April 2007 Personalities:
Jenny Abramsky - BBC Director of Radio and Music; Jonathan S. Adelstein - (2) - Democrat US Federal Communications Commissioner; Ralph Bernard - Chief executive and former executive chairman of G-Cap Media; Colleen B. Brown - President and CEO, Fisher Communications; Chris Campling -- UK Times radio columnist; Chris Chapman - Chairman, Australian Communications and Media Authority; Michael J. Copps - (3) - Democrat US Federal Communications Commissioner; James Cridland - Virgin Radio Digital Media Director; John W. Dickey -Executive Vice President and co-COO (April 2007) of Cumulus Media, US; Lewis W. Dickey Jr. - chairman, president, and Chief Executive Officer, Cumulus Media, US; Paul Donovan - U.K. Sunday Times radio columnist; Lesley Douglas - Controller BBC Radio 2 & 6-Music; Donald Emslie -former Executive director (stepped down) and former (Jul 2006 to Feb 2007) Acting Chief Executive SMG; Chris Evans - British broadcaster and former radio mogul; Richard Findlay -(2) -Chairman SMG and former Chief Executive Scottish Radio Holdings; Marc Fisher - (2) - Washington Post reporter; Mark Green - President, Air America Radio; Ian Greenberg - President and CEO of Greenberg family owned Astral Media Inc, Canada; Scott Greenstein - President, Entertainment and Sports, Sirius Satellite Radio; Jeff Haley- President and CEO, the Radio Advertising Bureau, US; Andrew Harrison - chief executive UK RadioCentre; Fru Hazlitt - Managing Director-designate(takes up past May 1, 2007), GCap London; John Hogan - President and CEO, Clear Channel Radio; Quentin Howard - President, WorldDMB; Sue Howard - Director of Radio. ABC, Australia; Don Imus - (7)- US host, formerly syndicated by CBS - fired over remarks made April 2007); Alan Jones - Sydney 2GB breakfast host, formerly with rival 2UE until March 2002; Mel Karmazin - (2) - CEO Sirius Satellite Radio; Jay Kernis - (2) - senior vice-president of programming for US National Public Radio; Peter Kosann - President and CEO, Westwood One; Tom Langmyer - VP/General Manager, WGN-AM, Chicago; Sir Michael Lyons - chairman-designate, BBC Trust (Takes office May 1); Kevin J. Martin - Chairman US Federal Communications Commission; Mark Mays - CEO, Clear Channel; Randall Mays -president and CFO , Clear Channel; Robert M. McDowell -(2) - Republican) Federal Communications Commissioner; Garry Meier - Chicago WCKG morning co-host; Leslie Moonves -President and CEO, CBS Corporation; Stephen B. Morris - (2) - President and Chief Executive Office, Arbitron; Hugh Panero - president and CEO, XM Satellite Radio; Gary Parsons - chairman, XM Satellite Radio; John G. Pinch - executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer, Cumulus Media ;Sumner M. Redstone - chairman,Viacom and CBS; David K. Rehr - (4) - President and CEO of US National Association of Broadcasters; Ed Richards - (2) CEO, British media regulator Ofcom; Phil Riley - radio division chief executive, Chrysalis Group, UK; Bill Rose -- senior vice president Marketing of Arbitron; John L. Simson - (3) - Executive director, Sound Exchange, US; Bob Sirott - Chicago broadcaster & host "Noon Show" on WGN-AM; Gary Slaight - President and CEO, Slaight-family controlled Standard Broadcasting, Canada; Peter Smyth - President and CEO,Greater Media, US (Also chairman US Radio Advertising Bureau); Robert Struble - President & Chief Executive Officer of iBiquity Digital Corporation, US; Deborah Taylor Tate -- Republican FCC commissioner; Joan Warner - CEO, industry body Commercial Radio Australia; Ellen Weiss - Vice-President for News, US National Public Radio; Dennis Wharton - Executive Vice President, US National Association of Broadcasters; Rob Woodward - (2) - chief executive SMG; Roger Wright - Controller BBC Radio 3;
Numbers in brackets indicate the number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once

April 2007 Archive

Prime Radio Stations
Streams are
Real Audio in
most cases: Some have Windows Media as well.

Radiofeeds UK -for comprehensive list of UK broadcast radio stations on the Internet

ABC, Australia
Streams list:
Radio Australia
News stream

ABC, Anerica
(Links to audio)

World Service:
(Links to audio services)
UK -Radio 1:
UK -Radio 2 :
UK Radio 3:
UK--Radio 4:
UK Radio Five Live:

BBC Where I Live (for local stations):
Radio 1 stream:
Radio 2 Stream:
Radio 3 stream:
Radio 4 stream (FM)
Radio 4 stream (AM):
Radio 5 stream:

Links to audio streams:

Hourly newscast:

US National Public Radio

Voice of America
Audio News reports:

WORLD RADIO NETWORK (listeners area has on-demand audio reports from various broadcasters from round the world)

Music Streams
King (US)
RTE Lyric FM (Ireland):

E-Mail us
Note- In view of the numbers of viruses, worms etc now proliferating, we automatically delete messages with attachments unless these have been sent by prior agreement.
We never send out replies with attachments except by prior agreement.
We also tend to automatically delete e-mails from unknown sources without a title that specifically ties in to a subject we can recognize.

- March 2007 - May 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 April comment - Imus's demise - what can be learned from it?
RNW March comment - Considers copyright in view of increased feed for Internet broadcasters and the possibility of their introduction for terrestrial radio in the US and suggests we would benefit from different classes of copyright.
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.

2007-04-30: This week we changed the emphasis of our look at print comment on media at the last moment after spotting a Washington Post item from Marc Fisher - "At Student Station, a Grown-Up Lesson in Playlist Politics."
It looked at the process of music selection at WNHS, a station hear at Northwood High School in Silver Spring and soon [RNW comment: Copyright Royalty Board fees permitting presumably] to be streamed on the internet and began with the monthly music meeting where the students who run WNHS choose their playlist.
We were particularly impressed cum amused by the comment about the first selection: "So consensus is reached: We think the song is lousy, but because our audience is likely to go for such trash, we'll play it."
Fisher then comments, "… whether the choices are made by professionals or teenagers, the instinct appears to be the same: The deejays believe their role is to reflect popular taste, not to be tastemakers or even educators."
He then cites various comments about particular songs including one student comment, noted as being in the context of the students involved that "all but a couple of them are Anglos -- a minority at a school that is 67 percent black or Latino": "Yeah, we like it, but it won't appeal to other ethnic groups."
Fisher says the students at the station tend to favour a "less-pop, more-indie sound" but know their tastes are not broadly shared, "even posit that there's a certain amount of adolescent posing going on in their own music choices" and "see their job as putting together a playlist that will keep things relatively peaceful and happy in the school lobby before classes each morning."
Station manager Aaron LaMere -- who built WNHS last year as the first of several planned Montgomery County high school stations, writes Fisher, "encourages kids to think as professionals do, weighing their responsibility to play the hits against their desire to lead their audience toward a different, perhaps more sophisticated taste."
Fisher says the goal is for WNHS to avoid the kind of conflicts that sometimes erupt on school buses over which station to play on the way home and highlights some of the conflicts involved with some arguing for "what the public wants" and another commenting "There's no harm to exposing people to music they've never heard before."
And the final comment in the report: "You know, we have an infinite number of assumptions we're making about what people want to hear. We could just ask people to bring in their favourite CD and we could play them."
On a similar theme, albeit in this case as a peg for comments on a particular programme, Chris Campling started his radio column in the London Times last Friday by writing, "We live in an interactive society. The pop stars of tomorrow are chosen by TV viewers today. Politicians go on radio phone-ins for advice from the electorate (which they then ignore, probably because it consists of bringing back the death penalty and setting up labour camps for asylum-seekers). And, over on BBC 7, listeners are participating in a fictional chain letter. "
Then some very different feedback , this time about the airing by Rush Limbaugh of the audio of the "Barack The Magic Negro" skit - he also posted on his site a video of this that others have copied (It is available without having to pay Limbaugh through AlterNet)
In this white "comedian [Our quotations]" Paul Shanklin mimics the Rev. Al Sharpton and sings to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon" about Sen. Obama with comments based on a Los Angeles Times op-ed by David Ehrenstein entitled "Obama the 'Magic Negro'" and positing that Obama is in the running as the "Magic Negro".
This figure explained Ehrenstein is "a figure of post-modern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education.
"He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist," reads the description on Wikipedia [which gives details of various others to whom the label has been applied]."
The above takes a moment to grasp in print and inevitably aroused a wide range of comments in the US, particularly online, with some on the "left" calling for Limbaugh to be fired as Imus was; others on the "right" mocking the "left" or "liberals" for not realising that this was a Limbaugh satire; and even one post from the left that both condemned the skit and said that the political comments in it were actually on the ball.
This came from Earl Ofari Hutchinson's blog in the Huffington Post where the comment was in part that "Limbaugh got the predictable howls and screams for his racial prank, and the demand that he get the axe like Don Imus. Limbaugh's Magic Negro croon is crass, tasteless, and race tinged, but it's accurate. Obama strokes, soothes, and comforts white liberals. He's the ideal non-threatening black man, the near mythical figure, that in the old days of slavery and later segregation, many fearful whites took solace in and even branded as a good Negro."
Of the other blogs, the one that we found contained the best range of comments was that in Blogher, which contained a whole gamut of opinions. We single it out in part because of a comment regarding censorship by "Nordette" that seemed to us to sum up much of the reality in a thought-provoking manner."
"Maya Angelou," wrote Nordette, "said rappers use censorship. They don't call Mrs. Bush a "ho" because they know there would be consequences. She's right. The consequences would be no major record company would touch them, and probably the FBI would watch them, and the IRS would hound them secretly, but they could still produce records on their own dime if they could find a dime. And they'd still be free to call Mrs. Bush a horrible name because Mrs. Bush is a public figure. They might even get certain groups of people to call it satire if they found a way to make what they said humorous. That would be horrible, but it would be a protected form of speech."
"…If they wanted to play it even safer, they'd leave Mrs. Bush alone and call Hillary a "ho." She's actually running for office. This is the sorry state of human decency in America where we push the envelope and insult people without a care about how it makes that person feel or how much we rip up the fabric of our society. Parody and satire: It' always funny until it's about your mama."
And of the defence of parody and satire: "The problem with jokes, especially parody and satire, is it's usually funny unless you're the butt of the joke or your group or family's the butt of the joke. Its protection in America goes back to king's courts and jesters. Usually only the jester could get away with ridiculing the king and so the jester could send political messages, let the king know he was wrong, via humour. Thus political humour is a sacred cow because during periods of history when freedom of speech was not very free, humour may have been the only way the people could speak to seats of power."
So ending comment on a profound note, the first suggestion has to be to try the link below to Blogher and read the whole Nordette comment and then the link to AlterNet for the Obama video.
After which we move to other listening suggestions including BBC7's "Chain Letter" that we have already mentioned.
Next we move more mainstream -in station at least - with the suggestion of BBC Radio 4's "Start the Week" from this morning (Repeated at 20:30 GMT but truncated to 30 minutes: The full 45 minutes is available as a stream but the MP3 had yet to be posted when we last checked): It looked at the various overseas wars in which Britain is involved (Some harsh words here from General Sir Michael Rose, former Director of UK Special Forces - and author of "Washington's War: From Independence to Iraq" - about parallels between the mistakes the British made in the US that led to the War of Independence and the mistakes currently being made by Britain and America. (Upbeat about how far the US military have learned lessons but less so about the White House) and at the plight of women in Afghanistan (again with harsh comments from Pakistani journalist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinou, maker of the documentary "Afghanistan Unveiled" about the way in which Afghan men treat women.)).
The best piece is probably the fun posted at some of the British initiatives for changing Afghan and Iraqi culture - enough to convince anyone with a brain of the total uselessness in practical terms of those involved.
Also from Radio 4 we suggest this week's 14:30 to 15:00 GMT afternoon slot which contains the "Afternoon Reading" - "Confessions of a Failed Grown-Up" with Stephanie Calman reading from her new book about the perils of reaching 40, which is followed by Anna Chen's look at the history of the "Chinese in Britain." Like the history of the Chinese in the US it has its highs and lows with some very uncivilized treatment (Try Wednesday, which looks at the treatment of Chinese who served as seamen, including some appalling deportations after the Second World War of sailors who had families in Britain) and success stories (Try Friday which deals with Chinese students in British Universities).
Changing broadcasters and topics, our next suggestion is last Saturday's "Vox Humana" from Radio Netherlands: The last in the "Global Perspective 2007 "series, it looked at various forms of atheism, with particular note that New Zealanders, a third of whom say they have no religion but prefer being termed "God indifferent" to "atheist".
Also from Radio Netherlands last weekend we suggest "Amsterdam Forum", an edition that featured comment from Israeli writer Amos Oz on the nature of his homeland.
Then back to the BBC and Radio 2 tomorrow (21:30 GMT) and the second in Rob Brydon's three-part series "Make 'em Laugh, Make 'em Laugh" that traces the development of sitcoms: This edition looks at attitudes to work and ranges from the series "Steptoe and Son" through "Fawlty Towers" and "Yes Minister" to "the Office." Also from Radio 2 on Wednesday Russell Davies hosts the second of another three-part series, this time on Liberace. The first part of each is on the site until these editions air.
After that a different kind of music from BBC Radio 3 whose "Jazz File" programme (Saturdays, 17:00 GMT) is currently airing a series "Concerts that changed Jazz."
The first - last Saturday -featured John Hammond at the Carnegie Hall in 1938 - the first jazz concert to take place in and be recorded at a prestigious concert venue, that changing the popular perception of the music.
Next Saturday presenter John Fordham looks at "Jazz at the Philharmonic", a series that began in 1944.
Away from music to speech but sticking with Radio 3, its "The Essay" series at 22:00 GMT Monday-Thursday this week is on the topic "Death and the Philosopher", beginning tonight with Socrates and Plato.
Also worth note from the station are Thursday's "Night Waves" (20:45 GMT) which looks at the legacy of Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five" and Friday's "The Verb" (in the same time slot), which this week looks at the future for science fiction writing.
Finally back to BBC Radio 4 for a mix of comedy with "The News Quiz" (Fridays at 17:30 GMT); feature in last Saturday's "Music Feature" that looked in "One Woman's Struggle" at how Kanya King founded the Music of Black Origin Awards (MOBOs) in 1996 and then developed the idea against many odds; history with last Sunday's "The Things We Forgot to Remember" in which former Conservative Minister Michael Portillo looked at the "Magna Carta" and the -even more important in practical terms but much less well known "Charter of the Forest" that was in effect from 1217 to 1971; drama with this week's "Friday Play", "Buried" that tells the story of civil servant Mark Higson who blew the whistle on the Iraqi arms scandal in 1989 and paid heavily for it; and satire from next Saturday (09:30 GMT) with Simon Hoggart looking back at ten years of satirising Britsh Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Previous Campling:
Previous Columnists:
Previous Fisher:
AlterNet - Limbaugh comment (including link to video):
Blogher - re Limbaugh:
Huffington Post - Earl Ofari Hutchinson:
Los Angeles Times - Ehrenstein "Magic Negro" Op-Ed.:
UK Times -Campling:
Washington Post - Fisher:
Wikipedia - "The Magic Negro":

2007-04-30: The US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has put forward a final draft of a new strategic plan to cover the next three to five years that is says reflects three key priorities for the organization: Enhancing the marketing of radio, improving the radio transaction process and "embracing new visions for growth."
RAB chairman Peter Smyth, who is also President and CEO of Greater Media, commented of the plan, "Jeff Haley [RAB President and CEO] and the strategic planning team have done a superb job of clarifying the RAB's priorities, and I'm confident our organization will have a very positive impact on the industry's growth going forward."
RAB has also announced that as part of its implementation of the plan it has hired Tammy Greenberg, formerly Vice President, Client Partnerships, Time Warner Global Media Group. She will join RAB on May 7 as Senior Vice President, Marketing in support of the Key Advertiser Focus-an initiative to steer more dollars into radio through long-term, solutions-based client relationships- and will report to President and CEO Jeff Haley.
Haley said Greenberg has "a brilliant creative ability" and added, "She has a proven track record of developing marketing-based partnerships and programs that foster revenue growth. Our Board has asked that the RAB move deliberately in this area and Tammy will play a major role in the effort."
Previous Haley:
Previous RAB:
Previous Smyth:

2007-04-30: Tribune Co.-owned Chicago WGN-AM today reshuffles its afternoon line-up including resurrecting its former "Noon Show" and putting in the slot a new one-hour newsmagazine show running hosted by WMAQ-TV anchor Bob Sirott, who became morning show personality on WBBM-FM in 1971 and then moved to WLS-AM two years later as afternoon personality, remaining there for seven years, before concentrating on TV.
Sirott will retain his role as a news anchor at NBC5 News and in addition to the "Noon Show" has also taken over - in this case as co-host with his wife Marianne Murciano - WGN's Sunday evening (18:00-20:00) news, analysis and feature show from former WGN news director Tom Petersen who has retired and stepped down from the show after a year as its host. Sirott and Murciano had been hosting a Saturday afternoon talk show on CBS Radio's WCKG-FM (Free FM).
The "Noon Show" completes previously announced afternoon changes at WGN, including a new timeslot of 13:00 to 16:00 for John Williams and of 16:00 to 19:00 for Steve Cochran (See RNW Mar 17).
WNG-AM VP and General Manager Tom Langmyer said of the change, "'The Noon Show' was a part of life in Chicago for many years, and we are pleased to bring this tradition back to WGN," adding, "Bob Sirott is a voice Chicagoans have known for many years, so it's only fitting that he is joining the Voice of Chicago. It's truly a pleasure to welcome such a respected and accomplished broadcaster to WGN Radio."
Previous Langmyer:
Previous WGN:

2007-04-29: Last week was a fairly quiet one for the regulators and there were no radio-related announcements from Australia or Ireland and in the UK Ofcom's only radio-related announcement was the posting of its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which no radio complaints were upheld (See RNW Apr 24).
Things were a little busier in North America with a steady flow of radio work in both Canada and the US: In Canada, decisions from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included (In order of province):
Across Canada:
*Short-term renewal from 1 May 2007 to 31 August 2010 of licence of Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc.'s CKAV-FM-3, Calgary, Alberta; CKAV-FM-2, Vancouver, British Columbia; and CKAV-FM, Toronto, and CKAV-FM-9, Ottawa, both in Ontario.
The Commission notes that the decision to impose a short-term renewal period will allow it to monitor the programming of each station in the short term (the stations had already noted non-compliance with licence conditions related to the required minimum percentage of spoken word programming at all stations and breaches of regulations concerning the filing of logger tapes for the Toronto station), in order to ensure the licensee's compliance with its conditions of licence as well as with the filing of logger tapes and annual returns.
*Approval of application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership to convert CKOV-AM to FM: The new 11,000 watts FM will offer a Soft Vocals music format and will continue to offer CKOV's traditional style of news and information programming, including the daily current affairs show "Open Line with John Michaels".
*Approval of application by Neeti P. Ray, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a licence for a 1,000 watts, day and night commercial AM ethnic radio programming undertaking in Mississauga. The commission also denied a mutually exclusive application from S. S. TV Inc. for a commercial ethnic AM undertaking in Brampton that would have used the same frequency.
According to Ray's sample programming schedule, the programming would target the Armenian, Bangladeshi, East-African Indian, East Indian, Gujarati, Pakistani, and Punjabi communities in various third languages, as well as the Guyanese and Trinidadian/Tobagonian communities in English.
The CRTC also posted public notices regarding various applications with a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of May 14 and May 28: Radio related applications included:
With a deadline for comment of May 14:
*Application by University of Toronto Community Radio Inc. to use a Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operations (SCMO) channel to broadcast predominantly Korean-language programming from community-based campus station CIUT-FM, Toronto.
With a deadline for comment of May 28:
*Application by Tillsonburg Broadcasting Company Limited to decrease the power of CKOT-FM, Tillsonburg, from 50,000 to 26,000 watts and increase the antenna height following replacement of the existing tower.
As noted already there were no radio decisions from Ireland or the UK but things were a little busier in the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has posted further details of its previously announced field hearing regarding media ownership to be held in Tampa-St. Petersburg on Monday.
The meeting will be the fourth in the series of hearings planned by the Commission and is to be held from 16:00 to 23:00 at the Link to Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. A live audio cast of the hearing will be available from the FCC's website.
The FCC was also fairly active with enforcement actions over the week issuing or proposing penalties totalling more than USD 80,000.
In descending order of amount they included:
*USD 21,000 penalty to Siga Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of KTMR-AM, Edna, Texas, for failure to exhibit red obstruction lights from sunset to sunrise, operation of the station after local sunset, and failure to enclose an antenna tower with radio frequency potential at the base within an effective locked fence. Siga had not denied the violations but had requested a reduction: The FCC found no reason for a reduction.
*USD 12,000 penalty to Wilson Broadcasting, Inc. for failure to maintain complete public inspection files. The penalty is comprised of USD 4,000 each for violations at Wilson's Alabama stations WJJN-FM, Columbia and WAGF-AM plus WAGF-FM in Dothan. The stations are co-located in one main studio and during an inspection the owner admitted that he had not compiled the Issues/Programs lists since March 2003.
*USD 10,000 penalty to Jean-Harry Pierre-Francois of Tampa, Florida, for operating an unlicensed transmitter. He had not responded to a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) issued in February.
*USD 7,000 NAL (along with licence renewal) to Alabama State University, licensee of WVAS-FM, Montgomery, Alabama, for failure to file renewal application on time and unauthorized station operation.
*USD 7,000 NAL (along with licence renewal) to R&B Communications, Inc., licensee of WWTM-AM, Decatur, Alabama, for failure to file renewal application on time and unauthorized station operation.
*USD 7,000 NAL (along with licence renewal) to Applied Life Ministries, Inc. , licensee of KALR-FM, Hot Springs, Arkansas, for failure to file renewal application on time and unauthorized station operation.
*USD 7,000 NAL (along with licence renewal) to Marion R. Williams, licensee of WSTT-AM, Thomasville, Georgia, for failure to file renewal application on time and unauthorized station operation.
*USD 7,000 NAL (along with licence renewal) to WBLB, Inc., licensee of WBLB-AM, Pulaski, Virginia, for failure to file renewal application on time and unauthorized station operation.
*USD 1,500 NAL (along with licence renewal) to Tama Radio Licenses of Jacksonville, Florida, Inc., licensee of WFJO-FM, Folkston, Georgia, for failure to file renewal application on time.
*USD 1,500 NAL (along with licence renewal) to Lincoln University, licensee of WLNX-FM, Lincoln, Illinois, for failure to file renewal application on time.
In Florida, the FCC dismissed an application from JCE Licenses, LLC, licensee of WFTL-AM, West Palm Beach, to change its nighttime pattern, a change that the commission staff said would increase existing interference to Aguadilla Radio and TV Corp, Inc.'s WABA-AM, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. JCE conceded that the proposal would result in the loss of service to nearly 15,000 WABA listeners.
In Kansas, the Commission dismissed an application by Faith Music Ministries, Inc. (FMM), for a construction permit for a new low power FM ("LPFM") station in Derby. FMM had originally applied for an LPFM in Wichita but it was then amended to propose a station in Derby. The amendment led to an objection by the National Lawyers Guild Center on Democratic Communications on the grounds that contrary to FCC rules, FMM's HQ is more than ten miles from the proposed transmitter site and fewer than 75 percent of FMM's board members reside within ten miles of this proposed site. The FCC took the point and refused the application.
In Illinois the FCC denied an objection to the renewal of the licence of WMBD-AM, Peoria, on the basis of concern about "ultra-conservative Republican" views reflected in the programming of the station.
In Indiana, the FCC rejected a petition from Hoosier Public Radio Corporation asking it to reconsider its grant of a licence renewal to Franklin Township Community School Corporation's non-commercial educational Station WRFT-FM.
In Nevada, the Commission has rejected a petition from Ruby Radio Corporation, licensee of KHIX-FM, Carlin, to deny a construction permit for a new AM at Elko, won in the commission's Auction 84. Ruby had argued that an unsolicited e-mail sent to it offering the right to the permit before it was granted ran against FCC policy that "construction permits should be granted only to qualified applicants who have a bona fide intent to construct the facilities they propose and to render a broadcast service." The FCC in rejecting the petition noted that there is no longer a flat prohibition against for-profit sale of construction permits acquired pursuant to competitive bidding procedures.
In Virginia, the FCC rejected an application from Azalea Garden Church of God for a construction permit for a new low power FM in North Virginia Beach: Azalea concedes that the application specifies a transmitter site that is approximately twelve miles from Azalea Garden's headquarters and that less than 75 percent of Azalea Garden's board members reside within ten miles of this proposed site.
In Wisconsin, the FCC denied a petition to reconsider its dismissal of an application from Wisconsin Academy for a low Power FM in Columbus. The FCC noted that its rules prohibited parties applying for an LPFM from "holding an attributable interest in more than one LPFM station" and that in this case the academy had acknowledged that three of its seven listed directors had interest in other applications for LPFM stations.
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous Ofcom:

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

2007-04-29: US National Public Radio (NPR) has named NPR reporter Luke Burbank and Emmy and Peabody-Award-winning journalist Alison Stewart, as morning drive hosts of its new news and information service targeted at adults 25-44 that it announced in January (See RNW Jan 5).
Stewart is joining NPR from NBC and MSNBC where she has been anchor of the MSNBC daily news show The Most, newsreader and substitute anchor for NBC's Weekend Today and contributor to Today. She began her career as a political reporter for MTV News and subsequently worked for ABC News.
The program will be produced at NPR New York and the organization has placed sample segments and show ideas for listener feedback on its website under the working title, "The Bryant Park Project."
NPR Senior Vice President for Programming Jay Kernis said that when the programme was first announced, "we said it would serve a generation of public radio listeners and online visitors who want the high-quality, fact-based journalism of NPR News, but in a different voice."
"I can't think of two better journalists to talk with this audience than Alison and Luke," he added. "From her start at MTV to her recent work at NBC and MSNBC, Alison has demonstrated that she can deftly handle everything from breaking news to in-depth reporting to live interviews. Luke has shown that there is a human side to every news event and that you don't necessarily need to wear a jacket and tie to cover a story. I have no doubt that they will not only become favourites of devoted listeners, but that they will attract new audiences to public radio."
Previous Kernis:
Previous NPR:

2007-04-28: Arbitron has now released its first PPM "currency" ratings with the release of the March Portable People Meter (PPM) survey for Philadelphia covering the period March 8 to April 4.
Arbitron president and CEO Steve Morris noted that they had "already seen in our previously published studies of PPM estimates that radio audiences during commercials are far higher than anyone suspected" and added that the company believed "advertisers will have increased confidence in the medium, thanks to the increased accountability that electronic measurement delivers. Stations will have new audience insights to make improvements to their programming and broadcasters will be better able to garner incremental revenue from new and existing advertisers."
Arbitron, as well as noting more listeners during commercials, said that PPM data in Philadelphia had showed radio as delivering "consistently high levels of weekly and daily Cume audiences" and also that in the market "African-Americans spend more time listening to radio than other consumer segments." [RNW comment: We trust African-Americans appreciate being described as a "consumer segment!].
For listeners aged six plus it said the average time spent listening per week was 11 hours 30 minutes but for black persons it was 12 hours. Arbitron also noted that there was a massive difference in the racial composition of listeners to various formats with Average Quarter-Hour composition of the listeners to Urban Contemporary being 86.1% black; 4.6% Hispanic and 9.3% other; to Spanish Tropical being 5.6% black, 86.7% Hispanic, and 7.8% other; and to Pop Contemporary Hits being 12.3% black. 6.8% Hispanic and 80.8% other.
There was a similar difference between the sexes with Classic Rock attracting an audience 68.5% male and All Sport an audience 86.5% male whilst Hot AC was one third male and two-thirds female.
Previous Arbitron:
Previous Morris:

2007-04-28: The "Internet Radio Equality Act" put forward by Washington Democrat Jay Inslee and Illinois Republican Don Manzullo has attracted general support from webcasters and radio organizations and opposition from Sound Exchange, the body set up by the recording companies to collect royalties.
The Act would reverse the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) increases for streaming royalties and replace the current "willing buyer and seller" basis for rates with the "801(b)(1)" standard that balances the demands of the copyright owner, copyright user, and public good.
It would also set a maximum of USD 500 a year for each provider of streaming services and restore the option for commercial services of paying a percentage (A transition rate of 7.5 percent of revenue - the amount paid by satellite radio - would be set through 2010) of revenues. They would alternatively have to pay 0.33 cents per hour for recordings transmitted per listener as opposed to the CRB per song rate of USD 0.0008 per song in 2006 rising to USD 0.0019 per song in 2010.
Public broadcasters and non-commercial providers would for a transition period pay a flat fee of 150% of the royalty amount paid by each webcaster in 2004.
On his web site, Manzullo notes that these rates amount to "a 300 percent cost increase for the largest webcasters and up to a 1200 percent increase for smaller operations" and would "would bankrupt many Internet music Web casters and force U.S. radio stations to stop streaming their programs on the Internet."
"The Internet has provided us with amazing opportunities to enjoy music, and this unfair action by the Copyright Royalty Board threatens to take it all away," Manzullo said. "Our legislation overturns the huge rate increases and sets up a system that is fair to Web casters, web users and the artists whose music we all enjoy. And most importantly, it will keep music playing on the Internet."
Inslee commented, "This Titanic rate increase is simply untenable for many Internet radio broadcasters "and added, "You can't put an economic chokehold on this emerging force of democracy. There has to be a business model that allows creative webcasters to thrive and the existing rule removes all the oxygen from this space."
Inslee and Manzullo say the legislation would "provide royalty parity for Internet radio providers" and "apply the same royalty rate-setting standard to commercial Internet radio, as well as satellite radio, cable radio and jukeboxes."
Perhaps because of this parity, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) was somewhat non-committal in its response with Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton commenting that NAB was "reviewing details" of the bill " which would overturn the Copyright Royalty Board's disappointing decision to dramatically raise fees for companies that stream music over the Internet" and adding, "We will work with Congress to craft a solution that helps ensure the survival of a fledgling audio platform."
National Public Radio (NPR) was more welcoming: Its VP of Communications Andi Sporkin said the bill would "provide a long-term resolution that is fair for all sides" and noted, "The CRB board would not consider the public-service aspect of more than 800 stations across the country when it made its recent decision. But since 1976, Section 118 [of the Copyright Act] has recognized that public radio has a very different mission from commercial media and cannot pay commercial-level royalty rates."
SaveNetRadio welcomed the moved and is spokesman Jake Ward commented, "The illogical and unrealistic royalty rates set by the CRB have placed the future of an entire industry in jeopardy. This bill is a critical step to preserve this vibrant and growing medium, and to develop a truly level playing field where webcasters can compete with satellite radio. The Internet Radio Equality Act is the last best hope webcasters, artists, and listeners have to keep the music playing. I know New Orleans will be glad to hear it!"
SoundExchange said the proposal would "gut the fair market rates set by the CRB" and added, "If passed, the bill would also result in a windfall of more than USD50 million to mega-corporate webcasters like Clear Channel and Microsoft at the expense of recording artists across the country. Because the bill is retroactive, artists would have to write checks to cover refunds to corporations whose CEOs and top executives are paid millions of dollars per year."
Its CEO John Simson commented, "The idea that this bill would help small webcasters or artists is ludicrous since less than 2 percent of all royalty payments in 2006 came from small webcasters. The true beneficiaries are the mega-multiplex services like AOL, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Clear Channel, which will benefit from rates substantially lower than those set by the Librarian of Congress in 2002."
He added, "Because the bill is so heavily favoured to enrich the big webcasters, it raises questions as to who is really behind the SaveNetRadio Coalition. Although this coalition purports to be on the side of musicians, they have come out in support of this anti-artist bill. SoundExchange has reached out to various webcasters to explore ways to accommodate their needs."
SoundExchange General Counsel Michael Huppe added, "The CRB executed its charge fairly and objectively without preference to any interested parties, and fulfilled the intent of Congress to issue appropriate market-based rates for webcasters. In return, webcasters receive the benefit of using millions of commercially released sound recordings that are the basis of their businesses. The rate for 2010 reflects only an 8 percent annualized increase in rates since 1998 whereas Internet radio has experienced dramatic audience and revenue growth."
RNW comment: SoundExchange in our view comes over as small minded and petty in its reaction. With its penchant for making the most of anything in its favour we would have expected it to give more detail of the ways it has "reached out" were those details so favourable as to be likely to take the sting out of calls for a reversal of the CRB rates determination. As for the attack on SaveNetRadio, we would welcome their posting details of the support they have received to enable a fair judgment to be made of how far the big players are behind it but as regards saying it has come out in support of an "anti-artist bill" this is a matter of opinion.
Regarding that opinion Kurt Hanson of Radio and Internet site (RAIN) seems in our view to have done a pretty fair job of giving details of the various proposals. We suggest a read of his work as likely to give a different perspective on how far support for the Bill is anti-artist.
Previous NAB:
Previous NPR:
Previous Simson:
Previous SoundExchange:
Previous Wharton:

2007-04-28: Former "Imus in the Morning" producer and on-air sidekick Bernard McGuirk gained support from Fox News's Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes when he appeared on their "Hannity and Colmes" programme to talk about his dismissal in the wake of comments made about the Rutgers University women's basketball team.
McGuirk, who did not defend the exchange - he had termed the team "hard-core hos" -and stressed that he was speaking for himself not Imus, who he said had "conducted himself with dignity and class, one of the few people, along with the Rutgers basketball team."
McGuirk bowdlerised the famous Pastor Neimoller statement about the Nazis "First They Came" to suggest that Hannity and Colmes along with other hosts were at risk, commenting, that people in radio and broadcasting should not "take this sitting down, because it is a slippery slope. It can happen to you, so stand up for, you know, what's right."
Colmes responded "Absolutely," and co-host Sean Hannity said, "I hope you get back to work."
McGuirk also attempted to define the word "ho's" saying it "doesn't mean, you know, a woman who is, you know, promiscuous. It's just a pejorative slang term for a woman…I didn't get the memo that it was elevated to the status, or lowered to the status of the N-word but it's a horrible thing for this country where we can't -- people can't poke fun at each other and just joke around and have fun."
He also said that the style of the show was one of "savage humour" with himself and Imus -"I was the bald-headed stooge and he was, pardon my language, a scrotum-faced old dope or whatever it was"- as well as guests amongst those the butt of the humour.
McGuirk said CBS had "caved-in" to pressure and in particular attacked the Rev Al Sharpton terming him a "classless clown", a "terrorist", a "sanctimonious skunk" and the "kind of guy who would park in a handicap spot."
RNW Comment: We're not quite sure what McGuirk was standing up for that was "right". It seems to us more a case of childish behaviour and abuse but McGuirk appears to be correct on one thing: So far Imus - and his wife - have behaved better than most over this matter including McGuirk.

2007-04-27: Clear Channel Communications has reported first quarter revenues of USD 1.6 billion, up 8% from a year ago and including an increase of USD 31.2 million increase due to movements in foreign exchange without which growth would have been 6%.
Its expenses were up 5% to USD 1.1 billion - including a USD 28.9 million increase due to movements in foreign exchange excluding which the growth would have been 3% and income before discontinued operations increased 2% to USD 99.2 million,
Net income was up 6% to USD 101.2 million with diluted earnings per share up 11% to 21 cents: The figure included approximately USD 39.6 million of pre-tax gains (5 cents per diluted share after-tax) primarily from the divestiture of radio and outdoor assets without which its net income before discontinued operations would have been USD 73.7 million or (14 cents per diluted share).
CEO Mark P Mays said the company had "delivered solid first quarter results and we are very pleased with our overall performance."
Clear Channel has put 448 radio stations in 88 markets up for sale and to date has agreed sales of 161 of them for around USD 331 million -USD 300 million net - and is still pursuing sales of a further 287 radio stations in 54 markets: It has also agreed the sale of its TV Group for USD 1.2 billion - around USD 1.1 billion net (See RNW Apr ).]
Commenting on the divestitures, May's brother President and CFO Randall Mays said the company continued to make progress on the divestitures already announced and noted, "Due to our capital loss carry forward and the ability to offset the capital gain from the sales, we were able to structure these transactions as buyer-friendly asset sales with buyers receiving a full step-up in tax basis and thereby maximize proceeds to the Company."
In divisional terms Clear Channel radio revenues were up 3% on a year earlier at USD 819.6 million; Outdoor revenues were up 15% to USD 690.9 million and other revenues were flat at USD 129.7 million (up from USD 129.4 million).
Clear Channel said its radio revenues were aided by syndicated radio programming, traffic and on-line businesses but the prime reason for the growth was an increase in national revenues and revenue growth in the top 100 markets.
Commenting on current performance it said that radio division revenues are pacing down 1.6% for the second quarter of 2007 as compared to the second quarter of 2006, and are pacing down 0.6% for the full year of 2007 as compared to the full year of 2006 whilst Outdoor revenues are pacing up 6.7% overall, with Americas outdoors above this percentage and international below. For the full year outdoor revenues are pacing up 5.9% overall and again Americas' revenues are above and international ones below this percentage.
Clear Channel, which is attempting to go private as we have already reported, did not hold a conference call in connection with the results.
Clear Channel stock closed at USD 35.80 on Thursday - this compares to an [improved] offer of USD 39 from would-be purchasers led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.
Also reporting first quarter results was Fisher Communications whose revenues were up 10% to USD 34.2 million and which cut its loss from continuing operations from USD 1.8 million a year earlier to USD 1.3 million with overall net loss down from USD 1.7 million to USD 1.2 million (from 20 cents to 14 cents per share).
President and CEO Colleen B. Brown said Fisher had "gained solid revenue and net operating results in the first quarter of 2007 - especially in our large-market Univision-affiliated television stations and our Seattle radio stations."
She noted that within the figures TV revenues were up 8% and radio revenues were up 13%.
Previous Brown:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Fisher:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:

2007-04-27: XM Satellite Radio has reported 285,000 net (868,000 gross) subscriber additions in the first quarter of 2007 to a total of 7.9 million - it has since passed the 8 million mark - compared to 6.5 million a year earlier.
The increase helped stem its net loss, which was down 18% on a year ago to USD 122 million on revenues up 27% to USD 264 million.
Adjusted operating loss (formerly adjusted EBITDA), which this year included USD 8 million in expenses related to the company's proposed merger with Sirius Satellite Radio, improved by 45% percent to a loss of USD 27 million compared to a loss of USD 49 million a year earlier.
XM says that at the end of the quarter it had USD 319 million in cash on top of which it can draw on USD 400 million in credit facilities.
On the downside, XM subscriber acquisition costs were up from USD 59 a year earlier to USD 65 with the Cost per Gross addition up from USD 93 to USD 103.
In addition conversion rates amongst those who had received XM radio trials as part of a manufacturer's original equipment deal fell from 54.3% a year earlier and 52.4% in the final quarter of 2006 to 51.5%, a fall that has additional impact since OEM and rental car gross additions totalled 537,175 in the quarter compared to 330,892 other additions and 224,830 net additions compared to 60,346 other additions.
CEO Hugh Panero in his comments said XM had benefited from "operational initiatives" put in place over several quarters and "improved our retail performance, experienced strong OEM gross additions, extended our distribution agreements with Toyota and Honda, enhanced our customer service, maintained our churn rate at approximately 1.8 percent for the third consecutive quarter and strengthened key financial metrics for our business."
The market reacted favourably and XM stock was up 6.99% at USD 11.78 on Thursday although it fell back in after hours trading.
Previous Panero:
Previous XM:

2007-04-27: Two English clerics - The Rt. Rev Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester (Anglican), and John Arnold, the Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster (Roman Catholic) - are calling upon the BBC to put religion into its pop music station, BBC Radio 1.
In a response by churches to the BBC Trust consultation on service licences and purpose remits they say comment that "Religion figures strongly in the output of Radio 2, 3, and 4 under the proposed licences for individual BBC services, but it does not appear under Radio 1" and say the exclusion is "illogical and inconsistent"
The BBC has not responded but Ekklesia, the web based think-tank promoting theological ideas, suggested that the bishops were confusing form and actuality.
Its co-director Jonathan Bartley said the bishops "are right to identify that young people have a thirst for spiritual input. But they are wrong in their assumptions about its form" and added, "This is another example of a narrow Christian preoccupation with defending 'God-slots' - as if the Almighty is confined to hymn singing, church buildings and religious texts. Radio 1 is primarily a music station. For those with ears to hear, there is already substantial religious and spiritual content within many of the tracks that are played.
Researcher Jordan Tchilingirian, who is also a club DJ, said "Young people, including many Christians, don't make the same sacred-secular divisions that many bishops do. Young people can find God in a night-club or at a gig as easily as they can in St Paul's Cathedral."
Previous BBC:
Ekklesia response:
RNW note: For a variety of comments on this matter we recommend the blog on Media Guardian:

2007-04-27: Houston KILT-AM host John Granato has filed suit against CBS Radio, the station's owner, asking a judge to dissolve his contract and void a non-compete clause that would prevent him from taking immediate on-air work at another Houston station according to the Houston Chronicle.
The papers says Granato is claiming that CBS violated a contract he signed in 2005 by failing to pay him for appearances and for new advertising he acquired for the station.
The paper adds that Granato also claims the non-compete is invalid because he worked without a contract for eight years before signing his current agreement, which began Dec. 1, 2004, and has not been given additional benefits by KILT in return for the non-compete clause, as required by state law and his attorney Terry Yates said Granato is owed several thousand dollars by the station.
Yates said they were encouraged by a December 2004 ruling in the case of another host Charlie Pallilo, who had left KILT for newly launched KBME-AM (See RNW Dec 24, 2004): In that case the judge ruled that the non-compete in Pallilo's contract, which had expired in September 2004, was invalid because KILT had not given Pallilo specific compensation in return.
Granito's current contract runs until the end of November and Yates said that although Granato is seeking an immediate end to his contract, he is prepared to remain until the agreement expires but "doesn't want to be restricted where he can go to work" after leaving KILT.
Previous CBS:
Houston Chronicle report:

2007-04-26: Bridge Ratings' latest study of growth of other listening and fall in traditional radio audiences projects Internet listening as growing the most rapidly of all: It estimates that by the end of this year monthly Internet radio listening, which had reached 24% of the US population at the end of last year will be up to 31% at the end of this year with a further increase to 38% by the end of 2008.
The report also shows a significant increase in listening to simulcasts of their output by terrestrial stations: A quarter of Internet listeners it says had listened to at least one simulcast in the 30-days prior to the survey and it expects this to reach 31% by the beginning of next year and38% by 2010 assuming that "terrestrial radio will continue to offer at least its current volume of programming on-line and will not be reduced due to the prohibitive nature of the proposed royalty rates [Put into effect by the Copyright Royalty Board]".
Satellite radio growth in contrast is slowing down according to Bridge and it has reduced its estimate of growth of the satellite audience this year - from an estimated further 3.9 million listeners by year-end to an additional 2.4 million. Within the figures it expects Sirius to take 60% of the new subscribers thus taking subscriber numbers by year end to 8.1 million listeners for Sirius and 8.96 million for XM.
HD radio fares even worse than satellite and Bridge comments that "Of all the media we are covering in this latest study, HD Radio growth is the most disappointing based on previous industry expectations. Consumer awareness of HD radio continues to grow but consumer interest in owning or listening to HD Radio is slowing. 70% of the sample has heard of HD radio at some time in the past. Only 9% expressed that they are Very Interested in owning HD radio."
Bridge now estimates no more than half a million users of HD radio by the end of this year and only just above 1 million by the start of 2009, a considerable reduction of earlier predictions.
As to the reasons for this, the most common reason for having "little or no interest "was "Don't see a need" followed by "Not aware of its benefits".
Regarding terrestrial radio, it notes that last year its analysis "began to reflect a slow reversal of attrition" amongst the 12-21 demographic as this group succumbed to MP3 player "fatigue" and started to revert to listening patterns similar to those found in 2004.
In-car listening notes Bridge "still heavily favours traditional radio with 93% of the sample indicating they use it on a regular basis followed closely by Cell phones and CD players": it also notes the emergence of cell phones as an entertainment device and it comments that cell phones, because of their pervasiveness in America "pose the greatest threat to terrestrial radio and MP3 devices" and adds, "As more and more specialized services become available, prices reduce and equipment ease-of-use improves, we see growth in this area exploding."
Previous Bridge Ratings:

2007-04-26: GCap Media, Britain's largest radio group, has agreed a GBP 3.95 million (USD 7.9 million) cash purchase of the 18 AM Classic Gold radio stations owned by Classic Gold Digital and plans to merge them with its Capital Gold stations to create a single classic hits network. The deal includes digital licences held by Classic Gold and needs Ofcom approval.
GCap sold the licences to Classic Gold Digital - joint venture with UBC - in two separate transactions in 2000 and 2002 for a total of GBP 4.3 million (currently USD 8.6 million) in UBC shares and cash. It held a fifth of the venture with UBC owning the remaining 80%.
Classic Gold Digital operated the network but GCap sold all the airtime on the Classic Gold stations as well as providing back office support including studio space, technology and inventory control.
It says that bringing the two networks together will enable it to cut costs and improve EBITA by GBP 800,000 (USD 1.6 million) this year.
GCap Chief Executive Ralph Bernard said of the deal, "Classic Gold is an integral part of our advertising proposition. Acquiring these stations will enable us to create a single classic hits network with the potential to become a fast-growing national brand as audiences increasingly migrate to digital platforms. We therefore welcome Ofcom's recent announcement that it is considering the conditions for a switch off date for AM, as this would greatly accelerate the uptake of DAB."
UBC in its announcement said it was selling the stations "in order to concentrate on its service businesses, including its growing network programme business" and noted of airtime sales it sells within the network programme business - it supplies News, Entertainment News and Traffic news bulletins - that "Following a difficult period earlier this year for the radio advertising market, airtime sales in February and March were particularly strong."
In a trading update UBC said it expected "preliminary results in line with expectations, supported by strong advertising sales in the last quarter" and noted of network sales, boosted by the addition of its Sky News Network, that "April Commercial revenues are currently running 27% ahead of the same period last year."
In other areas it said its Interactive business, which sells digital radio software, is expected to see sales growth of around 19%, driven by software sales to the emerging US digital radio market but sales in its "production businesses, which provide commissioned programmes, will show slight decline but with improved margins and profit when compared to the financial year 2005/6."
It also noted good progress in development of its service that will allow listeners to purchase music directly from digital stations but noted that currently only one mobile phone was capable of receiving the service.
"Commercial success of the service," said UBC "relies on the wide availability of digital radio in devices with a 'return path'. Sales of mobile phones with FM radio chips included have increased by 80% in the last 12 months and the increased functionality of digital radio is expected to attract handset manufacturers as this market continues to grow in importance. "
"However, perhaps more important," it added, "will be a new generation of domestic radios, currently emerging, which are connected to the Internet. UBC now believes that the mobile market will be significantly supplemented by in-home digital radios capable of operating its service and that this section of the market will advance more rapidly than it had been expecting."
Previous Bernard:
Previous GCap:
Previous UBC:

2007-04-26: CBS Radio and Loma Linda station KCAA-AM have announced an agreement to settle their dispute over re-runs by the station of the "Imus in the Morning Show" that had led CBS to launch a lawsuit claiming breach of copyright.
Under the deal the station, whose attorney Brian Oxman said it planned to end the re-broadcasts tomorrow because it was not selling advertising for the period and couldn't continue to lose revenue, will stop airing re-runs on Friday and CBS will drop its claim for damages - it was claiming USD 150,000 for each copyright violation.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips was told of the agreement just before he was due to start hearing the case: details are now to be provided to Phillips on April 30.
The station web site carries a line "CBS lawsuit settled" together with a link to the suit as previously posted and also an Associated Press report on the matter in its online news summary from the Associated Press.
It has also removed links to MP3 of past Imus shows although when we checked the site that was proving them previously they were still available as of Wednesday evening GMT.
CBS Radio has yet to find an Imus replacement but MSNBC, which dropped its simulcast of Imus in the Morning before CBS itself dropped the show, has now announced that "The Stephanie Miller Show" is to air in the Imus slot for three days from next Monday.
Previous CBS:

2007-04-25: Following its decision to drop Don Imus, CBS Radio has suspended indefinitely without pay two New York hosts who made racially charged remarks on air.
During their April 5 (the day after Imus made his "nappy-headed ho's" comment) mid-morning show "The Dog House With JV and Elvis" on WFNY-FM (Free FM) DJs JV and Elvis (Jeff Vandergrift and Dan Lay) broadcast a six minute prank phone call to a Chinese restaurant that included requests for shrimp "flied lice" and "some old dung" plus a comment to a woman that the caller like to "come to your restaurant" to see her naked, especially her "hot, Asian, spicy" body part.
The audio was repeated on April 19, leading the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) to call changes to CBS's on-air policy and the firing of the DJs and the programme's producer.
OCA National President Ginny Gong commented in a statement, "The blatant racism, sexism, and homophobia in this segment and in the DJs' other work is appalling…We will be working with our chapters in the New York City metropolitan area as well as our partners in the civil rights community to seek an apology from WFNY and to demand that the DJs and producers who are responsible for airing this racist segment are fired."
OCA National Executive Director Michael Lin added, "Following so closely on the heels of the Don Imus incident, it is unbelievable that another CBS Radio affiliate would air such derogatory and demeaning content. The right of free speech is being abused by so-called 'shock jocks' and their producers to make crass and unnecessary comments at the expense of other peoples' dignity."
OCA-New York chapter president Vicki Shu Smolin said it was "apparent that not only did JV & Elvis not learn anything from the Don Imus scandal, but CBS and CBS Radio decided that Asian Americans are easy prey for racist radio broadcast."
On the "Hannity & Colmes" show on Fox News, Smolin was taken to task over the demand that the hosts, one of whom had apologized on air, be fired and asked by Alan Colmes," Do we have to fire everybody who makes any kind of racial comment?"
She responded, "No. These DJs have been suspended before. There are other complaints about them with other community, other groups. So this really - it was insensitive. It was based on stereotypes. It was hateful."
Previous CBS:
Fox News - Hannity and Colmes transcript:

2007-04-25: Mexican broadcaster Grupo Radio Centro has reported first quarter revenues to the end of March down 32% on a year earlier to MXN 125.02 million ( USD 11.28 million), primarily because of a decrease in political advertising this year compared to a year earlier when political parties were campaigning for both presidential and congressional elections.
Its broadcasting income was down 77.4% to MXN 18.058 million (USD 1.63 million) with operating income down 90.8% to MXN 6.03 million (USD 544,000) and an overall loss before provisions for income tax and employee profit sharing of MXN 4.153 million (USD 375,000) compared to an income a year earlier of MXN 45.782 million (USD 41.39 million) and a net loss of MXN 2.887 million (USD 261,000) compared to net income a year earlier of MXN 35.31 million (USD 3.19 million).
Grupo Radio also reported that its long-running dispute with former programme supplier Infored, S.A. de C.V. and host Jose Gutierrez Vivo is still working its way through the legal process following a January 30th decision by the Mexican Supreme Court to reverse Mexico's Federal District's Thirteenth Circuit Court of Civil Matters' June 2006 decision ratifying a lower court's decision to set aside a 2004 arbitration award issued against the Company in an arbitration proceeding brought by Infored and the host.
The Supreme Court remanded the case to the Thirteenth Circuit Court, instructing the court to re-examine the matter under different procedural rules, which will require the court to review the merits of the case and subsequently on March 22 Infored and Gutierrez Vivo sought to remove the case from the Thirteenth Circuit Court to a new court that has not previously reviewed the matter. A decision on this removal proceeding is still awaited.
Previous Grupo Radio:

2007-04-25: An SEC filing by Sirius Satellite Radio shows that CEO Mel Karmazin was awarded a USD 3 million cash bonus in February on top of his salary of USD 1.25 million: His total remuneration including USD 24.1 million's worth of stock options, came to USD 31.22 million
Sirius's Compensation Committee said the bonus was paid in cash taking into consideration "existing compensation arrangements and the amount of our common stock currently owned by him as well as stock options and restricted shares of common stock held by him." The Committee added that it concluded that Karmazin's interests "were already highly aligned with stockholders, and that an award of additional restricted stock was not necessary to advance other corporate interests, such as retention or alignment."
Next highest paid Sirius executive was its President, Entertainment and Sports, Scott A. Greenstein, whose total package came to USD 7.1 million - he received a USD 400,000 bonus on top of his USD 700,0000 salary and USD 3.15 million in stock option awards plus USD 2.8 million of stock.
President, Sales and Operations, James E. Meyer was third with a package totalling USD 5.673 million including a bonus of USD 462,500 on top of a USD 778,000 salary 'USD 2.92 million of stock awards and USD 1.35 million of option awards.
Previous Greenstein
Previous Karmazin:
Previous Sirius:

2007-04-24: Clear Channel is dropping adverts in favour of sponsorship and changing the format of a Dallas FM from classic rock to a mixture of Outlaw Country, Southern Rock and Alternative Country it had been airing on an HD channel.
As promoted by the station on its web site, Lone Star, which airs on 92.5 FM is musically "like no other station our there. And we have broken the mould on radio commercials by having sponsors who allow us to bring you NO long commercial breaks."
The music, it says is a "one of a kind amalgamation of Outlaw Country, Classic Rock and Alternative Country" with "No yappy DJs or silly contests".
Clear Channel says the station, brainchild of programmer Duane Doherty, was road-tested on one of Clear Channel Radio's HD-2 digital side channels over the past 12 months.
It quotes Doherty as saying, "All we had on the HD-2 channel was the music and the response was incredible. In a sense, we're recapturing the early days of FM - when your jock was a trusted guide through what was new and important. Lone Star is the music we love in Dallas without the hype."
Clear Channel has already lined up some big-name sponsors including Southwest Airlines, AT&T, and Coors: They will get, says Clear Chanel, "one to two minutes of integration in an hour and will be treated as part of the fabric of the experience, not as an interruption."
Kelly Kibler, director of sales for Clear Channel Radio Dallas, said, "There's a credibility and an authenticity of partnering with sponsors who share our passion for this music. We'll only have one airline, one telecommunications carrier, one beer, one musical instrument store. This is about sharing an experience and a commitment to the incredible creativity of these artists. To do that honestly and well, you have to step up. Traditional commercials are fine for many radio formats, they just didn't work here."
Clear Channel Radio Dallas market manager J.D. Freeman added, "We got extraordinary support from corporate. They completely insulated us and told us to break all the rules. So we broke them in programming, we broke them in advertising, we broke them on the Web. When you have that kind of freedom, great things happen."
RNW comment: The idea itself is not new - in fact we're rather surprised more stations have not tried it as a response to satellite. Maybe they didn't because previous attempts did not work out too well - we recall reporting in 2005 that the Long Island-based Morey Organization had dropped most of its air staff and switched its three stations on the island to what it Termed "FM Channel Casting", again going for funding by sponsors rather than advertising (See RNW Sep 14, 2005) but Morey is now back to conventional commercials.
In this case Clear Channel is planning chit-chat by DJs about the sponsored company - an example it provided had the DJ identifying Southwest Airlines as the sponsor at the start of a programme and later, in reference to the annual South by Southwest music festival, which is held in Austin, saying he travelled to Austin for the festival using the airline.
Ratings of course are also a likely reason for the change since the station, which was 7th ranked when Clear Channel bought it in the fall of 2000 had dropped to 17th place in fall 2006.

Previous Clear Channel:
Lone Star web site:

2007-04-24: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin again upheld no complaints against radio although it upheld three standards complaints against TV and also partly upheld a fairness and privacy complaint against TV.
It also gave details of three TV standards complaints considered resolved by action already taken by the broadcaster and gave details of a further two TV complaints that were not upheld.
The bulletin also lists with no details a further 158 TV complaints involving 106 items and 22 radio complaints involving 20 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 201 TV complaints involving 146 items and 19 radio complaints involving 19 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom:
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:

2007-04-24: HD radio has gained a boost with the announcement that Best Buy is to offer receivers at all its 832 US stores.
HD receivers are already available in some major retailers' stores and iBiquity Digital Corp. chief executive Robert Struble said that Best Buy's action would "dramatically accelerate consumer adoption" of the technology.
The HD Digital Radio Alliance, formed by iBiquity and major US radio broadcasters, ssays it has committed itself to a USD 250 million radio campaign to promote the technology.
[RNW comment: As with so many US companies the figures are somewhat spurious if not downright misleading since radio inventory promoting HD only has any real value if other adverts are being rejected to run the promotions. If not, the value is much closer to being of negligible value in any honest accounting as opposed to promotional PR.].
Previous iBiquity:
Previous Struble:

2007-04-23: Yet again Don Imus was the top topic in radio stories from the US last week with continuing expressions of woe and also a marked difference between right-wing sources and most commentators but we start this week with a different host - Rush Limbaugh.
The following, taken from his website, is presumably not biased in reporting what he said: "Now, if this Virginia Tech shooter had an ideology, what do you think it was? This guy had to be a liberal. You start railing against the rich, and all these other things? This guy is a liberal. He was turned into a liberal somewhere along the line. So it's a liberal that committed this act. Now, the Drive-Bys will read on the website that I'm attacking liberalism by comparing this guy to them. That's exactly what they do every day, ladies and gentlemen! I'm just pointing out a fact. I am making no extrapolation. I'm just pointing it out. I can tell you from the history of this program, starting way back in the early nineties, when there was any kind of an incident, crime or what have you, that attracted national attention, in the early days of this program, the Drive-By Media went out and they tried to connect the perpetrator to this program! They did everything they could. In fact, it went so far as Bill Clinton blaming me for influencing Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Murrah Building! These are the people sponsoring lies and distortion for the purposes of dividing this country and creating hatred. These are the people that invented this kind of tactic, if you will."
And later: "Can you imagine if this guy, the shooter in Virginia Tech, had sent me his package? I'll tell you what I would have done had he done it. I would have called authorities in Virginia and said, "I'm not opening this. Here it is. You want to send somebody up to look at it and get it?" and I would not have used a moment of it. But they would have learned that he had sent it to me, and you know what the Drive-Bys would be saying today? "Ah, it figures! A Limbaugh listener is blowing away the campus!" They are waiting every day for some event like that to happen, and yet right before our eyes, it is NBC -- a respected, valued, highly vaunted, major news network! This guy sent it to them for a reason. He didn't pick ABC. He didn't pick me. He didn't pick CBS. He didn't pick CNN. He didn't pick Fox. Where did he send it? NBC -- and boy, are they not playing along! They're airing it more times than this guy pulled the trigger, and they're out there talking about how tough the decision was. "Oh, we agonized and agonized and agonized!" Really? "It was such a tough editorial decision. The public has a right to know!"
Our views on this are that anyone with a reasonable helping of decency, fairness and intelligence, could not come up with it. As for those who find this a reasonable response, we can only hope that they are rich enough to find a good psychiatrist.
The one thing we do wonder about is the point he is making about NBC. Does anyone really think the tenor of his argument would be much changed had it been ABC or CBS or CNN? Fox might just have got a break for partisan bias reasons but we wouldn't gamble on that. We do , of course, accept that there is a chance that Limbaugh might have handed the package unopened to the authorities without checking whether there was anything in it that he could use against those he terms liberal (Merriam Webster's dictionary says of the word :" Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin liberalis suitable for a freeman, generous, from liber free - and the meaning of the word has been seriously perverted by the language assassins like Limbaugh for political purposes.). How large that chance is we take leave to doubt?

Limbaugh was, of course, not the only host coming to conclusions about the events based on pre-existing biases as Jacques Steinberg noted in the New York Times although he began with "Opie and Anthony" - Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia - who on their show staged an on-air reading of a play written by the killer, Cho Seung-Hui.
"Only a week after Don Imus was taken off the air by MSNBC and CBS Radio for making a racially and sexually charged aside about the women's basketball team at Rutgers University," wrote Steinberg, "his former colleagues across the spectrum of talk radio have wrestled with how far they can go in sounding off (and even mining for a few laughs) on the violence at Virginia Tech. Some of the most prominent hosts - including Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Neal Boortz - have shown little restraint… This, after all, is an incident in which many themes that often serve as grist for those hosts and their callers - including immigration ( Cho was Korean), gun control (he appears to have used legally bought handguns) and the aggressive coverage of the news media (NBC initially broadcast the suspect's "multimedia manifesto") - have coalesced."
Steinberg then went on to comment on another Limbaugh broadcast, "Speaking on Wednesday on his syndicated program, which is heard on more than 600 stations, Mr. Limbaugh argued that tragedies could be prevented by 'a law banning political correctness.'
…"This guy was sending up flares," Mr. Limbaugh said of Mr. Cho, whose erratic and disturbing behaviour had caught the attention of other students, the campus police, faculty members and others. "Was everybody so concerned with the trumped-up global warming scare they didn't notice a real threat, for example?"
"And how about this?" Mr. Limbaugh added. "The guy is Korean. He's Asian. How many people refused to do anything about it or even complain about it because they would be tagged as racists?"
Michael Savage says Steinberg went further and "sneered audibly as he referred to Cho as "a senior in English," drawing out the word for emphasis, and as "Comandante Cho."
Steinberg notes that Cho moved to the US when he was 8, giving context to Savage's next remark: "This kid was brainwashed over there,". Savage said and later added that "the only reason" Cho "was walking the streets was because liberal scum have for 30 years handcuffed the police and the people of this country and made us hostages in their drama" and then accused Cho of using "the rhetoric of Al Qaeda when he rails against rich kids, debauchery and alcohol".
Neil Boortz suggested some blame lay with those who were shot, commenting, "When the history of this event is written, we will have 25 students standing meekly waiting for this guy to execute them. Waiting for what? The government to come save them."
After reading those comments we looked for similarly over-the-top commentary blaming right-wingers for the events but without success although in some cases there were those who overplayed the degree to which restriction of gun ownership would have been likely to have prevented the killings as opposed to have reduced the number of gun killings overall - 32 deaths being but a tiny fraction of the death from those from gun accidents annually in the US never mind the total of deaths by shooting.
Back to Imus and Matt Eagan in the Hartford Courant said that "folks on both sides of the issue cast aside logic to make their case. Right-leaning commentators tried to make Imus' comments into a referendum on Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and rap music.[RNW comment: Sharpton and Jackson would appear to have been critical of rap lyrics for some time so some of the attacks on this basis are not fair]. Left-leaning commentators tried to use Imus' slur to attack Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, while ignoring the often hateful speech in rap music."
He then went on, "Talk radio hosts seemed most concerned with whether they could continue to behave like idiots. And media heavyweights and politicians, who went to Imus regularly to peddle their books and pitch their agendas, found themselves accused of hypocrisy."
And later he commented, "After all, if Imus can be fired for saying 'nappy-headed hos,' then shouldn't Rush Limbaugh - who once said 'the NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies' - be thrown out with him? And what about Rosie O'Donnell, who has used her place on 'The View' to spout ill-informed conspiracy theories about 9/11?"
… "The static was so bereft of reasoned debate that Coulter, normally regarded as a sort of right-wing performance artist, was actually one of its more reasonable voices… [On Hannity and Colmes] Coulter said "he picked on these completely innocent and, by the way, judging by their press conference ... lovely girls who are not public figures. They're not trying to have a public platform. They're not discussing issues. They are not fair game."
And on the issue of hypocrisy from those who had appeared on Imus, he quoted journalist Gwen Ifill, whom Imus once dismissed as a "cleaning lady" covering the White House. On "Meet the Press", with regular Imus guests Tim Russert and David Brooks, she commented, "There has been radio silence from a lot of people who have done this program who could have spoken up and said, `I find this offensive or I didn't know.' These people didn't speak up. Tim, we didn't hear from you. David, we didn't hear from you."
In the Wall Street Journal, Sarah McBride and Brian Steinberg looked at a different aspect of the affair under the heading "Finding a Replacement For Imus Won't Be Easy."
"The demise of disgraced radio host Don Imus would appear," they wrote, "to create a prime opportunity for some other eager talent to rise up and claim his microphone. But in the troubled radio industry, finding popular new voices to fill the airwaves -- and attract advertisers in multiple markets -- has become a tough challenge."
CBS Radio, they noted, had already struggled to replace Howard Stern, but elsewhere hosts who had been suspended or fired had returned after a suitable cooling-off period. Amongst those they cited as examples were Rochester, New York, Clear Channel host Bob Lonsberry who in 2003 compared the city's African-American mayor to a monkey and an orang-utan. He was fired but then re-hired after ratings fell. In New York, Tarsha Nicole Jones was suspended by Emmis after the airing of the tsunami song but was soon back and Opie and Anthony are repeat offenders who are now back on the CBS airwaves as well as on XM Satellite Radio.
"One problem," comment McBride and Steinberg, "is radio remains a largely local medium in the eyes of advertisers, who often place their commercials on radio to reach specific groups of people in a single location".
They say the "hosts who usually prove the biggest draws are often the ones who are most controversial" and quoted Ira Berger, director of national broadcast at the Richards Group, an independent Dallas agency, as saying, "If you are vanilla, you're not going to get ratings, so you've got to push the envelope" but then adding that these personalities often only attract "the smaller, entrepreneurial kind of companies that couldn't care less if cards and letters come in."
One exception cited was Tom Joyner whose nationally syndicated show - featuring "PG-rated humour, R&B music and socially conscious feature stories" has attracted sponsorship from Procter & Gamble, which also sponsors many of his philanthropic efforts.
As for Imus, they note that the problems Sirius and XM are facing in gaining regulatory approval of their planned merger means the satellite companies are unlikely to approach Imus before a ruling on the merger.
Finally before listening suggestions, to Paul Donovan and the UK Sunday Times. Donovan starts with a report on adding pictures to radio, something he opines will mean "a little less magic in the world."
He details the involvement of BBC Radio 4 in an "arty film about London" made up from six separate 14-minute films that will be shown as one film at a cinema and simulcast as two afternoon plays on Radio 4 and digital TV channel BBC4. The commercial sector he notes is involved in a trial in which a digital radio screen can "display a succession of colour images showing station logos, artist pictures, album artwork and commercials."
And after more about such collaborations and developments, his conclusions: "I am all for initiatives that get radio talked about, as long as they do not destroy its very essence. For radio is not defined by its lack of pictures; it is not a transition to a visual world. The appeal of radio is the power of the images it unleashes in your mind and nobody else's, rather than the images dished up for everyone. The greatest radio relies on the joys of language and music and the infinitely rich array of aural hues. And not pictures. In any case, we already have a gadget that combines sound and pictures, and it's called television."
We agree and suspect we will be unlikely to recommend this particular Radio 4 project when it is aired. In the meantime we note that the last edition of the current series of the "Now Show" aired on Radio 4 last Friday (there for a week as an MP3 or stream) and that some of the funniest parts rely on mental images that TV could not match.
After that, going back to the topic of Virginia Tech, "On the Media" last week featured discussion on the airing by NBC of the killer's video - and the decision by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation not to air it because of the dangers of copycat killings. Other items on the show included a report on Sao Paulo's ban on outdoor advertising and an interview with Marine combat artist Sergeant Kristopher Battles.
For a different perspective on Virginia Tech we suggest Sunday's "Broadcasting House" on BBC Radio 4, which included Iraqi comment on the killings: Baghdad students have also been attacked and, despite President Bush's comments in his radio address about a reduction in sectarian killings, the current death rate in the country is around 700 a week - scaled up pro-rate for the population left in the country - some four to five million Iraqis are reported to have fled - this would mean some 10,000 deaths a week in the US.
Also worth thinking about in terms of Virginia Tech is the issue of why children develop as they do and last Saturday's "All in the Mind" from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation was on "Jerome Kagan - The Father of Temperament" - looking into Kagan's work at Harvard on temperament and why children in the same household can differ so greatly.
Also from Radio 4, we suggest last week's "Analysis", which looked at attempts to combat terrorism with Sir David Omand, until recently the British Government's top Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator, talking to Peter Hennessy about what we know of the terrorist threat and how well organised the state is to confront and overcome it. : Next week's programme (19:30 GMT on Thursday_ deals with apologies for past misdeeds and whether people do bear responsibility for the crimes of their ancestors.
Also on Radio 4, tomorrow's "On the Ropes" (08:00 GMT with an evening repeat) features John Humprys talking to Hans Blix about his time as a UN weapons Inspector in Iraq.
We then suggest Saturday's "Vox Humana" from Radio Netherlands, another programme in the station's international documentary series Global Perspective 2007 focusing on the theme Belief: This one looked at "Biblically" correct renderings of science in the US.
Finally back to the BBC and Radio 3's "Sunday Feature" yesterday "Enter the Garden: Toru Takemitsu" that looked at the composer's music, philosophy and personality are explored alongside his attraction to the metaphor of the garden and its "The Essay" series (23:00 GMT Monday through Thursday) that this week looks at the theme of childhood in literature. We would also note that next week's Sunday feature is "The Poetic World of Newt": Newt was the name on the Prague police file for the poet Ivan Blatny who defected to Britain in 1948 but then suffered from mental health problems and spent most of the rest of his life in psychiatric hospitals.
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2007-04-23: The UK Sunday Telegraph says that analysts consider Chrysalis's apparent failure to generate a bidding contest for its radio assets - the paper notes that Guardian Media Group ruled out a bid and adds that it believes UTV also opted against putting in a bid - could indicate problems for SMG's attempt to float its Virgin Radio operations that was announced earlier this month (See RNW Apr 13).
The paper says that a number of private equity groups are also shying away from a deal so far and that offers put in are below the GBP 200 million ( USD 400 million) that Chrysalis is said to be seeking.
It quoted a source as saying that Chrysalis had "received several offers "that it is considering. Chrysalis shares had risen by almost a third before it announced its strategic review in February but have since then fallen back by a fifth and closed last week at 126.50 pence.
The prospects for UK radio consolidation were boosted somewhat last week by media regulator Ofcom which in its Future of Radio consultation suggested easing ownership restrictions and also local content requirements (See RNW Apr 18).
Ofcom also indicated that analogue radio spectrum might be better used by allocating it for digital transmissions including radio and mobile TV and raised the possibility of switching off analogue AM services. One possibility would be to use the AM frequencies for Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) transmissions and BBC Radio Devon today starts a year-long UK DRM trial using its 855 medium wave frequency that was turned off on April 1.
100 listeners who have been recruited for an audience panel have been supplied with AM/FM/DRM receivers and National Grid Wireless is supplying, commissioning and operating the transmission equipment and will also assist in assessment of its results.
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2007-04-22: Last week was a pretty quiet one for the regulators with the main news from the UK where Ofcom released its report on The Future of Radio.
There were no radio announcements from Australia and Canada had a fairly quiet week with only a few radio-related announcements from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which held a public meeting in Membertou, Nova Scotia, to consider four proposals to operate a new English-language FM commercial radio station in the Sydney, Nova Scotia market and applications from Newcap Inc. to convert country music format CHVO-AM, Carbonear, Newfoundland to FM and to operate a new classic hits English-language FM in Kentville, Nova Scotia.
The CRTC also announced an administrative renewal to August 31 of the licence of CIWV-FM Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario and posted notice of a Public Hearing to be held on June 18 at its Gatineau headquarters. The deadline for comments or interventions is May 25 and the following radio matters are on the agenda (In order of province):
*Application by Newcap Radio Manitoba Inc. to acquire the assets of CKJS-AM, Winnipeg, Manitoba, from CKJS Limited, resulting from a corporate reorganization requiring the wind up of CKJS Limited into Newcap Radio Manitoba Inc.
*Application by Vista Radio Ltd. to convert country music format CFWB-AM, Campbell River, to a 663 watts FM: the new FM would continue to operate the CJGR-FM, Gold River, transmitter under the presently authorized technical parameters. Vista is also requesting to be allowed to simulcast for three months after the FM comes into operation.
Manitoba and Ontario:
*Application by Corus Premium Television Ltd. to acquire the assets of CKBT-FM Kitchener, Ontario, and CJZZ-FM, Winnipeg, Manitoba from CanWest MediaWorks Inc.
*Application to convert oldies format CFFX-AM, Kingston. to an 8,000 watts FM. The applicant also requests permission to simulcast programming for three months after the new FM is brought into service and that the new FM be allowed to continue to operate under CFFX's current conditions of licence relating to Canadian content.
*Application by K-Rock 1057 Inc. for a licence to operate a predominantly new-country music format 3,230 watts English-language commercial FM in Kingston.
*Application by CHUM Ltd. to convert adult standard/middle of the road CKLC-AM, Kingston, to an 8,700 watts FM; to simulcast for three months after the new FM is brought into service and that the new FM be allowed to continue to operate under CKLC's current conditions of licence relating to Canadian content.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the award in principle of a licence for a new Christian and religious service on the AM band to Spirit Radio Ltd. Spirit and YES Radio Ltd had presented their cases for the award at a public meeting in Dublin last month.
The BCI also announced details of the fourth funding round for radio of its Sound and Vision grant scheme designed to support the production of new television and radio programmes in the areas of Irish culture, heritage and experience and adult literacy. Application forms for radio are available through its web site and applications have to be sent in by May 14.
The BCI also welcomed the report issued by the Joint Committee on Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, detailing the considerations, recommendations and conclusions of the Committee on the draft General Scheme of the Broadcasting Bill.
In particular it said it welcomed the Committee's support for the introduction of a new and modern regulator for the broadcasting sector, of which the BCI will form the nucleus.
BCI chairperson Conor J. Maguire S.C. said of this, that "the concept of a single regulatory body for all broadcasters licensed in the Republic of Ireland and the recommendation that the BCI should from the nucleus of this body has its genesis in the findings of the Forum on Broadcasting, published in September 2002. Since that time, there has been considerable debate and discussion on the concept of single content regulation and its implications for all broadcasters and the media environment generally. The BCI has consistently supported the concept of single content regulation and we welcome the Joint Committee's recommendations on the draft General Scheme of the Broadcasting Bill."
In the UK, Ofcom has been busy with consultations and reports including publication of its Future of Radio consultation (See RNW Apr 18) and also of a report into illegal broadcasts (See RNW Apr 20).
Ofcom has also invited community station operators to apply for grants from its 2007/08 Community Radio Fund, which was established to help fund the core costs of running a community radio station. Applications have to be submitted by May 16.
It also appointed of two new members to its Advisory Committee for Scotland, to take the total membership of the Committee up to nine: They are Chartered Electronic Engineer Laura Alexander, who lives in Clackmannanshire and is currently working as an Open University lecturer and Andrew Anderson, who lives in Ross and Cromarty, and has been an SNP Councillor on Highland Council for 12 years but is to stand down from the council in May.
In addition, Philip Schlesinger, who lives in Glasgow, is currently Professor of Cultural Policy at Glasgow University, has been re-appointed to the Committee for a further four year term and appointed Julian Eccles, previously Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at BSkyB, as its new Director of Communications (See RNW Apr 17).
On the licensing front it announced that it received just one bid for a new Derbyshire local multiplex. (See RNW Apr 19).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released details of various Final Bid Withdrawal Payments for its Auction Nos. 37 and 62.
They include (in descending amounts):
USD 590,720.00 owed by Visionary Related Entertainment, LLC of Wailuku, Hawaii, a participant in Auction Nos. 37 and 62: it withdrew its high bids on FM construction permit FM079-C2 in both of those auctions and the CP was subsequently sold in the FCC's Auction No. 68.
USD 525,503.50 owed by In Vibration, Inc., of Miramar, Florida, a participant in Auction No. 37: It defaulted on its final payment obligation with respect to two construction permits FM063-A and FM068-A after the close of the auction.
USD 245,323.50 owed by Tower Investment Trust, Inc. of Oxnard, California, which high bid on FM broadcast construction permit FM414-C1 in Auction 62.
USD 211,820 owed by Radioactive, LLC, which withdrew its high bid on a FM broadcast construction permit FM445-A in Auction 62.
USD 163,334.50 .owed by Spearman Properties, LLC. of Estes Park, Colorado, which defaulted on its final payment obligation with respect to two construction permits FM296-A and FM302-C2.
USD 42,878.00 owed by Kemp Communications, Inc., which withdrew its high bids on FM broadcast construction permit FM318-C2 in both auctions.
USD 22,344.00 owed by Wilber Johnson, of Sacramento, California, who withdrew his high bid on CP FM366-A in Auction 62.
USD 1,413.00 owed by Steven R. Bartholomew who withdrew his high bid for CP FM179-C in both auctions 37 and 62.
The FCC has also announced that it is to hold an Open Meeting on Wednesday, April 25, at which topics on the agenda include the conversion of US TV to digital and Report and Order and a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning rules governing wireless licenses in the 698-806 MHz Band, which is spectrum currently occupied by television broadcasters in TV Channels 52-69 and is being made available for wireless services
In addition in relation to the FCC's evaluation of the planned Sirius-XM merger, Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps has indicated that approval would be a "steep climb" for him (See
RNW Apr 18
) and FCC chairman Kevin J Martin has testified about the Commission's 2007-08 budget request to the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.
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2007-04-22: CBS Radio is suing Loma Linda, California, station KCAA-AM for airing re-runs of Don Imus shows following the decision by CBS to take the show off air.
KCAA has said it will air the re-runs until April 27 and then destroy its recordings but CBS says in its suit against the station and licence owner, Texas-based Broadcast Management Services Inc (BMS), that its copyright is being infringed: It is seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent broadcasts and USD 150,000 for each violation.
KCAA has posted a PDF of the complaint on its web site and also carries Associated Press top stories which when we checked on Saturday included the AP report on the law suit.
The suit itself says that following the April 12 cancellation of the Imus programme syndication of the show ceased and thereafter Westwood One, which had syndicated it, lost its rights and also ended distribution.
It then cites a Los Angeles Times report saying that the defendants intended " to re-broadcast previously aired Imus Program shows for an indeterminate period of time, and in flagrant violation of CBS Radio's copyright interests in the Imus Program. Indeed, Defendants promised to violate CBS Radio's copyrights 'unless we get a court order to cease and desist.'"
It notes that on April 17 KCAA began airing re-broadcasts and also streaming them on the Internet and also made "approximately 272 episodes of the Imus Program available for download on their website."
Subsequently, says CBS, it contacted the defendants asking them to cease the rebroadcasts and in response BMS chairman and CEO Fred Lundgren "indicated that the rebroadcasts of the Imus Program would continue at least through April 27, 2007, although Lundgren publicly bragged that the rebroadcasts would continue until Don Imus was hired by a new employer - i.e., until some indeterminate time…"
The suit then says that time is "of the essence" in regard to CBS Radio's rights and adds that the "greatest amount of harm to CBS Radio is occurring now, and the more time passes, the greater the number of copies of the Imus Program that will be illegally distributed to the public."
CBS it says, is entitled to a "temporary restraining order and a preliminary and permanent injunction" to prevent further violation of its copyright and is also entitled to damages - for which it is asking USD 150,000 for each "infringing and unlawful use."
The suit also contains a filing from Westwood One EVP Business Affairs and General Counsel David Hillman that says KCAA was only licensed to broadcast the program via its terrestrial signal as it was transmitted to the station and had no rights re-broadcast it after the initial transmission or to supply it through the Internet.
The filing also includes a response by Lundgren in which he says he has no desire to engage CBS Radio or Westwood One and that his actions stem not from a concern about Imus but feels the actions by CBS "were so unreasonable that it raises First Amendment questions from several points of view not only in relation to the host's rights but also "the rights and reasonable expectations to earn revenues, the rights and reasonable expectations of local advertisers to air their ads on Imus in the Morning , and most of all, the rights and reasonable expectations of local listeners to start their day with Imus in the Morning."
"The unreasonable firing of IMUS," he says, "eliminated any expectations for the return to the status quo and it left the Imus affiliates, advertisers and listeners holding an empty bag."
He argues that a time for re-run should have been provided and says KCAA chose to air re-runs for two weeks "in order to cool down the anger and frustration of our listeners and allow non-listeners who have never heard anything about Imus (except the awful thing he said on April 4) to listen to his show in its entirety."
Imus himself is also reported to have gone to the lawyers: Business Week says he has hired attorney Martin Garbus, a partner in the Manhattan law firm Davis & Gilbert, who confirmed that he had been retained but declined to say why and whether Imus was considering legal action against CBS. Business Week notes that a brief sentence in Garbus' personal blog, late Friday afternoon, noted that Garbus "represents Don Imus in a dispute with CBS"- and then says the sentence was later removed from the blog.
The report also notes that Imus recently signed a five-year deal with CBS that would have paid him just below USD 10 million a year.
RNW note: on the bais of the documentation posted, we cannot see how KCAA has any case in law: However unreasonable Lundgren may think CBS to have been, his station did not have rights to re-runs, let alone posting hundreds of MP3s of Imus shows.
To post a couple might at a very great stretch have been arguable in principle in First Amendment terms, but hundreds?

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KCAA web site (has link to the 187-page 2.61 Mb filing by CBS and also - so far anyway - to MP3s of Imus Show):

2007-04-21: Clear Channel has announced that it is to sell its Television Group, which includes 56 stations, 18 of them digital multicast stations plus associated web sites, to Providence Equity Partners Inc. for approximately USD 1.2 billion.
This takes it disposals since it announced that it was attempting to divest 448 radio stations in 88 markets to a total of more than USD 1.5 billion: The company has so far entered into agreements to sell 161 stations in 34 markets for a total of USD 331 million- some USD 300 million net, with all expected to close by the second half of this year. It still has 287 stations in 54 markets up for sale.
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2007-04-21: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has launched a major expansion of its NewsRadio service - Australia's only continuous news station -that will involve addition of 70 new frequencies and take the service to all transmission areas in the country with a population of more than 10,000.
The first stage of the roll out this week included Wagga Wagga and the surrounding South Western Slopes thus adding a potential 1.2 million people to the service's audio with a second and third stage having the potential to add a further three million.
Three new frequencies are to be brought on line each month, until the roll out is complete in 2009, increasing access to the station from 78% of Australia's population to 95%.
ABC Director Radio & Regional Content Sue Howard said the rollout, which had been planned for three years, was a "great step forward for the youngest of the ABC's stations."
"Over the past 13 years, since ABC NewsRadio started, the station has gone from strength to strength," she added. "Making ABC NewsRadio a truly national network has been a massive technological undertaking; the ABC is uniquely placed to implement such an important initiative."
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2007-04-21: Bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku is to present a new Sunday afternoon request programme, comprised of a wide range of classical works nominated by listeners together with discussion of particular pieces of music by her and a guest musician, on BBC Radio 3 from April 29
Nwanoku is currently Professor of Double Bass Studies at Trinity College of Music in London and also principal bass player of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and said she was "thrilled" to be "joining BBC Radio 3, a station that broadcasts and supports such an immense range of classical music."
Of her own favourites that are to be featured in the show she said these "vary from week to week and I'm looking forward to sharing these and embarking upon a personal musical discovery with listeners as the series progresses."
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2007-04-21: Don Imus's long-time producer and on-air sidekick Bernard McGuirk, who had been suspended by CBS Radio's WFAN following the row over remarks by both of them about the Rutger's University women's basketball team has now been dropped by them.
WFAN operations director Mark Chernoff said McGuirk was no longer with the station but did not say he had been dismissed.
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2007-04-20: Around a sixth of Londoners say they listen to "pirate" radio broadcasts, a fraction that rises to two-fifths amongst black audiences in some London boroughs, according to research conducted for UK media regulator Ofcom.
In a report just released, Ofcom says that "unique music content appears to be the main reason" for listening to them but also warns of the dangers caused, specifically noting an incident when London City Airport was close to being closed down because of interference that was traced to illegal station Passion FM in the Hackney area of the city.
Ofcom says that in Hackney, Haringey and Lambeth boroughs 24% of those 14 plus listened to illegal broadcasts, a reach that rose to 27% amongst males; 30% in Lambeth; 37% amongst students 14-24; and 41% amongst black audiences: it noted that the legal stations that attracted most listening from those who listened to the pirates were Choice FM and Kiss, highlighting the appeal of urban music to this audience.
Ofcom says among those who listen to illegal radio, there is little concern about the disruption that might be caused to emergency services or licensed broadcasters although this does become more of an issue for audiences aged 45+ and adds that many listeners take the view that such claims are propaganda disseminated by the authorities in a bid to control media ownership. It also says that audio sources such as Internet streams and the digital radio seem to complement rather than replace illegal FM transmissions although it adds that if digital radio becomes the way the majority of listeners hear radio illegal transmissions are likely to be reduced partly because it is considerably more difficult for a single illegal radio service to broadcast on DAB than it is on FM, due to the multiplexing involved in DAB transmission.
Ofcom estimates that at any one time there are around 150 illegal broadcasters in the UK, around half of them in the London area with notable clusters in Harlesden, Stoke Newington, Southwark and Lambeth. The pirates it says, as well as interfering with "safety-of-life radio networks, such as those used by air traffic control and the fire service", are often associated with wider crime and nuisance and cause substantial interference to the signals of licensed broadcasters.
Overall it says around 30% of listeners who suffer from FM interference put it down to other stations and 14% to illegal ones with the figures rising in London to 40% and 27% respectively. Very few - only 2% complain overall, 8% when they think the interference is from a pirate station - but nearly two-thirds tune to a different station or turn their receiver off.
The report, although separate from Ofcom's current "Future of Radio" consultations (See RNW Apr 18), is closely aligned with it and Ofcom notes that any conclusions or recommendations made will be consistent with its wider conclusions.
The regulator also notes that it cannot tackle the problem alone and says that there is a "popular misconception that the people behind illegal radio stations are just enthusiasts with an interest in music and/or broadcasting" when in fact some large stations can take in around GBP 5,000 (USD 10,000) a week in cash from such sources of income as advertising - often publicizing nightclub events- and payment from DJs who pay to broadcast to gain public exposure.
To protect themselves, it says, some operators have used various tactics including putting transmitters in ventilation flues, or in chimneys on a roof-top, then restricting access to the device through the use of scissor-type car jacks; attaching 'live' 240 volt electric cables to the access doors on roof-tops, in an attempt to cause shock or injury; and using scaffold poles to jam main access doors on roof-tops.
Previous Ofcom:
Ofcom report (90 Kb, 19 Page PDF without appendices):

2007-04-20: According to an Arbitron/Edison Media Research study "The Infinite Dial 2007: Radio's Digital Platforms", analogue radio is continuing to have a large impact on their lives although this is less than that of mobile phones - 35% cited the latter as the audio device that had the greatest impact followed by 19% citing radio.
It also indicates that those who listen to digital audio sources such as satellite or online audio spent slightly more time listening to analogue than the average - 2hours 45 minutes a day compared to 2 hours 37 minutes overall for those 12+ who took part in the study.
In terms of trends the report says the use of portable players continues to increase - ownership went up from 14% of those 12+ in 2005 to 22% in 2006 to 30% and was 54% in the 12-17 age group. The weekly internet audience, however, is stable according to the report at an estimated 29 million with 11% of the total saying they had listened to internet radio in the past week, a figure that rose to 16% amongst those 18-34.
HD radio in this context has yet to make a significant impact: Although awareness rose from 14% saying they had hear or read about it recently a year earlier to 26%, only 6% said they were very interested in it and the situation was similar for podcasts with awareness up from 22% to 37% but the rise in those who said they had listened to a podcast was small - up from 11% to 13%.
Bill Rose, SVP, Marketing, Arbitron Inc., said the report showed that "Broadcasters should promote the vitality of over-the-air radio."
"On a weekly basis," he added, "AM/FM radio is used by the overwhelming majority of Americans, and it continues to have a big impact on the lives of consumers. In addition, the widely held perception that people who use new digital platforms listen less to over-the-air radio is false. In fact, users of digital radio platforms spend just as much time listening to over-the-air radio as the average consumer."
Other findings show that satellite radio subscribers, online listeners and those who have listened to a podcast are more likely to live in households with an annual income of USD 100,000+; that online listening is skewed towards younger adults, particularly males; that satellite still ha significant growth potential - 18% of those in the survey - the same figure as a year earlier - said they were likely to subscribe in the next 12 months; that audio podcast listeners are most interested in technology and news and least interested in celebrity interviews; and that nearly 40% would be interested in a radio that would allow easy recording of programming to be played back later and almost as many in combining cell phone and radio receivers in one device.
RNW comment: Unfortunately for those in the radio business, Rose's assessment seems to show a lack of statistical savvy. If someone who is keen on radio subscribes to satellite, they may well listen less to terrestrial radio but still listen more than those who do not care about it. We are not surprised that satellite and internet listening - which is more costly and less convenient is higher amongst those with higher incomes but would like more detailed figures on how listening is actually carried out - amongst may of the young in particular it seems to be more of a background noise habit than a listening habit and as devices that make other listening simpler and less costly come onto the market we would expect them to gain more use and the traditional portable transistor radio ( or car audio) to get less, particularly amongst the younger demographic.
Previous Arbitron:
Previous Edison Media Research:
Previous Rose:
Arbitron-Edison Media Study (25-page 480KB PDF):

2007-04-20: A Los Angeles school is suing talk station KABC-AM and host Doug McIntyre, alleging the host of "McIntyre in the Morning" targeted the school in a slanderous, racially motivated campaign last summer that resulted in a bomb threat to the school and ongoing security risks according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Academia Semillas del Pueblo and Marcos Aguilar, the El Sereno school's co-director, claim McIntyre "targeted the school for destruction because the children were Latino, the teachers were Latino, the principal director was Latino," according to the suit.
The suit alleges that McIntyre is guilty of civil rights violations for inciting others to harm the school and its students, as well as slander and Aguilar said that as a result of McIntyre's comments, the school has had to hire security guards, adding tens of thousands of dollars to its operating costs
The issue of KABC's comments about the school was brought up last year during a public hearing on media ownership rules held at the University of Southern California (See RNW Sep 5, 2006).
Los Angeles Times report:

2007-04-20: BBC Radio 3 Controller Roger Wright is to succeed Nicholas Kenyon as Director of the BBC Proms when Kenyon moves in October to become managing director at the Barbican multi-arts and conference venue in London in succession to Sir John Tusa, who was managing director of the BBC World Service from 1986-1993 and has been at the Barbican since 1965.
Wright, who will retain his controller's post; be responsible for the BBC Concert Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Singers; and will also co-ordinate the BBC's classical music output across all BBC platforms, said the Proms had "played a vital part in my musical upbringing and so I am thrilled to be taking on this new challenge."
Wright, who has a music degree, was appointed to his current post in November 1998: He had previously been Head of BBC Classical Music, Executive Producer and Vice President, Artists & Repertoire, Deutsche Grammophon, Artistic Administrator of the Cleveland Orchestra, Senior Producer of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Director of the British Music Information Centre.
At Radio 3, he has been the driving force behind composer-focused seasons such as The Beethoven Experience, A Bach Christmas, Webern Day and The Tchaikovsky Experience in addition to The Ring In A Day, when the Radio 3 schedule was cleared to broadcast Wagner's entire 18-hour Ring cycle.
BBC Director, Audio and Music Jenny Abramsky said of the appointment, "Roger is a brilliant Controller of Radio 3. I am delighted that he will bring his creativity to the BBC Proms. He will continue the work of Nicholas Kenyon who has been an inspired and innovative champion of the BBC Proms for 11 years."
Previous Abramsky:
Previous BBC:
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2007-04-20: Arbitron has reported first quarter revenues up 7.9% to USD 91.8 million but spending on its Portable People Meter (PPM) hit the bottom line and net income was down 14.8% to USD 15.5 million (from 58 cents to 52 cents per diluted share) as costs and expenses rose 18% to USD 63.3 million, primarily because of PPM expenditures.
Arbitron also reported an increase in net loss of affiliates from USD 2.4 million a year earlier to USD 3.8 million, primarily down to its USD 1.1 million share of the net losses for the Project Apollo LLC, the joint effort to develop a national marketing research service with The Nielsen Company.
President and CEO Stephen Morris said of the PPM, "Arbitron is focusing its attention and its resources on the rollout of the Portable People Meter radio ratings service, which went live in Philadelphia last month. Our primary goal in 2007 is to execute successfully the initial markets in our PPM rollout, continue our steady progress toward MRC accreditation for all PPM markets, and work with the radio industry to make the transition to electronic measurement as smooth as possible."
Regarding Apollo he said Arbitron was continuing to invest in its development "with a goal of reaching a decision about implementation in the second half of the year," adding," While initial results show promise, we still have further work to do to demonstrate the value of Project Apollo for advertisers and the media as well as to complete a workable business plan for Arbitron and The Nielsen Company."
In other US radio business, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has notified The NASDAQ Stock Market that the resignation from its board and audit committee of Dan Mason, who has succeeded Joel Hollander as President and CEO of CBS Radio (See RNW Mar 28) has meant that it is no longer in compliance with NASDAQ rules relating to auditing. SBS has until its annual shareholders' meeting in October to get back into compliance and says it will do so.
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Previous Morris:
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2007-04-19: Clear Channel's board has recommended acceptance of an increased offer from a private equity group co-led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P., which is now offering USD 39 per share, up from the previous USD 37.60 offer, both all-cash (aking the bid value up from USD 1`8.7 billion to USD 19.5 billion). It has also delayed until May 8th the deadline for a shareholders vote on the deal, which had been due today following a previous delay. Bain and Lee have termed this their "best and final offer."
The move came as a number of major shareholders had said they would vote against the deal - latest to come out against was the California Public Retirees System - and a call from others for the bid to be increased including leading US investor proxy advisory service Institutional Shareholder Services (See RNW Mar 30) and reports that it would be upped to get it through (See RNW Apr 16).
Clear Channel said that, apart from "interested directors" who were recused from the vote, the new offer received unanimous support from the board and notes that it represents a 33% premium on the average closing price before the board announced in October last year that it was to consider options including a sale or merger.
Shareholders of record as of March 23 this year are eligible to vote and Clear Channel says that should the deal not now go through it has agreed to pay "certain fees".
The proposed price remains lower than some shareholders had been seeking and at least one institutional shareholder - Bloomberg's citing "people familiar with their plans" says Fidelity Investments and Highfields Capital Management, which together own 15 percent of the company, will still vote against the offer and quotes David Joyce, an analyst with Miller Tabak & Co. in New York, as saying, "It might still be too little too late. Maybe if they'd gone to 39 bucks at the beginning, it could have been easier. Then there wouldn't have been the opportunity to create a groundswell of activism from major shareholders.''
Joyce values the stock at more than USD 42 and others have valued it at up to USD 44. Clear Channel stock fell 1.33% on Wednesday to end at USD 3.23 and had dropped further in after-hours trading.
Previous Clear Channel:
Bloomberg report:

2007-04-19: Australian metropolitan commercial radio advertising revenues in March were up 9.3% on a year ago to AUD 52.6 million while those for Perth were up nearly 20% according to industry body Commercial Radio Australia, which notes that Sydney revenues for the month were up 11.3%: The Sydney figures were boosted by advertising linked to the New South Wales state election and were up 7.2% to AUD 49.8 million (USD 41.8 million) for the third quarter, which runs to the end of March.
For March, increases (in descending order) were Perth - up 19.4%; Sydney - up 11.3%; Melbourne - up 7.0%; Brisbane - up 6.4%; and Adelaide - up 1.9%.
The figures from PriceWaterhouseCoopers show revenues for the country's five major capital city markets are now up 2.6% year-on-year for the first nine months of the fiscal year to AUD 457.3 million (USD USD 383.4 million).
Commercial Radio Australia Chief Executive Joan Warner said that the advertising market in Australia "remains extremely competitive but these figures show that advertisers are continuing to view commercial radio as an important part of their marketing strategy."
She added, "There is a bit of buzz around radio because stations have attracted a lot of new high profile talent and stations are staying fresh and innovative with their content and the way they deliver it, and that is proving popular with listeners."
Other figures from the Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia (CEASA) show that in the 2006 calendar year, Australian radio advertising revenues - including metropolitan, regional and community stations - were up 3.0% on a year earlier to AUD 924.8 million (USD 775.4 million) whilst total advertising excluding classified directories and online) increased by 1.2 percent in 2006 to AUD 9.6 billion (USD 8.1 billion)). Radio took a 9.6% share - 7.8% if directories and online are included.
Australia has also just marked 40 years of talk (termed "talkback" by Australians) radio in the country and Commercial Radio Australia has announced a "Legends of Talk" lunch to be held later this year to mark the anniversary.
The lunch, to which prominent politicians will be invited along with various personalities who were on air at in the early days including Mike Walsh (2SM, Sydney); Garvin Rutherford (2SM, Sydney) and Barry Jones (3DB, Melbourne), will discuss the impact of talkback on the country. Others invited include current hosts from the main talkback stations in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney and relatives of early talkback hosts.
Warner commented of the medium, "Forty years ago, it became legally permissible to take two-way phone conversations over the air and so the talkback phenomenon began… Talkback radio has been and continues to be extremely influential beyond its own audience in Australia and in times of crises', elections and disaster, listening patterns show a strong swing to talk radio."
'Talkback' radio was launched in Australia on April 17, airing simultaneously on 2SM, Sydney (with Mike Walsh) and 3DB, Melbourne (with Barry Jones) and using an eight-second delay mechanism. By 1968 it had spread to 12 metropolitan stations and currently airs on more than 50 commercial stations in the country.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Warner:

2007-04-19: Bob Dylan's "Theme Time Radio Hour" is to get a second series on XM Satellite Radio starting in September.
The award and plaudit-winning show - the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has put its the "baseball" in its archive - was launched in May 2006 (See RNW May 1, 2006), and features contributions from guests as well as Dylan's mix of songs and tales related to a specific theme for each show.
XM also says that from 18:00 ET on May 26 it will broadcast every show from the first season in a back-to-back marathon on its folk music channel "The Village" channel (XM 15).
Previous XM:

2007-04-19: UK national commercial digital multiplex operator Digital One has announced that it plans to build ten new transmitters so as to boost its coverage area to 90% of the populations from its current 85%, adding around 1.9 million more potential listeners.
Digital One says it will add new transmitters in Cumbria (Whitehaven and Workington): Derbyshire (Chesterfield); the Scottish Borders (Selkirk and Riddings Hill); the South Coast (Newhaven and Eastbourne); and Yorkshire Coast (Bridlington; Scarborough and Whitby).
Its chief executive Quentin Howard , who is also WorldDMB President, said, "With sales of digital radios nearly at 5 million, we felt the time had come give even more listeners a chance to access the national commercial stations on our network. We have already gone well beyond our original coverage commitment and will continue to champion DAB digital radio as the technology of choice for radio listeners across the country."
In further digital expansion in the UK, media regulator Ofcom has announced that it received just one bid for a new Derbyshire local multiplex.
It came from Now Digital (East Midlands) Limited whose shareholders are GCap Media's Now Digital Limited (72.5%); Sabras Sound Ltd (20%; and Chrysalis Radio Limited (7.5%).
Now Digital is proposing eight local services in addition to BBC Radio Derby. They are:
Ram FM - A GCap contemporary charts hits format:
Classic Gold 945 - Classic Gold Digital Limited's offering of classic hits;
Xfm - GCap's Modern rock format;
Heart 106 - Chrysalis's Adult contemporary format;
Galaxy - Chrysalis's Dance and rhythmic hits format;
Smooth Radio - Guardian Media Group's Easy listening format;
Peak FM - Grand Central Broadcasting Limited's Adult contemporary format;
UCB UK - UCB Limited's religious offering.
Previous Digital One:
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Howard:
Previous Ofcom:

2007-04-19: CBS Corporation has launched a national multi-platform advertising unit CBS Connections that it says will complement the CBS RIOT (Radio, Internet, Outdoor and Television) platform for local adverts it launched in February (See RNW Feb 13) and offer advertisers an "unsurpassed national reach" from its various properties including CBS Entertainment, CBS News, CBS Interactive, CBS Sports, CBS Paramount Television, CBS Television Distribution, CSTV, Showtime, CBS Radio and CBS Outdoor, among others.
The new unit is to be headed by Fred Sawabini, who has been named Senior Vice President, and who will report to Jo Ann Ross, President, Sales, CBS Television Network.
CBS said the new unit will work closely with RIOT and its launch underscores the conclusions of a recent survey by the Association of National Advertisers which shows that integrated marketing communications now rivals ROI [return on investment] as a top issue confronting marketers.
Previous CBS:

2007-04-18: The Sirius-XM merger plan came under further pressure on Tuesday with testimony on both sides of the issue being heard by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; comments by Federal Communications Commissioner Michael J Copps that approval would be a "pretty steep climb" for him, and competing advertising placed by the satellite companies and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which is vigorously opposing the merger which it is labelling a "merger-to-monopoly" plan.
Copps made his remarks at NAB 2007 in response to a question about the merger from National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) NAB president and CEO David K Rehr, noting that FCC chairman Kevin Martin had already "indicated it's a climb for him" and adding that it was also "a pretty steep climb for me" although he added he was willing to look at the matter fairly and consider the satellite companies arguments that they faced competition from a wider audio delivery market.
Testimony to the Senate Committee from Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin and NAB Radio Board Vice Chairman Russ Withers, owner of Withers Broadcasting Companies re-iterated previously stated positions.
Karmazin, who was at the hearing with XM chairman Gary Parson, said the merger would allow the satellite companies to lower prices and offer more to consumers. "The key to getting more subscribers will not be to widen the price gap between free and what satellite radio charges," he said. "Instead, it will be to offer consumers a better value."
Karmazin said a significant part of the cost savings that a merger would produce would be shared with customers through lower prices and improved offerings, that the companies expected the merger to "stimulate the development of new interoperable, highly portable, low-cost, and user-friendly devices" and emphasized the previously-stated argument that the two companies had to compete with a host of other audio providers.
Withers said that on the contrary the companies were the only satellite providers and added, "The undeniable fact is that XM and Sirius want government permission to take two competitive companies and turn them into a monopoly."
He noted that when the satellite companies were licensed in 1997 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "specifically ruled against a single monopoly provider."
"The Commission foresaw the dangers of a monopoly," he said. "It explicitly licensed more than one provider to ensure "intra-market" competition and to prohibit one satellite radio provider from ever acquiring control of the other. There is no reason to change that position now. Currently, Sirius and XM occupy 25 megahertz of spectrum allocated by the FCC for nationwide satellite radio service. With a new monopoly and a merged entity, they will continue to control this entire block of spectrum, preventing any new entrant from offering national, satellite radio service and competing against their new monopoly."
Regarding competition issues, he ignored audio providers other than terrestrial radio, saying of the latter, "Consumers, however, would never consider my station's local programming a comparable product to Sirius' 133 channels or XM's 170. A local radio station's programming is clearly not a substitute for the array of services offered by XM and Sirius. Services like XM and Sirius compete with each other - and no one else - in the national satellite radio market."
I can understand why XM and Sirius would want a monopoly," SAID Withers, "but that does not mean it is in the public interest. XM and Sirius, by their own admission, are not failing companies. Their current highly leveraged position is due to extraordinary fees paid for marketing and on-air talent, including the USD 500 million contract that Sirius awarded to Howard Stern and the USD 83 million dollar bonus paid to him just last year. But even with these costs, XM and Sirius have made clear they can succeed without a merger."
The merger gained no open support from Senators but some opposition: Reuters quoted North Dakota Democrat Sen. Byron Dorgan as saying, "The proposed merger ... cannot possibly be in the interest of American consumers. It will eliminate the competition that exists between the two separate companies and it will injure consumers. This isn't even a close call."
Also opposing at the hearing was Consumers Union vice president Gene Kimmelman who said the deal could lead to further consolidation of media outlets in the hands of a few dominant players.
In addition to their testimony at the hearing, the two sides continued their battle of adverts with the satellite companies promoting the merger as being to the benefit of the consumer and the NAB paying for adverts in Communications Daily, Congress Daily and Roll Call that contained a variety of quotations against the merger - none of them particularly advancing the case to anyone knowledgeable about the issues.
They included comments from Philip M. Napoli of Fordham University, author of an NAB-sponsored report on the issues (See RNW Apr 14); about a Carmel Study that was paid for by NAB (See RNW Apr 4); by former US Attorney-general John Ashcroft, who had previously approached XM to offer his services to them but had been rejected (See RNW Mar 6) plus quotes from newspapers and one quote from a Radio World article that had made a case against the merger.
Previous Copps:
Previous FCC:
Previous Karmazin:
Previous NAB:
Previous Parsons:
Previous Rehr:
Previous Sirius:
Previous XM:

2007-04-18: UK Media regulator Ofcom has now published its consultation on the Future of Radio in the country including a suggestion that it review the future of analogue AM in two years time: Regarding FM a switch-off and change to digital would not be reviewed for five or until digital listening is half the total, whichever comes first.
Ofcom says these spectrum reviews could set common end dates for existing BBC and commercial services - a move that would benefit commercial radio considerably since it had a larger share of digital spectrum than it does of analogue frequencies. It does not propose switching off analogue but does say future licensing should be done to allow flexibility in future allocation of spectrum.
Announcing the review, published as a 184- page PDF with a deadline for comments of June 29, Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards, said: "Radio remains important to many consumers, but the environment which it operates in is changing. It is essential that regulation reflects this. The proposals we outline today seek to ensure a vibrant and innovative UK radio sector."
Ofcom notes that radio currently faces challenges of increased competition from other technologies and an increasing share of listening moving to digital platforms and said its approach seeks to "address these issues and ensure that as radio makes its transition to digital, it continues to offer listeners choice and diversity, and that regulation remains proportionate."
It splits its consultation, which follows its publication in November last year of a discussion document (See RNW Nov 17, 2006) , into three main area: The regulation of commercial radio where it is proposing to reduce the level of detail required for analogue formats and standardize requirements for local programming according to the size of a station and also a move to a single set of ownership rules governing analogue and digital stations; Regulation of community radio, which it says could be considerably reduced; and the future use of analogue spectrum where it notes that existing analogue licences will expire between 2009 and 2027 and suggests that, since the spectrum might be better used for more digital services including radio and mobile TV, renewals of existing licences should be changed - possibly by granting indefinite-term extensions- to allow it to set common end dates to turn off analogue.
Regarding ownership it suggests the government wish to consider aligning the cross-media rules with any changes in radio ownership rules and regarding spectrum separate reviews of AM and FM that would each include in relation to turning off analogue a "full assessment of the costs and benefits taking into account the needs of consumers, including the most vulnerable members of society"
"The goal of this document," says Ofcom, "is to outline an approach to regulation which is capable of delivering radio's agreed public purposes as a healthy radio industry makes its transition to a digital world. Radio still has a vital role in fulfilling a range of public purposes - a role shared between the BBC, commercial radio and the new community radio sector - and regulation should be focused squarely on ensuring that those public purposes are met in the interests of listeners as citizens and as consumers."
Publication of the consultation was welcomed by the RadioCentre, the body which represents British commercial radio companies, but it expressed disappointment that Ofcom seemed to be proposing "incremental small steps of deregulation rather than a giant leap forward for the industry."
Its chief executive Andrew Harrison noted that Ofcom "had identified and sought to tackle many of these key issues facing the Commercial Radio industry as it gears up for a digital future" but then added, "A vibrant and thriving Commercial Radio sector is what listeners deserve in the digital age, so we fundamentally believe it is essential to review the entire current approach to regulating Commercial Radio, which is a legacy from the analogue era."
"Our industry represents less than 5% of the overall media market in the UK yet, even with the welcome deregulatory moves proposed today by Ofcom, it will continue to be subject to far too detailed sector-specific rules on ownership, locally produced programming and technical broadcast standards," said Harrison "We're just not convinced that that's appropriate in a modern, market-led, multi-platform world. We'll be urging Ofcom to ensure that the result of this consultation is a breakthrough set of proposals which allow Commercial Radio to make the transition to digital whilst retaining a very special place in the hearts and minds of listeners."
Previous Harrison:
Previous Ofcom:
Previous RadioCentre:
Previous Richards:
Ofcom Document (184-page 1.81 Mb PDF):

2007-04-18: The US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has upheld its decision to raise the level of royalty fees for streaming audio on the internet, a decision welcomed by recording companies and opposed by many webcasters and also by National Public Radio, which when we last checked had not responded to the decision.
In its decision the CRB said it will not postpone the May 15 deadline to introduce the new rates and also posted detail on how royalties are to be calculated for 2006 and 2007 when it will allow the use for a "transitional period" of estimated ATH (Aggregate Tuning Hours). The rates will apply to music both on the internet and to mobile devices such as cell phones.
When we last checked the CRB had not published its decision in the Federal Register: When it does there will be a 30-day window for appeals to a Federal Court.
The decision was welcomed by SoundExchange, which is charged with collecting the royalties: Its Executive Director John Simson said in a statement, "Our artists and labels look forward to working with the Internet Radio industry -- large and small, commercial and non-commercial -- so that together we can ensure it succeeds as a place where great music is available to music lovers of all genres."
It was also welcomed by the AFTRA (the American Federation of Radio and TV Artists) whose National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth said recording artists deserved "to be paid fairly for the use of the creativity, talent, and hard work they put into making music" and added, "Internet radio is growing and successful because fans want to listen to the music created by artists. The CRB's decision recognizes that, as these businesses grow, both featured and non-featured artists should be compensated at fair market rates for their contributions to the growth of these companies."
SaveNetRadio, a coalition of online broadcasters opposing the increased rates, said the "CRB's ill informed decision to increase royalty fees to this unjustifiable level will quite simply bankrupt most Webcasters and destroy Internet radio.
It stressed the importance of Internet radio to independent artists and its spokesperson Jake Ward in a news release added, "By casually dismissing the importance of better understanding the impact of their ruling, the CRB reaffirmed the need for immediate Congressional action… The SaveNetRadio campaign will now take the fight for the future of Internet radio and music diversity on the Internet to Capitol Hill and with the support of millions of listeners, hundreds of thousands of artists and tens of thousands of webcasters, we believe our message will be heard and Net radio saved."
Previous Simson:
Previous SoundExchange:

2007-04-18: Southern Cross Broadcasting, whose radio stations include Sydney 2UE and Melbourne 3AW, has confirmed that it has held talks with a number of media companies about a possible merger or acquisition following reports that Macquarie Media Group (MMG) was about to launch a full takeover for it.
Noting the reports about Macquarie, Southern Cross said it "confirms that it has held discussions with a number of media companies" and added, "As Southern Cross has previously advised the market, the company is continuing to explore a number of opportunities to maximize shareholder value, including mergers, acquisitions and divestments."
Southern Cross has a market capitalization of around AUD1.3 billion (USD 1.1 billion) and is considered a likely takeover target under new Australian media ownership laws that took effect on April 4.
MMG, which is backed by Macquarie Bank, took a 13.8 per cent stake in Southern Cross in November last year for AUD 165 million (USD 138 million) and its executives were reported to have spent Monday in talks with Southern Cross management in Melbourne.
Southern Cross shares rose by around 4% on the news but then settled down to close at AUD 17.01 on Monday, a figure still ahead of recent analysts' valuations because of the takeover speculation.
MMG, which owns 87 radio stations, is seen as in acquisition mode and is also thought to be interested in a bid for CanWest's New Zealand television and radio business, MediaWorks, although last month Australia's Seven Network and James Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting (PBL) along with its private equity partners were reported as being at the top of the list of bidders (See RNW Mar 6).
Previous Macquarie Media:
Previous Southern Cross:

2007-04-17: US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO David K. Rehr in his opening keynote address at NAB2007 in Las Vegas called for a re-branding of radio and stressed the importance of using the power of words, saying they "are critical to how we redefine our issues and our identity as we proceed into our digital future."
He then along a marketing line using the theme, saying, "Words have consequences. And we need to be more astute choosing the words that describe us and our positions on the issues. We need to choose words that advance our cause - not words that are inherently self-defeating, confusing, defensive, or simply outdated. .. As an industry we need to re-brand over-the-air radio and television broadcasting to reflect the new digital industry that we are creating. A new vocabulary will make our industry and our issues even more understandable to policymakers and the public and more in harmony with the future. "
Concerning digital radio in the US, he said that when iBiquity, "used the term IBOC-In-Band On-Channel Radio-no one, well, perhaps a few of us, had a clue what it meant. Then iBiquity did something very smart. They changed IBOC to HD Radio. And suddenly a light bulb went on. People got it. Because they already knew what HDTV meant. That changed vocabulary is one reason, I believe, HD Radio is taking off. "
He made similar comments in terms of the carried of HD TV by cable companies and their proposal to degrade broadcasters' HD signals carried by them and went on to the issue of payment for performing rights by US terrestrial radio.
"This is not about a right," said Rehr. "It's about a wrong that the record companies are seeking to perpetuate. Radio has long played the record companies' music at no charge to them, the artist, or the listener... and in return the record labels and the artists have received free promotion of their products. Free music for free promotion. "
"This arrangement," he continued, "has been mutually beneficial to radio, the record labels and the artists. Radio airplay continues to be the driving force behind music sales in this country. But now... the record labels want the government to impose a tax on radio stations for playing their artists' music. Imagine the brazen greed it takes for the record companies to expect us to pay them for the honour of marketing and promoting their artists' music. It would make much more sense for us to charge them for our promotional efforts."
Regarding the Sirius-XM merger he said this would "not be approved" adding, "No matter how much Mr. Karmazin and everyone else at Sirius and XM use the word, it is not a merger they seek. It is a monopoly. It is a government sanctioned monopoly. Now some of you might not be aware I am an economist by training. I ask you, when has a monopoly ever served the interests of the consumer? "
After then saying that the merger plan was simply about "lining the pockets of financiers and corporate executives" and that NAB would continue to oppose it, Rehr went on to disparage such terms as "free-over-the-air broadcasting" and say that "terms like 'terrestrial radio' are meaningless at best.
He continued, in relation to proceedings on Capitol Hill when the term was used "A congressman said, 'Terrestrial radio? As opposed to extraterrestrial?' Terrestrial radio sounds like it either involves aliens or is something from a bygone time - which we are not…Internet radio sounds like the future. Wireless sounds like the future. Digital television sounds like the future. High def sounds like the future. YouTube, Google, iBiquity sound like the future."
Rehr did however defend the use of "local" before going on to say that "The NAB right now has a team working on finding the best words to define us and take us into the future. This will be a long and continuing effort. But, we need your help. We need your ideas. We need your self-discipline, so that we all speak the same language."
RNW comment: Rehr is quite right about the power of words, something well illustrated in the ways they change their meaning over time and by the fact, for example, that politicians speak of "reform" to put a positive gloss on what may be a negative change for many people.
The result, of course, is often that we end up with no meanings but just slogans and we can but hope that somehow US print media have the courage to mock every glib term that comes out of the NAB team to the degree that NAB itself ends up doing an Imus.
For any sentient human with a vocabulary and a brain larger than that of an earthworm the only sensible response to most of Rehr and NAB's comments is to them down as almost always blinkered self-interested propaganda that is an insult to the intelligence, even if there is a genuine -and sometimes complicated - case to be argued, as there is for example in terms of monopoly (including allowing one company too much control over local airwaves or media) or copyright (of which performing rights are part).
Taking the IBiquity example, Rehr is in effect saying that when a term -IBOC - was used that had meaning but required a little technical knowledge to understand it, most Americans were too lazy to bother finding out more. When a glib slogan with a misleading gloss was substituted they were still too ignorant to understand any real meaning but were conned by the glib.
As for "terrestrial radio" it does not - repeat not Mr Rehr - sounds like it involves aliens, although it may sound as if it is from a bygone time: It is extra-terrestrial that generally has the connotation with aliens and as we understand it satellite radio is extra-terrestrial in the sense that it is received from space.
Maybe Rehr should stand on the steps of Capitol Hill every day for a month and repeat the story of the boy who cried wolf for a couple of hours with a live Internet feed.
Previous NAB:
Previous Rehr:

2007-04-17: Author Hanif Kureishi has accused the BBC of censorship after it postponed the broadcast - originally scheduled for Friday this week - of his short story "Weddings and Beheadings", which described the work of a cameraman forced to take on work recording executions that have become a feature of kidnappings in the Middle East.
The BBC said it made the decision because it felt the timing would be inappropriate following a claim by the little-known terrorist group the Jihad and Taweed Brigades that it kidnapped BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston and has videotaped his murder, a claim so far unconfirmed.
The Corporation said it would have taken the decision irrespective of whether Johnston worked for the BBC or was a journalist and added that it would review the decision on a regular basis.
Kureishi told the UK Guardian that he felt the decision came from "stupid thinking" by BBC executives and added, "There are journalists and newspapers in peril all the time around the world. We support them by supporting freedom of speech rather than by censoring ourselves."
The story is one of five short listed for the GBP 15,000 (USD 30,000) first prize for "The National Short Story Prize", which was created to reward the very best of published short story writing and is supported by BBC Radio 4 and Prospect magazine, with administrative support from Booktrust and Scottish Booktrust.
Readings of them were scheduled on BBC Radio 4 at 14:30 GMT each weekday this week but the web site now says "The broadcast of this story has been postponed. In its place you can listen to a repeat of 'First Taste' by Margaret Drabble."
Previous BBC:
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2007-04-17: Clear Channel Radio and Google have agreed on a multi-year deal under which the latter will have the rights to sell a guaranteed part of 30-second advertising on more than 675 of Clear Channel's stations.
No financial terms were disclosed about the deal, which will give Google Audio Ads advertisers national distribution to specific audiences, at specific times, in targeted localities and opens up additional sales for Clear Channel by making its inventory available to advertisers who previously have not used radio.
Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan described the arrangement as "a true win-win. Clear Channel Radio gets access to an entirely new group of advertisers within a new and complementary sales channel, and Google adds another option for its existing customers."
Google has been pushing to develop its radio advertising business following its purchase of DMarc Broadcasting (See RNW Jan 18, 2006), which linked advertisers to radio stations through an automated ad buying system.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Google:
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2007-04-17: UK media regulator Ofcom has appointed Julian Eccles, previously Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at BSkyB, as its new Director of Communications.
Eccles, who will take up the post next week, replaces Matt Peacock who left Ofcom earlier this month to become Director of Communications and Marketing for international energy firm BG Group plc.
He will report to Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards and will lead a team of 24 people responsible for the regulator's media relations, corporate and internal communications and design and publications activities.
Previous Ofcom:
Previous Richards:

2007-04-16: This week it has to be Don Imus: His comments and the subsequent dumping of his show by MSNBC then CBS Radio have been among the top stories overall last week in the US with a fair amount of reporting elsewhere.
We are concerned about the implications of what has happened - Is it really the best way forward for a society for advertisers to be the censors? - And are still thinking this through in a US context.
The best online audio comment we have hear came from this week's "On the Media" from WNYC - complete with 2000 file of Imus being asked to pledge, by columnist Clarence Page (subsequently not invited back on the show) among other things to stop "simian references to black athletes" and various other disparaging comments about blacks; and, on CBS 60 Minutes (a 1997 interview with Mike Wallace), admitting that producer cum on-air bigot Bernard McGuirk was there (in the ) to tell "nigger jokes", but also including New York Times columnist Frank Rich and Wallace complimenting Imus in terms of more serious elements to the show.
In print, there was no single article we have noted that encapsulated the saga comprehensively although a number did a fairly thorough job on various elements.
Terry Keenan in the New York Post brought up wider business aspects of the Imus Show, noting not just the value to CBS Radio's bottom line of some USD 15-20 million in revenues - but other parts of what Keenan termed a much larger empire.
In particular he quoted "one seasoned book agent" as saying, "The Imus impact was worth hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars to the book publishing industry."
"Big publishing," wrote Keenan, "stood by Imus throughout the week, even as far larger sponsors, including Proctor & Gamble and GM, ran for the exits. It was a pure business decision: there simply was no better place to sell a non-fiction book."
"And while it worked, Imus Inc. was a marketing marvel and a win-win for all who came into its orbit: CBS radio earned tens of millions in ad revenue; MSNBC got three hours a day of cheap programming; NBC News personalities and others in the Imus Roladex of the elite got to tout their books; favoured politicians received hours of free airtime; the Imus charity was put on the map; and Deirdre Imus got to promote her "green" agenda."
There are, of course, suggestions that Imus will be back, probably on satellite radio, but Keenan concludes by commenting that "the money machine that was Imus Inc. will be almost impossible to revive. And for that, Don Imus must be truly sorry."
The perspective from outside the US was of course different, if only because not only the importance of the host and the terms used together with their context needed more explanation.
In the UK Sunday Times, Andrew Sullivan began in very different terms to American reports: "How does one begin to express the impact of one noun and one compound adjective? Perhaps the money angle will help. For the act of calling a young black female college basketball team a group of "nappy-headed hos", the crotchety white "shock jock" radio host Don Imus lost his job last week. "
Sullivan noted appearances on Imus's show by well known names such as "Barack Obama (once) " and Senator John McCain and said, "His summary dethronement is a fascinating snapshot of a changing, multicultural America - and the power structures that underpin it. "
As for definitions, Sullivan said "Nappy" was "slang for "unkempt", relating specifically to African-American hair. The word "ho" is derived from a vulgar term to describe someone who sells her body for money."
"The spectacle of an older white man putting down a young black female team - while praising the beauty of a white girls' team who beat them - struck a raw nerve." Commented Sullivan, "The team, moreover, was from Rutgers University, a place where academic excellence is the rule and where any black student has obviously beaten the odds of many of her peers."
Sullivan then noted other Imus comments - saying of the black journalist Gwen Ifill who was assigned to cover Washington, "'Isn't the Times wonderful? It lets the cleaning lady cover the White House.' He called Howie Kurtz, the excellent media columnist for The Washington Post, a 'boner-nosed, beanie-wearing Jew-boy and Arabs 'towelheads'"
After that Sullivan widens the context of the comments… "None of this deterred America's media and political elite from appearing on his show… Imus simply said on the air what they all say in the privacy of their own homes. Getting close to it in public was as close to authentic as many of these politicians and pundits get" although he then noted the contrast between Imus and others such as Mel Gibson and Michael Richards, Seinfeld's Kramer, who "went through various forms of grovelling after yelling the n-word at some black audience members in a stand-up routine. "
"Imus, in contrast," he comments, "was admirably frank and lacking in any self-pity: 'I said a stupid, idiotic thing that hurt these kids. If I hadn't have said it, we wouldn't be here. So let's stop whining about it.' To my mind, that candour almost undid the ugliness of the original remark."
He then took up the topic of the language used in hip-hop and why Imus was punished so severely for "using words that are routine in urban America? Imus himself made the point: 'This phrase that I use, it originated in the black community. That didn't give me a right to use it, but that's where it originated. Who calls who that and why? We need to know that. I need to know that.'"
The reason suggests Sullivan "The answer lies with the American public's general sense of how someone uses power. Imus's frank bigotry towards many kinds of people was always balanced by his charity work. He raised $25m to build a ranch in New Mexico as a refuge for seriously and terminally ill children, and spent last week using his radio show as a telethon to raise more money. Many of these vulnerable children are black. If his bigotry is deep, his generosity is also. But there are unwritten rules in multicultural America. One of them is that tolerance of public bigotry is correlated with how much power and authority the bigot has. So a poor urban black guy who routinely calls women "hos" is not subject to widespread disapproval. In fact an entire music industry is structured to pander to his hatred of women and gays. But when you have power or come close to power, and when you are not a member of a minority yourself, the rules change."
Others, he noted, continue to get away with things, naming as examples Howard Stern - pander "to bigotry but routinely mocks himself as well, and is not cavorting on a regular basis with leading politician" and Ann Coulter - "has made a career out of spewing bigotry. But she gets away with it because she skewers liberals as well, is a woman, and is viewed as a music hall act even by her supporters."
Even Coulter he notes was in trouble when she "called John Edwards a 'faggot' at a recent conservative conference. Why? Because she shared the same stage on the same day as Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. Even then, she got away with it, because the American right continues to tolerate gay-bashing. If she'd called Barack Obama the n-word on the same platform, her career would have been over."
And his conclusion, "America is changing - faster than some have begun to understand. An Oprahfied America that is about to choose for president between a biracial senator, a former first lady, a divorced Italian-American, and a Mormon is a country where bigots no longer get away with it. Even for USD 15m a year."
Less certain about the changes listed by Sullivan was actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein who in the New York Times commented, "America is watching Don Imus's self-immolation in a state of shock and awe. And I'm watching America with wry amusement."
He then continued, "Since I'm a second-class citizen - a gay man - my seats for the ballgame of American discourse are way back in the bleachers. I don't have to wait long for a shock jock or stand-up comedian to slip up with hateful epithets aimed at me and mine. Hate speak against homosexuals is as commonplace as spam. It's daily traffic for those who profess themselves to be regular Joes, men of God, public servants who live off my tax dollars, as well as any number of celebrities."
…" In fact, I get a good chuckle whenever someone refers to "the media" as an agent of "the gay agenda." There are entire channels, like Spike TV, that couldn't fill an hour of programming if required to remove their sexist and homophobic content. We've got a president and a large part of Congress willing to change the Constitution so they can deprive of us our rights because they feel we are not 'normal.'"
Finally in reference to Imus, another New York Times comment, this time from Randy Kennedy headed "Hey, That's (Not) Funny", a comment with which we have much sympathy since we have this and additional reservations (along the lines of "not very informative, stimulating or intelligent") about much talk output.
His heading was made in the context of Imus's comment on the Rev Al Sharpton's radio show that his remarks were made in the context of "us rapping and trying to be funny."
"If comedians or talk-show hosts are funny enough, in any of the hard-to-define ways that can be determined, they often earn a pass when offensive material is used," says Kennedy. Of course, it's not a universal pass; many people will never find humour that flirts with racism or sexism or homophobia funny and will continue to be offended and hurt by it. But the pass often works even if the humour is what comedy experts sometimes call "outsider to insider" joking - a white comedian wielding minority stereotypes; a straight woman making fun of lesbians - a much trickier proposition than insider humour."
He notes that Sharpton has "has not campaigned for the cancellation of other shows that tread up to and sometimes cross the line, like "South Park," the slash-and-burn cartoon satire on "Comedy Central", created by two white men, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, where racial epithets are about as plentiful as pronouns and ugly stereotypes are strip-mined down to the last laugh."
After other comments about comedy - the expectations raised compared to what is delivered, the comedians being seen to play a role, and so on - he quotes comedy writer Larry Wilmore, billed as the "senior black correspondent" for "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart."
"I have a mathematical equation for all this," said Wilmore. "White guy plus black slang equals comedy. But here's where the equation breaks down. White guy plus black slang minus common sense equals tragedy." RNW note: And of course the other maths - equals much less income!
Our first listening suggestion is related to Imus and is last week's "On the Media" from WNYC, on which we have already commented.
After that we suggest a trio of BBC Radio 4 programmes that we found illuminating in different ways about the cultures of Britain and the US. One was "Corridors of Power" from last Friday, a programme in which Britain's former Washington Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer looks at the legacy of cult US TV series "The West Wing" and compares the series, in which the office of the President was portrayed with the utmost reverence, to UK shows such as "Yes Minister" or "The Thick of It", which depict politicians as shambolic idiots. Also worthy of a listen - in any case - but as an example is "The Now Show" from the same evening.
Then from the station tonight at 20:00 GMT in 'Death to America', the BBC's senior Washington correspondent Justin Webb questions the common perception of the United States as an international bully and a modern day imperial power, examining the origins of anti-Americanism in Europe and particularly France, where the US was viewed with distaste and suspicion from the time of the American revolution.
Also within the same area of looking at cultural differences, Sunday's "Background Briefing" on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National featured Stan Correy looking at America's new policy of soft-power as part of its fight against the insurgents in Iraq, something termed possibly too little too late, maybe impossible since Americans don't speak the language, and don't understand the many cultures involved.
Back to Radio 4 and indirectly the issues of cultural difference - but this time in relation not just to geographical separation but also that in time -also came up came up in Sunday's "Something Understood" on the station with Mark Tully exploring the nature of shame.
And of course there's the question of power to effect change, a topic prominent in Sunday's "Amsterdam Forum" on Radio Netherlands in which political scientist Thukumbi Lumumba Kasongo outlined the history of liberal democracy in Africa from independence through the Cold War, the war on terror and, up to the present day, looking specifically at Algeria, Ghana and Congo-Brazzaville. The programme in particular analysed the elements needed for democracy to take root and also featured Roel von Meijenfeldt, Executive Director of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy adding his views on the ways European countries can help support the development of democratic process in Africa.
Then there a difference in cultures that some might find gross - in the two most common meaning of the word - from Radio 4 in "From Our Own Correspondent" on Saturday (available as an MP3 or stream). Its items included one from Fergal Keane on why people are prepared to pay big money to hunt the polar bear in Canada and the other featured Martin Redfern on the battle between science and religion for "America's soul".
Then changing course we move to BBC Radio 2, which this week changes its early evening schedule for the first four weekdays and launches a new live show from Manchester hosted by Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie (19:00 GMT Monday through Thursday).
The move means that the second part of its three-part "Ravi" series on Ravi Shankar will air at 22:00 GMT on Wednesday (the first programme is on the site until then).
After that we suggest last Saturday's "Jazz File" from BBC Radio 3 , the second of a three-part "Kings of Swing" series that features the work of Bennie Goodman and Artie Shaw and included clarinetists, Dick Johnson and Ken Peplowski, with their instruments in the studio aiding present Linton Chiswick discuss and deconstruct the two musicians' style and techniques. The final programme is next Saturday at 17:00 GMT.
And finally back to Radio 4 and readings - the "Book of the Week" (at 08:45 GMT with a 23:30 GMT repeat), which is "Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl" based on Steven Bach's biography of the controversial German film maker and "The Afternoon Reading" (14:30 GMT today to Friday) featuring stories, chosen from over 400 entries from previously published writers, that have made the shortlist of the second National Short Story Prize for previously published writers.
Previous Columnists:
New York Post - Keenan:
New York Times - Fierstein:
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2007-04-16: According to the UK Sunday Telegraph, Sir Richard Branson is keen to form a joint venture with any new owner of Virgin Radio, which is being split-off by SMG (See RNW Apr 13) but he is said to be balking at doing a solo deal at the GBP 105 million (USD 207 million) that SMG is said to be asking.
The original Virgin Radio was acquired from Branson in December 1997 by DJ Chris Evans backed by private equity group Apax Partners - which had co-founded its original launch in 1993 -and French bankers Paribas in December 1997 for GBP 88 million (then USD 207 million) after Branson decided to sell the company to his bid rather than await for the outcome of a Monopolies and Mergers Commission inquiry into a bid from Capital Radio, now part of GCap Madia.
It was subsequently sold in 2000 to SMG as part of its GBP 225 million (then USD 370 million) purchase of Ginger Media, which included the radio station but Branson retained a right of approval of any future purchaser and the brand name reverts to his group in 15 years.
The radio business was valued at GBP 185 million (then USD 305 million) of the value of the deal at the time and the paper says potential bidders now include GCap Media, which in January hired former SMG Radio Chief Executive Fru Hazlitt (See RNW Jan 18), and private equity houses Apax and Permira.
Branson, says the paper, is keen to develop an international radio business, with online broadcast as its backbone. He is already involved in radio operations in France, South Africa, Italy, Thailand and Dubai and last week signed a deal with French media giant Lagardère, which operates a Virgin Megastores business on the continent, to re-brand its national pop station Europe 2 as Virgin Radio subject to regulatory approval.
The paper also notes that Chrysalis Group's radio operations are potentially up for sale (See RNW Mar 22) and says bidders for that business include UTV, CanWest and private equity group Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette.
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Previous Chrysalis:
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2007-04-16: According to the New York Times, citing "people briefed on the negotiations", Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners are proposing to increase their USD 26 billion deal - including assumption of USD 7 billion of debt - to purchase Clear Channel to ensure that shareholders dissatisfied with the offer, which was recommended by Clear Channel's board, goes through.
The paper says that in a letter to the Clear Channel board they are proposing several options including allowing shareholders to co-invest in a small part of the deal, a move that would give them a greater return should the deal go through.
Last week, Scott Sperling, the co-president of Thomas H. Lee, said at a conference that he was "evaluating" the situation, but did not say that the firms would raise their offer.
Last month leading US investor proxy advisory service Institutional Shareholder Services urged Clear Channel shareholders to vote against a the deal (See RNW Mar 30) and major shareholders such as Fidelity Investments and hedge fund Highfields Capital Management have said they plan to vote against the deal.
The Times adds that investors were hoping to get an offer increasing the bid by USD 1.50 a share over the USD 37.60 on offer but they are unlikely to get this.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:

2007-04-16: Westwood One has announced that has entered a non-binding agreement to extend its deal with CBS Radio for a further eight years after the current agreement expires at the end of March 2009.
The agreement has to be finalized and agreed by shareholders and Westwood One President and CEO Peter Kosann says it will deliver "several key benefits - long term distribution on major market radio stations, programming rights from a top radio broadcaster and station compensation tied directly to audience delivery."
CBS distribution and Westwood's exclusive national syndication rights to CBS Radio News will continue as now and compensation will continue on similar current economic terms with an agreed-to annual increase in potential compensation payments to CBS Radio.
Management, however, will be separated with termination of the current agreement after which Westwood One will manage its business directly and separate from CBS Radio, and employ all Westwood One officers although the provisions of the current agreement that give Westwood a right of first refusal to syndicate CBS Radio programming will continue through the term of the new agreements and certain non-competition and non-solicitation rights will continue through March 31, 2010 and 2012, respectively.
In addition Westwood One will retire the warrants held by CBS Radio in Westwood One and CBS Radio will agree to a standstill on the sale of Westwood One securities until December 31, 2007.
Previous CBS:
Previous Kosann:
Previous Westwood One:

2007-04-15: The main regulatory news last week came from North America where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finally published details of the long-leaked USD 12.5 million "payola" settlement with CBS, Citadel, Clear Channel and Entercom and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted calls for comments in relation to its public hearing, now planned for September, on diversity in Canadian media.
Australia was fairly quiet but the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued one ruling that host Alan Jones on 2GB Sydney had breached Australian industry codes by broadcasting material likely to encourage violence or brutality and also vilified people on the basis of ethnicity, a ruling that led to an on-air attack by Jones and support for the host from Australian Prime Minister John Howard (See RNW Apr 12). Subsequently the ACMA issued a further release noting media comments about the ruling but saying that its members felt it "inappropriate t" to make further public comment on the matter "until further discussions occur with 2GB management and decisions are made by ACMA on appropriate sanctions."
It then noted that the "rationale for the Authority's findings is expressed in its detailed investigation report and the Authority encourages interested commentators to read the report in its entirety."
RNW comment: As we noted then, our support goes to the regulator in this case. It is ruling on the basis of Codes that have long been published and procedures that have long been established. It is very careful to define the terms used and the basis on which it then made the judgment and the adult approach from Jones and Howard should be to make a rational case for changes to those Codes and procedures not behave as they have.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as already notes has called for comments in relation to its September public hearing concerning diversity in Canadian media (See RNW Apr 14).
It was also involved in a number of routine decisions that included the following radio-related matters (In order of province);
New Brunswick:
*Approval of application by Astral Media Radio Atlantic Inc. to replace its AM transmitter CJCJ-2, which broadcasts the programming of CIKX-FM, Grand Falls, with a 50-watts FM transmitter in Plaster Rock.
*Approval of application by Radio Gaspésie Inc. to add a 43 watts FM transmitter at Fontenelle to broadcast the programming of CJRG-FM, Gaspé.
The CRTC in a public notice also noted an application - with a deadline for comments or interventions of May 3 - by Blackburn Radio Inc. to add an 875 watts FM transmitter at Sarnia, Ontario, to broadcast the programming of CHOK-AM because of the effect of petrochemical plants in the area on AM reception in surrounding areas.
A further public notice, with a deadline for comments or interventions of May 16, includes the following radio matters:
British Columbia:
*Application by Rogers Broadcasting Limited to delete from the licence of CKWX-AM, Vancouver, its short wave transmitter CKFX-SW, Vancouver, which is no longer in operation.
*Application by San Lorenzo Latin American Community Centre to relocate the transmitter of Type B ethnic community CHHA-AM, Toronto, and increase its power from 1,000 watts to 10,000 watts.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised a new multi-city service for the 45 plus demographic. The service - which will be primarily music-driven and offer one or a combination of the following music formats: classic gold, easy listening or smooth music - will be available in Dublin City, County and commuter belt, Cork City and County, Galway City and County, Limerick City and County and County Clare. Applications have to be submitted by June 22.
In the UK, Ofcom upheld no radio complaints in its latest Broadcast Bulletin (See RNW Apr 13) but otherwise made no radio specific announcements.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission's main announcement, as already noted, was the USD 12.5 million settlement of its payola investigation into CBS, Citadel, Clear Channel and Entercom (See RNW Apr 14).In other actions, the FCC Media Bureau has posted examples to clarify the manner in which it will handle applications to change a community of licence, transmission channel, or add a new FM allotment under new streamlined procedures that took effect on January 19.
The FCC also announced that it was ready to grant one more construction permit - in Nassawadox, Virginia - from its FM Auction 37 that ended on November 23, 2004 and four more construction permits relating to its FM Auction 62, which ended on January 31 last year: One is in Colorado, two are in Texas and the fourth is in Wyoming.
Previous ACMA:
Previous BCI:
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous Ofcom:
ACMA web site:

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Next column:

2007-04-15: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled in decisions just released that former CKAC-AM host Pierre "Doc" Mailloux breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics by making comments that were variously , prejudicial, racist comments, blatantly abusive, discriminatory, gratuitously explicit and inappropriate for the time of day on three broadcasts last year.
In the first programme, broadcast on March 27, 2006, was mainly on the topic of money but also contained an exchange in which Mailloux commented to co-host Janine Ross that "deficient countries" Cuba, North Korea, and Iran had "no consideration for money" and then went on later to comment "Do Cubans have a sense of honour? No! No sense of honour, because they are a subservient tribe" and also of the Russians "Do the Soviets have a sense of honour, do they pay their debts? No! They, they steal and they rob each other."
In a separate exchange later on the programme Mailloux spoke to a woman caller about how a loan had affected her husband's erection and then added, "Many women will, will agree to loan money, um, because they're driven by some sort of feeling toward the person asking for the loan. But, they're going to get fucked."
In this case the CBSC ruled that the programme breached sections of the code concerning "broadcast of abusive or unduly discriminatory comments about people on the basis of their national or ethnic origin" and also that "prohibit the broadcast of unduly sexually explicit material and unduly coarse language at a time of the day when children can be expected to be listening to the radio."
The second broadcast - on April 4, 2006 - included comments on Haiti in which Mailloux commented in relation to aid, "First off, where Haiti is concerned, you have to send over shipping containers of Depo-Provera. That's first and foremost. Contraception first. And then you send over Haitian nurses and you inject the little girls from eleven on up in the butt, and you understand? Contraception first. Then we bring in food, and refrigerators, something" and also "You know, when are we going to quit, when are we going to be able to say to the Haitians: 'Start by cleaning up your own shit?'"
Later in discussion of an article "The Backward Slide of Young American Black Men" Mailloux commented on statistics from the US. Complaints were received about his comments on this, on women - describing a female social worker with whom he disagreed as "crazy", the poor and on Haitians but only the ones concerning Haitians and women were upheld.
The final broadcast was on May 30, 2006, and included discussion on the topic of having more children. After comments on a decline in the Russian population, Mailloux commented, ". I think they had enough morons and a few less wouldn't be a bad thing. At any rate, they are experiencing a population decrease, O.K.? And it's snowballing. Looking at our own figures here, six or seven years ago the PQ [Parti Québécois] had the brilliant idea, the PQ's standards, to import, to bring in importees from third world countries; Catholic countries, Muslim countries, um, often deficient countries, and, um, against contraception. It involved countries that do not tolerate the, contraception for women and they reproduce like rabbits; six, seven, eight, ten children. So, they were bringing that in, they were populating Quebec. That is the most stupid idiotic idea I have ever heard, and that was when the PQ was in power." He also commented in relation to Canada's birth rate "And it reflects a, a large part of the female culture in Quebec. Women, most of them, the vast majority of women in Quebec are incapable of taking "no" for an answer coming from a man. They get revenge, they are, they are a real pain in that sense, you would not believe… They almost automatically go into sexual blackmail mode or emotional blackmail mode."
A later part of the programme involved discussion with a male caller in which Mailloux responded to him "But you, when the pressure builds up in the pipes, you pay a woman and she comes to bring you relief, a blow job or whatever, at home for a hundred bucks" and also used commented at one stage "No, no, fuck the sowing of seeds." Yet another part of the programme involved a discussion with a caller about the caller's elder brother who had Downs syndrome in which he labelled the brother a "retard" and made comments, similar to those subject of a previous ruling against him on such a person having a lower value than a talented person. On this, confusing the CBSC and Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), he said," So I say to the CRTC, my eye and up your anus. Is that clear?"
The CBSC ruling on this last commented, "In the matter at hand, it is certainly acceptable for the host to have been in total disagreement with the CBSC's above-cited decision; however, what is regrettable is that this host apparently did not have the ability to express his disagreement in substantive or even literate terms "but did not find a breach in the comments. It did find a breach in his comments about Quebec women, which were found to be unduly discriminatory.
As well as the rulings on the broadcasts, the CBSC noted that under the codes, because of repeated breaches, CKAC-AM is now required to provide a concrete indication of the measures which it intends to put in place to avoid further similar violations of the Codes.
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2007-04-14: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now posted details of consent decrees agreed with CBS Radio, Citadel, Clear Channel and Entercom to settle payola allegations: As previously reported (See RNW Mar 6) they involve total payments of USD 12.5 million to close FCC investigations and also various reforms and compliance measures.
Individual payments - in descending order - are as already reported - USD 4 million for Entercom, USD 3.5 million for Clear Channel, USD 3 million for CBS and USD 2 million for Citadel.
In addition to the payments, the companies have all agreed on compliance plans and future business practices that will prohibit the exchange of airplay for cash except under specified conditions; limit the value of gifts, concert tickets, and other items from record labels to company stations or employees; include the appointment of Compliance Officers and market-level Compliance Contacts responsible for monitoring and reporting company performance under the Consent Decrees; and institute regular training of programming personnel on payola restrictions.
Separately and as also reported earlier, the companies have agreed with the American Association of Independent Music (AIM) group of independent record labels, to commit themselves to playing a total of 8,400 half-hour segments to independent music over the next three years.
The latter was highlighted in comments on the settlement made by the Commissioners including Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein who referred to each company's "company's commitment to showcase the talent of local and independent artists for more than 4,000 hours indicates dedication to localism, music diversity, and the public interest."
Adelstein terms the agreement a "breakthrough and a milestone in the long fight against payola in this country," adding, "It ends an era of laissez faire pay-for-play and signals that the cops are back on the beat to enforce the law."
He said a "Unified Commission" had sent, "a resounding message to the radio industry: payola, in any form, has no place in radio and will not be tolerated by the FCC. Payola deprives the listening public of the country's freshest music, denies local and independent artists a fair chance to get heard over the public airwaves, and saps the vitality of radio. In short, payola hurts musicians, the radio industry and the free flow of creative talent because music is chosen on the basis of who can pay the most - not who sounds the best."
His fellow Democrat Michael J. Copps echoed the sentiments, saying, "Pay-for-play broadcasting cheats consumers, musicians and the law. It denies consumers choice in what they hear, it deprives musicians of the exposure they need to survive and it is illegal. It is also insidious, because just as soon as one payola hole is plugged, another is opened and the payola band plays on."
Copps said of the settlement, "While not a lethal blow, this action makes real, tangible progress against unacceptable pay-for-play practices. It opens some long-denied access for independent musicians who have faced tough times getting their songs on the airwaves in markets long dominated by pay-for-play. And it is good news for listeners who have been drugged by years of standardized, homogenized music playlists. "
FCC Chairman Kevin J Martin in his comment said," Through this strong enforcement action that we take today, the Commission has provided clear guidance to licensees and sent a strong message that the practice of payola must stop for good."
His fellow Republican Robert M. McDowell said he was pleased that "each company has agreed to implement a compliance plan and meaningful business reforms for the purpose of ensuring compliance with our rules" and also pleased with the additional commitments to play independent music.
The remaining commissioner, Republican Deborah Taylor Tate said coming from Nashville "home to more than 80 record labels, 180 recording studios, and some 5,000 working union musicians - I have been particularly concerned by allegations that payola, or "pay for play," practices are prevalent in the commercial radio industry. I am pleased that, in consideration of the conclusion of our investigation into these allegations, each of the four companies has agreed to make significant contributions to the U.S. Treasury and committed to implement consequential business reforms to ensure full compliance with our rules." She also noted the value of the commitment to play music from independent labels.
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2007-04-14: Sirius and XM satellite radio have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the receipt of a request from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for additional information relating to their merger, thus requiring under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 an extension of the merger waiting period for 30-days until they have substantially complied with the request.
In addition the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has continued its campaign against the merger by sending more documents - each from individuals retained by the NAB to examine the proposed merger and offer their "expert" assessment - that argue against the merger to members of Congress.
The first document is an eight-page report by Phillip Napoli, director of the Donald McGannon Communication Research Center at Fordham University, that says the merger would be anti-competitive both in terms of suppliers and listeners.
In the case of suppliers Napoli says they are in a market "in which the buyers are national audio program distributors such as Sirius and XM, and the sellers are content producers, a XM-Sirius merger would create a monopsony situation, in which there would be only one buyer for many forms of national audio programming."
For listeners, he says the market needs to be narrowly defined to those services that are mobile - rather than local as is terrestrial radio and also that programming on satellite radio is fundamentally different from and complementary to other audio services rather than a substitute for it.
He also notes in this context that advertising "represents a very small component of satellite radio's revenue stream" unlike the situation for terrestrial radio and that satellite primarily serves national advertisers with the reverse true for terrestrial radio.
The second document is a letter from former Federal Trade Commission Chairman James C. Miller who concludes that the merger would be against the public interest, describing it as a "two down-to-one merger" in a market where there are no other providers. In such a case he cites two "traditional" arguments that could be adduced to support a merger - the "failing firm" scenario where one company would collapse so the "anti-trust gain little by blocking the merger" and the second that entry into the market is so free that other firms would enter the market should the merged company perform poorly from the consumers' standpoint. Neither of these applies in this case he says, pointing to evidence from both companies that they are viable without the merger and also noting that they are in a very complicated business involving "very sophisticated technology" and also capital intensive, making entry to the market "very, very, difficult."
Regarding arguments from Sirius and XM that they operate in a much wider market he comments that, "It is common sense to many consumers that the alternatives are not an adequate substitute."
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2007-04-14: In the latest consolidation deal in Canadian media, Astral Media has signed an agreement to purchase most of Standard Broadcasting - including its 52 radio stations in 29 provinces, 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 - for CAD 1.08 billion (USD 950 million) subject to regulatory approval.
The Slaight family, which owns Standard, is retaining its share in Sirius Canada; Flow 93.5 FM, the Maple Music label; the online music store Puretracks and its share of Internet streaming operation Iceberg Media.
Payment is to be CAD 880 million (USD 773 million) in cash with the rest through the issue of 4.75 million Class A non-voting shares of Astral Media valued at approximately CAD 200 million (USD 175 million) at the current share price. The acquisition will need the approval of both the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and Canada's Competition Bureau.
Astral had announced in February that it had signed a Letter of Intent to buy most of Standard and was in exclusive negotiations over the deal (See RNW Feb 27).
The deal on completion will make Astral Canada's largest radio operator in terms of revenues, number of stations (81 including the 52 being acquired) and listening hours: It will have a total of 81 stations if the deal goes through without restrictions.
Astral says that after the deal it will have a "better balance between divisions and geographic diversification of revenue sources."
Astral President and CEO Ian Greenberg said the purchase was "an important acquisition for Astral Media that will bring much value to our shareholders," adding, "The acquisition of Standard Radio from the Slaight family means that Astral Media will become the largest radio broadcaster in Canada. It is an acquisition that will be immediately accretive to earnings, while allowing Astral Media to maintain its financial discipline and prudent capital structure. Not only is the strategic fit very sound - adding English-language media properties in geographic areas across Canada where we are not currently present, Astral Media and Standard Radio also have highly compatible corporate cultures."
In an implicit suggestion that the combined company will be able to pull in extra revenues through a country-wide presence, he said the "combined radio properties will offer listeners and advertisers alike, a diverse choice of quality brands across the entire breadth of the country."
Standard Broadcasting President and CEO Gary Slaight, who will join Astral's board following closing of the deal, said, "Astral Media's acquisition of Standard Radio is an exciting turning point in the history of our company. I feel a sense of pride today to be able to announce that we have finalized this deal which will see the company that Allan Slaight bought in 1985 and that we have built in to the leading private radio group in Canada joins forces with a stellar company like Astral Media. I am confident that the cultural fit between our two companies will produce a powerhouse in Canadian broadcasting."
Greenberg said in relation to suggestions that there might have to be some divestments, particularly in Quebec, that there was no overlap in stations being acquired because in areas where both companies had stations in close proximity the stations were divided along language lines - Montréal headquartered Astral is primarily a French-language operation whilst Standard's stations are English.
Standard has some 1,000 employees compared to twice as many for Astral and Greenberg said he expected the stains to retain their current formats. Both companies are healthily profitable with Standard having a profit margin of around 40% and Astral of 35%.
Coinciding with the announcement, Astral released what it termed "solid" second quarter results for fiscal 2007, which ran to the end of February.
Net earnings - driven by TV - for the first quarter were up 9% year-on-year to CAD 24.6 million (USD 21.6 million CAD 0.47 per share) for the quarter and to CAD 57.3 million (USD 50.4 million - CAD 1.08 per share) for the first six months on revenues up 8% for the quarter to CAD 149.9 million (USD 131.7 million) and up 7% for the six months to CAD 315 million (USD 277 million).
Greenberg said they were "delighted" with the results as well as with the acquisition of Standard and also of the share of MusiquePlus and MusiMax that it did not already own. He added, "This was a solid quarter for Astral Media. Our Television group recorded very strong growth for the quarter with subscriber-related revenues up 10% and advertising revenues increasing by 16%. In both our Radio and Outdoor Advertising groups, revenues were basically flat reflecting softer advertising sales for the quarter, in these sectors of the Québec market. Once again however, Astral's complementary mix of subscriber and advertising revenues has lead to the overall growth of the Company. "
The Standard acquisition as far as the CRTC is concerned will be evaluated under current rules but it came only just before the regulator announced that it had now launched a "a public proceeding to review various issues relating to the ownership of Canadian broadcasting companies, with a focus on their impact on the diversity of voices that the broadcasting system provides to Canadians."
A public hearing on this issue, originally planned for this month has been put back to September to allow additional time for responses and CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein said the goal of the proceeding was to "develop a clear and predictable policy that will ensure a diversity of voices, including editorial voices."
The CRTC says it will pay particular attention to ownership of broadcasters and adds that to "to ensure journalistic independence in broadcasting entities belonging to companies that own both electronic and print media" it has also issued a notice inviting comments - by July 18 - on a code prepared by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), to which broadcasters that are members of the CBSC will be required to adhere. Comments made in relation to this code will be examined as part of the overall diversity of voices review.
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2007-04-14: The Rutgers University women's basketball team, who met former syndicated CBS host Don Imus on Thursday night after his dismissal (See RNW Apr 13) have accepted his apology although still stressing that his comments were unacceptable.
Head coach, C. Vivian Stringer said after the Thursday evening meeting that it had been "productive" but withheld comment on an apology. On Friday she said in a statement, "We, the Rutgers University Scarlet Knight basketball team accept - accept - Mr. Imus's apology, and we are in the process of forgiving," adding, "We still find his statements to be unacceptable…this is an experience that we will never forget. These comments are indicative of greater ills in our culture. It is not just Mr. Imus. And we hope that this will be and serve as a catalyst for change. Let us continue to work hard together to make this world a better place."
Imus himself left the three-hour meeting at the New Jersey Governor's mansion without comment and has been out of the public eye since the dismissal but his wife Deirdre, who was on WFAN in Imus's former time slot on Friday to host the second day of the station's radiothon for three children's charities [The radiothon, now in its 18th year, seems to have benefited from the controversy: By Friday evening it had raised USD 3.43 million], spoke on his behalf.
She said on the show concerning the team, "They gave us the opportunity to listen to what they had to say and why they're hurting and how awful this is. He feels awful. He said, 'I want to know the pain I caused and I want to know how to fix this and change this.'" Ms Imus then added, " I have to say that these women are unbelievably courageous and beautiful women."
She also referred to hate mail that is being sent to the team, commenting, "One thing I want to say is the hate mail that's being sent to them must stop. If you want to send hate mail, send it to my husband."
The New York Times reports that asked about the issue of hate mail, Stringer commented, "We're not going to address that. I think what we wanted to talk about is the healing process and that's what we want to do. We have accepted Mr. Imus's apology. What he did and what he said - which we all know - was just symptomatic of the greater ills of society. I think America has spoken."
She also noted that the team had not asked for him to be dismissed, saying in response to a question about the firing, "At no time did the Rutgers University women's basketball team ask for his job. And it would sadden me for anyone to lose their job - and I do mean anyone to lose their job."
Stringer also said the team appreciated the opportunity to have a long meeting with Imus after he knew he had been dismissed, commenting, "We weren't calling for his job and he came in spite of the fact that he lost his job. So let's give him credit for that."
The Times also reports that Stringer's pastor, the Rev. DeForest Soaries of the First Baptist Church in Somerset, New Jersey, announced a broader effort to improve the way people talk about one another in connection with which a town hall meeting would be held at Rutgers within 30 days to find specific ways to improve the level of dialogue with invitations to be send amongst others to clergy, youth groups and music industry executives - the latter in relation to rap music lyrics, which have been blamed for popularizing the use of terms such as "ho", use of which led to Imus's dismissal.
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2007-04-13: CBS Radio has now joined MSNBC in firing Don Imus in the wake of his comments on the Rutgers women's basketball team: The announcement came part way through his charity radiothon, scheduled for yesterday and today, and which was reported to have raised nearly USD 1 million on Thursday.
Imus may have had a premonition that his time was up- he said at the start of the event that it "may be our last Radiothon, so we need to raise about USD 100 million." Organizers said the radiothon, which has raised more than USD 40 million since 1990, had taken in USD 967,000 by noon.
News of the dismissal was broken to listeners to WFAN on the "Mike & The Mad Dog" show on which Chris "Mad Dog" Russo called it "a terrible job by our company" and added, "You couldn't do it tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock?" Mike Francesa added that the decision was "unconscionable," and they were "doubly shocked by CBS' actions today." The duo will take over Imus's slot today.
In a statement CBS Corporationpresident and CEO Leslie Moonves said, "From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed {RNW comment- presumably intended to combine revolted and repelled} by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent. Those who have spoken with us the last few days represent people of goodwill from all segments of our society - all races, economic groups, men and women alike. In our meetings with concerned groups, there has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of colour trying to make their way in this society. That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision, as have the many emails, phone calls and personal discussions we have had with our colleagues across the CBS Corporation and our many other constituencies."
He continued, "I want to thank all those who came to see us to express their views. We are now presented with a significant opportunity to expand on our record on issues of diversity, race and gender. We intend to seize that opportunity as we move forward together."
The decision was announced after Moonves met the Rev Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders including Rev. Jesse Jackson and Michigan Democrat Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, all of whom have been pressing for greater action against Imus than the two-week suspension CBS had already announced.
Sharpton said after the meeting but before the decision was announced, "I want broader issues addressed, but they cannot be addressed as long as Imus is on the airwaves. CBS has as its symbol this eye, but so far when it came to racism, they blinked. We're going to march until we get that eye open for justice."
Imus's fate may have been sealed by CBS chairman Sumner Redstone who on Wednesday was reported by Newsweek to have said he was looking to Moonves to "do the right thing" concerning Imus, adding, "He'll make the ultimate decision. But I'm confident he will deal with it in an appropriate manner."
Newsweek speculated that Redstone could be pushing Moonves to fire Imus but was intent of avoiding another controversy about his management style following comment that was made when he pushed Tom Cruise out at Paramount Pictures.
When we checked, Westwood One, which syndicated the Imus show to some 60 stations, its site had a link to MSNBC News, which was headed by an AP report of the Imus firing by CBS, but carried no release about the matter.
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2007-04-13: SMG has announced that in what it terms a "new focus" it is to concentrate its activities on TV and will spin-off its Virgin Radio operations in an initial public offering (IPO) that could raise some GBP 100 million (some USD 200 million) for the cash-strapped parent.
The amount compares to GBP 225 million (Then USD 370 million) paid by it for Ginger Media, which included Virgin Radio , in 2000 (See RNW Jan 13, 2000). The moves would in essence take it back to its former STV (Scottish TV) roots - it subsequently added the Grampian TV licence and then diversified with purchases that included newspapers (already sold to Gannett -See RNW Jan 25, 2003) and radio, including a stake in rival Scottish Radio Holdings that it sold to Emap (See RNW Jan 17, 2004).Emap subsequently took over the whole of SRH (See RNW Jun 22, 2005).
SMG has also announced that, following re-financing (See RNW Apr 12), it has withdrawn its Primesight outdoor operation from sale, saying the process had been "terminated, because the Board has judged the price achievable, although in the range of market expectations, as too low" and adding, "The Board believes this is due to the historically weak position of SMG as a seller. SMG now has the financial and leadership stability to initiate a fresh sales process for Primesight, when the Board decides this is appropriate." Its cinema advertising unit Pearl & Dean is still up for sale.
Of the Virgin Radio IPO, it commented, "There has been considerable investment in Virgin Radio during the last year: in broadcast talent and online content, in sales and marketing, and in platform expansion and digital rollout. The Board anticipates that Virgin Radio's IPO will create a strong and focussed radio business, with a great brand, that will provide an attractive, pure-play investment opportunity."
Virgin Radio has consistently outperformed the UK radio market and displays particular strengths in sponsorship and promotions. Its iconic brand and multi-platform stance puts the business in a unique position to capitalise on digital listening where it already out-competes the market average by a considerable margin. Virgin Radio has consistently outperformed the UK radio market and displays particular strengths in sponsorship and promotions. Its iconic brand and multi-platform stance puts the business in a unique position to capitalise on digital listening where it already out-competes the market average by a considerable margin."
"The Board of SMG," it said, "believes that the proposed IPO will provide both a strong platform for Virgin Radio's future growth and the right strategic focus and balance sheet structure for SMG's TV business."
Of its TV plans it says newly installed chief executive Rob Woodward, former commercial director of broadcaster Channel 4, "is executing a turnaround plan for TV which will be detailed in June"
The announcement was made along with SMG's release of preliminary figures for the year to the end of 2006 that showed revenues down 8% on 2005 to GBP 147.3 million (USD 291.4 million); operating profit down 38% to GBP 18.1 million (USD 35.8 million); pre-tax profit halved to GBP 10 million (USD 19.8 million) - it was down 87% on discontinued operations to GBP 300,000 (USD 594,000) and down 46% on continuing operation to GBP 9.7 million (USD 19.2 million). Per share earnings were down 38% to three pence with the dividend reduced from 2.9 pence to 1.2 pence.
Virgin Radio revenues were down 3% to GBP 21.7million ( USD 42.9 million), figures that SMG say outperformed the UK commercial radio industry as a whole, but its operating profits were down 53% to GBP 2.3 million ( USD 4.55 million).
Recently-appointed SMG chairman Richard Findlay said of the re-structuring, "This is the right strategic decision for SMG, increasing our focus on TV whilst reducing debt. Virgin Radio is one of the great brand names in media with an attractive national audience, strong relationships with advertisers and a clear growth strategy. As a quoted company it will have the best management and capital structure to support its future growth, and will make for an attractive pure radio investment opportunity."
Woodward commented that SMG under its previous management "had a flawed strategy that was very badly executed" and had led to a "very heavy debt burden."
The UK Guardian says stockbroker Numis thinks a float could raise GBP 76.5m-GBP 85m for SMG - and up to GBP 105m if a trade buyer emerges. It noted, however, that as Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group had a right of veto on a potential buyer, it "may prove difficult to extract a full price."
Amongst those Numis suggested might bid are cable and mobile company Virgin Media, in which Sir Richard is the largest shareholder
The Guardian report also notes that other UK groups are considering radio disposals including Emap, which owns the Magic and Kiss brands; and Chrysalis, which owns Galaxy and Heart.
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2007-04-13: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin again upheld no complaints against radio but did revoke the licence of one TV broadcaster - which had not paid a fine of GBP 100,000 (USD 200,000) previous imposed for breaches including the transmission of sexually explicit material.
It also upheld another TV complaint relating to separation of editorial and advertising and partly upheld a further TV fairness and privacy complaint in addition to which it listed details of a radio complaint not upheld.
This involved a broadcast on LBC 97.3FM in which Steve Allen on his show advised listeners not to bother contacting the Swan Sanctuary to ask them to rescue wild ducks as he claimed that he had the telephone put down on him when he had called them and had been asked "what do you want us to do about it?"
Ofcom said it considered that the programme's presenter did not encourage listeners "not to bother" contacting the Sanctuary as claimed in the complaint; that the presenter was entitled to relate his personal experiences during his programme; and accepted that the programme's entertainment format was well-established and that listeners would have been familiar with its content and its light-hearted, though "irreverent", style.
Ofcom also lists with no details a further 201 TV complaints involving 146 items and 19 radio complaints involving 19 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 143 TV complaints involving 100 items and 17 radio complaints involving 15 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
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2007-04-12: MSNBC has dropped its simulcast of Don Imus's CBS radio show following the row over the syndicated host's description of members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's" and a Pennsylvania radio host Gary Smith has been fired for use of the phrase "I'm a nappy-headed ho" as the "Phrase that Pays" on his "Gary in the Morning" show on Nassau Broadcasting's WSBG-FM, Stroudsburg, on Tuesday.
CBS and MSNBC had previous announced a two week suspension of the show and CBS so far is sticking with this decision although Bruce Gordon, former head of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) who is also a board member of CBS, has told the Associated Press that he hopes that the host is fired.
"He's crossed the line, he's violated our community," Gordon said in a telephone interview. "He needs to face the consequence of that violation." He added that the had spoken to CBS Corporation chief executive Leslie Moonves and hoped that the company would make a "smart decision" and fire Imus, commenting, "We should have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to what I see as irresponsible, racist behaviour. The Imus comments go beyond humour. Maybe he thought it was funny, but that's not what occurred. There has to be a consequence for that behaviour."
MSNBC on its website noted that a number of prominent advertisers had withdrawn adverts from the show: They included American Express Co., Staples Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., and General Motors Corp., and the brokerage TD Ameritrade has said it is "evaluating" its continuing advertising plans.
CBS, according to the report, received around USD 15 million a year from the show through advertising on WFAN and syndication feeds from MSNBC and Westwood One, which syndicates the radio show.
A number of politicians have continued to call for Imus's dismissal including Ohio Democrat Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones who said in a news release, "I feel the apology and subsequent suspension of Mr. Imus is insufficient in resolving this matter. Mr. Imus has a history of making offensive remarks on the air and I am calling for the immediate termination of Mr. Imus and his executive producer Bernard McGuirk. This incident once again brings to light the broader issue of race and race relations in this country and illustrates that we clearly have a long way to go as we continue to strive for tolerance in America."
Illinois Senator Barack Obama, a contender for the Democratic Party nomination for President, said on the MSNBC programme "Hardball" that he didn't think the network "should be carrying the kinds of hateful remarks that Imus uttered."
Imus has agreed to meet members of the basketball team on Tuesday in private and Junior forward Essence Carson, noting that she had done some research on Imus and his past inflammatory and derogatory statements about other people, said on the NBC "Today" show, "Just knowing that this has happened time and time before, I felt that it might be time to make a stand."
In the Pennsylvania case Rick Musselman, COO of Nassau Mid-Atlantic, said Smith had taken it upon himself to use the phrase and added in a statement, "Gary has done a tremendous amount of good in the community over the past 17 years as the morning voice of WSBG, but his comments yesterday crossed the line. He used the phrase with full knowledge of the reaction to Don Imus's use of the exact same phrase just a day earlier, which is the reason he was terminated and not suspended."
"We want to extend our apologies to the African-American community and our listeners," added Musselman. "we regret any inconvenience or difficulties this may have caused to our Pocono community,"
Smith himself later apologized for his comments saying that hat he said was "stupid and I'm sorry."
Imus meanwhile is still facing calls for his dismissal with a number of politicians and organizations saying the two-week suspension of his show is inadequate action for his remarks.
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2007-04-12: Sydney 2GB host Alan Jones has strongly attacked a ruling by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that his programme on the Macquarie Network station breached Australian industry codes by broadcasting material likely to encourage violence or brutality and also vilified people on the basis of ethnicity and has implicitly been defended by Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
The ruling was made in connection with reports over five days on the Alan Jones breakfast show in connection with riots in the Cronulla area of southern Sydney in December 2005. Overall the ACMA found no codes were breached on December 5th and 6th; that both codes were breached on December 7th; that on the 8th only the code against vilifying people on ethnic grounds was breached; and that on the 9th no codes were breached. It says it is to "move to pursue significantly heightened compliance measures in relation to the potential for future breaches" and will be writing to licensee Harbour Radio Pty Ltd shortly about the proposed compliance action
Jones reacted by saying that the findings were biased and based on complaints by people who do not listen to his show - he said people who made the original complaints heard excerpts aired by an ABC broadcast, which also provided information to its listeners on how to make a complaint to ACMA.
Jones also attacked ACMA chairman Chris Chapman and the process involved, saying he has no recourse and is unable to replay the excerpts that led to the ACMA's decision. "Because of the charge laid against me, I'm unable to read you those pieces," he said. "This is like parliamentary privilege. They can say what they like about me. Can I sue them for defamation? No, no, no."
Howard was reported by the Australian as commenting that whilst he was "not going to get involved in comments on individual decisions". Jones was "an outstanding broadcaster": He then continued, "I don't think he's a person who encourages prejudice in the Australian community, not for one moment, but he is a person who articulates what a lot of people think."
Details of the ruling posted include those from one broadcast, following an altercation between a group allegedly of Middle Eastern or Lebanese origin in which two volunteer surf lifesavers were injured and needed hospital treatment: This led Jones to comment to a caller, "What kind of grubs? Well, I'll tell you what kind of grubs this lot were. This lot were Middle-Eastern grubs. "
This broadcast and broadcasts the following day were held to have not breached codes but on subsequent days comments made were held to be likely to encourage violence and vilify people on the basis of ethnicity.
On these days Jones specifically singled out those responsible as Lebanese gangs, commenting on one day, "The truth is they're Lebanese gangs and the Lebanese leadership in this state needs to have something to say about it…. let's identify who these people are…you are telling me in your correspondence, they're Lebanese gangs."
He also read out letters suggesting violent treatment for them - including the following comments, "…the only language the Middle-Eastern youth understand is a good hiding…These Middle-Eastern people must be treated with a big stick… "and "…My suggestion is to invite the biker gangs to be present at Cronulla Railway station when these Lebanese thugs arrive…"
On later days Jones read out similar comments and also details of a text message said to have been circulated widely that "urges Aussies yesterday to take revenge against Lebs and Wogs. Now, it's got pretty nasty when you start talking like this. It says, "This Sunday, every Aussie in the Shire get down to North Cronulla to support Leb and Wog bashing day".
The station argued that Jones had in fact said that people should not take matters into their own hands and had commented on one occasion, "You can understand the anger, the red hot anger of people, but you don't take the law into your own hands. The police will be there in force. The streets, the beaches, enough for everyone. No-one has got the right to take the law into their own hands." On that day Jones was held not to have breached the codes.
RNW comment: Having read the whole 83-page ruling (a 410 kb PDF) that the ACMA posted on its website, we have little sympathy with Jones or Howard: The former, in our view, could reasonably have been held to have engaged in a degree of rabble-rousing at the time of the broadcast judging by the transcripts posted - complete with the relevant codes and dictionary definitions of the words it uses. The ruling is made on the basis of what was said -using recordings of the programme - in the context of the complaints received and the response by the broadcaster.
On that basis we would find it irrelevant whether the complainants had actually listened to the broadcasts - how would Jones know anyway whether they had or had not? Jones comments thus come under the heading despicable in view of his obvious intelligence and the context of a fairly carefully nuanced ruling.
Jones does have a point about the process, however, albeit the decision has, as we have noted been posted on the ACMA web site. In this case, his attack should have been limited to that process - not set up by Chapman - and not include any individual. We see no overwhelming reason why in such cases the ACMA should not be obligated to post on its site the WHOLE- not just excerpts - of the relevant audio linked to its decisions but our view of Jones attitude to fair dealing is such that we think there perhaps should be some regulation, complete with penalties, related to a broadcaster's subsequent re-use of excerpts so as to ensure a reasonably fair use of them. That might be in the form of drafting the rules to allow a response by the regulator should there be gross misrepresentation of the decision with the case to be heard by a jury and an automatic penalty of say a week's remuneration (pay, sponsorship, and any other benefits linked to a host's broadcasting averaged over a year) for the host and a week's advertising revenue for the programme for the broadcaster should the jury consider the misrepresentation has gone too far.
Such a regulation would then provide incentive for the broadcaster to devote enough time to a response and ensure a reasonably fair treatment.
As regards the Prime Minister, who like the current US President does not seem to understand the very idea of "nuance", we view as weasel words comments about not getting involved in individual decisions and then going on to do precisely that in the context. In our view he would as Prime Minister be quite entitled to say he feels the Codes might need reconsideration and that his view of Jones differs but the way he actually responded indicates someone more concerned with political effect than fair comment.

Previous ACMA:
Previous Chapman:
Previous Jones:
Previous Macquarie Network:
ACMA ruling (83 page, 410 KB PDF)
The Australian report:

2007-04-12: SMG's former acting chief executive Donald Emslie, who remained on the company's board when former Channel 4 commercial director Rob Woodward was appointed to take over the Chief Executive's post (See RNW Mar 1), has now resigned from the board "to pursue other opportunities". He has already stepped down from his executive director role but will remain with SMG in an advisory role to Woodward until the end of this month.
Emslie said in an SMG news release, "It has been a huge privilege to have led the Television business of SMG and in the last year to act as the Chief Executive of SMG plc. I am very proud of what we achieved over a very challenging time and I am grateful for the support and dedication from all of the staff and the management team. There is a very solid platform to build on at SMG and I am positive that the business has a very exciting future."
SMG, which is to report its full-year results today, has also announced that it has finalised negotiations on an amended banking facility of GBP 193 million ( USD 381 million ) with its syndicate of lenders, led by Royal Bank of Scotland. The new arrangements, it adds, raise its interest margin by 0.75% and waive the covenant test that had been in place at the end of last year: It runs to the end of September next year.
SMG had admitted in a profits warning in October last year that it was in danger of breaching its banking covenants and Woodward is expected to focus on the need to cut its debt.
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2007-04-11: Although CBS and MSNBC opted late on Monday (See below) to suspend his show for a fortnight from next Monday - the station on Thursday and Friday airs its scheduled radiothon charity fundraiser, which will benefit the Tomorrow's Children's Fund, The CJ Foundation for SIDS, and the Imus Ranch for children with cancer - host Don Imus is still coming under fire, although the Rutgers University women's basketball team has said at a news conference that they hope to "come to some kind of understanding" with him.
The team condemned the comments as "deplorable, despicable and unconscionable" and Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer said its members were "valedictorians, future doctors, musical prodigies and even girl scouts" and "the best of what this nation has to offer."
The comment was made at a news conference held by the team and university officials at which his comments calling members of the team "nappy-headed ho's" were strongly condemned although the team agreed to meet Imus in private to discuss the comments.
The topic was again aired on Imus's show on Tuesday when outgoing CBS Radio CEO Joel Hollander, whose daughter Carly died of SIDS 14 years ago, although not defending the comments, said he felt people were "rushing to judgment" about Imus and that people should be judged "on their whole body of work." Other guests on the show included comic Bill Maher, CBS News political analyst Jeff Greenfield and Carter administration official Hamilton Jordan.
Imus himself said of his remarks that the descriptions used "originated in the black community", adding, "I may be a white man, but I know that these young women and young black women all through that society are demeaned and degraded by their own black men and that they are called that name."
Amongst those considering the suspension inadequate the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, who are partners in UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc.
UNITY called for Imus to be fired and its president Karen Lincoln Michel commented in a news release, "There's something dangerously wrong with the system when a broadcast host demeans and denigrates African American women and gets away with two weeks of time of. It's up to the show's viewers, listeners, and the high-profile guests he invites onto his show to sever their ties with Imus if the radio and television networks will not."
The Rev Al Sharpton who had said after Imus appeared on his radio show, that he had not changed his mind about wanting the host fired, was on the NBC Today Show on Tuesday and commented that the suspension was "not nearly enough" and added that it was "too little, too late."
The Baltimore Times quoted Sharpton as saying, "I've called for his termination and announced that we're going to start picketing the station...This is blatant racism...The FCC [Federal Communications Commission] ought to take him off the air" and added that he was writing a letter requesting that the agency does just that [RNW comment: Under FCC rules, as we understand it, the agency has no powers to take such action to censor comment apart from a few sexually explicit terms].
Sharpton, however, also accepted that Black musicians and rappers had been at fault, saying, "That's the reason why I thought someone like me could take this on because I've been critical of that. I took on the rappers on that…I said many people are not going to like me jumping on the gangsta rappers. I said then, we're going to give license to Whites to do this. Now that they do it, we don't like it."
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Chairman Julian Bond says because of Imus' past offensive statements, this offence is inexcusable.
"As long as an audience is attracted to his bigotry and politicians and pundits tolerate his racism and chauvinism to promote themselves, Don Imus will continue to be a serial apologist for prejudice. It is past time his employers took him off the air," Bond said in a statement posted on the organizations web site but left unamended after the suspensions, says, "As long as an audience is attracted to his bigotry and politicians and pundits tolerate his racism and chauvinism to promote themselves, Don Imus will continue to be a serial apologist for prejudice. It is past time his employers took him off the air."
Previous CBS:
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Baltimore Times report:
NAACP release:

2007-04-11: SMG-owned Virgin Radio is now making its stream available on the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 through a specially compatible Virgin Radio Player will allow the station to stream content to the units.
The player will also allow downloads of tracks and the purchase of tickets and CDs through the Virgin Radio Ticket Store.
The station's digital media director James Cridland said of the move, the first time a station has become available on the games machines, "It's great for us to achieve another new media 1st and be the only UK radio station available on both of these massively popular games consoles. People are treating the consoles as part of their home entertainment media centre, and now Virgin Radio will be part of that experience. This platform has great growth potential, particularly among early-adopters and 25-44 audience popular with advertisers."
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2007-04-11: Air America Radio has announced a new line-up from May 14 adding the syndicated talk-show host Lionel on weekdays from 09:00 to noon ET.
Other changes include a move to Sunday after noon for Sam Seder whose "Seder on Sunday" show will air from 1600-1900ET.
Air America President and CEO Mark Green said of the changes, "Lionel will be an eclectic mixture of current events and off-the-wall topics infused with his special brand of humour."Because he's one of the biggest names in talk radio, Lionel will be a very important addition to our line-up and affiliate base."
Of Seder, he added, "Sam Seder has been integral to the Air America family since its inception," said Green. "We're delighted that he'll be staying to launch a new show on Sunday afternoons, where he'll bring his brand of humour and humanity to his favourite subjects of the Sunday political talkfests and the blogosphere."
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2007-04-11: Canada may be poised to take over much Internet radio streaming from US-based sites should new rates set by the US Copyright Board for Royalties (CRB) be upheld according to the Toronto Star.
The paper notes that the rates do not apply in Canada and notes the establishment of a Canadian site by Mercora, a service that allows individuals to launch their own webcasts. It adds that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission does not regulate Internet streams, which have no need to obtain licences or provide Canadian content and that currently, following a Supreme Court of Canada decision, Internet intermediaries from liability for music put on their networks.
The decision followed action in 1995 by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) to get ISPs held but it does not affect the issue of payment of royalties from the operators of sites. SOCAN, however, rather than going for higher per-play fees is asking Canada's Copyright Board for a new tariff with a minimum CAD 200 (USD 175) a month fee plus a share of revenues - or gross operating costs if these are higher - running up to 16.7%.
In addition the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (CMRRA), which licenses the music reproduction right, negotiates individual licences although in 2005 it had sought a tariff with the same monthly fee plus up to 5% or revenues or expenses.
A third body, the Audio-Visual Licensing Agency (AVLA), which licenses the duplication of master sound recordings, has also created a licence for webcasters that copy music on to Canadian servers for webcasting to Canadians. Its agreement establishes transmission and subscriber fees as well as sets limits on the number of songs that can be webcast for any individual artists (no more than four in a three-hour period) and prescribes the quality of the transmission (no greater than 96 kilobytes per second).
The Star comments that this means that webcasting in Canada can be expensive for non-commercial and niche webcasters but on the other hand does offer the benefits of basing charges on revenues.
RNW comment: So the question is who else in the world might set up to offer an even better deal and, should they do so, what can the US recording lobby do to take action against them?
Toronto Star report:

2007-04-11: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has launched what it is terming NAB FASTROAD (Flexible Advanced Services for Television and Radio On All Devices) with the intention of maximizing commercial benefit from broadcast spectrum.
NAB says Fastroad is a "long term technology advocacy programme" to "seek and facilitate development and commercialization of new technologies that can be exploited by broadcasters using radio and television broadcast spectrum."
NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr commented in a release, "As we move into the digital era, the most successful local broadcasters will be those who continue serving the core audience in their local community while aggressively embracing new technologies to expand the reach of their high-value content. This program will play a key role in the acceleration and adoption of new broadcast technologies and NAB is proud to spearhead its formation."
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2007-04-10: CBS Radio and MSNBC are to suspend syndicated CBS' WFAN host Don Imus for two weeks in response to the reaction to his comments about members of the Rutgers University Women's Basketball team.
Their action followed continuing protests and a further apology from the host on Monday, when his situation was the top domestic news story on US TV networks.
The announcement was made after high-level discussions at both CBS and MSNBC, who said the suspension will be delayed until April 16th to allow Imus's show to continue with a radiothon, which will benefit children's charities.
CBS made no statement when it announced the decision but MSNBC said," Don Imus has expressed profound regret and embarrassment and has made a commitment to listen to all of those who have raised legitimate expressions of outrage," the network's statement said in part. "In addition, his dedication -- in his words -- to change the discourse on his program moving forward has confirmed for us that this action is appropriate. Our future relationship with Imus is contingent on his ability to live up to his word."
The embattled host, who is syndicated by Westwood One, had apologized again on his "Imus in the Morning" show on Monday for saying that members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team, which includes eight black women, "nappy-headed ho's" and also referring to black members of the team as "jigaboos and wannabees": He later appeared on the Rev Al Sharpton's syndicated radio show but apparently failed to change Sharpton's view that CBS should fire him.
On his own show in what the New York Times termed a "rambling 10-minute 'explanation'" of his comments, Imus said, "Here's what I've learned: that you can't make fun of everybody, because some people don't deserve it. And because the climate on this program has been what it's been for 30 years doesn't mean it's going to be what it's been for the next five years or whatever."
He later described himself as "…not a bad person; I'm a good person, but I said a bad thing. But these young women deserve to know it was not said with malice."
He also talked about his New Mexico ranch which provides facilities for children with cancer and blood disorders and where he said 10% of the children were black, adding, "I'm not a white man who doesn't know any African-Americans. I don't know why I said it," he said. "We were trying to be funny, but does that make it O.K. Of course not."
On Sharpton's show, Imus again mentioned his ranch and Sharpton re-iterated his view that Imus should lost his job - Imus disagreed but did not come up with an alternative to show his regrets.
Sharpton had commented that if a person in Imus's position "whose show penetrates the marketplace, can say things that are that mean spirited. My God, then we don't need enemies" to which Imus said he had already been punished for the comments, adding, "How do you think I'm unscathed by this? Don't you think I'm humiliated?"
Others expressing their views on the show included National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) President Bryan Monroe and Michigan Democrat Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick to whom Imus commented after a sharp exchange, "I can't get any place with you people."
This led to protests from her and Sharpton, who took the comment as racially skewed, and Imus responded "You know what I meant. That's not fair "leading to a reply from Sharpton, "I'm talking to a man who called people nappy hos and I know what you meant?"
Sharpton commented to Monroe after Imus had left that he "didn't hear anything that changed my mind."
Imus's future seems likely to depend very much on how far calls for boycotts spread - in Chicago the Rev Jesse Jackson led a small protest march to the NBC Tower (the Imus show is simulcast on MSNBC) and calls for action against Imus have been widespread - although in general media commentators -as in a report on the CBS TV Evening News on Sunday and in an AP report in the New York Post tend to think he will survive.
In the Post report, which said Imus is under corporate pressure, Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers, said Imus would survive if he stopped apologizing so much, and that he would get another position even if he were fired. The report said that Imus had now nearly reached appoint where he was alienating his fans.
RNW comment: Amongst all the various items we have seen on this story, a commentary by Mark Starr of Newsweek posted on the MSNBC site -MSNBC as noted, simulcast the show - comments that although the comments may have been inexcusable, they are not inexplicable. He continues, "And while Imus should not be spared any blame, we are undoubtedly complicit. It is our dubious taste that has spawned America's prevailing entertainment culture. We have countenanced the insult industry into which talk radio has devolved. We have allowed humiliation to become a centrepiece of network TV programming. And we encourage cutting-edge humour, without much concern that women and minorities endure most of those cuts. These dubious entertainments all share one currency: unabashed delight in cruelty and debasement. And we the audience laugh and laugh and laugh until somebody hits us over the head and we realize-or somebody tell us that we should realize-that this time it was way out of line and actually not all that funny."
Previous CBS:
Previous Imus:
Previous Westwood One:
MSNBC/Newsweek - Starr:
New York Post/AP report:
New York Times report:

2007-04-09: Our initial plans for this week's look at print comment on radio were somewhat rudely overturned this week when Don Imus added yet another pearl to his repertoire of comments that have led to his condemnation over the years by almost all groups but white racist bigots.
This time - see RNW Apr 6 - his comments were about the Rutger's University Women's Basketball team but as Media Matters for America pointed out Imus has in the past spread his bile rather widely.
Media Matters terms his comments "just the latest in a long history of racial slurs made on the show by Imus, his guests, and regular contributors", and its President and CEO David Brock commented, "All too often in the media, overtly harsh and inflammatory comments are made on shows like Imus in the Morning simply for shock value, without thinking of their meaning or implication. While we appreciate his apology in this instance, this is nothing new for Imus. It is just the latest in the string of racial slurs by Imus and those on his show that Media Matters has documented. We hope he will take this opportunity to re-examine his behaviour."
Media Matters cites other examples of Imus's show including comments by guest and former Imus sports announcer Sid Rosenberg who was invited back on the show after he was fired for referring to Palestinians as "stinking animals" and saying, "They ought to drop the bomb right there, kill 'em all right now"; comments by the show's executive producer Bernard McGuirk regarding Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he terms a "bitch" and said would have "cornrows and gold teeth" before her fight with Senator Barack Obama was over, an exchange in which he termed Obama "a "young colored fellah pretty much deckin' the old bag from New York and takin' away some of her money" ; comments by McGuirk of Obama's name as "Jew-hating"; of Imus himself referring to the "Jewish management" of CBS Radio as "money-grubbing bastards" and also saying in an exchange about musical group the Blind Boys of Alabama," 'They're handicapped, they're black, and they're blind. How do we lose here?' And then a light bulb just went off over [the managers'] scummy little heads."
So far apart from racist sites, which we haven't checked, we have been unable to find support for Imus anywhere but there has been widespread critical comment, albeit with responses defending Imus's right to free speech.
Te issue of what that right actually includes is taken up head on in the Philadelphia Inquirer by columnist Phil Sheridan whose opening line - "There probably isn't a good time to expose yourself as a racist creep on national television" and who after expending on that comments, "This is not a case of gotcha in the pursuit of political correctness. That will be the reaction from the likes of Imus and his audience, not to mention others whose knees jerk in that direction when hate speech is called hate speech. The First Amendment protects every American's right to freedom of speech. It doesn't protect racists' high-paying media jobs."
Sheridan continues, "This was the issue when Rush Limbaugh made his infamous ESPN comments about Donovan McNabb a few years ago. It wasn't Limbaugh's freedom to express himself that was at issue, it was an all-sports network's willingness to be associated with his race-baiting tactics. ESPN was not. Speech is free. Neither Imus nor Limbaugh, however, speaks for free. The rest of us have the freedom to object when something hateful and ignorant is said in such a public forum."
Sheridan also places his views on the context of the remarks down plainly, "But you can't take the racism out. It's one thing for Spike Lee, a superb filmmaker, to explore issues of racial identity in an edgy satire. It's another for two out-of-touch white imbeciles to use Lee's terms, or the unfortunately ubiquitous, hip-hop-derived "hos" - both hopelessly out of context - to express their Neanderthal reaction to a women's basketball game."
And of the host's "pretensions to serious journalism" and politicians' appearances "to reach an audience they might not otherwise", he comments that, " No aspiring presidential candidate or Beltway insider who goes on Imus' show in the future should be able to pretend ignorance of this episode. If a U.S. Senator or political pundit wants to share the air with Imus, let it be clear what poison is in that air."
He concludes after noting details of the apology that was made, "No doubt Imus is sorry he said it. You'd be sorry, too, if you revealed that much ugliness about yourself on national TV."
The New York Daily News, unsurprisingly, has various reports on the matter including one by sports writers Mark Lelinwalla and Matt Gagne who quote a comment by player Epiphanny Prince as reported by Apache Paschall, Prince's former AAU coach.
Paschall commented, "When we were talking about (Imus) she was laughing, like a disbelief laugh, like she couldn't believe this guy came out of nowhere and said this. She opened the conversation with a joke - 'Nappy hair? I comb my hair!' - and people around her just started laughing."
RNB comment: Sounds like this "ho" is rather more like a lady with a sense of humour than the host is like a half-way decent human being!
Also in the Daily News, Sports columnist Filip Bondy says of Imus's comments that they were "even worse because of its target, a group of 19- to 21-year-old, largely African-American women from a nearby state university who had just accomplished something wonderful and unexpected by reaching the Final Four. What do you tell these women now, who did absolutely nothing to deserve such shameful scorn, to face such horrendous racist remarks?"
He backs calls for Imus to be fired but then notes, "Of course, there are enormous profits to consider, and so the cowards at MSNBC and WFAN are simply standing back, distancing themselves from Imus, reminding viewers and listeners that the man speaks only for himself - even though he does it on their time and networks. The fact that he was even on the air yesterday, two days after his comments, was in itself a disgrace."
He then continues, "Here's the deal, or what the deal ought to be: You don't get to say these things, even if you finally decide to change your mind and apologize, nearly 24 hours later. You just don't call young college women "nappy-headed hos. If you do, you should lose your microphone, whether or not you are the bread and butter and honey and cash cow of the local sports station."
Bondy also details the exchange and then comments of the nature of the show itself, writing: "Anybody who listens to the Imus show regularly knows how this usually works. It is McGuirk who is supposed to utter the basest kind of racist innuendo. Then Imus goes tut-tut, wink-wink, and McGuirk is left out there as the chastened hatchet man. This time, Imus foolishly diverged from the script. He brought up the subject himself, then confirmed McGuirk's crudest remarks."
And of the politicians using the show he says that today Imus is "useless to them. He is worse than useless. He is McGuirk."
Another Daily News sports columnist - Bob Raissman - gets to the heart of the matter over what is likely to determine Imus's future, writing, "If Don Imus' racist characterization of Rutgers women's basketball team ultimately costs him professionally, which could mean anything from suspension to being fired, the decision will have absolutely nothing to do with the moral compass of Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of the CBS Corporation…Imus' fate will be based on one, and only one, issue - money."
Had other WFAN personalities made the remarks says Raissman, they would have been fired already but in the case of Imus there is money from some 70 stations to which the show is syndicated. "The amount of advertising revenue Imus brings to these stations - including WFAN - can be quantified - and it's substantial<" he writes, "With that in mind, there is no way Moonves will cut off the flow of Imus cash - even if he is repulsed by his radio star's warped comments.
And of Imus's apology: "Insiders say he realizes how depraved his comments were and is sincerely remorseful. Perhaps this is so. To the corporation, the state of Imus' mind is meaningless. So is his reaction. The suits are sweating out how others will react. Imus - more than most - knows how the media business, and how the people who run it, operate. He knows his business is populated by executives, Imus often refers to them as "phonies" or "weasels," who are loyal to only one thing - the bottom line."
Which means, he continues, "They will dump Imus in a second if this episode leads to companies - en masse - deciding to stop advertising on the "Imus in the Morning" show. While the majority of Imus advertisers have stuck with him during other controversies, this one is clearly different… This situation is entirely different. Not everyone is accepting Imus' apology. The powerful and highly regarded National Association of Black Journalists immediately rejected it. Clearly, that organization will keep the heat on… It is only a matter of time before advertisers will be urged to do the same. The one thing Imus has going for him now is the prospect of more listeners tuning in to hear how he deals with all this. With the prospect of a ratings surge, will companies want to pull advertising dollars off the show?"
RNW comment: Our feeling is that Raissman has got to the heart of things. Any further action will depend almost totally on advertisers. If the NCAA and others want action they will get it if they can organize a widespread boycott of those who advertise on the show: If they want to prevent recurrence elsewhere they need to go further and organize a stations boycott that is defined to last at least a significant multiple of the days that Imus remains on air with the implied promise of similar action in future. A month with sales showing a marked fall would persuade most advertisers to drop a station like a hot brick and a month with a large fall in advertising revenue would persuade the stations that such comments are not things it makes business sense to associate themselves with. We do think however that in such circumstances there should be room for genuine repentance - say six months salary from Imus to be contributed to suitable causes to be determined by the boycott organizers with no say from the hosts - and the boycott is called off. We're sure that Imus could afford it, that there are plenty of much worse off people who could make better use of the funds, and that such a penalty would prevent regular recurrence.
Enough, however of Imus, and on to the other running item of radio business that continues to get coverage- the proposed merger of Sirius and XM satellite radio.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has of course been lobbying hard against it and in the same way that Imus's apology is not being totally accepted neither is their lobbying.
In the case of the recent report from The Carmel Group, it's attracted significant derision in some quarters
In Ars Technica Nate Anderson gives voice to his attitude by the heading, "Surprise: Radio-funded report says satellite broadcasters should not merge" and then goes on to comment that before producing the report "Carmel's senior analyst Jimmy Schaeffler noted that the NAB "does not like satellite radio" and pointed out that the group doesn't particularly care what party is in power; it is happy to lobby either side in the service of its goals. "
After more details of Carmel activities, Anderson ends by raising a sound question: "…if satellite radio does not compete with terrestrial stations, why is the NAB funding reports against the merger?"
A similar point is made on the site under the heading "The NAB looks fly". In it hear2.0 President Mark Ramsey comments on the credibility of an "independent" research firm whose "sugar daddy" has a big stake in the outcome of its research as being a little like asking " Diddy's posse whether he looks fly or not."
He also quotes - out of context as he says - other comments by Schaeffler about HD radio, "HD radio, with its half-million listeners, is hardly any competition for XM and Sirius, which have about 15 million subscribers. 'Just because HD radio has just done a deal with Wal-Mart, it doesn't mean there's going to be this hugely successful rollout,' Schaeffler said. 'It's got to find its place in the consumers' mind as a viable offering."
Of which Ramsey comments, "So HD sucks - unless it's great. Did I pull these facts out of context? Sure. But research shows that context doesn't matter when you work for Diddy."
Next listening suggestions and with a total change of emphasis, our first suggestion comes from BBC Radio 4's series of "Lent Talks", the most recent of which was from Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, who rejects the idea of a God of wrath - and in his comments made a pretty case to us that many prominent American Christians of the right are more Pre-Christ" than Christian in their attitudes. [Caiphas would probably get on well with the current US attorney general!]
The whole series of six talks are still available -transcripts and audio - on the web site.
Johnson's situation was also featured last week in "On the Media" from WNYC, a programme that also looked at the story of the 15 British sailors held by Iran with suggestions that, whatever might be the perception in the West, in the Middle East Iran may have boosted its image.
The programme also reported on the decision by EMI to drop digital locks on downloads it sells and the implications for the recording companies which have hitherto insisted that this technology is necessary to prevent piracy of their products.
Switching to music and staying with the BBC, Radio 3 last Saturday in "Jazz File" had the first part of a three-part "Kings of Swing" series presented by Linton Chiswick. This episode featured Bennie Goodman - the 'King of Swing' - and Artie Shaw - the 'King of Clarinet'
On Sunday the station in the eighth of a ten-part "Performing Britten" series featured Sir Peter Hall talking to John Evans about "A Midsummer Night's Dream", first performed at the 1960 Aldeburgh Festival and directed by Hall - who has also directed performances of the play - at a revival of the opera at Glyndebourne in 1981.
And for those who want music linked to Easter, "Choral Evensong" on Sunday came live from the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge. Today at 16:00 GMT there is more from the College with an organ recital recorded as part of its Easter celebrations and at 19:00 GMT "Performance on 3" features more Easter Music- from Elgar and Vaughan Williams - recorded at the College by the BBC Concert Orchestra.
After that we cross the Channel to Radio Netherlands for Sunday's "Amsterdam Forum", an edition that looked at medical research indication that TV, whatever is being watched, can seriously affect a child's health. Maybe there are some additional benefits to radio!
Going back to the BBC, Radio 2 tonight has a strong evening with Bob Dylan's Theme Hour (Not available outside the UK), followed at 18:00 GMT by "The Record Producers" in which Richard Allison and Steve Levine look at the career of sound engineer turned producer Hugh Padgham and then at 19:00 GMT with "the outgoing adventures of Elton John", the third and final part of a three-part appreciation of the artist.
On Saturday it had Carly Simon presenting her favourite show tunes and on Wednesday (21:00 GMT) it features "Ravi" with Donovan looking at the work of Ravi Shankar and his collaborations with various other artists including John Coltrane, Philip Glass and Yehudi Menuhin.
Then back to Radio 4 for readings - "The Afternoon Reading" at 14:30 GMT is "Just William Strikes Again" by Richmal Crompton, adapted by Martin Jarvis and then at 14:45 GMT "Fish Tales" in which Chris Yates with various guests looks at the properties and reputations of some of Britain's coarse fish - and comedy: The 17:30 GMT slot this week includes "Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation" tomorrow, "The Arts and How They Was Done" with the National Theatre of Brent on Wednesday and "The Now Show" on Friday.
And finally, to note that Radio 4 on Wednesday at 08:00 GMT airs the first of this year's Reith Lectures with Jeffrey Sachs looking at the challenges currently facing manking and arguing the necessity to adapt to a new age.

Previous Columnists:
Arts Technica -Anderson:
Hear 2.0 -Ramsey:
Media Matters on Imus:
New York Daily News -Bondy:
New York Daily News - Lelinwalla and Gagne:
New York Daily News - Raissman:
Philadelphia Inquirer- Sheridan:

2007-04-09: Former Scottish Radio Holdings Chief Executive Richard Findlay, who was recently appointed chairman of SMG (See RNW Mar 1) has formed a new venture with his son Adam, former managing director of Radio Forth, to build another media empire according to the Scotsman.
The paper reports that Findlay will hold 49% of New Wave Media and his son Adam 51%: The company is to buy businesses such as radio stations, newspapers, websites and digital businesses in the UK and Ireland and quoted Adam, who left Radio Forth in October, as saying their natural area of expertise was radio but they would look at all media sectors.
The duo will initially fund deals themselves and the paper says their first deal - the purchase of a Scottish radio station - is expected to conclude within days.
SRH, built up by Richard Findlay was sold to Emap two years ago (See RNW Jun 22, 2005), and Adam Findlay said that it was not a "bad ambition" to build up another SRH but added that they "are not going out to replicate SRH" although "If any Emap stations came up for sale, we would be expressing an interest in being involved."
Of the move Adam Findlay said, "The beauty is we can decide what we want to do, when we want to do it and how much we want to pay. That's refreshing because both dad and I have had time working for large, publicly controlled media companies."
Previous Findlay:
The Scotsman report:

2007-04-08: The main regulatory news last week came from the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the USD 2.7 billion sale of 24 ABC radio stations to Citadel, subject to 11 divestitures (See RNW Apr 4 ):Elsewhere there was a steady flow of routine activities in most areas.
In Australia, in a generally quiet week, the Australian Community and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that Triple-M, Brisbane, breached industry codes about handling complaints and that community station 3EON, Bendigo and Castlemaine, had breached laws relating to the encouragement of community participation (See RNW Apr 6).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)'s decisions included (In order of province):
Nova Scotia:
*Approval of application by Newcap Inc. for a licence to operate a new English-language 21,000 watts Alternative Rock FM in Dartmouth to replace its AM station CFDR Halifax, subject to the sale of its voting interest in Metro Radio Group Inc.
The CRTC denied a request for exemption from Newcap for an exemption to the commission's ownership policy, which limits control in a market the size of Halifax to two FMs: Newcap currently owns CFDR and CFRQ-FM, Dartmouth and holds a 50% voting interest in Metro Radio Group Inc., licensee of CKUL-FM, Halifax (formerly CIEZ-FM Halifax).which it manages and controls.
*Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to add transmitters CBFZ-FM, Témiscaming, and CBFY-FM, Ville-Marie, to the licence of CHLM-FM, Rouyn-Noranda, to broadcast the programming of its national, French-language network service La Première Chaîne.
The transmitters were originally licensed to the CBC as radiocommunication distribution undertakings (RDUs) to broadcast the programming of CHLM-FM, then licensed to Radio Nord Communications inc. and subsequently acquired by the CBC.
*Approval of new 4,290 watts transmitter at La Sarre for CHLM-FM, Rouyn-Noranda, to broadcast the programming of the CBC's national, French-language network service La Première Chaîne.
The CRTC also posted a public notice regarding various applications approved under its streamlined procedures including the following various transfers of control affecting radio owners and other matters (in order of province):
*Transfer of the ownership and effective control of 902890 Alberta Ltd. (902890 Alberta), licensee of CIHS-FM, Wetaskiwin, to Satnam Media Group Inc., a corporation wholly owned and controlled by Mr. Sukhdev S. Dhillon
*Application to change contours of new English-language commercial FM radio programming undertaking CJOC-FM, Lethbridge, Alberta, authorized in August last year.
*Change in the effective control of Stillwater Broadcasting Ltd., which has a licence to operate CJSB-FM, Swan River, which is not yet in operation, from a control exercised by three shareholders to a legal control exercised by Mr. William Jens Gade.
New Brunswick:
*Change to the authorized contours of transmitter CITA-FM-1, Sussex, approved in November 2005.
*Change to the authorized contours of CJTK-FM, Sudbury.
*Transfer of the ownership and effective control of Diffusion Laval inc., licensee of CFAV-AM, Laval, to Mr. Pierre Marchand
*Final extension - until July 30 - of deadline to commence operation of new French-language FM Type B community station CKBN-FM, Bécancour and Nicolet, Quebec, approved in January 2004.
*Change to authorized contours of CIPC-FM, Port-Cartier, Quebec.
*Change to the ownership of CJNE-FM Radio Inc., licensee of CJNE-FM, Nipawin, and VF2212, Carrot River, through a transfer by Mr. Norman Rudock of 50% of the voting shares of CJNE Inc. to Mrs. Treana Rudock.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom has advertised a new digital multiplex for Northamptonshire: The deadline for applications, with a non-refundable fee of GBP 5,000 (USD 10,000) is July 3.
It has also invited applications for licences for community stations in Yorkshire, except for the Leeds Metropolitan District, where it says FM frequencies are unlikely to available.
Ofcom also posted its budget for 2007-08, which it says will be less in real terms than the previous year for the fourth successive year.
It also posted its tariff tables for the year, including application fees for new national licences - GBP 100,000 (USD 200,000) and for local licences, ranging upwards from GBP 1,000 (USD 2,000) for a local AM in an area with adult population under 400,000 (GBP 3,500 (USD 7,000) for an FM in the same size areas) to GBP 14,500 (USD 29,000) for an AM and GBP 50,000 (USD 100,000) for an FM in areas with a population upwards of 4.5 million.
Corresponding renewal fees are GBP 100,000 ( USD 200,000) for national licences with a range of GBP 1,000 (USD 2,000 for an AM) or GBP 1,500 (USD 3,000 for an FM) to GBP 14.500 ( USD 29,000 for an AM and GBP 21,200 (USD 42,400 ) for an FM.
Corresponding digital multiplex application fees are GBP 50,000 (USD 100,000) for a new national multiplex and range from GBP 1,000 (USD 2,000) to GBP 25,000 (USD 50,000) for new local multiplexes with corresponding annual renewal fees of GBP 10,000 (USD 20,000) for a national multiplex and GBP 500 (USD 1,000) for a local multiplex.
Community licence application fees will be GBP 600 (USD 1,200) for both a new application and annual renewal.
In addition to these fees, Ofcom levies a charge on commercial companies related to turnover: For 2007-08 these fees be 0.248% of relevant turnover up to GBP 1 million ( USD 2 million) then 0.371% from GBP 1 million to GBP 5 million (USD 2million to USD 10million) and 0.557% for turnover above GBP 5 million ( USD 10 million).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), apart from approving the Citadel purchase already noted, also approved the sale of Cincinnati Public Radio's WVXC-FM, Chillicothe, and WVXW-FM, West Union, both in Ohio, and WVXR-FM, Richmond, Indiana, to Christian Voice of Central Ohio, Inc.
A number of listeners to WVXW had objected to the deal, preferring the station's current programming, but the Commission noted that it does not regulate formats and allowed the deal.
In California, it renewed the licence of KFMB-AM, San Diego, California, rejecting a complaint by Martha Beatriz López Amador who wanted renewal denied because a station host had not followed through on a promise to post a photograph of her missing daughter on his page on the stations web site.
Enforcement actions included issuing a USD 50,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to Hawking Technologies, Inc. of Irvine, California, for marketing external radio frequency power amplifiers in a manner that was inconsistent with the terms of Hawking's equipment authorization and of a USD 10,000 forfeiture to Junior Lahens Charles of Tampa, Florida, for unauthorized operation of a transmitter: Lahrens had failed to respond to a Notice of Apparent Violation.
Also in Florida, a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in the same amount was issued to Parker Construction, Inc. of Panama.
Previous ACMA:
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous Ofcom:
ACMA web site:

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

2007-04-08: A row over comments made by host Don Imus, who has a history of bigoted comments, on CBS Radio 's WFAN-AM, New York - and simulcast on MSNBC, seems to be growing rather than easing although the host has now apologized for comments he made about the Rutgers women's basketball team, which includes eight black women.
WFAN has said the comments were "inappropriate" and adds that it will monitor the show more closely in future although it believes his apology was sincere. Its web site carries no obvious mention of the matter.
Imus called the basketball team "nappy-headed ho's" and also referred to the black members of the team, calling them "jigaboos and wannabees", leading critics to say the apology was inadequate.
He had initially responded by saying the describing what had happened as "some idiot comment meant to be amusing" but then the following day said on his show, "We want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-concerived remark we made the other morning concerning the Rutgers women's basketball team. It was completely inappropriate and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupif and we are sorry."
The Reverend Al Sharpton commented that Imus's apology had termed his comments "stupid and insensitive" and then went on to say they weren't insensitive, but "were racist and sexist."
"If I call you out on your name and based on your race and for me to just say I apologize because it is insensitive, " commented Sharpton, "that is like me saying 'That's who you are, I should have been more sensitive about saying it.'".
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Rutgers University said in a statement that they were offended by the insults and continued, "It is unconsionable that anyone who would use the airways to utter such disregard for the dignity of human beings who have accomplished much and deserve great credit."
The National Association of Black Journalists in a news release called for a boycott of Imus's show saying they were "outraged and disgusted by the crude and insulting comments."
The NABJ went on to call for "an immediate, sincere and unequivocal apology from the sophomoric host" and added that it "expects all journalists of all colours to boycott his show until he acknowledges and apologizes for his damaging remarks."
"As NABJ strives to dispel stereotypes and promote accurate portrayals of minorities in the media, we find this characterization of these young black women offensive and hateful," said Barbara Ciara, NABJ vice president/broadcast and managing editor at WTKR in Norfolk.
NABJ President Bryan Monroe, vice president and editorial director for Ebony and Jet magazines in Chicago, wanted the host dismissed, saying, "Has he lost his mind. Those comments were beyond offensive. Imus needs to be fired. Today."
MSNBC, which says it is "continuing to review the situation" but is thought unlikely to drop the show, which has gained some 100,000 views over the past year, unless the boycott calls have an effect. Were prominent guests - his show has recently attracted people such as Tim Russert, John McCain and Joe Lieberman - to stay away it could affect his ratings.
CBS Radio said in a statement, "We are disappointed by Imus' actions earlier this week which we find completely inappropriate. We fully agree that a sincere apology was called for and will continue to monitor the programme's content going forward."
Previous CBS:
Previous Imus:

2007-04-07: Washington DC's 104.1 FM frequency that until January carried Classical station WGMS-FM has now been leased to Radio One Inc, which is to change the format carried from Bonneville's George 104, a mix of 70s, 80.s and current music, to gospel music from midnight today.
Bonneville-owned news station WTOP reports that George, which has been broadcasting without commercials since the end of January on the company's 103.9 FM and 104.1 FM frequencies - when DC public stations WETA-FM returned to a classical format following the demise of WGMS (See RNW Jan 23) - is now to be carried on one of its HD side channels. 103.9 is not part of the Local Management Agreement with Radio One.
WTOP itself is moving its format onto FM only from June 28, dropping its signal from 820 AM and broadcasting only on 103.5 FM and 103.9 FM, thus enhancing its signal in Frederick through addition of the latter frequency.
At the same time the Washington Post Radio network will start to air on 107.7 FM in Warrenton, Virginia, 1500 AM and 820 AM in Frederick, adding the 820 frequency, which will improve its coverage in Frederick, Upper Montgomery County, and Eastern Loudoun County.
Bonneville is also requesting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval to move the 101.7 FM frequency from Warrenton to Manassas, some 20 miles closer to Washington.
Previous Bonneville:
Previous Radio One Inc.:
WTOP report:

2007-04-07: Tests are to be conducted in Luxembourg by Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE) - the technical organisation in Luxembourg of the RTL Group -using one frequency to transmit Eureka DAB, DAB+, and DMB so as to assess the capabilities in advance of the anticipated introduction of multi-standard radio transmissions in Europe.
The tests are under the aegis of the DR Belux digital radio association of private broadcasters in Belgium and Luxembourg and results will be published for the benefit of other broadcasters.
DR Belux president Jean Jacques Deleeuw, who is also managing director of the Belgian RTL radio stations, noted the approval of a growing number of standards by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and said it was not really known what capacities the different systems could provide. The tests, he said, will be of help in looking at the future of radio in Europe.
Test broadcasts are already being made in Luxembourg of DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) signals on AM and shortwave and in Belgium public broadcasters RTBF and VRT are broadcasting in the original DAB, which uses MP2 encoding as opposed to the more advanced AAC coding used for DAB+ and adopted by Australia for its DAB transmissions (See RNW Mar 16).
Deleeuw expects Europe to use families of DAB and DRM, thus creating a potential for an all-in-one radio receiver that could tune to all stations. So far Morphy Richards has put combined DAB/DRM receiver on the market and Frontier Silicon is developing a receiver that would be able to receive DAB, DAB+, FM and Wifi Internet streams whilst RadioScape is extending its current multi-standard radio product to enable development of receivers capable of supporting current AM and FM analogue transmissions as well as Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) and various DAB-based transmissions including TMB, DAB and DAB+ (See RNW Mar 19).
Previous DRM:
Previous Frontier Silicon:
Previous RadioScape:
Previous WorldDMB/WorldDAB Forum: report (Belgian site - in French).

2007-04-07: Clear Channel has agreed the sale of yet more of its stations, this time three in Minnesota and nine in Iowa.
They are being bought for an undisclosed sum by Three Eagles Communications Inc., which already owns 48 stations including stations in Mason City, Iowa and Mankato-New Ulm-St Peter, Minnesota.
Being sold are:
Iowa: KCHA-AM & KCHA-FM, Charles City ; KLKK-FM, Clear Lake (Mason City), KWMT-AM & KKEZ-FM, Ft. Dodge; KGLO-AM & KIAI-FM, Mason City; KCZE-FM, New Hampton; KSMA-FM, Osage (Mason City)
Minnesota: KYSM-AM & KYSM-FM/Mankato and KXLP-FM/New Ulm (Mankato-New Ulm-St Peter).
Previous Clear Channel:

2007-04-07: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that 4MMM - Triple M -in Brisbane breached industry codes by failing to respond to a complaint about its "Tough Love" programme aired in September last year.
The programme, also aired on Triple M stations in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, carried a segment on Papuan child Wa-Wa, said in Australian news reports to be considered a witch by his tribe and at risk of his life. The complainant alleged that the segment could incite hatred against or vilify Wa-Wa on the basis of age or race and did not meet contemporary standards of decency.
The programme included a comedy segment, relating to various reports including one on an unsuccessful visit to Papua the week before by a team from the commercial television current affairs program Today Tonight to find the child Wa-Wa and remove him from the danger he was allegedly in. The complainant said this "ridiculed the situation in a 3rd rate comedy segment, by making a statement 'we should get a team together to kill Wa-Wa'. The tone of the humour was rough, the people involved encouraged each other to the point of it being offensive, and I was left shocked and embarrassed by my fellow Australians."
The segment also included comments about cooking the child in a cauldron, putting him on a rotisserie and making him the main ingredient of an 'all you can eat' buffet at a Bali resort
4MMM had attributed the lack of a response to human error and the ACMA, while finding no breach of codes by the broadcast itself, rules that there had been a breach of codes related to the handling of complaints.
The ACMA has also found that Radio KLFM Inc community station 3EON, Bendigo and Castlemaine, had breached the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 by failing to encourage community participation. The licensee had acknowledged that it had not been diligent in encouraging community participation nor in keeping membership records and to redress this had undertaken to develop a members' page on the KLFM website, reinstate its Program Committee, provide a clear distinction between the three levels of 'listener support' (membership, honorary life membership and Club KLFM) and collate all membership data into a central membership register.
The ACMA said it would monitor the effectiveness of the new measures and required KLFM to provide reports to it in July this year and next.
Previous ACMA:

2007-04-06: Clear Channel, which in November last year put around 500 of its smaller market stations up for sale, has agreed the sale of 51 stations in 11 smaller markets to Dallas-based GAP Broadcasting, which is headed by George Laughlin.
No details have been disclosed but a list of the stations was released:
They are:
Louisiana - KEEL-AM, KRUF-FM, KTUX-FM, KVKI-FM, KWKH-AM and KXKS-FM/Shreveport.:
Oklahoma - KLAW-FM, KVRW-FM and KZCD-FM/Lawton.
KIXS-FM, KLUB-FM and KQVT-FM/Victoria.
KBZS-FM, KNIN-FM and KWFX-AM & FM/Wichita Falls.
Previous Clear Channel:

2007-04-06: The British government has announced the appointment of economist Sir Michael Lyons as chairman of the BBC Trust, the Corporation's new governing body. He will take office on May 1in succession to Michael Grade, who left last year to join commercial rival ITV (See RNW Nov 28, 2006 ).
Trust Vice-Chairman and Acting Chairman Chitra Bharucha welcomed him and commented that the Trust had "made important decisions in our first three months and significant challenges lie ahead."
Lyons, who worked for two years as a part-time street trader at Bell St Market in London whilst completing his formal education and admitted at his news conference that he had also worked as a "kennel boy", began his career as an economist working in the public sector and was a lecturer on the subject at the University of Nottingham and Wallbrook College London, later moving to Birmingham where he was Professor of Public Policy at Birmingham University from 2001 to 2006L He had earlier been a Labour member of Birmingham City Council from 1980 to 1983 and is Chairman of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).
Lyons said it was a "great privilege" to be appointed and that as chairman he would never "lose sight of the public's core expectations of editorial independence and quality programmes across television, radio and the internet which inform, educate and entertain" adding, "I look forward to the exciting challenges of the future and working with my colleagues on the Trust to ensure the BBC provides a quality service to justify the public's continuing support."
Commenting on the Corporation structure he said, "The BBC Trust's duty is very clear. We must ensure that the decisions we take represent the interests of those who matter most. The public. The people who own the BBC. Every member of the UK public pays the same licence fee and each has equal ownership. No institutional shareholders demanding their dividend, or advertisers demanding schedules designed only to deliver ratings. Just the public rightly demanding great programmes which inform, educate and entertain in equal measure."
"My job as Chairman of the Trust," added Lyons, "is to ensure that we listen to the many and varied views throughout the UK and seek to ensure that they are reflected in the work and output of the BBC. Here I believe I can bring both experience and enthusiasm from my earlier career. This is a complex nation with many different communities of place and of interest. It is vital to our future prosperity and the strength of our social fabric that the work of the BBC reflects and enriches that diversity as well as the values and history that we share together."
In his opening statement at a news conference, he also brought up the kidnap of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston in Gaza, saying he "would like to take this opportunity to add my own voice to the previous requests made to those who have influence, for the swift and safe return of Alan Johnston to his family, friends and colleagues" and adding, "The BBC Trust might necessarily be independent in its decision-making, but it should never be detached from the responsibilities and risks which its journalists and staff face in doing their jobs."
The BBC he said, was "undoubtedly the UK's foremost cultural institution and the UK's best known and highest regarded international brand. It will only remain so, if it delivers on the public's expectations and justifies their continuing confidence and support."
Asked about reports of close ties to British chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) and putative Prime Minister Gordon Brown, he dismissed suggestions that the appointment resulted from political connections saying the vacancy caused by Michael Grade's departure cane at a "fortuitous time" when he had just finished a review of local government funding for the chancellor, one of three jobs he had done for him, and added, "That's where it begins and ends. I'm coming on now to a different role and I will deliver absolute independence and impartiality."
He also said he was more of a radio than a TV man, commenting that he is a "fervent supporter of Radio 4. I wake up with Today. I listen to Analysis and The Moral Maze. One of the things I cherish about Radio 4 is its ability to bring new comedy forward."
Asked about high salaries paid to some presenters he said the corporation operated in a commercial market and had to attract talent that the public wanted and pay for it.
Previous BBC:

2007-04-06: US National Public Radio (NPR) has appointed Ellen Weiss, a 25-year NPR veteran who has worked for the broadcaster as head of the NPR News National Desk and - for 12 years - Executive Producer of the top-rated daily NPR News magazine "All Things Considered", as Vice President for News
Weiss has been Acting CP for News since October last year and the role oversees NPR's worldwide journalism operations, including 18 domestic and 18 foreign bureaus. She has just been named, along with correspondent Daniel Zwerdling and editor Anne Hawke, as the recipient of a George Foster Peabody Award. They are being recognized for the December 2006 NPR News investigation into how soldiers returning from Iraq to Fort Carson, CO with post traumatic stress disorder and other emotional problems were being punished and even discharged for seeking help.
Jay Kernis, Senior Vice President for Programming said of Weiss, "Ellen is a powerful journalist and a strong leader, with a passion for both the tradition of NPR News and our vision for the future. As the American public increasingly turns to public radio for news and information, the Vice President for News position is a pivotal one at NPR and throughout the NPR Member station community. Ellen is the perfect person to lead our organization into its next stage of public service by expanding NPR News' substantive, thoughtful journalism across all media platforms and to all audiences."
Previous Kernis:
Previous NPR:

2007-04-06: Xfm breakfast host Lauren Laverne, former lead singer of indie band Kenickie, is to leave the G-Cap Media station to concentrate on TV work, including the "Culture Show" on BBC 2.
She has been with the station for five years and moved over from the drivetime slot -where she had replaced Zoë Ball - to take over at breakfast from Christian O'Connell in 2005 (See RNW Oct 4, 2005).
The departure is amicable and Xfm London programme director Adam Uytman said in a statement, "It has been fantastic to see her move up the schedule and host a great breakfast show for us. We wish her luck with her future projects."
Previous GCap Media:

2007-04-06: Cumulus Media has announced that Executive Vice President John Dickey and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer John G. Pinch are to share operating responsibilities as co-Chief Operating Officers with each overseeing roughly half of the company's markets.
Announcing the move chairman and CEO Lew Dickey said it "recognizes and clarifies an organizational dynamic that has been in place for some time and will enable us to marshal our management resources in a more timely and effective manner."
In addition to the appointments, Cumulus SVP Andy Rosen, who joined it in February last year to oversee the eight markets that were added when Cumulus bought Susquehanna's radio business, has left the company.
Previous Cumulus:
Previous John Dickey:
Previous Lew Dickey:
Previous Pinch:
Atlanta Business Journal report:

2007-04-04: A survey by American Media Services (AMS) gives a boost to US radio by concluding that listening to the medium "remains relevant and prevalent" despite emerging technologies that provide audio services.
A national phone poll of 1,000 Americans conducted for the American Media Services Radio Index by Omnitel showed almost two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents saying they listen to the radio daily with more than two-thirds (69 percent) are listening to the radio more or about the same as they were five years ago. 84 percent said they expect that, five years from now, they will be listening to the radio more or about the same as they do now.
AMS President and CEO Ed Seeger commented, "The conventional thinking over the past couple of years has been that new technologies were going to overpower radio and threaten its relevance to the American consumer. Well, we've heard all that before. Radio was going to become obsolete when television came along, and then when the eight-track cassette was installed in cars, and, most recently, when the computer revolution began. It didn't happen, and it isn't happening now."
Seeger pointed to a large increase in listening via the Internet with more than two-thirds (67%) saying they that they had listened over the Internet compared to only 36% in an April 2006 poll.
71 % said they had listened to the radio over their home computer, while 42 % had used their office computers to listen but only 6% had listened to the radio over a cell phone.
"Listening to the radio over the Internet is indicative of the way American listeners are beginning to use new technology to listen to their favourite radio programming," said Seeger. "We have seen this developing, and that is why last year we formed a new division in AMS to assist radio properties in the development of this new outlet for their programming."
The survey also showed that 75% of respondents said they usually turned on the radio when they got into their cars, 83% said they would miss to the radio if it were not available and 81% said they think it is "not very" or " not at all" likely they will purchase satellite radio in the next few years.

2007-04-04: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now formally cleared Citadel's USD 2.7 billion acquisition of 24 ABC radio stations from Disney together with the consequent transfer of control of Citadel Broadcasting Company to Disney shareholders who will gain a 57% interest in Citadel under the deal.
In approving, the FCC notes that the transaction means that "grandfathered interests" in stations that do not comply with the Commission's current radio ownership rule will be terminated and that as a result licences for 11 stations in seven markets are to be placed in an "insulated" trust. The stations involved are in Albuquerque, New Mexico (An FM); Charleston, South Carolina (an FM); Lafayette, Louisiana (An FM), Little Rock, Arkansas (Three FMs) Oklahoma City , Oklahoma (Two FMs), Portland, Maine (Two FMs), and Saginaw - Bay City, Michigan (An FM): The licences are to be assigned to The Last Bastion Station Trust, LLC.
It also notes that in relation to pending licence renewals a number of stations are "the subject of a petition to deny and/or discloses a failure by Citadel Broadcasting to have maintained certain quarterly station issues/programs lists for public inspection" as a result of which it is proposing forfeitures totalling USD 21,000 but is renewing the licences.
The stations involved are in Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York and they include WQGN-FM and WSUB-AM, Groton, Connecticut and WPRO-AM and FM, and WSKO-AM Providence plus WSKO-FM, Wakedale-Peacedale, in Rhode Island in relation to which it is proposing forfeiture of USD 10,000. It has however has denied a petition by Red Wolf Broadcasting Corporation to deny (on the basis that Citadel "lacks the requisite character qualifications to remain a Commission licensee" because of misrepresentations, tower fencing and lighting maintenance issues and payola issues) the renewal of these licences plus those of WXLM-FM, Stonington, Connecticut; WWLI-FM and Providence; and WWKX-FM, Woonsocket, all in Rhode Island.
In New York petitions to deny renewal - on various grounds including formats, use of automation, and lack of news and current affairs and payola issues - of the licences of WYOS-AM, WAAL-FM, WHWK-FM and WNBF-AM, Binghamton, and WWYL-FM, Chenango Bridge, were refused
In South Carolina, the licence of WWWZ-FM, Summerville, was renewed but a penalty of USD 10,000 is proposed for public file violations.
Also in South Carolina, the licence of WLXC-FM, Lexington, was renewed but a penalty of USD 1,000 was proposed for public file violations.
Separate statements regarding the approval were issued by Democrat commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps and Republican Robert M. McDowell.
Adelstein in his comment refers to payola allegations and notes that an agreement has been reached in principle with Citadel, which "has shown leadership in reaching an amicable resolution of these serious allegations." He also says he is supporting the deal because of "Citadel's commitment to comply with our media ownership rules and to make special efforts to increase diversity of ownership. "
Copps in his comment says he believes the "transaction is narrowly-quite narrowly-in the public interest because ABC's and Citadel's holdings do not overlap in any local market and, most important, because Citadel must divest the 11 stations that it owns in excess of our local ownership limits."
McDowell comments that in this case, because there is virtually no overlap between the markets in which ABC and Citadel operate the transfer complies with FCC local ownership rules and that because of the divestiture of grandfathered interest in 11 markers, competition will be improved.
The FCC has also announced that a new non-commercial educational (NCE) filing window is to be opened on October 12 - running to Oct 19 0 in relation to "tentative selectee determinations for 76 groups of cut-off and mutually exclusive NCE FM new station and major modification proposals "about which it has already commented (See RNW Licence News, Mar 25).
Previous Adelstein:
Previous Citadel:
Previous Copps:
Previous Disney (ABC owner):
Previous FCC:
Previous McDowell:

2007-04-04: A Nottingham University politics student is to take over from Andrew Collins, who is leaving the station, as presenter of BBC 6 Music's Chart show from Sunday.
Philippa TJ (Treverton-Jones), currently the head of music at University Radio Nottingham, and las yeart's winner of the Gold Award for Best Specialist DJ at the Student Radio Awards will become the first 6 Music presenter to join the network from student radio.
She commented of the move, which coincides with a revamp of the station's Sunday afternoon schedule, "Jumping from University Radio Nottingham to 6 Music whilst still at University is pretty crazy. Being called up to be offered the show was like the Spice Girls reforming; completely unbelievable but bloody exciting! I can't wait to be part of the station, use the coffee machine and tinker with the faders. 6 Music is a big old leap from student radio but I think I'm going to bring something new to the schedule and it's great that I'm being welcomed with open arms."
BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music controller Lesley Douglas said 6 Music has worked closely with the Student Radio Association for the past 5 years to support the development of new talent and she was delighted that one of its rising stars is taking over the Chart Show, adding, "Philippa is a natural radio broadcaster with a clear passion for music and will bring a freshness to the overall Sunday proposition."
RNW comment: A proposition to Ms Douglas. This is foolish jargon. Avoid it! People don't normally tune into to propositions!
Previous BBC:
Previous Douglas:

2007-04-04: Arbitron has announced that it is to add three new markets for its Spring 2007 ratings survey that starts today: They are Aspen, Colorado; Hot Springs, Arizona; and Twin Falls (Sun Valley), Idaho.
The three markets will be surveyed twice a year, in Spring and Fall, as part of Arbitron's Qualitative Diary Service.
Spring 2007 results will be based on a single survey whilst Fall 2007 will include the in-tab diaries from the Spring 2007 and Fall 2007 survey when tabulating the audience estimates.
Previous Arbitron:

2007-04-04: Another US law firm is getting into the act regarding a Class Action lawsuit against international satellite radio operator WorldSpace.
Last month the Rosen Law Firm launched a suit (See RNW Mar 28) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and now the Philadelphia law firm of Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. has followed suit.
Like the previous lawsuit this alleges misrepresentation in not removing expired or churned subscriptions from the WorldSpace subscriber count, thus inflating its stock price. It says that when the practice was revealed in March last year, the company's stock plummeted by more than 22%.
Previous WorldSpace:

2007-04-04: BIA Financial Network (BIAfn) says in US radio revenues were virtually stagnant last year - totalling USD 18.1 billion compared to USD 18 billion in 2005, although it predicts a rebound this year with income to rise by 2.2%.
The first edition of its "Investing In Radio Market Report" also notes that radio transactions totalled more than USD 22 billion in the year - reaching USD 22.9 billion. Previously it had exceeded this amount with a total of USD 24.9 billion in 2000.
In terms of numbers of stations sold, the total again was at a six-year high, totalling 2.1000 and topping 1,000 for the first time since the 1,794 for 2000, primarily because of sales linked to Clear Channel.
BIAfn VP Mark Fratrik, Ph.D. commented, "This is a period of strategic repositioning for many stations and ownerships groups. Many groups are exiting and entering markets and regions where they feel they can increase station values. It's also a demonstration that industry participants feel competent they can generate future growth."
He adds "As the radio industry continues to adjust to its competitive role within the entertainment industry we still see a slight improvement in radio industry growth " and says that the growth "has primarily been in the mid level and small markets and should continue, as these markets have responded better to the competitive challenges facing the radio industry."
Previous BIAfn:

2007-04-04: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has sponsored another report that concludes that a merger of Sirius and XM satellite radio would not be in the public interest.
The Carmel Group Study published by NAB is headed "Higher Prices, Less Content and A Monopoly: Good For The Consumer?" concerning the proposed merger with below it "Its Harmful Impact on Consumers, Content Providers and Performing Artists."
It then says that were the merger approved "every subscriber would be beholden to a single satellite radio monopoly, resulting in less service, less affordability, less diversity, and less choice in content and hardware. America can't let Mel Karmazin sell it, "Less Is More" and then continues on to attack the deal's proponents' arguments that the merger is not anti-competitive and is in the public interest, commenting to the contrary and saying the report "outlines the opposition to and the dire consequences from this so-called "merger," 3 especially as it impacts consumers, content providers and performing artists."
Regarding competition it says that "at best" this is "against a sphere of competitors no broader than today's analogue AM and FM broadcasters. Yet, for antitrust purposes, even this view is overstated, because everyone realizes -- even Sirius and XM -- that the AM and FM broadcasters across the U.S. do not compete in the national market against the national satellite radio broadcasters."
It then argues regarding competition from other audio sources: "Neither MP3s, nor Internet radio, nor HD terrestrial radio, nor music-to-cell phones are substitutable for satellite radio.
such as terrestrial radio, MP3s" citing examples - "An iPod cannot access live or new music, sports, comedy, news and talk shows which are compiled, chosen and distributed by a third party, without any effort to collect that music on the part of the listener" and "like today's HD terrestrial radio, Internet radio and music-to-cell phones are merely delivery devices, and are yet to become full-fledged content services unique from any other."
"Sirius and XM," it says, "have so successfully branded and sold their new digital subscription audio services that, presently, there are few or no other subscription audio devices being installed into new automobiles. Also, there are few or no other national subscription audio services being sold at retail."
The paper also contends there is no pressing financial argument for the merger, commenting that there is "is no liquidity crisis on the horizon for satellite radio" saying that under current business models, the companies have a war chest "adequate to reach cash flow breakeven for both by year-end 2008. And both Sirius and XM have enough cash to support their current business models."
Sirius has responded with a statement accusing the NAB of speaking with different voices according to circumstances and audiences and adding, "Broadcasters will do and say anything to block the merger because it will increase competition to terrestrial radio."
Previous NAB:
Previous Sirius:
NAB/ Carmel Group report (11-page 184 kb PDF):

2007-04-04: The major part of Britain's terrestrial broadcast transmission operations seem likely to come under the control of one organization following an announcement by Macquarie UK Broadcast Ventures Limited of agreement for its Arqiva Limited subsidiary to buy UK National Grid subsidiary National Grid Wireless (NGW) for GBP 2.5 billion (USD 4.95 billion): National Grid in November last year had said it was considering a demerger of the mast business but has opted for a sale instead.
The deal would create a unified UK terrestrial broadcast transmission network and is subject to review by the UK Competition authorities during which Arquiva says it expected National Grid Wireless will likely be subject to a "Hold Separate" arrangement and will remain a discrete entity. Whilst the review, which may take a year, is being conducted both companies will continue their business as normal, with separate management teams and customer contracts.
National Grid Wireless, which is one of two bidders for the new national commercial digital multiplex (See RNW Mar 29) , owns a national communications infrastructure network that provides broadcast transmission services for BBC television and radio, hosts wireless sites for major mobile network operators, and owns and operates two Freeview digital TV multiplexes. National Grid bought the business in 2004 for GBP 1.1 billion ( currently USD 2.2 billion) from Crown Castle then re-branded it NGW.
Arqiva, which is headquartered in Hampshire, England, has operations in the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe and the USA: In the UK it has three main satellite teleports, 60 manned bases, and more then 2300 shared radio sites throughout the UK and Ireland including masts, towers and rooftops from under 30 to over 300 metres tall.
Its customer list includes ITV, Channel 4, Five, the BBC, BSkyB, Classic FM, the five UK mobile operators, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Metropolitan Police. It operates the current British commercial digital radio multiplex, Digital One, in a joint venture with GCap Media.
The Macquarie-led consortium bought the business from NTL, which has now re-branded itself Virgin Media, in 2004.
Arqiva CEO Tom Bennie said in a release, "We firmly believe that combining Arqiva and National Grid Wireless will result in a stronger entity which is better positioned to serve the needs of the UK's broadcast and mobile communications industries in the future. We will be able to deliver large-scale projects of national importance, such as Digital Switch Over, much more effectively and efficiently. This will also enhance our prospects in the mobile outsourcing market.
"Having a single broadcast transmission service provider brings the UK into line with most of the rest of the world. The UK's terrestrial broadcast transmission network will be in a much better position to ensure that terrestrial broadcasting remains a powerful and innovative service in the future."
For National Grid, its Executive Director for Non-Regulated Business Edward Astle said the sale "represents the most attractive outcome for our shareholders and offers a good future for the business. Combined with Arqiva, the business will remain at the centre of digital broadcasting during Digital Switch Over and play a key role as wireless and broadcasting services converge."
Previous Arqiva:
Previous Macquarie Bank:
Previous National Grid Wireless:

2007-04-04: Toronto-headquartered Corus Entertainment has reported second fiscal quarter revenues - for the period to the end of February - up 6% on a year ago to CAD 174.7 million (USD 150.9 million) with a loss of a net loss of CAD 65.7 million (USD 56.7 million - CAD 1.54 per share) a year earlier, which included a pre-tax debt refinancing loss of CAD 132.0 million (USD 114 million) moving to net income of per share of CAD 19.5 million (USD 16.8 million - CAD 0.46 per share).
Corus said there was strong revenue growth for its broadcasting business and added that within the figures Combined Radio and Television revenues were up 6% for quarter and 7% for year-to-date with Combined Radio and Television segment profit up 10% for quarter and 12% for year-to-date.
Corus Television revenues for the quarter were up 8% to CAD 100.2 million (USD 86.5 million) led by continued specialty advertising growth of 14% and subscriber revenue growth of 7% with segment profit up 12% increased to CAD 40.8 million (USD 35.2 million); Radio revenues were up 2% to CAD 58.8 million (USD 50.8 million) and segment profit was up 5% to CAD 9.9 million (USD 8.6 million); and Corus Content revenues were up 15% to CAD 17.3 million (USD 14.9 million) with segment profit up 16.7% to CAD 2.1 million ( USD 1.8 million).
For the year- to -date consolidated revenues were up 7% to CAD 359.7 million (USD 310.6 million with profit up 14% to CAD 127.2 million (USD 109.9 million) whilst net income, including a pre-tax debt refinancing loss of CAD 132.0 million (USD 114 million), went from a loss of CAD 34.3 million (USD 29.6 million - CAD 0.80) to net income of CAD 56.2 million (USD 48.5 million CAD 1.33 per share).
Within these figures TV revenues were up 9% to CAD 222.8 million (USD 192.4 million) with segment profit up 14% to CAD 101.3 million (USD 87.5 million); Radio revenues were up 3% to CAD 130.2 million (USD 112.4 million) with profit up 7% to CAD 33.6 million (USD 29.0 million); and Content revenues were up 3% to CAD 29.1 million (SD 25.1 million) with segment profit up 72% to CAD 3.1 million (USD 2.7 million).
Previous Corus:

2007-04-04: In a major shake-up of commercial news and talk radio in London, Chrysalis's London stations LBC 97.3 on FM and LBC News 1152 AM are both to be re-branded with the former changing what its initials stand for - from the London Broadcasting Company, the name under which Britain's first legal commercial Independent Local Radio station began broadcasts on October 8, 1973 to "London's Biggest Conversation." - with t
The latter is being incorporated into the joint 24-hour news channel being set up in conjunction with BskyB: "Sky News Radio" is planned as a service on the second British commercial radio multiplex, currently the subject of bids from a Channel 4 consortium and National Grid Wireless, and it will also incorporate London rolling news LBC News 1152 AM, which will be re-branded as "Sky News Radio for London." The station will become a regional "sister station" to the national "Sky News Radio" service, with local news, traffic/travel, weather and sport for London retained as part of its output.
Sky News is already the second biggest news supplier to UK commercial radio, providing a service to 52 stations; the largest is Independent Radio News (IRN), which was founded in 1973 along with LBC and whose shareholders include GCap Media, Emap and ITN.
Chrysalis Radio Chief Executive Phil Riley said of the joint venture, "This is a really exciting development for us. We are thrilled to be working with Sky, and think that the combination of our radio experience, their news expertise and the power of the Sky News brand, will make "Sky News Radio" a compelling proposition."
The LBC 97.3 re-branding follows research that showed the stations as comparable to Internet destinations such as MySpace and YouTube in how listeners actively engage with it to generate original content: LBC found that 18% of listeners polled described it as a partner and 14% as a mother, while 90% said they discussed what they'd heard on LBC.
LBC managing director David Lloyd, said the station was "the home of entertaining conversation and this repositioning reflects the relationship our growing audience enjoys with LBC's presenters and programming. Primarily, LBC is a meeting point for Londoners, a place to engage in conversation, life in the capital and create captivating new content on air."
Previous Chrysalis:
Previous Riley:

Previous Sky News Radio:
2007-04-04: US Radio revenues for February released by the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) show overall revenues up 2% on a year ago with local revenues up 3%, national revenues up 1% and non-spot revenues up 11%. Local and national revenues combined were up 2%.
For the year to date, figures are now overall revenues up 3% on a year ago with local revenues up 3%, national revenues down 1% and non-spot revenues up 12%. Local and national revenues combined were up 2%.
Previous RAB and RAB figures:

2007-04-03: SoundExchange, the body charged with collecting artists' royalties, now has formally filed with the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) it opposition to calls by webcasters for reconsideration of new rates for Internet use of music.
Saying that no new material facts or evidence has "suddenly materialized to give the CRB valid reason to revisit its decision" SoundExchange calls for the motions to be "summarily dismissed."
SoundExchange notes that the CRB made its decision after 14 months of proceedings and its Executive Director John Simson commented, "Just because you don't like the outcome of a fairly played game doesn't mean you should ask the referee to order the game replayed. Yes, Internet radio is important to the music community, but that doesn't mean that artists and record labels don't deserve fair compensation for their works."
SoundExchange says that the "the CRB, in objectively looking at the facts and the arguments presented by both sides, determined a fair market rate" and adds that the judges characterized the webcasters' arguments regarding a benchmark against which to compare rates as "little more than a hasty attempt to revive and rehabilitate some similar arguments that failed to prevail" in the previous proceeding to set rates in 2001.
Simson also "noted" [his term - "Said" would be rather more neutral and "claimed" more accurate] that "it is a vocal minority that is making these unfounded claims about the new rates, and that artists and labels are supportive of internet radio and want to see it flourish."
Previous Simson:
Previous SoundExchange:

2007-04-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now posted details of the winning bidders for 120 FM permits it in its Auction 70 that ended on March 26: In all it sold 111 permits to 60 bidders raising a total of USD 21,301,175 in net bids.
The winning bids ranged from upwards from USD 3,100 from Kona Coast Radio, LLC for a permit in Hugo, Colorado to USD 1,659,000 from Able Radio Corporation for a permit in Aguila, Arizona.
One other bid was more than USD 1 million - a winning bid of USD 1,431,000 from Stroh Communications Corp. for a station in New Hope, Alabama, although in this case the net amount was under USD 1 million at USD 930,150.
Previous FCC:

2007-04-03: UK media regulator Ofcom says that its budget for 2007-8 will be less in real terms than the previous year for the fourth successive year: It has set a budget of GBP 126.7 million (USD 250.6 million) which it says is 5% lower in real terms than its budget for 2006/07 and 9.8% lower than its budget for 2005/06.
The budget says Ofcom reflects anticipated Retail Price Index (RPI) increases and rescheduling of some projects from 2006-07. It also adds that it expects spending for 2006-07 to be GBP 128.5 million (USD 254.2), around GBP 1 million (USD 1.98 million) below budget. This under-spend will go back to industry in the form of reduction in regulatory fees for 2007/08, although some regulatory fees will still increase in real terms on the previous year.
In sector terms, 2007-08 will see planned costs divided into 55% for spectrum management; 19% each for broadcast TV and for Networks and Services; 2% for radio: and 5% for "other".
Regarding regulatory fee increases, Ofcom says they will all on average be less than the anticipated 3% RPI increase - 1.1% for broadcast TV [before the inclusion of costs for additional regulatory duties specifically chargeable to the BBC Trust]; 1.4% for radio; 2.9% for network and services operators;
Previous Ofcom:

2007-04-03: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) continuing its campaign against the Sirius-XM merger plan released a statement quoting a "recent" Federal Communications Commission (FCC) analysis of satellite competition of favouring its position that the relevant market in which the two compete is between themselves not with terrestrial radio and other sources.
The NAB bases its position on a report in Communications Daily and in a statement NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr comments, "This FCC decision that the current duopoly of XM and Sirius do not compete with radio, iPods or any other audio sources in the satellite radio market further undermines the arguments made by XM and Sirius to obtain a government-sanctioned monopoly. While the FCC clearly intends to examine all issues surrounding the XM/Sirius merger, the hurdle the parties must overcome to convince the FCC to change direction is very high. This is a dramatic blow to XM/Sirius' presumption of a broader market, and still more evidence that XM and Sirius compete ferociously against each other in the market for nationwide multichannel mobile audio services, and no one else."
The NAB release included the Communications Daily report, the most pertinent section of which, concerning a report voted on by the Commission at its March 22 meeting, reads: "FCC Defines Satellite Radio Market as Not Including iPods…The FCC excluded other audio entertainment from a review of competition in satellite radio. But the analysis 'may not reflect the appropriate markets to be considered' in a merger review, the Commission said. XM and Sirius have tried to justify their proposed merger based on competition from iPods, HD Radio and other forms of audio entertainment (CD March 21 p2). The satellite competition report was written at Congress's request."
RNW comment: The pertinent quote, which we have rendered in bold, indicates that whatever the NAB may say, no decision has yet been made on this matter by the FCC and we can only suppose that the idea is to put pressure on the commission to stick with a pre-merger position rather than thoroughly examine the facts.
On balance we remain as per our February Comment against the merger but this is more a matter of an analysis within the context of what normally happens in such mergers and a general belief in allowing competition to rule where it is an appropriate measure of benefits than believing almost anything said by the parties involved, none of whom we regard as very trustworthy. In connection with this we would also note that the Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio (C3SR), which has been opposing the merger in terms similar to those the NAB, turns out according to Corporate Crime Reporter to be run not so much by law students and consumers as its site claims but by a founder who works full time at the lobbying arm of a law firm.
Chris Reale, described in the C3SR news release as a "part-time law student at George Washington University Law School", is says the report working for Williams Mullen Strategies - the lobbying arm of the Williams Mullen law firm - whose communications practice is headed by Julian Shepard - a former assistant general counsel at NAB.
It also notes that the address given is a small postal box at a UPS Store and the phone number given turns out to be the Consumer Coalition's answering machine. Reale according to the report was evasive about details - read the report for more information, and regarding funding said to disclose it "would detract from support from different groups."

Previous FCC:
Previous NAB:
Previous Rehr:
Previous Sirius:
Previous XM:
Communications Daily web site (Requires subscription):
Corporate Crime Reporter on C3SR:

2007-04-02: This week our look at print comment on radio is very much a potpourri of articles that comment implicitly or explicitly on various aspects of the medium starting with two bits of Rush Limbaugh, one from the man himself and the other from a rather more technical source.
First Limbaugh, who last week received the first annual William F. Buckley, Jr. Award for Media Excellence, with much congratulatory cover from various right-wing publications including Newsbusters, which carried a substantial portion of his acceptance speech: Limbaugh put the whole transcript on his web site (the audio is there only for his paid-up subscribers) and excerpts are from his version.
He began by noting, "I know it's late. Brent told me to cut my speech to 45 minutes rather than the (laughing) hour and a half I was going to go. There have been two references tonight to my humility, and I'm sorry the cover is blown."
After that it was back to the usual partisan approach in general… "I said, "That is amazing." We conservatives don't get many awards, but we actually have an audience. These PBS people and NPR people give themselves all these awards, but nobody's ever seen the shows that get awarded. (Laughter.) … We actually have an audience, and so we are a threat, and we don't get awards. (Applause.)"
And later - the though "pot and kettle" came to our mind - "For once it's the left that's bringing up the rear, except they do it far differently than the way Brent's organization does. They lie. They take things out of context. One of the problems with this is that the mainstream media -- which, again, I call the Drive-By Media -- does not listen to my show or anybody else's show."
There is of course much more and it presumably will remain on Limbaugh's site for a while - and the Newsbusters link has plenty for those who want to see what his supporters' views are so on to the next mention of Limbaugh.
Headed "Rush Limbaugh Is Wrong -- About HDTV" - how long we wonder before the lying left he speaks of forget the second part? - Phillip Swann on lumped the host along with millions more who talk of HDTV but actually have no idea whether a show is actually being broadcast in high definition. Swann cited a comment made on his show that the "NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams" began broadcasting in high-def and that seeing is believing -- and then added that an interview segment with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez during Monday's broadcast was in high-def.
Swann points out that this is not so… only the studio segments are in high definition - and notes that this is not the only example of Limbaugh getting this wrong, but adds that "Limbaugh's error is common, and understandable, considering that a network will frequently say a program is in high-def although some of its segments are not. For viewers not familiar with the industry or the technological aspects of high-def, it's easy to assume that it's all in HD."
Then Swann reaches to the true heart of Limbaugh? "I tried to contact the commentator to explain the situation. However, at his web site, you have to sign up for a pay service for the privilege of sending him an e-mail. So, consider this my effort to set him straight."
RNW comment: So long as he doesn't confuse a digital display on a radio receiver as making it digital as some have done, Limbaugh can get away with this but like so many who have little or no technological knowledge he would probably be better to stay clear of such topics. In any case the issue of HD quality in TV can be complicated by issues of compression and for radio the choice of bit rate can make a significant engineering difference even if only those with perfect hearing will actually be able to differentiate.
Next satellite radio and a perspective from the Bloomington Alternative and Kevin Howley, associate professor of media studies at DePauw University, who stated the obvious in terms of the financial implications behind the planned deal and also noted, "Then again, there's a big downside. A merger of this sort means big job losses at both companies. And with a bigger audience, the new satellite radio service would have enormous leverage over potential advertisers eager to reach an estimated 14 million paid subscribers."
Howley also noted the squawking that emanated from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) about the plan, noting complaints about "paying outrageous sums for programming and on-air talent (What, we wonder, would it consider Limbaugh worth on satellite and terrestrial radio? Or indeed a number of other big names?) and then continuing, "Were the NAB's public interest concerns not so hypocritical, they would be quite touching. The fact of the matter is that the NAB's complaints have nothing to do with any serious commitment to good taste, competitive markets, and consumer choice. Rather, they are guided by myopic self-interest."
"But," he continued, "since the NAB has raised the spectre of monopoly ownership, anti-consumer behaviours and offensive programming, we ought to consider the dangers of consolidation across every sector of the media industry-from terrestrial radio and television broadcasting, to cable, newspapers and telecommunications."
Howley then noted the lack of cover of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hearings on the issue of media ownership and suggested that his readers should "take a page from the NAB playbook. Tell the FCC that you too are concerned about monopoly ownership of satellite radio. While you are at it, demand that the FCC protect localism, encourage ownership and viewpoint diversity, and limit corporate consolidation of broadcasting, cable television and the telecommunications industry. It's time to put the public interest back into U. S. communication policy."
RNW comment: And while about it why not push back for a re-introduction of the Fairness policy the FCC used to have. That should get some really objective comment from Limbaugh!
Then Internet audio and comment from Kevin Fayle in The Register under the heading "Will the RIAA kill net radio?"
Fayle noted predictions of doom in 2002 when the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) first set royalties for music played on internet radio stations and there were dire predictions with comment that he royalty changes "would destroy the diversity of choice that makes webcasting so appealing to the hardcore music fan."
"Take a look around at the webcasting scene today, however, " says Fayle, "and you will find a thriving bazaar of commercial and non-profit webcasters providing everything from Top 40 hits to classical oboe music."
He then comments, "Taking this into account, it's easy to dismiss the current pessimistic prognostications by webcasting insiders as yet another temper tantrum by a young, adolescent industry that has just suffered a major regulatory setback. But many things have changed since those tumultuous days of 2002, and the Copyright Royalty Board has revealed itself to have either an insidious grudge against, or a dangerous misunderstanding about, small and non-profit Net Radio stations."
Fayle notes not only the rejection of percentage-of-revenue" suggestions and also the "'administrative fee' of USD 500 per channel payable to SoundExchange each year and the implications this could have for webcasters with many channels.(RNW comment: We would also suggest that if SoundExchange needs this amount each year per channel - contrast, for example, with charges for Internet domain fees, the CRB should have suspended all payments until SoundExchange can show itself to be well run, giving the recording industry the option of coming up with a new organization that is run efficiently but losing all fees until it does. IF the CRB thinks the sum is reasonable, Congress should close it down and produce a model 2 staffed by people who have some belief in competitive market prices.).
Fayle discusses various figures put forward and concluded that whatever happens the small operators and non-profits will be hit hardest. He also examines the various options left open from legal appeals to direct negotiations with the recording companies and suggests SoundExchange could well be interested in limiting what is available, writing, "From SoundExchange's perspective, cultivating a smaller number of mainstream webcasters will cut down on administrative costs, since it means fewer songs to keep track of and fewer artists to pay out to. From the RIAA's point of view, keeping listener interest in more varied musical forms and artists to a minimum will allow it to focus on the bland, mass-produced artists that have been its members' bread and butter for the past decade."
"Keeping the big webcasters around while letting the small stations and non-profits wither away will keep the money streaming in, but cut out the deadwood that the organizations consider a threat to their long-term interests. Great plan - unless that deadwood happens to be your favourite music station."
Fayle also suggests that the RIAA wants not so much to kill webcasting as to "force webcasters into licensing deals whereby it can offer them lower royalties in exchange for the end of broadcasts in mp3 format."
"The RIAA," he comments, "would love nothing more than to infect all content everywhere with DRM, and this represents a convenient means towards that end."
RNW comment: Or should enough people get together and use the new technology available to create alternative co-operative organizations of artists and recording companies that are prepared to do direct deals [See our March comments suggesting different classes of copyright as being more appropriate to the current situation than one that in essence has roots in things like royal salt monopolies of hundreds of years ago. Like Linux v Microsoft for computer operating systems it is likely to be a hard road to follow but it would also probably be well worthwhile in putting pressure on the big companies.
Finally a thought on the value of having a large and tightly written contract this time courtesy of The Australian and a look by Michael Bodey at the future of "the one-time king of talkback radio, John Laws" who he now says is a liability. Recent ratings showed Laws 2UE show with a Sydney audience share of 6.7%, putting him in ninth rank and with a Sydney cumulative audience, the number of people who listened to at least 15 minutes of his show during a week, down to 132,000, only a little more than a third of that of the 364,000 for Alan Jones and Ray Haley on rival 2GB.
Commenting in light of suggestions that Southern Cross Broadcasting, owner of 2UE, is a likely target when new Australian media ownership laws take effect this week, Bodey writes, "Media executives are speculating any purchase will be conditional on Laws's hefty contract being extinguished. Given his contract until 2010 is exceedingly tight, that could be an AUD 15 million (USD 12 million) golden handshake."
Bodey also says Laws is "struggling to attract 200,000 listeners nationwide, not the two million he boasts reaching across every Australian state and territory" and suggests that other deals could affect the host's prospects - his sponsorship by Qantas, for example, is of the order of AUD 500,000 a year (USD 400, 00) and Bodey comments that this is "a figure that will surely be questioned by any prospective new owners of the airline."
On then to listening suggestions and first last week's On the Media from WNYC, if only for its report on hoaxes. Then a couple of days of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Late Night Live" (MP3s are on the site for a week - and Sydney is on GMT plus 10) - firstly Wednesday last week, which included a look at Nick Cohen's book "What's Left?: How Liberals Lost Their Way" in which he argues that since the End of the Cold War, people on the liberal-Left have been willing to excuse or explain away totalitarian movements of the ultra Right, including Islamic extremism.
Then on Thursday the programme considered satire, and how it has changed over time.
Also from the ABC, we suggest last week's Religion Report, which included a report on the anniversary of the end of slavery.
After that to the BBC and first drama - spanning BBC World Service, whose most recent drama was a dramatisation for radio by Steve Chambers of Friedrich Durrenmatt's "The Pledge", a detective mystery set in the early 1950's in Switzerland; BBC Radio 3 and "Drama on 3" that next Sunday is (a repeat of ) "Breakfast With Mugabe" by Fraser Grace; plus BBC Radio 4 and last week's "Friday Play" - "Martha's Metamorphosis" by Frances Byrnes in which Martha relives the medical mistakes that have changed her life. This Friday the play is another repeat, "The Employee" by Sebastian Baczkiewicz', a comedy about the Head of Maintenance in an intelligent building.
And for a final drama, BBC Radio 4's Saturday Play, as we noted last week, was "Dr Freud Will See You Now Mr Hitler" by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, a speculation on what might have happened had Adolf Hitler, who suffered recurring nightmares when he was six, been taken to see child psychiatrist Sigmund Freud in Vienna.
Moving over to Europe our next suggestion is the most recent Network Europe, a compilation of features that included two anniversaries - the 50th anniversary of the Trabant, the automobile symbol of the former East Germany, and a feature - around 20 minutes into the programme - from Radio Sweden that marked Britain's abolition of slavery 200 years ago through a report on Swedish involvement in the slave trade under Gustav 3rd who had bought the West Indian island of Saint-Barthélemy from the French king and turned it into a free trade area in the West Indies. Slavery was not only profitable; it was supported at high levels and by most quarters including the church and was not abandoned until some 40 years after Britain's move. A reminder maybe that slavery has been pretty well universal in human societies.
Then to Australia for another reminder of the "immorality" at the very least of governments, in this case the British and Americans in the case of the expulsion of the inhabitants of the Caicos Islands - started in 1966 by the Labour minister, Lord Chalfont - so that the US could build a military base at Diego Garcia.
The matter is in the public domain from records and is told by journalist John Pilger in an interview on today's Book Show on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National. The case has gone to the British High Court, which ruled in favour of the islanders - and being appealed by the current Labour government. Pilger speaks of officials being coached in lying and makes a strong case for discounting the moral superiority of the West when it comes to profit.
And talking of profit, the latest edition of the "Money Box" on BBC Radio 4 looked among other things at the major security breach at TK Maxx involving theft of credit card details and a formal investigation by the Office of Fair Trading into the fairness of Bank current account penalty charges.
Then sticking with crime but going international in a different way, we suggest last week's "A World in your Ear" in which Rosie Goldsmith looked at gang warfare round the world with segments from South Africa, New Zealand, the USA (Los Angeles), and Canada as well as a documentary from Radio Rootz in New York. It wasn't on the site when we checked but should be there shortly.
It was followed by the latest "Archive Hour", which looked at the carer of former WW2 Major, and subsequently Labour Party MP, British Defence Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Dennis Healey, who would seem to have learned some military wisdom from experience that his current successors somewhat lack.
After that comedy, starting with a combination of drama and comedy in "The Afternoon Play" (13:15 GMT) on Wednesday, "Ying Tong: A Walk with the Goons", Roy Smiles' play about Spike Milligan's last days with the Goons and his complex and often fractious relationship with Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe. Later that evening (22:00) GMT, the station has "Tina C's State of the Union Tour" in which Christopher Green' comic country singer and global activist Tina C is in Sweden.
Finally BBC Radio 2 and, also on Wednesday, the first of a three-part series "Ravi", the story of Ravi Shankar and on Friday the third and final part of "Poitier at 80".
We'd also note that the station has a double helping of Bob Dylan's Theme Hour from XM satellite radio - on Friday and Saturday, but as before rights reasons mean it won't be live online and the listen-again facility will only be available to those in the UK.
Previous Columnists:
The Australian - Bodey:
Bloomington Alternative - Howley:
Newsbusters - Limbaugh award:
The Register - Fayle:
Rush Limbaugh web site:
TVPredictions -Swann:

2007-04-01: The main regulatory news of the last week came from Australia and the US: In the latter where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) slapped a record USD 24 million penalty on Univision - for mis-describing shows as part of its children's output - but having thus sorted out issues with the company's TV licences cleared the way for the sale, which followed promptly, of the company to a private equity consortium. In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority published its Register of Controlled Media Groups, clearing the way for an announcement that the country's new media ownership laws will come into effect on Wednesday. Elsewhere it was a matter of more routine activity.
In Australia as already noted, the country's new media laws will now take effect on Wednesday (See RNW Mar 31), with the Australian Communications and Media Authority tasked with the oversight of their implementation. In addition to the release of its Register of Controlled Media Groups the ACMA also posted its draft licence conditions for regional commercial radio stations (See RNW Mar 29).
In Canada, radio-related matters posted by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included the following (In order of province):
New Brunswick:
*Denial of application by TFG Communications Ltd. to delete conditions of licence relate to of low-power CJEF-FM, Saint John, that require it to broadcast more than half its output devoted to spoken word programming and to include no more than 40% hit material in its musical selections.
The station said it wished to change its musical format to offer a blend of urban, dance, contemporary hits, rock and alternative musical selections targeting listeners between 12 and 24 years of age with a maximum level of 49% hit material. The application had been opposed by Maritime Broadcasting Systems Limited, Rogers Broadcasting Limited, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) and Acadia Broadcasting Limited.
In refusing the application the CRTC said it took the view that approval of the application would decrease the diversity that CJEF-FM provides to the Saint John market.
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with a deadline for interventions or comments of April 30 including the following radio matters:
*Application by The First Alberta Campus Radio Association to renew the licence of English-language community-based campus radio station CJSR-FM, Edmonton. In this case the station has advised that the university administration has not shown any interest in having a representative on the First Alberta Campus Radio Association's board of directors and the Commission says in light of this it is considering the possibility of renewing CJSR-FM as a Type B community station.
British Columbia:
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to amend the licence of English-language CBCV-FM, Victoria, to add a 3,000 watts FM transmitter at Nanaimo broadcast its programming service Radio One originating from CBCV-FM.
Application by Trent Radio to renew the licence of community-based campus station CFFF-FM, Peterborough: The CRTC notes that the licensee has advised that its association with Trent University may be non-existent and that its board did not include representation from the university and that the association is through the station's student members. The Commissions says in view of this it is considering the possibility of renewing CFFF-FM as a Type B community radio station.
*Application by Communication du Versant Nord (CISM FM) inc. to renew the licence of community-based campus station CISM-FM, Montréal, and also to reduce from 12% to 9% the proportion of Canadian category 3 music selections it broadcasts.
The Commission also gave notice of a public hearing on May 28 at its headquarters in Gatineau to consider various applications for which interventions or comments have to be submitted by May 3.
These included the following Ontario applications:
* Application by Humber Communications Community Corporation for a licence for a 60-watts English-language instructional campus radio FM in Toronto.
*Application by Joco Communications Inc. for a licence for a 794 watts hits based music format English-language FM commercial radio programming undertaking in Espanola.
*Application by Points Eagle Radio Inc. for a licence for a 3,400 watts English and Aboriginal-languages native Type B FM in Sarnia.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has launched two new Codes that will come into effect on April 10 - the BCI Code of Programme Standards and the BCI General Advertising Code.
The first will deal with issues of taste and decency in programming broadcast by Irish services and the second with all forms of commercial communication; advertising, sponsorship, and teleshopping. The Commission has consulted about both over the past 18 months.
Announcing the launch BCI chairperson Conor J. Maguire said the launch marked the end of a process that began in 2002 with work on the development of the Children's Advertising Code and continued, "In the intervening years, the Commission has overseen the development of four Codes including the Access Rules and the two Codes which are being launched today… We are confident that the universal applicability of the Codes to all broadcasters licensed in the State will provide clarity of expectations for Irish listeners and viewers."
The BCI also announced the launch of its 2007 Community Radio Support Scheme to provide support for licensed community and community of interest radio stations.
The scheme has been operating since 1998 and for this year has a total fund of Euros 53,000 ( USD 71,000) - more than double the level of two years ago - which will be made available through grants per station of up to Euros 2,000 ( USD 2,700) for Internal Evaluations and up to Euros 5,000 (USD 67,000) for External Evaluations.
This year's scheme will have only one round of applications with a deadline for applications of May 1 and BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe commented, "In previous years, the Support Scheme has provided great benefit to the community radio sector. We believe that the increased level of funds being provided in the current year will enhance the development of the sector even further."
In the UK, Ofcom had received two bids for a new national commercial digital multiplex - from Channel 4 Digital Group Limited and National Grid Wireless Limited (NGW) - and also two bids for a new Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire local digital radio multiplex licence.
These came from MuxCo Home Counties Limited and GCap Media subsidiary Now Digital Limited (See RNW Mar 30).
Ofcom also announced that it had received seven applications for community radio licence in North and North-East England. These were from:
Spice FM - Newcastle upon Tyne.
Radio Hartlepool - Hartlepool.
Utopia FM - Sunderland.
Drystone Radio - South Craven, North Yorkshire.
Catterick Garrison FM - Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire.
Bishop FM - Bishop Auckland, South-West Durham.
Community Voice FM - Middlesbrough.
In the US, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as already noted, has cleared the sale of Univision (See RNW Mar 28) which was subsequently completed within 48 hours. It also continued dealing with a further 76 low-power FM applications noted in last week's licence news (See RNW Licence News Mar 25) and announced receipt of applications from Sirius and XM Satellite Radios for transfer of their licences in connection with the merger plans of the two companies.
In Illinois, the commission renewed the licence of Bonneville's WTMX-FM, Skokie, Illinois, denying objections filed by Tom Struhar on the basis that the licensee has failed to provide programming over the Station related to community issues; failed to properly identify Skokie as the Station's community of license in its broadcasts; operated the Station at a power higher than that authorized by the Commission; failed to maintain a Station local studio; and violated the public inspection file rule.
Bonneville responded that Struhar provided nothing more than "outlandish and unsubstantiated accusations, broad generalizations, and opinion," and has failed to provide any specific allegations of fact relating to the operation of the Station sufficient to establish a prima facie showing that grant of the Application would be inconsistent with the public interest.
The FCC agreed in terms of detail provided, denied the objection, and renewed the licence.
It also renewed the licence of SCA License Corporation 's WYLL-AM, Chicago, to which there had been an objection on the basis of political bias in the station's programming.
In Alabama, it granted a petition for reconsideration filed by Mark Chapman on behalf of Sumiton Broadcasting Company, Inc., previous licensee of former Station WRSM-AM, Sumiton, Alabama.
The petition said Sumiton ceased operation of the station whilst the licensee was controlled by Thomas Herb Steadman ("Steadman"), who had acted without the knowledge or consent of Sumiton's other shareholders. Chapman, the court-appointed agent of Sumiton, asks that the FCC consider the diligent efforts that Sumiton has made, pursuant to court directive, to restore the Station to operation. The FCC agreed that the circumstances warranted reinstatement of the licence.
The Commission was also involved in a number of enforcement actions and imposing or proposing penalties for various breaches (See below)
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:

2007-04-01: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been involved in a number of enforcement actions and imposing or proposing penalties for various breaches, the largest of which were of USD 10,000.
In one case a forfeiture of USD 10,000 was issued to Entravision for failure to comply with painting and lighting requirements specified for an antenna used for KMXX-FM, licensed to Imperial, and KSEH-FM, licensed to Brawley, both in California. It rejected Entravision's arguments for a reduction on the grounds that the antenna structure was not required to be painted, and that the lighting extinguishment on the antenna structure was not for the duration stated in the Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) issued earlier.
In the second case it renewed the licence of Cumberland Communities Communications Corporation's WDVX-FM, Clinton, Tennessee, but proposed a USD 10,000 penalty for public file rule violations.
Also in Tennessee, it renewed the licence of Canaan Communications Inc.'s WQSE-AM, White Bluff, but proposed a penalty of USD 7,000 for failure to timely file its license renewal application and unauthorized operation
In Michigan, it similarly renewed the licence of Spring Arbor University's FM Translator Station W258AH, Kalamazoo, but proposed a penalty of USD 7,000 for failure to timely file its license renewal application and unauthorized operation
In California it cancelled a USD 7,000 NAL issued to Amaturo Group of L.A., Ltd., licensee of Station KLIT-FM, Fountain Valley, for failure to maintain a local main studio for KLIT on the basis of the response to the NAL.
There were also a number of other lesser penalties ranging from USD 1,500 to USD 4,000. These included (in descending order):
*USD 4,000 NALs public file rule violations along with licence renewal to:
*Radio One License, LLC., licensee of WFUN-FM, Bethalto, Illinois.
* Journal Broadcast Corporation, licensee KFAQ-AM, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
*USD 1,500 NAL for failing to file its licence renewal application on time along with licence renewal to New Life Evangelistic Center, Inc., licensee of KTCN-FM, Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Previous FCC:
2007-04-01: To coincide with April 1 - "All Fool's Day" of "April Fool's Day", Marc Fisher in the Washington Post today reports on a number of past broadcast pranks that had varying effects, starting with a 1940 report by Philadelphia KYW-AM of a news release saying the world would end at precisely 3p.m. on April 1, a report that had panicked listeners phoning authorities: The release was to do with a lecture "How Will the World End?"
Fisher notes that newspapers and TV tend to steer clear of such stories (well in the US anyway- there is still a continuing tradition of such stories in some UK newspapers and the BBC TV Panorama current affairs programme famously ran an April 1957 Fool's Day report on a record Swiss spaghetti crop with footage of spaghetti being harvested from trees, albeit it tends to me more cautious nowadays, even if not completely avoiding pranks).
US radio stations, however, continue the tradition and Fisher notes that many are listed on the Museum of Hoaxes web site (We'd add that it's April Fool's section also has a link to the 100 "Best" jokes which includes the wonderful comment by then White House press secretary Mike McCurry, in response to a Taco Bell hoax that it had bought the Liberty Bell from the federal government and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell, responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold, though to a different corporation, and would now be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.)
Fisher categorizes pranks -Impending Disaster; Fake Deaths; Agricultural oddities; Preposterous government edicts and so on.
He also notes that other media can be fooled by such pranks: In a Canadian case where a newscast anchor asked a (fake) US President Jimmy Carter about the lumber industry and then insulted him, not only did listeners call in but the Toronto "Globe and Mail reported the interview on its front page in all seriousness."
Previous Fisher:
Museum of Hoaxes web site:
Washington Post report:

2007-04-01: Chicago host Gary Meir, who has largely been out of work since he was taken off air by ABC's WLS-AM three years ago (See RNW Jan 13, 2004) and subsequently found his contract not renewed - he was said to have wanted more than an offer of USD 12 million over ten years, is back on the city's airwaves tomorrow, co-hosting CBS Radio's WCKG-FM's weekday morning show with local writer and actor Jim Turano.
The station web site says he is "back by popular demand": Meier has already been half of two successful Chicago teams - at Emmis's WLUP-FM with Steve Dahl, who is currently WCKG afternoon host, until an acrimonious break-up in 1993 after 14 years, and then - following a year of his own show on WLUP and a spell as a feature reporter on WGB-TV - with Roe Conn at WLS-AM for eight years until the station dropped him. He made a one-off appearance last year on Dahl's show, which was being broadcast from a restaurant where Meier was going for lunch (See RNW Aug 21, 2006).
Previous CBS:
Previous Meier:

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