 % to GBP 131.9 million (USD 251.9 million) UK Chrysalis Group's shares ended Wednesday down 7.75% at 125 pence because of concerns after the group warned that the outlook was not rosy.
"As widely reported, the broadcast advertising market has, however, remained particularly challenging through the summer months, with no sign of any recovery into the autumn" it said, adding, "As a consequence, Chrysalis Radio has seen revenues decline by 12% for September and October, albeit against two of the strongest months of the prior year."
Chrysalis went on to say because of excellent ratings it was confident it could "deliver modest revenue growth for the remainder of our 2007 financial year as we exploit the strength of the Heart brand and its dominant position in the London and Midlands markets. This gives rise to a flat outlook for the radio division for the full year."
Chrysalis chief executive, Richard Huntingford expressed surprise about the fall, commenting that what was said about the figures for the last two months was not news: Of the results he commented, "In 2006, we have seen the benefits of our strategy of focusing on our radio and music businesses coming through as planned. In what has been a challenging year for the media industry, both Chrysalis Radio and Chrysalis Music have delivered growth in profits and outperformed their peers... While market conditions, particularly in radio, remain very challenging, we are confident that our businesses are well positioned to outperform the markets in which they operate during the current financial year."
Chairman Chris Wright said in his review that the group had reported a "a highly commendable set of results in what has been a tough year for all companies across the media sector" and added, "In spite of these adverse trading conditions, our results for the 2006 financial year are in line with the expectations we set 12 months ago and both businesses have outperformed their respective peers."
In divisional terms Chrysalis Radio like-for-like revenues, excluding Heart 106 in the East Midlands were flat, but overall they were up 4.3% at GBP 65.6 million (USD 125. 3 million) , a figure the company described as "an excellent performance in the context of a market which we believe to have been down in the region of 4%."
Chrysalis Radio EBITA was up 36% to GBP 10.2 million (USD 19.5 million) and on a like-for like basis was up 25.8% to GBP 9.2 million (USD 17.6 million).
Music division revenues, affected by the decision to downsize The Echo Label, were down 7.6% but profits were with EBITA rising 60% to GBP 5.6 million (USD 10.7 million) aided by a 21.7% increase in EBITA from Lasgo Chrysalis, its entertainment products distribution business.
2006-11-02: iBiquity Digital has announced that Brazilian broadcasters have formed the "Brazilian Alliance for Digital Radio" to promote and support the deployment of HD radio in the country, which already has 16 stations broadcasting in HD.
The new group is made up from major broadcast groups and the Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters (ABERT), the Association of Broadcasters of Sao Paulo.
Its Coordinator Acacio Costa said in the iBiquity release, "With such a strong base of broadcasters in place and many more stations planning to upgrade to HD Radio technology in the coming months, we felt the time was right to establish an alliance for broadcasters to share their experiences and to work collectively on promoting the technology."
He added that the Alliance already has close to 2,500 affiliated radio stations that will support its efforts and is also working closely with receiver manufacturers to support their product development and entry into the market."
iBiquity says that Brazil, and in general South America, has been among the leaders in the international rollout of HD Radio technology and notes that Chilean broadcast equipment manufacturer Continental Lensa has just become the first licensed HD Radio broadcast equipment manufacturer outside of North America.
Its President and CEO Robert Struble said of the move, "As the largest country in South America and a worldwide force in radio and television, Brazil has earned a reputation as a global leader in broadcasting. We believe Brazil's adoption of HD Radio technology will send a powerful message about the many benefits of this system -- both for broadcasters and listeners -- and inspire other countries to move forward with the adoption of the technology."
iBiquity then lists countries that have deployed or are testing HD, some of whom have introduced it on a very limited scale as in Thailand and others such as Australia where the decision seems to have been taken to introduce Eureka DAB as the main digital radio system although HD and DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) are also under consideration, primarily for country and regional stations where a wide area of signal coverage is required.
2006-11-02: Piquant-owned Air America Radio, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month (See RNW Oct 14) has received court approval court on an agreement for financing for the company through the end of the year providing it has agreed a sale by before according to an Associated Press report.
The report says the network's lawyer Tracy Klestadt told the court it was discussing a sale with seven different parties and was "very hopeful" of reaching a deal by Nov. 22, the day before Thanksgiving. She declined to say who the parties were.
The network is currently operating with financing from an investor group led by RealNetworks Inc. CEO Robert Glaser, who owns 36.7 percent of the company, and two other former board members: It needs to have a deal in place and to have filed a motion with the court by Nov. 22 seeking approval of the sale to guarantee that financing continue beyond that date.
Previous Piquant/Air America:
Houston Chonicle/AP report:
2006-11-02: SoundExchange, the US body that collects and distributes royalties to artists and record labels for music played on satellite radio or the internet - US terrestrial radio only pays royalties to songwriters and music publishers - wants to hike its charges to the satellite companies massively according to the Washington Post.
The paper says that it is asking Sirius and XM, both of which have yet to make a profit and which currently pay and estimated 6.5% to 7% of their revenues in royalties to increase the amount to at least 10% - or USD 1.10 per subscriber, whichever is higher - and gradually increase this to 23% or USD 2.75 per subscriber by 2012.
The satellite companies have offered less than 1% of revenues and say that "consumers, artists and the recording industry all benefit from satellite radio's multibillion-dollar investment in a dynamic new promotional platform for music" and oppose the idea that rates should increase over time.
John L. Simson, executive director of SoundExchange, responded by saying, "I'm not even sure that amount would pay the talent fees for Howard Stern's guests, and that's just insulting. It's clear that we are a major component of their success, and we ought to be treated as such."
The organizations says that ;last year it collected USD 43 million in royalties and expects this to rise to USD 55-60 million this year compared to around USD 780 million collected by music publishers and songwriters.
The satellite companies' current agreement expires at the end of this year and the Copyright Royalty Board, an arm of the Library of Congress, is to determine the rates the companies pay for the next six years.
RNW comment: In view of the regular comments about favoured treatment of the satellite radio companies, we wonder if US National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) President and CEO David Rehr, whose members benefit from a quirk in the system that in the US - not in most of the world - exempted broadcasters from paying royalties for the use of recordings as opposed to paying the composers and writers would like to go to bat for the satellite companies on this one: Purely in the interests of equal and fair treatment of course!
Washington Post report:
2006-11-01: Latest Australian radio ratings showed a significant percentage increase for DMG's Vega station, targeted at an older audience, albeit from a low starting point, but its Sydney sister station remained in the doldrums. Melbourne Vega increased its share from 1.8 to 2.8 and is now sixth from bottom as opposed to next to bottom in the previous survey.
The Sydney station, however, fared less well. It remained next to bottom although it took its share up from 1.7 to 2.0.
In Sydney, Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB retained its lead but Austereo's 2-DAY FM moved within range of it. The Alan Jones breakfast show for 2GB remained dominant in its time slot albeit its share was down from 15.6 to 14.5 whilst the 2-Day breakfast show increased its share from 9.9 to 11.7 in second rank and ABC 702 in third spot took its share up from 10.1 to 10.8.
2GB's commercial rival, Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE lost share from 9.9 to 9.7 and in the morning slot both 2GB with 12.8, down from 14.4, and 2UE with 7.8, down from 8.6, both lost share.
Commenting on the results Austereo chief executive officer Michael Anderson said its Sydney 2-Day and Melbourne Fox FM had posted "stellar" results and has been consistent market leaders.
"Together with SAFM, which has been the number one or two FM station in Adelaide throughout the year, and a resurgent B105 in Brisbane, the Today network is continuing to lead the way for the group," he said. "Both 2Day FM and Fox FM have tapped into their audiences this year with fantastic breakfast shows and a confident selection of hit music. They've shown the way and early indications of the trends over the past year would suggest we have growth ahead for B105, SAFM and 92.9 in Perth."
Austereo chairman Peter Harvie noted "exceptional" marketing by competitors and said its stations had "shrugged off the marketing attack and demonstrated consistency in audience results."
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA 16.1 (16.6) - same rank; Mix 14.8 (15.2) - same rank; SAFM 12.8 (15.0) - same rank.
Nova with 12.2 (11.5) remained fourth but is now within striking range of SAFM and ABC 891 in fifth rank took its share up from 10.7 to 11.5.
*Brisbane - Nova with 14.3 (15.0) - Same rank; Triple M with 12.1 (13.7) - same rank; 97.3 FM with 10.1 (10.7) - same rank.
*ABC 612 took its share up from 7.1 to 10.0 and is within striking range of 97.3.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 14.9 (16.0) - same rank; Fox FM with 12.5 (11.9) - up from third; Gold with 11.0 (10.3) - up from fourth.
*ABC 774 with 10.9 (12.7) was pushed down a rank to third;
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 17.4 (18.2) - same rank; Nova with 12.6 (11.8) up from third; 96FM with 11.6(14.3) - down from second;
*Sydney: 2GB 11.6 (13.0) - same rank; 2-DAY with 11.1 (9.7) - same rank; ABC 702 with 9.3 (9.4) - same rank.
*2UE with 8.3 (8.5) was up a rank to fourth followed by Triple M with Triple-M with 7.4 (8.6) -down a rank and then Nova remained sixth with 7.4 (7.5).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-11-01: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) chairman Charles Dalfen confirmed in a speech on Monday that he is to step down when his current term ends at the end of the year and will not seek another term in the post.
The CRTC advertised for a chairperson and member last week, saying of the chairperson's role that the post holder "establishes the corporate vision and values, defines the strategic priorities and plans and sets up the organization structure and operational systems and processes to guide the work of members and staff."
"This includes," it says, "assigning members to panels and providing strong functional direction and expertise to members to enhance their conduct of delegated Panel responsibilities and other areas of activity and to ensure executive direction of professional staff. He or she directs the development of policies, recommends their approval to the CRTC members and oversees their implementation."
The post is only open to a Canadian citizen who is ordinarily resident in the country and who is not involved in nor has a financial interest in a telecommunications company. CVs have to be submitted by November 6.
Dalfen was a top communications lawyer before he was recruited by the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien. When he spoke to reporters after appearing before the House of Commons heritage committee, he refused comment on the reasons for his decision.
2006-11-01: BBC London 94.9 breakfast co-host and former Heart FM breakfast co-host and also Virgin host Jono Coleman, who moved to the station in October last year to take over from Danny Baker (See RNW Oct 4, 2005) is to leave the station to return to Australia to care for his 81-years-old mother, Sylvia, who is to have a serious operation in January, according to the UK Guardian.
Coleman was born in Hackney in London but his family emigrated to Australia and he began his broadcasting career there. He was taken on by BBC London with a two-year contract after Baker, who left the station in May last year to write a film script: The BBC had wanted to hire him earlier but Chrysalis, who had replaced him on Heart with Jamie Theakston in April last year (See RNW Apr 18, 2005), insisted that he finish his contract.
The Guardian quoted BBC London managing editor David Robey as saying that Coleman's co-host Joanne Good will take over the slot until a replacement for Coleman is found and will continue to co-present the show with his replacement.
Of Coleman's decision Robey said, "Jono has made a personal decision to return to Australia with his family. (He and his wife Margot have two young children). Clearly this is a big blow for the station, just a year after the launch of the Jono and Jo breakfast show and with the programme going from strength to strength."
UK Guardian report:
2006-11-01: Australia's Macquarie Media Group (MMG) has denied suggestions that it could sell off its Macquarie Regional Radioworks business, saying that it is more likely to be a purchaser than a seller following the easing of Australian media ownership regulations.
Announcing its inaugural financial results covering the period to the end of June, MMG said overall it had pro-forma proportional EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of AUD 57.4 million (USD 44.4 million) after base management fees within which Macquarie Regional Radioworks had pro-forma revenues of AUD 148.3 million (USD 114.7 million) and EBITDA of AUD 55 million (USD 42.6 million) up 6.9% and 30.3% respectively on a year earlier.
It also reported revenues for its Taiwan Broadband Communications up 6.8% year on year to AUD 246 million (USD 190 million) and EBITDA up 9.9% to AUD 140.5 million (USD 108.6 million) .
Executive Chairman Tim Hughes said that its overall "very positive result has been achieved through strong operational performance at Macquarie Regional Radioworks and Taiwan Broadband Communications."
Regarding the radio business, Hughes said "MRR is probably the best performing asset in this country in terms of return on sales. It has a high EBITDA margin, it has got great growth prospects and we actually think the outcome of the recent changes might give us the opportunity to actually extend our reach in regional radio, not get out of it."
Managing director Alex Harvey added that the period had been one of "significant progress and achievement" and added that since it listed MMG had actively considered a large number of acquisition opportunities.
"Over the coming year, "he continued, "we will continue to proactively identify opportunities "for acquisitions that met its investment criteria in Australia and offshore.
MMG also announced the appointment of Liam Buckley, who joined Macquarie Bank in 2005, as its Chief Financial Officer.
Previous Macquarie Bank/Macquarie Regional Radioworks:
2006-11-01: Arbitron has announced that from the Winter 2007 its diary keepers will be able to use an Internet-based, electronic diary in place of the standard paper and pencil diary currently employed.
It says that tests indicate that eDiary keepers are likely to be younger and more likely to work and that the quality of entries is on a par with that found using paper. It expects at least one in twenty of its diary keepers to opt for the electronic diary and Ed Cohen, vice president, Domestic Research, Arbitron Inc. said the eDiary "has the potential to increase survey participation from younger adults, a population that currently tends to be under-represented among paper and pencil diary keepers."
The eDiary is an electronic form with boxes to enter time of listening, station, location of listening - at home, in a car, at work and in other places: It will display various error messages to raise alerts about possibly inaccuracies in the information entered.
2006-11-01: Following a delay after it on Thursday (GMT) last week halted the launch of the XM-4 satellite because of "off-nominal data from its automated launch support equipment" (See RNW Oct 28) Sea Launch, which put XM's first three satellites into orbit, has now its fourth into geosynchronous transfer orbit.
The lift-off eventually took place at 23:49 GMT on Monday and a ground station at Hartebeesthoek, near Pretoria, South Africa, has already acquired the first signal from the satellite in orbit.
The satellite now has to be positioned in its final orbit and will have a scheduled 15-year life with 18 kilowatts of total power at the beginning of its life.
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