February 2007 Personalities:
Jonathan S. Adelstein
- (2) -Democrat US Federal Communications Commissioner; Michael Anderson - CEO,Austereo; George G. Beasley - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Beasley Broadcast Group, US; John Bitove Jr. -- Canadian entrepreneur, chairman and CEO Canadian Satellite Radio- operator of XM Canada; Helen Boaden - Director of BBC News; Colleen B. Brown - President and CEO, Fisher Communications; Michael J. Copps - (3) -Democrat US Federal Communications Commissioner; Anthony Cumia - Anthony of US Opie and Anthony show; Mark Damazer - Controller BBC Radio 4 and BBC7; Nate Davis-- President and COO, XM Satellite Radio; Paul Donovan- U.K. Sunday Times radio columnist; Randy Dotinga - US writer on radio and radio columnist, North County Times; Lesley Douglas - Controller BBC Radio 2 & 6-Music; Sen Russ Feingold - Wisconsin Democrat who is introducing legislation concerning radio consolidation; David J. Field - President and CEO Entercom, US; Al Franken -- US author and comedian and former Air America Radio host; Ian Greenberg - President and CEO of Greenberg family owned Astral Media Inc, Canada; Ralph Guild - non-executive chairman and former Chairman and CEO, Interep; Jeff Haley- President and CEO, the Radio Advertising Bureau, US; Andrew Harrison - chief executive UK RadioCentre; Peter Harvie -executive chairman Austereo; Gregg Hughes - Opie of US Opie and Anthony show; Richard Huntingford - chief-executive, Chrysalis Group, UK; Alan Jones - Sydney 2GB breakfast host; Bob Jordan - President, The Media Audit; Mel Karmazin - (5) - CEO Sirius Satellite Radio; David Kennedy - CEO and vice-chairman Interep; John Laws - Sydney 2UE morning host; Kevin J. Martin -(3) - Chairman US Federal Communications Commission; Robert M. McDowell -(2) -Republican) Federal Communications Commissioner; Kip Meek - UK RadioCentre board member and former Chief Policy Officer, Ofcom; Tom Moloney - (2) - Chief Executive, Emap plc, UK; Leslie Moonves - (3) - President and CEO, CBS; Stephen B. Morris - President and Chief Executive Office, Arbitron, US; John Myers - chief executive of Guardian Media Group Radio (UK); Robert F. Neil - (2) -President and Chief Executive Officer, Cox Radio, US; Michael O'Keeffe - chief executive Broadcasting Commission of Ireland; Steve Orchard - Operations Director GCap Media; Hugh Panero - (2) - president and CEO, XM Satellite Radio; Gary Parsons - (2) - chairman, XM Satellite Radio (US); Peter Poulton - former London Kiss FM breakfast host Bam Bam; Mark Redmond - (2) - President and CEO, Sirius Canada (appointed October, 2005); Sumner M. Redstone - chairman,Viacom and CBS; Gillian Reynolds - (2) - UK Telegraph radio columnist; Phil Riley - radio division chief executive, Chrysalis Group, UK; Bill Rose -- senior vice president Marketing of Arbitron; Mark Scott - Managing Director, Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Gary Slaight - President and CEO, Slaight-family controlled Standard Broadcasting, Canada; Jeffrey H. Smulyan - Chairman, president, and CEO, Emmis Communications, US; Howard Stern - US shock jock; Chris Tarrant - former UK Capital Radio breakfast show presenter; Deborah Taylor Tate -(2) - Republican FCC commissioner; Walter F. Ulloa - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Entravision(US); Joan Warner - (3) - CEO, industry body Commercial Radio Australia; Dennis Wharton - Executive Vice President, US National Association of Broadcasters; Roland White - UK Sunday Times columnist; (Sir) Terry Wogan - BBC Radio 2 breakfast host; Chris Wright - (2) - chairman and co-founder Chrysalis Group, UK;
Numbers in brackets indicate the number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once

February 2007 Archive

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- January 2007 - March 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 February comment - Sirius-XM: A merger too far? The evidence so far suggests it should be accepted only if the senior executives have been misleading shareholders.
RNW January comment - Considers, as the furore continues over the death of a contestant in a water drinking competition, whether there is a need for specific regulation of broadcasters and concludes that there are virtually no areas requiring broadcaster-specific laws.
RNW December comment - As the switch-off approaches for analogue TV we consider regulatory approaches for a digital age.

2007-02-28: Hard on the heels of XM, which also reported that it went into positive cash flow from operations in the final quarter of last year, Sirius Satellite Radio says it also had its first positive cash flow quarter - of USD 30.4 million - for the period and in bullish mood is predicting more than 8 million subscribers and revenues approaching USD 1 billion this year.
For the final quarter of 2006, Sirius, which ended the year with 6,024,555 subscribers, had revenues up USD 113.4 million (142%) on a year earlier to USD 193.4 million, within which subscriber revenues were up USD 99.4 million ; advertising net revenues were up by USD 5.4 million and equipment revenues were up USD 7.5 million.
Sirius said its adjusted loss from operations for the quarter was down USD 59.5 million to USD 166.8 million, primarily because of its increased revenues that more than offset a USD 53.9 million increase in operating expenses. Sirius recorded a USD 6.2 million loss for its share of Sirius Canada losses and overall reported a net loss of USD 245.6 million (17 cents a share) - down from USD 311.4 million (23 cents a share) -with its adjusted net loss - excluding stock-based compensation - down from USD 265.2 million to USD 203.0 million (from 20 cents to 14 cents a share).
Subscriber acquisition costs (SAC) for the quarter were down USD 24.2 million to USD 121.0 million and the SAC per gross subscriber addition fell 9% to USD 103.
For the full year, revenues were up from USD 242.3 million to USD 637.2 million; operating expenses were up from USD 1.071 billion to USD 1.705 billion; loss from operations was up from 829 million to USD 1.1 billion; and net loss was up from USD 863 million to USD 1.1 billion (from 65 cents to 79 cents per basic and diluted share) but adjusted net loss -excluding stock-based compensation - was down from USD 699.9 million to USD 656.0 million ( from 53 cents per basic and diluted share in 2005 to 47 cents in 2006)..
SAC per gross subscriber addition for the year was USD 114 - down a fifth from USD 139.
For this year Sirius says it expects its revenues to approach a billion and to end up with more than 8 million subscribers with lower SAC per gross subscriber of around USD 95 although churn is likely to be up from a monthly average of 1.9% to between 2.2% and 2.4%.
CEO Mel Karmazin, who today will be testifying to a congressional hearing about the proposed merger with XM - and presumably arguing that it is necessary because the two companies are each not doing too well on their own - noted that last year "Sirius added 2.7 million new subscribers, an annual record for satellite radio, and captured 62% share of satellite radio subscriber growth."
"More importantly, "he added, "Sirius achieved positive free cash flow in the fourth quarter 2006 -- four years after adding our first subscriber." Commenting on the most recent figures Karmazin said, "The fourth quarter marked the fifth consecutive quarter of satellite radio subscriber leadership for Sirius and a record 67% of satellite radio growth. We look forward to another year of strong growth in 2007, anticipating that we will approach USD 1 billion in total revenue."
He added, "The pending merger with XM will offer unprecedented choice for consumers and create tremendous value for our shareholders."
Previous Karmazin:
Previous Sirius:

2007-02-28: In more US results, CBS Corporation has reported fourth quarter revenues up for all divisions except radio, which was also down for the year; Cox found its bottom line hit by impairment charges; and Saga revenues were up.
CBS said its final quarter revenues overall were up 2% on a year earlier to USD 3.9 billion with TV revenues up 3% to USD 2.56 billion ; outdoor up 10% to USD 581 million; publishing up 7% to USD 253 million ; and radio down 8% to 498 million.
For the full year revenues were up 1% to USD 14.32 billion within which TV was up 2% to USD 9.49 billion; outdoor was up 8% to USD 2.10 billion; publishing was up 6% to USD 807 million; and radio was down 7% to USD 1.96 billion.
Operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) before impairment charges was up 2% for the year to USD 3.11 billion and 11% for the quarter to USD 860 million; After impairment charges a 2005 loss of USD 6.43 billion became a 2006 positive USD 3.05 billion and the final quarter figures improved from a loss of USD 8.71 billion to a positive USD 750 million
In divisional terms, TV OIBDA was up 7% for the year to USD 1.948 billion and 20% for the final quarter to USD 531.5 million; outdoor was up 21% for the year to USD 568 million and 13% for the quarter to USD 166.8 million; publishing was up for the year to USD 78 million and 8% for the quarter to USD 38.9 million; and radio was down 11% for the year to USD 820 million and 2% for the quarter to USD 211.3 million.
Commenting on the radio performance, CBS said the revenue decrease reflected the "impact of programming changes at 27 owned radio stations during 2006, coupled with challenges in the radio advertising marketplace" and also noted that is some markets stations - CBS is selling or has sold stations in ten smaller markets for USD 668 million - there was an impact on final quarter figures because stations were being operated under local management agreements. Same station revenues, excluding these, were down 6% in the final quarter.
Executive chairman Sumner Redstone said of the overall performance, "CBS' first year out of the gate was a great one. Our strong performance in the fourth quarter and full year of 2006 is the result of strategic vision and operational excellence. Leslie [Moonves] and his team are building our existing businesses to capitalize on the digital revolution and to position CBS for continued success well into the future."
President and CEO Leslie Moonves added, "CBS' fourth quarter results capped off a strong first year as a stand-alone company. Strong fourth quarter operating results at Television, Outdoor and Publishing helped us surpass our key financial targets for the year."
Looking at this year, CBS says that "on an as reported basis, several factors, including higher expense for stock-based compensation, the sale of 39 radio stations and nine television stations, as well as the shutdown of UPN ? will result in revenue and operating income that will be comparable to that of 2006."
"For the long term," it added, "the Company is poised to deliver rates of growth as follows: low single-digit growth in revenues, mid single-digit growth in operating income and high single-digit growth in earnings per share."
At Cox Radio, fourth quarter net revenues were up 3.8% to USD 113 million and full year revenues were up 0.6% to USD 440.5 million with station operating income for the quarter up 6.4% to USD 47.6 million and 1% for the year to USD 185.7 million.
The bottom was hit by write-downs with operating income of USD 136.8 million in 2005 moving to a negative 25.5 million last year and from USD 22.7 million for the final quarter of 2005 to a negative USD 136 million and net loss from a positive 61.27 million in 2005 to a negative USD 24.45 million last year ( from a positive 61 cents to a loss of 25 cents per diluted share) and from a positive USD 5.46 million in the final quarter of 2005 to a loss of USD 88.1 million in the final quarter of 2006 (from a positive five cents to a negative 93 cents).
Cox noted that it had "recorded a $176.3 million non-cash impairment charge in order to reduce the carrying value of intangible assets in our Birmingham, Greenville, Houston, Louisville and Richmond markets to their fair market values."
President and CEO Robert F. Neil said of the performance, "We had a strong fourth quarter, growing revenues nearly 4% and station operating income 6%". I'm pleased to note that 2006 marks the tenth consecutive year of station operating income growth for our company, underscoring the solid fundamentals of our business and our consistent ability to deliver strong results."
He added, "We continue to invest in our content, sales, and marketing resources to support and grow our audience shares. We also continue to expand our presence on the Internet, growing those revenues an impressive 53% this quarter over last year."
Saga Communications reported revenues up 7.8% in the final quarter to USD 38.2 million and up 1.5% for the year to USD 143 million with operating income up 68.8% for the quarter to USD 8.8 million and 1.9% for the year to USD 30.0 million. Net income was up 94.3% for the quarter to USD 3.7 million (from nine to 18 cents per diluted share) and up 17.8% for the year to USD 12.5 million (from 51 to 61 cents per diluted share).
Same station revenues for the quarter was up 7.6% to USD 28.2 million with operating income up 70% to USD 8.9 million and for the year same station revenues were up 0.8% to USD 140.1 million with operating income up 10.8% to USD 29.7 million.
Saga notes that the net income comparisons were affected in 2005 by a USD 1.2 million impairment charge and other losses of USD 2.7 million related to disposal of assets.
Previous CBS:
Previous Cox Radio:
Previous Moonves:
Previous Neil:
Previous Redstone:
Previous Saga:

2007-02-28: UK media regulator Ofcom has upheld a complaint against a wind-up aired on the Kev Seed Breakfast Show on Radio City in Liverpool and in New Zealand the Broadcasting Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against a radio station that aired a clip said to be have given the impression of a woman having sex with a bull.
The latter was aired on the Radio Sport station leading to a complaint from a Christchurch listener to which station owner The Radio Network (TRN) responded by saying it catered for a male target audience with edgy material and what could be termed at times "bar-room humour".
It added that the sounds - in a 34 second clip - after which the presenter commented: "My god is there nothing those people won't get up to up there. I guess if you spend most of your life looking at the back end of a cow it's liable to affect you in the long run." - were intended to reflect "the provincial, country cousin (Waikato), putting it up the city slicker (Wellington) in the NPC rugby final".
TRN then added, "While we agree that this wasn't particularly amusing, under the targeted audience scenario, it fails to breach the code."
The Authority disagreed, held that the item breached standards of good taste and decency and commented, "It is in no doubt that the soundtrack was intended to represent a woman having sexual intercourse with a bull. The Authority considers that the connotation of bestiality would have been offensive and distasteful to a significant number of listeners, particularly because the soundtrack was prolonged and gratuitous."
It opted not to impose a fine, saying, "It does not intend to impose an order on this occasion. The Authority considers that the public release of the decision upholding the complaint is sufficient in all the circumstances."
In the UK case, the station features a regular 'wind-up' item where the presenter, pretending to be an old woman, called up unsuspecting businesses.
In this case a butcher was called up and became abusive after repetition of a number of phrases including, "How much are your bangers, dear?"; "I don't mind a bit of pork, what have you got?";
"I want a nice bit of meat, dear"; and "I'm after a bird for Christmas, dear".
Owner Emap Radio acknowledged that the decision to broadcast this particular item had been ill-judged but noted that the only information the production team had about any potential victim prior to the call was a phone number. When making the call complained of, the presenter did not immediately realise that the recipient was a halal butcher. The presenter, it said, was taken aback by the abuse and failed to recognise the possible significance of the statement "we don't do pork", which the butcher made after the second time the presenter's phrase "I don't mind a bit of pork" was played.
It added that the programme director head the item and had taken up the broadcast with the presenter as soon as the programme finished and said it had also undertaken additional internal training.
Ofcom concluded that the execution of this particular 'wind up' call and the decision to broadcast it was a serious misjudgement; found that there was no context to justify the use of this offensive material; said it regarded the decision to air the call as irresponsible and showed a worrying failure in compliance and production oversight (especially during a breakfast show which attracts a wide ranging audience) and added that it will consider further regulatory action if a breach of a similar nature occurs again.
Ofcom also considered resolved a complaint against the Jonathan Ross show on BBC Radio 2 in which a guest, the actor Rupert Everett, used the word "fuck" twice, in quick succession, and used the slang word "muff" to refer to female genitalia. Three listeners complained, one of who said that the jocular tone used to warn the guest exacerbated the situation. The BBC said in relation to this that it felt the tone was appropriate in the circumstances and made it clear the language was unacceptable. In addition, after apologies by both Everett and Ross, the production team moved to a music break that allowed the producer to reinforce what the presenter had said on air.
Ofcom noted that the guest had been briefed before his appearance and also the manner in which the matter was handled and considered the matter resolved.
In addition to the radio standards complaints Ofcom also upheld four TV standards complaints and upheld in part TV fairness and privacy complaint as well as listing details of two complaints against a TV programme. It also listed with no details a further 16 TV complaints involving 11 items and one radio complaints involving one item that it said were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 116 TV complaints involving 81 items and 16 radio complaints involving 11 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority:
Previous Ofcom:
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:

2007-02-28: Arbitron says that its Fall 2006 survey showed satellite radio accounting for 3.4% of all radio listening with its subscribers being heavy users of radio overall and spending more time listening to terrestrial than satellite stations.
Satellite listeners it says spent an average of 33 hours a week with radio compared with the typical listener who listened approximately 19 hours a week to radio within which listening they spent more time with AM/FM radio (14 hours) than they did with satellite radio (10 hours 45 minutes) or Internet (8 hours 15 minutes).
The survey was the first in which diary keepers were asked to record listening to satellite and Internet radio in addition to terrestrial stations and Arbitron notes that respondents mentioned 297 separate satellite radio channels.
It says its analysis shows that the highest share of quarter hours for an individual satellite radio channel was 0.2 percent and the average satellite radio channel had a .009 percent share of quarter hours, which would not be high enough to meet Arbitron's minimum reporting standards.
Approximately 5.6 percent (rough equivalent of reach) of the 468,786 diary keepers who participated in the Fall 2006 Arbitron survey listed a satellite radio channel in their diary.
Previous Arbitron:

2007-02-27: XM Satellite Radio has reported a total of 7.629 million subscribers at the end of 2006, an increase of 1.696 million new net subscribers over the year, with revenues for the year up 67% on 2005 to USD 933 million within which subscription revenues were up 64% to USD 825.6 million and advertising revenues were up 76% to USD 35.3 million.
It added that it had positive cash flow from operations in the final quarter of the year for which revenues were up 45% on a year earlier at USD 257.1 million. Subscriber acquisition costs in the quarter were down to USD 70 from USD 89 a year earlier and the Cost per gross subscriber addition (CPGA), which includes SAC and marketing and promotion costs, was down to USD 128 from USD141 in 2005.
The net loss for the quarter was also down - from USD 268.3 million in the final quarter of 2005 to USD 256.7 million including a write-down of USD 57.6 million relating to its 23% share of Canadian Satellite Radio and USD 21.4 million from balance sheet restructuring.
For the full year the net loss was USD 718.9 million compared to USD 666.7 million a year earlier, figures including non-cash items totalling 198.8 million in 2006 including charges of USD 76.6 million relating to investments in WorldSpace and Canadian Satellite Radio and USD 122.2 million related to balance sheet restructuring. In 2005 the total included charges of USD 27.6 million form balance sheet restructuring.
Regarding the restructuring, now completed, the company says it leveraged its improving credit profile to transition to a largely unsecured capital structure, reducing interest expense by refinancing the debt issued earlier in the company's development, extending debt maturities and enhancing its liquidity position.
XM said that 2006 was the first year when it added more subscribers through auto dealers than retail sales and CEO Hugh Panero said 2006 had been a "pivotal year."
He added, "The automobile market is emerging as a key catalyst for satellite radio's future growth, and XM is well-positioned through its relationships with the nation's largest and fastest-growing automakers. Our financial metrics are heading in the right direction as marketing costs have declined and our revenues have increased."
XM says it expects to have 9 million to 9.2 million subscribers by the end of this year but warned that CPGA was likely to be flat to marginally higher than last year.
XM shares were down 1.1% on Monday to USD 14.93.
Previous Panero:
Previous XM:

2007-02-27: Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin has said on the Howard Stern Show that the roots of the merger proposal to XM were the company's share price, concerning which he had been "really disappointed" and adding they had gone so low that "when you take a look at the value creation of a merger, it becomes something that neither company could ignore.".
Regarding the merger he said he had met all five FCC commissioners last week after the merger announcement and had been greeted witch scepticism because of the number of mergers there had been; He stressed that the merger proposal was different because the competition was in a very bid universe of audio services and also noted that they were competing with terrestrial radio.
Karmazin said that the deal could not be agreed for a long time because of disagreement on a split - adding that a 55-45% deal was first discussed before final agreement on a 50-50 split.
Karmazin said he was confident of "approval" but even if it was not approved he said, "I absolutely believe that Sirius would continue to be a successful company. From everything that I've heard from the management of XM, they believe that they to would be successful."
Karmazin also threw some doubt on the future of Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) - the long-time rivals of Stern - in a merged company although he stressed that contracts would be honoured. Karmazin said he did not see any value in sharing content with terrestrial radio, a competitor, and when pressed about "some people" on the other service, said "You don't need to duplicate what's on AM/FM radio."
Opie and Anthony reacted on their show with Anthony saying they did not want to "sit there if we're going to be shat on all the time" or to play second fiddle to Stern, adding that it would annoy them if they did not get resources because they were going to Stern and that he was not "going to sit on his channel and have to do a Howard Stern commercial by mentioning Howard 100."
Previous Karmazin:
Previous Opie and Anthony:

Previous Sirius:
Previous Stern:

2007-02-27: Entercom has reported final quarter 2006 revenues up 14% to a record USD 118.5 million but station operating expenses were up by the same percentage to USD 69.2 million and the company's profits, hit by a USD 8.3 million charge related to the payola settlement with New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer - a payment of USD 4.25 million was announced in December (See RNW Dec 28. 2006) - were down from USD 15.77 million to USD 6.9 million (From 35 cents to 17 cents per diluted share).
Same station net revenues for the period were up 7% to USD 114.4 million with same station operating expenses up by 4% to USD 63.6 million.
For the full year, net revenues were up 2% to a record 440.5 million but station operating expenses were up 4% - to USD 259.1 million and net income was down from USD 78.36 million to USD 47.98 million (From USD .170 to USD 1.19 per diluted common share), including USD 1.2 million in costs related to its failed bid for ABC Radio, which was sold to Citadel.
Same station net revenues for the year were up 7% to USD 111.4 million with same station operating expenses up 4% to USD 63.6 million
President and CEO David J. Field, said he was "very pleased to report that Entercom delivered excellent fourth quarter results, highlighted by a 7% increase in same station net revenues and double-digit growth in same station operating income."
He added, "Our growth was broad-based, with strong performances across virtually all of our markets. For 2007, we remain highly focused on creating shareholder value by: investing in compelling new brands and our digital platform; returning large amounts of free cash flow to our shareholders; and capitalizing on the growth potential of our recent acquisitions and station exchanges."
Entercom said it expected first quarter revenues to rise by low single digits.
Previous Entercom:
Previous Field:

2007-02-27: Montreal-headquartered Astral Media has announced that it has signed a letter of intent to buy privately-owned Standard Radio and is now in exclusive negotiations with Standard about the purchase, which would make it the largest radio broadcaster in Canada.
Its announcement did not give a price but the deal is toted as being around CAD 1.2 billion (USD 1.03 billion) and leaves open the issue of some parts of Standard's business such as its Internet Radio operation Iceberg Radio. The deal does not include Standard's 40% stake in Sirius Canada whose value will depend very much on whether the Sirius-XM merger goes through and could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Astral says the assets included do include Standard's "52 radio stations in 29 markets across Canada, including some of the most recognized and listened-to radio brands in the industry: EZ ROCK, MIX, THE BEAR as well as the Newstalk format on the AM band; IMS, a national advertising sales company; Sound Source Networks, a leading radio content service provider offering a comprehensive range of targeted programming; and two television stations located in northern British Columbia." With its existing stations, a successful deal would give Astral 81 radio stations.
The deal is to be financed through a combination of 80% in cash and a balance in Astral Class A non-voting shares and Astral President and CEO Ian Greenberg, whose family controls Astral, said in a statement, "With the acquisition of Standard Radio, Astral Media will not only be acquiring the best performing radio stations in the country, we will at the same time acquire a company with similar values and Over the past four decades the Slaight family has built a remarkable collection of strong radio brands and has contributed meaningfully in shaping the Canadian radio industry as we know it today. We are delighted with the prospect of welcoming Standard Radio's employees into our team." culture,
Standard President and CEO Gary Slaight said they were "looking forward to becoming a part of the Astral Media family" and added, "We are pleased to see our legacy live on with a company such as Astral that has such a strong track record and commitment to its employees and to the Canadian radio and television industries."
Regarding price, he said it was "premature" to comment because nobody knew exactly what would be included and nothing had been finalized.
Analysts quoted in the Toronto Globe and Mail held differing views on how good a deal this will be for Astral, which has been under pressure to make acquisitions. Tim Casey of BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. said the acquisition multiple is as high as 14 to 15 times earnings and added in a note to investors that he thought it could be tough to increase the performance of the radio operations, which already lead the industry in Canada and concluded that it would be a "bad deal" for shareholders.
On the other side Scotia Capital analyst Andrea Mitchell predicts Standard could have EBITDA of CAD 89-million to 100-million ( USD 77-86 million) over the next two years making the multiple 12 and said, "Even at the rumoured price and our estimated EBITDA, we see a lot of implications that should be positive."
Astral stock, which fell nearly 4% on Friday on news of the negotiations, was down a further 4.3% to CAD 41 on Monday.
Previous Astral:
Previous Greenberg:
Previous Slaight:
Previous Standard:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:

2007-02-27: Arbitron has announced the conclusion of testing of its Portable People Meter (PPM) system to monitor audio broadcast in a mall environment by Mall Radio Network (MRN).
The company had successfully tested the system in Houston in individual retail businesses but this was the first trial to monitor audio in the common areas of a mall rather than inside stores.
The company's SVP , Marketing, Bill Rose, said the results provided "strong support for the possibility that the PPM can effectively detect audio that is broadcast in the retail mall environment and time spent exposed to Mall Radio Network content and advertising."
He added that based on the success of the test Arbitron was now "now negotiating with Mall Radio Network to move forward on a pilot project incorporating additional features, such as encoding audio content and commercials on different layers to better distinguish exactly what type of programming that a mall patron is exposed to" adding that use of the PPM in malls was "part of an on-going strategy to move our out-of-home media measurement to the next level."
"With recent efforts by Scarborough Research to enhance their mall shopping measures, we are working to meet the evolving demands of the industries we serve," commented Rose.
Previous Arbitron:
Previous Rose:

2007-02-26: With one radio story - the proposed Sirius-XM merger - dominating print cover of the radio business last week we are following the herd and most of last week's look at print comment on the medium is on that topic.
The plan has split commentators for the most part into the camps of those who go along with the satellite companies' arguments that they are competing in a wider market and thus conclude that the merger should be allowed and those who think that it should be rejected on competition grounds.
On the side of those who favour the merger, we went for two reports, one from the Indianapolis Star and the other a Los Angeles Times editorial.
Headed "Let XM and Sirius merge", the editorial sums up its arguments in a sub-heading: "The FCC shouldn't stop the nation's two providers of satellite radio from joining forces, because they would be only one of many in the audio entertainment business."
Backing up its argument the paper says: "Consider a few statistics. Half of the new cars sold in the U.S. this year will have stereo systems designed to work seamlessly with an iPod, and 60% will have inputs that work with any brand of portable music player. In addition to songs, those devices can play podcasts -- a recorded program that emulates over-the-air radio -- from more than 44,000 sources. Of the roughly 12,500 over-the-air stations pumping out conventional radio broadcasts, about 1,200 also broadcast in digital -- frequently, with more than one channel in different formats. Meanwhile, a growing number of cellular phone and municipal wireless networks are enabling mobile devices to tap into the expanding ranks of online music services. As of late December, there were nearly 80 citywide or regional wireless networks in operation, with an additional 150 planned."
It then goes on to argue that both Sirius and XM are "bleeding money at prodigious rates" and concludes that "Allowing them to merge could save them billions of dollars in marketing and maintenance expenses while preserving satellite radio as one of many alternatives available to consumers."
In similar vein, Erika D. Smith in her "Techno File" column in the Indianapolis Star argues that the view that a merger will result in a monopoly is "outdated" and argues that "merger makes sense -- for me, for you, for everybody who likes variety and good music."
Summing up the motive for a merger she comments, "It has become unclear when either company might turn a profit. But with a merger, that could change. The CEOs of Sirius and XM are citing Wall Street's estimates that working together would add USD 3 billion to USD 7 billion in value to their companies. The latter exceeds the market value of either one… Together, Sirius and XM could become a viable, moneymaking, lasting competitor to broadcast radio."
She says she agrees with the satellite companies argument that they "operate in a market that's much bigger than just satellite radio" and continues, "Sure, they compete with each other, but also with broadcast radio stations, Internet radio stations, iPods and online music services, such as iTunes. Even WiMax, the wireless Internet technology that blankets entire cities, will be a rival when it becomes as easy to stream music in a moving car as it is sitting at home.
Saying that a combined XM and Sirius would form a monopoly is an old way of looking at the world. The world before technology."
"Letting Sirius and XM combine" argues Smith, "would be helping them survive. And survival would ensure competition continues (assuming, of course, they can actually, finally figure out a way to make money)."
The contrary view was put by the New York Times in an editorial based on an argument for the market and competition, commenting ," Vigorous competition in the private sector has served the United States economy and consumers extremely well, providing a greater array of choices, more innovation and lower prices. The two - and only - satellite radio companies are now eager to merge and are arguing that together, they will prove to be the exception to the rule."
The paper notes that the two companies have lots USD 6 billion and acknowledges their argument about competition from other audio sources but then continues, "It is important to remember that these are not widget makers. Radios carry important discourse and debate - they are vital to the free exchange of ideas protected by the First Amendment. Recent experience shows that media consolidation usually leads to more homogeneous content, politically as well as artistically, and it rarely benefits the consumer or the country."
The Times concludes with reference to FCC chairman Kevin Martin's comment that "The companies would need to demonstrate that consumers would clearly be better off with both more choice and affordable prices" and ends, "We are sceptical about the chances of that happening."
RNW comment: So are we and in our comment this month, which we hope to post shortly, we will expand on the arguments as we see them.
Finally in regard to the merger another report, from Glenn Garvin in the Miami Herald, that had the best introduction of any we saw and the bonus to us of putting the National Association of Broadcasters on the spit.
It began: "Watch out for winged pigs, rivers flowing upstream, Hillary Clinton kissing Rush Limbaugh and Britney Spears putting on underwear. Anything is possible now that the National Association of Broadcasters has discovered indecency on the airwaves. Conveniently, it's somebody else's airwaves -- those inhabited by the two satellite radio companies that compete with the NAB's broadcast clients. The NAB has been shocked, shocked, to learn that the potty-mouth Howard Stern is talking about sex, poop and body parts on satellite radio, and says that's a good enough reason for the government to block the merger of XM and Sirius."
The comment was spurred by comments from NAB vice-president Dennis Wharton who in response to the merger proposal found himself unable to move from the gutter, commenting in part "''In coming weeks, policymakers will have to weigh whether an industry that makes Howard Stern its poster child should be rewarded with a monopoly platform for offensive programming. We're hopeful that this anti-consumer proposal will be rejected.''
Garvin then put the boot into the NAB a little more, saying that the organization had not attacked Sterns show when he was on terrestrial radio - and dug into the archives for a comment from then NAB President Eddie Fritts who in response to a call from classical-music broadcaster Woody Tanger for Stern to be denounces, responded that the organization was not an "industry programming critic.''
Saying it was possible the NAB had undergone a "taste-conscience transplant", Garvin went on, "More likely, though, is that the group is just exhibiting some new creativity as it goes about its same old business of strangling consumer choice in entertainment. From crippling a plan for low-power FM radio stations that would have created thousands of new ones to forcing cable-TV systems to load up with broadcast shopping and religious channels at the expense of more popular cable-only networks, the NAB has long used government regulation as a weapon to crush any potential competitors."
The NAB he says "warred so ceaselessly against the initial proposal for satellite radio that it took 11 years for Sirius and XM to get on the air" and he concludes, "What the NAB really hopes is that if the merger is blocked, Sirius and XM -- which are both losing money -- will go bankrupt. Then, to hear actual entertainment programming rather than ads, we'll have to listen to our iPods. Until the NAB figures out a way to get them banned, too."
Moving away from the US, we end with a couple of items from the British press as a lead in to listening suggestions. The first - a brief report in the UK Independent - almost had us checking whether they had posted an April 1 item a little early. "Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie and Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond," it reported, "are competing to become the co-presenter of Radio 4's Woman's Hour."
It isn't entirely as it seems though. The two along with comic writer Andy Hamilton are the short-listed candidates - listeners get to vote which one makes it - to anchor the programme alongside Martha Kearney for Comic Relief Day on Friday 16 March.
And finally a column that is a plug for a BBC Radio 4 programme this week. In the Sunday Times, under the heading, "The last laugh", Roland White who has commented in the past on his inability to appreciate the comic side of Kenneth Horne devotes the column to the star of "Round the Horne" and many other British radio shows. The programme was his favourite when he was nine but he just "didn't understand" what Horne was about…" As anarchy raged about him, Horne seemed to stroll through the broadcast like an assistant bank manager telling anecdotes at his golf club. Not that I had, at the age of nine, much experience of either bank managers or golf clubs."
"Now," writes White, "I understand that was the whole point. And thanks to a Radio 4 profile of Horne - "Sound the Horne", to be broadcast on Tuesday [RNW note: 13;30 GMT] to mark 100 years since his birth - I also know that Horne cultivated his style of telling anecdotes to his golfing and motoring chums.
Horne it seems got his radio break whilst serving in the air ministry as an RAF squadron leader during the Second World. Ordered to find talent for a BBC programme he couldn't find volunteers so did the job himself and later teamed up with joined another RAF officer, Richard Murdoch, to create the comedy "Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh".
White concludes by asking whether he has "got it wrong about Russell Brand, too? Is he a rich comic talent, or just the giggling imbecile he affects to be? Brand made his name in stand-up comedy before presenting a Big Brother spin-off, and he now has a Radio 2 show late on a Saturday night."
He gives details of a show he listened to - read the column if you want more - and concludes, "I've noticed the beginning of a backlash against Brand, who strikes me as a triumph of self-confidence over talent. Still, I was wrong about Kenneth Horne and perhaps I'm wrong about Brand. I'll let you know when Radio 4 celebrates his centenary."
So on to suggestions and we concur about "Sound the Horne" and also with finding most of Brand's comments puerile.
For our first suggestion after that though, we go back to the Sirius _XM merger which, along with the bankruptcy of Air America Radio and its subsequent purchase by a New York realtor were the two leading items on last week's "On the Media "from WNYC. The programme was varied with other items ranging from defending airing the trivial to selling Barack Obama to fellow African-Americans: It's on an MP3 so easy to download and worthwhile.
So in our view was last week's "Research File" on Radio Netherlands which looked at issues of sleep and health with comment on the damage that chronic sleep shortage can cause - maybe that's because in a run of overnight working we know exactly the feeling. A new programme is aired today but earlier programmes of Radio Netherlands programming are available as MP3 downloads via the podcast links in the Broadcaster's Listen on Demand weekly archive page.
Also from Radio Netherlands we suggest last Saturday's "Vox Humana", "Batman and a Robin", a look at the pressure group of fathers who have been campaigning over the way they perceive the law as separating them from their children when a marriage breaks down.
Then crossing oceans we suggest -it will only be there for a few hours unfortunately because of time zone differences, last Tuesday's "Late Night Live" from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It dealt with the unintended consequences of war and featured historians Ian Bickerton and Kenneth Hagan who argue that the end result of every one of the last ten major wars the U.S. has been involved in has been very different from its intended outcome.
Then sticking with analysis but of a totally different kind in a totally different area we suggest BBC Radio 3's "Discovering Music" from Sunday.
The music was Puccini's "La Boheme" and it was explored by Catherine Bott together with singers Katie van Kooten and Peter Auty.
Also from Radio 3 on Sunday was "Drama on 3" - a radio adaptation of the Young Vic/Royal Exchange co-production of Dennis Kelly's "Love and Money" that looked at debt and desire in today's world. Next Sunday (20:00 GMT) the programme is "The Fiery World", a dramatisation by Peter Ackroyd of the life of William Blake and we would also note that the current "World Drama" on BBC World Service is a radio dramatisation by Dan Rebellato of Nikolai Gogol's "Dead Souls". The first episode will be on the web site until next Saturday evening.
Another strong drama in a strong period was the "Saturday Play" last week on BBC Radio 4 - a recording made during the West End Run of "Honour" by Joanna Murray-Smith with Diana Rigg and Martin Jarvis.
And this week from the station we note that the "Composer of the Week" is "Richard Wagner" (Noon GMT with a 20:45 GMT repeat) and tonight's edition is followed in "Night Waves" by a discussion of a new social history of Iraq from a women's perspective.
And for two more from Radio 3 we suggest "Jazz on 3" that on Friday (23:30 GMT) features Jez Nelson with British tenor saxophonist Julian Siegel and a session of Siegel's trio recorded for the programme at the 2006 Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
In a different musical frame, BBC Radio 2 tomorrow (21:30) starts airing a five-part series "In Search of the Perfect Pop Song" in which songwriter Guy Chambers analyses the structure and craft of the three-minute pop song and on Wednesday (22:00GMT) has the second of a three-part "Lionel Bart Story" - the first part is on the site until then and we found it much more illuminating than expected on his talent's This week looks at his work on "Oliver!".
And to end with yet more drama related programming on BBC Radio 4 - "The Book of the Week" (09:45 GMT) that this week is "Theatre Writings" by Kenneth Tynan, a selection of articles written by the theatre critic between 1944 and 1962; The "Afternoon Play" today (14:15 GMT), a drama documentary about the lives of people in the vicinity of the now-closed Kerseley Colliery in Coventry; and "The Afternoon Reading" (15:30 GMT weekdays), a series of theatrical short stories, specially commissioned to celebrate the bicentenary of the Theatre Royal, Brighton.
Previous Columnists:
Previous White:
Indianapolis Star - Smith:
Los Angeles Times - _Editorial re Sirius-XM merger:
Miami Herald - Garvin:
New York Times - Editorial re Sirius-XM merger:

UK Independent - Blokes for Woman's Hour:
2007-02-26: Los Angeles gets back county music on FM today -at the expense of classical - with a format switch by Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters who are switch the formats of classical music KMZT-FM and country KKGO-AM.
Mt Wilson president Saul Levine told the Los Angeles Times the switch had been made because of "overwhelming listener demand." He had switched KKGO to country two months ago following a format switch by Los Angeles' sole country FM outlet KZLA-FM in August last year.
Emmis changed the station call signs to KMVN - "Movin 93.9" - with a Rhythmic Pop Contemporary format (See RNW Aug 18, 2006) and retained country on a secondary HD channel, leaving a hole for country music in the second largest radio market in the US.
Levine put country on KKGO and employed some of the former KZLA DJs but fans were not happy with the audio quality. Levine says he will simulcast the classical output of KKGO on an HD signal for those who have receivers.
Los Angeles Times report:

2007-02-25: Last week's most significant regulatory event came from the US where as we have already reported (See RNW Feb 24) the Federal Communications Commission held the third of its public hearings on media ownership rules. It seemed to be an opportunity for re-stating positions from all sides with the one noteworthy difference being what the local newspaper the Patriot-News reported as an "organized effort" by the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters to dominate the morning public-comment session of the hearing, involving some 50 local TV reporters and anchors plus "their stations' non-profit organization partners" lining up to talk of the good work they do.
RNW comment: To those who would defend US local media we suggest reading the report, which we think could hardly be described as comprehensive, and looking through the search engines to find reports outside specialist broadcasting publications. It's almost enough to make one think that America doesn't deserve democracy and also probably indicates that the power of the purse will rule again in terms of legislation on consolidation.
Elsewhere there was a steady but not exceptional run of radio-related decisions.
In Australia, the only radio announcement from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) was of a consultation on proposed conditions for regional commercial radio licensees that could require them to maintain existing levels of local presence in their licence areas after a "trigger event" - such as when a licence is to be transferred or control of a station to change (See RNW Feb 23).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a quiet week with radio decisions that included (in order of province):
*Approval of application by
Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation for a 5,330 watts new classic adult contemporary music English-language, commercial FM in Goderich. It would be the first local service there.
*Approval of application by FormationPLUS, Centre de formation francophone pour adultes for a broadcasting licence to operate a 40 watts FM radiocommunication distribution undertaking to distribute to Chapleau the programming service of the Haliburton Broadcasting Group originating from CHYC-FM, Sudbury.
*Approval of application to increase the power of Durham Radio Inc.'s transmitter CKDO-FM-1, Oshawa, from 250 watts to 665 watts. Durham said the change would counteract interference from U.S. station WLKK-FM, Weathersfield, New York.
The CRTC also posted a public notice regarding applications received for which the deadline for submission of interventions or comments is March 30. They included the following radio applications:
British Columbia:
*Application by Chetwynd Communications Society to renew the licence of English-language Type A community station CHET-FM. Chetwynd and its transmitter CHAD-FM, Dawson Creek. The CRTC notes that CHET-FM now operates in a market served by commercial radio stations and in view of this is exploring whether CHET-FM should retain its status as a community Type A station or be recognized as a community Type B station.
New Brunswick:
* Application by Radio Péninsule Inc. to renew the licence of the Type B community radio programming undertaking CKRO-FM, Pokemouche, expiring 31 August 2007. The commission notes that the licensee may have failed to comply with regulations concerning the broadcast of category 3 music during the broadcast week of 9 to 15 January 2005.
* Application by Campbellford Area Radio Association to renew the licence of English-language Type B community station CKOL-FM, Campbellford and its transmitter CKOL-FM-1, Madoc: The CRTC notes that the licensee may have failed to comply with regulations about the broadcast of Canadian content for category 2 music during the broadcast week of 9 to 15 January 2005.
*Application by Radio Fanshawe Inc. to renew the licence of the campus instructional radio programming undertaking CIXX-FM, London. The licensee also wished to change the condition of its licence requiring that it broadcast "at least 2 hours of its programming to formal educational programming that provides academic instruction" with one that says "least 2 hours of its programming to spoken word as researched and produced by students for curriculum requirements."
*Application by Radio Bishop's Inc. to renew the licence of English-language Type B community station CJMQ-FM, Sherbrooke (formerly Lennoxville): Following the revocation of the licence of Corus's CKTS-AM, Sherbrooke, the licensee is requesting to be recognized as a Type A community radio programming undertaking.
Radio Bishop's Inc. is also applying to increase the power from 500 to 1,670 watts.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced that three of five applicants for a new youth service in the Midlands/North East have been invited to the second phase of its licensing process that involves a public hearing in Tullamore, Co. Offaly on April 16 (See RNW Feb 22).
The BCI has also announced award of funding of more than Euros 1.1 million ( USD 1,45 million) in the third round of its Sound & Vision, the Broadcasting Funding Scheme, a doubling of the radio funding in each of the previous rounds.
In all the BCI received 137 radio applications of which 75 were awarded funding: 15 of the total were Irish and bi-lingual projects and 56 of the total were documentaries with remaining funding going to other genres including children's ( 2 - both Irish language); drama (10 including two Irish language ones); Entertainment (2); Factual (1); Live Sports (2) and Other (2). Of the documentaries 26 were History; 19 were General; four were Arts; four were Sports; and three were Music.
Awards ran upwards from Euros 2,000 (USD 2,600) - to Sinead O'Donnell of Castlebar Community Radio for a documentary "My Battle for Equality" to Euros 50,000 (USD 66,000) - to Tomas Mac an Iomaire of Raidió na Gaeltachta for the children's programme Seo mo scéal and Inishowen Community Radio for the ICR Sports Show in the Sports Documentary category.
In the UK, Ofcom has not announced any new radio decisions but did release the reasons for its award of the Manchester and Hereford FM licences (See RNW Feb 21) and also for the six community licence awards if made this month (See RNW Licence News Feb 18).
It noted that apart from Soundart Radio in Dartington, Devon, all the stations would be allowed to seek up to half its annual income from the sale of advertising or programme/station sponsorship.
This income is prohibited to Soundart because the coverage of the service falls within the existing coverage area of a local radio service with more than 50,000, but fewer than 150,000, adults living in its measured coverage area.
In the US as already noted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has held the third of its public hearings on media ownership regulation. It has also issued further penalties, mainly related to late filing of applications and continued operation without a licence (See below) and has found 114 applicants qualified to bid in its FM broadcast licence Auction 70 that is scheduled to start on March 7 (See RNW Feb 24). On its agenda now is the Sirius-XM merger plan on which we have already reported.
Previous ACMA:
Previous BCI:
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence news:
Previous Ofcom:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:

CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:

2007-02-25: In more enforcement actions the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed penalties approaching a total of USD 60,000 mainly for failing to file renewal applications on time and in some cases continuing operation without a licence although the largest single penalty was for public file violations.
There were also a number of penalties for Equal Employment Opportunity Rules' violations related to which in another notice the FCC said that it has now sent out audit letters to 116 stations.
In descending order of amount the penalties included:
USD 14,000 Notice of Apparent Liability to Forfeiture (NAL) (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time and operating without a licence to:
Landmark Baptist Church, Inc., licensee of WLVF-AM & WLVF-FM, Haines City, Florida.
USD 7,500 Notice of Apparent Liability to Forfeiture (NAL) (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time to:
San Miguel Educational Fund, Inc., licensee of KOTO-FM, Telluride, and FM translator stations K207AS, Pandora; K207AT, Norwood; K288BM, Placerville; and K207AU, Ophir - all in Colorado.
USD 7,000 Notice of Apparent Liability to Forfeiture (NAL) (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time and operating without a licence to:
Faith Enterprises, Inc., licensee of
WZOO-AM, Asheboro, North Carolina.
Synewave Communications, Inc., licensee WUCR-LP, Lake Butler, Florida.
USD 1,500 NAL's (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time to:
Brigham Young University-Idaho, licensee of FM Translator Station K220GV, West Yellowstone, Montana.
Independent School District #283, licensee of KDXL-FM, St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
Jefferson County Disaster & Emergency Services., licensee of Low Power FM Station KESW-LP, Whitehall, Montana.
Chapel of the Holy Spirit Church and Bible College, licensee of WKCL-FM, Ladson, South Carolina.
Communications Systems, Inc., licensee of WFMI-FM, Southern Shores, North Carolina.
The Lake Hill Translator Group, licensee of FM Translator Station K264AG, Dillon, Colorado.
Manati Radio Corporation, licensee of WMNT-AM, Manati, Puerto Rico.
Mark Hellinger, licensee of WABV-AM, Abbeville, South Carolina.
Northwestern College, licensee of FM Translator Station K232BC, Mankato, Minnesota
North Fork Christian Radio, Inc., licensee of FM Translator Station K219AH, Paonia & Hotchkiss, Colorado.
Perry Broadcasting Systems., licensee of WBSG-AM, Lajas, Puerto Rico.
John Reynolds, licensee of FM Translator station W267AD, Bryson City, North Carolina
Tri-County Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WPFL-FM, Century, Florida.
Valley Public Radio, Inc., licensee of FM Translator Station K205AZ, Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Previous FCC:

2007-02-24: The third of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) public hearings related to media ownership rules was held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Friday with all five Commissioners speaking in the morning and restating their already-express positions in relation to media consolidation.
Chairman Kevin J Martin said the Commission has "three core goals that our rules are intended to further: competition, diversity and localism" and continued, "I recognize many of the concerns expressed about increased consolidation and preservation of diversity. Also critical to our review is exploring and understanding the competitive realities of the media marketplace. Some of our rules have not been updated for years and may no longer reflect the current marketplace."
Martin said the FCC needed to try and find opportunities for more diverse viewpoints to be heard, noting the problems of limited channel availability of broadcast channels and steps taken with the advent of low-power FM that "provides a lower cost opportunity for more new voices to get into the local radio market." He also spoke of the benefit from conversion to digital that could free spectrum that could be used to air other programming, including the ability to lease such spectrum to "small and independently-owned businesses."
Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps emphasized the importance of communications in terms of the "social and cultural and political impact of those who decide what we as citizens will see and hear and read" and asked whether local media in Pennsylvania were telling people all they needed to know about state actions and expenditures , contrasting the situation of ordinary peo0le with the lobbyists who now numbers around five per state legislator and were "really wired and plugged in and who always manage to find out what they need to know."
In contrast to this he noted that that there are now only around 500 reporters "covering statehouses in the entire country" whereas in Washington some 30 covered the FCC day-to-day.
"Don't believe anyone who tells you that big media's push for more consolidation has gone away," said Copps. "I've seen their very recent pleadings at the FCC. They're still marching along behind that same Pied Piper of Consolidation they've been following for years. They haven't gone away, and their lawyers and lobbyists haven't gone away either. They have money and they have power. So if we are going to succeed in this-and go on from there to a broader national dialogue on the future of the media in our democracy-a discussion that has been too long delayed and too long denied-it will be because of citizen action from millions of Americans and testimony at hearings like this one. "
His fellow Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein echoed Copps, saying that people should remember that the "public airwaves belong to you, the people - not the media companies that are licensed to use the airwaves for profit. Deciding who owns the media is fundamentally about our culture, our democracy, and our way of life. It is about who owns what you read, watch and hear."
Regarding Harrisburg he said, "This city and the surrounding towns on the East Shore and West Shore are full of vitality and diversity. Unfortunately, like most American cities, ownership of Harrisburg's broadcast media outlets does not reflect the communities that they are obligated to serve. Instead, local media ownership is dominated by a handful of national companies. "
Adelstein also referred to diminishing reporting of state legislatures and said, "While there is considerable debate about what level of media consolidation is in the public interest, it is beyond a doubt that the media has a direct impact on the health of our democracy. "
"Proponents of consolidation - primarily the big media companies themselves ," said Adelstein, "argue we can afford less diversity because there are so many new options out there, with the Internet, iPods, satellite radio and hundreds of channels on cable and satellite. But study after study shows that broadcast radio and television are still the dominant source of local news and information, as well as entertainment programming. The broadcast industry still produces, disseminates, and ultimately controls the news, information, and entertainment programs that most inform the discourse that is essential to our democracy."
In contrast to the two Democrats, Republican Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate made fairly bland comments about the importance of the meeting and furthering the "touchstone goals of competition, localism, and diversity" but said that this had to be in a context of being "mindful of the ongoing, dramatic changes in the ways we - especially "generation-i," those raised with the Internet - receive our news, information, and entertainment, anytime, anywhere.."
Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell spoke of needing the first-hand knowledge that only those present "can provide about how our ownership rules affect you as businesspeople and as viewers and listeners so that we can determine whether the times demand that those rules change."
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Previous Copps:
Previous FCC:
Previous Martin:
Previous McDowell:
Previous Tate:

2007-02-24: Clear Channel Communications, Inc., for whom Friday was the last day for bids on the assets including 448 radio stations that it has up for sale, has reported final quarter 2006 revenues up 11% on a year earlier to USD 1.94 billion: The figures include USD 32.4 million related to movements in foreign exchange without which the rise would have been 9%
Expenses were up 8%, including some USD 8.7 million in with the results non-cash compensation expense, USD 27.7 million related to foreign exchange movements and a USD 9.8 million reduction following "favourable settlement of a legal proceeding."
Its income before discontinued operations was up 15% to USD 210.1 million and earnings per diluted share were up 26% from 34 cents to 43 cents,
For the full year, Clear Channel revenue were up 7% to USD 7.07 billion, including a USD 17.4 million increase due to movements in foreign exchange, whilst its expenses were up 6% to USD 4.6 billion including a USD 14.6 million increase due to movements in foreign exchange, some USD 35.2 million of non-cash compensation expense, and USD 26.6 million in restructuring charges related to changes to its business in France.
Full year income before discontinued operations was up 8.7% to USD 688 million (from USD 1.16 to USD 1.37 per diluted share), a figure that included a gain of USD 35.7 million (4 cents a share) related to the sale of radio assets and swap of some outdoor assets.).
Within the figures radio broadcasting revenues were up 6% to USD 3.7 billion during the year, primarily the company said because of growth in local and national advertising. It also said there had been an increase in the proportion of adverts that were 30 second and 15 second commercials. Outdoor income was up 9% to USD 2.9 billion.
Looking ahead the company noted that because of its agreement to be taken over by private equity interests led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. it was not hosting a teleconference but that radio revenues for the first quarter are pacing up 1.8% on a year ago and are pacing down 0.5% for the full year. Expenses for its radio division are expected to be up in low single digits for the full year.
Previous Clear Channel:

2007-02-24: XM Satellite Radio has warned in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it could be fined or have its entire terrestrial repeater network closed down by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) because the repeaters as built differ from the details submitted when it was originally granted approval for the network.
The company, which relies on two geo-stationary satellites more of a problem with interference from obstacles such as high buildings than its rival Sirius whose three satellites move across the US ad are thus more directly overhead, has some 1,200 repeaters in operation mostly in high-density urban areas with others where the terrain can interfere with its signals
It says in the filing that it has "have filed for both a 30-day Special Temporary Authority (STA) and a 180-day STA" for the network and is seeking authority to continue operating the network despite the differences and has held meetings on the matter with the FCC.
However, it adds, on February 15 it "received a letter of inquiry from the FCC relating to this matter" and the proceeding could result in "the imposition of financial penalties against XM or adverse changes to our repeater network resulting from having repeaters turned off or otherwise modified in a manner that would reduce service quality in the affected areas. "
It concludes by saying, "There can be no assurance regarding the ultimate outcome of this matter, or its significance to our business, consolidated results of operations or financial position."
XM shares were down 1.6% on Friday to USD 16.10, almost the same amount of those of rival Sirius with whom it is in merger talks (See RNW Feb 20).
Previous XM:

2007-02-24: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has found 114 applicants qualified to bid in its FM broadcast licence Auction 70 that is scheduled to start on March 7.
A mock auction will be held on March 5 to allow qualified bidders to familiarize themselves with the auction system -including 20 of the 120 construction permits to be offered but will follow the rules of the actual auction for which bids may be placed by phone or over the Internet.
Previous FCC:

2007-02-23: The Sirius-XM merger plan is to be considered by a new Congressional antitrust task force next Wednesday (Feb 28) as well as reviews by regulatory authorities including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and U.S. Justice Department.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat who became chairman of the House Judiciary Committee after Democrats took control of Congress in the last election, told Reuters he is creating the bipartisan antitrust task force within the committee to focus on antitrust and competition policy issues. It will have a limited term and operate only through the end of August, he said.
Regarding the merger he commented, "Digital music is at the cutting edge of technology and innovation. We are holding this hearing to allow members to probe whether this merger will enhance or diminish competition in the digital music distribution industry."
Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republican member of the committee, added, "This hearing will help determine whether customers will get higher or lower prices and more or fewer programming options with the proposed merger. In particular, the Committee will examine whether satellite radio competes against terrestrial radio, the Internet, or other emerging technologies."
The issue of what is considered the market for satellite radio is crucial to anti-trust considerations since if the companies are considered to be operating in a satellite radio sector the monopoly it would create would be barred but it could be go through if regulators to consider that they are also competing with terrestrial radio and internet and other sources of music that can be listened to or downloaded.
Banc of America Securities analyst Jonathan Jacoby in a note to investors said that the merger could well be blocked saying it appeared that the companies placed the probability of getting approval as 55-60% whilst he believed "the probability of success is something less than 50%" and remained neutral on both companies because "the regulatory hurdles make completion of the deal far from certain."
He also noted disappointment that Sirius and XM "failed to provide specific guidance on cost and revenue synergies based on their own analysis, and instead cited a range of Wall Street estimates" and that Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin who last year at the Credit Suisse Media Conference on Dec. 6 promoted the idea of raising subscription rates but has now done an about turn, probably because approval might be hindered by the prospect of subscription increases.
Karmazin is likely to be gratified by a release by Bridge Ratings of the second phase of its study on the media habits of 15-24 year olds that "confirmed initial perceptions that young people continue to spend less time listening to the radio as a result of increased use of the internet, cell phones and MP3 players."
The study was conducted in the second half as last year and shows that a third of the age group - up a fifth from a year earlier - are listening to less radio because of time spent online although this was counterbalanced a little by a tenth saying they were listening more: 24% of those polled said they commonly listened to radio whilst online.
The study also found that young people are spending most of their total media time (23%) online, more than watching television (22%), listening to the radio (16%) and listening to their MP3 players (19%).
Regarding music downloads Bridge found that 42% of 15-24 year olds have downloaded music online in the last thirty days compared to 27% in 2005 and 18% in 2004 and that there has been a decline in purchasing music at stores - 38% in 2005 and only 29% last year.
In quantitative terms Bridge says the daily time spent listening to radio by this group has cone down from 1 hr 52 minutes in 2005 to 1 hour 45 minutes; TV viewing has gone up from 2 hours 15 minutes to 2 hours 25 minutes; time spent online has increased from 2 hours 25 minutes to two hours 35 minutes; time spend on cell phones has gone up from 1 hour 13 minutes to 1 hour 23 minutes and time spent listening to MP3s has increased most - up from on hour 45 minutes to two hours and five minutes.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
Previous Karmazin:
Previous Sirius:
Previous XM:
Reuters report:

2007-02-23: Entravision has reported final quarter 2006 revenues up 1% to USD 74.2 million and full year revenues up 4% to USD 291.8 million with pro-forma revenues up 6% and 9%: Net income for the quarter - during which the company recorded a USD 7 million loss on the sale of assets, was up from USD 3.4 million to USD 21.4 million and for the year a loss of USD 9/66 million became a loss of USD 134.6 million, including a loss of SUD 26.6 million on the sale of assets.
Entravision noted that excluding the 2006 and 2005 net revenue contributed by our radio stations in the San Francisco/San Jose, Tucson and Dallas markets that it sold in 2006 net income would have been up by USD 20.5 million rather than the USD 10.8 million recorded. Excluding the revenues for the final quarter would have meant a revenue increase of USD 4.3 million rather than of USD 1 million.
Chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa said of the performance, "Our record results for the fourth quarter and full-year demonstrate the strength of our platform, our ability to capitalize on our audience shares and the dedication of all our employees. Once again we outpaced the general market, with strength across all three of our operating divisions as we benefited from the growth of the U.S. Hispanic consumer and the desire of local and national advertisers to target this expanding market. As we enter 2007 we are focused on our core strengths and the execution of our growth strategy."
Looking ahead, he commented, " With a unique group of assets positioned in the most dynamic Hispanic growth markets in the U.S. and a sound balance sheet we remain well positioned to generate long-term value for our shareholders."
Entravision says that it expects first quarter revenues this year to increase by high single digit percentages and operating expenses to increase by mid single digit percentages.
South of the border, Mexican radio operator Grupo Radio Centro reported broadcasting revenues in the fourth quarter up 5.2% to MXN 202 million (USD 18.4 million) and broadcasting expenses down 8.4% with reported broadcasting income up 24.6% to MXN 98.8 million ( USD 8.97 million) and operating income up 30.6% to MXN 84.9 million (USD 7.7 million) .
Overall income for the quarter before extraordinary item and provisions for income tax and employee profit sharing was down 14.5% to MXN 38.8 million (UD 3.5 million) and Grupo Radio noted that in December it sold for MXN 12 million ( USD 1.1 million) sold to a company controlled by Francisco Aguirre Gomez, Chairman of the Board of Directors accounts receivable representing MXN 38.9 million ( USD 3.53 million) owed to it mainly by political parties in connection with these customers' purchases of airtime from 2003 to 2005. It said it made the sale because it believed, based on its past efforts, that the accounts receivable were not recoverable and the sale enabled it to take a tax deduction that otherwise would not have been available without bringing legal proceedings against the customers. Grupo Radio added that the price, which was paid in cash, was higher than fair market value and the transaction was ratified by the Company's audit committee this month.
For the full year, Grupo Radio reported a 29.4% increase in revenues to MXN 796 million (USD 75.3 million), mainly attributable to political advertising. Expenses were up by only 8% with the result that broadcasting income rose 70.5% to MXN 352 million ( USD 32 million) and income before extraordinary item and provisions for income tax and employee profit sharing rose 129.9% to MXN 207.3 million (USD 18.8 million). During the year the company also recorded extraordinary income of MXN 254 million (USD 23 million) due to the reversal of a contingent liability provision recorded by the Company in 2003 minus accumulated foreign exchange loss and interest recorded by the Company in 2006 related to the provision.
Overall its income before provisions for income tax and employee profit sharing was up of 411.6% to MCN 461 million (USD 41.9 million).
Previous Entravision:
Previous Grupo Radio:
Previous Ulloa:

2007-02-23: BBC2 TV "Newsnight" Political Editor and presenter Martha Kearney is to become the main presenter of BBC Radio 4's "The World at One" from April, taking up a post previously held by the late Nick Clarke who died of cancer last year (See RNW Nov 24, 2006).
Shaun Ley, who has been filling in on the programme, will continue to host it on Fridays and in addition is to be appointed as the main presenter of "The World This Weekend."
Commenting on the appointment Helen Boaden, Director of BBC News, said Kearney's "intelligence, warmth and long experience in political journalism make her a perfect successor to Nick Clarke."
Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer added, "On Newsnight she has demonstrated outstanding political knowledge and insight - and a flair for communicating those insights to the audience."
Kearney herself said for the programme was "the perfect forum for intelligent analysis and interviewing - that's largely due to the legacy of Nick Clarke whom I admired hugely. Presenting the programme will be a really exciting challenge and a genuine honour."
Her broadcasting career began in commercial radio, as a phone operator on the Brian Hayes programme and later was a reporter, presenter and lobby correspondent at LBC/IRN radio. She joined Newsnight in 1994 and became its Political Editor in 2000. She has been a presenter on Radio 4's "Woman's Hour" since 1998 and in 2004 was named along with Jenni Murray as the TRIC (Television & Radio Industries Club ) Radio Presenter of the Year.
Previous BBC:
Previous Boaden:
Previous Damazer:

2007-02-23: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has started a consultation on proposed conditions for regional commercial radio licensees that could require them to maintain existing levels of local presence in their licence areas after a "trigger event" - such as when a licence is to be transferred or control of a station to change.
The proposed condition is part of the new obligations upon regional commercial radio licensees introduced by the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Act 2006 and defines existing level of local presence in terms of the staffing levels and production facilities that existed in the licence area in the three-month period before a "trigger event".
The proposed condition requires all regional commercial radio licensees to keep records of their existing levels of local presence on an ongoing basis, with reporting obligations for licenses affected by such an event. ACMA is sending the proposed condition to all regional commercial radio licensees and inviting comments on the proposed condition from any interested party.
Previous ACMA:

2007-02-22: Arbitron has announced that Cox Radio, which was the only broadcaster that had held out against encoding in Houston, has now agreed to encode the signals of its four stations in the market for Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system.
There is still no agreement with Cox to subscribe to PPM ratings and Cox Radio president and CEO Robert F Neil noting this added, "MRC accreditation convinced us that the research issues had been thoroughly vetted. While we still have questions about whether PPM is the right measurement tool, we feel that MRC accreditation gives us the confidence to encode our stations in Houston. We will then be able to evaluate the data further, and make our decisions about whether we will be a subscriber."
Arbitron says it is currently talking with its customers - broadcasters, agencies and advertisers - about the most appropriate schedule for commercializing the electronic radio ratings service in Houston. It has already said that the PPM is to be the sole source for Arbitron ratings in the market later this year and so far has agreed contracts for a PPM service in Houston with broadcasts who account for around a quarter of the market's revenues.
Cox along with Clear Channel, Cumulus, Entercom and Radio One is involved in funding a test of the rival Media Audit/Ipsos' smart cell-phone-based system in the market later this year (See RNW Feb 10) and Neil said it felt there were advantages in this system and the only way to evaluate the competitors properly was to conduct some "real-world" tests. He added that the US radio industry had already funded Arbitron's PPM testing through increased charges from Arbitron.
Previous Arbitron:
Previous Cox Radio:
Previous Media Audit/Ipsos:
Previous Neil:

2007-02-22: The first Australian ratings of the year have seen Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB strengthening its dominance of the Sydney market with Southern Cross Broadcasting's commercial talk rival 2UE falling and ABC 702 holding its own in Australia's largest market.
2GB benefited from a sterling performance from Alan Jones who took his breakfast share up from 14.0 to 16.2, well ahead of ABC 702 which increased its share from 11.8 to 12.3 whilst 2UE in fourth rank dropped from 9.4 to 7.5.
In the commercial FM stakes, the Kyle and Jackie O show on Austereo's 2DAY held on to its lead although share was down from 12.6 to 9.9. Also down were WSFM's breakfast hosts Amanda Keller and Brendan "Jonesy" Jones with share down from 9.5 to 7.0 in fifth place and DMG's Nova where comic duo Merrick Watts and Tim "Rosso" Ross were down from 7.8 to 6.6. At the very bottom of the rankings, DMG's vega took its share up from 2.0 to 2.2 at breakfast and overall is now fourth from bottom with 3.0, up from 2.8. Its sister station in Melbourne also took its share up from 2.8 to 3.0 and is now sixth from bottom.
In the morning slot 2GB again dominated with share up from 13.5 to 13.7 whilst for 2UE John Laws in eighth rank lost share from 7.7 to 6.3.
Commenting on Austereo's performance the company singled out the performances of 2DAY in Sydney and FOX in Melbourne and chief executive Michael Anderson described the results as a strong start to the year for Australia's leading hit music network.
"We're very happy with the performance of both our Today and Triple M networks," he said.
"However it was a very short survey period of just four weeks and we're not getting carried
Austereo chairman Peter Harvie commented, "This is a solid start to the year and I am looking forward to our new programming initiatives bedding in during the next few months."
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: Mix 18.0 (17.0) - Same rank; 5AA 13.9 (14.9) - Same rank; SAFM 12.0 (12.5) - same rank.
Nova with 11.2 (11.8) dropped from fourth to fifth, behind ABC 891 with 11.3 (10.4).
*Brisbane - Nova with 13.6 (14.4) - Same rank; Triple M with 12.4(13.0) - same rank; 97.3 FM with 10.3 (10.1) -up from fourth rank.
*ABC 612 with 9.2 (11.8) fell to fourth from third.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 17.1 (14.4) - same rank; ABC 774 with 12.2 (9.6) up from fourth; Fox FM with 10.3 (12.7) - down from second;
*Gold with 8.6(9.7) fell from third to fifth, behind Nova which rose from fifth to fourth with 9.7 (8.7)
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 18.8 (17.5) - same rank; ABC 720 with 12.4 (10.6) - up from fourth; 6PR with 11.5 (9.1) - up from sixth.
*96FM with 10.1 (12.6) - fell from second to sixth and Nova with 10.3 (11.3) fell from third to fifth, behind 92.9 which rose from fifth to fourth with 10.8 (10.5).
*Sydney: 2GB 11.9 (11.5) - same rank; 2-DAY with 10.4 (10.6) - same rank; ABC 702 with 9.9 (9.9) - same rank.
*2UE with 6.5 (8.3) fell two ranks rank to seventh behind WSFM which remained fourth with 8.3 (8.4); Nova, which was up a rank to fifth with 7.0 (8.2) and 1170-2CH in sixth with 6.8 (5.3).
Triple-M was down a rank to eighth with 6.4 (6.94) Previous ABC:
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Anderson:
Previous Austereo:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous DMG:
Previous Harvie:
Previous Jones:
Previous Laws:
Previous Macquarie Network:
Previous Southern Cross:

2007-02-22: The UK Guardian, which is owned by the same parent, reports that Guardian Media Group Radio has poached Graham Dene, currently hosting drivetime on Emap's Magic FM to take over from David Prever as breakfast host on its London Smooth FM which is to be re-launched next month with a new music policy featuring more easy listening and less soul music as part of a nationwide revamp of GMG Radio's Saga and Smooth networks.
Prever, whose contract runs out next month, will leave GMG and the paper notes that over the past year his show lost a third of its listeners, falling from 301,000 in the final quarter of 2005 to 200,000 in the final quarter of last year.
The paper quoted Smooth's programme controller Gavin McCoyas saying  Dene was a "heritage presenter who's in tune with what Londoners in this market want to hear" whilst Dene said he could not reject a "great opportunity to rekindle my relationship with London's breakfast audience".
Dene's current contract with Emap runs until autumn and he is trying to negotiate an earlier leaving date.
The paper has also reported that GCap's Capital Radio is negotiating with former Emap Kiss FM breakfast host Bam Bam (Real name Peter Poulton) for him to front a show on the station, which has fallen from its long-time top rank in London to third place behind Chrysalis's Heart FM and Emap's Magic with Kiss pushing hard for third place.
Poulton left Kiss in April last year after seven years hosting its breakfast show (See RNW Apr 29, 2006) and the station was subsequently fined a record GBP 175,000 (then USD 323,000) for comments made by Poulton - GBP 75,000 (then USD 138,000) of it relating to an upheld fairness and privacy complaint over a wind-up call and GBP 100,000 (then (USD 184,000) for eight breaches of standards codes (See RNW Jun 21, 2006). Poulton subsequently launched a daily podcast, using the record fine against him as a promotional tool (See RNW Sep 7, 2006).
At the BBC, BBC Radio 1 DJ Nihal Arthanayake who currently presents "Kicking Off With Nihal" on Saturdays during the soccer season on the corporation's Asian Network and simulcasts his Radio 1 show with Bobby Friction on Tuesday evenings is to take over the Asian Network's 09:00 to noon weekday morning phone-in, succeeding Anita Rani.
He moves into his new role on May 8 and Rani will become the regular voice on the Asian Network's documentary strand "The Asian Network Report" that is broadcast on Monday evenings.
Previous BBC:
Previous Emap:
Previous GCap:
Previous Guardian Media Group:
Previous Poulton (Bam Bam):
UK Guardian report re Dene:
UK Guardian report re Poulton:

2007-02-22: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has moved three of the five applications it received for a new youth service in the Midlands/North East to the second phase of its licensing process that involves a public hearing in Tullamore, Co. Offaly on April 16.
Those through are i Radio North East & Midlands Limited's bid with i 107 FM; Red FM Midlands/North East Limited's Red FM bid; and Spin North East Limited with Spin FM. The BCI says it expects that a decision on the award of the licence will be taken at the May meeting of its board.
Previous BCI:

2007-02-21: Sirius and XM executives have told a news conference on their proposed USD 13 billion merger that they would not have spent time and money on the deal if they had not felt they could get it approved by regulators.
During a joint conference call with Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin, who would become CEO of a merged company, XM chairman Gary Parsons who will retain the same role, said "We would not have entered into this transaction, going to the expense and effort to do it if we were not confident that this was in the public interest. We believe this is the right thing to do not only for stock holders but for consumers."
He was backed up by Karmazin who said he "would not have gone to our board nor would they have approved it if they didn't believe the chances were greater than 50/50. We're not speaking for the regulators, we know they have a job to do. We're going to cooperate with them, but it is our belief that it would be greater than 50/50."
Karmazin derided comments likening the merger to that proposed by Dish and Direct TV that was rejected - a decision noted by the US National Association of Broadcasters in their opposition to the deal (See RNW Feb 20), saying that in the case of TV 90% of the population were not getting it by satellite and for pay services people were getting their service from cable or satellite whereas in the case of radio "over 90% are getting their radio over the air and for free, and that will be a restraint on satellite radio's ability to raise prices, and we're confident that the justice department will see that when they look at our competitors."
He also criticized NAB over their comments about a monopoly remarking that they had been arguing that satellite competed with terrestrial broadcasts but were now saying that it would be a monopoly if the companies combined (RNW Comment: Why is it that we get the feeling that Karmazin, who said he was already talking to politicians about why the merger was in a great one for consumers, would attempt to sell urine as a health drink if he thought he could get a profit from it?)
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules currently prohibit the merger and the comments came against a background of a statement from FCC chairman Kevin J Martin saying that the commission will "will evaluate any transaction filed to make a determination whether or not approval would be in the public interest" and then adding, "The hurdle here, however, would be high as the Commission originally prohibited one company from holding the only two satellite radio licenses. The companies would need to demonstrate that consumers would clearly be better off with both more choice and affordable prices."
Scrutiny was also promised by Congress and Massachusetts Democrat Representative Edward J. Markey, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, said in a statement, "This is a merger proposal that merits the utmost scrutiny by Federal policymakers and regulators. I intend to review the proposed merger of XM and Sirius as to its effect on consumers of pay radio, as well as how this proposal impacts broader policy goals of ensuring diversity, localism, and innovation in radio service generally. In light of the dramatic consolidation of radio ownership in the U.S. terrestrial radio marketplace in the wake of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, I believe that the merger of the only two satellite radio companies must be assessed with an eye toward ensuring that it does not have a similar, deleterious effect on diversity on the dial and localism in radio coverage and reporting."
The deal is also being opposed by the Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio ("C3SR"), a group terming themselves "concerned Sirius and XM subscribers" which said in a news release that the merger would "leave subscribers paying more for less" and added, "Unconstrained by competition, a monopoly provider will have full discretion over pricing and programming, leaving no room or incentive for customer preferences."
The markets reflected the fears that regulators could stop the merger or impose stringent conditions that would reduce its profitability and XM shares, which ranged up to US D16.36 from an opening price of USD 1.477 on Tuesday, ended the day at USD 15.41, up 10.2% but still valuing its stock at less than is being offered by Sirius. Sirius stock was up 5.95% on Tuesday at USD 3.92 having ranged from USD 3.86 to USD 4.06.
In Canada, where the two companies have alliances, comments from Sirius Canada and Canadian Satellite Radio were positive but a little cautious. Sirius Canada President and CEO Mark Redmond said its customers would "continue to receive the best news, talk, sports, entertainment and commercial-free music programming available" and added that its board and senior leadership team "is working closely with Sirius Satellite Radio in the U.S., CBC and Standard Radio Inc. here in Canada to ensure the Canadian operation continues to deliver the best entertainment available."
Canadian Satellite Radio chairman John I. Bitove described the plan as being "great news for the satellite radio industry in North America [that] could offer further benefits to consumers, retailers, partners and shareholders" and continued, "As Sirius and XM seek U.S. government approval, we will diligently review the possible alternatives available to Canadian Satellite Radio to benefit our customers and shareholders."
Reporting on the planned merger the Toronto Star said the future of their affiliated operations remains unclear until the future of the US companies is determined.
It noted that shares in Canadian Satellite Radio, operator of XM Canada, soared 27 per cent, or CAD 1.80 to CAD 8.44 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the U.S. announcement and quoted Darren Meister, professor of information systems at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, as saying there would be pressure on the Canadian companies to merge if the US merger goes through.
He added, "Satellite radio is an emerging technology, and thus a potentially narrower market for now. This is positive for the adoption of technology of satellite radio. Something like this will help the market expand," and commented of programming for subscribers to the current two services "They may remain separate operating entities while maintaining shared service, but if the companies have their way, they would operate as a co-branded company."
In technology terms, Sirius and XM adopted a different approach. Sirius went for three satellites that orbit over North America in a figure-eight with the benefit that its signal is less likely to be blocked by obstacles than that of XM, which has two geo-stationary satellites in a low orbit.
The Sirius signal, however has a disadvantage in that antennas, particularly for stationary ones used for domestic reception, may have to be moved to continue to receive the signal although in cities and high-density areas both companies supplement the satellite signal with terrestrial repeaters. Suggestions in some quarters are that one approach to enable savings through using a single common satellite system could ultimately be to rely on the repeaters.
Although initial responses that we noted, apart from those with who would gain financially from the deal, tended to be against it, there were some comments in support. The latter included a Los Angeles Times editorial that said the FCC should not stop the merger because the combined company would only be "one of many in the audio entertainment business." [RNW comment: A logic that if extended to the ultimate would allow a single automobile company in the US on the basis that it would only be one of many companies in the transport manufacturing business.]
It described Martin's statement that would require that listeners get "both more choice and affordable prices" as "inconsistent with the approach the FCC has taken on media consolidation in general."
"The goal," commented the Times, "should be to promote choice not in the niche occupied by XM and Sirius, but in the general market of audio entertainment. As Martin and other Republicans on the FCC have often noted, technology is enabling consumers to get radio programming and on-demand audio services in a variety of new ways. That makes the overall market hotly competitive, particularly among national players."
The paper then went on to say that both Sirius and XM were "bleeding money" and cited recent financial statements showing that Sirius spent nearly twice as much "to operate and promote its service as it collected from subscribers and advertisers" and XM a quarter more [RNW comment: What about recent statements from both companies claiming positive cash flow - See RNW Jan 6 and Jan 3?].
The Times ended by commenting, "Anticipating resistance from the FCC, the companies said they would let people subscribe to channels on a more à la carte basis -- a favourite cause of Martin's, at least where cable and satellite TV are concerned -- and broaden their programming. They also said the combination would lead to less expensive receivers and more advanced services, such as delivering improved traffic and weather reports. The FCC should look at these concessions, declare victory and approve the merger."
Another summary of the situation, from Mark Ramsey of Hear 2.0 forecast that the deal would go through although "The NAB will do its best to block the process because consolidation is only a good thing when it's your own members who want to consolidate."
Ramsey then forecast that the deal would take many months during which time the two companies would have problems persuading people to subscribe; that after the merger subscription rates would increase by at least USD 3 per month, justified on the basis of consolidated content; that without a choice for subscribers there would be less churn; and that as current deals expire the combined company would drop many of their expensive deals in favour of cheaper content but retain premium deals that have been shown to generate subscription and that "Oodles of people from both services will be let go. " [RNW comment: No worries for Stern and Oprah Winfrey and some of the big sports who don't really need the money but hard lines on many who do!]. Ramsey also concluded that the merger will mean that HD will be even harder to sell, commenting, "Which do you want, the new radio with the nationally known premium brands, clearly communicated, and found everywhere? Or the new radio that presumably gets a few new stations?"
In Canada, where the two companies have alliances, comments from Sirius Canada and Canadian Satellite Radio, the XM Canada operator, were positive but a little cautious. Sirius Canada President and CEO Mark Redmond said its customers would "continue to receive the best news, talk, sports, entertainment and commercial-free music programming available" and added that its board and senior leadership team "is working closely with Sirius Satellite Radio in the U.S., CBC and Standard Radio Inc. here in Canada to ensure the Canadian operation continues to deliver the best entertainment available."
Canadian Satellite Radio chairman John I. Bitove described the plan as being "great news for the satellite radio industry in North America [that] could offer further benefits to consumers, retailers, partners and shareholders" and continued, "As Sirius and XM seek U.S. government approval, we will diligently review the possible alternatives available to Canadian Satellite Radio to benefit our customers and shareholders."
Reporting on the planned merger the Toronto Star said the future of their affiliated operations remains unclear until the future of the US companies is determined.
It noted that shares in Canadian Satellite Radio, operator of XM Canada, soared 27 per cent, or CAD 1.80 to CAD 8.44 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the U.S. announcement and quoted Darren Meister, professor of information systems at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, as saying there would be pressure on the Canadian companies to merge if the US merger goes through.
He added, "Satellite radio is an emerging technology, and thus a potentially narrower market for now. This is positive for the adoption of technology of satellite radio. Something like this will help the market expand," and commented of programming for subscribers to the current two services "They may remain separate operating entities while maintaining shared service, but if the companies have their way, they would operate as a co-branded company."
In technology terms, Sirius and XM adopted a different approach. Sirius went for three satellites that orbit over North America in a figure-eight with the benefit that its signal is less likely to be blocked by obstacles than that of XM, which has two geo-stationary satellites in a low orbit.
The Sirius signal, however has a disadvantage in that antennas, particularly for stationary ones used for domestic reception, may have to be moved to continue to receive the signal although in cities and high-density areas both companies supplement the satellite signal with terrestrial repeaters. There have been suggestions that ultimately the companies could switch to a common single satellite platform relaying on repeaters to fill in black spots.
Although initial responses that we noted, apart from those with who would gain financially from the deal, tended to be against it, there were some comments in support. The latter included a Los Angeles Times editorial that said the FCC should not stop the merger because the combined company would only be "one of many in the audio entertainment business." [RNW comment: A logic that if extended to the ultimate would allow a single automobile company in the US on the basis that it would only be one of many companies in the transport manufacturing business.]
It described Martin's statement that would require that listeners get "both more choice and affordable prices" as "inconsistent with the approach the FCC has taken on media consolidation in general."
"The goal," commented the Times, "should be to promote choice not in the niche occupied by XM and Sirius, but in the general market of audio entertainment. As Martin and other Republicans on the FCC have often noted, technology is enabling consumers to get radio programming and on-demand audio services in a variety of new ways. That makes the overall market hotly competitive, particularly among national players."
The paper then went on to say that both Sirius and XM were "bleeding money" and cited recent financial statements showing that Sirius spent nearly twice as much "to operate and promote its service as it collected from subscribers and advertisers" and XM a quarter more [RNW comment: What about recent statements from both companies claiming positive cash flow - See RNW Jan 6 and Jan 3?].
The Times ended by commenting, "Anticipating resistance from the FCC, the companies said they would let people subscribe to channels on a more à la carte basis -- a favourite cause of Martin's, at least where cable and satellite TV are concerned -- and broaden their programming. They also said the combination would lead to less expensive receivers and more advanced services, such as delivering improved traffic and weather reports. The FCC should look at these concessions, declare victory and approve the merger."
Another summary of the situation, from Mark Ramsey of Hear 2.0 forecast that the deal would go through although "The NAB will do its best to block the process because consolidation is only a good thing when it's your own members who want to consolidate."
Ramsey then forecast that the deal would take many months during which time the two companies would have problems persuading people to subscribe; that after the merger subscription rates would increase by at least USD 3 per month, justified on the basis of consolidated content; that without a choice for subscribers there would be less churn; and that as current deals expire the combined company would drop many of their expensive deals in favour of cheaper content but retain premium deals that have been shown to generate subscription and that "Oodles of people from both services will be let go. " [RNW comment: No worries for Stern and Oprah Winfrey and some of the big sports who don't really need the money but hard lines on many who do!].
Ramsey also concluded that the merger will mean that HD will be even harder to sell, commenting, "Which do you want, the new radio with the nationally known premium brands, clearly communicated, and found everywhere? Or the new radio that presumably gets a few new stations?"
Previous Bitove:

Previous FCC:
Previous Karmazin:
Previous Martin:
Previous Parsons:
Previous Redmond:
Previous Sirius:
Previous Sirius Canada:
Previous XM:
Previous XM Canada/Canadian Satellite Radio:
C3SR web site:
Hear 2.0 - Ramsey comment:
Los Angeles Times Editorial:
Toronto Star report:

2007-02-21: UK media regulator Ofcom, publishing its reasons behind the award of the new Manchester FM licence against opposition from ten other bids to Guardian Media Group's RockTalk bid (See RNW Feb 9)- which will offer talk during the day and rock in the evenings - has described the station's business plan as "ambitious but justifiable" given the resources of its parent and says the format itself constitutes a "workable and coherent programming proposition that the applicant's research showed would be likely to represent an attractive offering to its core target audience of 35-64 year-old males."
It added that the radio licensing committee also felt that "this format would extend choice in the Manchester local commercial radio market in two ways; firstly, through airing 'older' rock genres (in particular classic rock) that applicant monitoring demonstrated are generally under-represented in the Manchester market; and secondly by providing a comprehensive Manchester-focused news service and, at peak times, significantly more speech content - including current affairs, sports news and interactive debate - than is currently broadcast by (or required of) existing local commercial radio available in Manchester during these key listening dayparts."
"RockTalk's main quantitative research survey," it said, "indicated that there were clear gaps for both classic rock and news/talk formats, with classic rock the most popular music genre it tested that is not already present in the market. The research findings suggested that a 'hybrid' station incorporating key elements of both formats would be likely to enjoy very similar levels of popularity among target 35-64 year-olds to a either a solus news/talk proposition or a music-intensive classic rock service. The research also demonstrated that speech content would be preferred during daytime hours rather than off-peak."
Ofcom has also published its reasons for the award of the Herefordshire and Monmouthshire FM to Herefordshire and Monmouthshire Classic Hits Limited. In this case it noted the benefit to the bid from "co-ownership with closely neighbouring services Sunshine 855 and Classic Hits, and the opportunity to share their resources, offered a convincing business case in a market which is comparatively small and likely to be a challenging one in which to provide a commercial radio service.
Previous Ofcom:

2007-02-21: Australian media company APN News and Media, which has recommended acceptance of a bid by Independent News & Media and two private equity groups for the company - already 41% owned by Independent - has reported a 7% increase in full-year profit to the end of 2006 at AUD 159.5 million (USD 125.4 million) on underlying revenues up 2% adjusted for local currency to AUD 1,267 billion (USD 997 million) although reported revenues were down 3% to AUD 1.302 billion (USD 1.02 billion). Earnings before tax and interest (EBIT) were up 1% to AUD 313.5 million (USD 246.4 million).
APN said "difficult trading conditions" in New Zealand had impacted its results there - New Zealand publishing earnings fell around 7% but this was offset by a 7% improvement in its Australian regional operations, driven by the Queensland economy.
APN said its radio results were "solid" in what it termed "challenging markets": Radio EBIT was up 1% to AUD 82.9 million (USD 65.2 million) whilst publishing was flat - EBIT was down marginally from AUD 215.9 million to AUD 215.6 million (From USD 169.7 million to USD 169.5 million) - but outdoor grew strongly with EBIT up 41% to AUD 32.9 million (USD 25.9 million).
Australian radio revenues were down 3% to AUD 143.2 million (USD 112.6 million) but radio EBIT was up 6% to AUD 55.1 million (USD 43.3 million) whilst New Zealand radio revenues were up 4% to AUD 130.3 million (USD 102.4 million) but radio EBIT was down 1% to AUD 32.2 million (USD 25.3 million).
Looking ahead the company says it is not appropriate to comment in view of the takeover offer but did not that year-to-date "trading is in line with expectations and with the prior year."
During the year APN spent AUD 140 million (USD 110 million) on buying back 27.8 million shares, taking to AUD 275 million (USD 216 million) the total spent before it suspended the buyback following the consortium's offer of AUS 6.10 per share.
APN's chief executive Brendan Hopkins would not comment on the offer, but Ted Harris, the chairman of an independent sub-committee of the Board that considered the offer, said it remained in shareholders' best interests. APN shares fell early on Wednesday and were trading at AUD 5.98.
Previous APN:

2007-02-20:: Sirius and XM Satellite radio have announced what they term a "USD 13 billion merger of equals" under which the two companies would combine into one entity with Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin to become CEO and XM chairman Gary Parsons to become chairman of the combined company.
Under the terms of the deal, which will have to get regulatory and anti-trust clearance, XM shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 4.6 shares of Sirius common stock for each share of XM they own, resulting in a more-or-less equal share in the new company for Sirius and XM stockholders.
The new company would have a board of 12 directors made up of Karmazin and Parsons, eight independent directors - four designated by each company, and a representative from General Motors and another from American Honda, both of whom will be major shareholders. Until the merger closes XM CEO Hugh Panero will continue in his current role and the two companies will continue to operate independently whilst working to agree a new combined corporate name and HQ location.
The deal on the surface is extremely good for XM, which was capitalized at around USD 3.75 billion when the markets, which were closed Monday for Presidents' Day, closed on Friday whilst Sirius was capitalized at around USD 5.2 billion.
The two companies said in a news release that their combined operation would create a "nationwide audio entertainment provider with combined 2006 revenues of approximately USD1.5 billion based on analysts' consensus estimates" and add that together they will "will create a stronger platform for future innovation within the audio entertainment industry and will provide significant benefits to all constituencies."
The benefits they claim will include "Greater Programming and Content Choices" including allowing consumers "the ability to pick and choose the channels and content they want on a more À la carte basis." The statement adds that together they will be "able to improve on products such as real-time traffic and rear-seat video and introduce new ones such as advanced data services including enhanced traffic, weather and infotainment offerings."
The two companies say that they will also be able to "develop and introduce a wider range of lower cost, easy-to-use, and multi-functional devices through efficiencies in chip set and radio design and procurement", innovation they say is essential to " remaining competitive in the consumer electronics-driven world of audio entertainment."
They also say the combined company will offer automakers and retailers the opportunity to provide "broader content "offerings, make for a "More Competitive Audio Entertainment Provider" and offer "enhanced financial performance." Regarding the latter they say Wall Street equity analysts have published estimates of the present value of cost synergies ranging from USD 3 billion to USD 7 billion.
In a joint statement, Karmazin and Panero said they were "excited for the many opportunities that an XM and Sirius combination will provide consumers" and added "The combined company will be better positioned to compete effectively with the continually expanding array of entertainment alternatives that consumers have embraced since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) first granted our satellite radio licenses a decade ago."
Karmazin said the combination was "the next logical step in the evolution of audio entertainment."
The two companies are to hold a news conference about their plans, which require approval of shareholders of both companies as well as regulatory review and approval, at 08:30 ET (13:30 GMT) tomorrow.
The merger was immediately and strongly opposed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) whose executive vice-president Dennis Wharton said in a statement, "Given the government's history of opposing monopolies in all forms, NAB would be shocked if federal regulators permitted a merger of XM and Sirius."
Wharton noted the previous refusal to allow the two US satellite TV companies DirecTV and DISH Network to merge and added, "When the FCC authorized satellite radio, it specifically found that the public would be served best by two competitive nationwide systems. Now, with their stock prices at rock bottom and their business model in disarray because of profligate spending practices, they seek a government bail-out to avoid competing in the marketplace. "
Then, departing from objections on the basis of monopoly and going for comment in terms of programming {RNW comment; And in our view making the usual cheap shot that demeans the organization regularly] Wharton added, "In coming weeks, policymakers will have to weigh whether an industry that makes Howard Stern its poster child should be rewarded with a monopoly platform for offensive programming. We're hopeful that this anti-consumer proposal will be rejected."
RNW comment: Stripping away the PR guff - some of it probably in ordinary language as close to lies as makes no difference - about the benefit to consumers, the benefits of this plan seem to us very heavily weighted towards the shareholders (and executives - Karmazin will do very nicely, thank you!) and almost certainly skewed against listeners.
Our hope, albeit we don't expect it to happen, is that the FCC will say "No!" and then insist on the companies providing common technology and the "À la carte basis" promised as a condition of retaining their licences but allow the two to move to a common satellite platform. It should also, in our view, insist that if they take such a move all receivers sold so far have to be replaced, including fitting, with a receiver capable of handling the new signal at the companies' cost - in our view it should have insisted on receivers capable of receiving both services from the outset as part of a commitment to free market competition.
In essence we just don't believe the commitment to greater choice but have full faith in the intent to gouge as much profit as possible out of subscribers once a monopoly is in place.
If a merger is to be allowed at all, our view is that the concern of the regulator and anti-trust authorities should be solely directed towards the interests of listeners. We see no problem with the companies sharing a common satellite and technological platform - and cannot see that they would have found this resisted had they proposed to set up a joint company to supply the broadcast services part of their operation already.
In fact the only part of their operations that in our view needed to be competitive for the benefit of listeners was the provision of programming and we see no compelling argument that a merger of programming was necessary to produce this.
If the FCC cannot bring itself to stop the deal, our view is that it should impose strict conditions - with massive mandatory fines (In tens of millions per month at least) whilst a breach continues - including requirements for a minimum number of channels for the new service equal to the combined number now provided; very strict limits on advertising - something on which for once we suspect we and the National Association of Broadcasters will agree upon; and free replacement and fitting of replacement receivers as needed for all former customers of the two companies.

Previous Karmazin:
Previous NAB:
Previous Panero:
Previous Parsons:
Previous Sirius:
Previous XM:

2007-02-20: BBC Radio 2 has announced that Jeff Smith, currently Director of UK and International programming at Napster, is to succeed Colin Martin, who in December last year announced his retirement, as its Head of Music (See RNW Columnists Dec 11, 2006).
Smith, who was BBC Radio 1 Head of Music Policy from 1997 to 2000, has nearly two decades of programming experience in UK radio including stints on BBC Radio 1 and World Service, Capital Radio and as an independent with Wise Buddah where he was Director of Programmes. He joined Napster in 2004 and was responsible for sourcing all content and commissioning new programming initiatives and streamcasts for the company.
While with Radio 1 he established its Evening Session programme and was involved in bringing to the station current Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles, Jo Whiley, Trevor Nelson, Stuart Maconie and Steve Lamacq. He takes up his new role on March 26.
Commenting on his appointment, he said, "It's tremendously exciting for me to be joining BBC Radio 2 and help shape the music policy of the most popular radio station in the UK. Technology is transforming our industry, and I look forward to working with the music industry and my colleagues at Radio 2 to engage our listeners in the very best music in innovative new ways."
Lesley Douglas, Controller, Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music said she was "delighted" Smith had decided to rejoin the BBC and added "Colin Martin is a very hard act to follow but I have no doubt that Jeff's love of music, industry experience and recent role at Napster puts him a unique position to move Radio 2 forward. It is crucial that we remain distinct in the market place and I believe that Jeff is the person to embrace the full breadth of music on the network."
Previous BBC:
Previous Douglas:

2007-02-20: UK commercial radio industry body The RadioCentre has announced that former Ofcom chief policy partner Kip Meek is to join its board as a non-executive director.
Ofcom announced last year that Meek was to leave (See RNW Nov 3, 2006) and there was speculation that he had opted to move after failing to succeed Stephen Carter as Ofcom chief executive, a post that went to the organization's COO Ed Richards.
RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison said he was "absolutely delighted that Kip has agreed to join us here at RadioCentre" and added, "Through his work at Ofcom, he has done an enormous amount of work with the radio sector and his knowledge will be invaluable to us."
Meek said he was looking forward to the move and added, "It is an exciting time for Commercial Radio and I hope my experience will be of benefit to Andrew and his team to help shape an exciting future for Commercial Radio in the digital age."
Earlier this month the RadioCentre had announced the appointment of Martina King as chairman of the Radio Advertising Bureau.
Previous Harrison:
Previous Meek:
Previous RadioCentre:

2007-02-19: This week we start our look at print comment on the media with the inherent theme of obligations that some feel should be inherent when broadcasters are licensing public airwaves, a point raised in different contexts in two articles we noted from US publications.
In many countries, of course, licences are won on the basis of details of a "beauty contest" bid rather than through an auction to the highest bidder and the format of a station is part of the licence conditions.
In Australia the auction system has now been introduced so the public purse benefits for new licences as in the US but for existing licence owners the companies have arguably benefited far more from the system then the public in various areas.
One of those in the US is classical music, the topic behind Randy Dotinga's radio column in the North County Times. He notes the demise of classical in San Diego County "unless you count the Mexico-based XLNC1" and implicitly assumes that there will be no resurrection of classical on KFSD-AM, which has switched to a pop music format, although he notes "it's always possible that KFSD-AM will switch back to classical in response to a public outcry."
Dotinga then goes on to suggest other options - XLNC1 -"the top 400 hits of the last 400 years" -over the air for those who can receive it or online for others; KPBS-FM, which airs classical from 19:00 to midnight; KUSC-FM - again for those who can pick it up; HD radio since KPBS-FM plans to offer a 24-hour classical service on a sub-channel; or space - cyber or satellite.
Those options provide a cue for a slight diversion to a report from Richard Siklos in the New York Times under the heading, "Is Radio Still Radio if There's Video?" The theme is that "The nation's commercial radio stations have seen the future, and it is in, of all things, video."
"Across the country," comments Siklos, "radio stations are putting up video fare on their Web sites, ranging from a simple camera in the broadcast booth to exclusive coverage of events like the Super Bowl to music videos, news clips and Web-only musical performances."
He quotes CBS Radio CEO Joel Hollander as saying of the move, "A lot of our stations are starting to embrace video and generate new revenue streams...I hope video helps the radio star. Maybe radio will save the video star?"
Siklos goes on the speculate that video "could represent a much-needed new source of growth in a rapidly expanding online video market that everyone from Google to newspapers to broadcast television wants to be in" and continues, "Radio executives and personalities say their video efforts will be different because they capitalize on radio's traditional strength in using on-air personalities and local events to draw in listeners."
RNW comment: As advertisers obviously rate younger people as more gullible (not the way they put it of course) and many young people seem determined to prove them correct, it may well be that Siklos has a point, albeit the strength of radio to us lies in its intimacy with an audience that has to put something of itself into listening in a way it does not have to with video. We remain sceptical about the extent of the boost that video can give radio and see it only as a supplement not a replacement. On safety grounds we would certainly come down very hard to prevent people being able to view video whilst driving - thus ruling out a very large part of the audience - and would tend to have the same fears about implicit danger for youngsters - who're careless enough about their surroundings whilst listening to audio never mind trying to concentrate on video on a mobile. We wouldn't even attempt to ban such services but maybe there should be an automatic ruling of "nearly brain dead" already attached to anyone who has an accident as a result of paying attention to tat rather than traffic.
Diversion ended, back to the issue of how far the public should have a say in terms of the use of public airwaves, a topic raised in the context of country music stations banning the Dixie Chicks by Edward Morris writing in The Tennessean.
Morris takes up head on comments of critics who suggested that "Grammy members voted the Chicks their five awards for political rather than musical reasons" and responds with the question of whether "even if it is true, is that any different morally from country radio stations refusing to play the Chicks' records for political motives instead of musical ones?"
People he says had every right, if offended by Natalie Maines comments about President Bush, to "refuse to buy the group's albums and concert tickets and to switch off the radio when one of their songs came on."
He goes on to say that country stations "were wrong to ban the Chicks' music, and regulations should be imposed to ensure that nothing like this happens again" commenting, "It is eminently reasonable for a station to decline to play a record if it doesn't "test" well with listeners; but it is outrageous to blacklist a performer's entire catalogue simply because it doesn't like his or her politics."
He then noted in the context of the airwaves belonging to the public and thus obliging broadcasters to bear in mind the public interest, "The federal government would never tolerate a corporation denying certain citizens access to a river because of their views. So why should it give radio stations power to rid the airwaves of certain voices? Where's the public gain in that?"
…"The sad fact is that country radio too often and too easily panders to the simple-minded, to people more prone to act on impulse than deliberation, who abhor making careful distinctions and who spurn the concept that evidence should precede conclusion. Instead of calming destructive passions in the Chicks case, country radio, for the most part, inflamed them - a good tactic for ratings, no doubt, but a terrible abuse of power."
Morris ends by agreeing with Maines' comments, something we found rather a pity since in our view it is irrelevant to the argument about banning a group - as opposed to not playing some of their recordings - what view he does or does not hold about the remarks themselves. Stalinist responses should in our view be subject to criticism whether they come from right or left-wing authoritarians and bigots.
Next still in the area of public service, comment from Tim Luckhurst, a member of the team that launched BBC Radio Five Live, about the nature of changes at the station with a change in emphasis away from news. Writing in the UK Independent under the heading "Five Live - It's Radio Bloke from the BBC", Luckhurst quotes an unnamed "insider" as saying "It is no longer a news station. Managers define it as 'sport and talk'" and an unnamed producer as saying, "I can list correspondents who have not appeared on Five Live for a year. It is not on their radar. Many programmes have abandoned serious news" and yet another "unnamed" journalist as saying the station has "repositioned itself as entertainment."
Luckhurst says the changes have not been a ratings disaster and continues, "as a member of the launch team that designed Five Live's programmes, appointed its presenters and recruited its journalists, I am alarmed by its strategic direction. The programming that made it intelligent is being abandoned in favour of relentless live broadcasting. Much of what is now categorized as news is really gossip. Accessible journalism has ceded ground to condescending populism."
He then goes on to note one change that he sees as central… "At launch, one key principle made Five Live a winner. "News priority" meant a reporter with a story had to offer it to the rolling channel first. The BBC wanted its baby to make an impact; news priority guaranteed it."
And now? "BBC correspondents must file a generic piece for all outlets and television takes priority."
Luckhurst quotes Radio Five Live Controller Bob Shennan as saying "The development of rolling news on other outlets has forced us to evolve and that has had an impact on the threshold for news stories" and going on to defend the station's phone- in shows as outlets for "news that evolves from our close, democratic and informal relationship with our audience".
Luckhurst says that the approach of listening to the audience "raises profound questions about what public-service news provision now means" and comments on "obvious pitfalls."
The station he says will not broadcast listener-generated unsubstantiated rumours and racist comments and he goes on to say that this leaves "a service which, far from being unique, partially replicates the tone of mass-market papers but lacks their killer instinct."
"To my ear," he comments, "Five Live already sounds too much like neutered populism. I do not doubt it can attract listeners. My qualm is that it is pursuing a strategy that will render it indistinguishable from commercial chat radio."
And finally a Washington Post editorial defending the Voice of America and its sister broadcasting organizations that it says "offered a remarkably balanced alternative to state-controlled media all over the world, buoying dissident movements and undermining anti-American dictatorships for a relatively small investment."
The paper argues that with the changes in Russia and its neighbours make it sensible to maintain VOA operations in the region but instead the proposed budget would cut funding." The price of such programs is so low", it comments, "that federal financial constraints are hardly an excuse to kill them; a relatively tiny increase in the VOA's budget would make a world of difference."
On then to listening and first to note that programming from last week's Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky week from BBC Radio 3 is on the station web site for a week after it first aired - and is accessible to those living in San Diego with suitable online capabilities. Radio 3 is now on a new schedule with some programming dropped and other programming moved- for example "Performance on 3" now normally starts at 19:00 GMT, half an hour earlier than previously: Of that which remains we suggest a listen to Sunday's "Drama on 3", a new musical "Hooligan Nights" that was created by writer Mike Walker and composer Mike Woolmans and, loosely based on the book by Clarence Rook, looks at the criminal career of a self-styled hooligan.
Amongst the regular features still on the station, we would suggest that the "Composer of the Week " slot (At Noon as before but with the repeat at the earlier time of 20.45 GMT) and Wednesday's "Night Waves" (At 21:45 GMT) that looks at the car bomb, first deployed in New York in 1920 according to cultural historian Mike Davis , author of "The Poor Man's Air Force" (40 people were killed in the blast, set off by Italian anarchist Mario Buda, outside J.P. Morgan's.
Maybe we should note here that car bombings were, according to the New York Times introduced into Iraq by the CIA-backed organization of Iyad Allawi (managing amongst other things to blow up a bus with schoolchildren on it
Next some varying perspectives from BBC Radio 4 - in "Feedback" on Sunday, consideration of why Sen. Barack Obama is described as a "black" candidate - a BBC reporter said he used the term because Obama terms himself black and is running as black candidate and speculated, albeit fleetingly, on the prospect of reporting his candidacy for US President had he run as a white; others bluntly said that the accurate description was "mixed race" and nobody went so far as to consider whether the description could still be a handover from a racist past when "white blood" was tainted by "black".
Also from Radio 4, the most recent edition of "Something Understood" featured Mark Tully querying whether humans are "basically good, or basically bad' - Taoism and Hinduism suggest we're basically good, but traditionally Christianity and Confucianism have said we're basically bad.
Another suggestion from BBC Radio 4 is the latest "In Business", which looked at the activities of private equity groups and considered whether leveraged buyouts ware stoking up problems for the future and this week' "In our Time" (Thursday 09:00 GMT), a special edition on William Wilberforce that marks the 1807 Abolition of the Slave Trade (These last two are available as MP3 downloads).
From BBC Radio 2 this week, we suggest Friday and (at 21:30 GMT) the final of BBC Radio 2's Young Brass Soloist 2007 competition.
And finally, in view of the UK's problems with avian flu, we'd suggest "Amsterdam Forum" that on Sunday took a look at the modern meat industry: Nothing particularly new to anyone who's thought about factory farming but a reasonable report for those who have not.
Previous Columnists:
Previous Dotinga:
New York Times - Siklos:
North County Times - Dotinga:
Tennessean - Morris:
UK Independent - Luckhurst:
Washington Post - Editorial re VOA:

2007-02-18: Last week was fairly quiet for all the regulators with no major issues on the table anywhere and only a fairly small run of routine decisions in most places.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) made only one radio announcement, the award of a high powered open narrowcasting radio service in Canberra to ANC International Holdings Pty Ltd, which bid AUD 200,000 (USD 157,000) at an auction on 8 December 2006 after four applications were received for the licence. The service, says ACMA, should be launched by June 21.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) again had a fairly quiet week with radio decisions including (in order of province):
*Approval of use of 95.3 MHz for transmitter at Cochrane for new Eclectic Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM approved for Tiessen Media in August last year subject to the finding of a suitable frequency.
British Columbia:
*Approval of application from Education Alternative Radio Society (EARS), the not-for-profit society governing CFUR Radio, for a 510 watts English-language community-based campus FM - which proposes to broadcast a wide range of music - at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George.
The CRTC also gave notice of a public hearing to be held in Membertou, Nova Scotia, that will consider various applications including the following radio-related ones:
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Application by Newcap Inc. to convert CHVO-AM, Carbonear, to a 14,000 watts FM that would continue CHVO's current Country music format. Newcap is asking permission to simulcast the new FM for six months after it is brought into operation.
Nova Scotia:
* Application by Coastal Community Radio Cooperative Ltd. for a 4,700 watts English-language Type B community FM in Glace Bay.
* Application by Newcap Inc. for a new 9,900 watts Classic Hits English-language FM in Kentville to serve the Annapolis Valley.
* Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to convert radio station CBI-AM Sydney from the AM band to A 61,400 watts FM. The CBC is requesting permission to simulcast the programming for 12 months after the launch of the new station.
* Application by HFX Broadcasting Inc. for a new 10,500 watts Youth Contemporary English-language commercial FM in Sydney
* Application by Barry Maxwell Martin, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a new 26,500 watts Rock English-language commercial FM in Sydney.
* Application by Newcap Inc. for a new 57,000 watts Classic Rock English-language commercial FM in Sydney
* Application by Andrew Newman, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a new 50,000 watts Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM in Sydney
* Application by Blackburn Radio Inc. for a new 960 watts Country music English-language commercial FM in Leamington.
* Application by Norwesto Communications Ltd. for a 50 watts Contemporary Hit English-language FM in Sioux Lookout.
* Application by Ottawa Media Inc. for an 875 watts New Easy Listening English-language commercial FM in Hawkesbury.
The Commission also posted a public notice regarding applications for which interventions or comments have to be submitted by March 23. Radio related items included:
New Brunswick:
* Application by Astral Media Radio Atlantic Inc. to convert its transmitter CJCJ-2-AM, Plaster Rock, to a 50 watts FM to broadcast the programming of CIKX-FM Grand Falls. Astral is also requesting permission to simulcast for three months after the new transmitter is brought into operation.
*Application by Radio Gaspésie inc. to add a 43 watts FM transmitter at Fontenelle to broadcast the programming of CJRG-FM, Gaspé.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland although there the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland is involved in the release of radio ratings (See RNW Feb 17).
In the UK Ofcom upheld one radio complaint in its latest Broadcast Bulletin (See RNW Feb 14) and also awarded six new community radio licences. These went to:
BRfm , Brynmawr, Blaenau Gwent. This station is offering a local and inclusive radio service for the residents of Brynmawr and surrounding areas.
Radio Tircoed, Tircoed Forest Village, Swansea, which says it will offer broadcasting opportunities for all sectors of the local community.
Soundart Radio, Dartington and Totnes, Devon - an arts-based radio project.
Somer Valley FM, Midsomer Norton and Radstock, Somerset, which says it aims to create a vibrant and exciting, socially inclusive, training-orientated radio service.
A39 Radio, Falmouth and Penryn, Cornwall - a broadcasting partnership designed to establish a voice, and a forum, for the Falmouth-Penryn community.
Radio St Austell Bay, St Austell, Cornwall, which says it will broadcast content about St Austell Bay, its past, present and future, culture and character.
Ofcom also published an update regarding plans for the use of Band III, formerly used for monochrome 405 line TV broadcasts in the UK and currently for mobile radio services. UK use of the band has to be brought in line with that of other European countries following an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Radiocommunications Conference that mandated member states to produce a new international agreement for Bands III and Bands IV/V, which covered not only Europe, but also Africa and the Middle East (about 120 countries in total).
In the US, where weather affected Washington DC and the activities of agencies including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the re has been a continuing run of proposed penalties relating to late filing for renewal of licences (See RNW Feb 17 and Feb 14).
Previous ACMA:
Previous BCI:
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous Ofcom:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:

CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:

2007-02-17: U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain has approved the USD 4.25 million sale of the Air America Radio Network to Stephen L. Green, founder of a New York real estate firm, a move that came in the nick of time according to lawyers for owner Piquant LLC who said it had run out of money and reached the limit of its court-sanctioned borrowing.
The network has lost some USD 40 million since it was launched in 2004 and Piquant said it had liabilities of USD 20.3 million, including some USD 361,000 to comedian and author Al Franken, its best-known host. Franken is to run for the senate in Minnesota and his last show aired on Thursday. Piquant says contracts with its other hosts are being renegotiated.
The terms of the agreement give Green Family Media LLC the controlling share of the network with the remaining 42% stake split evenly between Democracy Allies LLC., which was co-founded by RealNetworks Inc. Chief Executive Robert Glaser to provide interim financing that kept the network on the air after its bankruptcy was declared, and the newly formed Progressive Radio Group. Green will assume no liabilities above those declared by Piquant but will repay the USD 3.25 million the network has borrowed since October, USD 560,000 owed for the lease of its corporate headquarters in New York and also supply USD 500,000 in cash to pay creditors as well as committing USD 200,000 to keep the network going until the deal closes on February 23.
Earlier in the week a group of unsecured Air America creditors had filed an objection to the deal, claiming that it breached a previous agreement and gave preference to insiders such as Glaser in what it termed a "bait and switch" that would give them only one cent per dollar compared to 8.5 cents under the previous agreement.
Previous Air America/Piquant:
Previous Franken:
Houston Chronicle/AP report:

2007-02-17: BBC's Radio 2 and 6 Music were forced to play an "emergency tape" for a while on Friday because of a fire alarm triggered by steam from a BBC gym. The "outage" shortly after 08:00 GMT meant that the Radio 2 building, which also houses 6-Music, had to be evacuated.
Radio 2 breakfast host Terry Wogan was off air for some 15 minutes during which time the Radio 2 online webcam showed an empty studio: 6-music host Phil Jupitus was off air for around ten minutes.
A BBC spokeswoman said the fire alarm was triggered because an unusually large amount of steam accumulating in the BBC Club showers.
Previous BBC:
Previous Wogan:

2007-02-17: In more enforcement actions the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed or proposed penalties approaching a total of USD 90,000 mainly for failing to file renewal applications on time and in some cases continuing operation without a licence.
In descending order of amount the penalties included:
USD 7,000 NAL's (Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture - along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time and unauthorized operation after expiry of licence to:
Big Sky Owners Association, Inc., licensee of K257AE, West Fork, Montana.
Carpenter Translator Group, licensee of K299AM, Carpenter, South Dakota.
Christian Radio Translator Association/Salmon, Inc., licensee of FM Translator Station K257DJ, Salmon, Idaho.
Colby Community College, licensee of KTCC-FM, Colby, Kansas.
Covenant Life Ministries, Inc., licensee of KLGB-LP, Enid, Oklahoma.
Kamiak Butte Translator Association, licensee of FM Translator Station K237CO, Moscow, Idaho.
La Tremenda Radio Mexico, Inc., licensee of KZUE-AM, El Reno, Oklahoma.
USD 4,500 NALs (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time to:
Good News Radio, licensee of FM Translator Stations FM translator Stations K205BH, Victorville; K201AR, Banning; and K209AK, Palm Springs (all in California).
Spokane Public Radio, Inc., licensee of FM Translator Stations K220BW, Kellogg, Etc., K269DU, Sandpoint, and K220BX, Coeur D'Alene (All in Idaho).
Phelps Dodge Bagdad, Inc., licensee of FM Translator Stations K242AC, K247AC, and K262AA, all licensed to Bagdad, Arizona, for failure to file a licence renewal on time.
USD 3,000 NAL (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time to:
Calvary Chapel Of Twin Falls, Inc., licensee of K201FP and K216FR, Arapaho and Clinton (Both in Oklahoma).
USD 2,500 penalty to Larry J. Duckworth of Cordele, Georgia, for operating an unlicensed radio transmitter: This penalty was reduced from USD 10,000 on the basis of inability to pay.
USD 1,500 NALs(along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time to:
Bruce Macafee, licensee of FM Translator Station K261AY, Bridgeport, California.
Buena Park School District, licensee of KBPK-FM, Buena Park, California.
Christian Media, Inc., licensee of KCMI-FM, Terrytown, Nebraska.
J. Doring Communications, licensee of FM Translator Station K252CQ, Northern Apple Valley, California.
Friends of Christian Radio, licensee of K228DI, Sidney, Nebraska.
Monty C. Stratton, licensee of FM Translator Station K244DU, St. George, Utah.
Newmont Gold Company, licensee of FM Translator Station K253AC, Eureka, Nevada.
New Castle Broadcasting Service, Inc., licensee of WHHC-LP, New Castle, Indiana.
River Delta Unifield School District, licensee of Low Power FM Station KDRT-LP, Davis, California.
San Rafael High School, licensee of KSRH-FM, San Rafael, California.
Top O' Texas Educational Broadcasting Foundation, licensee of K202AG, Elk City, Oklahoma.
San Juan Unified School District, licensee of KYDS-FM, Sacramento, California.
Uintah County, licensee of FM Translator Station K257AA, Vernal, Utah.
Previous FCC:

2007-02-17: Latest Irish radio ratings from the JNLR/TNSmrbi survey covering 2006 show radio to be holding its audience with an unchanged 85% of the adult population listened to radio daily albeit with changes within the listening.
Nationally compared to figures for October 2005-September 2006, listenership to any regional or local station was down 1% was 56% and of national stations RTÉ Radio 1 increased its reach by 1% to 24% whilst others maintained their reach - 18% for RTÉ 2FM: 16% for Today FM; and 3% for Lyric FM.
Share was also down overall in this category - by 1.1% to 51% - within which RTÉ Radio 1's share was down by 0.2% to 20.9% and RTÉ 2FM's's share was down 0.1% to 12.9% whilst that of Today FM was up 0.4% to 12.1% and that of RTÉ Lyric FM was up 0.1% to 1.7%. South-East regional station Beat 102-103 FM, however, increased both its weekday reach and market share figures to 17% (+1) and 10.9% (+2.1).
Amongst local stations, excluding Dublin and Cork, the top five stations in terms of reach were Highland Radio with a 69% reach, down 1%; Limerick's Live 95FM with 62% (-2); Shannonside/Northern Sound with 56% (+1); Mid West Radio with 55% (-1); and Galway Bay and Ocean FM, each with 54% - unchanged for the first and down 4 for the second.
In terms of market share the top five local stations in the period were Highland Radio with 64.3% (-0.4); Mid West Radio with 58.9% (-1.1); Radio Kerry with 57% (+1.2); Shannonside/Northern Sound with 48.8% (+1.2); and WLR FM with 48.6% (-2).
In Dublin the leaders in terms of reach were RTÉ Radio 1 with 28% (+1); FM104 with 22% (-1); 98FM with 17% (-1); RTÉ 2FM with 14% (-1) and Spin 1038 with an unchanged 12% whilst in Cork the leaders in reach were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103FM with an unchanged 48%; RTÉ Radio 1 with an unchanged 20%; Cork's Red FM with 18% (+1); Today FM with 14% (+1); and RTÉ 2FM with 8% (-2).
Previous Irish Ratings:
Previous RTÉ:

2007-02-16: Arbitron has recorded 2006 final quarter revenues up 5.3% on a year earlier at USD 79.3 million but costs were up 17.9% to USD 75.2 million, partly because of expenditures for this year's roll out of the Portable People Meter (PPM) for Philadelphia and New York ratings: As a result net income for the quarter dropped by more than half - from USD 11.2 million in 2005 to USD 4.9 million (from 36 cents to 17 cents per diluted share).
Earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) for the quarter were down 35.7% to USD 10.9 million, and interest expense for the quarter increased to USD 3.2 million from USD 900,000 2005 due primarily to a one-time "make whole" charge of USD 2.9 million stemming from the early repayment of a USD 50 million outstanding senior note in October 2006.
For the full year revenues were up 6.2% to USD 328.3 million; EBIT was down 17.2% to USD 84.0 million and net income was down 24.7% to USD 50.7 million (from USD 2.14 to USD 1.68 per diluted share- the 2005 figures included a tax benefit of 15 cents per share from the reversal of certain tax contingencies relating to prior years).
Arbitron president and CEO Stephen Morris said of the performance, "Despite the continuing challenges that confront the industries we serve, Arbitron was able to increase its revenue and achieve the earnings results that we forecast for 2006, all while investing in our core business and in Portable People Meter-based growth initiatives."
He added that during 2006 the company made "significant progress" in efforts to "transform Arbitron into a company that keeps its core radio ratings business solidly grounded while we move decisively into the digital age with the Portable People Meter" and noted recent Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation of the PPM for Houston ratings.
Arbitron is already putting the PPPM into commercial service in Philadelphia and has started recruiting households in New York to roll out PPM ratings in the city this fall and Morris also noted that for its "Project Apollo" it had "solved the very complex logistical challenge inherent in encoding the major broadcast networks at the end of the year."
"Our seven charter customers, including the recently signed Wal-Mart," said Morris, "are enthusiastically digging into the more robust dataset. We also recently completed the Project Apollo LLC agreement with The Nielsen Company, so our partnership is on solid ground."
He also noted that during 2006 Arbitron bought back USD 70 million of its stock and had authorized a new stock repurchase program of up to USD100 million over a two year period; repaid non-investment grade debt and negotiated a new credit facility of up to USD200 million.
Looking ahead Arbitron is forecasting full year 2007 revenues up between 5.5% and 7.5% with earnings per share between USD 1.30 and USD 1.50 whilst for 2008 it says it "anticipates accelerating revenue growth to the double-digit range with even higher EBIT growth as the company begins the process of restoring its margins by the completion of the PPM transition process in the top 50 radio markets."
CFO Sean Creamer said the anticipated fall in per share earnings was because of increased spending on the PPM as it moves to take the system commercial, which will require extra investment and commented, "Since we are in the first year of PPM commercialization, the impact of this lag to our financial results is particularly pronounced in 2007. We continue to believe that 2007 represents the trough year from an earnings perspective for our ratings business."
"In addition," he said, "we plan to maintain our spending to lay the groundwork and define the market potential for Project Apollo, an additional avenue of growth for Arbitron that's based on our patented Portable People Meter system."
Previous Arbitron:
Previous Media Rating Council:
Previous Morris:

2007-02-16: XM Satellite Radio is to add more public radio programming to its line-up from the start of next month when its starts to air "A Prairie Home Companion" (from Mar 3) and "Marketplace (From Mar 5) on its Public Radio channel. Both shows come from American Public Media.
XM is also adding Tony Kornheiser's Show, originating from Washington Post Radio (WTWP) in Washington, D.C., to its "XM Sports Nation" channel. The show airs from 09:00 to 11:00 ET daily and Kornheiser will also regularly host special shows exclusively for the satellite broadcasts.
Previous XM:

2007-02-16: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved an application by Cogeco Cable Canada Inc. to allow it to carry satellite subscription radio services on its cable network.
Cogeco argued that the service would enhance the diversity of audio programming services available to Canadians, serve as an additional source of revenue for Canadian musicians, encourage analogue subscribers to migrate to digital, and also motivate Canadian subscribers to sign on with a Canadian BDU rather than with an American distributor offering the same services...
Amongst those opposing the application the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA) that said that the satellite services were approved by the CRTC on the underlying assumption that these services would be delivered via satellite to receivers designed specifically for that purpose and that cable distribution was not contemplated when the Commission decided to impose lighter Canadian content obligations on the SSR services than on pay audio services or conventional radio stations. It also argued that the distribution could have a negative impact on the pay audio services, potentially resulting in their demise and in the attendant loss of a significant amount of airplay for Canadian music.
Previous CRTC:

Next column:

2007-02-16: Clear Channel has given potential bidders until next Friday (Noon Central time Feb 23) to put in their offers for the 448 radio stations and 42 TV stations it said last year were for sale (See RNW Nov 17, 2006) following its agreement to be taken over for USD 18.7 billion in a private equity bid led by Boston-based Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital.
The radio station sale is to be handled by Kalil and Co. and they are being valued at anywhere between USD 2 billion and 3 billion.
Previous Clear Channel:

2007-02-16: British Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife Cherie Booth QC and writer and comedian Armando Iannucci are amongst six well-known figures who are to present Lent talks on BBC Radio 4 this year.
The talks will air on Wednesdays starting on February 28 and will be given by advertising guru Chas Bayfield on the money changers in the temple; Booth - on themes of restorative justice in the story of Zacchaeus; Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, on the trial of Jesus; Lord Douglas Hurd on Pontius Pilate; Iannucci -on the devil and temptation; and Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, on the defeat and victory of the Cross.
Previous BBC:

2007-02-16: Clear Channel has launched a non-compete lawsuit against its former Quad-Cities hosts Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels who last month moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after signing a five-year deal with Cumulus (See RNW Jan 8), claiming that despite the move to Cedar Rapids they were still violating the non-compete clause in their agreement with Clear Channel.
Quad Cities Online reports that Clear Channel in its lawsuit claims the "Dwyer & Michaels Morning Show" has been violating the provision by "physically broadcasting" from Cumulus' Davenport studio, promoting the show in the Quad-Cities via print ads, a blog and interviews with Quad-Cities media and also names Cumulus as a defendant, claiming that it is violating the agreement by employing the hosts plus news person Beth Davis who moved with them.
Dwyer said the show wasn't being broadcast in the Quad-Cities so as to avoid breaching their contract but added, "Obviously, they feel we're in violation of our contract. Obviously, we feel the other way." He said they had always planned to return to "the Quad-Cities after our non-compete was up."
The lawsuit was filed in Scott County District Court by Davenport attorney Tory Howell, who is representing Clear Channel and says Clear Channel would be "irreparably harmed" if broadcasts are allowed to continue. A hearing is to be held on Feb 22 on Clear Channel's motion for a temporary injunction.
RNW comment: Most of the comments posted by Quad-Cities online argue purely on the basis of whether they do or don't like the show but a number attack the idea of non-compete clauses, a view we tend to share as it goes far too far towards serfdom in our opinion. In this case we would go further and rather hope that the judge not only throws out the suit but says that Clear Channel deserves irreparable harm in this case. Their argument in our view stretches things to such an extent by claiming that by other activities such as hosting a blog on the Quad City Times website, promoting their show in the area in newspaper ads and giving interviews they are performing "radio services" that are prohibited in their contract. The only element in the lawsuit that in our view deserves any consideration is the claim that the show, sent from Cumulus Media's Davenport studio to KRNA-FM in Cedar Rapids can be picked up in parts of the Quad-Cities area.
Had not Clear Channel so clearly exaggerated their case, we feel that there could potentially have been an argument on this point but that there is no substantial case concerning serious damage: As it is we trust the judge will assess their "irreparable harm" on a sensible basis and, in the circumstances, even if it is felt there is some breach of the agreement, will refuse the injunction and only grant derisory damages - about a cent a day should do with a condition being that Clear Channel have to send someone daily to collect it!

Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Cumulus:
Quad-Cities Online report:

2007-02-15: Seattle-based Fisher Communications has reported a 23% year-on-year increase in revenues to USD 8.4 million in the final quarter of 2006 and says that during 2006 it became profitable from continuing operations for the first time in five years.
Revenues in the final quarter to December 31 benefited from political advertising as well as "improved local advertising initiatives for both the English and Spanish language stations" and for the full year Fisher says its revenues were up 13% year on year to USD 17.6 million.
Operating income in the fourth quarter moved from a USD 228,000 loss a year ago to a positive USD 12.1 million and for the full year Fisher turned a USD 5.6 million loss in 2005 to a positive USD 19.0 million.
During the quarter Fisher closed on the USD 26.1 million sale of 18 out of 24 small-market radio stations located in Montana and Eastern Washington: the other six were excluded from the original sale to secure FCC approval and are still up for sale and figures for this group of stations are listed in discontinued operations.
Overall Fisher reported consolidated net income, including continuing and discontinues operations, for the fourth quarter of USD 16.9 million, USD 7 million of it from continuing operations and the remainder from discontinued operations including an after-tax gain of USD 10 million from the sale. For the full year, Fisher had consolidated income of USD 16.8 million compared to a net loss of USD 5.1 million in 2005.
President and CEO Colleen Brown said Fisher was "pleased with the outcome of a year filled with aggressive initiatives" and added, "The 2006 results and asset alignment have set the foundation for Fisher to build on an attractive business structure going forward."
In other US radio business news, Emmis Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Smulyan retained his grip on the company at its annual shareholders meeting when stockholders voted down a proposal - made by Frank Martin, of Martin Capital Management, although nobody from the company was able to attend the meeting because of snow that significantly reduced attendance - to eliminate the extra votes that attach to his stock and give him control although he owns less than a fifth of the company.
Smulyan last year launched a bid to take the company private but then dropped it and so far has not said whether he may launch another attempt.
Smulyan was bullish about Emmis's future telling those present Emmis believe it had the "potential this year to outperform the industry -- an industry that clearly has been challenged" and putting the weak performance last year down to its reliance on large-market stations, which he said "brought the whole company down."
In Chicago two executives have been dropped this week as Emmis changed station formats and management round the country to restore its finances and ratings: Out are Mike Stern as vice president of programming, in which post he had responsibility for rock WLUP-FM (The Loop) and alternative rock WKQX-FM (Q101), and WLUP program director Tim Dukes.
Marv Nyren, vice president and general manager of the Loop and Q101, said he plans to replace both programmers with one "brand product manager," who will oversee all areas other than sales, including programming, marketing, promotion, and Web site activities.
Previous Brown:
Previous Emmis:
Previous Fisher:
Previous Smulyan:
Indianapolis Star report:

2007-02-15: BBC World Service, which has already dropped ten foreign language services as part of changes that moved resources to its Arabic TV service (See RNW Oct 26, 2005) is expected to announce plans to cut back its Chinese service later this month according to the UK Guardian. The paper adds that the Russian service may also be cut back.
It quotes one source amongst the 37 staff working for the Chinese service, which broadcasts output in Mandarin and Cantonese on short wave, and also operates a website - both of which are regularly blocked by the country's government - as saying, "There is clearly a problem with China blocking outside news organizations, but sooner or later it is going to open up again and you want to still be there when it happens"
The paper notes that awareness of the World Service has dropped significantly in recent years - from 21.6% of respondents in Beijing, Shenyang, Chengdu and Shanghai in 2004-5 to only 8% in 2005-06 - with reach dropping correspondingly - from 2.2% to 0.3% over the same period according to the same World Service annual report.
The paper says BBC management will meet staff representatives over the future of the China service on February 22 and quotes a World Service spokesman as saying, "BBC World Service is looking at ways to strengthen its service to listeners in China against a background of persistent frequency interference to our short-wave broadcasts and effective blocking of our online services in the country. The principles that underpin and shape the review are that news and current affairs are important and any changes will be designed to enhance the impact of our multimedia services for China."
Previous BBC:
UK Guardian report:

2007-02-15: US National Public Radio and its affiliates have launched what they term its fifth phase of podcasting, adding more programmes to a list that is approaching 400 podcasts that have already been downloaded more than 80 million times, adding amongst others the full programme podcast of Philadelphia WHYY-FM's interview show "Fresh Air" and the network's first video podcast (vodcast) - "Morning Becomes Eclectic" from KCRW-FM, Santa Monica.
NPR is also enhancing its music-category podcasts which will become 128KBPS stereo downloads instead of 64 kbps mono: These include such programming as NPR's "All Songs Considered"; "World Café Words and Music" from WXPN -FM, Philadelphia; and "Radio without Borders" from KUT-FM, Austin.
Previous NPR:

2007-02-15: Australian commercial radio is to announce the winners of the 2007 Siren Awards for creative excellence in radio advertising will be announced at a gala breakfast in Melbourne on May 4 that will feature Australian comedy duo and top-rating radio personalities, Hamish and Andy, who now host a nationally syndicated drive time show.
They will host the breakfast and then speak at a Sirens Masterclass creative seminar that follows the breakfast. Also speaking at the seminar will be researcher and author - and also Director of Research and author of the Ipsos Mackay Report - Dr Rebecca Huntley, who will talk about Generation Y and how to engage them; and Ralph van Dijk of Eardrum Australia, who will run several interactive sessions on how to write world-class radio ads
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner, said the annual Sirens breakfast and Masterclass provided a great opportunity to recognize the excellence in Australian radio advertising and also look at ways to further improve it, saying that it was important to keep looking at radio creative, recognize its strengths and also focus on ways to keep improving it.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Warner:

2007-02-14: In more enforcement actions the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed penalties approaching a total of USD 150,000 mainly for failing to file renewal applications on time and in some cases continuing operation without a licence although the largest single penalty was for public file violations.
There were also a number of penalties for Equal Employment Opportunity Rules' violations related to which in another notice the FCC said that it has now sent out audit letters to 116 stations.
In descending order of amount the penalties included:
USD 20,000 Notice of Apparent Liability to Forfeiture (NAL) to Boone Biblical Ministries, Inc. , licensee of KFFF-AM and KFFF-FM, Boone, Iowa, for public file rule violations:
USD 8,000 NAL to KQKQ-FM, Council Bluffs, Iowa, for violating the Commission's Equal Employment Opportunity Rules.
USD 7,000 NAL's (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time and unauthorized operation after expiry of licence to:
Board of Regents, Northwest Missouri State University, licensee of KRNW-FM, Chillicothe, Missouri.
Boundary County TV Translator District, licensee of FM Translator Station K220AE, Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Boundary County TV Translator District, licensee of FM Translator Station K257DH, Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Boundary County TV Translator District, licensee of FM Translator Station K265AV, Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Boundary County TV Translator District, licensee of FM Translator Station K296BJ, Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Boundary County TV Translator District, licensee of FM Translator Station K272AR, Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Central University of Iowa Central College, licensee of KCUI-FM, Pella, Iowa.
Cornell College, licensee of KRNL-FM, Mount Vernon, Iowa.
Grinnell College Trustees of Iowa, licensee of KDIC-FM, Grinnell, Iowa.
Ritenour Consolidated School District, licensee of KRHS-FM, Overland, Missouri.
Sam Houston State University, licensee of KSHU-FM, Huntsville, Texas.
Texas Southern University, licensee of KTSU-FM, Houston, Texas.
Wennes Communications Stations, Inc., licensee of KHPP-AM, Waukon, Iowa.
Wennes Communications Stations, Inc., licensee of KNEI-FM, Waukon, Iowa.
Wennes Communications Stations, Inc., licensee of KVIK-FM, Decorah, Iowa.
West Texas A&M University, licensee of KWTS-FM, Canyon, Texas.
USD 5,000 NAL each to KOLA-FM, San Bernardino, California and SBR Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of KCAL-FM, Redlands, both in California, for Equal Employment Opportunity Rules' breaches.
USD 3,500 NAL (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time and unauthorized operation after expiry of licence to:
First IV Media, Inc. , licensee of KGAF-AM, Gainsville, Texas.
USD 1,500 NAL's (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time to:
Alacca Bible Conference, licensee of FM Translator Station K215AB, Kamiah, Idaho.
Alacca Bible Conference, licensee of FM Translator Station K213BN, Orofino, Idaho.
American Media Investments, Inc., licensee of KBZI-FM, Deerfield, Missouri.
Bible Broadcasting Network, Inc., licensee of FM Translator Station K217EY, Laramie, Wyoming.
La Promesa Foundation, licensee of FM Translator Station K217CM, Clayton, New Mexico.
Previous FCC:

2007-02-14: The US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan has given the go-ahead for Air America Radio' owner Piquant Media to sell its assets at an auction on Friday that will start with a USD 4.25 million bid already on the table by a group of investors led by New York realtor Stephen L. Green.
According to the Associated Press additional bids will have to start with a bid of at least USD 4.6 million, with a 10% deposit to be deposited by tomorrow. Bidding will then increase in increments of at least USD 50,000.
Previous Air America/Piquant:
Houston Business Chronicle/AP report:
2007-02-14: Sirius Canada says it now has more than 300,000 paying subscribers in Canada having added more than a third of them in the final quarter of last year.
The company says it now has a 78% market share in Canada and that According to independent retail tracking research provided by the NPD Group, Sirius was the preferred choice for satellite radio this holiday season with nearly 8 out of 10 satellite radio shoppers opting for Sirius in December last year.
Mark Redmond, President and CEO, Sirius Canada Inc., said the numbers confirm "the demand for and strength of Sirius' programming, signal coverage, and innovative products" and added, "Sirius' depth and breadth of programming resonates with Canadians and we are proud to be the country's undisputed satellite radio leader.
Previous Redmond:
Previous Sirius:
Previous Sirius Canada:

2007-02-14: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upheld one standards complaint against radio and two against TV and also partly upheld a fairness and privacy TV complaints. In addition it considered another TV standards case resolved by the action already taken by the broadcaster and also gave details of one TV fairness and privacy not upheld.
This compares to one radio standards complaint and two TV standards cases upheld; two TV complaints considered resolved through action taken by the broadcaster; and details given of a and a TV Fairness and Privacy complaint upheld in its previous bulletin in which it also considered two TV standards cases resolved and did not uphold but gave details of one TV standards and one TV fairness and privacy not upheld.
The radio complaint upheld involved restricted service licensee Carnival FM which was alleged to have played the song Boom Bye Bye by Buju Banton, which contains allegedly homophobic lyrics.
The station was unable to provide a copy of the broadcast due to problems with its logging system and Ofcom, which was unable to rule on the actual complaint, ruled that this breached the conditions of its licence.
In addition Ofcom listed with no details a further 116 TV complaints involving 81 items and 16 radio complaints involving 19 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 76 TV complaints involving 48 items and 11 radio complaints involving 11 items that it said were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom:
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:

2007-02-13: CBS has announced a new cross-platform sales unit RIOT, combining radio, Internet, Outdoor and Television, that it says will "give advertisers unsurpassed reach on a local scale" and has also announced an inaugural multi-million dollar deal with Dodge Ram.
This deal, to launch tomorrow, will target male consumers and will create customized spots on local television and radio stations in more than 100 markets designed to lead male viewers and listeners to a co-branded website on CBS, where users can partake in a new interactive game tied to Dodge Ram's "Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em" theme. During the promotion CBS and Dodge will give away some 10,000 prizes including Dodge Rams, VIP boxing trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, Apple iPods and other merchandise.
President and CEO Leslie Moonves said of the move, "No other company can deliver the national and local reach than these combined divisions of the CBS Corporation. Whether it's radio, television, outdoor or online, we have the real estate that can most effectively deliver a client's message, and CBS RIOT is designed to leverage these platforms to give advertisers the reach and flexibility they need. This first deal with Dodge is a great start, and I look forward to many more to come."
The new unit says CBS will be "run in unison by Richard Lobel, Executive Vice President, Altitude Group, CBS Radio; Jon Camera, Senior Vice President, Business Development, CBS Television Stations; and Brigg Hyland, Senior Vice President, Business Development, CBS Outdoor."
In an unconnected announcement, Arbitron says CBS Radio is to become the first broadcaster to be assigned a dedicated in-house Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) trainer to educate advertising executives on use of PPM data for their sales efforts.
The training will be conducted by a five-person implementation team under Jon Miller of Arbitron who has been promoted to the newly created position of CBS Radio PPM Account Manager and will work under the supervision of Scott Herman, executive vice president, Eastern Region, CBS Radio.
The team will conduct a two-year training programme starting from this month and focussing on the top ten CBS Radio markets.
Herman said the move would provide CBS Radio with "insight to harness the benefits of the PPM ratings data through the transition phase and demonstrate the effectiveness of electronic measurement for advertisers looking to further target their audiences."
"By taking the lead in providing advertisers with more information our clients will be able to make better informed and therefore more confident investments with radio," he added.
Previous Arbitron:
Previous CBS:
Previous Moonves:

2007-02-13: UK Chrysalis Group has now formally announced that it is to conduct a review of its radio operations (See RNW Feb 12) and that it has appointed Hawkpoint Partners Limited to assist with the review.
In making the announcement the company noted that it had "successfully built and developed leading businesses and brands in both the music and radio sectors" adding that "Further substantial progress was achieved in 2006, with the improvement of Chrysalis's positions in both sectors, thereby enhancing the value of the Group's unique businesses."
It noted that Chrysalis was the third largest commercial UK radio operator and that Chrysalis
Music is firmly established as one of the world's leading international, independent music
Businesses but that the businesses "operate in dynamic and competitive markets that will continue to experience change and further consolidation over the coming years."
It continued, "In the light of continued consolidation activity in the UK radio sector, the Board has decided to initiate a formal review of the strategic options to best facilitate Chrysalis Radio's participation in the longer term development of UK commercial radio. Given the valuable market positions that Chrysalis Radio has built, the improved trading performance in recent months, the opportunities to exploit the division's strong brands across alternative platforms including digital and Chrysalis Radio's highest ever Rajar figures, the Board believes that now is an appropriate time to undertake such a review. The review will be wide-ranging and will assess all options which can deliver maximum value to Chrysalis shareholders, including a potential demerger of the radio and music businesses."
Chief Executive Richard Huntingford said of the move, "The valuable market positions we have created at Chrysalis Radio, coupled with the ongoing consolidation in UK radio, suggest that now is an appropriate time to consider a formal review of our strategic options in this area."
He added, "The latest RAJARS and current trading confirm that we start this process from a position of considerable strength" and continued, "We have no pre-conceived view on the outcome of the review, other than a commitment to ensure Chrysalis Radio's participation in the long term development of the UK radio sector and thereby deliver the greatest benefit to all stakeholders, including shareholders, listeners, advertisers and employees."
Chrysalis, which says the review decision came from the board rather than as a result of pressure from shareholders, could opt to continue operating its radio business as present, to sell it off or merge it with another operator, or de-merge it and operate radio as a standalone business.
The first option now looks fairly unlikely and there would be a limited number of trade buyers or partners for the full Chrysalis radio holdings because of station overlaps that would rule out a purchase by GCap or Emap. SMG is in merger talks with UTV so is not considered a strong contender leaving Guardian Media Group as the most likely buyer or partner for the whole business although an overseas buyer such as CanWest, Emmis or Macquarie Media is a possibility as is a private equity buyer although the last is not thought to be a strong contender.
Another option would be a piecemeal sale: The whole group is said to be valued at around GBP 200 million (USD 400 million), three quarters of which is the Heart Brand with Galaxy around fifth and LBC a tenth.
Previous Chrysalis:
Previous Huntingford:

2007-02-13: Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. has reported final quarter 2006 revenues up 13.9% on a year earlier to USD 34.8 million but full year revenues were only up 0.7% at USD 125.2 million: Net income was down 5.3% for the full year to 10.1 million (From 44 cents to 42 cents per diluted share) but up 93.8% for the quarter to USD 3.0 million (Up from six cents to 13 cents per diluted share), primarily the company says because of its acquisition of KDWN-AM, Las Vegas, and WJBR-FM, Wilmington. Same station revenue was up 6.7% in the quarter to USD 32.6 million.
Chairman and CEO George Beasley said the group significantly exceed its revenue guidance during the quarter, putting this down to "the operational, personnel and programming changes implemented since late 2005 [that] contributed to broad-based strength across our station portfolio. "
"With programming and on-air changes in place in various clusters," he added, "we remain focused on our long-term goal of out-performing the markets in which we operate, building our portfolio through select strategic acquisitions and supporting shareholder value."
He also noted that the company remained active in share repurchases and that Beasley bought back some 235,000 shares in the final quarter taking the total number repurchases to around 919,000 at a cost of USD 8.4 million.
Looking ahead, Bearsley says that same-station revenues for the quarter to the end of March this year it anticipates a net revenue increase of 9% with same station revenue - excluding KDWN-AM in Las Vegas, acquired in the third quarter of 2006, and WJBR-FM in Wilmington, Delaware, operated under an LMA during the fourth quarter of 2006 - to be up 2%.
Previous Beasley:
Previous George Beasley:

2007-02-12: We start this week's look at comment on radio with Air America Radio and some dissent about the nature of its sale from Sheldon Drobny who with his wife Anita was credited with the idea of founding it but has expressed dissatisfaction at the way it was run on numerous occasions.
In his blog in the Huffington Post, Drobny encapsulates his view of the sale in the phrase "When figures Lie and Liars Figure" and goes on to content that the announcement of the network's sale "does not tell the true story of what will be available to the creditors, unpaid employees and hosts, and the investors."
"Last September," he writes, "the Drobny group offered $2.5 million of funding to prevent the embarrassing bankruptcy filing, work out a payment schedule for the general creditors, and leave the investors with a 49% interest."
Drobny then goes into the maths of the deal, calculating that the net amount available to other creditors after the "debtor in possession" (DIP) loans made post bankruptcy is around USD 500,000.
"All the investors and virtually all the creditors," says Drobny, "have been abandoned despite their strong support and belief in AAR."
As so often, of course, Drobny has a personal interest here and in this case has now started another network Nova M Radio of which he says they "can run our own operation and do it right this time."
Sticking with America and whatever the travails of a progressive network it would appear that there is often a second chance for a host who blows things with offensive remarks: In this case it's John DePetro, who was fired by Entercom's WRKO-AM, Boston, in November last year after he called gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a "fat lesbian" on the air prior to which he had been forced to apologise for calling ex-Turnpike boss Matt Amorello a "fag."
In his case as Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald reports he's heading back to Rhode island where Citadel's Providence station WPRO-AM has axed its morning host Dave Barber "after a mere 10 months " to take on de Petro who was formerly with rival WHJJ-AM.
The reason for the hire of course is ratings... Barbara Haynes of Citadel said he previously "had great ratings here" and WPRO program director Paul Giammarco added that he didn't have concerns about the remarks on Boston radio although the station talked about "everything" with DePetro before hiring him.
Giammarco said he'd have to hear the crude comments on his own station before reacting to them, commenting, "We hired John because of his Providence roots. He's compelling. He's provocative."
Still with ratings and we next move on to the UK and Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times: Donovan takes up the "record" listening numbers for radio in the UK recently reported and then notes that this is "only because the population has gone up. The real story is that the proportion of the population that listens does not budge. It stays stubbornly at 90%, compared with 99% who watch television."
"So," comments Donovan, "10% of us choose not to listen to anything at all. Given that you have to tune in for only five minutes per week to show up on the statistics, that is a surprisingly high number of non-listeners."
Rubbing in the implications he goes on, "The number of radios in an average household (which is at least three) makes it even more curious. Do tens of thousands of people have radio sets that they refuse to switch on? And more and more of us own other gadgets on which we can listen to our favourite shows: 79% of us now have mobile phones, and more than 50% of us computers with internet access. Indeed, listening on mobiles and on the web is growing all the time, particularly among the young. So, if anything, you would expect the overall proportion of the population that chooses to sample a bit of radio to be growing, especially with all the new stations on offer."
He then considers why there may be so many not listening at all and speculates as to who they may be.
"One obvious theory is that they are deaf. Paul Kennedy, RAJAR's research director, confirms that 16% of the British adult population suffers a hearing impairment (a distressingly high figure - and I can't help wondering if it has something to do with all the shouting into mobile phones). So could it be that the 10% who don't listen are all within this group, and that there is another 6% who struggle to listen, but don't hear very much?"
"No, Kennedy says, that is not it - though he doesn't know why people stay away. "The typical non-listener is female, over 65 and slightly down-market," he told me. "About 60% of non-listeners are C2DE, compared with 45% of listeners." All the more curious, given that the over65s are also the most devoted listeners in the land, having grown up with the medium from childhood: 72% of all over65s, for example, listen to the BBC."
Donovan concludes by offering a bottle of champagne for the most interesting and truthful response he gets to the question "why don't you listen?" an offer we suggest could be considered in other publications and countries.
Finally a review cum column - which points to our first listening suggestion: It came from Gillian Reynolds in the UK Telegraph and began, "News slides in one ear, out of the other. Even shocks pass. Yet something that adds to the old pile of dusty fact in the corner of your mind can stop you in your tracks, start you listening, thinking. It happened to me last week with File On 4 (Radio 4: Tuesday) about the deaths of British forces in Iraq.
Reynolds seems to have gone through a process many might - reacting to initial questions on could the deaths of soldiers have been prevented; did the families receive sufficient care and "Had the Government obstructed information on how these men died?"
Her initial reaction! "Come on, these are soldiers. They know what the job is when they join up. The MoD has a job to do, too. We have to trust them." …Then I listened."
The next paragraphs said more than enough: "Jason died from heat. He was stationed in a stadium, another soldier testified, so hot it was like being in an oven, "the sun coming straight down", nowhere to get cool or out of the heat. Even the drinking water was hot. Soldiers with heat exhaustion had their leave cancelled. An ambulance driver said permission was needed to take them to hospital."
And then on to Jason's death, the death of another soldier whose father was told he had died instantly when his gun misfired but a fellow soldier said that he survived for an hour and forty minutes but there had been no adequate means of treating him."
There is more but, as with the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, even part of it is enough to destroy trust in military honesty - understandable and probably justifiable when revelation of detail could be of assistance to an enemy but rather less so when the details are going to embarrass those in warm billets rather than helping the enemy.
So on to listening suggestions and first BBC Radio 4 and "File on 4" : Unfortunately the edition referred to above is now unavailable, although a transcript is on the programme web site, but last week's edition on the death of Alexander Litvinenko - and earlier of Russian journalist Yuri Shchekochikhin and others - raises equally disturbing questions as indeed does this week's (tomorrow at 20:00 GMT), which looks at the British government promise to hit major criminals where it hurts and subsequent decision to close the agency which seizes their assets.
Also from Radio 4 we'd suggest the continuing 15:45 GMT series on "The Making of Modern Medicine" which we recommended when it started; the current "Book at Bedtime" (22:45 GMT) which is Paul Torday's "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" described by the station as "A delightful comic novel which gently mocks the machinations of government and spin whilst shedding a little light on the question of belief"; and the "Book of the Week" (09:45 GMT) which is "The Lemon Tree" by Sandy Tolan and features dialogue between a Palestinian man and the Israeli woman who now lives in his old home.
Music next and all week in fact since as we noted last week BBC Radio 3 on Saturday began a week in which all its programming is devoted to the works of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky: Audio is available on the web site for seven days with details of the works aired posted so there's more than enough to keep anyone going for the time most of us have available.
And for different music there's BBC Radio 2 and tomorrow night with "Sexual Healing: Soul's Great Saga" at 20:30 GMT in which Trevor Nelson marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing; it's followed by the second part of "Holloway Dreams: Joe Meek Story" at 21:30 GMT.
And for the brass enthusiasts Friday at 21:30 GMT has the second semi-final of BBC Radio 2's Young Brass Soloist 2007 competition.
And finally back to conflict issues and WNYC's "On the Media" that last week included items on the difference between images of combat from the military and journalists and efforts to help education young Cambodians about the reality of the horrors of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime.
Previous Columnists:
Previous Donovan:
Previous Reynolds:
Boston Herald - Heslam:
Huffington Post - Drobny:
UK Daily Telegraph - Reynolds:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:

2007-02-12: Latest Australian radio revenue figures released by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) show all the main capital cities in the country recording revenue increases, the first monthly increase in Sydney since April last year.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Radio Revenue Performance figures show Sydney revenues up 4.7% year-on-year to a total of AUD 15.07 million ( USD 11.64 million ). Elsewhere rises were recorded of 11.5% in Perth to AUD 5.16 million (USD 3.99 million); of 5.4% in Adelaide to AUD 4.0 million (USD 3.09 million); of 3% in Melbourne to AUD 11.29 million (USD 8.73 million); and of 1.5% in Brisbane to AUD 6.4 million (USD 4.05 million).
Overall Australian commercial radio revenues for January were up 4.6% to AUD 41.9 million ( USD 32.4 million) and over the seven months of the current financial year figures are now up just above 1% to AUD 360.5 million (USD 278.6 million0.
CRA chief executive Joan Warner said the performance was "a pleasing start" to the calendar year and added, "Although it is way too early to tell if the Sydney market is improving longer-term - this news is certainly welcome and demonstrates the resilience of the radio industry."
In calendar 2006, Australian Metropolitan commercial radio revenues were up 1.4% on 2005 to AUD 599.6 million (USD 463.4 million) and Warner noted that audiences remain strong, adding that "the industry continues to increase revenue streams through innovative online and podcasting activities" and saying, it was "also hopeful of securing a significant share of political advertising in 2007 with a state election slated for NSW, and a Federal Election likely before the end of the year."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Warner:

2007-02-12: In further signs of pressures from major shareholders for divestitures, the UK Sunday Times reports that Chrysalis is preparing to sell its radio business, saying that founder and chairman Chris Wright agreed under pressure from institutional shareholders to launch a strategic review that is in the process of being finalised and that Chrysalis is "keen to sell the radio arm in preference to a demerger."
The paper says that the investors led by Schroders Investment Managers, which owns a 25% stake, have for months argued that the two parts of the company have no synergies and are undervalued and that Wright, who has a 26% holding, recently indicated to some investors that he would consider selling the radio business having failed to grow it through acquisitions.
The paper says Chrysalis shares have risen sharply in expectation of a sale -they were a little above 120 pence at the start of this year and are now around 160 pence.
The Observer reports on Emap, where it says the group has taken the of publicly backing its chief executive Tom Moloney amid rumours that headhunters were looking for a replacement following a profit warning.
Moloney has in the past rejected calls for Emap to divest its radio assets but last week the group said it was losing radio advertising to the internet and announced an overhaul to save around GBP 20 million (USD 40 million) a year (See RNW Feb 9).
The Observer quoted city sources as saying that headhunters act opportunistically, lining up candidates in case they were later mandated to find managerial replacements and quoted an Emap spokeswoman as saying, "There is no plan to replace Moloney, and headhunters have not been appointed."
Previous Chrysalis:
Previous Emap:
Previous Moloney:
Previous Wright:
UK Observer report:
UK Sunday Times report:

2007-02-11: Last week saw more enforcement announcements from the US but a fairly quiet week elsewhere although in the UK Ofcom has awarded Guardian Media Group the new Manchester FM licence.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) posted no radio notices but it did publish guidelines relating to its enforcement powers under the country's Broadcasting Services Act.
Until February 4 these were limited to referring a matter for prosecution, issue a notice to conform, to cease an activity to provide services in accordance with a code, remedy a breach or of intention and suspend, cancel or impose additional conditions on a licence.
It now an also pursue civil penalties in the courts, accept enforceable undertakings, seek injunctions relating to the provision of broadcasting services without a licence or to ensure due media diversity and issue infringement notices.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week although it did post two public notices that included radio-related matters.
These included one related to pplications granted approval pursuant to streamlined procedures during the period 1 November 2006 to 31 December 2006:
*Approval of transfer of the ownership and effective control of Radio CHNC ltée, licensee of CHCN, New Carlisle, Quebec and its transmitter CHGM Gaspé, Quebec, to the Coopérative des travailleurs CHNC through the latter's acquisition of the shares held directly and indirectly by Mr. Arthur Houde, representing 81% of Radio CHNC's voting interest, and of the remaining shares held by a group of individuals, representing 9% of Radio CHNC's voting interest.
*Approval of change in the effective control of Radio Port-Cartier inc., licensee of CIPC-FM, Port-Cartier, Quebec, from a legal control exercised by Vision Marine inc. to a control exercised by Radio Port-Cartier's board of directors.
*Approval of Transfer of the ownership and effective control of Radio Diffusion Sorel-Tracy inc., licensee of CJSO-FM, Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, from 9010-0181 Québec inc., a corporation wholly owned and controlled by Mr. Claude St-Germain, to 9171-8130 Québec inc., a corporation controlled by its three shareholders.
*Approval of extension from November last year to February this year of deadline for Tiessen Media Inc. to file acceptable frequency and technical parameters for new Eclectic Adult Contemporary FM station in Airdrie and Cochrane approved in August last year.
*Approval of extension to 4 February 2008 of time limit for OlaFarmHollywood Corporation to commence operation of new national English English-language specialty audio programming service authorized in December last year.
*Approval of contour change for new commercial religious AM Radio Chalom, Montréal, Quebec, authorized in March last year.
*Authorization of contour change for Tiessen Media Inc.'s English-language commercial station CFIT-FM, Airdrie, Alberta.
*Authorization of contour change for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBNC-FM, Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador.
*Authorization of contour change for Durham Radio Inc.'s transmitter CJKX-FM-2, Toronto, Ontario.
*Authorization of contour change for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's transmitters CBNM-FM, Marystown; CBN-FM-4, Stephenville; and CBNT-3, Marystown.
Applications with a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of March 16:
* Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a 4,290 watts transmitter at La Sarre and its FM transmitters CBFZ-FM, Témiscaming, and CBFY-FM, Ville-Marie, to the licence of CHLM-FM, Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, to broadcast the programming service of La Première chaîne.
*Application to increase the power of CJDV-FM, Cambridge, Ontario, 2,500 to 6,800 watts.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland nor, as already noted, were any posted in the UK by Ofcom ( the Manchester FM award already reported - see RNW Feb 9 - was not shown on a site search just before we published), but it did publish another Media Literacy Bulletin - this had no specific radio items and concentrated mainly on the Internet - and also a BBC iPlayer Market Impact Assessment:Consumer Survey.
This latter - an 81-page 375 KB PDF - concentrate mostly on TV but did have segments on internet radio services and downloads. As regards listening in general here was a split between BBC and commercial services but for downloads - where the most popular were Music; Comedy; News and current affairs; Sport; and Films - a large majority went to the BBC for news and current affairs or dramas.
The survey says the most valued aspects of the BBC's proposed non-DRM audio download service are that it is provided free of charge, provides access to a wide range of content and that users can control their listening to the content. Most respondents (62%) said they would be unwilling to pay for programmes but 38% that they would pay 50 pence (a dollar) for a half-hour programme with this figure dropping to 31% if the price is doubled and only 16% saying they would pay GBP 2 (USD 4) for a half-hour programme [RNW comment: The survey is imprecise on this and whilst people might be prepared to pay for programmes they particularly want available on a portable player we would not expect most programming to attract much custom).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it will hold its third of six planned public hearings on media ownership issues in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Friday, February 23.
The FCC has also been busy with enforcement actions (See below and RNW Feb 7) and released its fiscal 2008 budget, in which it is asking for USD 313 million (See RNW Feb 6).
Previous ACMA:
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous Ofcom:

ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:

2007-02-11: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) says it will almost double the amount of cross-media content to be produced by ABC Local Radio throughout regional Australia, under a plan announced by ABC Managing Director Mark Scott: It may also start charging for online content under the changes that Scott described as reflecting the "shift of digital and new media from the fringe of our operations ten years ago to the very centre of our Television, Radio and News and Current Affairs output."
Scott said the changes, to be introduced in consultation with staff would "better equip" the corporation for "a world where our audiences increasingly want ABC content on demand - when they want it, not just when we want to schedule it."
Under the changes, the ABC News Online unit is to be integrated with its news and current affairs team into a re-badged ABC News Division; international operations are to be consolidated into one division; ABC TV and ABC2 will be integrated in the Television Division; and its Radio Division will become the Radio and Regional Content Division, a move the corporation says will speed up the process "of turning each of our 60 local radio stations across Australia into hubs for digital content generation - providing both audio and video content for radio broadcasts, local ABC websites and television programming."
The ABC is also creating a new Innovation Division, which will report directly to Scott, as an incubator for digital development across the ABC, and it says it will pursue "the potential for new revenue streams afforded by digital technology, including video-on-demand, the digitisation of the ABC archive and partnerships to disseminate ABC content more widely."
A new commercial division, ABC Commercial, incorporating the current activities of ABC Enterprises, is to be established incorporating the current activities of ABC Enterprises with a brief to pursue new sources of revenue made available through developments in digital technology.
This division will be headed by Lynley Marshall, former Director, ABC New Media and Digital Services.
"These changes," said Scott, "are evolutionary, and are driven by the need to provide ABC audiences with ABC content when and where they want it, and on whatever device they choose - be it traditional TV or radio, online, on their mobile phones or iPods. It is recognition of the fact that Television and Radio is no longer simply a matter of broadcasting to a mass audience, but must encompass online delivery, multichannelling, podcasting, vodcasting and a greater engagement with our audience."
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Scott:

2007-02-11: In more enforcement actions the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed penalties totalling just under USD 100,000, mainly for failing to file renewal applications on time and in some cases continuing operation without a licence. In descending order of amount the penalties included:
USD 14,000 NAL (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time and unauthorized operation after expiry of licence to:
Care Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of KHGN-FM and FM Translator Station K220CN, Kirksville, Missouri.
USD 13,000 NAL to Three Trees Communications, Inc., licensee of Georgia stations WJYF-FM, Nashville; WTIF-AM, Tifton; and WTIF-FM, Omega.
Three Trees was found for two periods - from June 28 through November 30, 2004, and December 1, 2004, through November 30, 2005 - to have failed to engage in any EEO initiatives and to place an EEO public file report in its public file. It also it failed to maintain and file EEO documentation and records. It had not denied the shortcomings but the Licensee's president had explained that he did not fully understand EEO obligations because his principal profession is that of a licensed practicing physician, and not a professional broadcaster, and also said that the unit had fewer than five full-time employees at the time of his acquisition of the Stations on June 28, 2004, and that a consolidation of studios soon thereafter resulted in the unit's employing more than five full-time employees sometime between June 28 and October 1, 2004, thereby triggering the EEO obligations.
USD 10,000 NAL to Gary Toussaint for operating an unlicensed FM transmitter in Mattapan, Massachusetts.
USD 7,000 NAL's (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time and unauthorized operation after expiry of licence to:
Calvary Chapel (Church) Of Menomonie, licensee of Low Power FM Station WRJF-LP, Menomonie, Wisconsin.
Centerville City Schools Board Of Education, licensee of WCWT-FM, Centerville, Ohio.
Heidelberg College, licensee of WHEI-FM, Tiffin, Ohio.
Hope College, licensee of WTHS-FM, Holland, Michigan.
Wayne Kowalski, licensee of FM Translator Station W251AD, Alpena, Michigan.
Richard P. Marburger, licensee of FM Translator Station W232AI, Niles, Ohio.
Northeastern Illinois University, licensee of WZRD-FM, Chicago, Illinois.
Victory And Power Ministries, licensee of WPFC-AM, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
USD 3,500 NAL (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time and unauthorized operation after expiry of licence to Ralla Broadcasting Company, Inc., licensee of WCAZ-AM, Carthage, Illinois.
In this case the licence application was filed only two days after the licence had expired so the FCC opted to impose a penalty of only USD 500 for this part of the offence plus the full USD 3,000 base amount for failure to timely file the renewal application.
USD 1,500 NAL's (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time to:
Faith Fellowship Ministries, Inc., licensee of Low Power FM Station WJHV-LP, Fairbury, Illinois.
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Public Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of WOJB-FM, Reserve, Wisconsin.
Lake Superior State University, licensee of WLSO-FM, Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan.
Living Word Communications, Inc., licensee of FM Translator Station W232AR, Marshfield, Wisconsin.
Northwestern College, licensee of FM Translator Station K218AR, Washburn, Wisconsin.
Tea-Visz, Inc., licensee of FM Translator Station W272AY, Park Falls, Wisconsin.
Previous FCC:

2007-02-10: US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) president and CEO Jeff Haley has said in his first state of the industry speech, delivered to in Dallas on Friday that radio's growth was being held back by misperceptions.
"The only way to change perceptions about Radio is to change experiences with Radio," said Haley, who also noted that radio was now becoming an "audio and a visual medium."
Building what he termed a "New case for Radio", Haley noted that the US audience for radio was around 194 million a day and that the medium was with people all day commenting, "In their offices, on the way to the store, while preparing dinner, driving home, and getting ready for bed,
Radio is right there with them. They can do this because Radio is wireless and Radio is mobile. They choose to do this because Radio provides them with news and entertainment that is relevant to their lives. We are embedded in the local marketplace and in many ways reflect the communities we serve. And, Radio is good company."
Haley then went on to comment on generating revenue for the medium as people faced " media mutation" - "an explosion of new choices, shifting consumer habits, and a melding of all media that is blurring previously distinct lines."
Regarding this he queried whether it mattered how people took their media, commenting, "The simple truth is the consumer will find the content they want, where they want it, and when they want it. And Radio must deliver! ... We are grappling to identify what defines a medium - or, more importantly, what defines Radio in this mutating media world?!
"Radio is the most facile (*At a stretch t may be facile on one reading of the word but this is not a felicitous choice of word as a glance at any dictionary will reveal) and flexible of all media. Whether it's been technology-driven like FM, or format-based like Top 40, Radio has found ways to create great leaps forward. And we are starting to see the signs of another big leap ahead."
In terms of the future Haley spoke of "brand extension via websites, streaming, podcasting, and multicasting" and also the growth of HD digital radio and its potential, not only for extra channels but also as a means to deliver proprietary information or enable purchase of media such as songs.
In RAB's terms he said radio was "sponsored audio content" and he noted that in business terms whilst it took around 29% of a consumer's media day it only took 7% of advertising revenues.
"We need to close that gap," he added. "Imagine if our revenue share matched our share of media consumption? By my accounting, that's $40 billion more advertising dollars. Even I, the ultimate optimist, have trouble envisioning a $60 billion Radio industry. But, we are going to start in that direction."
Haley also referred to a Radio Advertising Effectiveness Lab (RAEL) study, "How Radio Ads Can Complement Internet Campaigns" just released that he said showed the "increased recall from adding Radio to a web campaign is simply astounding."
"This Radio-Internet Synergy works," said Haley, "because Radio has established strong audience loyalty with content that is entrenched in listeners' lifestyles and rooted in their local communities... Radio is an effective one-to-one medium that ignites a very personal and relevant connection with its audience."
He concluded, "As you can tell, I am excited and optimistic about Radio. I've invested in that belief by joining you. The people I have met in this industry are passionate, enthusiastic, and they believe. Together, we're going to sell a lot of Radio."
Previous Haley:
Previous RAB:
RAB web site - carries link to audio and text of Haley speech:
RAB - RAEL study (55 pages 1.99 MB PDF):

2007-02-10: The Media Audit and Ipsos (TMA/Ipsos) have announced that what it terms an "initial core" of five of the largest US radio broadcasters - Clear Channel, Cox, Cumulus, Entercom and Radio One - are to support its investment in the use of Smart Cell Phones for radio ratings with a full market study of the system to be conducted in Houston with some 2,500 participants from October this year until January 2008.
TMA/Ipsos says it could roll out its service to the top 10 markets by the end of 2008 and the top 50 markets by the end of 2009, which is a year before Arbitron's announced PPM roll out.
The announcement comes at a critical time for TMA/Ipsos as Arbitron at the end of last month announced that it had received Media Rating Council accreditation of its rival Portable People Meter (PPM) electronic ratings system (See RNW Jan 30) and is to go live with the PPM in Philadelphia next month. As well as the commercial battle, Arbitron is also involved in a patents suit against TMA/Ipsos over the smart phone that it says breaches its patents (See RNW Oct 12, 2006).
So far Clear Channel, which in June 2005 sent out a request for proposals for what it termed "a state-of-the-art radio ratings system that will accurately and credibly represent radio's true performance and value to advertisers" (See RNW Jun 14, 2005), is still holding out against the PPM but last month Radio One Inc, which had also been holding out, caved in and agreed to encode for the PPM in Philadelphia (See RNW Jan 6).
TMA/Ipsos says the broadcasters, with several more expected to join in, are to spend several million dollars on its system, one of three finalists selected a year ago for further evaluation - Arbitron, and MediaMark Research were the others - by the cross-industry, multi-discipline evaluation team reviewing proposals for a new ratings system.
Media Audit President Bob Jordan said his company had been "studying electronic media measurement for several years" and had found that getting people to cooperate in a panel is critical for reliable and credible research.
"We conducted extensive surveys and tests that indicated the cell phone was by far the preferable monitoring device," he added. "Recent developments with the Smart Cell Phone meant that we were able to take advantage of cell phone technology for an advanced monitoring system. Our studies show that the cell phone will dramatically improve the accuracy of the information being collected."
His colleague Jim Higginbotham, Chairman and head of research at The Media Audit, said, "Advertisers and their ad agencies want multi-media measurement so they can see radio in the context of the multi-media environment and that is what the Smart Cell Phone system will deliver."
Speculation persists that the radio companies are using the Smart Cell Phone as part of negotiations to keep down the price of the PPM and the new system would have to gain Media Rating Council approval, throwing up doubts about the schedule TMA/Ipsos is proposing for its roll-out.
Arbitron meanwhile has also challenged the schedule, commenting in a statement to Media Week, "We've found from long experience with the radio industry that a three or four month test will not provide the information that industry demands in order to make a decision about the validity of a ratings system. No one knows better than Arbitron that there is a very long road to travel between the announcement of your very first test and the deployment of a service that delivers MRC-accredited radio ratings."
RNW comment: Although we have commented a number of times in the past about the technology concerned - finding a number of positives in the Smart phone system - it does seem to us that Arbitron has done a fairly good job for itself in sewing up commitments from advertisers, agencies and broadcasters and thus has a fairly commanding lead.
We do not favour monopolies, which is effectively what Arbitron now has, but have our doubts as to the commitment of the radio companies to a competing ratings system. Advertisers would obviously prefer a single system for convenience reasons if nothing else but we can see no overwhelming reason not to have two systems in use and if the broadcasters hold their nerves there could be an interesting situation. Despite our doubts over which is the better technology our bets as of now, however, are on Arbitron.

Previous Arbitron:
Previous Jordan:
Previous Media Audit/Ipsos:
Previous Media Rating Council:
Media Week report:

2007-02-10: The BBC has announced plans for a Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) trial in Devon to start at the end of April and also an expansion of its Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) network to which it is to add ten more transmitters, most of them to go into service by that time.
The new transmitters will extend DAB cover in Glasgow and Gwent, Northumberland and Nottinghamshire, and Suffolk and the South Downs: Two of them have already been commissioned - one located at Christchurch and the other at Sergeant's Law - and extend the coverage of the DAB network around Newport, Gwent and South West Glasgow and Dumbarton respectively- whilst seven more should be in service by the end of April.
These will be in Puttocks Hill (extending services to Bury St Edmunds); Stoke Holy Cross (extending services to Norwich and parts of East Norfolk); Burton Down (extending services to Arundel and the South Downs); Chatton (extending services to Alnwick and East Northumberland); Newhaven (extending services to Newhaven); Fishponds Hill (extending services to Mansfield); and Acklam Wold (extending services to York and the East Riding of Yorkshire). In addition the BBC is planning a transmitter in the Isle of Man to cover Douglas and the southern part of the island.
They are being supplied by Arqiva as part of a GBP 1.8 billion ( USD 3.5 billion ) radio and TV transmission agreement with the BBC announced last year: They are the first Arqiva has set up for the BBC although it has a long history of building and operating transmitters for commercial radio stations.
The DRM trial will use the 855 kHz. Currently used by BBC Radio Devon in the Plymouth area meaning listeners will have to re-tune to FM or DAB in the area affected: Other AM transmissions of the station will be unaffected.
It will be conducted by the BBC and National Grid Wireless (NGW) to allow them to assess the practicality of digital radio services in the medium-wave bands and receivers capable of receiving DRM as well as DAB and FM will be provided to a panel to be recruited from listeners to Radio Devon and users of to give feedback on the system. The trial, results from which are to be published by the middle of next year, is the first of its kind in the UK but DRM is already used by BBC World Service for some parts of Western Europe and North Africa.
John Ward, Director of Network Operations and Engineering at National Grid Wireless, commented of it, "We have a track record of being at the forefront of new developments in broadcast technology and this trial maintains our commitment to innovation. Importantly this trial will enable us to explore the practicalities of establishing domestic DRM broadcasting that could, in the future, complement existing radio services."
John Allen, Head of New Services for BBC English Regions, added, "The trial will help us understand whether DRM has a role to play in the all-digital future for BBC Local Radio in the UK. We're really excited that BBC Radio Devon is going to be involved in this trial, as it confirms that BBC Local Radio is no stranger to technological innovation."
Previous Arqiva:
Previous BBC:
Previous DRM:

2007-02-09: The UK Guardian reports that Guardian Media Group Radio's Rock Talk has been awarded the new Manchester FM licence, beating ten other bids including competing talk bids are from Chrysalis and Emap plus a second Chrysalis bid with its adult rock format "The Arrow" "(See RNW Oct 7, 2006).
The decision has not yet been posted by Ofcom but the paper, owned by the same parent, quoted GMG Radio chief executive, John Myers as saying the award would be "another nail in the coffin for the BBC" as the company would "be targeting BBC Radio Manchester."
"I think one of the reasons Ofcom awarded us the licence is that we have the facilities in the north-west to make it work," he added, commenting, "At last Ofcom has decided to award something totally different. The bid led on the whole GMG ethos of offering something different. It is an opportunity to do speech at peak time with classic rock around it. It is a totally new format for Britain."
The Guardian also quoted Chrysalis Radio chief executive, Phil Riley, as saying he was "bemused" by Ofcom's decision and adding, "I am bitterly disappointed. I have to be honest and say I think the format that has won is bizarre. Speech during the day and rock music at night - I cannot get my head round why anyone would want to listen to that… I am bemused. Having put in bids for a rock music station and a talk station, they have gone for a format that does both. With two stations and a newspaper [the Manchester Evening News] in the north-west, GMG undoubtedly has the resources, but we have the resources and so does Emap."
The paper also says Ofcom has awarded the new FM for Herefordshire and Monmouthshire, for which there were two applications (See RNW Licence News Nov 19, 2006) to Herefordshire & Monmouthshire Classic Hits.
The news of the award was also a hit for Emap which this week in an update "on operational efficiency reviews and trading" warned of difficulties ahead.
"In consumer media, and Radio in particular," it said, "recent market conditions have been weaker than anticipated. As a result, the outcome for the current financial year is likely to be toward the bottom end of market expectation."
Looking ahead Emap did not see the positives reported by Chrysalis earlier in the week (See RNW Feb 6), commenting, "We anticipate that trading conditions in consumer media markets will remain challenging in 2007/08, although the prospects for B2B are robust. The operating performance for Consumer Magazines and Radio in that year, even with some initial benefits from the efficiency reviews, is likely to be below market expectations."
Concerning its efficiency reviews, Emap says these are expected to generate cost savings in excess of GBP 20 million (USD 40 million) per annum and adds that the savings will be delivered over the next two financial years, with the full benefit being achieved in the 2008/09 financial year. There will be one-off costs of up to GBP 30 million (USD 60 million), plus capital investments of some GBP 10 million (USD 20 million) in relation to new systems and buildings.
Group Chief Executive Tom Moloney said, "The management actions we are taking are a positive response to prevailing market conditions and will allow us to continue our strategy of developing strong media brands across platforms. The fact we have identified substantial savings, given that we already operate on industry leading margins, signifies the progressive approach we are taking to operational efficiency. Recent acquisitions are improving our technology capability and we are migrating more resource to faster growth opportunities, particularly digital."
The markets initially marked Emap shares down and they reached a low of 739 pence compared to starting the week at 812.5 pence but then recovered somewhat, ending Thursday at 778.5 pence.
Previous Chrysalis:
Previous Emap:
Previous Guardian Media Group:
Previous Moloney:
Previous Myers:
Previous Ofcom:
Previous Riley:
UK Guardian

2007-02-09: Interep has appointed David Kennedy, former President and CEO of Susquehanna Media Co., as its CEO and Vice Chairman, taking over the former post from Ralph Guild, who will become non-executive Chairman of the radio sales and marketing company.
Guild, who will continue to chair the company's Board of Directors, said in a release, "As we announced several months ago, Interep has been searching for a new Chief Executive Officer to lead Interep's day-to-day operations, and help redefine our strategic direction in a changing media world. During this search, we interviewed a broad spectrum of candidates from a variety of media disciplines. Without question, out of all of the candidates, David Kennedy stood out in his vision for our company, and his proven track-record as a leader in the radio industry. I could not be more delighted that he has accepted this new role with Interep… David has a clear vision of what it will take to grow radio revenue in today's environment, and he has the experience, management skills and relationships to make it happen."
Kennedy, who has more than 35 years of radio industry experience, began his career with Susquehanna as a staff announcer at WLQR-Toledo in 1973 and then held a series of positions with the company until he was appointed President and CEO in 2004: Susquehanna was subsequently sold last year by its parent to a private partnership - Cumulus Media Partners, LLC - set up by Cumulus Media, Inc., Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners, in a USD 1.2 billion announced in 2005 (See RNW Nov 1 , 2005).
He has held various industry posts including chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Joint Board of Directors and NAB Radio Board; and chairman of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) Board of Directors and of its finance committee.
In his new role he Kennedy will lead all of Interep's divisions, including the radio representation firms, the Hispanic television rep firm, Interep Interactive and related sales consultancies. In addition, he will guide the company's strategic direction, including identifying growth prospects and investment opportunities.
Kennedy commented, "For most of my career in broadcasting, I have admired the work of Ralph Guild as he and his outstanding people have advanced the interests of broadcasters and advertisers alike. Susquehanna was a client of Interep for over a decade, and during that time I was impressed by the quality and passion of Interep's sales force, the commitment of its management team, and the spirit of innovation that lives at the heart of the company."
He added, "I look forward to leading Interep to the next phase of its growth cycle with great optimism and excitement. There is hard work to be done, and there is tremendous opportunity to build upon Interep's core strengths and fully participate in the burgeoning opportunities presented by HD Radio, complementary audio technologies and digital platforms, and strategic integration of radio and other media."
Interep's shares ended Thursday unchanged at 30 cents, the price they have been static at this year.
Previous Guild:
Previous Interep:
Previous Kennedy:

2007-02-08: New York realtor Stephen Green, founder and chairman of SL Green Realty Corp.,, is to pay USD 4.25 million for Air America Radio according to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York that say his offer was USD 1.25 million more than any other.
The network, which has lost money since it went on air in 2004, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October last year (See RNW Oct 14 , 2006) : Last month its owner Piquant LLC announced that it had signed letters of intent for the sale, which is subject to the court's approval (See RNW Jan 30).
Previous Air America/Piquant:
Business Week/Associated Press report:

2007-02-08: A first-time writer from Rochdale in Lancashire has won the eighth biennial Alfred Bradley Bursary Award for radio drama from northern-based writers who have not yet had a BBC radio drama commission. It is named after former BBC radio producer Alfred Bradley who in a 24 year career in Leeds and Manchester helped launch the careers of Alan Plater, Keith Waterhouse, Alan Ayckbourn, Stan Barstow and Alun Owen.
Winner Mark Shand, who recently completed a diploma in Writing for Performance from the University of Bristol, in his first full-length radio drama "Abigail Adams" tells the story of a misfit teenager who, as she falls from the top of her apartment block, contemplates why she's turned out how she has - from her beloved linen suit and red trainers to her penchant for strong tea.
Jeremy Howe, judge and Commissioning Editor, said of the work, "We are delighted to be premiering Mark Shand's delightful, witty, life affirming play Abigail Adams on the network. He is a writer to watch, I'm sure the kind of writer Alfred Bradley himself would have championed."
The winner was selected from approaching 400 entries and receives a GBP 1,000 (USD 2,000) bursary and the opportunity to develop future ideas into commissions as well as the winning play being broadcast on the station.
Bursaries of the same amount go to three runners-up , which this year were "The Votes Are In" by Andrew Turner; "Cobwebs" by David Hodgson; and "James And Jack" by Mark Griffiths, and in addition two other dramatists Boff Whalley, writer of "Oh Bondage, Up Yours" and Deborah Wain, writer of "Fifteen" receive GBP 500 ( USD 1,000). All the writers will be mentored in the BBC Radio Drama Department for a year.
Although the judges were told they would have to select from a shortlist of five, the department found itself unable to narrow down the selection so far and sent 13 plays to the judges, who agreed that all 13 should be considered for future commissions.
Previous BBC:

2007-02-08: Most Voice of America (VOA) English language broadcasts as well as radio programmes in 12 languages - Albanian, Bosnian, Cantonese, Croatian, Georgian, Greek, Hindi, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, Thai, and Uzbek - would be cut under President Bush's 2008 budget plan according to the organization.
It says that the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors wants to increase programming in some languages - plans call for increased broadcasts to North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, as well as continuing a daily Somali program set to begin next week - but would eliminate all of its 14 hours per day of VOA NewsNow English broadcasting, and would continue English-to-Africa programs and the Special English broadcasts that use a limited vocabulary.
A similar plan was proposed in the 2007 budget, which has to be approved by Congress and never was. BBC World Service radio has already ended broadcasting in a number of languages to help fund an Arabic language TV service (See RNW Oct 26, 2005).
Previous VOA:
VOA report:

2007-02-08: CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves has told a conference sponsored by Common Sense Media and the Aspen Institute that increased fines for broadcast indecency introduced last year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would chill freedom of speech but Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps has said he thought it very unlikely maximum penalties would be imposed on smaller stations.
Moonves said the penalty increase - tenfold to a maximum USD 325,000 per incident - was unfair and added, "People are more afraid of what they put on air."
Copps, asked about the comment by the Reuters agency said, "Those fines are maximum fines. I would be totally amazed if the FCC would impose the highest fines on a smaller station."
RNW comment: Both parties would appear to be correct here. Stations certainly will be more afraid of what they put on air and there will be some decisions made, particularly in the area of news cover that will be very difficult to defend albeit we wonder how many may be leaked to point up the flaws in the FCC rules.
At the same time a penalty is obviously normally far more severe in its effects on a small station that has no corporate backing and whose output would thus be more effected.
We still await an intelligent debate in the US about exactly what should be censored - for that is effectively what the rules do - particularly in terms of news events and live broadcasts as the rules as currently interpreted could certainly allow a small group to effectively bar news cover of an event with random injections of an obscene comment (And yes, we have seen this happen albeit that may not have been the intent but it did lead to a fairly worthy news story being reduced to a "read" rather than a report.)

Previous CBS:
Previous Copps:
Previous FCC:
Previous Moonves:
Reuters report:

2007-02-07: In another run of enforcement decisions the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed penalties totalling more than USD 85,000, mainly for failing to file renewal applications on time although the highest single penalty went to Entravision for failing to comply with radio frequency radiation (RFR) maximum permissible exposure (MPE)limits.
In descending order of amount the penalties included:
USD 25,000 penalty to Entravision for breaches at is WVEA-LP, Tampa, Florida: Entravision had certified that the station was in compliance with limits in connection with an application for a minor change at its facilities and said access to the transmitting site would be restricted and properly marked with warning signs and that an agreement among the licensees at Park Tower containing appropriate measures to assure worker safety would be in effect in the event that workers or authorized personnel enter the restricted area.
Subsequent inspections showed that access to the main rooftop area was restricted to individuals with special keycards and signs on the rooftop access doors stated that areas on the rooftop exceed the Commission's public RFR limits but did not indicate which areas on the rooftop exceeded the public or general population RFR limits.
The penthouse rooftop was restricted by an additional lock controlled by the front desk and accessed without passing by the warning signs on the main rooftop access doors and agents found no RFR warning signs found on the penthouse rooftop, penthouse rooftop access door to the stairwell, inside the stairwell, or on the hatch itself. They also found that approximately 75% of the penthouse rooftop exceeded the general population/uncontrolled RFR MPE limit and an unmarked and un-posted area within an 8-10 foot radius of a tower containing a UHF TV antenna, later identified as belonging to station WVEA-LP, exceeding the occupational/controlled RFR MPE limit and which also greatly exceeded the general population/uncontrolled RFR MPE limit.
Entravision did not dispute the readings but argued after receiving a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) that the RFR present on the penthouse roof should be treated under the occupational/controlled MPE limits for RFR, not the general population limits and that it had made good faith efforts to comply with the requests made by Tampa Office agents during and after the inspections conducted by that office.
The FCC was having none of it, rejected the arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
USD 14,000 NAL's (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time and unauthorized operation after expiry of licence to:
Pikes Peak Community College, licensee of FM Translator Stations, K268AR, Pueblo, Colorado, and K206BZ, Manitou Springs, Colorado.
Lake County TV-FM, Inc. licensee of FM Translator Stations K228AG and K280DZ, Leadville, Colorado.
Kalispell Christian Radio Fellowship, Inc. licensee of KALS-FM, Kalispell, Montana and FM Translator Station K257BR, Polson, Montana.
*USD 10,000 penalty to Infinity Broadcasting Corporation of Florida (CBS Radio) licensee of WQYK-FM, St. Petersburg, for failing to comply with the Commission's RFR MPE limits. Infinity's facilities were at the same Park Tower site as those of Entravision and it had been issued with an NAL for USD 20,000 against which it appealed, arguing among other things that its breaches were not wilful and that there was no basis for upwards adjustment of the forfeiture because that had been done in connection with another unpaid forfeiture which was the subject of pending litigation.
It also argued that it was actually a victim of Entravision's violation.
The FCC accepted the argument concerning the increase from the base penalty of USD 10,000 but rejected the other arguments and halved the penalty.
*USD 10,000 penalty to Visionary Related Entertainment, L.L.C., licensee of KAOI-FM, in Wailuku, Hawaii, for failing to comply with the Commission's RFR MPE limits. Visionary argued that it believed in good faith, its site was in a remote non-accessible area with adequate warning signs and that the area that exceeded the RFR MPE limits was not accessible to the public but the FCC rejected the arguments and confirmed the penalty.
USD 7,000 NAL's (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time and unauthorized operation after expiry of licence to:
Gallatin Valley Witness, Inc. licensee of KCMM- FM, Belgrade, Montana.
Eddie Floyd licensee of FM Translator Station K273AF, Carson City, Nevada
USD 1,500 NAL's (along with licence renewal) for failure to file a licence renewal on time to:
Caribou County TV Association, licensee of FM Translator Station K272AG, Soda Springs, Idaho.
B. Ray Carpenter, licensee of FM Translator Station K272AQ, St. George, Utah.
Dillon N.P.R., licensee of FM Translator Station K288DZ, Dillon, Montana.
Greater Copper Valley Communications, Inc., licensee of FM Translator Station K296EL, Glennallen, Alaska.
Great Round-Up Cowboy Church. licensee of Low Power FM. KGRU-LP, Ellensburg, Washington.
Lakota Communications, Inc., licensee of KILI-FM, Porcupine, South Dakota
Life On The Way Communications, Inc., licensee of FM Translator Station K203CH, Juneau, Alaska.
Pribilof School District Board Of Education, licensee of KUHB-FM, St. Paul, Alaska.
Previous FCC:

2007-02-07: Legendary British folk group Pentangle re-formed after nearly four decades to perform and receive the Lifetime Achievement award at this year's BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, the eighth, highlights of which are to be aired this evening by the station.
Their award, presented by Sir David Attenborough, was received by original band members Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Jacqui McShee, Terry Cox and Danny Thompson at The Brewery in London.
Amongst other awards, Seth Lakeman took the Folk Singer of the Year and Best Album awards; Chris Thile, the Musician of the Year award; Karine Polwart the Best Original Song (Daisy) awards; eleven-piece folk big band Bellowhead the Best Group and Best Live Act awards, and Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick won Best Duo.
Previous BBC:

2007-02-07: Indian FM company Radio Today, which is preparing to launch stations in Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay) and Kolkata (Calcutta) next month is in talks with overseas media companies over selling a 20% state - the maximum allowed under Indian law - in its equity to a foreign strategic investor according to
It adds that the plan is a template other FM radio companies are keen to adopt and notes previous deals including the purchase of a stake in Mid Day Multimedia by BBC Worldwide; Hindustan Times Media's tie-up with Virgin; investment by US-based Balfour Capital LLC in Noble Broadcasting Corporation, the FM radio-arm of the Chennai based Kumudham Publications; and a deal awaiting FIPB (foreign investment promotion board) approval that would allow Star to take 20% of Radio City brand operator Music Broadcast.
Previous Indian Radio: report:

2007-02-06: UK Chrysalis Group has reported radio revenues in January this year up 5% year-on-year in contrast to a 10% fall in the four months to the end of 2006 - which it says it believes is in line with the UK commercial radio sector as a whole - and chairman Chris Wright says it is now "well positioned to meet the Board's expectation of flat year-on-year revenues for Chrysalis Radio in the 2007 financial year as a whole."
Wright noted that the division had benefited both from an improvement in the radio advertising market coupled with strong ratings figures that among other things showed Heart as the leading London commercial station (See RNW Feb 1).
Regarding other divisions Wright said its music publishing business is starting to see the initial royalty receipts from the international chart successes of the second half of the 2006 financial year, which included hit albums from Gnarls Barkley, The Raconteurs, Ray LaMontagne, Feeder and The Dixie Chicks and its "Lasgo Chrysalis also continues to perform in line with the Board's expectations, in spite of the ongoing weakness in the retail sector of the entertainment products market."
The Financial Times is again reporting that Chrysalis could spin off its radio division, saying that Wright, who is the largest shareholder with 26% of the company, is coming round to the view propounded by its second largest shareholder, Shroder, which has 25%, that there is no synergy between divisions and a split would increase its value.
Chrysalis has made attempts to grow the radio division but failed in an attempt to buy Guardian Media Group (GMG) two years ago although it did buy East Midlands station 106 Century FM from Capital Radio for GBP 29.5 million (then USD 55.5 million- See RNW May 10, 2005) , and it has re-branded as a Heart station
It was overtaken in UK radio rankings by GMG last year when GCap Media sold GMG two Century stations - the Gateshead -based North East station and Manchester-based North West station - for GBP 60 million (then USD 112million): It was later reported that Chrysalis made a higher bid (See RNW Oct 30, 2006).
Chrysalis has a strategy of concentrating on the radio and music divisions and disposals have included its books division (See RNW Nov 15, 2005) and its half-interest in Air Studios, the Hampstead, London, based recording studio business (See RNW Feb 9, 2006).
The failure to grow the radio business amid pressures for consolidation in the industry has led to a number of suggestions of a sale with Emmis and UTV amongst those tipped as likely to be interested.
Previous Chrysalis:
Previous Wright:
Financial Times report (Subscription required):

2007-02-06: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is asking for USD 313,000,000 in its fiscal 2008 budget with one highlighted request for USD 1.5 million for a campaign to educate consumers about the impact and benefits of the transition to Digital Television.
The budget figure also includes USD 5 million for mandatory salary and benefit cost increases for its staff - the equivalent of 1,919 full-time posts - and provides for a pay rise that came into effect last month and partial funding for an estimated 3% pay rise in January next year.
The budget, posted as a 3.7 Mb 133 page PDF lists strategic goals in the areas of expanding Broadband; fostering Competition; efficient use of Spectrum; promoting Media diversity; strengthening Public Safety and Homeland Security; and Modernizing the Commission.
Regarding the last the commission says it will "strive to be a highly productive, adaptive, and innovative organization that maximizes the benefit to stakeholders, staff, and management from effective systems, processes, resources, and organizational culture. The Commission will continue to fulfil its statutory responsibility emphasizing efficient and effective performance and results, as well as compliance with laws and regulations, through excellent management. The FCC will also strive to ensure that it has the appropriate mix of expert, well-prepared staff; that it maximizes the benefits of technology in its programs; and that it uses other best management practices to meet the mission-critical challenges ahead. To support this goal, the FCC is requesting additional funds to strengthen its finance and accounting processes by transitioning to a modern core financial information system beginning in FY 2008.
Previous FCC:
FCC budget (3.7 MB PDF):

2007-02-06: Elmie Investments Pty Ltd has sold five stations that it bought in September 2005 with the aid of an AUD 9 million (then USD 6.7 million) loan from Macquarie Regional Radioworks (MRRW) and that became the subject of an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA - See RNW Jun 21 2005).
Elmie, owned by former Australian Productivity Commissioner Stuart Simson, bought the stations - 4EL Cairns, 4AA Mackay and 3EL Maryborough, all in Queensland; 3ML Mildura, Victoria; and 6EL Bunbury Western Australia - from AMI Radio and the ACMA was investigating them on the basis of issues of control: If Macquarie was in a position to control the stations it would have breached Australian media ownership rules because of the stations MRRW controlled in the same areas - 4HOT and 4RGC in Cairns; 4MKY and 4RGM in Mackay; 3CV and 3BBO in Bendigo/Maryborough; 6BET and 6BUN in Bunbury; and 3MDA and 3RMR in Mildura.
The Australian reporting on the sale for an undisclosed sum quotes Simson as saying that there was no link to the ACMA report - the paper says a copy of the draft report, which was completed late last year was given to Elmie's lawyers - and adding, "It was a commercially sensible thing to do and had nothing to do with ACMA."
The stations were sold to Prime TV, which bought 4EL Cairns and 4AA Mackay; Janet Cameron's Grant Broadcasters, which bought 3CV in central Victoria and 3MA Mildura (Her company now controls 31 radio licences including stations in Ballarat and Geelong in Victoria); and West Australian Newspapers, which bought 6EL Bunbury to add to its Red FM and Sprit FM holdings, which broadcast to regional Western Australia.
Previous ACMA:
Previous Macquarie Bank/Macquarie Regional Radio:
The Australian report:

2007-02-05: We start this week's look at print comment on radio on what seems nowadays to be rather unusual - an upbeat note about the future of the medium: The story, of course is not from the USA, but from the UK where most recent radio ratings released last week (See RNW Feb 1) show the medium attracting a record number of listeners in light of which we decided to devote this week's comment to UK material.
The figures led to a number of reports noting that radio is maintaining its strength in a time of technological change, indeed because of it to a degree as indicated by the headline over Terry Kirby's report in the UK Independent - "Radio enters a new golden age as digital use takes off."
Kirby notes that the rise in listeners is "is attributed to growing numbers of people tuning in on the internet, digital television and mobile phones" and goes on to detail some of the figures - almost 8% of adults now listening to radio on their mobile phones, a 24% year-on-year increase, a 10% rise in listening via the internet and 9% rise in listening through digital TV platforms.
Listening through podcasts - likely to increase as the BBC Trust is now considering, and consulting about, the future of the corporation's i-player plans - went up 15% quarter -on-quarter and nearly a fifth of all portable player owners now say they listen to downloads.
Kirby after running through some of the details from the survey quotes broadcasting critic and writer Jane Thynne on the benefits to (BBC) radio as opposed to TV from digital, saying, "The figures show that early adopters are prepared to embrace what has traditionally been seen as the more fustier of mediums. Radio, as something which is intensely personal, is also a much more suitable medium for podcasting than television... It's essentially what radio has been doing for a long while anyway."
We also noted some perceptive comment on the figures from James Cridland, Virgin Radio's digital media supreme, on his blog. In particular he noted of internet listening that it it's a "national radio success story", writing, "There is no growth in non-UK stations over four years; there's no growth of out-of-area stations; and local stations are only growing slightly. This is interesting, since it shows that internet listening is not, as many people surmise, driven by massive extra choice or out-of-area stations. Instead, people tune in to the same stations online as they do elsewhere (albeit they may be listening to new, digital, national stations). The internet is just another platform (something I've been saying for years).
Earlier in his blog writing after the Oxford Media Conference, Cridland had made the point that "radio is already multi-platform" and also that the emphasis on the young was perhaps misplaced- "Older people still consume radio in new and exciting ways: multi-platform is not just a young preserve. It's a fact that out of everyone in the UK using the internet right now, 20% of them are listening to the radio. Nearly 60% of people check things out on the internet right after they hear them on the radio. Radio tells people what to type into the Google search box."
In business terms, Cridland makes the point that developments may mean that there is convergence in technological terms, but this is not true of advertising agencies, who are stuck in a "media specific" rut to a large degree; not true of content - he notes: "To launch a satellite-only radio station, I have to pay three times as much to play records than if I am on FM: yet it's consumed in exactly the same way. To launch an internet radio station can cost hundreds of times more"; and not true of regulation- "The rules for product placement, for example, are vastly different between radio and television - yet on my Freeview box, TV sits next to radio, and it's consumed in the same way: but regulated very differently. (And no, I'm not arguing for radio's regulation to be tighter)."
The blog contains much more analysis but moving away from the generally welcomed technological change to the less welcomed programming changes by BBC Radio that have again led to protests by listeners, particularly at the moment about BBC's Radio 2 and 3.
Commenting on changes at the former, and in particular Sunday changes that include the decision to drop "Your Hundred Best Tunes" from the station's output, Gillian Reynolds in The Daily Telegraph suggests the protests have to do "with the nature of radio."
"When we like what we hear, we grow loyal to it," she continues. "We take ownership of the programmes, believe they belong to us, build a personal relationship with the people who present them, make spaces in our day to be with them...Radio is like that. Listening is as personal as reading, an active pursuit. It makes pictures in the mind, awakens memories, connects the past with the present, vividly. This is why it works as an advertising medium. All loyal listeners dread change in case it also means loss."
Reynolds also takes up the issue of changes in terms of demographic appeal, writing that listeners over 60 "might have been made to feel progressively less welcome."
She then takes up the issues of the power of the station - which she says in the past decade has "become not only the biggest but the sharpest, the shiniest, the one with the power to make new artists" and then goes on, "In becoming such a force, it has incurred the deadly enmity of commercial radio. In making older listeners feel unwanted, it is, as a public-service network, taking a bigger risk."
Controller Lesley Douglas writes Reynolds, had to face the challenge from "that dratted baby-boomer generation, those born in the decade after the war who have dominated social change ever since. Anyone born before 1945 has grown used to being shoved aside by them, but now they are hitting their 60s and casting an even longer shadow. Pirate radio was their romance. Punk, to them, is nostalgia. Douglas has successfully captured this massive audience segment by making them feel young again, in touch, up to the mark."
Not that Reynolds is totalling in favour, particularly of those Sunday scheduling changes of which she comments in part, "The moving of Russell Davies from 2.30pm to 9pm was the signal. The music on this intelligent, informed, associative programme sometimes goes back as far as the 1930s. That's dinosaur time for the loon-pant generation. It's their loss. This is a great show. It makes you laugh, sing, think. Where else would you hear that Les Paul, father of multi-tracking, is 91 and still playing? I'll follow wherever it goes."
But for the replacement for Hundred Best Tunes it's a positive response: She says of "Alan Titchmarsh with Melodies for You" that she loved it.
On then to suggested listening and first BBC Radio 4 and "Feedback", whose most recent edition included comment both about the development of the BBC i-Player (we think there's a realistic chance of pretty well all BBC radio content except for that which could hit commercial company sales such as classical music and audio books being made available and would suggest that those who value the idea send appropriate comments to the BBC Trust through its consultations website) and about programming changes.
Next also from Radio 4 we suggest this week's 15:45 GMT slot that sees the corporation airing a co-production with the Open University "The Making of Modern Medicine", a new narrative history series exploring over 2,000 years of western medicine, written and presented by medical historian Andrew Cunningham.
Also from Radio 4 we'd suggest this morning at 11:00 "A Very Special Relationship" - no, not the UK and US but New Labour and News International, and specifically between Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch and also from yesterday "In Business " that looked at the search for new sources of energy.
In particular we noted comments in this programme, and also from Saturday's "Science Show" on ABC Radio National concerning the practicalities of expanding use of corn ethanol. It would seem to be a case of President Bush's comments on the matter being the usual PR exaggeration, pork and politics rather than one of looking at the evidence in terms of how much oil can be replaced using "grown" sources of energy: We rather suspect the most accurate comment from one speaker in the BBC programme was that the world needs either four billion less people or to cut down on energy use. Not a vote winner of course.
Changing tack and moving to drama and literature we suggest BBC Radio 4's "Classic Serial", which is currently "The Mahabharata", the South Asian classic dramatized by Jatinder Verma and Claudia Mayer, and BBC Radio 3's "Drama on 3" which on Sunday was "Two Men from Delft" by Stephen Wakelam. It was followed on air by the third and final part of "The Struggle for Language" series that this week looked at Afrikaans.
Still with language and ideas and on Friday at 20:30 GMT the station's "20 minutes" in the "Performance on 3" interval features "The Real War of the Worlds", a look at the political ideas of HG Wells including comment from former Labour Party leader Michael Foot and author Fay Weldon and later at 22:00 GMT has the last of Ian McMillan's six Writing Labs - this one on "Plotting a Thriller" looks at just that.
Sticking with Radio 3 but moving to music, we'd note that next Saturday at 09:00 the station starts its "The Tchaikovsky Experience" week in which it will devote its airtime to broadcasting the complete works of Tchaikovsky alongside the complete works of Stravinsky.
Tonight we'd suggest a listen to "Performance on Three" entitled "Persepolis: Discovering the Music of Iran", a concert that features the BBC Symphony Orchestra with music including Traditional Persian music from the Dastan Ensemble; Amir Tafreshipour's Harp Concerto; Szymanowski's Three Love Songs of Hafiz; Hormoz Farhat's Hommage a Lamartine; and Aminollah Hossein's Persepolis Symphony.
And also with music but this time BBC Radio 2, we note that tomorrow sees the station again broadcasting "Theme Time Radio Hour with Dylan" (available to UK listeners only) followed by "Holloway Dreams: Joe Meek Story", the first of a three-part series telling the story of record producer and sonic innovator Joe Meek
Then on Wednesday the station has - at 1900 GMT - Mike Harding presenting highlights of the 2007 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ceremony and on Friday it has Frank Renton presenting the first semi-final of BBC Radio 2's Young Brass Soloist 2007 competition.
RNW note - We are still going through some recordings and will update listening suggestions later.
Previous Columnists:
Previous Reynolds:
James Cridland Blog:
UK Independent -Kirby:
UK Telegraph - Reynolds:

2007-02-05: Miriam Ní Mheachair, representing Spin 1038, has won the Réalt DJ 2006 competition that is run in association with the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and Foras na Gaeilge: Her prize included gift vouchers to a total of Euros 1,000 (USD 1,300) and the opportunity to broadcast on air on Spin 1038 plus a chance to appear on Pop 4, TG4's pop music chart show.
The competition, now in its third year, gives aspiring DJ's an opportunity to broadcast in Irish on their local stations and nine stations took part - Spin 1038, Mid West Radio, FM104, 98FM, WLRFM, Radio Kerry, South East Radio, Midlands 103 and Ocean FM.
Commenting on the announcement, BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said he would "like to pay tribute to both the stations involved for their commitment and enthusiasm and to the adjudicators of the competition," adding, "The Commission is proud to be associated with Réalt DJ, one of the initiatives of the Irish Language Development Committee, and we look forward to its continued success."
A review of the Réalt DJ initiative has recently been conducted by the Irish Language Development Committee which involves the BCI, Foras na Gaeilge and representatives of the commercial and community radio sectors and it is expected that revised details for the 2007/2008 academic year will soon be announced.
Previous BCI:
Previous O'Keeffe:

2007-02-05: Former Capital Radio breakfast host Chris Tarrant, who left the station in 2004 (See RNW Apr 2, 2004) is to make a return to the airwaves to host a Sunday evening auction-style show "Small Price 2 Pay" on UBC's Classic Gold digital station.
Tarrant, now better known as host of the TV show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?", is facing a large divorce bill following an acrimonious separation from his second wife Ingrid after she discovered he had been having an affair.
The host has a one-month contract for the show, his first regular radio work since he left Capital Radio although he has done one-off work.
Previous UBC:
Previous Tarrant:

2007-02-04: Politics in the form of the change to Democrats controlling both House of Congress may lead to significant changes in the attitude to media regulation in the US and the first stirrings came last week when the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing "Assessing the Communications Marketplace: A View from the FCC" (See RNW Feb 2). In terms of actual decisions, the US was also at the fore with enforcement penalties levied or proposed topping USD 225,000.
In Australia, the sole radio decision from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) was a ruling ruled that Macquarie Network's Sydney talk station 2GB breached Australia's Commercial Radio Code of Practice by broadcasting material that was likely to vilify people of Lebanese background on the basis of ethnicity (See RNW Feb 1).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a steady week with a number of routine radio decisions in the mix. They included (In order of province):
British Columbia:
*Approval of application by Four Senses Entertainment Inc. to acquire the assets of the low-power, English-language, tourist information CFTW-FM, Whistler. The CRTC denied the applicant's request to amend the current licence to expand the programming services to offer "entertaining spoken word" programming.
British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Yukon:
*Approval of application by Klondike Broadcasting Company Limited to operate a new 48 watts transmitter at Atlin, British Columbia, and a new 44 watts transmitter at Inuvik, Northwest Territories, to the licence of CKRW-FM, Whitehorse.
*Issuance of mandatory order directing CJWV-FM, Winnipeg, to comply at all times with regulations relating to the broadcast of Canadian music, the submission of logger tapes and other information, and to comply with the conditions of CJWV-FM's licence concerning the broadcast of news, music drawn from Category 3, and formal educational programming and also within 60 days to file reports concerning its plans to ensure future compliance.
The CRTC had received complaints about the instructional campus station's programming and last year summoned licensee Harmony Broadcasting Corporation to a public hearing to show cause why such mandatory orders should not be issued.
Interventions made to the Commission were from one individual, a former employee, who accused Harmony of various irregularities and also the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), which took the view that the station was not operating in compliance with the Campus radio policy.
The CRTC said it took the view that "Harmony Broadcasting Corporation's operation of CJWV-FM has focused on the station's music format and its commercial appeal" and said it "remains concerned with whether Harmony is capable of fulfilling the alternative programming mandate for an instructional campus station, beyond its use of a musical format focusing on Urban music" and added, "The Commission is especially concerned with the licensee's apparent reluctance to include students in the day-to-day operation of CJWV-FM, despite the intended fundamental role of an instructional campus radio station in the training of students for careers in broadcasting.
*Approval of frequency change, reduction in antenna height and power increase from 50 watts to 1,000 watts for transmitter CHMY-FM-1 Arnprior that carries the programming of My Broadcasting Corporation's CHMY-FM Renfrew. The change changes the transmitter's status from a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A FM service and MBC says it plans to establish CHMY-FM-1 as a stand-alone radio programming undertaking when it becomes financially viable to do so.
*Approval of conversion of C.J.S.D. Inc.'s CKPR-AM to FM. The new station would be a 100,000 watts English language AC format commercial FM.
There were no radio decisions from Ireland and in the UK the only Ofcom radio notice was its latest broadcasting bulletin that upheld one radio complaint (See RNW Jan 31).
In the US as noted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was on the grill at a Senate Commerce Committee meeting (See RNW Feb 2). The Commission has also been busy with enforcement actions with penalties totalling more than USD 75,00 this month (See below) and more than USD 150,000 at the end of January (See RNW Feb 1).
Previous ACMA:
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous Ofcom:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:

2007-02-04: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has named Dr. Jeffrey Gedmin as its new president: He will take up his post in March replacing Thomas A. Dine, who announced in 2005 that he was to become Chief Executive Officer of the San Francisco Jewish Community (See RNW Jul 31, 2005) but taking over from acting president Jeffrey Timble.
Dr. Gedmin has been Director of the non-profit Aspen Institute in Berlin since 2001 before which he was Executive Director of The New Atlantic Initiative, a coalition of international institutes, politicians, leading journalists and business executives.
Previous RFE/RL:

2007-02-04: What is claimed to be the first radio station in the UK to be run jointly by Jews and Moslems has been launched in Bristol.
Radio Salaam Shalom is part of the "Salaam Shalom" project to, as the station says on its web site, "help encourage dialogue and understanding between the Muslim and Jewish communities in Bristol and beyond."
The online station is the main part of the project funding for which has included GBP 50,000 ( USD 100,000) from the Home Office Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund and also funds from the Community Development Foundation .
The idea came from Jewish and Muslim university students in the area and the station says it says it will be the voice of the "moderate majority." It intends to "broadcast a mixture of music and speech {English language] and focus on the many aspects of Jewish and Muslim life and allow two cultures which have been linked for thousands of years to talk together and share their experiences."
Farooq Siddique, a presenter and member of the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society, told Indian Muslim News he hoped Radio Salaam Shalom would help improve community relations.
"The idea behind the station, at a time when chasms are opening up between communities here in the UK and around the world, is to act as a bridge and bring communities together to discuss their problems," he said.
Indian Muslim News report:
Salaam Shalom web site (links to schedule and 32 kbps online stream):

2007-02-04: In yet another run of enforcement actions the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has levied or proposed penalties of more than USD 75,000 for a number of breaches of regulations, mainly late filing of licence renewal applications
The largest single penalties are one of USD 14,000 on A Radio Company, Inc., licensee of WEGA-AM, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, and another of the same amount proposed on Jason Kaltenbach doing business as Metamerchant for offering for sale non-certified VHF and UHF transceivers in Laguna Nigel, California
The A Radio penalty was reduced from an initial amount proposed of USD 15,000 for failure to enclose an antenna tower having radio frequency potential at the base within an effective locked fence, its failure to make available a complete public inspection file, and its failure to operate its station in accordance with the terms of its station authorization.
The company had appealed for cancellation or reduction, saying among other things that the, the tower was surrounded by a swamp more than 12 inches deep filled with crocodiles and leaches and the swamp contains overflow from the local sewage treatment plant rendering access to the tower very difficult. This argument had originally been considered insufficient to justify a reduction (See RNW Nov 4, 2006) but this time the FCC trimmed the penalty to USD 14,000.
Next highest was one of USD 11,200 on to Long Pond Baptist Church, licensee of WTBH -FM, Chiefland, Florida and owner of antenna structure 1204141 for failure to clean and repaint the antenna structure as often as necessary to maintain good visibility and failure to maintain the station's public inspection file.
Long Pond had not denied the breaches but had appealed against an initial Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) for the base amount of USD 14,000 on various grounds that were rejected but the FCC did reduce the penalty to USD 11,200 on the basis of a history of compliance.
Penalties of USD 7,000 proposed for failure to file a timely renewal application and unauthorized operation after licence had expired on:
Royce's Electronics, Inc., licensee of FM Translator Station K281AJ, Moab, Utah.
Christian Action Team, Inc., licensee of KNGM-FM, Emporia, Kansas.
Other penalties, in each case of USD 1,500 for failure to file renewal on time, are proposed on:
Carbon County, licensee of FM Translator Station K285AB, Price, Utah.
Newmont Gold Company, licensee of FM Translator Station K259AG, Eureka, Nevada.
Alacca Bible Conference, licensee of FM Translator Station K265AP, Lewiston, Idaho.
Bruce Macafee, licensee of FM Translator Station K269AV, Tonopah & Goldfield, Nevada.
Tower Communications, licensee of FM Translator Station K280DL, Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Tower Communications, licensee of FM Translator Station K278AA, Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Ray R. Silva, licensee of KMXO-AM, Merkel, Texas.
Kashunamiut School District, licensee of KCUK-FM, Chevak, Alaska.
Faith Pleases God Corporation, licensee of KTER-FM, Rudolph, Texas.
Hispanic Outreach Ministries, Inc. , licensee of KXOI-AM, Crane, Texas.
Amarillo Junior College District, licensee of KACV-FM, Amarillo, Texas.
Gwandak Public Broadcasting Inc., licensee of KZPA-AM, Fort Yukon, Alaska.
Bowie County Broadcasting Co., Inc., licensee of KNBO-AM, New Boston, Texas.
Community Celebrations, licensee of Low Power FM KCHW-LP, Chewelah, Washington.
Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, licensee of KYNR-AM, Toppenish, Washington.
Previous FCC:

2007-02-03: CBS Radio has re-named its Washington D.C. classic rock station WARW-FM "The Arrow" to "The Globe", expanded its playlist to include more rock from the past two decades -including it says such groups as Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay and Red Hot Chili Peppers - and jumped on the environmental bandwagon by labelling it its first "Green-focussed" station.
It says the station as well as promoting environmental issues through on air events such as an annual Earth Day concert and other events encouraging such practices as recycling and the use of green products; promotional campaigns and a new website that features station news and environmental resources, it will use renewable energy sources to power its 50,000 watt signal, use hybrid station vehicles and has used low voltage lighting and recycled flooring for "The Globe's Custom Greenhouse " that will be used for in-studio artists.
Station general manager Michael Hughes, who is also SVP CBS Radio, Washington, said in a release, "Everyone at the station, from our on-air talent to the many employees who work behind the scenes, has embraced this environmentally responsible concept and we look forward to incorporating green aspects into every facet of our operation. It's not often you can perfectly align great music with a message so central to your audience's beliefs. Rock and 'green' is just such a winning combination, and now, more than ever, is the right time to evolve the station to ensure a successful run well into the future."
RNW comment: So we assume all those attending will walk or pedal to the Earth Day concert, that it will encourage rockers in its audience to foreswear larger automobiles and motorcycles, and of course turn down adverts that persuade people to spend money on goods they don't really need and that not only consume energy in the making and delivery but also in disposing of waste such as packaging. Or we take it as the usual policy of marketing aka being as dishonest as you think you can get away with.
Still at least overall it will presumably be better than that which went before.

Previous CBS:

2007-02-03: US Radio revenues for 2006 just released by the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) show revenues for the year up 1% on 2005, helped by a 10% year-on-year increase in non-spot revenues: December revenues were also up 1% on a year earlier with an 8% rise in non-spot revenues compared to a flat figure for total combined local and national advertising within which national figures were up 6% and local ones down 1%.
For the full year within the overall 1% rise, total combined local and national advertising was flat within which national business was up 5% and local figures were down 1%: As already noted a 10% increase in non-spot revenues put the overall figure into positive territory.
For the fourth quarter the figures were stronger with grand total revenues up3% on a year earlier within which non-spot revenues were up 12% and total local and national figures were up 3% within which local sales were flat and national ones up 12%.
RAB's Sales Indexes, which equate boom base year 1998 to 100, were:
Full year - local, 137.7; national, 146.8; and total combined local and national, 139.7.
December - local, 116.4; national, 126.4; and total combined local and national, 118.7.
Previous RAB & RAB figures:

2007-02-03: The Australian commercial radio industry has turned to comedian John Cleese for its latest series of adverts for its continuing brand campaign to promote the cost effectiveness of radio to advertisers.
Cleese has recorded a series of adverts that will start to air next week: The first - "Celebrity" - was recorded with Australian comedian Mark Mitchell and features the two discussing why there is no need to use celebrities in radio advertising.
Preceding the adverts industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) organized a viral campaign on the internet to radio stations, advertising agencies, advertisers and media companies, promoting the Cleese ads through a game featuring the comedian.
CRA chief executive Joan Warner said they had used the viral campaign as a way of creating awareness and excitement about the ads and said it also a fun way to help promote the new campaign and radio generally
It is very exciting for the radio industry that John Cleese agreed to do these ads for us while he was here last year as guest speaker at our conference and Awards. His enthusiasm for Australian radio was immense and he was keen to be involved in these ads," she added.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Warner:

2007-02-02: The issue of new US media ownership rules currently being developed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) featured strongly on Thursday in a US Senate Commerce Committee hearing "Assessing the Communications Marketplace: A View from the FCC" that was attended by all the commissioners.
In particular the commissioners were pressed on the issue by North Dakota Democrat Senator Byron Dorgan, a vocal critic of media consolidation in the US, who told commissioners they "shouldn't start ownership issues until you finish localism hearings" and also said the FCC's job was to "referee" the market, which needed it from time to time.
California Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer backed up Dorgan on issues of localism and reminded the commissioners that they were there to protect the public interest, adding, "Media companies sometimes forget that they are not the owners of the spectrum."
Similar backing came from newly-elected Missouri Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill who wanted proposed rules to be published before they were finalized, a point on which she gained support from Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps, who noted that this was not normal practice but that in this case he and his fellow Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S Adelstein felt that new rules had to be considered by the public before they were finalized.
In a prepared statement Copps told the Committee, "I know that many local broadcasters strive mightily to serve the public interest. But increasingly the public-spirited part of the profession is being squeezed out. Too much of TV and radio today is homogenized, often gratuitously violent programming. Even worse is what we don't see enough of-the community and civic affairs coverage that is democracy's lifeblood. I've travelled all across the country-to a dozen media hearings just in the last year-and I've seen people's impatience with the status quo. It is time for the FCC to focus not only on avoiding bad new rules, but to revisit the bad old rules that got us here in the first place. "
Regarding localism he added, "I am very pleased the Chairman has committed to complete our long-dormant localism proceeding before moving forward on media ownership."
Adelstein in his statement emphasized the public interest, commenting, "As for the media, we should never forget that the airwaves belong to the American people. It is critical to preserve their access to what the Supreme Court has called the "uninhibited marketplace of ideas." First, with our ownership rules, we should do no harm; we should take far greater care than we have in the past before proposing any changes in our media ownership rules. Further, to make the media landscape look and sound like America, we need to open our airwaves to community-based and minority voices. And we need to establish public interest obligations on broadcasters as they enter the digital age."
The FCC's Republican Chairman Kevin J. Martin in his presentation put more emphasis on the market than regulation, commenting, "Competition is the best method of delivering the benefits of choice, innovation, and affordability to American consumers. Competition drives prices down and spurs providers to improve service and create new products" but then continuing, "Government, however, still has an important role to play. The Commission has worked to create a regulatory environment that promotes investment and competition, setting the rules of the road so that players can compete on a level playing-field. ".
Republican Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate in her written statement said she was committed to working to ensure the FCC furthered its goals of competition, localism, and diversity but noted that changes brought about by technology now allowed people to receive "news, information, and entertainment, anytime, anywhere" and in his statement her fellow Republican Robert M. McDowell emphasized that the FCC had to be "careful to avoid inhibiting innovation and technological advances."
Regarding media ownership he commented that the rules "must strike a difficult balance. They must take into account the dramatic changes that have occurred and at the same time, continue to promote our long-standing values of diversity, localism and competition."
Previous Adelstein:
Previous Copps:
Previous FCC:
Previous Martin:
Previous McDowell:
Previous Tate:

2007-02-02: Arbitron and The Nielsen Company have announced an agreement to form a joint company to continue development of the 'Project Apollo' marketing research service, which would use Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) system, ACNielsen Homescan technology and other technologies to provide advertisers with a better understanding of the effectiveness of multi media advertising.
Apollo LLC's formation follows a May 2005 agreement that allowed the two companies to share the costs of the deployment of a national pilot panel of more than 11,000 persons in 5,000 households to demonstrate the potential for the service.
Susan Whiting, executive vice president of The Nielsen Company and chairman/CEO of Nielsen Media Research said the pilot had been "well received by the seven charter advertisers [Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Kraft, Pfizer, SC Johnson, Pepsi-Cola, and Wal-Mart] who are helping us develop the service."
Arbitron president and CEO Steve Morris said the agreement would "help make real the industry's long standing dream of a true, 'single-source' consumer research service."
Previous Arbitron:
Previous Morris:
Previous Nielsen:

2007-02-02: BBC Radio Five Live has announced that former Welsh international gymnast Gabby Logan who left ITV in the UK to join BBC Sport in December last year is to co-present the station's weekday breakfast show with Nicky Campbell for a month from next week.
Logan, who began her broadcasting career on MET FM in Newcastle after leaving Durham University has been guest presenter of the station's Saturday Morning "Fighting Talk" programme recently and as well as the breakfast show stint is also on February 10 to present the two-hour Saturday morning show that precedes Fighting Talk and normally hosted by Eamonn Holmes and from May will take over the slot - from 0900-1100 - with her own two-hour regular show.
Previous BBC:

2007-02-02: According to USA Today citing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "officials and others with direct knowledge of the matter" Clear Channel Communications, CBS Radio, Entercom Communications and Citadel Broadcasting would make "payments and other contributions" valued at around USD 10 million to settle the agency's investigation into payola.
The paper says the two Democrats on the commission have been pushing for tougher sanctions but its three Republican members have generally backed less punitive terms. It adds that under settlement terms proposes a few weeks ago the broadcasters would pay USD 3 million into a fund to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to provide training to member stations to stop payola and the remaining USD 7 million would come from devoting airtime to independently produced music but says some FCC officials expressed concern that the agency has no authority to require such contributions.
As a result it said the proposal was expected to be withdrawn and a new plan introduced that would "require the broadcasters to pay a more traditional penalty of USD 10 million to USD 15 million to the U.S. Treasury and also draft compliance plans detailing unacceptable practices.
The FCC investigation follows one by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer that has led to payments by the four major record labels and by Entercom and CBS Radio, who have agreed to pay USD 4.2 million and USD 2 million respectively, for violations in New York State (See RNW Dec 28, 2006 and Oct 20, 2006).
USA Today
quoted Michael Bracy, of the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) , which supports independent artists as saying of the matter he hoped there would be "significant penalties" and a long-term commitment to weave independent music into playlists in the FCC deal.
RNW comment: From a simple business perspective it would seem to us that the original proposal in the terms given would amount to letting the companies off- it is pure cheek to suggest that part of the settlement should be that companies provide training to obey the law, which they should have been doing anyway and the value of airtime is nil unless it means that advertising is being turned away or the music from independent artists that would be programmed is so bad that it should not make air. In real terms a payment to the Treasury of the amount now suggested is probably at least a hundred-fold increase in real terms and if the Republican members indeed thought the original proposal was fine but too tough they should be held up to derision wherever they go for the rest of their terms.
Previous FCC:
USA Today report:

2007-02-01: Latest UK radio ratings just released covering the final quarter of last year show the BBC moving further ahead of the commercial sector and GCap Media, which has just extended the contract of its London Capital Radio breakfast host Johnny Vaughan (See RNW Jan 30), drop behind rival Chrysalis-owned Heart FM in the London breakfast market.
RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) figures show Vaughan adding 31,000 listeners quarter-on-quarter to reach 813,000 - down 174,000 year-on-year whilst his Heart rivals Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott added 180,000 to reach 948,000, up 30,000 year-on-year.
Overall the figures show radio reaching a record number of just over 45 million  adults a week - a 90% reach - the highest number since weekly surveys were started by RAJAR in 1992. Total listening hours, however, were down - by 7.69 million hours quarter-on-quarter and 4.9 million hours year -on-year to 1.033 billion hours a week.
In the London commercial fight, Capital Radio added a mere 2,000 listeners a week month-on-month and was down 339,000 year-on-year at 1.463 million listeners a week whilst Heart added 139,000 listeners a week quarter-on-quarter and 90,000 year-on-year to reach 1.853 million: In terms of share, Capital was unchanged at 4.7% quarter-on-quarter and down 1.2 year-on-year whilst Heart was up from 6.0% a year ago and 6.1% in the third quarter to 7.1%.
The station remained third overall among London commercial stations - Emap's Magic in second rank with a weekly 1.792 million - a quarter-on-quarter increase of 156,000 and year-on-year increase of 120,000, took its listening share up to 5.5% from 5.3% in the previous quarter and 4.9% at the end of 2005.
GCap put a brave face on the results, noting that Capital Radio had maintained share at 4.7% and increased reach and hours and Group Operations Director Steve Orchard said," Capital Radio's audience has stabilized and hours are up by one per cent following the changes we have made to the station. We will be stepping up marketing activity over the coming months and are confident that this will lead to audience growth throughout 2007."
The markets were less enthused initially and G-Cap stock fell 4% in the first 20 minutes to 226 pence although at the end of the first hour of trading it had recovered some lost ground and was only down 0.7% at GBP 228.34.
Nationally the BBC was down 37,000 listeners a week quarter- on- quarter and down 91,000 year-on-year but overall the Corporation gained 153,000 listeners quarter -on- quarter to reach 32.81 million (down 163,000 year-on-year) and took its listening share up from 54.3% to 54.4% quarter on quarter ( down from 55.1% at the end of 2005) whilst commercial radio overall increased its audience by 445,000 quarter-on-quarter to 31.346 million (up 458,000 year-on-year) but its listening share dipped from 43.6% to 43.2% quarter on quarter although it was up from 42.8% a year ago. It was boosted in particular by BBC Radio 2, which added 530,000 listeners quarter-on-quarter.
Jenny Abramsky, BBC Director Audio & Music, commented, "It's great to see radio listening at a record high. It proves that radio still plays an incredibly important part in people's lives and that, despite the range of new media available, listeners continue to value the close relationship they have with radio."
The RadioCentre, which represents the UK's Commercial Radio companies, emphasized success on digital radio and also with the 15 to 44 demographic where it noted a 54% listening share, an audience increase of 228,000 quarter-on-quarter: It says 72% of this age group now listen to commercial radio every week.
Chief Executive Andrew Harrison said the results pointed to "a thriving Commercial Radio industry which is serving, and finding success among, all areas and audiences in the UK."
"Locally," he added, we've had our best audience figures since Q2 2004 and take 76% of all local listening in the UK; while the wide range of formats available digitally are satisfying consumers' appetite for dedicated radio services not readily available via analogue such as rock, chill-out, children's programming and spoken word. The increasing ubiquity of domestic digital receivers bodes well for Commercial Radio, which already takes a 62% share of digital-only listening."
Chrysalis Radio Chief Executive Phil Riley said the results were "excellent" and continued," This result confirms Heart's position as the leading London commercial station and the overall results for Heart, Galaxy and LBC highlight the strength of these brands across the UK, underpinning our belief that strong brands are most likely to be the biggest beneficiaries in the digital world."
Amongst commercial radio success stories were Emap's Kerrang! which increased its total listening on FM and digital from 1.349 million to 1.366 million and increased share from 0.6% to 0.7%;
GCap's Choice, which increased its audience from 592,000 to 685,000 a week over its whole network with share up from 0.5% to 0.6% ; and Chrysalis's The Arrow digital rock station which took its audience up from 66,000 a year ago to 85,000 in the third quarter and ended the year with 99,000.
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter (and year):
*BBC Radio 1 lost 315,000 listeners and had a weekly audience of 10.262 million with listening share down from 9.8% to 9.7% (9.2% a year ago when it had 10.294 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 2 lost 549,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13.269 million and listening share was up from 15.5% to 15.8% (16.0% a year ago, when it had 13.252 million listeners)
*BBC Radio 3 gained 2,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.028 million and a listening share up from 1.3% to 1.4% (1.2% a year ago, when it had 1.973 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 4 lost 124,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.342 million and listening share was down from 11.8% to 11.1% (11.8% a year ago when it had 9.318 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, gained 99,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.846 million, and a listening share up from 4.2% to 4.4% (4.2% a year ago when it had 5.721 million listeners).
(Including Sports Extra it gained 45,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 5.919 million and a listening share of 4.5%, up from 4.4% (4.3% a year ago when it had 5.777 million listeners).
*BBC World Service lost 88,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.264 million and a listening share of 0.6%, down from 0.8% (0.7% a year ago when it had 1.353 million listeners).
*BBC Asian Network gained 12,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 493,000 but listening share remained 0.3% (0.3% a year ago when it had 420,000 million listeners).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*G-Cap's Classic FM lost 141,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.757 million and an unchanged listening share of 4.2% (4.3% a year ago when it had 5.910 million listeners).
*UTV's (formerly The Wireless Group's) talkSPORT lost 27,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.239 million and an unchanged 1.8% listening (1.8% a year ago when it had 2.178 million listeners - it is the only national commercial station to increase its year-on-year figures.)
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) gained 94,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.470 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.5% (1.6% a year ago when it had 2.524 million listeners).
Among digital stations - excluding Emap's Kerrang! which has a substantial digital listenership and a total weekly reach of 1.366 million including its analogue stations but including BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra and Asian Network - the top ten stations in the survey had a weekly audience as below (previous quarter in brackets):
1 The Hits (Emap) - 1.115 million (down from 1.182 million).
2 Smash Hits Radio (Emap) - 708,000 (down from 926,000).
3 BBC7 - 672,000 (down from 697,000).
4 BBC Five Live Sports Extra - 650, 00 (up from 649,000).
5 BBC Asian Network - 493,000 (up from 481,000).
6 Planet Rock (GCap) - 424,000 (up from 422,000).
BBC 6 Music - 383,00 (down from 400,000).
8 BBC 1Xtra - 368,000 (down from 394,000).
9 Q (Emap) - 289,000 (down from 392,000).
10 Mojo Radio (Emap) 247,000 (up from 219,000).
*Mojo's rise pushed Heat (Emap) - 246,000 (down from 296,000) into 11th place.
Previous Abramsky:
Previous BBC:
Previous Chrysalis:
Previous Emap:
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Orchard:
Previous SMG:
Previous UTV:
Previous Vaughan:
Previous RAJAR and RAJAR ratings:

2007-02-01:Wisconsin Democrat Senator Russ Feingold has written to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye and ranking member Ted Stevens to request them to emphasize the need for a strong payola settlement at the committee's hearing on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week.
The FCC is considering a consent decree with four of the major radio broadcasters - Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Entercom and Citadel - implicated in payola by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's investigation - and Feingold says that "With these companies representing a significant part of the radio industry it is important that this agreement receive public scrutiny."
"With these companies representing a significant part of the radio industry it is important that this agreement receive public scrutiny," he continues, "I know that you plan to have an oversight hearing on all FCC activities and policy later this week. I encourage you to use this hearing to ask the Commissioners about the status of the current payola investigation and emphasize the need for a strong consent decree. I know there is some pressure on the Commission to come to a quick resolution, but it is much more important that any settlement provide a strong message that payola will not be tolerated in any form."
Feingold is also asking for a separate hearing on competition in the radio, music and concert industries to consider issues of pay-for -play and writes, "I also encourage you to invite investigators from the New York Attorney General's Office, the FCC Commissioners and music, radio and concert industry representatives to testify before you at that time. A hearing addressing these issues could further explore ways to end this practice and assure radio listeners that they no longer have to wonder whether what they are hearing on the radio is based on merit or thinly veiled bribes."
Previous Feingold:

2007-02-01: In a run of enforcement actions this week the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has levied or proposed penalties of more than USD 150,000 for a number of breaches of regulations, mainly late filing of licence renewal applications but also including broadcasting a phone conversation without informing the person concerned and Emergency Alert System (EAS) breaches.
The largest single penalty of USD 18,000 - USD 8,000 relating to the EAS breach and the remaining USD 10,000 to the public file -was issued to Rama Communications, Inc., licensee of WLAA-AM, Winter Garden, Florida, for failure to ensure operational EAS equipment, and its failure to make available a complete public file.
Rama had asked for cancellation or reduction on financial hardship grounds and it also claimed that the EAS equipment was functioning and the signal was there although weak and the file available, although it acknowledged that it was not at the studio but at its new offices and that items were missing but the FCC rejected the arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
Second highest was a penalty of USD 13,600 confirmed on Greenwood Acres Baptist Church, licensee KASO-AM, Minden, Louisiana, for failure to maintain an effective locked fence enclosing its antenna structure and failure to maintain all required material in its public inspection file.
The FCC had already reduced base penalties of USD 17,000 to this amount on the basis of a history of compliance and Greenwood had appealed. The FCC said the arguments made were essentially the same it had already considered and financial documentation provided did not justify a further reduction. It confirmed the full penalty.
Third highest penalty was one of USD 12,000 issued to Playa del Sol Broadcasters, licensee of KRCK-FM, Mecca, California, for failure to ensure that required EAS equipment was operational, failure to conduct required tests of KRCK-FM's EAS equipment and failure to maintain a main studio. Playa del Sol had not denied the offences but sought reduction on the basis of inability to pay: The FCC found the documentation provided did not justify reduction.
Then came penalties of USD 10,000 including a proposed penalty of this amount issued to Clear Channel 's Citicasters Licenses, L.P's WFLZ-FM, Tampa, Florida, for recording a phone conversation with "Desperate Housewives" actress Nicollette Sheridan and putting her on air without informing her of its intention to broadcast the dialogue.
A complaint was made by a listener about the interview by morning show host MJ Kelli who had reached Sheridan on the phone concerning controversy then surrounding her appearance in a promotional spot preceding ABC Sports' telecast of its Monday Night Football game on November 15, 2004.
Clear Channel admitted the station had put Sheridan on air live and also replayed a recording later and said that it did not appear that she was advised the call was to be aired although she was told the call was from a radio station. The call was also aired by Clear Channel's WFKS-FM, Neptune Beach, Florida, and KSLZ-FM, St. Louis, Missouri.
Clear Channel had argued against the penalty on the grounds that identifying the call as from a radio station was implicit advice that the call would be aired and also on the basis that the complaint was from a third party. The FCC dismissed the arguments and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for USD 10,000.
The FCC also issued a USD 10,000 penalty to David Michael Oaks for operating an unlicensed FM transmitter at his home in Beaverton, Oregon. Oaks had not filed his appeal against the penalty until after the statutory 30-day deadline had expired and the FCC confirmed the full amount.
In another case of pirate operation the FCC reduced to USD 250 on financial hardship grounds a USD 1,000 penalty issued to Mark E. Clay of Huntington, West Virginia.
In a number of other cases licences have been renewed but penalties proposed for failure to apply for renewal of licences on time the largest of which were a group of proposed penalties of USD 7,000 each to a number of licensees for failing to file a timely renewal application - a base penalty of USD 3,000 -and for continued operation without a licence - for which the base penalty of USD 10,000 had been reduced to USD 4,000 on the grounds that this was not akin to a pirate operation.
Seven thousand dollar penalties are proposed on:
Columbia City Joint High School, licensee of WJHS-FM, Columbia City, Indiana.
Fairview Broadcasting, Inc., WPFD-AM, Fairview, Tennessee.
Franklin Avenue Church Of The Living God, Inc., licensee of low power FM WYAH-LP, Winchester, Kentucky.
Larko Communications, Inc., licensee of WBZQ-AM, Huntington, Indiana.
Manchester College, licensee of WBKE-FM, North Manchester, Indiana.
Meade County Communications, Inc., licensee of WMMG-FM, Brandenburg, Kentucky.
Rse Broadcasting, LLC., licensee of WKWH-AM, Shelbyville, Indiana.
Soul Harbor Assembly Of God Church, licensee of low power FM WRDS-LP, Roscommon, Michigan.
A USD 3,500 penalty is proposed on John F. Warmath, licensee of WIRJ-AM, Humboldt, Tennessee, for failure to file a renewal application on time and continued operation without a licence and of USD 3,000 to Morgan County Broadcasting Company, Inc. for failure to file timely applications for renewal of the licences of WECO-AM and WECO-FM, Wartburg, Tennessee.
Other penalties, in each of USD 1,500 for late filing of renewal applications, are proposed on:
Bloomington Community Radio, Inc., licensee of WFHB-FM, Bloomington, Indiana.
Brian Rothell, licensee of WCHM-AM, Clarkesville, Georgia.
Brown Broadcasting System, Inc., licensee of WBKZ-AM, Jefferson, Georgia.
Chappell Communications, LLC., licensee of
WHIE-AM, Griffin, Georgia.
Church Faith Trinity Assemblies, licensee of WZYZ-FM, Spencer Tennessee.
Florala Broadcasting Company,
licensee of WKWL-AM, Florala, Alabama.
Friends Of KHFM-Ruidoso, FM Translator Station K240CN, Ruidoso, New Mexico.
Gary Community School Corporation, licensee of WGVE-FM, Gary, Indiana.
Imani Communications Corporation, Inc., licensee of WBFZ-FM, Selma, Alabama.
Meadowland Baptist Church, licensee of WBLG-LP, Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Memphis City Schools, licensee of WQOX-FM, Memphis, Tennessee
Milwaukee Board Of School Directors Office, licensee of WYMS-FM, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Partners For Christian Media, Inc., licensee of WBDX-FM, Trenton, Georgia.
Radio Assist Ministry, Inc., licensee of K201AY, Borger, Texas.
Sanchez Communications Corporation, licensee of K233AK Hanalei, Hawaii.
Tennessee Technological University, licensee of WTTU-FM, Cookeville, Tennessee.
Tower Communications, FM Translator Station K23AC, Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Ua-Asu-Tsu Educational Radio Corporation, licensee of WAPR-AM, Selma, Alabama.
Wlvv, Inc, licensee of WLVV-AM, Mobile, Alabama.

Previous Clear Channel:
Previous FCC:

2007-02-01: XM Satellite Radio has announced ten-year extension of its agreements with American Honda and Toyota through to 2016 and 2017 respectively with the deal projected to give it first crack at more than 1.65 million subscribers a year by 2010: Honda says it expects production of 650,000 factory-installed XM units for 2007 model vehicles whilst Toyota's annual factory production of XM-equipped vehicles is expected to exceed one million by 2010.
XM president and COO Nate Davis said both companies were amongst the world's most successful automobile makers adding that the company looked forward to broadening its "reach to millions of loyal customers" for Honda, Toyota and Lexus. Vehicles equipped with factory-installed XM have a three-month subscription for each company.
In a filing this week American Honda has noted as of January 26, 2007 its sale of USD 33.3 million in principal amount of Hedged 10% Convertible Notes that were convertible into 10,46 million shares of the XM's Class A Common Stock and for which under the terms of a May 2005 Forward Sale Agreement, American Honda received from Bank of America USD 282 million (USD 27 per share). XM still holds some 20.4 million shares of XM Class A Common Stock, some 5.7% of the issued total.
Previous Davis:
Previous XM:

2007-02-01: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that Macquarie Network's Sydney talk station 2GB breached Australia's Commercial Radio Code of Practice by broadcasting material that was likely to vilify people of Lebanese background on the basis of ethnicity.
The ruling comes following complaints about material included in The Open-Line Show hosted by Brian Wilshire in December 2005 during which comments were made in the light of unrest in southern Sydney: The ACMA said that the material was presented for a purpose in the public interest in discussing factors that contributed to the unrest but said it was "not persuaded that the comments were presented reasonably and in good faith for this purpose."
2GB told the Authority it took immediate action after the broadcast and an apology was aired the following day on 2BG and Channel Ten TV and had also said that during compliance training that followed the broadcast, all presenters and production staff were briefed 'about the importance of ensuring that in discussing current affairs, criticisms of particular types of conduct is reasonable" and that criticisms are in line with the code. Nevertheless it submitted to the ACMA that the complaint was based on incitement of hatred on the basis of religion rather than a complaint "about vilification on the basis of race, nationality or ethnicity."
ACMA disagreed citing comments such as "guaranteed to be incompatible"; "inbreeding"; "uneducationable people"; and "very low IQ."
It did however note the "prompt and prominent public apology and its re-emphasis on compliance training in this case" and said it considered the actions "a reasonable response."
Previous ACMA;
Previous Macquarie Network:

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