December 2006 Archive
- November 2006 -January 2007 -
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 December comment - As the switch-off approaches for analogue TV we consider regulatory approaches for a digital age.
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.
2006-12-31: With some of the regulators taking a break until the New Year - there were no postings by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), the last week of the year was a fairly quiet one on the regulatory front.
In the UK Ofcom, after fairly busy year with paper work, issued just two radio postings - an extension until March 28th for applications for the Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire digital multiplex for which the original deadline was March 13 (See Licence News Dec 17) and an update of its sponsorship rules for radio and TV programming.
The current rules bar sponsorship of news bulletins and news desk presentations on radio and also sponsorship by those - such as tobacco companies - barred from advertising on a medium except for betting and gaming companies, which must not sponsor channels or programmes aimed at people under eighteen.
In addition sponsorship has to be clearly identified and a sponsor must not influence the content and/or scheduling of a channel or programme in such a way as to impair the responsibility and editorial independence of the broadcaster nor must there be "promotional reference to the sponsor, its name, trademark, image, activities, services or products or to any of its other direct or indirect interests" or generic promotional references whilst non-promotional references are permitted only where they are editorially justified and incidental.
For radio, the same rules apply to trails as to programmes; credits may contain legitimate advertising messages, except credits for betting and gaming companies, but must be cleared for broadcast in the same way as advertisements; and during longer sponsored output, credits must be broadcast as appropriate to create the degree of transparency required.
As we have already noted, during the year Ofcom, which says its "evidence-based approach" requires detailed consultation had a busy period with documentation releasing more than 700 documents including 217 regulatory bulletins, licensing documents and codes; 145 news releases; 115 smaller technical notifications/consultations; 92 major policy consultations; 80 regulatory statements; and 76 stand-alone research documents.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has also issued a large number of documents, boosting them at the end of the week with the posting of all its documentation relating to "to localism, media ownership, minority ownership and other related issues" - 42 PDF documents in all that is has posted with individual links or in a 30.6MB zipped file.
It also gave Entercom the go-ahead to take over Radio One's Boston station WKAF-FM - formerly WILD-FM - and denied what it termed a "significant number" of comments from listeners to the station asking it to bar the sale, re-iterating its policy not to policy that the Commission does not scrutinize or regulate programming formats
It also gave the go-ahead for a Texas deal in which nine investors in KFCD-AM and KHSE-AM, licensed to Farmersville and Wylie respectively, petitioned it to deny the sale of LFCD and the construction permit for KHSE by DFW Radio License, LLC to Bernard Dallas LLC.
The licence and CP were previously held by The Watch, Ltd. which entered a financing agreement with D.B. Zwirn Special Opportunities Fund, L.P. to "to facilitate Watch's emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy" and that also involved assignment of the licence and permit to Watch subsidiary DFW.
In spring last year DBZ notified Watch and DFW Radio that they had defaulted under the agreement, demanded full payment, and subsequently filed for the appointment of a receiver whilst debtors filed for relief and reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Subsequently the debtors agreed a resolution to resolve the Chapter 11 motion that involved DFW radio's manager David A. Schum, who is one of the petitioners, to look for third-party financing and halt any sale of the station or permit. Schum was unable to obtain the financing and the assets were sold at public auction to DBZ who filed application for the transfer of the licence and permit to Bernard.
The petitioners had objected on the grounds that DBZ prematurely assumed control of the construction of KHSE, that the sale amounts to "the attempted sanctioning of a reversionary interest", that DBZ threatened Schum with legal action when Schum attempted to exercise control over the KHSE(AM) construction, and thus abused the Commission's processes, and that Bernard failed to disclose fully the ownership information of DBZ, its principal equity owner, and that DBZ may not comply with the Commission's foreign ownership limitations.
The FCC, while noting that the petitioners would suffer "severe economic harm" from the sale, rejected their claims and allowed the deal.
The FCC also published its latest quarterly consumer complaints bulletin that showed broadcasting complaints in the third quarter jumping up from the previous quarter (See below).
Previous Licence News:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-12-31: Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, amongst those paying tribute to veteran Boston newsman Gary LaPierre, declared last Friday a state holiday "Gary LaPierre Day".
Romney's proclamation was read live during the host's last morning shift on the morning news show on CBS Radio's WBZ-AM on which LaPierre had been a co-anchor for four decades. He he joined WBZ in 1964 as a general reporter before moving over two years later to the weekday morning news and most recently has been co-anchoring the show with Ed Walsh, who joined it at the start of this year, and Deb Lawler.
LaPierre also broadcast a thrice-a-week radio commentary LaPierre on the Loose" that in 1992 received the Associated Press Award for Best Radio Feature. Other awards he received included the 1986 Gold Award for Best Newsman of the Year at the International Radio Festival in New York City and the 1998 Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Radio Newscast
Amongst others who joined in the programme were Senator Ted Kennedy, former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis and Boston Mayor Tom Menino as well as broadcast rivals including Jess Cain, Dale Dorman and Charles Laquidara.
Kennedy in his comments recalled a time when he was told he was due to do a short interview with LaPierre and quipped, "Oh my God! There goes the election."
The station in a report on its web site notes that most members of the WBZ staff were "in full formal, tuxedo-clad regalia for the occasion" of the host's last broadcast whilst he wore a dark blue pinstriped suit.
The host in his comments told listeners, "You have taken good care of this kid from Shelburne Falls [his birthplace], and I'll miss it" and chose his wife Peg for his last on air interviewee. He commented on great affection for his co-workers over the years saying "some of them absolutely brilliant, some of them idiots."
LaPierre, who is 64, had said he wanted to "go out while I'm still at the top of my game" and added, "My biggest fear is that I stay around until somebody tells me, 'Gary, it's time.' I still think of myself as a 40-year-old guy. But I want to have some time to myself while I'm still young enough to appreciate it."
Of his lifestyle as host - he used to get up at 02:30 until around five years ago when he started to lie in until 03:30, he said that it gave him one advantage - afternoons and early evenings off - that had allowed him to spend more time with his two sons "when they were growing up than the average guy, by far."
Of his audience he commented that they were unique and difficult to get to know but then local and added, "I am the self-appointed cancellation king "in reference to his years of warning of snowstorms and continued, "I just really enjoy the challenge of getting into peoples' heads almost before they realize it. I tell people each day how to dress, how to go to work, when to go to work. That's important to them, and I love the challenge and immediacy of doing that."
WBZ web site:
2006-12-31: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says the number of Radio and Television Broadcasting complaints received in the third quarter of this year more than tripled from the total for the second quarter - up from 53,352 to 194,468 - and were also up from the 26,368 of a year ago.
Within the radio and TV complaints, those relating to broadcast indecency or obscenity as previously comprised the dominant part - a total of 193,504, up from 52,067 in the second quarter.
Among complaints in other categories Wireless complaints, which decreased from 4,616 in the 4th quarter to 4,050 in the second quarter rose a little to 4,149 and Wireline complaints were nearly quadrupled - up from 15,753 to 67,152 with all the increase coming from the "universal service" category - relating to the FCC's universal service fund-affordable access to basic telephone service for low-income consumers and consumers in high-cost areas, and communications services for schools and libraries and health care facilities. These totalled 55,010 of the total and excluding them complaints were down to 12,142.
Previous FCC complaints figures:
2006-12-30: Radio One has killed KBBT-FM "The Beat" in Los Angeles to replace it with KRBV-FM, "V100 the Best Variety of R&B."
The former beatla.com web address redirects to a V100 welcome page asking people to sign up for its VIP club and containing a link to an audio stream that is only accessible to those who have done so.
The station came under Radio One ownership after the Clear Channel-AMFM takeover that went through in 2000 but required the company to divest itself of 122 stations (See RNW Aug 23, 2000) including an FM in Los Angeles. In the deal Clear Channel kept the strongest signals but sold off the KKBT format - it was then Rhythmic Oldies, "Mega 100.3"- that had been on 92.3, along with the 100.3 frequency to Radio One.
The latter, which had taken over the frequency at the end of June 2000, used the frequency for "The Beat" with an urban AC format but it always remained in second place to KPWR-FM in the R&B/hip-hop format in the marker and in May this year after its ratings had weakened it was flipped to a hybrid AC/Urban talk format that Radio One termed "Rhythm and Talk" and whose air staff included Tom Joyner in the morning slot.
The weekday line- up for the New Year will now include Los Angeles veteran Cliff Winston, who had been afternoon host, from 05:00 to 09:00 followed by Shirley Hayes to noon, Michael Baisden to 16:00; John Monds to 20:00 and then up to midnight Night Moods with Mike Julius from Monday through Thursday and "Friday Night with Jeff Gill" on Fridays.
The station has seen considerable personnel changes over the past year and rumours had abounded that Radio One would sell it to reduce its debt burden, particularly since it is a standalone operation.
Previous Radio One Inc:
2006-12-30: Reporting on the Ofcom consultation concerning the future of analogue radio in the UK, the Times of London says that debate over whether AM should be switched off - a century after Reginald Fessenden's first transmission on Christmas Eve, 1906 - is producing a mixed response from UK commercial radio groups.
Two of the main groups - SMG, which has the national Virgin franchise on AM would like to end the use of AM , and the UK's largest radio group GCap Media would like to cut off analogue completely whilst Emap, owner of Magic would like to keep it going and Ofcom has suggested that it could be used for DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) digital broadcasts.
GCap, which is the main shareholder in the Digital One national commercial DAB multiplex, would like all analogue radio to be ended around 20:10 whilst Virgin chief executive Fru Hazlitt has said they would not want to continue on AM for technical quality reasons.
As well as terrestrial broadcasts many British radio companies programming is also available through digital satellite and online and UK local radio group Laser Broadcasting, which was founded in 2002 and says it intends to have 15 profitable local stations by next year when it is moving towards a flotation on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), is to joint the online group in the New Year.
Laser Online will target the 35-64 group with a mixture of music, news and general entertainment and is intended as a showcase for the group's local stations. Its Broadcasting Director Stuart Linnell said of the online station, "The fact that it provides us with a much needed national profile will prove to be invaluable to our continuing development."
The station is to me managed by Paul Roberts, who has just finished a sting managing Laser's BCR-FM and Quay West FM in Bridgewater and West Somerset and who will continue to oversee Restricted Service Licence (RSL) stations that Laser sets up to help it win new licences.
RNW note: We are not sure whether Laser have acquired the laseronline.com domain, which last time we checked was registered to a holding company in London or whether the station will use its existing Laserbroadcasting.com domain.
Previous Digital One:
UK Times report:
2006-12-30: Former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Toronto radio host Bruce Smith, whose career with the corporation spanned more than three decades, has died aged 87 from cancer.
He became host of the CBC Toronto morning show "Toast and Jamboree" in 1947 and remained morning host in the city until the current morning show "Metro Morning" was introduced in 1972 when he moved to the afternoon slot where he hosted the eponymous "Bruce Smith Show" until he retired in 1978.
CBC News report:
2006-12-29: UK communications group VT Communications will on January 1 start transmissions of the international service of German public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW), initially broadcasting 90 hour a day of DW programmes in 14 languages to more than 100 countries using its network of UK and global transmission sites.
VT won the contract against competition from incumbent supplier T-Systems International, the B2B supplier of Deutsche Telekom, and a French-based bid after DW advertised the contract earlier this year and its Managing Director Doug Umbers said at the time, "We were able to respond to Deutsche Welle's requirements in a technical and commercially creative way based on our extensive experience and understanding of the industry, and through our unique technical knowledge and capability."
DW Director-General Erik Bettermann said that the contract established "an economically and technically sound basis to ensure the continued presence of Germany's international broadcaster in important target areas."
The contract runs for five years and includes a provision for a "significant potential increase in programme hours from May 2007"
VT also provides services to BBC World Service and earlier this year was awarded a contract with it for deployment of a new Satellite Media Distribution System (SMDS) that replaces the current satellite based Global Delivery System (GDS), with DVB based technology.
VT says this will give the BBC "greater flexibility and better management of their programme content and distribution" and Nigel Fry, Head of Transmission & Distribution, BBC World Service, commented, "This contract builds on the very successful partnership between BBC World Service and VT Communications. The SMDS system enables us to meet the exacting standards for coverage and dependability that will result in an overall better service for all our listeners."
Previous Deutsche Welle:
2006-12-29: Maryland radio host Chas Offutt has died during a broadcast from Cumberland station WTBO-AM and WBAL-TV reports that listeners suddenly heard dead air and then a co-worker ask for someone at the station to call 911 (the US emergency services number).
Offut had worked on various stations in the market since the late 1950s and the WTBO web site is currently carrying a photograph of him and the words "In fond remembrance of Charles "Chazz" Offutt
February 7th 1940 - December 26th 2006...
Our Friend and Colleague..."
WBAL TV report:
2006-12-29: UK Chrysalis paid its outgoing finance director Nigel Butterfield, who took early retirement at the end of last year but had a 12 month rolling contract, a pay off of GBP 937,000 (USD 1.839 million) - paying GBP 565,000 (USD 1.109 million) of it into his pension - that with salary and benefits took his total pay for 2006 to GBP 1.047 million (USD 2.055 million) according to the group's annual report just published.
Michael Connole, who was appointed at the start of this year, was paid GBP 238,000 (USD 467,000) for his first eight months at the company, including a bonus of GBP 105,000 (USD 206,000)
Other executives received substantial increases with bonuses all round following a couple of lean years for them: In all board directors' pay for the group was up 87% on 2005 at GBP 3.49 million (USD 6.85 million) whilst the group's annual pre-tax profits for the 2005-06 financial year more than doubled from GBP 2.5 million (currently USD 4.9 million) to GBP 5.8 million (USD 11.4 million) excluding goodwill and exceptional items on revenues down 1.3% (See RNW Nov 2).
Chief executive Richard Huntingford received a bonus of GBP 291,000 (USD 571,000) taking his total remuneration up 72% to GBP 701,000 (USD 1.376 million); Chairman Chris Wright got a bonus of GBP 197,000 (USD 387,000) taking his total up 64% to GBP 532,000 (USD 1.044 million); Peter Lassman the chief executive of the group's music and book business Lasgo got a bonus of GBP 179,000 (USD 351,000) taking his pay up 24% to GBP 458,000 (USD 899,000) -he had been the only executive to receive a bonus in 2005; and Radio division chief executive Phil Riley received a bonus of GBP 103,000 (USD 202,000) taking his total up 38% to GBP 388,000 (USD 762,000).
Chrysalis in a note in the report says the "ongoing policy of the Group's Remuneration Committee is to provide competitive remuneration packages to enable the Group to attract, retain and motivate executives of the calibre and experience required, whilst cost-effectively incentivising executives to deliver long-term shareholder value. "
Individual executives packages it adds are "individually tailored" to provide incentives and are linked to the pore-tax profits of the group or their division. Most can double their salary for "significant over-achievement" of the targets set and chairman Chris Wright, whose total bonus is capped at 100% of his salary -- has a discretionary performance-related bonus capped at GBP 75,000 (USD 147,000).
2006-12-28: Entercom has now joined the ranks of those settling with the New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office over allegations of "payola", agreeing in its case a USD 4.25 million payment.
In a lawsuit filed in March, Spitzer's office alleged that Entercom solicited payments from record labels and traded air time for promotional items, personal trips and other items of value and also allowed record labels to pay to play their songs in the overnight hours for the purpose of manipulating the music charts through its corporate programs, entitled "CD Preview" and "CD Challenge".
As well as the payment - made up of USD 3.5 million to be distributed through the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to New York State not-for-profit entities to fund music education and appreciation programs and USD 750,000 in costs to the state - Entercom has agreed to changes to its practices that include a halt to accepting payments or inducements from record labels in exchange for airplay, banning payments from "independent promoters employed as a pass-through for funds from record labels", setting up an internal system to spot any future abuse and hiring a compliance office to monitor its promotion practices.
Entercom owns and operates 105 stations nationwide, eleven of those being in New York State - seven in its Buffalo cluster and four in Rochester.
Spitzer's investigation has so far resulted in settlements with the four major recording companies - SonyBMG, Warner, Universal and EMI (the last in June - See RNW Jun 16, which has links to reports on earlier settlements with Universal in May, Sony-BMG in July 2005 and Warner Music in November 2005) - and also with CBS Radio (See RNW Oct 20).
Spitzer's office had issued subpoenas against nine radio companies - Clear Channel Communications, CBS Radio (the former Infinity), Citadel Broadcasting, Cox Radio, Cumulus, ABC Inc, Emmis, Entercom, and Pamal Broadcasting but has said nothing official on future action.
Entercom, which in October lost its attempt to get the case thrown out of court (See RNW Oct 18) has not formally admitted liability. It said in a statement, "In the interests of the company, our employees and our shareholders, we have chosen to resolve this matter immediately and without extensive and costly litigation. The court did not find any liability, nor are we admitting liability with this settlement. Rather, we are taking the opportunity to put the investigation behind us and move forward."
RNW Comment: In other words, if we went on to fight this, our legal advice is now that it would cost us a lot more if we lost and we almost certainly would lose. The white collar version of "You've got me to rights!"
Entercom consent judgment (17 page 565 kb PDF):
2006-12-28: Former BBC chairman Marmaduke (Lord) Hussey has died aged 83: He chaired the corporation for a decade from 1986 and BBC Director General Mark Thompson in a tribute said he had made an immense contribution to Britain's public life, adding, "He will be remembered for his great vision, his integrity and his forthrightness, but also for his great personal kindness."
Hussey was also a former chief executive and managing director of Times Newspapers. He was made a life peer as Baron Hussey of North Bradley, of North Bradley in the County of Wiltshire in September 1996.
Hussey was educated at Rugby School and Trinity College, Oxford: He served in the Grenadier Guards in World War II during which he was severely injured at Anzio, and had a leg amputated as a prisoner-of-war. His career was spent in newspaper management, first with Associated Newspapers before he joined Times Newspapers as chief executive. He became Chairman of the BBC in 1986, upon the death of Stuart Young.
He was regarded with mixed feelings by those with whom he worked and we noted that the UK Guardian obituary was nowhere near as glowing as that in the Times.
UK Guardian obituary:
UK Times obituary:
2006-12-28: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given the go ahead for Entercom to take over Radio One's Boston station WKAF-FM - formerly WILD-FM - and denied what it termed a "significant number" of comments from listeners to the station "expressing strong appreciation for the current programming on the station and asking the Commission to bar the proposed sale to Entercom."
It says that while it "recognizes that WKAF-FM's "classic R&B" music format and programming relating to the African-American community have attracted a devoted listenership, it is well-settled policy that the Commission does not scrutinize or regulate programming formats, nor does it take potential changes in programming formats into consideration in reviewing assignment applications."
Backing up the policy it notes that "The Supreme Court of the United States has upheld this policy and the Commission's determination that "the public interest is best served by promoting diversity in entertainment formats through market forces and competition among broadcasters . . . and that a change in programming is not a material factor that should be considered by the Commission in ruling on applications for approval of license assignments or transfers."
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2006-12-27: Jamaican broadcaster Neville Willoughby -"Uncle Neville" - has died aged 69 from injuries sustained in a car crash.
He had worked at Radio Jamaica since 1960 and RJR Communications Group chairman Lester Spaulding told the Jamaica Observer, "Neville joined RJR before it even became a group. He was a consummate broadcaster in both radio and TV, he was also a perfectionist. And was one of the first broadcasters, to begin introducing local artistes to the public by interviewing them on his show. The RJR Communications Group will miss him".
Willoughby, who was best known outside Jamaica for his interviews with the late Bob Marley, had lobbied - in the sense of sitting in the lobby of Radio Jamaica - for a post until he was eventually given an opportunity to broadcast. He went on to a career of writing, producing and presenting a wide spectrum of programmes and commercials on radio, including the highly acclaimed "Pipeline", which was named "Radio Talk Show of the Year" four times, "Let's Talk" and the "Evening People Show".
He also presented TV shows in Jamaica, wrote a novel "Jamaica Boy" and wrote and recorded more than two dozen songs including the reggae song "Christmas in J. A."
The leader of Jamaica's opposition Bruce Golding said in tribute, "He was more than just a good broadcaster. He was a fine human being with an endearing personality and personal charm. He will be greatly missed."
Jamaica Observer report:
2006-12-27: Sheldon Drobny who is credited with his wife Anita with the idea of founding US progressive talk radio network Air America says in a blog on the Huffington Post that the network "reached a dead end as a result of cronyism and ego which is usually a disease suffered by many mega millionaires of either political persuasion."
"As socially responsible venture capitalists (usually an oxymoron)," he writes, "we hoped that we would help to balance the media bias that led to the stolen election of 2000 that has so negatively impacted all Americans."
He regards the network a success in that "about 100 radio stations have now committed themselves to progressive talk radio and many of the listeners have demanded that their communities continue to carry non-conservative talk radio" and adds, "AAR established a beachhead for the concept and the follow on content companies, if run well, will make non-conservative talk radio the wave of the future so that our country can re-establish itself as a shining light for democracy and human rights."
On the more negative side he says the "inside story of the major shareholders of AAR is the worst example of predatory greed and vanity, " adding, "It was surprising to me as one who originally believed that rich liberals would somehow be different" and saying that had he been able to completely fund the project it would not have suffered "from the destructive corporate greed and vanity."
Drobny goes on to attack the way the board of the company has handled its bankruptcy and in effect accuses those now running the company of rejecting a plan that would have saved it but eliminated the USD 15 million debt owed to board members in favour of their own plan to take over the company and wipe out the Drobnys' investment of around USD 3 million together with around 10 million from small investors.
Previous Air America/ Piquant LLC (its owner);
Huffington Post - Drobny blog:
2006-12-27: Long-time Sydney 2UE late-night host Stan Zemanek, who decided to end his radio career while he fights a brain tumour (See RNW Dec 11) but is to continue with his television discussion show "Beauty and the Beast" has said he has not ruled out a return to radio should he beat the tumour.
His last show on Friday was mellower than his normal opinionated output with listeners and colleagues, the latter led by 2UE morning host John Laws and the most prominent of the former the Australian Prime Minister John Howard, wishing him well.
Laws said Zemanek's departure was a "sad moment for all of us" and added "You've driven a lot of us mad and you've said some outrageous things but you've done some wonderful radio programs and helped a lot of people."
Howard called in to say, "You look after yourself, we're thinking of you and rooting for you" whilst Zemanek himself in saying he wouldn't rule out a return to radio commented, "I don't know any other job where you can go and abuse the shit out of somebody and not get arrested."
Previous Southern Cross ( 2UE owner):
Sydney Morning Herald/AAP report:
2006-12-27: Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ-FM has now published its 2007 schedule, beginning on January 8, with a number of new shows Monday through Thursday including "Global Overnight "running from midnight to 04:00 and made up of news and cultural programming from various sources including BBC World Service and from World Radio Network - Channel Africa, China Radio International, Radio Australia, Radio Netherlands, Radio Polonia, and Voice of Russia.
This will be followed by "The World Today" from BBC World Service before a change to US programming with "Morning Edition" from National Public Radio (NPR) from 05:00 to 09:00 and "Eight Forty-Eight", the station's own morning magazine programme to 10:00.
Programming is then BBC World Service's "Newshour" to 11:00; "Fresh Air" from NPR to noon; and its own "Worldview" to 13:00.
Early afternoons then see two new shows for the station, NPR's "Talk of the Nation" followed at 14:00 by "The Story" from American Public Media before going back to existing output "All Things Considered", "Marketplace", "The World", "Eight Forty-Eight (encore)", "Worldview (encore)", "Fresh Air (encore)" and then to round up the day another show new to the station, "Outlook" from BBC World Service.
Friday programming retains the same basic framework but has a new show "Science Friday" from noon to 13:00 and in the evening, as now has "This American Life" at 19:00 followed by "Sound Opinions" to 21:00 then "Passport" to 23:00 and "Afropop Worldwide" to midnight.
In the case of Passport, the station's showcase for world music, WBEZ-FM has launched a contest for listeners to select a new title to reflect changes in its format. (Suggestions for the show's new name should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Regarding this Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times says host Tony Sarabia told listeners, "I'm featuring a bit more electronica and rock from different parts of the globe, or music from Americans who look to other parts of world for their sound, including Chicago artists" and added, "I believe part of the show's mission is to support the local world music scene. In 2007, I'll continue to do so with future in-studio performances and interviews. I'm also exploring taping performances at people's homes during family gatherings, parties, etc"
Weekend new shows for the station include weekly talk show "Smart City" from 05:00 to 96:00 and "American Routes " from 14:00 to 16:00 on Saturday and the BBC's "From Our Own Correspondent" from 05:00-05:30, "Bob Edwards Weekend" from XM Satellite Radio from noon to 14:00, Pacific Time a weekly magazine show about the links between the US and Asia Pacific region from 19:30 to 20:00 and "To the Best of Our Knowledge" from Wisconsin Public Radio then running to 21:00 on Sundays.
Chicago Sun-Times report:
WBEZ web site:
2006-12-26: More than 400 US radio stations that were running Christmas music for up to the last two months or so have now reverted to their normal formats albeit in many cases not to their main names.
As David Hinckley noted in a New York Daily News column, Arbitron doesn't operate its diaries for the last fortnight of the year so stations' regular hosts often take the period off leaving the slots to what Hinckley terms "an often-interesting line-up of fill-ins, who range from amateurs to legends."
In the New York area he notes that this year talk radio pioneer Barry Farber will sit in for Sean Hannity on WABC-AM on Friday and New Year's Day; John DePetro, who got fired in Boston for calling a gubernatorial candidate a "fat lesbian (See RNW Nov 4)," sits in for John Gambling at 10 a.m. daily this week on WABC; and WOR-AM midnight host Joey Reynolds replaced Joe Bartlett on the morning show for Christmas Day, today and Friday; and
RNW note: Christmas music formats, of course, are related to commerce rather than religion (or is commerce the religion) but we would note that many Christian denominations - the Eastern Orthodox Christmas Day, which uses the Julian calendar is not until January 7 - mark Advent for four Sundays before Christmas and then Epiphany for 12 days. This year the period runs from December 3 to January 6, surely a much more logical time to air such formats if the claim is to any religious link than from much earlier until Christmas Day!
New York Daily News report:
2006-12-26: The New York Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast's 2006-07 season, which launched on December 9 with Mozart's "Idomeneo", is to broadcast on Saturday (December 30) a family-friendly version of the composer's "Magic Flute" in an abridged English-language version of Julie Taymor's production, with a new translation by the American poet and librettist J.D. McClatchy.
The Met's season will also include a world premiere for Tan Dun's "The First Emperor" on January 13, and later that month two special broadcasts of archive material - on January 20 of Maria Callas's only broadcast for the Met - her 1956 performance in Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" - and on January 27 the September 25, 2006, opening-night gala performance of Puccini's "Madame Butterfly", conducted by James Levine in a new production directed by Anthony Minghella and featuring Chilean soprano Cristina Gallardo-Domâs in the title role and Marcello Giordani as Pinkerton.
The Met's newly installed general manager Peter Gelb says of the season, "The radio broadcasts this year complement a host of new initiatives recently launched by the Met that are designed to help build a larger international audience. The programming we're now producing will be presented in a way that will continue to entertain our dedicated listeners, while heightening the interest of newcomers and attracting new fans for opera."
2006-12-25: Perhaps because of the season we did not spot much comment on radio in general over the past week so have opted to truncate our normal offerings and concentrate on listening suggestions for those like us who may be working (and get a little tired of viewing schmaltzy TV).
Before suggestions however the season did prompt the thought of contemplating where would the world economy would be now had the Puritans prevailed (they banned Christmas in Britain in 1647 and for a long while after the restoration the clergy still opposed the festival, which to them reeked of Saturnalia and other earlier winter festivities and it was banned in Boston - again by the Puritans - from 1659 to 1681) or indeed had the US not made it a federal holiday (in 1870). -
That being said, an article by Lee Margulies in the Los Angeles Times - "Spreading plenty of Christmas jeer" - seemed a welcome part antidote.
It starts with mention of an all-Christmas music station KOST-FM in Los Angeles but then moves on to the satellite providers: Sirius has three channels one of contemporary and vintage Christmas carols like KOST, another of holiday tunes by country music performers and a third with Christmas music in the classical vein.
Moving up a gear, XM has five Christmas channels - three as Sirius, a fourth with vintage tunes and a fifth "Special Christmas" devoted to the offbeat and novelty songs -and also a Hanukkah channel.
It's the novelty one that interested us: Margulies comments that it "isn't simply singing chipmunks, barking dogs or grandmothers getting run over by reindeer. We're talking seriously twisted: "Santa Is a Psycho," "The Night Santa Went Crazy," "Santa's in a Wheelchair," "Christmas When You're Dead" and notes that the channel's slogan is "Your soundtrack to a dysfunctional family holiday."
Dan Turner, senior vice president of programming operations for XM and the program director for the Special Christmas channel felt obliged it would seem to defend the output rather than taking on the (un?) godly: "This is not intended to offend," he said. "It may seem quite the contrary at times, but it's all in good fun."
"Everybody looks at Christmas in a different way," he added. "I don't know about you, but I didn't have a Rockwellian upbringing with beautiful white snow falling every year. That doesn't mean I don't like Christmas any less. I just have a different look at it."
The list of titles provides a good idea of the range of material (see the link as usual) and overall would have tempted us to listen were XM available in the UK.
In general it isn't of course although maybe the Internet will change that should the satellite companies continue their move to offer an Internet service as broadband take-up spreads but so far options to listen in the UK are not simple.
One exception is the Bob Dylan Theme Hour from XM, which BBC Radio 2 has picked up and is airing: The web site has a section devoted to it but unfortunately "for fights reasons" there is no live stream and the listen-again offerings are limited to those in the UK (The first was fine when we checked, the second on Sunday was giving a not available for right's reasons message but we hope that is a technical glitch that will be sorted out).
We are therefore prevented from reasonably suggesting Dylan in our menu - and indeed a two-part look by Roger Moore at the life and career of Lew Grade, which also was unavailable online for rights reasons.
BBC Radio 2 is however also running five "Radio Ballads" over the next few days that are available and worth a listen - the first on Sunday was "The Horn of the Hunter" and it will be followed tonight (23:00 GMT) with the "Song of Steel" , on Tuesday (21:00 GMT) with "The Enemy That Lies Within" that features stories of people living with HIV/AIDS; on Wednesday at the same time with "Thirty Years of Conflict" on Northern Ireland; and Thursday, again at 21:00 GMT with "The Ballad of the Big Ships."
Continuing with the antidote theme, "On the Media" from WNYC over the past couple of weeks has had a good mix including an item on "The N-word" last week and on "Atheists" the week earlier.
We'd also suggest a download of Friday's "Late Night Live" from ABC Radio National if only for the third item that advised us that vibrators were electrified (there had been a steam-power one before then) before the vacuum cleaner.
Also from the ABC we'd suggest the past two weeks' "Religion Report" - "Science Fatwah?", a two part programme looking at the implications of "Common Belief", a document on global warming that has been released by 16 of Australia's leading faith communities.
Then we suggest BBC World Service and last week's Drama, a special two-hour production of "King Lear" - yes by William Shakespeare" and produced by The Globe Theatre (The Theatre's web site has more details of this collaborative production) - that had a strong cast including Philip Madoc as Lear, Mali Harries as Cordelia, Fiona Shaw as Goneril and Nigel Anthony as Gloucester
For opera lovers, various US stations and others including BBC Radio 3 on Saturday ( 18:30 GMT) will air the New York Metropolitan Opera's new, abridged English version for children of Mozart's "Magic Flute."
With a different perspective on childhood - and as an antidote to much of the sentimental drivel that is aired as the thoughts of various leaders at this time of the year, we suggest BBC Radio 4 and "The Invention of Childhood" from Sunday running to Friday at 21:00 GMT.
It's a repeat of the series aired earlieer in the year and details of the whole series are on the Radio 4 site: It is worth noting that after slavery had been formally ended in Britain there was a short period when in effect the children of vagrants could be removed from their parents and enslaved.
And finally as relief from the the somewhat depressing chronicle of how children were treated in Britain and for most were a drain on family resources - and indeed still are in much of the world - we suggest a little comedy - maybe BBC Radio 2 and "The Lee Mack Christmas Show" plus "Radio Rivron" from last Saturday and "The Now Show" from BBC Radio 4.
Los Angeles Times - Margulies:
*RNW note: This has been updated.
2006-12-25: New York WWPR-FM (Power FM) DJ Carl Blaze (born Carlos Rivera), who was shot at least 13 times earlier this month outside a Manhattan apartment (See RNW Dec 10), has died in Harlem hospital from his injuries.
The Clear Channel-owned station, which held a tribute for him on Saturday Night, carries a line to remember him but no very clear indication of his death.
Its home page has a line at the top saying, "You'll forever be in our hearts Carl" - it actually opens with a page saying this but only for a few seconds before ging to the home page so if you are interrupted it is missed - but the station then still lists him on its Airstaff list and a page it had opened on its web site for listeners to send their best wishes to him was still there when we last checked.
Previous Clear Channel:
Power 105 web site:
2006-12-25: Clear Channel has announced that two of its existing hosts at KFI-AM, Los Angeles, will fill in for morning host Bill Handel this week during his one-week suspension for an outburst during Jamie White's show on sister station KYSR-FM (See RNW Dec 17).
They are Gary Hoffman, who is on Handel's morning crew, and weekend host Wayne Resnick: The Los Angeles Times reports that Handel, who is on vacation this week, has also been fined an undisclosed amount by the station.
Also in Los Angeles, Danny Bonaduce, who was formerly co-host of KYSR's morning show, is to return to radio in the city at the start of the New Year as part of the team on "The Adam Corolla Show", which is aired live during morning drive on KLSX-FM and also syndicated.
Bonaduce began his radio career in Philadelphia and has also included spells in Chicago, Detroit, New York and Los Angeles.
RNW comment: So Clear Channel fills in during a slack week when Handel presumably can extend his vacation and imposes a fine thus costing itself little or nothing. As for Handel, only the fine has significance and we can only hope Clear Channel has the grace to pass it to a suitable charity. We still await word of whether there have been any formal complaints to the FCC.
Previous Clear Channel:
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-12-24: Last week the main emphasis for most of the regulators was related to digitisation although in the US the long-running issues of media ownership and broadcast indecency were touching more Federal Communications Commission (FCC) buttons as the agency defended its decision to fine CBS TV stations USD 550,000 over the brief glimpse of part of a Janet Jackson breast and also issued a call for comments over the biggest radio business activity this year - that of the agreed USD 26.7 billion sale of Clear Channel to a group of private equity investors.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has told media owners that it is to continue monitoring for compliance with current laws until new media ownership laws come into force and reminded them that is has the power to order divestitures (See RNW Dec 21).
It also released a discussion paper seeking comments - to be submitted by February 1 next year - on its cost recovery arrangements, part of a scheduled review is being undertaken in accordance with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines.
Most ACMA charges are due for an update having last been reviewed in 2003 and nearly all are a fee for service to the direct beneficiary of the activity with two telecommunications exceptions - the telecommunications annual carrier licence charge that amongst other things recovers the costs of ACMA's and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission telecommunications functions for the preceding financial year from all telecommunications carriers and the annual spectrum management tax which recovers the indirect costs of spectrum management from all radiocommunications licensees
It has also ruled that broadcasts by two commercial talk stations breached Australian codes or laws, one a case where Southern Cross's Melbourne talk station 3AW broke laws prohibiting tobacco advertising by broadcasting an archived drama from 1949 including adverts from its original sponsor, Camel cigarettes (See RNW Dec 20).
The other case involved Macquarie Radio Network's Sydney 2GB and a May 2005 broadcast of the "Your Sydney Weekend" programme hosted by stand-in presenter, Malcolm T Elliott that included comments held to be likely to vilify Indonesian judges on the basis of race and nationality (See RNW Dec 19).
In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of routine licence decisions including, in order of province:
*Approval of corporate re-organization in which Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc. will transfer the assets of CJCA-AM and CJRY-FM, Edmonton, and CJSI-FM, Calgary, to Touch Canada Broadcasting (2006) Inc. and 1188011 Alberta Ltd. and Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc., carrying on business as Touch Canada Limited Partnership (collectively Touch Canada LP).
* Administrative renewal until 31 August 2007 of the licence of CKCL-FM Chilliwack, and its transmitters CKCL-FM-1, Abbotsford and CKCL-FM-2, Vancouver.
* Approval of CAD 9.25 million (USD 8 million) acquisition by Standard Radio from Silk FM Broadcasting Ltd. of CILK-FM Kelowna, and its transmitters CILC-FM, Magna Bay and VF2329, Big White Mountain.
Standard has indicated that it is likely to alter the current classic rock format of CILK-FM to more of a contemporary hits format targeting the over 35 demographic, thereby avoiding competition with the classic rock format of CKLZ-FM, Kelowna and the Top 40, Hot AC format of CHSU-FM and would maintain CILK-FM's existing news staff and coverage
*Denial of application for an 840 watts pop-rock music format French-language commercial FM radio in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.
The application had been opposed by Radio Express inc., licensee of CKOD-FM. Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, which said the local market could only adequately support one station.
*Approval of acquisition by Radio CJFP (1986) ltée, on behalf of Radio Rimouski Inc, to acquire from Radio CJFP (1986) ltée the assets of a French-language commercial FM in Rimouski approved in April. The CRTC notes that the application follows a reorganization under which the employees of the new station who wish to become more involved in Radio Rimouski may acquire a certain percentage of the undertaking's shares although this will not change ultimate control of the station, which is not yet in operation.
The CRTC also issued a public notice- with a deadline for submission of comments or interventions of Jan 23 - that included the following radio-related matters:
* Application by Tiessen Media Inc. to use frequency 95.3 MHz for FM transmitter at Cochrane for CFIT-FM, Airdrie, that was approved subject to finding a suitable alternative frequency in Cochrane to that originally proposed. The Commission noted that this application is for a regular Class A1 service as opposed to an initial application for a low power unprotected service and that the applicant says this is because the original proposed tower owned by Telus Mobility is no longer available and an alternate transmitter site is needed.
* Application by CJNE FM Radio Inc. to add a 273 watts FM transmitter at Tisdale.
There were no radio decisions from Ireland but the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has welcomed the publication of Ireland's Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill, 2006 that provides for licensing of digital terrestrial TV services, will allow movement to switch off analogue TV, and also confer additional functions on the BCI in relation to licensing multiplex contractors to provide both digital radio and TV services.
BCI chairperson Conor Maguire commented that the BCI had "long been aware of the commitment to digital switchover of broadcasting services across Europe and are confident that this proposed piece of legislation will enable Ireland's timely progress in this regard."
"We are confident," he added, "that the advent of digital terrestrial television and radio will afford the potential for greater diversity of service and choice for Irish listeners and viewers."
In the UK, Ofcom Has posted its "Digital Dividend Review" consultation document (155 pages 700kb PDF) - with a March 20 deadline for comments - relating to how to release the spectrum freed up by digital switchover for new uses.
It notes that use of UK radio spectrum amounts for around 3% of the economy, comments that spectrum is a scarce resource with importance growing quickly as consumers use more and more wireless products and than comments, "The digital dividend is, quite simply, one of the largest releases of valuable spectrum that is likely in the UK for many years. The spectrum is particularly useful because it is at lower frequencies - allowing large areas to be covered at lower cost, and helping signals to penetrate buildings."
"Ofcom's primary duty" it says, "is to further the interests of citizens and consumers" and adds, that " we, as a regulator, simply cannot know the best uses of the digital dividend over the next couple of decades. What we can do is to create a framework that is more (or less) likely to enable those uses."
It then remarks on uses that could have value to society but may not be able to earn corresponding commercial revenues and in this context notes local and high definition TV as examples but adds that these can be delivered in a number of ways and regarding the latter says that "most research suggests that HD is seen as a premium consumer product, rather than a significant source of value to society as a whole."
Governments in the past Ofcom says have used spectrum to promote policies but it thinks its approach should be to impose as few constrictions as possible and "in almost all cases" auction the relevant spectrum so that users pay the "market price for it."
The only radio announcement is, however, one that relates to spectrum allocation as policy, an updating of Ofcom's timetable for community radio licensing: This is being introduced on a staged basis and Ofcom says that next year the closing dates for applications are expected to be as follows:
Scotland and Northern Ireland - Tuesday 16 January.
North and northeast England (incl. North Yorkshire) - Tuesday 27 March 2007.
West and South Yorkshire and the Humber - Tuesday 26 June 2007.
North Wales and northwest England - To be decided.
West Midlands, east Midlands and Lincolnshire - To be decided.
East and southeast England, including London - To be decided.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as we have noted, has been defending its decision to fine CBS over the brief display of part of a Janet Jackson breast, saying in a brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that it "reasonably concluded that, although brief, this display of nudity violated longstanding federal prohibitions on the broadcast of indecent material" and adding "The commission also reasonably held that CBS's violation of its broadcast indecency rules was 'wilful' and therefore justified a forfeiture."
It also, as we have noted, has called for comments or petitions to be filed in relation to the USD 26.7 billion private equity deal to purchase Clear Channel (See RNW Dec 23).
In other activity the Commission has adopted new rules for Amateur Radio Operators that among other things remove the requirement to pass a five words-per-minute Morse code examination.
The FCC commented that the "change reflects revisions to international radio regulations made at the International Telecommunication Union's 2003 World Radio Conference (WRC-03), which authorized each country to determine whether to require that individuals demonstrate Morse code proficiency in order to qualify for an amateur radio license with transmitting privileges on frequencies below 30 MHz" and added, "This change eliminates an unnecessary regulatory burden that may discourage current amateur radio operators from advancing their skills and participating more fully in the benefits of amateur radio."
Regarding satellite radio, it has allowed Sirius and XM Satellite Radio special temporary authority (STA) for periods they had requested to operate terrestrial repeaters for demonstrations at trade shows across the United States: Both companies say these are necessary to provide quality reception inside of trade show venues, due to signal blockage from walls and ceilings.
On the enforcement front, the FCC has fined a California pirate operator USD 10,000. Alan M. Conrad of San Diego had not filed a response to a Notice of Apparent Violation made in September.
It also confirmed a USD 7,000 penalty issued to Gambler's CB & Ham Radio Sales & Service of Pinconning, Michigan, for offering for sale non-certified Citizens Band ("CB") transceivers.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-12-24: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is calling on columnist and syndicated radio talk-host Dennis Prager to "do the right thing and resign" from the United States Holocaust Memorial Council after the executive committee of the taxpayer-funded board issued a statement disassociating itself from the radio talk show host's views - he said that Keith Ellison, the first Moslem elected to Congress should be prevented from taking his oath of office using the Koran and that swearing on the Koran "undermines American civilization."
In a statement the Executive Committee of the Council said that although Prager had a right to express his personal views, it disassociates itself from Mr. Prager's statements as being antithetical to the mission of the Museum as an institution promoting tolerance and respect for all peoples regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity."
Prager, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in August to fill a position on the board that expires in January 2011 made his remarks in a column in late November, provoking criticism from a wide range of people and organisations including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee and former New York City Mayor Edward Koch, a fellow member of the memorial council, who termed Prager a bigot.
CAIR had already called for President Bush and the Council's governing board to remove Prager, receiving it says, hundreds of "hate-filled e-mails from Prager's supporters" as a result.
RNW comment: We rather doubt that Prager will take note of CAIR's call but we would certainly agree with the description of him as a bigot. We also think anyone who can say that any US president was specifically chosen through the direct intervention of God may have a legitimate right to express his views but should never then have been proffered by the chosen one any public appointment.
2006-12-24: BSkyB, the News Corporation satellite broadcaster, has agreed a deal to sponsor Christian O'Connell's breakfast show on SMG-owned Virgin Radio in a move that the UK Guardian sees as part of its rivalry with cable company NTL.
The paper, which says that the contract is thought to be worth around GBP 1 million (USD 2 million) will deprive NTL, whose biggest shareholder is Sir Richard Branson and which is to re-brand itself as Virgin Media, of a significant promotional tool and notes that the deal was made shortly after BSkyB bought up around a fifth of the shares in ITV, thus stopping NTL's attempts to take over Britain's largest commercial broadcaster.
The paper reports that the deal with Virgin Radio, as well as the breakfast show sponsorship, will include sponsor credits, promotional trails and TV-related features on the breakfast show and sponsorship of the Sky TV Guide in Russ Williams's mid-morning show and also Internet exposure through Virgin's online activities.
SMG Radio chief executive, Fru Hazlitt was quoted as saying, "This is a really exciting deal for Virgin Radio. Not only is it one of the biggest sponsorship deals we've ever signed, but Sky is such a natural brand partner for our most high-profile show."
UK Guardian report:
2006-12-23: Following protests at the decision to drop progressive talk programming in Madison, Wisconsin, in favour of a sports format, Clear Channel has reversed its decision and will continue with the format, which includes Air America shows, on WXXM-FM, "The MIC".
In a statement posted on the station web site, Jeff Tyler, Vice President/Market Manager of Clear Channel Radio-Madison, says, "We are overwhelmed by the recent outpouring of support for our Progressive Talk format from the public, some of our community leaders and some dedicated local advertisers. As a result, we have decided not to change the format of WXXMFM, The MIC 92.1 on January 1, 2007."
He continues, "We thank everyone who spoke, called, e-mailed and wrote to us intelligently and actively about keeping progressive talk on Clear Channel Radio in Madison. We deeply appreciate the local business leaders who are pledging their advertising support -- they are playing an enormous role in helping to keep progressive talk on the air in our community."
The Capital-Times reporting on the decision notes that activists had delivered a petition with 5,466 signatures to Clear Channel, and hundreds of listeners rallied against the move last week, with U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and Air America co-founder Terry Kelly also denouncing the move.
Progressive host Ed Schultz, who is syndicated by Jones Radio Networks, and whose show was aired by the station along with Air America programming, said, "Madison is really a microcosm of what could be taking place around the country. There is a mindset with the progressive format that it's shaky territory for advertisers, and it's simply not true."
Barb Wright, owner of a Madison restaurant had actively rallied support for the station among advertisers and commented, "It is essential that we have an informed electorate with intelligent debate on the issues. I found that, contrary to some opinions, the business community is ready to step up to the plate to ensure that progressive talk radio is not only sustained but will flourish."
She and activist Valerie Walasek, who spearheaded the petition drive, said they are committed to help the station bring in additional advertising support to "The Mic."
Kelly, who is now the main financial backer for Air America, which recently declared bankruptcy, said Clear Channel's reconsideration shows that "community activism works and that if you get at it from enough sides and enough depth people still have the power to influence things for the better."
It is, he added, "a wonderful example of how real democracy works through grass-roots organizing."
Previous Air America/ Piquant (its current owner):
Previous Clear Channel:
"The Mic" statement:
2006-12-23: BBC Radio 3 has announced a new schedule from February next year that will see more live or specially recorded programmes as opposed to airing of commercial recordings - to increase from 52% to 54% of its total output - also gives presenter Rob Cowan the breakfast slot. His "Rob Cowan Show" will run from 07:00 to 10:00 and current breakfast presenter Penny Gore is expected to move to other presenting roles with the station.
The breakfast programme will be followed on weekdays with the "Classical Collection" programme of new and historic recordings running until noon and after "Composer of the Week" and a lunchtime concert the post-lunch programming will be taken on weekdays with "Afternoon on 3", which will be long enough to include full length operas..
To make way for the changes, which include an extended afternoon music slot, a number of shows are being dropped including "Stage and Screen", "Voices", the "Light Programme" and "Jazz Legends" whilst "Choral Evensong" will be moved to a 16:00 slot on Sundays.
In the evenings, "Performance on 3" will be moved to an earlier start at 19:00 and will be followed at 20:45 by the repeat of "Composer of the Week" that currently airs at midnight.
As well as performances from European orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia, the station will also broadcast selected concerts from the New York Philharmonic's 2007 season.
Composer of the week will be followed by "Night Waves" from 21:45 from Monday to Thursday - "The Verb" takes the slot on Friday evenings - and then the station is introducing a new weekday programme "Artist Focus" from 22:30 that will be centred each week on a specific artist: It will be followed from Monday to Thursday by "The Essay", a series of talks on cultural subjects that will run to 23:15. On Friday evenings, the station is to introduce a new programme, "Jazz Library" running from 22:30 to 23:30.
Andy Kershaw's programme is to move to Monday evenings from 23:15 to 01:00 and "Late Junction" will now air from Tuesday through Thursday in the same slot.
Weekend programming is to include "Music Matters", which will air on Saturday from 12:15-13:00; a new Sunday morning programme from 10:00 to noon hosted by Iain Burnside; a new ten-part Sunday afternoon program "Performing Britten" in which John Evans talks to ten distinguished interpreters of Britten's operas; and an extended "Discovering Music" from 17:00 to 18:30 that will now conclude with a full performance of the work under discussion and will regularly include set-pieces in examination syllabuses.
The changes will come in after a week of special broadcasts from February 1-16 during which Radio 3 will broadcast the complete works of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky.
2006-12-23: Regent Communications has now completed its USD 125 million cash acquisition of CBS Radio's five stations in the Buffalo, New York, market that was announced
In September (See RNW Sep 6).
The stations are WBLK-FM, WBUF-FM, WECK-AM, WJYE-FM and WYRK-FM and Regent had already been operating them under a local management agreement from October 1. The purchase price was funded using Regent's credit facilities.
In other US radio transaction news, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set a deadline of January 19 next year for comments or petitions to be filed in relation to Clear Channel's USD 26.7 billion private equity deal with Thomas H. Lee Equity Fund VI and Bain Capital following which there are further deadlines of February 1 for responses or oppositions to these and then a final deadline of February 13 for counter responses.
The FCC in its 44-page document lists Clear Channel's licences - it notes that the company controls 1172 radio stations and 35 TV stations - and comments that "Because this proceeding involves broad public policy issues, the proceeding will be treated as "permit but disclose" for purposes of the Commission's ex parte rules" although it later notes that if "circumstances warrant, this proceeding and/or any related proceeding may be designated as restricted."
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-12-22: According to BBC News, Britain's Minister of Culture Tessa Jowell and Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) Gordon Brown have agreed a deal on the BBC licence fee that would see it rise 3% next year and in 2008; by 2% in each of the following three years and by between nothing to 2% in 2012 depending on TV digital changeover costs.
The report says the agreement has not yet been approved by Prime Minister Tony Blair and quoted BBC Business editor Robert Peston as indicating that, although less than the Corporation had asked for, the deal meant a rise broadly in line with the headline rate of inflation - the Consumer Price Index, which excludes mortgage payments.
"In theory this is less than inflation, in the sense that Retail Price Index is 3.9% at the moment. And I am sure the Treasury will claim this as a tough settlement," he said.
BBC News report:
2006-12-22: A technology being developed at Edinburgh University would offer a "personal DJ" that would tailor musical commentary online tailored to a listener's taste rather than commentary from a live DJ according to a report in the Manchester Evening News that quotes unnamed "experts" as saying the development could spell the end for DJs.
The idea is to use a database of music trivia that would be played using voice-generated software and the paper says Nick Wright, a commercialisation manager at the university, is in talks with various internet radio stations about launching the venture.
"More and more people are listening to music on the internet - whether this means new internet radio stations or traditional radio stations streamed on-line," he said. "What we aimed to do was to create something that could be used by millions of people worldwide, but that is unique to each and every one of them."
"Our technology," he added, "enables listeners to go on a journey of music discovery based on musical facts and trivia, assisted by a personal guide. For instance, if you like Bon Jovi, we could tell you about other work band members have written or produced."
Edinburgh University's School of Informatics is said to have spent more than GBP 3 million (USD 6 million) over five years in developing the idea. The technology devised by Cereproc, a company founded by the university, is said to provide natural-sounding speech that can be delivered in different accents
RNW comment: Like those who have so far commented on the idea in the paper (link below to article), we are more than a little sceptical about the idea. Apart from saving money on humans it seems to us much more of a geek masturbatory fantasy than a service that would appeal to most humans, albeit given the devotion of many to video games that play them rather than vice-versa, maybe we could be completely wrong on this.
Even if it does take off, we still think there will be more then enough humans who prefer to know there is a real person on the air to keep radio personalities going for a long while - and, we hope, keep broadcasting going as a shared experience, rather than the much more isolated one this kind of system is going to provide.
Manchester Evening News report:
2006-12-22: Veteran Cleveland DJ and talk host Joe Finan has died aged 79 in hospital. His career in radio in the city spanned more than five decades - he began in 1950 as a summer replacement DJ at WTAM - but his career was broken when he admitted taking payola during congressional hearings in the late 1950s and was fired.
He then left the city and moved to Denver in 1960 where he introduced an early talk show but he returned to Cleveland in 1968, working for WIXY, and then after another Denver spell, at WHK in 1974 before again moving to Denver.
In the mid 1980s he returned to Cleveland and the then WNIR as a talk host ( the station is now WARF-AM), working as a talk host until retiring for the first time in 2004 and then returning in February this year and working until October when he retired for the final time.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer quoted Keith Kennedy, Clear Channel's program operations director for Akron-Canton, as saying, "About a year ago Joe said he wanted to come back. We suggested something part time and he said no way, he wanted to come back full time. He was 78 years old and said once the business was in your blood, you couldn't get rid of it."
Cleveland Plain Dealer report:
2006-12-22: Veteran BBC presenter Jenni Murray, who has been the regular host of the Radio 4 programme "Woman's Hour" since 1987, has told listeners to the programme that she has breast cancer and will not "be around for a while in the New Year".
Murray, who is 56 and has two sons, will have surgery but said her "prognosis is excellent": She said she had "known about the diagnosis for a couple of weeks now, it was diagnosed up in Macclesfield [her family home: She divides her time between there and a flat in London] when I was on my holidays..." and added, "Treatments are very good these days and I know quite a bit about this disease thanks to working on the programme... fingers crossed, everything should be alright Do have a lovely Christmas and I, like you, hope that 2007 will be a happy New Year. "
Murray, who was born in Barnsley, also presents the Radio 4 "The Message" programme: She began her radio career with BBC Radio Bristol in 1973 and after a spell as a presenter for BBC TV's South Today between 1978 and 1983 moved to BBC Radio 4 in 1985 as a presenter of the "Today" breakfast programme.
2006-12-21: The US satellite radio business is continuing to lag behind a year ago according to the latest data released by Bridge Ratings which says that although "foot traffic" improved in the week to December 13, store management at more than half the locations surveyed expressed concern about reduced retail sales and overall interest in satellite radio.
Bridge says Sirius continues to dominate but XM is improving band scores and sales, perhaps, it adds, because of "solid advertising and marketing support."
The figures it says have led Bank of America analyst Jonathan Jacoby to trim his year-end subscriber estimates for XM from 7.8 million to 7.7 million: Jacoby says the weak retail demand suggests that satellite's growth will now come from original equipment in new vehicles.
Bridge says that it was expecting more interest in the 18-21 years-old demographic following interviews prior to the "Black Friday" shopping weekend had indicated that this youth group was beginning to show interest in satellite radio but this interest did not translate into purchases.
Bridge also notes that the satellite radio companies have now started to talk about "listeners" not subscribers, something it suggest is analogous to newspapers and magazines talk about "pass along" readership instead of "paid subscriptions".
For the final quarter of the year, Bridge says that whilst retail overall is expected to record an improvement of 4.8% to 7% over a year ago satellite radio retail activity will be down around 25%: It notes that in the final quarter of 2005 Sirius added 1.1 million new subscribers and XM 898,000 whilst this year projections based on projections from the companies are that Sirius will add 881,000 (down 22%) and XM 500,000 (down 50%)
Overall Bridge is forecasting that at the end of this year Sirius will have around 5.9 million subscribers and XM around 7.6 million.
2006-12-21: Veteran British broadcaster and most recently talkSPORT Friday and Saturday late-night host Mick Dickin has died after he was in a six car pile-up on the A30 near his home in Cornwall.
He had made his last broadcast -from his home studio in Bodmin Moor - on Saturday and the station will today air a special edition of the James Whale Show dedicated to him at 22:00 GMT tonight. Dickin had filled in for Whale during the latter's fight against kidney cancer
Dickin, who was a bass player and singer in the 60s, began his radio career with the BBC in 1970 as the first presenter on air for BBC Radio Oxford. He then moved to Australia, where he worked for 2UE, in 1977 and after his return to the UK worked for BBC Radio 4, LBC and Capital Radio before moving to Talk radio UK, the predecessor to talkSPORT, in 1996.
Dickin, who was dubbed Britain's angriest man and described by Whale as "the original grumpy old man", also had the nickname "The King" because of his supposed resemblance to Henry VIII.
TalkSPORT programme director Bill Ridley paying tribute on the station's web site commented, "Mike Dickin was truly a radio legend and he will be sorely missed by all of us here as well as the millions of listeners who he informed, entertained and argued with over the span of his 36-year illustrious career."
Previous UTV (talkSPORT owner):
2006-12-21: Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) chairman Chris Chapman has written to media proprietors outlining its initial plans to prepare for changes in Australian media law that have been passed by parliament and has noted that it has the power to block deals, and force divestitures, if it thinks media diversity is threatened.
Chapman says that "ACMA will continue to be closely engaged with industry players about transactions involving changes to ownership and control of licensed businesses and associated newspapers" and adds, "We will be doing that in close co-operation with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). In this regard, the ACCC Chairman and I have announced that we intend to share information relating to proposed transactions to the maximum extent possible."
He notes that ACMA has a "new power to apply for an injunction to prevent a transaction that is likely to breach the media diversity and 3-way control provisions and, secondly, can give remedial directions which require disposal of shares or other divestiture action ensuring that the particular contravention ceases."
So far deals cumulatively worth around AUD 12 billion (USD 9.4 billion) have been made in anticipation of the changes that ease media ownership restrictions, including those on foreign ownership, but still require a minimum of five media "voices" in metropolitan areas and four in regional ones and also limit a company to a maximum of two of three newspaper, radio and TV businesses in a market.
The Australian government has not yet said when the new laws will take effect and ACMA warns proprietors that before they do it will "continue to actively monitor compliance with the current rules and take any necessary action to maintain the integrity of the current arrangements."
2006-12-20: Google's radio advertisement business is reported as being heavily involved in negotiations with CBS Radio to purchase airtime to stave off problems for its radio advertisement business, Google Audio, according to Marketwatch.
The report says that according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Jordan Rohan Google's problem is that is does not have access to enough airtime for advertisers to test its system and is planning to buy airtime to prevent delays in introducing the system, currently being tested on a limited basis by some 20 selected companies (See RNW Dec 9), to a broader audience.
Rohan was quoted as commenting, "We believe a critical mass of advertisers is interested in testing the platform. However, there is simply not enough radio inventory in the Google Audio system (yet) to enable buyers to run campaigns."
Rohan also says Google radio advert sales executives are now stressing the benefits of combined internet and radio campaigns rather than the "efficiency and efficacy" of Google Audio.
2006-12-20: Bill Griffin, managing director of Emap's Kiss dance radio network and a former head of marketing at Channel 4 TV, has resigned after 16 months with the company and is to leave in January according to the UK Guardian, which says he is a move to an unnamed communications agency.
Griffin, who oversaw a revamp and re-launch of Kiss, will be replaced on a temporary basis by Emap Radio marketing and communications director, Steve Parkinson according to the paper.
Emap Radio group managing director Dee Ford paying tribute to Griffin said she would "like to thank Bill for his work on refreshing the Kiss brand and leading the successful integration of the former Vibe stations into the Kiss family whilst achieving Kiss's highest Rajar figures for two years".
UK Guardian report:
2006-12-20: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has rapped Southern Cross's Melbourne talk station 3AW over the knuckles for breaching Australian regulations prohibiting broadcast of tobacco adverts by airing a radio play called "Command Decision", first broadcast in 1949, from its archives in its "The Overnighters" programme in April this year.
In its ruling, the ACMA noted that the adverts for Camel, sponsors of the original broadcast, contravene Australia's Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992 and comments that the adverts were "not broadcast accidentally as the licensee had sufficient opportunity to edit the advertisements out of the play recording before it was broadcast."
It adds that it "also considered that the advertisements were not incidental to the broadcast of other matter, as they were a distinct part of the broadcast rather than a background accompaniment to the radio play."
The adverts concerned were announcements saying, "How mild can a cigarette be? Smoke Camels and see. Yes, prove for yourself how mild Camels are. In a recent coast-to-coast test of hundreds of men and women who smoked Camels, and only Camels, for 30 days, noted throat specialists reported not one single case of throat irritation due to smoking Camels" and other adverts promoting the "mildness" of the cigarettes concerned.
Southern Cross has told the Authority that it will take steps to ensure that all future archival broadcasts are considered and reviewed prior to broadcasting, so that any potentially unlawful material is identified and removed from any further proposed broadcasts and the ACMA said it considers this an appropriate response.
RNW comment: We are somewhat disturbed by decisions of this nature which seem to us going too far along the road of airbrushing history although we accept that the ACMA and broadcasters are bound by a law, even in if the politicians passing it did not think deeply enough about some of the details.
In our view, rather than editing out such references it would have be much better to insist on appropriate factual anti-smoking announcements being aired with material - radio or TV - that effectively promotes habits now known to be harmful.
In this sense we would be harsher on the "incidental" inclusion of material such as when a star smokes in a film and gives smoking a glamour appeal and require appropriate announcements before and after the airing pointing out the health risks - and where appropriate noting the star's death of cancer.
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-12-20: XM Satellite Radio says that it is now back in compliance with NASDAQ stock exchange rules that require a majority of independent directors on the board of a NASDAQ-listed company following the appointment to its board of Joan L. Amble, Executive Vice President and Corporate Comptroller for American Express Company: She was also appointed chair of XM's Audit Committee.
Amble has received a standard annual grant to directors of an immediately exercisable ten-year option to purchase 10,000 shares of our Class A common stock - in this case at USD 15.89, the closing price on December 15.
2006-12-20: The US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), which currently only reports comparative figures not monetary amounts in its radio advertising revenue reports is to add dollar amounts in its quarterly reports from next year although it will continue to report monthly in comparative terms.
RAB says it is making the change to allow for "more meaningful analysis of emerging trends, and be in line with the majority of media revenue reporting practices and schedules" and its President and CEO Jeff Haley commented, "We are in a fast-changing media environment and too often short-term variances in business month-to-month have not provided a proper perspective on where Radio is headed."
"Our purpose is to give the marketplace a solid foundation on which to analyze Radio," he added. "Quarterly reporting will stabilize the perspective on Radio revenue. Disclosure of the dollar amounts will align Radio with the other media's reporting practices and demonstrate the industry's position as a formidable player in the wireless media arena."
2006-12-19: Although no deal has yet been announced, bankrupt US progressive talk network Air America Radio, currently owned by Piquant LLC, appears to be close to an agreement to sell itself to a new owner:
The New York Times reporting on the network's travails says Douglas Kreeger, an initial investor and former chief executive who stabilized the network in its early months, said in a telephone interview that there is "a signed letter of intent" for a new group to take over the network and that he is "likely" to be a part.
The paper adds that the lead equity position would be taken by Terence F. Kelly, of Madison, Wisconsin, also an Air America investor from the beginning and a former board chairman.
Kelly, reported the paper, said in a separate interview that the investor group included a new strategic media partner he declined to name, and both men would not predict when a deal might come to fruition.
Air America Radio, which declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, has been operating since then with the support of an investor group led by Robert Glaser, the CEO of RealNetworks Inc., who owns 36.7 percent of the network.
The network, as we have reported since its 2004 launch as an alternative to conservative talk radio, has had a chequered financial, managerial and ownership history and it soon emerged that it did not have the financing it said it had and could not afford its original plan to control its own network of stations broadcasting just Air America output.
The Times says the team put together by Glaser has been accused by some of being profligate and poor at bringing in income and Sheldon Drobny, who with wife Anita conceived the idea of the network, told the Times, "What they did for USD45 million they could have done for USD 10 million."
Danny Goldberg, the music executive, who chaired the network for around a year until April this year, also commented on the gap between ambitions and funding, saying there was "a big gap between the ambitions of the company and the funding available to accomplish those ambitions" adding, "There was no way to manage around that gap. Either lower your expectations or raise more money. No one wanted to change the ambitions."
Air America says that five to ten potential buyers had looked at the company since it went into bankruptcy and an official letter of intent to purchase it has now been signed although the prospective buyer has not been named.
The network's future has not been helped by the loss of affiliates, concerned about its future, the probability that host Al Franken will leave to run for the senate from Minnesota, and competition from other syndicated progressive talk, particularly from host Ed Schultz whose show is syndicated by the Jones Radio Network to more than 100 stations and is soon to move into the noon ET time slot, directly competing with Franken (and Rush Limbaugh).
Previous Air America/Piquant (its current owner):
Previous Jones Media:
New York Times report:
2006-12-19: The Australia Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB Sydney station breached the country's commercial radio codes by broadcasting comments that were likely to vilify Indonesian judges on the basis of race and nationality.
The comments were made in a May 2005 broadcast of the "Your Sydney Weekend" programme hosted by stand-in presenter, Malcolm T Elliott, and the station said that it had taken prompt action following the broadcast, sending an apology to the Indonesian Ambassador and Consul-General and asking Elliot, whom it no longer employs, to do the same.
In addition it says it has emphasized in its annual compliance training for operational staff that comments such as those made in the broadcast would not be tolerated on 2GB.
The ACMA says the actions taken address the compliance issues raised but it will closely monitor the licensee's performance in this regard.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2006-12-19: UK Guardian Media Group has confirmed that it is to purchase Saga Radio's four licences but has not given any details of the price it will pay, which is estimated by various observers at between GBP 60 ) and 100 million ( USD 117-196 million) .
GMG Radio Chief executive John Myers told the UK Guardian, owned by the same parent, that it planned to re-brand the stations as part of move to develop a "near national" network aimed at the over-50s.
He added, "These are four good stations that fit well within our group and with dual housing and re-branding we can deliver powerful synergies. Furthermore, our format change in London will allow us to develop a near-national brand aimed at an older demographic.
UK Guardian report:
2006-12-19: XM Satellite Radio says it is now broadcasting from its XM 3 satellite - "Rhythm" that was launched in early 2005 and its recently launched XM-4 satellite -"Blues" and has relegated its original XM1 (Rock) and XM2 (Roll) satellites, launched in 2001, to the role of in-orbit spares for the near-term.
John Dealy, the XM Senior Advisor who leads the Company's Satellite Systems Team, said the "Rhythm and Blues satellites form the most powerful and stable delivery system in satellite radio."
He added of the two satellites, which had to be brought into service because of power problems with their predecessors, "Both satellites are healthy and expected to deliver excellent service beyond their contract requirement of 15 years, providing the richest entertainment content to XM subscribers for the long-term."
2006-12-19: ABC's Daytime retained top rank but fell back a little in Arbitron's RADAR 91 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience Report just released covering the period from Sep 22, 2005 - Sep 20, 2006 and Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network in second rank also fell back a little.
The top five were:
1 - ABC Daytime Direction Network, which lost 137,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 7.01 million and an AQH down from 2.9.to 2.8
2 - Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network, which lost 88,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 6.12 million and an unchanged AQH of 2.5.
3 - Dial-Global Complete FM Network, which gained 101,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.80 million and an unchanged AQH of 2.3.
4 - ABC Prime Access - which gained 9,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.80 million and an unchanged AQH of 2.2.
5 - Westwood WON I Network with an average audience of 5.42 million 2.2 AQH. Westwood has revamped its line-up, grouping programming into 14 new consumer-targeted networks - three Adult-targeted news intensive networks, three broad reach networks, three young-adult-targeted networks, three Female targeted networks and two 10-second Traffic-Sponsorship Networks.
In the previous ratings its top ranked offering was the Westwood CBS News Primetime Network, which had an AQH of 1.9 in sixth rank with an average audience of 4.80 million.
Premiere's top ranked offering was the Premiere Emerald Plus Network in ninth place, down one as it lost 47,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 4.30 million and AQH down from 1.8 to 1.7.
Beginning with the RADAR 91 ratings, audience estimates in the Top 50 Black and Top 50 Hispanic DMAs will be available via the RADAR PC2010 software suite and the Top 10, 25 and 50 Black and Hispanic DMAs are available as qualitative categories to be reported on their own or in combination with other socio-economic demographics.
The sample size was increased from 110,000 previously to 118,000, part of a set of increases that will take the sample size up to 125,000 diary keepers by the release of RADAR 92 in March next year.
Previous Disney/ABC, America:
Previous Jones MediaAmerica:
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous RADAR and RADAR ratings (RADAR 90):
Previous Westwood One:
2006-12-18: This week we start our look at comment on radio with former terrestrial radio executive and consultant Lee Abrams, now XM Satellite Radio Chief Programming Officer, and his latest blog, which contains an anecdote about a promotion for KFOG-FM in San Francisco that indicates a terrific flair.
The station had been sold by General Electric and its new owners wanted a promotion to link with the All Star game that was due and the idea of flying a banner had been approved as "quick and cheap" but a slogan had to be decided.
The idea presented by Abrams and colleague Dave Logan was not a routine promotion of the station's programming but "Hit this plane and win $5,000 from KFOG", a slogan that Abrams says left the owner's aghast but which they were persuaded to accept with the comment to them, "OK, we'll do this but if someone hits the plane, it's your ass".
Come the day and other stations flew conventional banners but the KFOG one got the attention: As Abrams writes it up, "Talk about getting NOTICED! By the seventh inning it was a blow out game and half the crowd was drunk and every time that plane flew over the crowd went nuts---throwing beer cups at it. It was more interesting than the game. We later found out that some guy followed it to the airfield and hit it when it was on the ground. Disqualified! Must be in the air! But the REAL kicker was the next day. Front page. Something like: GOODEN FANS 6 AS NL ROMPS .AND NOBODY HIT THE PLANE! Now you can't BUY that kind of PR. And we were SO close to doing "KFOG ROCKS THE BAY"-Gonzo won over lame. Few of the experts from the Company got the idea when presented thank God we persevered. Some things you just gotta go with. "Testing/researching" an idea like this is absurd. I wonder if David Letterman runs the idea of dropping melons off a 40 story building to film them exploding through a focus group...I doubt it."
Abrams later comments, "There was a whole different spirit in radio back then. It really wasn't that long ago, pre-consolidation era. Consolidation led to a whole new financial driven mindset. Different rules. I actually tried consulting stations again after I left ABC. It lasted about a week. Definitely not the place to be. I left pure consulting in 1988 and by 1998 it was a completely different world and clearly not a better one unless you were a shareholder of major proportion. A lot of guys made a ton of money and that's great, but when you compare the spirit of radio over the air-it was a completely different business. That's a key reason I am so adamant that XM doesn't even remotely mimic today's FM model. It has NOTHING to do with listener satisfaction and while there are those who think it does---and it may to some of the true believers still on FM, it absolutely doesn't to the guys in control of that medium."
Abrams then includes a number of other anecdotes about radio as it was at the time and also comments about jargon and the set-up at XM but before moving on we couldn't forego one last Abrams comment about past times: " The impressive thing was that the imaginers were the ones with the power the business guys reacted to their input with plans to make the weirdness reality. At a lot of places these days those imaginer types wouldn't even be invited. There was this "You crazies come up with the ideas, us MBA's will find ways to make it work". Sweet deal."
After Abrams, whose blog not only makes some very sound points but is also enjoying to read, on to criticism from different angles of terrestrial owners starting in Wisconsin and an editorial in the Madison Capital Times concerning Clear Channel's decision to drop liberal talk in the market.
We featured the decision last week with comments from host Ed Schultz and the Capital Times takes up the cudgels on behalf of the format, commenting that the decision to scrap it "sparked a remarkable grass-roots movement to get the company to change its decision" and also gave Clear Channel an opportunity to prove those critics who say its very size militated against local level public service have things wrong
The paper notes that "more than 5,000 people have signed a petition urging Clear Channel to change its decision and the announcements by advertisers that they are ready and willing to buy commercials on a station that renews the liberal talk format" and says the station "has maintained strong ratings - recently the second highest in the market for the news-talk format."
"They cannot claim," comments the paper, "that the format is unpopular with advertisers. There is now more than enough evidence to confirm that Clear Channel's sales staff failed to recognize the potential of 92.1, let alone capitalize on it Clear Channel cannot, in fact, make any more excuses. It should either restore the progressive talk format or admit that they really are not interested in serving listeners in Madison."
RNW comment: From afar we have little sense of the soundness of Clear Channel's decision in commercial terms but we did check on Madison's population - some 220,000 - to see how significant protests by 5,000 people signing a petition are and concluded that Clear Channel may well have its calculations correct in plain commercial terms. In terms of democracy we think it clearly doesn't but that is not the company's responsibility as a commercial organization but that of local people who, if they do want a liberal talk format and have been denied it because of advertisers' actions in refusing to place adverts with the station, should do their very best to organize boycotts of said advertisers - not that difficult to do in the days of the Internet. If advertisers are correct in calculating that they will not benefit by placing adverts with such a format, they will also be correct commercially in continuing the policy but if people feel strongly enough for it to cost them - and have enough courage of convictions to apply the same principles when it comes to stations who do not carry adequate local news and information - then companies are likely to perceive it to their benefit to amend policies accordingly.
Similar arguments also apply in Washington DC where the Red Zebra deal to buy WGMS-FM and in all probability drop classical music is also one where the motivations for the seller - Bonneville International - are clearly financial and to a certain degree so are the motivations of the buyer albeit it is possible that passion for the Redskins could also play a part for Red Zebra owner Dan Snyder.
In this case, the decision to drop Classical could well according to Marc Fisher in the Washington Post well be one where the same potential audience has divided interests.
"The overlap between Redskins fans and music lovers," writes Fisher, "is apparent in the hundreds of protest e-mails and calls pouring in to WGMS and other media. Many begin, "I love the Redskins, but . . . ," then slam Snyder for killing off the classics to add the region's fifth all-sports frequency."
Fisher quotes WGMS - Washington's Good Music Station - assistant PD Scott Thureen as saying, "Washington is a city of well-educated, well-cultured individuals and for the nation's top-rated classical station to close its doors is beyond sad. Listeners feel betrayed and angry. How are we going to expose young people to this music now?"
Thureen also commented with reference to WGMS plants to launch two new HD digital stations, "What's tragic is that we were on the cusp of having three classical stations here. Instead, we may well have none."
Fisher also notes that over a year more people in the area go to a concert than attend a professional sporting event and cites a Pew Charitable Trusts study that found 60% of local residents report attending an arts performance in the past year, while 51% went to a pro sports game."
Fisher goes on to note that "Demographically, according to Scarborough Research, people who go to Redskins games are hard to tell from those who listen to classical radio: About 70 percent of each group has household income of USD 75,000 or more. Both audiences are majority male. And both skew heavily toward older people, though, surprisingly, the crowd at Skins games is older than the WGMS audience."
Finally before listening suggestions a tribute - from Paul Donovan in his UK Sunday Times "Radio Waves" column to sound recordists.
Donovan pegs his comments to a BBC Radio 4 programme "When the Whistle Blows" that airs today and after noting some of the sounds that are aired comments " the care invested in the recording of these things, and myriad more, is the very essence of radio. To my shame, I have never celebrated the art of sound recordists, never thinking about it or them much, and taking what they do for granted: this month, offering such a rich palette for the ear, is a good time to do so."
He continues, "These engineers have to know about the limits of the human ear, the passage of sound waves, the different types of microphone, pitch, echo, range, white noise and more. Patience is also useful: Matt Thompson, the producer who spent a week in Flagstaff recording tomorrow afternoon's evocative little documentary with Diane Hope, the presenter, says: "It was so difficult to get the noise of the train horn without the intrusive traffic that we ended up recording very late at night." He has mixed the railroad horns, intended as a warning to both people and animals on unfenced lines, with the views of (sometimes deafened) residents and the vivid but grim testimony of engine drivers. It is only 15 minutes long, but brilliant: perhaps the BBC will repeat it at a slightly more suitable time."
Donovan then notes that although the Oscars acknowledge the work of sound recordists it is not done in British radio awards and reports the efforts of Neil Gardner, secretary of the Radio Independents Group, the trade body for Britain's 80-plus independent radio-production companies to set up awards for best sound editor and other production and post-production areas.
After the above our listening suggestions pretty well have to start with BBC Radio 4 and "Where the Whistle Blows", a 15-minute programme to air at 15:45 GMT today. It deals with the use in America of the horn to warn of an approaching train and was inspired because of legislation that is being introduced to curb trains sounding their horns.
After that, with Abrams in mind, to a programme that celebrates four famous musicians playing for their own pleasure: It was "Million Dollar Quartet" on BBC Radio 2 on Saturday, the story of the December 1956 jam session by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis
Next we suggest, also from BBC Radio 4, the latest "Archive Hour" that, aired on Saturday, was "Not Like That, Like This", a look by Julian Worricker at master classes produced by the BBC over the decades revealing how great musicians approach their craft.
Next week's edition - Saturday at 20:00 GMT - in a sense harks back to Donovan's comments on sound recordists: It is "Wild Times: David Attenborough at 80", a reflection by Attenborough in conversation with Brian Leith on his career dealing with the natural world around us.
Earlier that evening at 17:30 GMT "A World in Your Ear" is devoted to alcohol from pub crawls in the Australian outback to alcohol poisoning in Russia and the Czech Republic's 'Lady Beer', specially brewed for menopausal women.
And with a different form of Christmas spirit, tonight BBC Radio 2 - 22:00 GMT and 23:45 GMT starts airing a seven-part rendition of Charles Dickens's " A Christmas Carol" - and on Friday at 19:00 GMT it starts the first of a three-part biography of Johnny Mathis, perhaps best known for his recording of "When a Child is Born."
Also with a seasonal emphasis is BBC Radio 3's "Performance on 3" that this week - 19:30 GMT until Friday - features "Christmas Choral Classics with Aled Jones".
Then sticking with singing, we suggest Saturday's "Vox Humana"from Radio Netherlands: Entitled "A Dutchman Leads the Singing Cossacks" it deals with the rehabilitation of traditional Cossack songs, repressed in the then Soviet Union but kept alive by exiles, and features Dutchman Marcel Verhoeff who has been at the forefront of Russia's Cossack revival since the early nineties and is now chief conductor of the Choir of the Don Cossacks Russia.
And finally back to BBC Radio 4 and "Off the Page" that on Sunday night discussed the "Power of Positive Thinking" and how far there is any such power and how far it's a matter of faith and self-delusion.
Abrams - blog:
Madison Capital-Times - editorial:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
Washington Post - Fisher:
2006-12-18: Clear Channel has suspended its Los Angeles' KFI-AM morning host Bill Handel for a week following an altercation with Jamie White of sister station KYSR-FM that went in part on air.
The Los Angeles Times, which had reported that the exchange, which went to air after Handel burst into the studio where White was hosting show included an obscenity that breached US, broadcast indecency rules, says the station says it bleeped this out. [See RNW Dec 17 -- RNW comment: Either a correction or inaccurate. We can only hope that someone recorded the show and will post the audio so that the facts can be determined in the interest of accuracy and as an encouragement of honesty whenever there are future incidents where offending language is alleged to have made air. The KFI web site, we noted, does not mention the incident at all.].
Handel, who had made his comments after White reportedly asked his twin daughters to leave, said in a prepared statement, "I want to apologize to Jamie and her team for my behaviour and how I handled the unfortunate incident this morning. It was simply a reaction of a dad who was protecting his children. I lost my temper, I lost my cool."
[RNW comment: Which again, of course, does not make it clear whether Handel actually had justification for something said to the children that went over the top or has spoiled two brats.]
Clear Channel's local president Greg Ashlock said that they did not "condone that kind of treatment of professional colleagues."
Previous Clear Channel:
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-12-18: Washington public station WETA-FM could revert to classical music programming should a deal by Redskins owner Dan Synder's Red Zebra Broadcasting to buy the region's only classical station WGMS-FM and us it for sports broadcasting go through according to the Washington Post.
The paper reports that in a special meeting the WETA board voted to give management the freedom to switch back to classical from its news and talk programming should WGMS drop classical and quoted WETA vice-president and general manager Dan DeVany as saying the station could "move very quickly" if need be.
The Post notes regarding this that Red Zebra could keep the classical format on WGMS, although this is thought unlikely, or move it to three smaller stations it owns - an AM and two FMs that have "spotty " signals.
WETA had broadcast classical for some 35 years before switching to its current format in 2005, leaving WGMS alone with the format and DeVany said the area was a "good classical music market" and there was "something to be said for a non-commercial station carrying it."
He noted, however, that the current format had been relatively successful and since the switch WETA's audience share, which had been declining, had rebounded up from around 1/8% to 2.5%, and that pledge contributions are around even although they could not split this between listeners to WETA-FM and viewers of its TV station.
Previous Red Zebra:
Washington Post report:
2006-12-18: Australian commercial radio remained the dominant medium in the country at breakfast time this year according to latest figures from Commercial Radio Australia, which says 6.6 million people tuned to it each week.
The figures show more than 10 million listening to radio weekly across metropolitan Australia, more than 8.6 million of them tuning to commercial radio. Time spent listening was just under 18 hours a week.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2006-12-17: The main regulatory news last week came from Canada where as we have reported changes are proposed in relation to Canadian content and digital broadcasting regulation (See RNW Dec 16): Elsewhere there was a steady flow of radio related decisions from all areas except for Ireland.
In Australia, the Australian Media and Communications Agency (ACMA) is seeking comment on draft guidelines relating to new enforcement powers and has ruled on a number of breaches of regulations as well as more routine licence work.
Enforcement action included cancellation of the licence of New South Wales community station Mt Helen FM (See RNW Dec 15); rulings that broadcasts by Macquarie Radio Network and Southern Cross Broadcasting morning hosts have breached Australian commercial radio industry codes by misrepresenting viewpoints and presenting material in a misleading manner (See RNW Dec 13); and also ruled that Multicultural Community Radio Association Ltd, licensee of Sydney community radio service 2000 FM, broadcast advertisements during its Bosnian Programme.
The licensee has revised its sponsorship guidelines to include a one-month suspension and training sessions for providers of programs that result in a breach of the licence condition and termination of programmes that resulted in further breaches, action that the ACMA says it considers address the issues raised.
The ACMA has also decided to make capacity available to improve reception and extend the licence area of the community radio service 2RPH Sydney by making two medium power FM frequencies available for 2RPH, one each at Newcastle and Wollongong plus an additional FM low power in-fill frequency at Kings Cross in Sydney. 2RPH already broadcasts on a high power AM frequency in Sydney.
The ACMA also held its inaugural conference on spectrum issues at the start of the week, highlighting in its deliberations the management of the balance between the needs of current users and the benefits possible from new developments such as WiMax and fourth generation mobile phones.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as noted is proposing to change its regulatory regime for commercial stations with the new system amongst other things to change the system of payments for Canadian Content Development and to create separate digital licences that would allow broadcasters to air new programming without the current requirements to simulcast a parent analogue station.
It also posted a 181 page (713 kb PDF) report "The Future Environment facing the Canadian Broadcasting System" that amongst other thins noted that so far new media technologies had only had a marginal affect on the way Canadians accessed media but noted increasing use, particularly by younger Canadians, of unregulated platforms such as the Internet and mobile networks.
In terms of current analogue radio in Canada, the report notes that between September 2002 and November this year the number of English-language commercial FMs increased to 380 while the number of AM stations declined to 158 and the number of French-language FM stations increased to 88 while the number of AM stations declined to 19.
It commented that radio is doing well in comparison to other media and between 2000 and 2005 increased its share of advertising revenues from 13.9% to 14.7% - a total of CAD 1.1 billion (USD 951,000): Internet revenues in the period rose from 1.5% in 2000 to 5.8% ( CAD 119,000 - USD 449,000) in 2005
Regarding digital radio it noted that as the beginning of October this year the CRTC had authorized 76 transitional digital radio programming undertakings, 57 of them associated with existing commercial radio stations, 18 with existing Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) stations, and one stand-alone ethnic radio station.
"Digital radio's roll-out," it commented, "has apparently stalled. According to the CBC, consumers do not want to buy receivers until they are convinced that there is unique new content available to justify the purchase while, broadcasters have been unwilling to create the required content until there are adequate audiences to justify the programming expenditures."
It added, "Moreover, because digital radio has as yet to take hold while other services such as Internet audio streaming, downloading of music and subscription-based satellite radio have since come to the market, some parties in the industry are of the opinion that, it is doubtful whether digital radio, as originally conceived and planned, will become an integral part of the Canadian radio broadcasting system in the foreseeable future. Instead, the industry is considering different uses of the existing digital radio spectrum, technology and infrastructure for new and innovative multimedia mobile wireless services."
The report also noted potential problems for Canada's two national pay audio programming undertakings, Galaxie and Max Trax, which were approved in 1995 and offer 30 channels of commercial-free music. Each channel is devoted to a specific type of music, including classical, contemporary Christian, jazz, rap and rock.
These are distributed by cable companies and by the satellite distributor, Star Choice Television Network Incorporated and the report says that these "would face significant challenges in the future if satellite subscription radio programming services sought to expand their reach through new channels, such as mobile wireless services. In addition, if the SSR programming services were successful in obtaining carriage on BDUs, they would certainly provide direct competition to pay audio for its target audience."
The CRTC was also involved in various licensing decisions including (in order of province):
*Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for an FM transmitter at Iqaluit to rebroadcast the programming of the CBC's national English-language network service, Radio Two.
*Renewal until 31 August 2013 of licence of CIKR-FM, Kingston.
*Approval of frequency change from 91.1 MHz to 105.7 MHz for new English-language FM approved in Strathroy for My Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
*Approval of revocation of licence of CKTS-AM, Sherbrooke, which Corus Entertainment Inc. advised had ceased operation on November 19.
*Renewal of licence of CJLM-FM, Joliette, to 31 August 2013.
The CRTC also gave notice of a public hearing in Calgary, Alberta on February 12, with a January 18 deadline for comments or interventions, where radio-related applications to be considered are:
*Across Canada: Applications by CHUM Limited for authority for a corporate re-organization under which the assets of various radio and TV assets would be transferred to newly created subsidiaries: The move would affect nine FMs, five AMs, and four transitional digital radio undertakings in Ontario.
*Application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership to convert CKOV-AM, Kelowna, to an 11,000 watts FM with a Soft Vocals music format complemented by a continuation of CKOV's news and information programming.
*Application by Rogers Broadcasting Limited to renew the licence of English-language commercial CKCL-FM, Chilliwack and its transmitters CKCL-FM-1, Abbotsford, and CKCL-FM-2, Vancouver: The CRTC noted that it had received complaints alleging the licensee's abandonment of CKCL-FM's Fraser Valley programming orientation and in May 2000 was directed amongst other things not to identify itself on a basis that includes exclusive references to Vancouver and to references to the areas that it is licensed to serve in all traffic and weather reports, as well as to include, on a regular basis, references to local news and events in the community it is licensed to serve.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom was rather busier. It announced that it had received eight bids for a new South Wales regional FM (See RNW Dec 14), advertised a new digital radio multiplex licence for Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire for which applications have to be submitted by March 13 along with a GBP 15,000 (USD 30,000) non-refundable fee, and posted its reasons for the award of the Preston FM licence to Proud FM against competition from three other applicants (See RNW Dec 8)
It noted the importance it had attached to ability to maintain the proposed service and the benefit of UTV's backing in this regard and the benefits from an ability to collaborate with nearby stations owned by the same group. In addition it made a specific note of a commitment to local speech output.
It also published its latest Broadcast Bulletin, upholding one radio complaint (See RNW Dec 12), various spectrum-related documents, and its Draft Annual Plan for 2007/8 (a 51-page 920 kb PDF).
In this it notes that "Convergence - the reason Ofcom was created - is becoming a reality" and says the result is to give consumers greater choice with services available on many platforms.
It cites radio as a good example, commenting, "...listeners can hear programmes on traditional platforms, such as FM and AM, as well as on new platforms, such as DAB digital radio, digital terrestrial TV, and broadband, either streamed live or downloaded for later. Consumers can also choose bundles of services on the same platform, or obtain services on a range of platforms. For example, TV, radio, internet access and voice calls can all be supplied using a broadband connection, or can be supplied separately."
The "era of convergence," it says, "will also be characterized by disruption. Traditional business models are under threat - commercial broadcasters must compete for viewers and advertising in a world where there are dozens of channels, and fixed line phone services are being challenged by mobile and VoIP "and it adds, "We believe that the interests of citizens and consumers are served by regulating for convergence, which means promoting the competition and innovation that drives converging markets."
In policy terms Ofcom says it intend to "promote competition in converging telecoms and broadcasting markets"; to ensure "conditions are in place to promote effective competition and efficient investment by both incumbent operators and new entrants"; and to "take a more strategic view of the development of certain wireless platforms."
In terms of licensed spectrum Ofcom notes that the increasing demand for spectrum is increasing the risks of interference and that it handled 16,500 cases in 2005/06 including action to protect safety-of-life communications and prevent illegal use of the radio spectrum: Its "current focus", says Ofcom, "is on reviewing our approach in the key areas of illegal broadcasting; investigations and enforcement; monitoring; and interference resolution."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to be involved in the issues of broadcast indecency - TV broadcasters continue to file objections to its rules - and media ownership: Regarding the latter at the start of the week it held its second of six scheduled public hearings in Nashville, Tennessee (See RNW Dec 12) and has also been written to by a group of Democratic Party congressmen who raised concerns about the economic studies it has commissioned (See RNW Dec 13).
The FCC also announced that it is now ready to grant construction permits relating to a further 11 winning bids from its FM Auction 62: These are in Arizona, Montana, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming.
On the enforcement front it has issued a USD 5,000 penalty to Gerald Parks, licensee of WEKC-AM, Williamsburg, Kentucky, for failure to register the antenna structure and failure to maintain in the public inspection file a service contour map and issues/programs lists. Parks had not denied the violations but requested cancellation or a reduction on the basis of inability to pay: The FCC held, however, that supporting documentation provided did not warrant a reduction.
It also issued a USD 21,000 penalty to GI Joe's Radio Electronics and GI Joe's CB Radio for offering for sale non-certified Citizens Band transceivers and external radio frequency power amplifiers, again refusing a request for reduction on the basis of inability to pay.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-12-17: Los Angeles KFI-AM morning host Bill Handel broke US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) indecency regulations in an on-air yelling match with KYSR-FM host Jamie White according to the Los Angeles Times.
The paper says Handel, angered by White's comments off air to his twin preteen daughters, Handel burst into the studio where White was hosting her "Jamie, Jack and Stench" show and shouted on the air: "If you ever talk to my kids like that again, Jamie, I'm going to kick your ass!" and also uttered an obscenity that breaches FCC regulations.
White in return, says the paper, shouted at Handel to get out of her studio and called him "nuts".
The Times notes the two stations, both owned by Clear Channel, are housed in the same building and says the incident was apparently sparked when White asked Handel's children to leave the KYSR studios.
Previous Clear Channel:
Los Angeles Times report:
2006-12-16: Citing as reasons the impact of new technologies and a introducing a fairer system, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is proposing changes to its commercial radio policy relating to support of domestic talent and the requirement to air home-grown artists following a review of its Commercial Radio Policy 1998.
The regulator has rejected the idea of increasing the minimum level of Canadian popular music from 35% to 40% of musical selections aired for stations that have a pop format but is proposing a new basic contribution system - and increased payments overall - for support of Canadian talent that would be based on a station's revenues rather than on the size of the market in which it operates. It is proposing to replace the current Canadian Talent Development (CTD) term with Canadian Content Development (CCD) to reflect a change in its emphasis on creating new audio content using Canadian resources.
It says "New regulated and unregulated technologies for the distribution of music to consumers" mean it would not be appropriate to increase the level of domestic content that Canadian pop stations have to air although it is proposing to increase from its current 10% to 25% the minimum level of Canadian content for concert music and from 10% to 20% that for Canadian jazz and blues. It adds that radio licensees will also be asked to make specific commitments to provide airplay for and to promote emerging Canadian artists.
Regarding the new Canadian talent payments, the CRTC says that basing these on revenues will "will take into account the unique circumstances of small stations, regardless of the size of their markets. It will also automatically adjust for changes in the financial situation of radio stations."
It notes that broadcasters will continue to make contributions to support FACTOR (The Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Recordings) and MUSICACTION (the French language equivalent of FACTOR) and that those acquiring existing stations will also continue to make contributions to the Radio Starmaker Fund and Fonds RadioStar and estimates that had the new system been applied in 2005-2006 total contributions from radio broadcasters would have risen by between CAD 3.5 million to CAD 4 million (USD 3-3.5 million) when compared to the previous year.
CRTC chairman Charles Dalfen - who stands down at the end of the year - commented of the proposals, "The key challenge facing the radio industry is to remain relevant in a marketplace characterized by rapidly changing technology and consumer behaviour. We are confident that the measures announced today will enable commercial radio broadcasters to contribute effectively to the achievement of the objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act, while operating efficiently in an increasingly competitive environment."
The CRTC is also proposing changes to its policy concerning new radio licences for smaller markets under which applications for a new station in a market with a 12 and above populate of a quarter of a million or less will trigger a commission assessment of the economics to the market. If this indicates that the market cannot support another station the applicant will then be given the option of withdrawing the application or submitting additional information to make its case.
In a third notice the CRTC is proposing to ease its current digital radio policy which requires broadcasters to simulcast existing output and will instead allow them to "develop whatever broadcast services they believe will be of greatest interest to the listening public."
Canadian commercial broadcasters through the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) had argued that, although Canadian radio listening has so far remained fairly stable, the impact of portable music players and other new technologies would lead to a decline in listening and consequent fall in advertising revenue and opposed any increases n Canadian content requirements that most other parties had favoured.
Regarding digital radio, the CRTC noted that after what it termed a promising start its introduction had now effectively stalled, partly because of the high cost of the few receivers available - Canada used the Eureka DAB system in the L-band rather than the VHF Band III used in most other countries and also requires displays in English and French - and also because the content is the same as that of current analogue stations since digital was introduced as a replacement technology for AM and FM. Experience to date says the CRTC suggests that "digital radio services will need to offer distinct programming" if people are to have an incentive to buy digital receivers.
The CAB had proposed abandonment of the concept of L-band digital broadcasts as purely a replacement technology and the introduction of a policy to encourage the development of innovative programming and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had also supported the idea of offering additional services and also said the requirement for CD quality audio should be removed to allow provision of more services at a lower audio quality. In addition it had expressed caution about the idea of introducing IBOC (in-band on-channel) digital broadcast systems such as HD radio used in the US because of the potential for harmful interference to existing analogue services, particularly on the AM band.
The CRTC essentially agreed that offering more diverse services on digital would boost its take-up and is therefore proposing to issue digital licences rather than ones for transitional digital undertakings and to allow broadcasters to determine their own content. Regarding the introduction of IBOC digital transmissions such as HD radio and DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) it expressed support in principle if problems such as interference can be successfully addressed.
2006-12-16: Kumudam Publications is to join the ranks of private FM broadcasters in the Tamil Nadu market towards the end of this month with an as-yet unnamed station that will add a seventh FM operator to the market.
The company his hired around 30 people so far to develop is service of music, talk and entertainment. Already on air in Chennai (Madras) are Radiocity, Radio Mirchi, Big 92.7, Survan, Hello FM and state broadcast All India Radio's Rainbow FM and further stations are expected from Mid-Day Group's RadioOne, the Muthoot Group, and Radio Indigo, an FM channel promoted by Jupiter Capital.
Last year radio advertising revenues in Chennai were around INR 21 crore (USD 4.7 million - a crore is 10 million).
Previous Indian Radio:
2006-12-16: At their last ever meeting, the BBC Board of Governors today reached a decision that the proposed move from London to Salford of key BBC departments - including BBC Radio Five Live and BBC Sport - would represent value for money to all licence fee payers subject to agreeing the outstanding contractual issues with the mediacity:uk consortium.
The BBC Acting Chairman, Anthony Salz said: "Today the Board of Governors received from BBC management and our independent advisers Deloitte a further evaluation of the potential costs and savings in London from a move of key departments to Salford.
"More detailed work will be needed during 2007 before decisions can be taken that will provide final robust plans.
"But the Governors are today recommending to the BBC Trust that a move to Salford would represent value for money to all licence fee payers.
The governors say that over the long-term the move will deliver savings but over the next five years would mean significant extra spending without offsetting savings.
The move has been at the centre of some of the negotiations for the BBC licence fee with the corporation saying it would not be able to afford the move unless it gets "realistic funding" (See RNW Oct 12).
2006-12-16: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a broadcast on CFRA-AM, Ottawa, in which host Lowell Green discussed among other things the case of an Afghan who had been condemned to death for converting from Islam to Christianity breached Canadian broadcast standards in using an incorrect quotation from the Koran and its treatment of Moslem callers.
In the programme Green quoted the Koran n support of his contention that it says "you are to kill those who convert from Islam to Christianity" and also encouraged calls from Moslems if they agreed that the Koran instructed Moslems "to kill those who switch from Islam to other faiths."
A complainant had raised concerns about the host's comparisons of Christianity and Islam and also said rhetorical techniques used had the effect of inciting hatred towards Islam.
The CBSC said that in considering this matter there was no problem with discussing this matter or other sensitive subjects that related to Islam and although the host's "evident lack of familiarity" with Islam religion led him to conclusions that were, in some cases, unjustified, the Panel "does not find that the host's comments, even in the comparison of the religions, amounted to abusive or unduly discriminatory comment. "
It did find however that the non-opinion part of the broadcast where Lowell Green, declared firmly and unequivocally that he was quoting from the Koran required accuracy and in misquoting the host breached Canadian codes.
The programme's "failure to present the audience with accurate information about the content of the Koran, "said the panel was "misleading and unfair. They loaded the dice without disclosing the fact that they had done so, even if that choice was unintentional" and they added that the panel "also had particular difficulties with the way the host treated a number of the callers, particularly those who had identified themselves as Muslim and had called at the express invitation of the host to explain their perspective on their own religion and its underlying document, the Koran."
In particular it said Green, having invited calls from Moslems to explain the Koran to him, disregarded their explanations as well as their arguments and "When one of the Muslims even explained that the Arabic, that is, the original and definitive, version of the Qur'an, which he had before him, did not contain the words the host relied on, Green changed the subject."
"The broadcaster's refusal to permit callers in good faith to provide the explanation of the misquoted text from the Qur'an when he had invited them to do so," concluded the CBSC, "rendered the presentation of that text neither full, fair nor proper, and consequently in breach of Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics."
RNW comment: The CBSC judgment here is very narrow in context, namely of getting the original correct if you are to attack it and being fair and accurate in presentation of the purpose of a programme. Although we suspect this ruling would have come under severe attack were it south of the border, it in fact is very specific about allowing fair and accurate comment and quite revealing of the ignorance of people about the details of their own religions not just those of others. But then if ignorance by hosts or callers were a bar to getting on air, we suspect talk radio would be much thinner on the ground!
2006-12-15: Maurice Newman, the British-born chairman of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) has been named to succeed Donald McDonald, whose term ends on December 31 after ten years in the post, as chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Newman, who is 68 and has been in stockbroking and banking for 45 years, became chairman of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) in 1994 and was formerly on the ABC Board, resigning in June 2004 in a protest over what he termed a "breach of boardroom confidentiality" by staff-elected director Ramona Koval in giving information to the Corporation's Media Watch program about an external monitoring exercise. The staff director's post has since been abolished by the ABC.
Newman said after his appointment that he had no intention of making maj9or changes or of introducing advertising to the ABC. In an interview on the ABC's PM radio programme he said he saw himself as "ensuring that the ABC remains true to its principles, that it's independent, that it adheres strictly to its charter."
Asked about perceptions that the corporation had become a mouthpiece for the Howard government - Newman is a friend of the Prime Minister John Howard - he said this was not the way he saw it and added that the ABC had "an obligation to ensure that what we produce by way of content and through our platforms is absolutely impartial and that the position we take is independent" and specifically noted that should the ASX become involved in a controversial matter and "you've got a conflict or if there is a conflict which could be perceived, it is appropriate at least to declare an interest, and if there is in fact a conflict, then to withdraw from the room" adding, "But I can't envisage at a moment's notice any situation like that which would arise."
Previous ABC, Australia:
2006-12-15: BBC Radio 1 breakfast DJ Chris Moyles is getting paid an extra GBP 75,000 (USD 147,000) a year on top of his GBP 630,00 (USD 1.24 million) a year deal for "playing his own jingles" according to the Daily Mirror.
The paper says that Moyles gets GBP 15 (USD 30) each time he airs jingles he wrote - and that he aired them 5,000 times in the past year alone.
Moyles composes the jingles in conjunction with specialist firm Music 4 and, says the paper, the GBP 15 payment is collected through the Performing Rights Society as a royalty payment: It quotes a Radio 1 spokesman as saying that the payments are " completely legitimate. But we refute any suggestion that he is playing them fore frequently" and a spokeswoman for the BBC Governors as saying Moyles "would be subject to editorial guidelines, which eh would have to adhere to."
John Whittingdale, head of the Commons Culture select committee, was more critical: he was quoted as saying, " There seems to be a clear conflict of interest here and it seems completely inappropriate."
2006-12-15: Disney-ABC's Chicago WSM-AM has promoted current weekend host Jerry Agar and he is to replace Eileen Byrne as weekday 09:00 to 11:00 host from the New Year according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Byrne's last show will be on Wednesday next week and she has been offered a weekend slot when the returns from vacation according to Feder who quotes her as saying, with a display of humour, "Going through this reminds me of a recent interview I did with Donald Rumsfeld. I look forward to talking to him again. We have so much more in common now."
Feder notes that Byrne is the third woman to be fired or demoted by the station this year - the others were Teri O'Brien and Deborah Rowe - and this leaves morning co-host Roma Wade as the only female on its weekday schedule.
He adds that the fill-in for the 09:00 to 11:00 slot on December 26 and 27 will be former Emmis WKQX-FM (Q101) morning host Erich Mancow Muller, who is currently still being aired in syndication elsewhere but has no Chicago outlet for his "Morning Madhouse" show which has been broadcast from ABC Radio studios since July but is to move locations in the New Year.
Previous "Mancow" Muller:
Chicago Sun-Times -Feder column:
2006-12-15: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has cancelled the New South Wales community licence Mt Helen FM following failure by the licensee to comply with additional licence conditions imposed after an inquiry by predecessor body the Australian Broadcasting Authority ( ABA) into the station's licence renewal application in October 2004.
Mt Helen FM & TV Upper Hunter & Liverpool Plains Community Broadcasting, Telecasting and Tourism Association Inc had been allocated a licence in 1999 to provide a community service to Muswellbrook and after the ABA renewed the licence the ACMA imposed three additional licence conditions intended to ensure it complied with relevant regulations (See RNW Licence News Sep 25, 2005).
Mt Helen was required amongst other things to report to the ACMA on its compliance with the additional licence conditions by 30 November 2005 and 31 March 2006 including providing by 30 November 2005 wit a transcript of on-air announcements inviting listeners to participate in the service and by 31 March 2006 provide a written report detailing procedures relating to corporate governance.
It met neither deadline and on August 31 this year was given a formal notice requiring it to comply by October 1. The station ceased broadcasts in August and did not comply with the requirements.
ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said of its decision to cancel the licence that this was made because there was "no indication that the situation would improve or change."
He added, "ACMA worked hard with Mt Helen FM to try to ensure that it encouraged the local community to participate in the service and that it had a high level of corporate governance. This included imposing additional licence conditions. It is disappointing that the licensee was unable to respond positively to ACMA's intervention and was unable to provide a true community broadcasting service."
The ACMA says it has not yet made any decision regarding the future use of the frequency that Mt |H Helen FM had been allocated.
2006-12-14: The Future of Music Coalition (FMC) in a report "False Premises, False Conclusions: A Quantitative History of Ownership Consolidation in the Radio Industry" released on Wednesday claims that consolidation in US radio has led to "fewer choices in radio programming and harmed the listening public and those working in the music and media industries, including DJs, programmers and musicians".
The comments were disputed even before the report's release by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
The FMC report - a 6.2 MB 116-page PDF is posted on its web site - by its Research Director Peter DiCola notes that the two US radio industry giants - Clear Channel with 27.2% of listening and Infinity - now CBS Radio - with 13.6% control 40% of US listening and the top five - the next ranked are Radio One Inc. with 3.5%, Cox Radio with 3.4% and Citadel with 3.3% - more than half US listening and the top ten almost two-thirds.
It adds that the "localness" of ownership - ownership by individuals living in the community of licence, fell by almost a third between 1975 and last year, and says 15 formats make up three quarters of all commercial programming, adding that "radio formats with different names can overlap up to 80% in terms of the songs played on them" and saying, "Niche musical formats like Classical, Jazz, Americana, Bluegrass, New Rock, and Folk, where they exist, are provided almost exclusively by smaller station groups."
It gathered its statistics from published sources such as ratings and proprietary sources such as Media Access Pro (Radio Version) from industry consultants BIA Financial Networks, Duncan's American Radio, and Radio and Records and says across 155 US markets listenership in the US has fallen 22% since its 1989 peak.
NAB in its response provides a link to its own report from BIAfn published in October - posted as a 23 page 153 KB PDF - and
The NAB in comments posted before the FMC report was released says the report will claim music format diversity has decreased but the claim that "facts demonstrate a different story, according to BIA Financial Network (BIAfn) "
It goes on to say among other things that the number of "general programming formats provided by local radio stations increased by 7.5 percent since 2001"; "Markets of all sizes saw substantial increases in the average number of specific programming formats provided, with an average 22.2 percent increase since 2001"; "Across all markets since 1996, the number of general and specific programming formats has increased by 16 percent and 36.4 percent, respectively" ; and also points to increases in the numbers of Spanish and Asian language stations and in stations "targeting the African American" community.
NAB Executive Vice President of Media Relations Dennis Wharton said in a news release, FMC's long history of producing questionable research and dubious data to fulfil its agenda-driven mission is apparent for all to see. As the BIA Financial Network study indicates, free local radio has more format diversity than at any time in its rich history. Moreover, with the advent of HD Radio, local radio will be providing more news, more music formats, and more public service for the 260 million people who tune in every week."
RNW comment: A British miners' leader once commented that it wasn't "the figures lying but the liars figuring "that he was concerned about and our response to these two reports is a similar one.
We intend to go through both reports and mull them over but our initial response is that the NAB response and report contains far more of what we have recently seen referred to by US newspapers as "bovine excrement" - bullshit in plain language - than that of the FMC although both are arguing from a particular viewpoint.
It would seem to us that to take just one argument, to claim more diversity if the same product is broken up into lots of different packages is certainly closer to liars figuring than straightforward and honest analysis and there is no virtue in claiming an increase in Spanish language stations as increasing diversity in the context of consolidation since the increase is far more related to numbers in the US census than to consolidation or absence thereof.
Were there not such an increase, whatever the ownership, it would in our view be quite fair to accuse the industry of being woefully inadequate in business terms but that would apply however many or few owners there were.
Equally when it comes to HD meaning "local radio will be providing more news", we would regard it as most pertinent to ask the source of that news: If it's just more agency rip and read or syndicated agency audio making it to air, the argument is very weak.
And as for NAB accusing anyone of "producing questionable research and dubious data"
Future of Music Coalition report (6.2 MB PDF):
NAB/BIAfn report (153KB PDF):
2006-12-14: UK media regulator Ofcom has received right applications, including a speech and easy listening bid from Wales' largest commercial radio group against comptition from CanWest, Emap, GCap Media, GMG Radio and UTV for the South Wales regional commercial licence it advertised in September.
The bids are from:
* allTalk FM Wales - the bid from UTV-owned talkSPORT for a talkback format.
*Dave FM - the Absolute Radio International bid with a mix of classic and contemporary rock targeted at a 20-44 years-old male audience. Absolute in October won the Oxford and South Oxfordshire FM with a Jack-FM format bid (See RNW Oct 14).
* Kerrang! Radio Wales - Emap's bid with its Kerrang! rock format.
*Original FM - The CanWest-backed bid with an adult alternative format.
* South Wales Radio - the bid from Wales' largest radio group, Town and Country Broadcasting, with a speech-based service plus easy listening and Welsh originated music from the past six decades.
*Variety FM - GMG Radio's bid with an easy listening format.
*Wicked FM - a bid from UK Media and Radio Wales Ltd with a modern rock format targeted at the under-40s.
*Xfm - the GCap bid with its Xfm alternative rock format.
2006-12-14: Former Michigan Public Media deputy director Michael Coleman who in June was sentenced to two years probation, and ordered to do 50 hours of community service pay USD 3,500 in restitution after pleading guilty to embezzlement whilst working for the University of Michigan public station WUOM-FM, is to leave his current post of general manager at Wayne State University's Detroit public radio station WDET-FM at the end of the year.
The Detroit Free Press reports that Nabelah Ghareeb, an administrator in the university office of business operations, will oversee the station temporarily and quotes Francine Wunder, director of corporate and public affairs for the university as saying"We know nothing more than he decided to pursue other things" and added that as far as the university was concerned it was "in a good place" with WDET's news/talk format and listenership numbers
Coleman was hired by WDET in July 2005 to take over a post vacated by former general manager Caryn Mathes and turn round the station's declining finances and audience. At the end of that year he made controversial changes and moved the station from eclectic music to news-talk, a move that did increase its audience but also prompted protests and was followed by high staff turnover.
Amongst those departing the station the latest are news director Joan Silvi, who also leaves on December 31 - the date Coleman's resignation becomes effective, and Assistant news director Jerome Vaughn who left in August to join WUOM.
The Free Press says it was unable to contact Coleman and the university's director of corporate and public affairs Francine Wunder said,
The report says finances may not be doing as well and adds that WDET reportedly only raised USD 250,000 of its USD 600,000 target for its October pledge drive and quotes Saga Communications president and chief executive Ed Christian, an influential donor, as suggesting that Coleman's failure to raise enough money to cover expenses was probably behind his departure.
Detroit Free Press report:
2006-12-14: Hampshire police in southern England have confirmed that a man was arrested and charged with driving with excess alcohol and criminal damage following an incident at Southampton Football Club when a man burst into the club's radio station, "The Saint", and managed to get on air using what the Southern Daily Echo termed "foul language" before being ejected by security guards.
The paper says the man is then alleged to have got into his car and driven it through the glass doors of the building.
Saints' operations director Lee Hoos told the paper, "There was some damage to radio station property and the man did briefly get on air, interrupting the scheduled show. There was a small amount of bad language, for which we apologize. Following that there was a further incident which saw the radio station doors damaged by a car. Thankfully no one was hurt and no employees of the football club were involved."
Southern Daily Echo report:
2006-12-13: Concern about the economic studies that the US Federal Communications Commission ( FCC) has commissioned in connection with its plans to amend US media ownership regulations (See RNW Nov 24) has been expressed by a group of seven House Democrats led by New York Congressman Maurice Hinchey, founder of the Future of American Media Caucus.
The group says it is concerned that the studies may have been set up in a partisan manned and in a letter to the FCC says, "We write to request detailed information on the Federal Communications Commission's plans regarding recently-announced studies to be conducted as part of the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on media ownership We are certainly pleased to see that the Commission is moving forward with these studies. However, we are concerned about the lack of information that has been released thus far regarding these endeavours."
They are asking how the topics for the studies were selected, the background of the authors assigned to each of the studies; whether the agency took appropriate steps to prevent any conflicts of interests that could impact the outcome of the studies; the cost of the studies; and how the peer review process for the studies will work.
It also asks among other things if the FCC has "taken appropriate steps to ensure against conflicts of interest that could impact study results?", how much is being spent on each study, and "what kind of peer review process is envisioned for each study?.
2006-12-13: GCap's Xfm is to launch its Mi-Xfm online service that will allow people to listen to create their own musical selections from the station's music library on Friday.
The service was originally due to launch last month and takes its inspiration from create-your-own online radio stations like Last.fm and Pandora: It will be sponsored by Xbox 360 and the GCap hopes it will build listener loyalty as well as allowing it to offer sponsorship opportunities on a bespoke audio player.
Xfm Network marketing director Richard Mintz in October told mad.co.uk that the station had still to find a way to make money from podcasts although downloads of podcasts - offered for free by the station - had passed the half-million mark.
He said of the move to offer the new service that the company was conscious of a threat from convergence and added, "Online listening is interesting for us. We don't have the money to pay for blanket rights like the BBC has, but we have to find ways of going into that space."
Xfm's research has shown that most of its digital audience was an online one rather than on digital audio broadcasts and Mintz told the UK Guardian that Mi-Xfm represented "the first phase of a significant and ongoing strategy to deliver personalized and interactive radio services across the GCap Media Network."
If the Xfm service is successful, GCap plans to extend the idea to other brands and its new media director, Tom Laidlaw told the paper, "Xfm is the first station to get it but it is a system that can be used to underpin a personalized radio station on any of our brands. That is the intention It is about exploring what the Xfm brand can do for people on the internet, not about creating a rival to the radio station. The modern media paradigm is about letting users get what they want, not about herding them into a particular area."
UK Guardian report:
2006-12-13: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that broadcasts by Macquarie Radio Network and Southern Cross Broadcasting morning hosts have breached Australian commercial radio industry codes by misrepresenting viewpoints and presenting material in a misleading manner.
The rulings related to comments made on Sydney 2GB's by Ray Hadley and by 2UE rival John Laws last year.
In the 2GB case, Hadley had criticized councillors for voting to send some of their number on a Sister Cities delegation to Ireland, returning via the USA, and than said on one programme that the complainant - a councillor - was "not one to pass up a free holiday, just last year he put his hand up for another junket. He went to China for some Sister City trade talks which were sponsored by Austrade."
In response to a complaint about these comments Hadley in a later programme again attacked the complainant and commented of his refusing to correct the record that the reason the complainant - who had said that his trip to China a private business trip paid for by a the business he worked for - could not come on the proramme was "because, because you send my listeners to sleep you boofhead with your droning tones. And you won't get on the program, complain to who you like. You are there with the rest of the Councillors at Baulkham Hills with your nose in the trough. Get it out of the trough and I'll drop off."
The ACMA ruled that the first programme did not breach codes but the second one did by misrepresenting the points of view expressed to it by the complainant and presenting material in a misleading manner by giving wrong or improper emphasis.
In the 2UE case a complaint was made about the broadcast of a 2UE programme on 7XXX Hobart in which host John Laws said the Greens Party was recommending that ecstasy and other illegal drugs be 2sold over the counter".
The ACMA said this did not present the Green's drugs policy accurately and said the licensee, Great Southern Land Broadcasters Pty Ltd., had also breached codes by failing to provide a substantive response to a complaint about the broadcasts. The complainant had been told the complaint had been forwarded to 2UE but the latter told the ACMA said it had not received it.
The ACMA ruled that the licensee had the obligation to ensure a substantive response to complaints but noted that the 7XXX licensee had said it intended to take full and proper account of the ACMA decision and also advised that it has subsequently replaced the John Laws morning show with another programme.
The ACMA ruled on this basis that in light of this it did not intend to take further action but would continue to monitor the station's broadcasts.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-12-13: International satellite radio company WorldSpace, which is currently concentrating its efforts in India, has added a 24-hour Gujerati channel to its Indian language offerings.
'Radio Umang' will feature various Gujerat musical traditions as well as Gujerati poetry, literature, drama and comedy and has a potential audience in India alone of some 50 million Gujerati speakers.
WorldSpace, vice president, global programming William Sabatini said the addition demonstrated "our commitment to further rounding out the breadth of our branded channels and differentiating ourselves from the offerings of traditional radio in India and around the world."
The company already offered programming in eight Indian regional language channels - Tamil (KL Radio), Malayalam (RM Radio), Telugu (Spandana), Kannada (Sparsha), Bengali (Tara), Punjabi (Tunak Punjabi) Urdu (Falak) and Marathi (Surabhi).
Previous Indian Radio:
2006-12-12: The second of six US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) field hearings concerning media ownership was held in Nashville, Tennessee, on Monday and - presumably because of the location - ended up with comment on the issue of "payola" as well as that of media ownership.
It was attended by all the commissioners except Republican Robert M. McDowell and both Democratic Commissioners raised the issue of payola to applause.
FCC chairman Kevin J, Martin, who concentrated on ownership also raised the payola issue, commenting that the FCC's "longstanding rules prohibiting payola" served "the important purpose of ensuring that the listening public knows when someone is seeking to influence them."
"Broadcasters, he said, "must comply with these rules. We will take enforcement action if they uncover violations of the payola rules. "
Democratic Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein and his fellow Democrat Michael J. Copps spent more time on the issue with Adelstein commenting, "Payola hurts musicians, the radio industry and the free flow of creative talent because music is chosen by who can pay the most - not who sounds the best. Payola causes stations to broadcast programming based on their financial interests at the expense of community needs. Payola is inconsistent with one of the pillars of our broadcast media ownership rules: localism - putting the local community's values and interests first."
Adelstein linked the matter with consolidation, commenting, "The end result of corporate radio that is driven by Wall Street demands rather than local community taste is that you hear the same songs over and over again. While there are many different formats, as one of today panellist, WFSK (Fisk University) manager and talk show host, Sharon Kay, has repeated: 'radio is becoming a coast to coast P.A. system.'"
He expressed hope that the problem could be ended, saying, "The good news is that with all the attention and investigations, country music has taken steps to mitigate its payola problems, and that is producing results. In the past two years, more independent labels have had hits and broken out more artists than any time since the 1970s. There are still a lot of loose ends to tie up, but I am hopeful that ending payola once and for all through strong enforcement will help restore the soul of radio and help the best artists win because of merit, not corporate backing. That is best for the listeners, the radio industry, the music industry and it is best for Music City, USA."
Copps in his comments concentrated more on media ownership and in particular the previous attempt to change the rules that ended up being stayed by the courts. Of this he said, "Then-Chairman Powell [Michael K. Powell] decided-under cover of night and over the objections of Commissioner Adelstein and me-to authorize a sea change in the number of media outlets a single corporation could own in a single community. He managed to ram that decision through the FCC on a 3-2 vote. But then the American people, the Congress, and a federal court rose up as with one voice to say "No Way"-that's not how decisions are made in our democracy, a nation of laws and principles and open exchange, not one of special interests and dollars and closed doors. So those ill-conceived rules were checked and sent back to the FCC to be reworked. Mark that well-because it shows that concerned citizens can still make a difference in this country."
2006-12-12: According to the New York Post, CBS Radio, which over the past year has dropped sports rights in a number of cities- in St Louis CBS Radio's KMOX-AM opted not to renew its Cardinal's rights deal (See RNW Aug 6, 2005), and in Washington D.C. its WJMK-FM opted out of a new deal for the Redskins unless the price was cut (See RNW Dec 26, 2005) - has agreed a five-year USD 14 million a year deal to keep the New York Yankees with WCBS-AM.
The Post notes that this is below the ten-year deal agreed by Entercom with the Boston Red Sox at more than USD 15 million a year (See RNW May 10)
The deal, says the paper, means that CBS will retain Spanish-language game rights for the Yankees and notes that last season CBS bought time to air them on WADA-AM and is likely to look for a similar deal this time round.
New York Daily Post report:
2006-12-12: SMG and UTV have confirmed that following a further approach made by the latter - on November 23 - they are again talking about a merger although both parties stress that no offer has been made as yet.
The announcement confirms earlier reports about a further UTV approach after its initial nil-premium offer made in October was rejected and it subsequently withdrew an improved offer of a 52% SMG to 48% UTV split (See RNW Dec 1) and SMG has said that it has also suspended its search for a new CEO - UTV chief executive John McCann is tipped to head the merged company if a deal goes through - whilst the merger discussions continue.
SMG also said it was making good progress on the disposals of its Primesight outdoor advertising and Pearl and Dean cinema advertising businesses
When the initial offer was made SMG was valued at GBP 226 million (then USD 428 million) and UTV at GBP 199 million (then USD 377 million) - and its board was reported to have wanted a 55%-45% share of the combined company but since then UTV shares have risen and those of SMG have fallen although news of the bid changed this on Monday.
At the end of trading on Monday UTV shares were down 2.2% to 378 pence valuing it at just under GBP 207 million (USD 406 million) whilst SMG shares rose 3.25% on the day to 60 pence, valuing it as just under GBP 189.5 million (USD 371 million) and meaning UTV would get a 52% share of a merged entity.
In other UK radio business the Guardian newspaper reports that its parent Guardian Media Group is believed to be considering a bid for Saga's three regional FMs and a licence for a north-east regional station due to be launched next year.
The paper says Saga is valued between GBP 60 million (USD 117 million) and GBP 100 million (USD 196 million): Saga announced a review of its radio business in September (See RNW Sep 19) and a spokesman was quoted as saying the review of its radio business is ongoing and no conclusion had been reached.
UK Guardian report:
2006-12-12: Arbitron has announced that it is to add four new markets for its Spring 2007 survey - Aspen, Colorado; Grand Island-Kearney, Nebraska; Hot Springs, Arkansas and Twin Falls (Sun Valley), Idaho.
It adds that Arbitron-measured markets are now slated to top 300 and notes that it has added nearly 40 new markets over the past ten years, most recently Kalispell-Flathead Valley, Montana and Las Cruces, New Mexico which were first measured effective with the Fall 2006 survey.
Carol Hanley, senior vice president, sales, Arbitron Inc., commented in a news release, "The long-term trend among small-market broadcasters has been to work with Arbitron to create new, measured markets, even for towns in which the entire 12+ population could fit into the Rose Bowl with seats to spare. These broadcasters realize that becoming Arbitron-rated can make a big difference in their access to advertising dollars and to working capital that they can use to enhance their operations."
She added, "In Spring 1996, Arbitron surveyed 262 syndicated radio markets. In Spring 2007, we are on track to survey 301 markets, a record number for Arbitron and for the industry we serve."
2006-12-12: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin again upheld just one radio complaint and also fined a TV company GBP 35,0000 (USD 69,000), considered a further TV resolved and gave details of a third complaint not upheld. The figures compare with figures for the previous bulletin of no radio complaints upheld, one TV station sanctioned, breaches of standards in two other TV cases considered upheld, a further four TV standards complaints considered resolved and one not upheld although details were given plus two fairness and privacy TV complaints upheld in the previous bulletin.
The radio complaint upheld involved Western Isles Community Radio Limited's "Isles FM", based in Stornaway, and a news report concerning an employment tribunal.
In March it had given details of two fairness complaints relating to this matter and upheld one of them in part (See RNW Mar 7)
In the latest case it considered whether there was a breach of standards because of the role Isles FM chairman Angus MacDonald played in the broadcast of the retraction of a news report on the matter.
Isles FM had been unable to supply recordings but did provide transcripts and following the earlier ruling was asked to provide a recording of its on air summary of the previous adjudication that it had been ordered to broadcast. Again it failed to provide the recording.
In its adjudication in the latest case Ofcom has found that the retraction of the report was one sided and amounted to a breach of impartiality requirements for news reports. It also noted that since MacDonald had made the complaint his presence at a meeting with members of the board to discuss the retraction was "extraordinarily unusual" but said it led it to no extra breach of the rules in this case. The failure to provide recordings was however a breach.
In addition to this case Ofcom gave details of a complaint of unfair treatment by London Greek Radio of a former Mayor of Barnet who had objected to the dedication to him of a song that contained the main refrain "Baby shut up".
AS well as the above Ofcom listed with no details a further 111 TV complaints involving 92 items and two radio complaints involving two items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 360 TV complaints involving 145 items and 38 radio complaints involving 36 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2006-12-11: We start our look at print comment on radio this week in the UK with a look through the eyes of Tim Luckhurst of the Independent at a comparatively little-publicized departure from BBC Radio 2 that may yet have a much-more publicized result in the long term.
Leaving the station in March will be Colin Martin, Radio 2's executive producer of music, described in the report after it noted the success of the station as the most listened-to in the UK as the man who "has steered the music policy at the heart of this creative transformation."
Of Martin's impact on Radio 2, radio industry consultant Paul Robinson, a former head of BBC network radio strategy, commented, "Prior to Colin Martin, Radio 2 had an esoteric and shambolic music policy. He has made it coherent, given it real shape and focus and really younged it down."
He adds of its impact on the commercial sector, "Some of commercial radio's loss to Radio 2 is the commercial sector's own fault. They have not been at their creative best in recent years. But the problem is real because research proves that once someone becomes a Radio 2 listener they do not want to leave. Commercial stations find it almost impossible to pull them back out of the pot."
Research from the RadioCentre notes the report shows that during Martin's years in the post it has recorded a 40% increase in listening by commercial radio's key demographic target group of 15- to 34-year-olds and an increase in average listening time for them of 53% and that, as Professor Steven Barnett of Westminster University commented, means "Radio 2 is getting in the way of the profits of a lot of companies. All eyes will be on the service licence the BBC Trust draws up for it. I suspect it may have to withdraw a bit from popular music in favour of news, documentary and talk."
The commercial players predictably want their lives made easier: Lisa Kerr of the RadioCentre commented, "I would like to see him replaced by someone who is entirely focused on delivering the BBC's public-service purposes. Radio 2 performs very poorly against its public-purpose objectives. If you give tens of millions of pounds of public money to a national FM radio station, it inevitably plays a role in promoting new talent. But the truth is there are loads of places where you can hear Boyzone or the Scissor Sisters. We were very disappointed that the Government did not take a much more critical view of Radio 2 during the charter review process."
Her views were echoed by Steve Orchard, operations director of GCap Media who said, "Once you commit to a strategy that is specifically designed to drive market share and pursue a younger audience, you are targeting commercial radio's heartland, whether you admit it or not. Colin Martin has been a very effective director of music, but why is the BBC pursuing market share at all? Its job is to fill niches the commercial sector cannot or will not fill."
One of the issues not raised is, of course, that of advertising, and it seems to us that the presence of regular interruption of programming by adverts that are often poorly produced and, more to the point, a poor fit with the programming around them, is a significant factor in people's choice of listening just as it is in the US where the "commercial-free" offering is a major factor in persuading people to subscribe to satellite radio.
The advertisers, however, have other influences on radio and they may not be simply be benign as in turning people into satellite subscribers according to some recent reports in the US concerning the troubles of Air America radio.
One of those commenting on the problems of "progressive" radio in the US was host Ed Schultz, who is syndicated by Jones Radio Networks. He made his comments in response to the decision by Clear Channel to drop the format in Madison and a report by Rob Thomas in the Capital Times seemed to us a microcosm of many things about America and radio.
To start off with, Shultz is of course commenting from a partisan - in the sense of being a participant - since his show is losing an affiliate when Clear Channel drops the format from WXXM ("The Mic") to turn it into a Fox Sports station: Of that decision Jeff Tyler, Clear Channel Madison vice president, said, "Madison is a sports town in a sports state" and notes that WTSO-AM (Clear Channel's ESPN station in Madison) will produce two-and-a-half times the revenue output of WXXM FM in 2006.
Then there is the context of Shultz's presence in Madison: His show was initially aired on Mid-West Family Broadcasting's WTDY-AM ("The Pulse") but was lured away by Clear Channel: Of that WTDY station manager Glen Gardner says that station is unlikely to take Schultz or any other nationally syndicated radio shows back, commenting, "What ends up happening with syndicated programming, because we're the small guys, we're the local guys, we don't have the clout of 1,300 radio stations. We put a show on, we popularize it, we spend money promoting it and then a company like Clear Channel comes in and uses its corporate power to take the show." Schultz says Clear Channel led him to believe that if he moved his show to a Clear Channel station, the company would be able to deliver other markets for him.
He is now, it would appear, trying to get back, and is quoted as saying, "We moved the show away from the AM station over to The Mic, and now Clear Channel drops the format. I think that's dirty pool. Now, the station that we left, I don't blame them a bit for telling us to take a hike. If it were me, I would give them a long-term commitment. I definitely want to be in the Madison market."
Then there's Schultz both protecting his back elsewhere and criticizing WXXM management, commenting, "The sources that we have make it very clear that the radio station was poorly managed. The radio station did not have dedicated sellers to the talk radio format. You can't have a bunch of rock sales people having the talk radio format thrown into their portfolio, and then expect them to meet projections. That's no way to run a railroad" but also saying, "I have no bone to pick with Clear Channel. I think Clear Channel has been very aggressive in putting progressive talk stations on the radio. I do have a problem with mega-ownership not paying attention to detail. It makes no business sense whatsoever to have three sports stations in a market the size of Madison."
Needless to say Clear Channel's local management do not accept the criticism: Tyler pointed to success in selling (conservative) talk in Madison, saying, "Our sales team successfully sells the overall top talk station in the market (RNW note: This is WIBA AM - the market outlet for Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity - and also Coast-to-Coast AM, which we suspect is as close to reality as either of them!) and it ranks in the top 5 in market in revenue. There are obviously similar sales struggles with other progressive talk outlets in the country, including what the base network Air America Radio is currently going through with their bankruptcy. This is leading to other stations and ownerships dropping the format or modifying the line-up."
And then there's the question of the advertisers against a background of October reports that some 90 according to an ABC memo had specifically said their advertising should not go with Air America programming. Tyler commented on this, "There are many advertisers, local and national, who have been at conflict with the programming or stay away from controversial programming that has led to less than reasonable results."
And Schultz's take on his success compared to that for Air America - the ratings for WXXM, which had a 3.7% share and 11th rank in the summer Arbitrons and were rather better than revenues might have indicated: "You can't go on the air with a mission to win elections. That's a very tunnel-vision view of how to do radio. It basically comes down to what's interesting."
RNW comment: So Schultz moves because he thinks he can gain more, performs reasonably well in the ratings, but is dumped; Clear Channel, having used its clout to take the show drops it in favour of sport because it thinks it will make more money that way; Mid-West is left to pick up its own pieces and doesn't want to take the same risk again; advertisers don't want to be associated with progressive programming or controversial programming where the results are not strong but don't mind being associated with right wing racists, bigots or misogynists (or hip-hop ones) is the ratings are good; and listeners -plus the local in the form of Mid-West - lose out.
All the decisions are of course quite rational when made but the end result is hardly a wonderful advert for the way things work? And as for an informed democracy... Maybe Schultz should offer his show for free for the next five years on the basis that Mid-West puts the fees he would have received to adding reporting staff for WTDY?
The above of course has relevance for today's meeting organized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Nashville, Tennessee, about issues of media ownership, a meeting previewed in a report in The Tennessean by Jared Allen and Amy Griffith.
It notes that if FCC proposals to ease regulations went ahead its owner Gannet could buy a local broadcast station and also that lifting the market share cap from the current 38.5% to 45% in a market could also allow big media companies to expand in many areas.
After noting support for an easing restrictions - Allen and Griffith also note that studies that suggest this could mean more localized content on TV stations but less of it on radio - the report goes on to consider the issue of consolidation as it could affect radio in the area, saying " the potential for the further consolidation of radio stations has many area artists worried that radio will lose any semblance of local flavour if the same company - which already owns multiple stations in a multitude of cities - operates too many stations here."
Amongst those slated to speak, Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America, said he would testify about "what the mass consolidation of radio has done to the process of songwriting."
"These decisions that people involved in radio have made may be good decisions for them, but they [force] songwriters to have to make bad artistic decisions," Carnes said. "It also means that some guy in New York City is deciding what the people in Jonesboro, Arkansas are going to get to listen to."
"It used to be that everywhere there was music that sounded like it was from somewhere. Now we've got music everywhere that sounds like it's from nowhere," he added.
After that for our first listening suggestion has to be music and we suggest last Saturday's "Discovering Music" from BBC Radio 3 in which Stephen Johnson joined the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Martyn Brabbins, for a workshop on Sibelius's final orchestral work, "Tapiola", inspired by the legends and atmosphere of the Finnish forests, and definitely from somewhere. It was followed in "World Routes" by Lucy Duran presenting a programme - the second of three recorded on location in Peru - in which she explores the music of Ayacucho, the remote Andean region which bore the brunt of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) attacks of the 1980s and 90s and features not merely local music bus a session on a local instrument, the Peruvian harp.
The programme is revealing of more things than music - one singer, who at age 22 has 17 children from five wives (married in different towns) performs a song "My horse and my wives" relating to a white horse he owned and used to ride to see girls (his words): The horse dies and his response was that he could always get another girl but not a horse.
Also with definite roots on Saturday was "Love Will Tear Us Apart... Again", the second and final part of the BBC Radio 2 "30 Years of Punk" series: It looked at the demise of the first wave of punk and the growth of street punk and featured contributions from Hooky, Barney, the Edge, Terry Hall, Mark E Smith, Crass, the Exploited and UK Subs.
Also from Radio 2 this week we'd suggest Wednesday at 20:00 GMT when Mike Harding presents the "BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award", a documentary about the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award that attracts entries from all over the British Isles, many of them with definite local roots; Friday at 19:00 GMT when the station airs the fourth and final part of "The Dust Bowl Balladeer", the story of Woody Guthrie (the third part is still on the web site); and Saturday at 20:00GMT and "Million Dollar Quartet" in which Mark Lamarr tells the story of the 1956 jam session in Memphis that saw Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis perform together.
And finally for music with an origin back to BBC Radio 3 which this week at 21:05 or 21:10 GMT (the first programme on Tuesday) is airing a series of short (20 or 25 minute programmes) "A German Christmas" featuring various baroque Christmas music.
Switching to drama, BBC Radio 3's "Drama on 3" on Sunday was Timberlake Wertenbaker's translation of Sophocles's Theban trilogy - "Oedipus Tyrannos; Oedipus at Kolonos; and Antigone" - and sticking with the classical next Sunday's ( at 19:00 GMT) will be Shakespeare's "Cymbeline".
After drama to documentary and first we suggest Radio Netherlands' "Documentary" programme on Wednesday (Various times but an MP3 and stream is posted after airing) : This week's programme is the final one in a four-part series on "failed states" produced in collaboration with the Ford Foundation and has Eric Beauchemin presenting "A Deep Cancer" that tells the story of how under President Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe has turned from a state that used to be known as the "breadbasket of southern Africa" and now cannot feed its own population, has the world's highest inflation rate, 80% unemployment, and the lowest life expectancy in the world.
Last week's programme, the third in the series, "Sinking, Swimming or Simply Paddling" is currently still on the website and deals with the issue of the concept of a failed state, something the US National Security Council has said is more of a threat to it than are conquering states. By any description we'd say Zimbabwe under Mugabe fits the description one speaker spoke in terms of the criteria being a state that cannot deliver services, provide fundamental services to its systems and control its own territory - and rather think on the basis of those definitions that Iraq is pretty well along the road to failure whatever delusions Limbaugh, Fox News, the White House and others may have and convey to others.
Also on Wednesday from Radio Netherlands we suggest this week's edition of "Dutch Horizons", which is "Focus on poetry" and deals with the difficulties of translation of poetry and also features the work of Amsterdam-based poet Claudia Daventry who has lived all over the world and her lack of roots is a recurring theme in her work and also poems written to jazz music by Dutch poet J. Bernlef.
And a final recommendation from Radio Netherlands this week from last Friday when in "A Good Life" Beauchemin looked at the problems for children in many parts of the world where they have to work to help their families survive.
The programme included a look at children working in the salt fields of Thailand, the country that also features in Saturday's "Street Stories" from ABC Radio National. The programme was the second of four (the MP3 of both programmes are on the web site) looking at the different 'rice cultures' of China (the first programme), Thailand, Bangladesh (Next Saturday) and Japan.
Across another ocean next and we suggest last week's "On the Media" from WNYC and in particular its lead item "The Decider" on the changing image of US President George W. Bush featuring discussion between Ron Suskind, Paul Begala and Ari Fleischer.
Back after that to the BBC and two items from the weekend on Radio 4 - "The Archive Hour" which features recordings made 25 years ago by John Edwards with 50 of the surviving cameramen who had worked for the cinema newsreel companies in America and Europe and "Off the Page" which looked at grudges with Jude Collins, Laura Blumenfeld and Marcel Berlins.
The latter is worth a listen for the contribution by Blumenfeld whose book "Revenge: A Story of Hope" was published three years ago and includes the tale of how she found the Palestinian gunman who had shot and injured her father and finally - in an Israeli court when she was asking for him to be released because he was ill -revealed to the gunman who she was. She also has some fascinating details on the rulebook governing revenge in Albania.
Also from Radio 4 we'd suggest "Book of the Week" ( 09:45 GMT weekdays) -"The Beagle Diary", which is taken from Charles Darwin's first hand account of his epic five-year voyage on board HMS Beagle,and the "Afternoon Reading" (15:45 GMT weekdays) that this week features "Commonwealth Stories", a selection of the best entries from this year's Commonwealth Short Story Competition and to wrap up the week comedy on Friday with "Ed Reardon's Week" at 11:30 GMT plus the "Now Show" at 18:30 GMT.
Madison Capital Times - Thomas:
The Tennessean -Allen and Griffith.
UK Independent - Luckhurst:
2006-12-11: Long-time Sydney 2UE late-night host Stan Zemanek, who has a brain cancer, is to end his radio career on December 22 after nearly two decades years with the station according to the Sydney Sunday Telegraph.
Although his ratings are now well below the peak he achieved in 1995 when his website proclaims a 22/1% share, the highest achieved by any 2UE host over the past two decades - his radio career ends on a ratings high note with the most recent ratings showing 2UE up 0.8 to 8.3 in the 19:00 to midnight slot that encompasses Zemanek's 20:00-midnight show.
He told the paper he was pleased to leave 2UE as the presenter with the biggest audience increase in the final ratings survey of the year.
Zemanek is not retiring completely - he is to record more episodes of Foxtel's "Beauty And The Beast", and he has just done a deal to sell the film rights of the Warren Fellows book, "The Damage Done - 12 Years Of Hell In A Bangkok Prison" - but he told the paper, "I decided that I have had enough of night-time radio and I am going to concentrate on getting my health back in order and fight this dreadful disease... My health comes first and so does my family and I want to give them every opportunity to see me around for the next 20 years.'"
Zemanek was diagnosed with the tumour in May and underwent an operation within days since when he undertook a course of radiotherapy and is continuing with chemotherapy and he told the paper of his condition, "It knocks me about a bit. I'm not out of the woods yet. I am a long way from out of the woods but my doctor and oncologist have given me the best advice on what to do and how to do things and I'm pleased with that.''
He added, "It's easier on the patient than it is on the carer and my wife, Marcella has done a sterling job in keeping me on the right track I really think I need to give her a little bit more time at home, helping her. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be here today. She has been a rock to my whole being, and so have my two daughters.'"
And the future? "One of my aspirations of getting through this is that I want to dance with Marcella at my grandson Hamish's 21st birthday. That's in 19 years. That's the main aim in life now. I want to be dancing with Marcella in my old age.''
Sydney Sunday Telegraph report:
2006-12-11: State-controlled All India Radio (AIR) has set up five community stations in north-eastern states but is not proposing to set up any more according to the country's Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri P. R. Dasmunsi.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha (the Indian Parliament) the Minister said two stations had been set up in Meghalaya, two in Nagaland and one in Mizoram: he also noted that following liberalization of policy that now allows community stations to be set up by non-profit organizations, such organizations as educational institutions and voluntary organizations may now set up community stations. Under the policy community stations have to serve specific local communities and can only be operated by non-profit organizations that have been providing a service to local communities for three years.
Previous Indian Radio:
2006-12-10: The main news for the regulators last week came from the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to hold the second of its public meetings on media ownership regulations in Nashville on Monday. Elsewhere matters were more routine.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is to make capacity available for a new low power community radio service to serve the Perth city area.
It has also said the licence area of community radio service 6TCR Wanneroo has been extended to include all of the City of Wanneroo and the City of Joondalup in a number of changes to technical specifications for community radio services to it, 6NR, 6RPH and 6YMS and also commercial radio service 6PR to reflect transmitter site changes and also power increases for 6RPH and 6YMS services.
It has also withdrawn the availability of AM frequency 1170 kHz for an open narrowcasting service due to the possibility it may be required for digital radio and says it will not now go ahead with not be proceeding with the changes it had previously proposed to the technical specifications for the 6IX Wanneroo FM translator.
In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week with radio matters posted including the on renewal.
This was in Alberta where it renewed the licence of CKLM-FM, Lloydminster, and its transmitter CKLM-FM-1, Bonnyville, from 1 January 2007 to 31 August 2013, but denied a request to reduce the weekly percentage of Canadian popular music selections from 40% to 35%.
The Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA) had opposed the reduction proposal, contending that the 40% requirement was an important factor in the awarding of the original licence for the station, and that there is ample popular Canadian music available to enable stations to meet a 40% Canadian content level. A point the CRTC re-iterated in its renewal.
The CRTC also posted a notice of applications by Klondike Broadcasting Company Limited to amend the licence of CKRW-AM, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, by adding a 48 watts FM transmitter at Atlin, British Columbia and a 44 watts FM transmitter at Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Comments or interventions have to be submitted by January 12 next year.
There were no radio announcements in Ireland but in the UK Ofcom announced the award of a new Preston FM licence (See RNW Dec 8) and allowed a format change for Smooth FM in London (See RNW Dec 9).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted is to hold the second of its meetings on ownership regulation in Nashville on Monday and during the week it was lobbied by media groups who want the regulations eased (See RNW Dec 7).
In addition in a series of enforcement actions the FCC has imposed penalties ranging from USD 13,000 to USD 1,500: It also revoked the licence held by David Edward Cox, licensee of amateur radio station W5OER following his conviction for felony burglary and firearms-related offences on the basis that he lacks the basic requisite character qualifications to be and remain a Commission licensee.
In Louisiana, Jamie Patrick Broadcasting, Ltd. was fined USD 13.000 for failure to register its antenna structure, failure to repaint or clean the structure to maintain good visibility, and failure to exhibit required obstruction lighting. The company had failed to respond to a Notice of Apparent Violation for this amount sent to it in September.
In Florida, Adam Troy Venters was fined USD 10,000 for operating a pirate transmitter. He had not responded to an NAL for this amount sent to him in July.
In Ohio, the FCC has proposed a penalty of USD 7,000 on Infinity Radio Holdings, licensee of FM translator station W272AT, Columbus, whose primary station is WHOK-FM, Lancaster, for failing to file a renewal application on time and then operating an unauthorized station after its licence had expired, but has renewed the licence.
The penalty is comprised of a USD 3,000 base forfeiture for late filing of the renewal and USD 4,000 - as opposed to the base penalty for unauthorized operation of USD 10,000 - for its subsequent unlicensed operation of the station.
In Alabama it is proposing a penalty of USD 1,500 on MVB, Inc., licensee of WWGC-AM, Albertville, for late filing of renewal application but has renewed the licence. The base penalty of USD 3,000 was halved on the basis of prior good record and because the filing was made before the licence expired.
In Indiana it is also proposing a USD 1,500 penalty and has renewed the licence of College Wesleyan Church's WCWC-LP, Marion, which had also filed its application late but prior to expiry of the licence and had a prior history of compliance.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-12-10: Police in New York think DJ Carl Blaze, born Carlos Rivera and reared in Washington Heights, who is in critical condition at Harlem Hospital Center after being shot 13 times in the early hours of Thursday morning, may have been attacked because of a grudge rather than simply robbed according to Hip Hop News.
The late-night DJ for Clear Channel's WWPR-FM - Power 105 - was shot in the hallway of a residential building in Inwood after dee-jaying at a Bronx Club and dropping friends off on his way home to Elmwood Park, New Jersey.
He was robbed of a diamond chain valued at around USD 20,000 but police are said to think the number of shots suggested the case could be one of more than just theft. Relatives said Blaze, who has sons aged 1 and 7, squeezed the hand of his wife, Yvonne, as she stood at his bedside, giving them some cause to hope.
His brother in law Luis Aspajo told the New York Daily News, "He can hear us, but he can't respond. It's tragic."
Hip Hop News also reported that police want to question a New York area woman named "Ivy" said to be a 20-year-old rapper and say the 30-year-old DJ was shot in the foyer of her apartment.
A witness at the scene told police Blaze grabbed Ivy's leg outside of her apartment door after being shot numerous times and yelled out "Ivy! Ivy!"
The woman calmly replied "Carlos, you're going to be OK. You're going to be all right."
Previous Clear Channel:
Hip Hop News report:
2006-12-10: Reported attempts by GCap Media to hire Birmingham City football club managing director Karren Brady to take a similar role at Capital Radio (See RNW Oct 16) seem to have failed according to the UK Guardian.
The paper says that in an interview with it she committed herself to remaining with the club, commenting "My future is clear. I am committed to Birmingham. I have a long association, and I'm not planning to do anything other than to be at Birmingham."
GCap chief executive Ralph Bernard had confirmed that the company has been in talks with Brady about the Capital post and a GCap spokeswoman said they were still "in discussions."
Previous GCap Media:
UK Guardian report:
2006-12-10: The US National Association of Broadcasters has written to leaders of the Senate and House to argue against moves to mandate an "audio flag" that protects the copying of digital radio signals.
In the letter NAB argues: "Preserving the rollout of HD Radio is of critical importance to broadcasters, manufacturers, and consumers, and we remain opposed to any mandated, legislative approach on the audio flag."
Broadcasters it says have worked with the recording industry towards a voluntary agreement on content protections and combating piracy but it adds, "Legislation being promoted at the end of the 109th Congress would jeopardize the rollout of HD Radio at a time when the number of stations delivering digital broadcasts is increasing and as consumer demand is on the rise."
"Broadcasters and manufacturers," IT SAYS, "remain committed to finding a voluntary solution that balances the rights of consumers, protects copyright holders, and preserves the continued rollout of HD Radio channels and products."
2006-12-09: Troubled Air America Radio has lost its Cincinnati affiliate and may be about to lose host Al Franken according to latest reports.
Radaronline in what it terms an exclusive says a "knowledgeable radio source" has told it that Franken is leaving "before the end of the year" and notes that the host is about to leave on a USO tour of Iraq and Afghanistan next week, from which he will return on Christmas Eve.
Asked if he has decided to leave the network, currently in chapter 11 bankruptcy - we still have no word whether it has met today's deadline to find a buyer or default on the loan that has kept it operating since the October bankruptcy filing (See RNW Oct 14) - Franken told Radar "I don't know what's happening. It's not set in stone-I need to see what they're talking about."
Radar says two sources have told it a sale to a small media company is in the final stages and a former staffer told it in reference to whether Air America could afford to retain hosts Franken and Randi Rhodes, There's no way that their current contracts will continue. And the question is, will Franken and Rhodes compromise in order to stay?"
In Cincinnati, Clear Channel has dropped the liberal talk format from its WSAI-AM, where it has only attracted low ratings, and on Monday will replace it with an "advice format" featuring a line-up of consumer, relationship, home, car, garden and financial advice shows according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Clear Channel launched "liberal talk" in Cincinnati in January 2005 on WCKY-AM as part of a strategy to offer a counter to its conservative talk output but it never fared well in the ratings and in July this year the programming was moved from WCKY-AM's 50,000 watt signal to WSAI-AM's 5,000 watt signal.
The programming also including Jerry Springer's radio show, dropped from Air America's line-up some three months ago although it continued to syndicate it, and the host's decision to pull out of radio (See RNW Jan 6) - his last show aired yesterday - further weakened its attraction.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Air America/ Piquant (Its owner):
Cincinnati Enquirer report:
2006-12-09: The Washington DC area could lost its last classical music station following preliminary agreement by Bonneville International to sell its WGMS-FM to Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder's Red Zebra Broadcasting according to the Washington Post, which says Red Zebra would use the frequency to help resolve its coverage problems with its network that carries sports programming including Redskins games.
The paper says a price has been established for the sale, which could be wrapped up within days and quotes an "executive involved in the negotiations" as saying, "They made an offer that [a seller] can't refuse. If someone wanted to buy your house and was willing to pay 50 percent more than it was worth, you'd do it."
The Post adds that Bonneville executive Joel Oxley confirmed that discussions were under way in a memo to the company's Washington area employees, adding "I will keep you apprised in the weeks to come of timing and additional developments as they occur."
Red Zebra CEO Bennett Zier refused comment although he did say the company was "looking at several acquisitions now. . . . We have nothing to formally announce yet."
WGMS was moved to its current frequencies earlier this year when Bonneville re-jigged its Washington area stations so as to put its flagship WTOP-AM onto FM as well, allow for the launch of Washington Post Radio, kill Adult Top 40 WWZZ-FM and move WGMS to less powerful frequencies (See RNW Jan 5).
The Washington area also lost classical music on public stations when WETA-FM switched to news -talk programming last year (See RNW Feb 12, 2005) and the paper notes that when asked if in the circumstances it might consider restoring classical programmes WEMA general manager Dan DeVany said: "I wouldn't want to speculate at this time. We're really happy with our format. We've been doing some good things."
Previous Red Zebra:
Washington Post report:
2006-12-09: UK Media regulator Ofcom has allowed Guardian Media Group to go ahead with daytime changes to its Smooth FM station, the former Jazz FM, which will allow it to air easy listening, more news and speech targeted at over-50s in place of its current soul-based daytime programming.
The station will continue to air 45 hours a week of specialist jazz programming in the evenings and Ofcom noted that some of those who had written in to object to the changes seemed to have overlooked this retention.
In all it says 29 individuals responded, fourteen of whom wished to remain anonymous, and that 18 opposed the change whilst 11 supported it on the basis that the over-50's were being overlooked in the commercial radio market. In addition there were three responses from other radio operators - from Emap which wanted Smooth's new format to specify musical difference from its Magic FM and two others who wished to remain anonymous - and 15 other organizations. All but one of the latter supported the change on the basis of a gap in the market for the over 50's but it was opposed by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group of MPs who felt jazz did not get proper representation on UK radio.
All the non-confidential responses have been posted by Ofcom and in giving the go-ahead it said that although it regarded the change as substantial it was evolutionary in that the new format would appeal to a similar audience. would not narrow the range of programmes available in the London area, and that Emap's point about differences to existing stations could be secured by requiring Smooth's daytime output to include at least a fifth of tracks that were more than 40 years old.
GMG Radio welcomed the decision and its chief executive John Myers said it would allow it to "take on Radio 2 with all the right tools at our disposal," adding, "Ofcom made the right decision for the future growth of commercial radio."
2006-12-09: Former Susquehanna KNBR-AM, San Francisco, host Larry Krueger, fired in August 2005 following remarks he made disparaging Giants manager Felipe Alou and Caribbean players on the team (See RNW Aug 11, 2005) is back out of work again.
He had been hired in January this year by ABC/Disney's KGO-AM as sports anchor on the station's afternoon show and according to the Contra Costa Times was on a one-year contract with an option for the next two years.
The paper says no reason was given - KGO news director Paul Hosey commented, "All I can confirm is his last day was Friday, and we're moving on without him" - and Kreuger said he was taken by surprise.
"I really don't know what happened this time," he said. "I don't blame anybody. I take responsibility. If I was that phenomenal, I wouldn't have been let go."
Contra Costa Times report:
2006-12-09: Google Inc., which bought dMarc Broadcasting in January this year with the intention of integrating its offerings with its existing advertising (See RNW Jan 18), says it has now begun Beta tests of its Google audio adverts with a group of its AdWords advertisers. In a statement it said integration of Audio Ads with its AdWords is now complete and it has started tests with a small group of advertisers.
Google says the Audio Ads system offers "detailed reporting, targeting by demographic, location and station type, and provides easy access to the huge market reached by radio programming" and claims to have been working with around 700 radio stations.
It is not so far promoting the service widely - a Google Search brings up links to various reports on the system plus a Google link to Audio Ads that redirects to its AdWords site - which had no mention of Audio Ads when we last viewed it.
2006-12-09: Interep has lost another client with the ending of its national sales contract for Susquehanna stations that Cumulus acquired when Cumulus Media Partners, which it formed in conjunction with a group of investors, bought Susquehanna Radio in a deal agreed in 2005 (See RNW Nov 1, 2005).
Cumulus moved its business to Clear Channel-owned Katz Media in 2005 (See RNW May 25, 2005) and later that year also lost its Radio One Inc. business, also to Katz (See RNW Sep 7, 2005)
Mike Walsh, president of Interep's Cumulus Major Market Sales division, said of the move that the decision was "not based on performance, but rather on its desire to have all of its stations under one rep firm" and added, "The Interep sales team consistently met expectations for the Cumulus stations."
Interep chairman and CEO Ralph Guild said Cumulus had been made "an offer that it could not refuse" and continued, "Radio has been in a period of steady decline for years, with the exception of a slight political bump this fall, because there seems to be a belief that it is possible to cut costs and grow our industry simultaneously. This belief exists despite the fact that evidence seems to prove it contradictory."
In 2003, Guild launched a fight with rival Katz,, poaching a number of Katz executives and employees after it had lost contracts, particularly that of Citadel, to Katz.It it effectively lost and those poached returned to Katz (See RNW Nov 25, 2003).
Previous Clear Channel:
2006-12-08: The UK Telegraph Group is reported to be looking at making a move into national radio and launching two umbrella brands for - Telegraph Talk and Telegraph TV - digital audio and video content.
The Talk brand would cover audio output including podcasts and mobile content whilst for video the group has a deal with ITN for online video content. The UK Guardian says the initiative has been driven by the arrival of development director Shaun Gregory, the former managing director of national brands at Emap Radio.
Reports say the company wants to team up with Channel 4 TV, which already has links with Emap and UTV, to create a national service. They are expected to combine in a bid for the second UK national digital commercial multiplex advertised at the start of this month by Ofcom.
In other UK radio news, Ofcom has awarded the new Preston commercial FM in Lancashire to UTV's Proud FM Limited, which was competing against three other applicants (See RNW Sep 9).
Its bid offered a "local speech and music station for Preston and the surrounding area, featuring local news, information and community-orientated programming and a broad, varied and engaging mix of music from the 1960s to today".
UK Guardian report:
2006-12-08: Executives of both US satellite radio companies have said that their monthly subscription rate is more likely to go up than down although no price rise in planned in the short term. XM raised its price from USD 9.95 to USD 12.95 - the rate that Sirius was charging - early last year but neither has increased their rates since then and both offer discounts for advance payment and multiple subscriptions.
Speaking at a UBS investment conference in New York XM chief financial officer Joseph Euteneuer said it had "plenty of flexibility, but to date we have kept our pricing low to continue to drive subscriber growth" whilst the company's chairman Gary Parsons noted that when it previously increased its prices it had not raised them for some of the multiple subscription discounted rates so these could bear the brunt of increases.
Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin, who was speaking at a Credit Suisse investor conference, also said he thought there "is an opportunity to increase our pricing" and noted that since XM raised its price to that of Sirius it had added offerings including "the NFL, NASCAR, Howard Stern. So we think there is a history of us being the premium priced content company."
Karmazin also suggested that it could end up increasing subscriber prices but providing free receivers, commenting, "We certainly have the ability to reduce prices. If down the line free radios become common place, our costs are coming down to where it is absolutely possible" but adding "The pricing points today (of radios) is not stopping somebody from buying satellite radio."
Karmazin again stirred the pot concerning a possible merger with or takeover of XM, saying he wouldn't rule it out and Sirius CFO David Frear told the UBS conference a merger would make operational sense and that he was always talking to XM although he gave no specifics. Parson, who spoke separately at the conference (as reported above) said he would not comment about the topic.
Frear also said Sirius planned to introduce three channels of video to its service next year.
RNW comment: As we have said before any merger would obviously be likely to benefit the shareholders but we do not see any positives in it for subscribers and would hope that regulators would give a firm no to the idea. Should one company be going out of business the situation would change but even then there would then be nothing to stop the remaining company from offering a special deal to subscribers of its erstwhile competitor nor from buying in some of the best programmers and programming so we see no public interest in allowing any merger in the foreseeable future. Karmazin and Stern may have lost potential millions from the recent fall of Sirius stock price but maybe that should just make them try harder. They're hardly going to starve in any case.
2006-12-08: SMG-owned Virgin Radio and BBC Radio 1 have both announced line-up changes for the New Year, more substantial at the former where drivetime host Martin Collins is to leave and his current slot will be taken over by evening presenter whose show will be extended to run from 16:00 to 20:00.
In addition Madness frontman Suggs (Graham McPherson), who currently hosts Virgin's Party Classics on Friday and Saturday nights, will drop the Friday show but gain a new 14:00 to 16:00 "Afternoon Tea with Suggs" show from January 2.
The breakfast slot, hosted by Christian O'Connell, formerly with GCap's Xfm, will retain its 06:00 to 10:00 timing but Russ Williams, who takes over with will have an hour added to his morning show which will run to 14:00.
The change means that early afternoon host Neil Francis loses his slot but he is to remain with Virgin as a stand-in when others are on leave and also to host other programmes as needed.
In the late evening, Geoff Lloyd, formerly breakfast co-host - with Pete Mitchell at the station will exchange his current 22:00 to 01:00 slot for a new four-hour show from 20:00 to midnight.
At Radio 1, the changes affect the station's dance music show "In New DJs We Trust", which airs from 02:00 to 04:00 on Saturday mornings, will add Professor Green and Mistress De Funk to its roster in January.
They will succeed Crissy Criss and Tayo and will work alongside Kutski and Plastician in what the station is terming "the first of a series of six monthly evolutions" that it says will ensure that it "continues to champion the most important new dance music genres, whilst also giving new and emerging talent their first chance to broadcast on national radio."
Crissy Criss is to join sister digital station 1Xtra from January 8 to host the M1X Show, 1Xtra's drum n bass show on Monday nights from 2 to 6am, and Tayo will remain with Radio 1, deputising for Annie Mac and other dance DJs on the station, as well as spinning on Radio 1's Essential Mix in early 2007.
In genre terms Professor Green will handle Hip hop; Kutski - Underground hard dance/hardcore; Plastician - Grime/UK garage/dubstep; and Mistress De Funk - Minimal techno/tech.
Previous SMG (Virgin owner):
2006-12-07: The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) along with all four major TV networks, Clear Channel, Cox Enterprises, Bonneville, and other newspaper and broadcasting companies have written to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ask it to ease restrictions on media ownership, which they say are no longer in the public interest, in its review of rules governing this that is currently under way.
In their letter the group says they are "united in urging the Commission to recognize, and respond to, the pressing need for reform of the local radio, local television, radio/television and newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rules so that Americans can continue to be served by vibrant free, over-the-air radio and television stations and daily newspapers."
"Technological and marketplace developments - especially the growth of multi-channel programming distributors and the Internet," they say, "have fundamentally altered the landscape in which the Commission's ownership rules were originally adopted" and they continue, "Consumers nationally and in local markets of all sizes now enjoy access to, and benefit from, a vast array of information, opinion, and entertainment from a wide range of diverse sources, including television and radio stations, non-broadcast and multi-channel outlets, print publications, and the virtually unlimited voices available on the Internet."
The developments they say means "television and radio broadcasters are experiencing unprecedented challenges in maintaining their audience shares and the advertising revenues essential to the survival of non-subscription media" and they go on to ask the FCC to "modernize its local ownership rules to reflect these dramatic changes in the media marketplace, and to ensure that local television and radio broadcasters, as well as daily newspapers, are not unfairly hampered in their ability to serve the public by outmoded regulations that limit them and not their competitors."
RNW comment: Is it just us to feel like vomiting when we read many of these self-serving letters that put us more in mind of a shyster at a coconut stall a than a responsible media organization making a reasoned case.
There are genuine problems but the solution from big media is so often to allow the bad to drive out the good - and to attack the good when it is financed by other means such as the BBC in the UK with the licence fee and satellite radio in the US when they perceive that their profits could be dented.
The releases - from both sides of the argument - tend to be full of weasel words (governments introduce "reforms" not mere "changes", NAB wants rules "modernized" not "eased") and so on, which we accept is probably what one might expect from snake-oil salesman but certainly does not promote honest debate, especially when politicians are effectively up for sale because of the vast sums they have to raise to campaign.
The arguments would hold much more were many of the organizations involved doing any real public service in terms of reporting - as opposed to running news releases or broadcasting handouts - but a glance at far too many web sites shows just how much they rely on the news agencies.
We fear they may get their way unless there is a massive public outcry, albeit the change in control of Congress could stifle their efforts, and rather suspect that were they to be taken up on many of their arguments these would prove hollow. Would they, we wonder, be so keen, were there to be a regulatory and mandatory downside of losing all broadcast licences were they not to provide in the future the public services they claim as justifying their case?
Oh for a few commissioners and politicians with the courage to send such letters back with a terse note :"Poorly written and argued. Please re-write and submit again!"
2006-12-07: According to the New York Observer, Clear Channel, which has been cutting costs by cutting staff, has signed a 15-year-lease on space at the 74-year-old Art Deco Tribeca high-rise former AT&T building at 32 Avenue of the Americas which it is to use to co-locate its New York area stations, enabling it to consolidate five local offices.
The paper says the move is due to take place next spring is for 121,000 square feet, with rents at approximately USD 35 per square foot for the first five years, USD 39 a foot for the next five and USD 43 a foot for the last five, according to a source familiar with the terms of the lease and it adds that the company will get the first eight months rent-free.
The company's radio stations - Z100, Power 105.1, 103.5 KTU, Q104.3 and 106.7 Lite FM - according to the report will be housed on the ground, second, third and part of the fourth floor of the building and the paper notes that the ground floor has an auditorium that its source says can hold around 250 people and could be used as a performance area.
As a cost comparison, the Observer says asking rents in its current mid-town offices - two of its current facilities are in New Jersey - are at least USD 70 per square foot.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Observer report:
2006-12-07: Continuing its practice of pulling in celebrities to host radio shows, the BBC has announced that while Zane Lowe is one leave from his flagship Radio 1 evening show for three weeks at the start of next year the programme is to be hosted by a series of guest names from the UK music industry culminating on January 18 with a show hosted by Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin. The final two weeks' shows will be co-hosted by the guest and Radio 1 DJ Nihal
The full list issued by the station is:
2 January - Ricky & Nick from Kaiser Chiefs
3 January - Editors
4 January - The Young Knives
8 January - The Streets aka Mike Skinner
9 January - The Automatic
10 January - Snow Patrol
11 January - Kelly Osbourne
15 January - Jamie T
16 January - The View
17 January - The Zutons
18 January - Chris Martin
2006-12-06: Latest Australian radio ratings saw few changes at the top compared to the previous ratings -notable exceptions were APN News and Media's Australian Radio Network Mix102.3 taking over the lead in Adelaide from DMG's 5AAA.
ARN 's WSFM also did well in jumping from eighth to fourth although sister station MIX 106.5 fell a rank to eighth as its share went down from 7.3 to 5.9.
Lower down there were some crumbs of comfort for DMG's Vega stations, which are targeting an older audience.
In Sydney Vega increased its share from 2.0 to 2.8 and is now third from bottom - it increased share in all demographics, least as it happens amongst those 55 plus where it was only up from 0.5 to 0.5 but rather more amongst the 40-54s where its share was up from 3.4 to 4.8.
In Melbourne, where it is now sixth from the bottom, Vega's share was up from 2.8 to 3.0 and again it had only a small increase amongst those 55 plus where it went from 0.5 to 0.6 but did better in the 40-54 group where it was up from 4.6 to 5.1
Austereo's 2-DAY in Sydney and Fox in Melbourne held on to their positions as top FM stations and chief executive officer Michael Anderson after noting "a very defined strategy which we stuck with all year" commented, "We've built success throughout the year, introducing new shows, but also innovative promotions and strong, consistent marketing, but we've also been consistent in our execution."
"The success of the stations," he added, "has been underpinned by the two dominant FM breakfast shows in their markets, the Kyle and Jackie O Show in Sydney and Matt and Jo in Melbourne."
Overall during the year Anderson said Austereo had consolidated its strategy of having two differentiated networks that are "complementary, rather than competitive" and added, "It's been an important year because not only has the Today network succeeded, but the Triple M network has also had just as consistent a year. Triple M has such an innovative format with its show-based line-up, and is quite different from the rest of the market."
Chairman Peter Harvie said: "This has been a fantastic year for the entire Austereo group and it is a testament to the incredible amount of hard work put in by our dedicated team. It positions the group well for continued growth in 2007."
As is normal, talk stations lost some share to music in the survey but in Sydney Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB was only down from 11.6 to 11.5 in Sydney while in Melbourne Southern Cross Broadcasting's 3AW lost more - from 14.9 to 14.4 in Melbourne, although both retained top ranking.
The Sydney breakfast audience remained firmly in the hands of Alan Jones at 2GB - down from 14.5 to 14.0 whilst rival Southern Cross's 2UE was down from 9.7 to 9.4 - and in the Sydney morning slot he and Ray Hadley increased 2GB's share from 12.8 to 13.5 whilst that of John Laws at 2UE was down from 7.8 to 7.7
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: Mix 17.0 (14.8) - Up from second; 5AA 14.9 (16.1) - down from first; SAFM 12.5 (12.8) - same rank.
Nova with 11.8 (12.2) remained fourth.
*Brisbane - Nova with 14.4 (14.3) - Same rank; Triple M with 13.0 (12.1) - same rank; ABC 612 with 11.8 (10.0)
*97.3 FM with 10.1 (10.1) was pushed into fourth rank.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 14.4 (14.9) - same rank; Fox FM with 12.7 (12.5) - same rank; Gold with 9.7 (11.0) - same rank.
*ABC 774 with 9.6 (10.9) remained fourth;
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 17.5 (17.4) - same rank; 96FM with 12.6 (11.6) - up from third; Nova with 11.3 (12.6) down from second;
*Sydney: 2GB 11.5 (11.6) - same rank; 2-DAY with 10.6 (11.1) - same rank; ABC 702 with 9.9 (9.3) - same rank.
*2UE with 8.3 (8.3) fell a rank to fifth overtaken by WSFM which jumped up to fourth from eighth with 8.4 (6.8). Triple-M was down two ranks to seventh with 6.9 (7.4) behind Nova, which remained sixth with 8.2 (7.4).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2006-12-06: BBC Radio 4 had a strong online month in October according to latest figures from the corporation that show the soap "The Archers" leading on-demand listening - it racked up 988,722 listens in the month, a rise of 44.9% on September - for the 23rd consecutive month - and "In our Time", also on Radio 4, taking the lead as the most downloaded weekly podcast.
Overall online listening was up 0.8% on September and 19.2% year-on-year to 19,523,038 hours within which live listening fell 2.2% month-on-month (Up 23.9% year-on-year) to 12,527,489 hours and on-demand listening rose 6.7% month-on-month and 11.7% year-on-year to 6,995,549 hours whilst on-demand listening requests rose 4.1% month-on-month and 14.2% year-on-year to a record 13,009,089.
Station rankings - Total listening hours - live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to September 2006 then to October 2005 - were:
Radio 1 - 5,438,338; -7.37%; + 17.0%.
Radio 2 - 4,694,397; + 14.77%; + 40.5%.
Radio 4 - 3,147,751; + 4.32%; + 10.3%.
BBC 7 - 1,483,247; +0.80%; + 4.3% - up a rank
Radio 5 Live - 1,386,339; -13.91%; 18.7% - down a rank.
Radio 3 -984,389; +1.63%; +28.6%.
6 Music - 827,296; +13.96%; +20.3%.
1Xtra - 535,674; +14.60%; -7.2%.
Asian Network - 164,079; +11.83%; -22.7%.
5 Live Sports Xtra - 119,168; -56.89%; + 85.3%.
The top five on-demand programmes were:
1 - "The Archers" on Radio 4 with 988,722 listens - up 306,418 on September.
2 - "Chris Moyles" on Radio 1 with 547,077 listens - up 43,989.
3 - "The Afternoon Play" on Radio 4 with 328,988 listens - up 52,746.
4 - "Wake Up To Wogan" on Radio 2 with 288,317 listens, up 113,602 and rising from seventh rank.
5 - "Book of the Week" on Radio 4 with 234,117 listens, up 121,426 and rising from 14th rank.
*The "Essential Mix" on Radio 1 fell from fifth to sixth with 228,131 listens, up 20,549. Last month fourth ranked were the Proms concerts on Radio 3.
Amongst daily podcasts cum MP3s the top five were:
1- BBC News "Radio Newspod" with 836,690 listens, up 58,026
3 - Radio 1 "Scott Mills Daily" with 553,324 listens, up 153,675 and up a rank.
3 - Radio 4 "Today 8.10 Interview" with 385,080 listens, up 39,253a but down a rank.
4 - World Service "World News Bulletin" with 354,394 listens, up 95,019.
5 - World Service "The World Today Select" with 229,669 listens, up 33,161.
Amongst weekly podcasts cum MP3s the top five were:
1 - Radio 4 - "In our Time" with 597,046 listens, up 566482 and rising from 17th but it was off-air for most of September.
2 - Radio 1 - The "Best of Moyles" with 551,167 listens, down 22,900 and down from top rank.
3 - Radio 4 "From our own Correspondent" with 280,991 listens, up 22457 but down from second rank.
4 - Radio Five Live "Mark Kermode's Film Reviews" with 166,032 listens, up 703 and down from third.
5 - 6 Music "Russell Brand" with 149,848 listens, up 9,408 but down from fourth.
* World Service "Digital Planet" with 122,934 listens, up 23,767, fell from fifth to sixth rank.
Previous BBC Online figures:
2006-12-06: US satellite radio stocks dropped on Tuesday following an announcement late on Monday by Sirius cutting its forecast for 6.3 million subscribers by the end of this year to a figure of between 5.9 million and 6.1 million.
Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin noted in a statement that in 2005 with Howard Stern's move to Sirius rapidly approaching the company added 500,000 subscribers in the last ten days of the year - nearly a quarter of the total added during the year.
"While strong, this year's retail sales results since the Thanksgiving weekend have not been at the pace we had anticipated," he continued. "We are updating our year-end 2006 subscriber guidance to between 5.9 million and 6.1 million. At the lower end of our range we will still add almost 20% more subscribers in 2006 than we did in 2005, a record year for Sirius. We have consistently focused on disciplined growth and continue that focus as we look to generate positive free cash flow this quarter."
On a more positive note, Sirius reiterated its expectation that it may attain its first quarter of positive free cash flow, after capital expenditures in the current quarter.
Its stock closed down 8 cents to USD 4.17, on Monday but fell further after-hours trading as word of the reduced forecast spread and on Tuesday Sirius stock was down 32 cents - 7.7% - on the day to USD 3.86 having fallen at one stage to USD 3.75.
XM was also down despite more positive news. It ended Tuesday off 29 cents - 2% - USD 14.32 despite an announcement that it was expecting General Motors to build more than 1.8 million vehicles with factory-installed XM Satellite Radio in 2007. GM Executive Director Rick Lee said the announcement demonstrated its commitment to XM.
2006-12-06: Jerry Springer is to end his weekday radio show at the end of this week after two years - it launched in January 2005.
At its peak it had around 50 affiliates in subscription but this had fallen back to fewer than30 after Air America Radio dropped the show from its line-up although it continued to syndicate the show.
Previous Air America/ Piquant (its owner):
2006-12-05: US Radio revenues in October just released by the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) were up 6% on a year ago, almost certainly boosted by political advertising this year although RAB does not attribute reasons for the rise. A year ago in contrast figures were down 7% on 2004, a downturn then attributed to the boost the 2004 election had given to that year's figures.
Within the October figures this year local advertising was up only 2% on 2005 but national advertising was up 14%, combined national and local ad sales were up 5% and non-spot revenues were up 15%.
On a year-to-date basis, total combined spot and non-spot figures are flat. Local revenues are down 1%, national ones up 3% and non-spot revenues are up 10%.
For October RAB's Sales Indexes, which equate pre-dot.com boom base year 1998 to 100, were 117.8 for local; 125.7 for national; and 120.5 for total combined local and national with year-to-date indices respectively 137.4; 144.8; and 139.1.
Previous RAB and RAB figures:
2006-12-05: GCap Media's Classic FM has announced that it is designating Thursday this week as "Paul McCartney Day" and turning its airwaves over to special shows featuring the former Beatle
McCartney will host his own show from 11:00 to 13:00 GMT, presenting some of his favourite classical tracks.
In the evening he will also talk to Anne-Marie Minhall about his latest album "Ecce Cor Meum" (Latin for Behold My Heart) - an oratorio in four parts and his fourth classical album, with after which the station will air an all-Paul McCartney Evening Concert with Nick Bailey.
This will feature "Ecce"and also his his works "Standing Stone" (Lawrence Foster conducting the London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus); "Tuesday" (Andrea Quinn conducting the London Symphony Orchestra); and "Nova" (Peter Broadbent conducting A Joyful Company of Singers).
*The station has posted an MP3 of his "In Conversation with Anne-Marie Minhall" together with a transcript.
Previous GCap Media:
Classic FM web site (Carries link to MP3 of McCartney "In Conversation") :
2006-12-05: Salem has announced that it is selling its Cleveland sports-talk WKNR-AM to Good Karma Broadcasting LLC for USD 7 million in a deal expected to close in the first quarter of next year.
Salem president and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said the disposal was consistent with the company's previously announced strategy of "selectively divesting certain non-strategic or under-performing radio station assets" and added, "We believe that the sale of this station, which is in a non-strategic format, is the best means to maximize return on investment for our shareholders."
2006-12-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reversed a decision that would have kept a station which had gone dark for more than a year off the air and re-instated its licence as well as granting a commission permit to move the station facilities and allowing it to remain dark for a further six months.
V.I. Stereo Communications Corp.(VISC), licensee of former station WVIS-FM, Vieques, Puerto Rico, had, said the commission "demonstrated circumstances that merit reinstatement", specifically that its "licensed facilities were located in an area frequently within the path of hurricanes."
VISC, which was licensed to Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands, was granted a construction permit to relocate the station to Vieques, but FCC staff said this had become moot once the licence was automatically forfeited for failure to broadcast for 12 consecutive months.
VISC, which lost its tower completely in one hurricane and rebuilt it but then suffered substantial damage in three more hurricanes that again took the station off air had sought review of the decision and in its ruling the FCC noted that the decision by staff was appropriate at the time but subsequent legislation had now given it discretion in some circumstances to prevent license forfeiture or to reinstate a forfeited license despite more than 12 months of silence.
It had opted to exercise that discretion subject to various conditions including filing an application for a transfer of control from VICS's principal Joseph Barr, who has died, to his estate, filing new ownership report, maintaining a staffed main studio that complies with FCC regulations, and filing a "complete and acceptable" licence renewal application.
The FCC has also announced that it has received 51 short-form applications to take part in its Auction 68 of nine FM construction permits that it scheduled to begin on January 10 next year.
It says none were rejected but 19 were incomplete and will have to be amended accordingly.
2006-12-05: Galaxy Communications, which owns nine Syracuse, New York, radio stations, is to drop Arbitron and take ratings from Eastlan according to the Syracuse Post-Standard which quotes Galaxy owner Ed Levine as citing cost as the reason for the move.
Levine told the paper it will pay Eastlan around USD 100,000 a year for its phone-survey based ratings compared to USD 250,000 for the Arbitron diary-based service, whose charges had risen by nearly half over the past five years.
2006-12-04: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with two articles - one from Europe and the other from the US - concerning stations that pioneered change and had great influence but whose original remit could hardly last and other articles on some practices that probably can go on and on.
First up the UK Independent and a report by Guy Adams that used the death of DJ Alan Freeman (See RNW Nov 29) as a peg to comment on Radio Luxembourg under the headline: "Radio stars: Fabulous 208 - the station that made Alan Freeman (and a host of other pop-pickers)."
"The public's memories of Freeman - the inspiration for Harry Enfield's DJ character Dave Nice, of Smashie and Nicey fame," writes Adams, "will forever be intertwined with this legendary broadcaster, which was known in its heyday as FAB 208, and launched the career of a virtual Who's Who of influential broadcasters, from Jimmy Savile and Hughie Green, to Noel Edmonds and Chris Moyles. (The Independent report lists the most notable of these)"
He later says it is "almost impossible to overestimate the influence that Radio Luxembourg exerted on British music. Broadcast on the crackly medium wave band, it became the most successful commercial radio station in history, reaching an unsurpassed 78 million listeners a week during its prime."
At that time Radio Luxembourg benefited from the virtual absence of pop on the BBC and what Adams terms "technological advances that turned radios into relatively cheap consumer items."
It had been founded on long wave in 1933 by a French company that wanted to reach an international audience and hired 23 year old Stephen Williams who'd been directing English programmes at Radio Paris to be principal announcer. It quickly became popular with its audience albeit opposed by both the BBC and British Newspapers, fearful that the station's sponsors would reduce their spending on print advertising.
During the Second World War the transmitter was used by the Nazis to broadcast propaganda and after the war ended was initially used by American Forces to broadcast entertainment for their troops in Europe but their negotiations to use it as 'The voice of America Europe' broke down over money as did a British plan to use it for the BBC's eastern Europe services leading it to resume its commercial life. In 1951 the service was moved to the 208 medium wave frequency as its owner felt it could make more money from the long-wave frequency by serving the French market.
Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini recalled, "There was this very powerful radio transmitter in the Grand Duchy, so DJs would be recruited from the UK to go and live out there. It was, if you like, a pirate ship on land, and people who wanted to listen to pop in the UK had few options. It was completely dominant, and also uber-commercial, so record labels would buy up slots of air-time during which music by their artists was the only music that could be broadcast. Most of the famous Radio 1 DJs of the 1970s came from there."
More competition - from pirate radio ships for audience and advertising and later the BBC for audience with Radio 1 from 1967 plus the launch of British commercial radio - ended the dominance with a contributory factor according to DJ Tony Blackburn being what it was airing.
"For me, the sign that it was really on the way out was when it started sounding old-fashioned," he said. "The problem was that Luxembourg was controlled by record companies like EMI and Decca, who would pay for hour-long slots of their stuff, and use it to broadcast records they couldn't get played anywhere else. I used to record my show in studios in Mayfair, and it would then be shipped out to Luxembourg. We didn't mind the record companies telling us what to play, as they were paying a pound a minute, which was a lot of money in those days. But it didn't do any good."
The station was closed on December 20, 1992, by its then owner the Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Telediffusion, but has now been re-launched with a classic rock format by broadcaster RTL as a digital station using the DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) system.
RTL on the station web site is promoting the return with the note that combined DRM/DAB/FM/AM receivers are now becoming available and vice-president for digital radio, Dan D'Aversa said of this, "We are playing classic rock, things like David Bowie or Ozzy Osbourne. The audience at the moment is around zero, but that is because the technology to receive it has only just gone on the market. For us it is a test, though. We have re-launched the station as an experiment. Historically Luxembourg was the biggest commercial station, so in the future who knows what will happen?"
After a European legends, an American one in the form of KROQ-FM, Los Angeles, the subject of a Los Angeles Times feature by Erik Himmelsbach. Unlike Radio Luxembourg, KROQ - now owned by CBS Radio - is still pulling in a large audience but it is doing so it has also changed over the years.
Himmelsbach comments that by the "late 1970s, most FM stations were indentured to formats designed by niche-obsessed consultants who'd shoved demographic-driven homogenization down listeners' unsuspecting throats" and continues, "Which was fine, if you wanted to hear Boston's "More Than a Feeling" on the hour. But Blondie? The Clash? X? Forget about it. Only L.A.'s own renegade station KROQ dared play the revolutionary new sounds emanating from London, New York and Southern California with any regularity."
The freedom to play the new, however, did not produce great financial returns writes Himmelsbach who noted that in 1979 "Top-40 programmer Rick Carroll was hired to restore order. He applied his tight, commercially proven formula to core artists such as the Ramones, Devo, Elvis Costello, Pretenders and Talking Heads."
"The DJs grumbled," comments Himmelsbach, "but the format worked: Within a few short years, KROQ was the hottest station in town."
And now? "Punk rock - and the alternative culture it spawned - is still breathing. But it's been sliced, diced, puréed and flambéed for maximum financial return. In a culture of commercial cool - where every town in America is filled with tattooed Green Day-loving teens - KROQ is where it all began."
In terms of the freedom from the tyranny of the focus-group created playlist as exemplified by the early KROQ, the nearest equivalent nowadays is not so much the local terrestrial station as satellite radio in the US as outlined by Jesse Fox Mayshark in the New York Times, albeit it's not so much DJs playing what they want but artists.
Mayshark comments of Sirius and XM, "Seemingly every week for the past few years has brought an announcement of a singer, songwriter, rapper or rocker signed to be host of a show or to program a channel. Some are marquee names: Bob Dylan and Snoop Dogg on XM, Eminem and the Who on Sirius. Others are less so, like the folk-rock duo the Kennedys, who have a three-hour weekly show on Sirius, and John McEuen, a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the host of a show on XM."
And of the mutual benefits: "For the young satellite networks, it is just one of many strategies for attracting and keeping paid subscribers. But for the musicians, it represents a previously unthinkable degree of control over a medium that has tantalized and tormented generations of recording artists, and a chance to shore up their own audiences at a time of industry-wide uncertainty."
The article quotes Catherine Moore, director of the music business graduate program at New York University as saying the satellite companies are providing a middle ground between the wide-open Internet, where it is hard to get attention, and narrowly programmed terrestrial radio, where it is hard to get airplay.
And some of those benefiting are big names with channels being devoted for a period to such names as Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones and most recently the Who- tied of course to a tour and album release.
Pete Townshend, the band's guitarist and songwriter, said that except for a few classic-rock staples, his music has difficulty getting onto commercial playlists, commenting, "The number that do get played get smaller and smaller and smaller. And we were lucky to have a few songs on that. But it does limit us. When we introduce new material into our live show, it's amazing how difficult people find it to accept that we don't just play 'Won't Get Fooled Again' and 'Behind Blue Eyes' and 'Who Are You?' "
And to end with one artist summing up in the context of uncertainties about the future of the satellite companies in view of their losses. Dave Alvin, the roots-rocker and former leader of the Blasters who has a once-a-month hourly show on an XM country channel said, "Terrestrial radio on the music side has gotten so bad. What it does, I think, is it chokes off dialogue. And the world, the country, we need more dialogue, whether it's political, or musical, or artistic. And so satellite, I don't know if it's a redeemer or anything. But I have a radio show."
So, of course (on XM) does Bob Dylan and his UK Sunday Times "Radio Waves" column Paul Donovan uses the fact that BBC Radio 2 has purchased the show (See RNW Nov 23) as a peg to ruminate on the show, its purchase, and note that, although it will be on the web site for the usual seven-days the audio will be blocked to people outside the UK.
And of the purchase he comments, "Radio 2 once again shows itself to be an astute player. Though still comforting and patriotic - a legacy of its origins in the Forces Programme of the second world war - it has also been clever in hiring starry contemporary Americans: Brad Pitt (who hosted a show about the singer- songwriter Nick Drake), Johnny Depp (James Dean), Val Kilmer (Marlon Brando), Kris Kristofferson (whose series on Willie Nelson ends on Tuesday) and now a man who is a household name throughout the world. The network somehow blends an old guard (Wogan, Jacobs, Bruce and so on) with young Turks such as Russell Brand (though his first show, eight days ago, was disappointingly lacklustre), and mainstream music with less commercial genres such as folk, gospel, big-band, jazz and R&B."
And behind the success? "Of course, it is lucky not to be dependent on advertising and to be able to pay (some of) its presenters hundreds of thousands of pounds a year... But there is more to Radio 2's success than a guaranteed income, and editorial and musical acumen has a lot to do with it."
Next listening suggestions and with this week's comments in mind where to start but BBC Radio 2 and Steve Lamacq's two-part "30 Years of Punk" that began last Saturday and will be on the site until the final part airs next Saturday at 20:00 GMT.
For those who remember the time or names, the first programme included comment from John Lydon, Malcolm McClaren, Mick Jones, Hugh Cornwell, TV Smith, Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley and the second will have Hooky, Barney, the Edge, Terry Hall, Mark E Smith, Crass, the Exploited and UK Subs.
And as a contrast to punk, the business of music from BBC Radio 4 which last Saturday aired "Jay-Z: from Brooklyn to the Boardroom" in which Alvin Hall looks at the Jay-Z business empire - including a line of clothing and brand of vodka as well as a share in the consortium that last year bought the New Jersey Nets basketball team -and how the rapper - Shawn Corey Carter- amassed a fortune estimated at more than USD 320 million. This was last week's Radio 4 "Choice" podcast and also available as an MP3.
Sticking with Radio 4 and music, we next suggest a trip back in time and "The Real History of Opera" series in which Huw Edwards looks at the history and social context behind operas.
Last week's (on the site until 13:30 GMT tomorrow) was Rossini's Guillaume Tell (William Tell) and tomorrow at 13:30 GMT the opera is Wagner's Tristan and Isolde.
And with yet another view from Radio 4 we suggest the two-part "Streetwise: The Opera" that follows the progress of homeless and once-homeless people performing in a new opera at the Sage in Gateshead. The first episode aired last Friday and is available until 11:00 GMT this Friday when the second part is aired.
Then to Jazz and last Saturday's "Jazz File" on BBC Radio 3, the first of a four-part series in which Russell Davies to use the Radio3 blurb "analyses and deconstructs a selection of outstanding jazz scores, discovering how each arrangement actually works and what was in the mind of the arranger when the piece was conceived." The first programme considered three numbers from the suite Such Sweet Thunder, by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.
And finally as regards music a little of a competitive edge from BBC 6 Music and "6 Mix" last Saturday, a programme that looks into the record collections of the rich and famous. This edition featured Factory Records founder Tony Wilson whose label launched such groups as Joy Division and Happy Mondays and Creation Records founder Alan McGee, responsible for launching Primal Scream and Oasis.
Changing countries, if not continents, and noting that last Friday was "World AIDS Day", we next suggest last week's "A Good Life" from Radio Netherlands on Friday when it aired a special reporting from Burma where HIV and AIDS is spreading in part according to the report because of the government's attitudes and secrecy about the problem.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Life Matters" on Friday also marked World AIDS Day, in its case with a special documentary on around 100 adolescent Australians who are HIV positive, many of them having contracted the disease from their mothers.
Back to Radio Netherlands and on Saturday the latest "Vox Humana" also dealt with AIDS in a roundabout manner but this time in a programme that sprang from a conversation by David Swatling, producer of the station's culture program "Mirror Images", with photographer Frits de Ridder about his portraits of homeless men and women living with AIDS in New York City.
de Ridder died in 1994 and Watling later discovered an audio cassette the photographer had made for him as a birthday gift that featured directions accompanied by classical music to "An Adult Trip to the Countryside."
Watling combined material he had recorded with Frits and audio from the cassette to make the programme "Cycling with Frits."
And to end with, after the serious, we round off with comedy from the BBC and last week's "Now Show", if only for the mocking of the British Prime Minister.
Los Angeles Times - Himmelsbach:
New York Times - Mayshark:
UK Independent - Adams:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2006-12-04: Southern Cross Broadcasting-owned Sydney station 2UE, which since February last year has been appealing against a decision by the New South Wales Administration Decisions Tribunal (ADT) that its hosts Steve Price and John Laws should apologize for comments that "vilified homosexuals" (See RNW Feb 18, 2005) has now taken the matter to Australia's Federal Courts, arguing that the country's constitution renders state anti-hate laws invalid.
The case arise from comments made by Laws and Price in 2003 and by Laws in 2004 - including use of the terms "poofs" and "grubby" on the earlier occasion and "pillow-biter" and "pompous little pansy prig" on the later one - that had led to the filing of a complaint alleging breach of New South Wales's Anti-Discrimination Act and also to a similar complaint against Laws in Tasmania under that state's Anti-Discrimination Act (See RNW Jan 6, 2005).
In the first case the New South Wales Administration Decisions Tribunal (ADT) as noted ruled against the hosts, and ordered them to make on-air apologies and also ordered 2UE to pay the complainants' legal costs.
The Sydney Morning Herald reporting the broadcasters' action says that 2UE is arguing that "the right to freedom of political communication - inferred from the constitution by the High Court - means state anti-vilification laws should be declared invalid."
2UE, it reports, is also saying that if it does not succeed in getting the laws nullified, the laws should be restricted to allow for the freedom of political speech and it adds that Australia's Attorney-General, Bob Debus, has intervened in the case, claiming the Administrative Decisions Tribunal's appeal panel does not have the power to decide constitutional matters. A decision on the matter has been reserved by the Court of Appeal judges.
RNW comment: In our view this case if yet another where both sides can make reasonable arguments for their point of view and the point at issue is one of where the balance should be struck. In the ultimate analysis we believe that freedom of speech should take precedence unless there are very serious arguments against it as is the case, for instance, when the speech amounts to incitement to violence.
In this case we regard the comments made by the hosts as rabble-rousing bigotry and mere abuse rather than reasoned political argument but would still argue that the best remedy is not to ban such speech but rather to insist on a right -of-reply: We would suggest that where comments are ruled to breach regulations the station have to trail the reply and complainant in any such case be allowed to make the case three days running at the same time as the original exchange and, should the hosts choose to repeat the offence (as opposed to expressing reasonably argued contrary views) get the privilege every day for a month for each subsequent breach.
There is a also a finely-balanced sub-argument about how far states should be allowed to legislate on such matters as opposed to it being a federal matter and here we would take the view that the overall benefit of consistent laws on matters that have a national relevance has to mean that federal laws take precedence although on matters specific to local conditions the centre should devolve as much as it can to the states.
Previous Southern Cross:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2006-12-03: The issue of US media ownership regulations - and also relations between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and industry - were the most important regulatory stories over the past week. Elsewhere there was a steady level of licence decisions from other regulators.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that 2HHH FM Ltd, licensee of community radio service 2HHH, Hornsby, New South Wales, breached two of its regulations by not having adequate policies in place to oppose and attempt to break down prejudice and in that segments of Gav's Morning Show, broadcast on 20 May 2005, served to stereotype a caller and persons associated with a reconciliation initiative on the basis of their Aboriginality, both breaches of the Community Broadcasting Codes of Practice.
The ACMA commented that 2HHH is to take action including reviewing its policies, reissuing policy and training material as required, providing appropriate training to all presenters and advising all presenters of the importance of complying with its policy and said the actions addressed the compliance issues raised although it would continue to monitor the licensee's performance.
In Canada, 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 various of its cable distribution undertakings, a move expected to lead to other cable companies considering addition of the satellite audio services to their content (See RNW Nov 29).
It was also involved in a number of licensing decisions including (in order of province):
*Approval of application by Rogers Broadcasting Limited to acquire in a CAD 39.6 million (USD 35 million) deal from O.K. Radio Group Ltd. the assets of CHDI-FM and CKER-FM, Edmonton; CJOK-FM and CKYX-FM, Fort McMurray and the former's transmitter CJOK-FM-1, Tar Island; and CFGP-FM, Grande Prairie and its transmitters CFGP-FM-1, Peace River and CFGP-FM-2, Tumbler Ridge
Rogers proposed in relation to the deal a benefits package of CAD 2.4 million (USD 2.1 million) - 6% of the value of the deal as required by Canada's Commercial Radio Policy.
*Approval of application by The Mountain Culture Collective Radio Society for a 5 watts very low-power English-language developmental community FM in Whistler. Programming will be produced in eight languages, including English and French.
* Approval of application by 0749943 BC Ltd. (Matthew G. McBride) for a 420 watts English-language commercial FM radio station in Pemberton offering a blend of rock and pop music plus spoken word programming would include news, sports and weather information reflecting issues, activities, events and conditions in the station's area.
*Approval of application by the Prince George Community Radio Society for a 5 watts English-language developmental community FM in Prince George.
*Approval in part of application by Maritime Broadcasting System Limited for an FM licence to replace CFAB-AM, Windsor.
Maritime had proposed a 47,100 watts country music station operating at 92.9 MHz but the CRTC noted that this would significantly increase CFAB's presence in nearby Kentville, where Maritime operates CKWN-FM and CKEN-FM, and thus give it three FMs in the market, taking it above the CRTC limit for a market served by less than eight commercial stations operating in a given language.
It said Maritime had not provided compelling reasons to warrant an exemption from the Common Ownership Policy, noted that alternative FM solutions exist that could serve to closely replicate the existing CFAB AM signal coverage enabling Maritime at the same time to comply with the Common Ownership Policy and asked Maritime to file a further application proposing acceptable alternative technical parameters.
*Approval of application by Wawatay Native Communications Society for a 50 watts low-power Type B Native FM in Timmins, broadcasting a pop, rock and dance music format along with native and local music in Cree, OjiCree and English.
*Approval of application by Wawatay Native Communications Society for a 224 watts low-power Type B Native FM in Sioux Lookout, broadcasting a pop, rock and dance music format along with native and local music in Cree, OjiCree and English.
*Approval of application by WhiStle Community Radio for a broadcasting licence to operate a 50 watts low-power English-language Type B community FM in Whitchurch-Stouffville.
The CRTC also posted notice of a public hearing on January 29 next year, with a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of January 4, that will consider various applications including the following radio ones.
*Application by Westwave Broadcasting Inc. for a 3,000 watts English-language Pop Adult music commercial FM in Powell River.
*Application by Vista Radio Ltd. to convert station CHQB-AM, Powell River, to FM. Vista is proposing an 8,600 watts station retaining its current adult contemporary music format.
*Application by Fondation Radio Enfant du Canada, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a 1,000 watts daytime and nighttime French-language community AM in Gatineau/Ottawa.
*Application by My Broadcasting Corporation for 1,620 watts English-language Classic Rock commercial FM in Pembroke.
In Ireland, 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 (See RNW Nov 30).
In the UK, Ofcom has now advertised a second Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) national radio multiplex licence; launched its lifetime licensing service for ships' and amateur radio licences; and also published two reports relating to the economic value of spectrum (See RNW Dec 2). Earlier it posted its latest broadcast bulletin in which it upheld no radio complaints (See RNW Nov 29).
It also published its first Disability Equality Scheme, which sets out what Ofcom has done so far and the next steps to ensure that Ofcom plays its role in promoting equality of opportunity and access for disabled people.
As well as dealing with matters such as broadcasters obligations relating to subtitling, signing and audio description the report also deals with such matters as offensive and harmful material, including the portrayal of disabled people.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted has published further details of the second of six public meetings it is to hold concerning media ownership regulations (See RNW Dec 2) and also came under criticism for giving a private briefing to investor clients of Banc of America Securities LLC (See RNW Dec 1).
Earlier it had said it is to go ahead with plans to simplify some of its radio licence forms and also in a round of licence renewals and linked enforcement actions, proposed penalties totalling USD 57,000 (Both RNW Nov 30).
Subsequently the FCC announced further enforcement decisions including the following:
*In Missouri: Renewal of the licence of non-commercial educational KLUH-FM, Poplar Bluff, following agreement of a consent decree with Word of Victory Outreach Center, Inc.
In reviewing the licence renewal application, the FCC found various public file breaches between 1996 and 2004 and Word of Victory has now set up a plan to ensure future compliance. The FCC notes that if the licensee fails to comply with each individual condition of the consent decree it may be subject to further enforcement action.
*In California: Renewal of the licence of Regent's FM translator station K300AD, Chico, California, which Regent had left off the renewal application for its primary station - KQPT-FM, Colusa: it also issued a notice of apparent liability for USD 7,000 for then operating the station after its licence had expired.
*Also in California the FCC also denied petitions for reconsideration of penalties of USD 10.000 each filed by Infinity Broadcasting Operations, Inc., licensee of KRTH-FM; Telemundo of Los Angeles License Corporation, licensee of KWHY-TV; and Radio One Licenses, LLC, licensee of KKBT-FM - collectively Mt. Wilson Licensees - for failure to comply with maximum radio frequency limits.
The penalties had been levied following an inspection of the Mt. Wilson telecommunications and antenna farm site located northeast of downtown Los Angeles that found four of the 21 stations within the vicinity were exceeding significantly higher levels on radiation than the limits applicable to them. Notices of Apparent liability for USD 10,000 were proposed against all four, one of which AMFM - now owned by Clear Channel - has already paid the forfeiture.
*In Puerto Rico: Reduction to USD 150 from USD 8,000 on grounds of inability to pay, a penalty on Jorge L. Estrada, owner of a tower in Cubuy, Puerto Rico, which had failed to exhibit the required red obstruction lighting. It had previously reduced the penalty from USD 10,000 on the basis of a history of compliance and made the further reduction on subsequent production of documentation to support the hardship claim.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2006-12-02: UK media regulator Ofcom has now advertised a second Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) national radio multiplex licence to cover the UK and Isle of Man although it notes that international agreements on frequency use - intended to reduce interference between UK broadcasts and those from France, Netherlands, and the Republic of Ireland - will mean that, at least initially, some coastal areas in southern and south-eastern England, as well as parts of Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and parts of west Wales, will not be able to receive the service.
Applications have to be submitted by March 28 next year with a GBP 50,000 (USD 99,000) non-refundable fee.
Channel 4 and Freeview TV platform shareholder National Grid Wireless - the former Crown Castle - have already said they will both put in applications and a third contender is expected to be a consortium of BT, Arquiva - the former NTL Broadcast- and GCap Media in which the latter, which owns almost two-thirds of the current Digital One national commercial multiplex, can only hold a minority share.
Ofcom has also now launched its previously announced online lifetime licensing service for ships' and amateur radio licences and published a 221-page report "The International Communications Market 2006", its first research publication to focus specifically on the international communications market, plus earlier a 39-page report on the "Economic impact of the use of radio spectrum in the UK."
The latter, from Europe Economics, followed on from reports conducted for and by Ofcom's predecessor, the Radiocommunications Agency, most recently in 2000 and 2002 and it says that it "indicates an estimated economic benefit arising from the use of the radio spectrum of GBP 42 billion (USD 83 billion) in 2005/6, based on calculations of consumer and producer surplus. This compares with an estimated benefit of GBP 28 billion (USD 55 billion) in 2002 (result expressed in 2006 prices)."
Using alternative methodology it calculated that the "estimated net GDP (Gross Domestic Product) impact of the use of radio spectrum is around GBP 37 billion (USD 73 billion) and 240,000 in employment."
The study analysed the radio industry in seven sectors:
(a) Public mobile, including cellular mobile, paging, public mobile data networks, and public access mobile radio;
(b) Broadcasting, including analogue and digital TV, and analogue and digital radio;
(c) Satellite links, meaning the operation of satellite links, such as VSATs and permanent earth stations;
(d) Fixed links, meaning the operation of radio fixed links, for example to substitute for or supplement cable links in telecommunications infrastructure;
(e) Wireless broadband, meaning the provision of WiFi and other wireless access services;
(f) Private mobile radio, meaning mobile radio communications services provided for non-public use, such as by emergency services, taxi companies and transport companies; and
(g) Other, including non-commercial aviation, amateur radio, citizen's band and other radio uses (but excluding commercial aviation and Government, including MOD-Defence Ministry- use).
In ranking terms for 2005/6, public mobile led with 51%- GBP 21.8 billion of net value to the economy followed by broadcasting with 29% - GBP 12.3 billion - and fixed links with 9% - GBP 3.9 billion.
"In the broadcasting sector," commented the report, "our calculations were significantly influenced by recent data indicating that consumer willingness to pay for broadcasting services (both for television and for radio services) was considerably higher than had previously been recorded."
Within the broadcasting sector and a "producer surplus" of an estimated GBP 1.69 billion (USD 3.35 billion) in all, the report ranked Advertisers highest with 28% - GBP 477 million (USD ) , followed by News Services, Program Makers highest with 25% - GBP 416 million ( USD 944 million) and then radio broadcasters with 19% -GBP 326 million (USD 645 million ).
In terms of consumer surplus - measured largely on the basis of "Willingness to Pay (WITP)" -the report says that Terrestrial television produces a surplus of GBP 8.991 billion (USD 17.8 billion) and radio broadcasting one of GBP 3.181 billion (USD 6.3 billion).
The figures compare with a global communications market total generated in 2005 of around GBOP 840 billion (USD 1,663 billion) cited in the International Report and says the UK spends more than any of the developed western economies considered in the report, noting that in the UK in 2005 communications spend accounted for 4.1% of GDP.
It also noted that across the world, 18-24 year olds are leading the transition to convergence, and said "this is especially the case in the UK, where more broadband users downloaded television programmes and clips over the internet than users in any other country in our survey."
Within Europe it said converged platform services like VoIP and IPTV are taking off in countries like France, Italy and Japan at a much faster rate than in the UK and it also noted that "China is fast emerging as a major participant in the global communications market; our data also suggest that Chinese consumers are above-average users of advanced converged services such as IPTV and broadband video/audio."
Looking at radio round the world the report said global radio revenues (including public funding) totalled GBP 25bn in 2005 (USD 49.5 billion or around GBP 4 - USD 8 per person), of which GBP 18 billion (USD 35.6 billion) came from advertising. Growth has been generally lower than for telecoms or television - at around 3.8% per year in nominal terms since 2001.
It noted that
*The US is by far the largest market for radio, with annual revenues of GBP 11 billion (USD 21.8 billion) in 2005;Japan is second with revenues of GBP 1.9 billion ( USD 3.76 billion) and together the US and Japan account for over 50% of the radio revenues of the twelve countries studied in this report. The UK is the fourth largest market with revenues of GBP 1.2 billion (USD2.38 billion) in 2005.
* The proportion of total advertising spent on radio varies substantially by country. In the
US, 11.5% of all display advertising expenditure goes on radio; in the UK it is less than
* Radio listening is more popular in the UK than in any other country in this study - with weekly listening per capita averaging nearly 23 hours. The share of listening to PSB stations is also higher in the UK than anywhere else - at around 55% of total listening.
* Digital radio is increasing in popularity. The UK leads in the roll-out of DAB, with 85% coverage and over 200 stations available.
* The internet is having a positive impact on radio listening with around one third of adult broadband users among the countries we surveyed listening to online radio every week.
Less than one in five adults claims to be listening to less radio offline as a result of being connected to broadband.
Ofcom report "Economic impact of the use of radio spectrum in UK" (39 page 171 kb PDF):
Ofcom report "The International Communications Market 2006" (221 page 928kb PDF):
2006-12-02: A Seattle forum on US media ownership, attended by the two Democratic Commissioners but not one of the fix public hearings being scheduled by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - one has already been held in Los Angeles and a second hearing is scheduled in Nashville on December 11, has heard calls for resistance to easing media ownership limits.
Both Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J Copps opposed further consolidation but Copps warned that their opposition might not prevail, commenting according to the Seattle Times that "it is not a slam-dunk that the forces of right and truth and justice are going to prevail here."
Referring to pressures from big media companies to adopt rules similar to those approved on a partisan vote in June 2003 under the chairmanship of Michael K. Powell (See RNW Jun 3, 2003) but in later blocked by the courts, Copps said, "We're right back at square one. We can either stand up and make a difference or sit back and watch local media be gutted."
The Times reports that amongst those at the Seattle meeting, radio talk-show host and former Republican gubernatorial candidate John Carlson noted that only three of Seattle's top 30 radio stations are locally owned now, and local content has suffered as a result and said deregulation was fine, but not when it leads to "massive consolidation."
The FCC on Friday published further details about its scheduled Nashville public hearing - it has not yet given details of any of the four other meetings planned: In Nashville, it says there will be two panels, each followed by a period for public comment. The first panel will examine issues affecting the music recording industry and the second panel will provide an overview of the Nashville market and issues affecting broadcasters and independent programmers.
Seattle Times report:
2006-12-02: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is to return to the city's airwaves in January after a six-year absence according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
He reports that the return has to the Window to the World Communications classical station WFMT-FM has been made possible by a grant from oil giant BP and an agreement between musicians and the CSO management. Programming will also be syndicated further afield by the WFMT Radio Network.
The orchestra was forced off the air in 2001 after funding dried up and Feder reports that under the new plan the station will broadcast two-hour concerts each of which will have its own theme and will use hosts working without scripts.
Steve Robinson, senior vice president and general manager of WFMT and its syndication network, commented of the agreement, "Once again, millions of listeners in Chicago and throughout the world will hear this most wonderful of all orchestras on the radio and the Internet. We're very excited about the potential to create an absolutely unique series with the CSO."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2006-12-02: Yet again the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has dominated the broadcast sector in this year's Walkley Awards, Australia's most prestigious journalistic awards, which are in their 51st year.
It took all the radio awards as well as the Walkley Gold Award, which went to Liz Jackson, Lin Buckfield & Peter Cronau, of ABC TV's "Four Corners" for "Stoking the Fires" on political rivalries and violence in East Timor.
In the radio sector, last year's Gold Award winner Tim Palmer took the Radio News Reporting award for "Bali Suicide Bombings"; David Hardaker took the Radio Current Affairs Reporting award for "The Israeli Wars"; and Antony Funnell took the Radio Feature, Documentary or Broadcast Special Finalists award for his "Background Briefing" on "Financial Abuse of the Elderly".
In addition, within the All Media section, Steve Cannane's Triple J work took the Broadcast Interviewing award for his interviews on "Petrol Sniffing", "Pill Testing" and "The Cost of War"
Previous ABC, Australia:
Walkley Awards web site:
2006-12-01: According to Bridge Ratings latest satellite subscriber trends report, Howard Stern has faded significantly as a factor in subscriptions to Sirius with only 10% citing his show as a motivation to buy a subscription in the most recent week and only 14% in the previous week compared to a figure of 52% for October and November last year.
Bridge also comments that the Internet promotional offering of free sample days of Stern programming on October 25th and 26th (See RNW Oct 24) did not boost retail sales for Sirius, although Bridge says it may have boosted Internet subscriptions. It adds that it estimates that a total of 1.6 million fans - 13% of his 12.5 million terrestrial audience - have now followed the host to Sirius.
Bridge, which in its surveys asks consumers who have purchased satellite radio at retail outlets about the reasons for their purchase, says that satellite radio sales were stronger over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend but they were 31.5% down on a year earlier and comments that "Satellite radio was not among those items that caught fire over the long holiday retail sales weekend."
Bridge says the slowdown in satellite subscriptions "has come earlier than predicted, raising the possibility that the companies won't meet their subscriber base projections" and also says that the 18-21 years-old demographic, which was beginning to show interest in satellite radio, failed to follow through and produced a worse showing than it had expected.
Bridge says the "sector's potential sales growth lies in OEM auto installation and a more targeted marketing campaign to this youth group who don't see the benefits of satellite radio because they've never used it."
This, it suggests offers XM more opportunity than Sirius, possibly because Sirius is currently well ahead with younger demographics -- it notes that in the 18-19 years-old group 65% said they would opt for Sirius if they were buying satellite radio at the moment whilst amongst those aged 20-21 the lead was 54% to 36%.
Bridge says that whilst estimates from the satellite radio companies indicate that subscriptions will be off by 300,000 units (down 15% on a year earlier) in the final quarter of this year, it is projecting sales to in fact be off 500,000 and a 25% year-on-year decline in satellite radio retail activity in the quarter
Regarding full-year subscription estimates Bridge says its September figures of 7.7 to 7.9 million are now in line with XM's predictions following its recent reduction (See RNW Nov 7) and notes that Sirius re-iterated its recent forecast for 6.3 million whilst it is predicting 7.1 million meaning that overall the total would be some 14 million, a million down from the companies' total estimates at the beginning of this year.
Within the total, Bridge says it expects new subscriptions in 2006 to be closer to 4.5 million than original industry estimates of six million and that Sirius will have a 60% share with 2.9 million new subscribers compared to 1.6 million new subscribers for XM.
In terms of awareness of the companies Sirius led 58% to 42% for XM in the week to November 27, reversing the XM 52% to 48% lead in the previous week but when it came to purchases XM did comparatively better in the most recent week with sales figures of 55% Sirius to 45% XM in the week to November 27 compared to 58% Sirius and 42% XM a week earlier.
When it came to satisfaction with the service received 47% of those who had been subscribers for three months or more said they would renew their subscriptions compared to 43% saying they would not and 10% saying they were undecided.
Unsurprising within the figures those who had bought at retail were more likely to say subscribers -51% saying they would, 36% they would not, and 13% undecided - than those who got a subscription trial free with an automobile - only 42% saying they would keep their subscriptions, 51% that they would not, and 7% undecided.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2006-12-01: New Zealand is the latest country to trial Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) with the launch by telecommunications company Kordia of a 12-month pilot scheme in Wellington, to be followed next week with the launch of a similar trial in Auckland.
UBC Media's "Unique Interactive" division will supply the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) for the trials: It is doing the same for trials in Australia.
The New Zealand launch follows the beginning of mobile TV tests in Norway using the country's DAB network. State broadcaster NRK (The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) is making its main TV channel - at 64kbps - and all of its radio channels available to mobile phones through the DAB IPDC1 (IP-DAB) transmissions as well as on-demand clips and programmes. There is no extra charge from the broadcaster for the service, which is being provided in conjunction with the technology companies Rubberduck Media Lab of Norway and Factum of Sweden
In a further DAB development, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS is today showcasing it latest digital radio audio codecs at a WorldDMB (World 'digital multimedia broadcasting') meeting in Erlangen, where Fraunhofer is based.
The MPEG-4 HE-AAC and MPEG Surround compression technologies, recently introduced by WorldDMB, enable new DAB services in addition to the existing MPEG Layer-2. Fraunhofer says that for encoding, an extension to the Fraunhofer DMB/ DAB Multimedia DataServer (MMDS) is available and for decoding on PC a WinAmp Plug-in is also available.
The surround-sound (DAB Surround) takes 5.1 sound to Digital Audio Broadcasting and Fraunhofer says Broadcast stations can easily add DAB Surround encoding to their existing infrastructure and still support all stereo receivers.
2006-12-01: According to the Times of London, UTV, whose nil-premium merger approach to SMG, the owner of Virgin Radio made in October (See RNW Oct 19) was rebuffed and, after an improvement that would have given subsequent amendment of the bid to give SMG shareholders 52% of the combined business (See RNW Sep 14) was also rejected withdrew its offer (See RNW Sep 21), has made another approach.
Following withdrawal of its bid, UTV can only enter formal talks with SMG before March 20 next year - six months after it withdrew - if invited to do so by SMG's board or if another bid has been made.
At the time of the initial offer, of a nil premium merger, SMG was valued GBP 226 million (then USD 428 million) and UTV at GBP 199 million (then USD 377 million) at but at closing on Thursday SMG, whose shares were up 3.15% on the day, was valued at just under GBP 181 million (USD 355 million) whilst UTV, which was down 0.8% on the day, was valued at just over GBP 198 million (USD 290 million) and the Times says it understands that the latest proposal is again of a nil-premium merger.
The paper also speculates that were the companies to merge, the combined company could become the target of a bid by ITV.
Neither SMG nor UTV would comment on the report.
UK Times report:
2006-12-01: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been criticized for giving a private briefing to investor clients of Banc of America Securities LLC.
The briefing by top-ranking commission staff took place at a hotel near the agency's HQ and was closed to the public and media and Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president and CEO of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm that is amongst groups that have criticized the commission for a cosy relationship with industry said this episode was particularly disturbing.
When public officials are speaking privately, expressing things to influential investors, that they are unwilling to share with the rest of the public, taxpayers have a right to be upset," he told the Associated Press, whose reporter had been escorted out of the meeting room by Banc of America Securities' managing director David W. Barden. "What do they have to say that they can't say to everyone else?"
FCC rules require anyone who meets with a commissioner or FCC staff member to document it in an "ex parte" filing that notes who was present, when the meeting took place and what was discussed but such filings are not required if the meeting is a general discussion that does not involve a specific proceeding before the FCC.
FCC spokesman David Fiske declined to say who from the agency had attended this meeting but said in a prepared statement that agency staff "have always met regularly with a broad array of individuals and groups on a multitude of issues and in a variety of formats. We welcome this interaction and encourage wide participation by outside parties creating a public record on our issues."
Although the FCC had refused to name those present they are reported to have been led by Banc of America Securities media analyst Jonathan Jacoby who later said that topics discussed including the likely timescale for moves on new media ownership regulations and the possibility of a merger of the satellite radio companies.
On the former, Jacoby said no vote is likely on new roles until the second half of next year at the earliest with economic research studies announced last month due to be completed in the first quarter (See RNW Nov 24).
Concerning the latter, Jacoby said there did not yet appear to be any consensus on whether a Sirius-XM merger would be acceptable but the possibility seemed higher than previously thought by analysts although one lawyer who was at the meeting said he thought that a merger would gain the necessary three votes.
RNW comment: On this one, we would go along with the criticism. The FCC is a publicly funded agency and there should be no question of comments being made in confidence at any such meeting. We can understand that it may not be practicable to make such meetings - which can be valuable to both sides - open to the public for size of venue reasons but there should be no question that media representatives should be advised of any such meetings and they should only be allowed if reporters can be present for the whole meeting.
If those who want to meet the FCC in such circumstances are not prepared to have their presence and any comments made on the public record, no such meetings should in our view take place.
Previous Media Access Project:
Seattle Press Intelligencer/AP report:
2006-12-01: The BBC has announced that writer, director and actor Stephen Merchant, an Emmy and three-times Bafta award winner best known for creating "The Office" with Ricky Gervais is to host a new music show on BBC 6 Music in the New Year.
Merchant's new show will air on Sunday afternoons from January 14 and Controller, Radio 2 and 6 Music Lesley Douglas, who said she had long admired his work on radio, commented, "Stephen Merchant is a great talent - his wit, warmth and love of music makes him a perfect presenter for 6 Music. I am delighted that he has agreed to join us."
Also on BBC 6 Music, the station's "BBC 6 Music Selector" is to return a week on Tuesday with Oasis taking over programming for the day. The group is about to release a compilation album and they will talk about their favourite music and artists who have influenced the career as well as playing classic recordings from the past four days.
Artists chosen include The Sex Pistols; The Beatles; The Kinks; Boards of Canada; The Go! Team ;and Amy Winehouse: One of Oasis's favourite bands, The Coral, has been commissioned to record a special and exclusive four track session at Noel Gallagher's studio. .
Gallaher himself will today be performing what BBC Radio 1 terms his "most intimate gig ever" today on the station as the culmination of its first Live Lounge tour that so far over the past week has seen live performances from the living rooms British acts including Lily Allen; The Kooks; The Ordinary Boys; and Lostprophets.
The gig will come from the home of a listener who has won a competition on the station and will feature Gallaher performing live tracks.
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