May 2007 Archive
- April 2007 - June 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 May comment - Playing to strengths! We suggest radio has to accept the world as it now is and play to its strengths rather than waste effort in attempts to stifle competition.
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.
2007-05-31: India looks set to adopt Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) technology for its digital radio transmission system following successful tests of the technology on both short wave and medium wave by state-broadcaster AIR.
The short wave trials began on Republic Day (January 26) using a 250kw AIR transmitter in Delhi and medium wave trials were conducted this month. Officials say the ability of DRM to allow transmission on short wave, AM and FM gives it a significant advantage in the country. The FM trials used Single Channel Simulcast (SCS) and Multi-Channel Simulcast (MCS) technologies and heir results are currently being assessed.
A major problem at the moment is the cost of receivers - some Euros 200 (USD 270) - but officials anticipate this would come down dramatically if, as expected, China and India adopt the system.
ABU (Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union) Head of Transmission, Technology and Spectrum Sharad Sadhu commented of the trials, "Given that this region has some of the largest number of MW radio broadcasters, we believe that successful trials and measurements will pave the way for easy and cost effective transition to DRM transmissions" and DRM chairman Peter Senger added, "We are proud and very happy that these tests will become a reality now and we would like to thank all parties involved. We see a great potential for the DRM system in Asia."
Manufacturers involved in the trial included DRM members, Thomson and Hitachi Electric Kokusai and David Birrer of Thomson Radio Broadcasting Marketing & Strategy commented, "A smooth transition to DRM will bring AIR a lot of new possibilities for local and national services, while generally enhancing the popularity of the medium. In addition, DRM makes much more efficient use of the existing broadcast infrastructure."
Indian officials estimate that unlike FM, where the initial licence auction system for private FMs put many operators into loss - it was subsequently changed to a percentage of revenues model - the lessons learned could man that digital radio could be successfully introduced within three to four years.
Previous Indian Radio:
2007-05-31: Shares in Britain's largest radio group GCap Media plunged by just under 14% to GBP 222.50 on Wednesday following the release of preliminary results for the year to the end of March that showed like-for like revenues down 7% to GBP 193 million (USD 381 million) - overall revenues, affected by disposals, were down 9% to GBP 200 million (USD 395 million) - and pre-tax profit down 35.1% to GBP 14.4 million (USD 28.5 million) with earnings per share down from 7.8 pence to 4.4 pence.
The company is proposing a final dividend of 1.5 pence to make the full-year dividend 4.6 pence, just below half the 9.25 pence per share of a year earlier.
GCap described the performance as one of "robust results and significant strategic progress", saying underlying pro-forma revenue and PBT were ahead of consensus estimates ; that cumulative cost savings [RNW note - over two years] were up to GBP 29.5 million (USD 58.3 million ) from GBP 27 million ( USD 53.4 million ) with a further GBP 5.5 million [USD 109.9 million) to be achieved during the 2008 financial year, taking the total to GBP 35.0 million (USD 69.2 million ); that audience figures had stabilized despite intense competition; that it had strengthened its board with the appointments of Richard Eyre and Fru Hazlitt; and that its portfolio had been enhanced by acquiring full control of Planet Rock and Classic Gold, plus the launch of
theJazz national digital station.
Going forward it said it had a "clear strategy" to strengthen its core business and focus on multi-platform brands with greatest revenue potential
Chief executive Ralph Bernard said of the results and plans, "In the past year we have made considerable progress towards our strategic objectives, consolidating our audiences and revenues and preparing the business for growth. We have also achieved further cost savings, ensuring the business is run as efficiently as possible.
'We have invested in our key stations, particularly in Capital 95.8," he added, "stabilizing audience figures across the Group. We have initiated a significant upgrading of our online offering to further our strategy of leveraging our brands across multiple platforms. The market remains difficult to predict but we have seen an improving trend in advertising revenue performance and we outperformed the market in the last quarter of the financial year."
[RNW comment: To which he should presumably have added comments about the scepticism of the pesky investors who marked the shares down! We have to add that we wouldn't be buying GCap shares at the moment either.]
In terms of the future plans, GCap says it is to invest a further GBP 5.6 million (USD 11.1 million) in interactive projects; develop Classic FM, Xfm, Planet Rock, theJazz and a network of "classic hits" stations as multiplatform projects; and invest GBP 2.2 million (USD 4.4 million) in its One Network and Capital Radio. It also said it has cut its debt from GBP 76 million (USD 150.2 million) to GBP 27 million (USD 53.4 million) following the sale of Century FM, Manchester and North East to Guardian Media Group for GBP 60 million gross (USD 118.6 million) in cash.
On the other side of the equation is closing Capital Disney and will "cease to invest" in its Core and Life digital stations.
Concerning its London operations, Fru Hazlitt, who left Virgin Radio in January and is now in charge of GCap in London, said that in the capital, "commercial radio is driven by three things - its music, its breakfast show and its London information What we're seeing is that Capital performs very well in two of those." Of the breakfast show, she said they knew progress had to be made but the show - hosted by Johnny Vaughan -had been performing well and they were very confident and regarding music she commented that the station tried to move genre but should have stuck to contemporary pop because they didn't have commercial competition in that genre.
Commenting on the decision to reduce advertising on Capital Radio, she said advertisers had been happy with the decision, which helped to maintain "brand premium" but there were no plans to extend the idea to other stations.
Regarding online she spoke of the "multiplatform" environment in which radio now had to operate and said its online performance was encouraging.
Capital Radio is to start promoting its evening show, hosted by former Kiss FM host Bam Bam (Peter Poulton), from next week with a new advertising campaign to draw attention to his presence, along with sidekick Streetboy, on Capital on weekday evenings.
Poulton left Emap-owned Kiss in April last year after seven years hosting its breakfast show (See RNW Apr 29, 2006): Subsequently the station was fined a record GBP 175,000 (then USD 323,000) for comments made by Poulton - GBP 75,000 (then USD 138,000) of it relating to an upheld fairness and privacy complaint over a wind-up call and GBP 100,000 (then (USD 184,000) for eight breaches of standards codes (See RNW Jun 21, 2006).
Capital said the ads, which continue the station's "Sound of London" campaign launched by the station in March.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Poulton (Bam Bam):
2007-05-31: The Digital Media Association (DIMA) in conjunction with National Public Radio, and Small Commercial Webcasters has filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for an emergency stay to delay the implementation of new streaming royalty rates announced by the US Copyright Royalty Board at the beginning of this month.
Terming the increase "radical and arbitrary", the filing asks that the court delay implementation and notes that Legislation that would repeal the rate increase is pending in the Senate and the House, but may not be brought to a vote in either chamber before July 15th, the day the first payments for the newly increased rates for webcasters are due.
SaveNetRadio spokespersonJake Ward said of the suit in a release, "July 15th, D-day for Internet radio is fast approaching and we are hopeful that today's motion for an emergency stay will afford the Internet radio industry crucial time to rehear this case."
He added, "We have every confidence that Congress will continue to give the Internet Radio Equality Act the attention it deserves with the urgency it requires, as evidenced by the over 100 cosponsors who have signed on H.R. 2060 since its April 26th introduction. SaveNetRadio and the millions of webcasters, artists and listeners we represent urge the Court to give this motion full consideration."
2007-05-31: Clear Channel's sale to a private equity group moved forward on Wednesday with an announcement by Highfields Capital Management LP, which had previously stood out against acceptance of the deals on offer, that it has now agreed to vote all of its Clear Channel shares in favour of the proposed transaction.
In the agreement between Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. and Highfields, which advises investment funds that beneficially own 5% of Clear Channel's common stock, the private equity group has agreed that Clear Channel's post-closing Certificate of Incorporation will include provisions intended to assure public shareholders who elect to receive stock in the surviving entity that they receive equal treatment in all dividends and other distributions, representation on the Board of Directors of the surviving entity and certain other rights following completion of the merger.
The private equity group has also agreed that, subject to certain exceptions, affiliate transactions between Clear Channel and the private equity group, or their affiliates, will be prohibited unless approved by either the public shareholders of Clear Channel or the independent directors who will represent them.
Previous Clear Channel:
2007-05-31: Emmis has appointed Tisa LaSorte, who joined the company last year, to the new position of brand manager of its two Chicago stations.
In the new role she will oversee programming, marketing, promotions and new media at classic rock WLUP-FM (The Loop) and alternative WKQX-FM (Q101) and will report to Emmis Chicago's regional vice president and market manager to Marv Nyren, who had previously worked with her at KTAR-AM in Phoenix.
LaSorte has spent nearly all of her career in news/talk and was the late Bob Collins' producer at WGN-AM, Chicago, from 1987 to 1993, when she became program director, only to be forced out in 1996 following a management change. Since then she has spent most of time at KTAR-AM & KMVP-AM (ESPN Radio) in Phoenix, being forced out in December 2005 following a change in owners.
Room for her new role was created earlier this year when Mike Stern, vice president of programming, and Tim Dukes, program director of the Loop, were pushed out and their posts eliminated (See RNW Feb 15).
Reporting on the changes in the Chicago Sun-Times, Robert Feder quotes LaSorte as saying, "I am grateful for this incredible opportunity to work with these well-respected Chicago brands and a group of very talented people to build an even more valuable radio experience for our listeners and advertisers."
Chicago Sun-Times report:
2007-05-30: GCap Media, which is to release its interim results today, has announced the resignation of its commercial director Duncan George, who will leave the company on June 8.
George is a former employee of both Capital Radio and GWR, the companies that merged to form GCap: He was Sales Director at Capital Radio in 1997 when he left to head GWR's sales operation and after the merger of the two companies in 2005 he was appointed Commercial Director for GCap.
The company says he played a pivotal role in integrating the sales operations, systems and commercial infrastructure of the two companies and GCap chief executive Ralph Bernard commented in a news release, "Duncan has been an outstanding asset to the company. He was instrumental in successfully merging the GWR and Capital Radio sales teams, which was managed whilst maintaining our high standards of service to clients. He has built a team that can adapt to the changing dynamics of the advertising world and deliver the multi-platform solutions advertisers increasingly demand."
George in the same release said he had "really enjoyed "his time and GCap and added, "The time feels right to move on and explore new opportunities and I can leave safe in the knowledge that GCap is now in great shape".
Previous GCap Media:
2007-05-30: Aubrey Singer, a former Managing Director of both BBC Radio and BBC Television, has died in London aged 80.
Most of his career was spent in TV, where he was particularly well-known for work on science programmes and in his spell in radio - he went into the medium as Managing Director in 1978 following a four-year spell as controller BBC 2 TV - he became known for the dispute with musicians who objected to his plans to cut back the number of BBC orchestras: It was only settled after he stood down from the negotiating team.
The move into radio had been seen as a precursor to further general promotion and in 1982 he was appointed Managing director TV and Deputy Director-General to Alisdair Milne, who reportedly fired him in 1984 following a day's pheasant shooting.
The dismissal was tempered by a healthy pay-off and a contract to make independent productions for the Corporation for which Singer formed White City Films. He remained managing director of the company until 1996.
Singer was born in Yorkshire and after leaving Bradford Grammar School aged 17 became a trainee film editor at the British Gaumont Studios following which he director films for the armed services and made films in Africa from 1946 to 1948. He joined BBC TV in 1949, working on outside broadcasts before becoming a producer.
2007-05-29: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has granted six new FM licences - two each in Medicine Hat, Alberta; Regina, Saskatchewan ; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
In Medicine Hat it approved applications from Rogers Broadcasting Limited for a 77,900 watts English-language commercial FM offering a blend of modern rock, album-oriented rock, classic rock and adult rock music designed to appeal to those between 25 and 54 years of age with a core audience of males aged 25 to 44 and from Clear Sky Radio Inc. for a 100,000 watts Adult Standards/Modern Nostalgia FM: It also approved a frequency change power increase from 48 watts to 2,300 watts for Lighthouse Broadcasting Limited's CJLT-FM, Medicine Hat.
Including the CJLT application, there were nine competitive applications for licences in the market, which at the moment has two commercial stations - New Country music CHAT-FM and Hot Adult Contemporary CFMY-FM, both operated by the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership.
The commission noted that many applicants identified males in the 18 to 54 demographic as the primary underserved group in the market and said its analysis showed a substantial segment of adults between the ages of 25 and 54, particularly males, might be underserved.
Regarding the capability of the market to sustain additional services it said that the 2006 profit before interest and taxes (PBIT) for stations I the market is significantly higher than the Canadian commercial average and that it was confident Medicine Hat could support two new commercial stations.
The applications rejected came from:
*Newcap Inc., which proposed a 100.000 watts FM offering a mix of New Rock, Classic Rock and Classic Hits.
*Golden West Broadcasting Ltd., which proposed a 100.000 watts FM offering a Rock and Modern Rock hybrid format.
*Radio CJVR Ltd., which proposed a 100.000 watts FM offering a Classic Rock format.
*Vista Radio Ltd., which proposed a 100.000 watts FM offering a blend of Classic rock and Modern Alternative rock.
*Harvard Broadcasting Inc., which proposed a 100.000 watts FM offering a blend of Classic rock and Modern Alternative rock.
*Pat Lough, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, which proposed a 100.000 watts FM offering a blend of Classic Rock Hits and Alternative Rock.
In approving the Rogers application the CRTC said it felt this would provide the most innovative and attractive service to the primary underserved audience group whilst it commented of the Clear Sky that only this proposal target an audience of those aged 45 years or more, a group that the Commission has identified as a secondary underserved cohort in the current Medicine Hat radio market. It also noted that it had also granted a licence for the same format to Clear Sky in Lethbridge, Alberta, and said that the addition of the Medicine Hat licence would afford Clear Sky an opportunity to expand its holdings and strengthen its position as a new entrant in the Canadian broadcasting system.
Regarding the change to CJLT-FM, which would move from a low-power FM status to a regular Class A FM service, the Commission noted a commitment to maintain CJLT-FM's existing Specialty FM Christian music format and said its analysis confirms Lighthouse's claim that CJLT-FM's current low-power signal cannot provide adequate coverage throughout its authorized service area and that even listeners within the station's central market cannot always receive a quality signal.
The new Regina licences go to Standard Radio Inc. and Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc., in addition to which the CRTC approved an application to add a transmitter to serve Regina for Natotawin Broadcasting Inc.'s CJLR-FM, La Ronge, Saskatchewan.
Excluding the CLJR application there were seven applications, one for a Native Type B Fm and the others for commercial stations: Regina has four FMs and two AMs -operated by Rawlco and Harvard Broadcasting - and the commission said the market could support a further commercial FM.
Standard's winning bid was with a 100,000 watts New Country music English-language commercial FM and Natowin's application was for a 43,000 watts transmitter to broadcast the service of its Type B native radio station CJLR-FM La Ronge, to serve Regina.
Rejected were applications from:
*Newcap, which proposed a 100,000 watts English language Oldies Hits and Traditional Classic Hits commercial FM.
* Radio CJVR Ltd. , which submitted two proposals for English-language commercial FMs, one for a 100,000 watts Classic Rock station and the other for a 100,000 watts Oldies FM.
*Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc., which proposed an 86,000 watts Christian music English-language Specialty FM.
*Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR, which proposed a 100,000 watts Native Type B FM.
The new Saskatoon licences have gone to Harvard Broadcasting Inc. and Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc.(AVR): In all there had been eight bids for commercial licences and one bid for a not-for-profit Native Type B FM station, that from AVR which proposed a 100,000 watts English- and Aboriginal-language Native Type B FM radio station.
Saskatoon currently has four FM stations and two AM stations operated by two licensees and the Commission held that the market could support one additional commercial station.
The winning bid from Harvard was for a 100,000 watts Youth Contemporary music format blending Pop, Urban and Alternative Rock music.
Rejected were bids from:
*Radio CJVR Ltd., which made two proposals -one for a 100,000 watts English-language Classic Rock FM and the other for a 100,000 watts English-language Oldies format FM.
*Newcap, which proposed a 100,000 watts English-language Oldies-based Classic Hits music format.
*Saskatoon Radio Broadcasting Ltd., which proposed a 100,000 watts English language Contemporary Hits FM. Saskatoon involved Rawlco and Mr Hildrebrand, the owners of the existing commercial stations in the market.
*Standard Radio Inc., which proposed a 100,000 watts English-language Soft Adult Contemporary FM.
*Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership, which proposed a 100,000 watts English-language gold-based Soft Adult Contemporary FM.
*Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc., which proposed a 100,000 watts Christian music English-language commercial Specialty FM.
2007-05-29: Despite a recommendation for acceptance and a vote by nearly four-fifths of the shareholders of APN News & Media Ltd. - which owns the Australian Radio Network and publishing interests - a takeover by a private equity group led by Irish media group Independent News & Media plc (INM) has been rejected.
Acceptance of the AUD 2.97 billion (USD 2.43 billion) bid needed a 75% vote in favour but there was a vote against by two major shareholders- Perpetual Ltd and Australian Foundation Investment Company, who hold 23% of the company.
INM is the largest single shareholder in APN with a 41% holding and the bid had been recommended by the board (See RNW Feb 21).As with the Clear Channel private equity bid in the US, the reluctant sellers may be holding out for an increased bid.
Following the rejection, APN has announced that it is now to hold its annual general meeting on July 3 and has also declared a final dividend for 2006 of 20 cents per share, 30% higher than a year earlier.
APN said the increase recognised the delay in the payment and also said that because of the proportion of its profits generated outside Australia the final dividend would be unfranked.
Previous APN News and Media:
2007-05-28: Yet again last week comment on US talk hosts outweighed other comment in print about the medium in the US, but we start by looking forward, courtesy of John Petkovic of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, to the future for radio rather than at talk show controversies.
Petkovic suggests that it is music formats on terrestrial radio that are at most risk, commenting, "Audience share for music is eroding, as listeners bolt bland formats and canned disc jockeys. Some listeners end up plugging in their iPods or getting satellite radio. Others are migrating to talk radio. The rise of FM in the 1960s was supposed to signal the death of AM. In 10 years, it might be the other way around."
The reasons for this he says are in part the Internet - poised for the greatest growth over the next decade; satellite with some 15 million subscribers between them, the iPod, which he suggests "could suck away listeners en masse when auto manufacturers install plug-ins or make it a standard option"; and radio-friendly mobile devices such as cell-phones as well as increasing offers of radio feeds on TV satellite and cable platforms.
Back, however, to the excesses of US talk radio - or, depending on your viewpoint, the excessive reaction to comments that have led to recent firings and suspensions.
In the Michiguide, Mike Austerman in an article reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press took the view that "Edgy' antics on air aren't funny - they're bullying" and commented, " there is no humour in racial and ethnic stereotyping, as Don Imus and New York City personalities JV & Elvis have shown, or in references to rape, as satellite radio bad boys Opie & Anthony recently did. You've lost your edge when you resort to making fun or taking advantage of others and label it as entertainment."
"Twenty- and 30-something men" he continued, "are falling all over themselves across the Internet in protest of the actions being taken against these so-called talents, mostly claiming free-speech violations. The Rev. Al Sharpton, in an appearance in Troy last week, had the perfect answer, correctly explaining that free speech is a two-way street."
His solution! "Let's get radio back to a place where true creativity and humour take centre stage without all the unnecessary degradation of people who might look or act differently."
Not all his readers agreed with reactions including, "How about not listening to the said radio show? It really is that damn simple. If you don't like it DONT LISTEN TO IT. It is satire, it is comedy" and "Whether or nor what Opie and Anthony did was sophomoric and offensive is beside the point. We live in America, where nobody has a right NOT to be offended. In recent year, however, we've been taken over by political correctness run amuck."
On the other side came a comment saying that "public outrage is a perfectly acceptable way to counter wayward & hurtful material"; adding that it is "the responsibility of citizens who find this crap on the public airwaves as unacceptable to become more proactive in letting their views be known...to the broadcaster or to their sponsors".
Coming in hard for the "freedom of speech" argument, David Stegon in the New Jersey Home News Tribune Online comments, "I like video games where you must shoot and kill the bad guy, words that end with a "K" and Cinemax movies after 10 p.m. I like music with "Parental Advisory" lyrics, unhealthy quantities of alcohol, and the always funny, and sometimes crude, humour of Opie and Anthony on my XM Satellite Radio during my commute to and from work."
He continues, "As a 25-year-old self-sustaining adult, all of these things are legal to me in the beautiful United States of America where the Bill of Rights has granted me the right to enjoy these privileges as long as I use them responsibly" and notes of Opie and Anthony that their show is only available to those who pay a subscription to XM, that it is on a station "marked XL - for Xtreme Language - and can be blocked by parents, so basically the only people hearing the show are the ones who want to hear it" and adds, "It is hard to imagine anyone called to complain, at least in large enough numbers to cause a disturbance. The scary thing is the show is being suspended, and likely cancelled, not because the consumers do not want it, but because XM Radio fears a public backlash that will influence the FCC, which does not regulate the content on satellite radio but must approve a potential merger XM has with Sirius Satellite Radio."
He says of the show and XM's action, "The everyday listeners of Imus and Opie and Anthony do not want to see their favourite programs taken away because someone who does not listen to the show disapproves of what was said Instead of standing up for their talent's right to say what they want XM is afraid of becoming the next target of public ire, even if it goes against what their paying customers want. We have reached a point where a holier than thou segment of society is trying to censor speech that they do not agree with on perceived 'moral values' that companies are afraid to stand against Freedom of speech exists to protect the speech we do not like. If everyone agreed, then there would be no need to protect certain things that are said. But everyone is different, which is what makes this such a great freedom."
We end with a marked contrast to the above with Chris Campling's Radio Head column from the London Times, devoted last week to cricket coverage, begun by the BBC in 1927.
"It took another 30 years, "he notes, "for the corporation to overcome its timidity about the game as a broadcastable entertainment, and put in place the institution known as Test Match Special. Why? They thought that the game was too slow to retain listenerso attention. Yes, bloody football thinking again.
The first match covered by the programme was between the West Indies and England and the anniversary was marked last weekend on BBC Radio 5 on commentary about another match between the two teams and also on Radio 4 itself by an "Archive Hour" last Saturday that was narrated by Rory Bremner, better known as a comedian and impersonator.
"Satirists such as Bremner himself," comments Campling, "may poke fun at Aggers, Blowers, CMJ and the Bearded Wonder [RNW note: Various cricket commentator's nicknames], but it is affectionate fun and gentle jibing. Laugh all you want about the endless procession of cakes through the commentary box, but remember, too, that someone, somewhere in the world, is crouched next to a crackling radio, living the excitement of a great sporting contest vicariously through the commentary of gifted communicators. Cricket less exciting than football? Get away."
On to listening suggestions and after the BBC Radio 4 "Archive Hour" mentioned by Campling, we suggest Radio Netherlands' "Amsterdam Forum" from Sunday: It featured a 40 minutes interview with historian and political commentator Niall Ferguson whose most recent book "The War of the World" considers why the 20th century was so bloody. He argues in favour of intervention but notes that in the case of Iraq US actions are a good lesson on how not to handle it and also that successful interventions are rarely properly appreciated since what they prevented obviously did not happen.
He argues in terms of the 20th century that the risk of conflict is worst where there are three Es- economic volatility, ethnic disintegration and empires in decline - conditions that currently apply in the Middle East where the "empire" of the US is losing its grip.
Then we suggest the past two weeks of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Background Briefing", also from Sunday, a look at "Politics and the Internet" from May 20 and at "The Children of Zimbabwe" from yesterday.
From the US, we suggest last week's "On the Media" and in particular the final item "Pulling back the curtain" that took a look at the way news items are edited and produced on radio.
From BBC Radio 3 we suggest Sunday Evening's programming, which comprised of 4 hours 45 minutes of the "Awards for World Music 2007 Poll Winners' Concert" before another hour and a quarter of "Words & Music" that was on the theme of work and toil and included music from Beethoven, Handel, Elvis Costello and Shostakovich plus readings of prose and poetry from Shakespeare, Kathleen Jamie, Simon Armitage, John Clare and Carol Rumens.
Also from Radio 3 this week we suggest "Composer of the Week" (11:00 GMT with a repeat at 19.45GMT) that this week features the work of Alexander Nikolaevich Scriabin and this week's "Essay" (22:00 GMT Monday through Thursday) that has four writers - Will Self, Tim Parks, Alain de Botton and Kate Pullinger- commenting on "Nightwalks" and the difference between walking at other times and at night time
And for those who have the stamina, this evening's programme is followed by highlights of a concert from the Brighton Festival by the veteran Congolese rumba band, Odemba OK Jazz All Stars.
From BBC Radio 2 today for those in the UK (it is not available outside the country) we suggest the latest "Bob Dylan Theme Time Radio Hour" on the topic of Sleep (17:00 GMT) :It's followed by "The Record Producers", in this case a programme looking at the work of Clive Langer and " who have produced hits such as "House of Fun" by Madness, "Absolute Beginners" by David Bowie, Morrissey's "November Spawned a Monster" and Dexys Midnight Runners' "Come on Eileen".
And finally before we update, some suggestions from BBC Radio 4 starting with Sunday's "In Business" - "Music Machine" in which Peter Day talks about the use of computer programmes to predict hits and from Saturday the "Saturday Play", a dramatisation by Melissa Murray of Daphne Du Maurier's classic horror story "The Birds" and the last programme in the "World in Your Ear" series, which has been axed. It featured the winners of the first ever BBC Africa Radio Awards.
Back to BBC Radio 2 and on Tuesday night (21:30) GMT Peter Bogdanovich presents a documentary "John Wayne is Dead" marking 100 years since the birth of the film star.
Then BBC Radio 4 again and amongst the station's regular features we note the "Book of the Week" (08:45 GMT daily with an evening repeat) that this week is "Queuing for Beginners", Joe Moran's humorous look at British habits starting with the Great British Breakfast and the "Woman's Hour Drama" (Circa )9:45 GMT within Woman's Hour plus an 18:45 GMT solo repeat) is a comedy by Nancy Harris and Louise Ramsden - "Blood in the Bridal Shop" that looks at an impending wedding from a different point of view in each episode.
Also worthy of note are two plays - Monday's "Afternoon Play", which is "Keep Your Pantheon", David Mamet's comedy of ancient Roman manners, and the "Friday Play", the second part of the Avie Luthra and Gary Brown political drama "The Prospect" featuring the dilemmas of newly-elected MP Bobby Khan (The first part is available until Friday).
And finally a strong evening from BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday with (at 20:00 GMT) the delayed broadcast of Hanif Kureshi's "Weddings and Beheadings", which was listed for this year's National Short Story Prize, the award created to celebrate the best in contemporary British short fiction followed up with a broadcast of David Almond's" Slog's Dad that was the runner-up in the competition
Later in the evening at 22:00 GMT "Jon Ronson on " is about the "Internet Date from Hell", the extraordinary story of Mary Turner Thompson from Edinburgh who met and married a man who told her he was a CIA agent...for the rest of the story listen to the programme
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Petkovic:
Home News Tribune - Stegon:
Michiguide - Austerman:
UK Times- Campling:
2007-05-28: Looking ahead to GCap Media's full-year results, which are due to be announced on Wednesday, UK Observer City Editor Richard Wachman says they will be amongst the worst since the company was formed through merging Capital Radio and GWR and will lead the company to slash its dividend.
But, he adds, the "effects of the meltdown could be mitigated by a swingeing cost-cutting programme to be announced by chief executive Ralph Bernard."
Wachman says advertising revenues are expected to be down by around 9% year-on-year but analysts are hopeful that the company's fortunes could improve and are looking towards Bernard's strategic review that could include staff cuts, reduced spending on digital radio or the sale of stations.
Last year GCap sold its remaining two Century FM regional stations - the Gateshead -based North East station and Manchester-based North West station - to Guardian Media Group (GMG), the Observer's parent, for GBP 60 million (then USD 112million - See RNW Oct 19, 2006).
Wachman also adds that many investors are pinning hopes on new management at GCap including Richard Eyre, formerly on GMG's board, who became GCap deputy chairman at the start of this month and will take over as chairman when Peter Cawdron steps down in November (See RNW Mar 28), and Fru Hazlitt who has been hired to head GCap's London operations (See RNW Jan 18).
Previous GCap Media:
UK Observer report:
2007-05-28: Disney-owned WABC-AM, New York, and WLS-AM, Chicago, two of the leading US music stations of the rock era will be marking their past today.
In Chicago, WLS marks Memorial Day with the BIG 89 REWIND radio special that will run from 05:00 to midnight and for which the station will be bringing back a host of big names including Larry Lujack - who will be broadcasting from his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico - and Tommy Edwards, his former partner in the "Uncle Lar and Li'l Tommy" duo who is currently morning host on Bonneville International's rhythmic oldies WILV-FM.
Others due to take part include Jeff Davis; Tom Kent; John "Records" Landecker; Chris Shebel and Fred Winston along with former news anchors Lyle Dean; Gil Gross and Catherine Johns plus sportscaster Les Grobstein.
WLS finally dropped music to go to all-talk in August 1989, whilst sister station WABC, which is airing its WABC-Rewound special programming (from 06:00 to 18:00) for the eighth consecutive year, moved to talk in 1982.
Its programming, produced by its Production Director Johnny Donovan, who was one of the station's jocks, will feature original broadcasts from Musicradio77 including the voices of Cousin Brucie, Dan Ingram, Harry Harrison, and Bob Lewis.
The Rewound special will be followed on WABC with the Rewound Talk Show hosted by Mark Simone, host of the station's Saturday Night Oldies show that is a tribute to the Musicradio77 era.
2007-05-27: Last week was mainly a matter of routines and reports from the regulators with most routine decisions from Canada and the longest report from the UK.
There were no radio related announcements from Australia but in Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved in a number of decisions including giving Rogers Broadcasting Limited the go-ahead for a new commercial-free national pay audio service, Rogers Pay Audio (See RNW May 23).
Other radio-related postings by the CRTC included:
*Short-term renewal until 31 August 2011 of licence of Rogers Broadcasting Limited's CKCL-FM Chilliwack and its transmitters CKCL-FM-1, Abbotsford and CKCL-FM-2, Vancouver. The Commission said the short-term would allow it to assess, at an earlier date, the licensee's compliance with conditions of its licence and noted apparent repeated non-compliance with the Commission's directions that CKCL-FM Chilliwack not be operated with exclusive orientation to Vancouver.
*Renewal of licences of English-language community-based campus radio programming undertakings listed below, from 1 September 2007 to 31 August 2014: In each case the licence will include conditions requiring that the licensee devote, in each broadcast week, 12% or more of its musical selections from content category 3 (Special interest music) to Canadian selections broadcast in their entirety.
* University of Calgary Student Radio Society's CJSW-FM, Calgary.
* Simon Fraser Campus Radio Society's CJSF-FM, Burnaby.
* Student Radio Society of the University of British Columbia's CITR-FM, Vancouver.
* University of Victoria Student Radio Society's CFUV-FM, Victoria.
*Attic Broadcasting Co. Ltd.'s CHMA-FM, Sackville.
*CHSR Broadcasting, Inc.'s CHSR-FM, Fredericton.
*Brock University Student Radio's CFBU-FM, St. Catharines.
*CHRY Community Radio Incorporated's CHRY-FM, Downsview.
*Radio Queen's University's CFRC-FM, Kingston.
Renewal until 31 August 2014 of licences of bilingual Type A community radio station:
*Radio Blanc Sablon inc.'s CFBS-FM, Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon and its transmitters CFBS-FM-1, Middle Bay and CFBS-FM-2, Rivière-Saint-Paul.
Renewal until 31 August 2014 of licences of French-language Type A community radio stations:
*Radio communautaire du Manitoba inc.'s CKXL-FM, Saint-Boniface.
*La radio communautaire des Hauts-Plateaux incorporée's CFJU-FM, Kedgwick/ St-Quentin.
*Radio Fredericton Inc.'s CJPN-FM, Fredericton.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Radio Communautaire du Labrador Inc.'s CJRM-FM, Labrador City.
*La Coopérative Radio Chéticamp Limitée's CKJM-FM, Chéticamp.
*La Clé d'la Baie en Huronie, Association culturelle francophone's CFRH-FM, Penetanguishene.
*Radio communautaire Kapnord Inc.'s CKGN-FM, Kapuskasing and its transmitter CKGM-FM-1, Smooth Rock Falls.
*Radio de l'Épinette Noire Inc.'s CINN-FM. Hearst.
*Diffusion communautaire des Îles inc.'s CFIM-FM, Cap-aux-Meules.
*La radio communautaire de Fermont inc.'s CFMF-FM, Fermont.
*La radio communautaire CKNA inc.'s CKNA-FM, Natashquan.
*Radio Anticosti inc.'s CJBE-FM, Port-Menier.
*Radio communautaire M.F. de Senneterre inc.'s CIBO-FM, Senneterre.
*Radio Gaspésie inc.'s CJRG-FM Gaspé and its transmitters CJRG-FM-1, Murdochville; CJRV-FM, L'Anse-à-Valleau; and CJRE-FM, Rivière-au-Renard.
Renewal until 31 August 2014 of licences of English-language Type A community radio stations:
*Hay River Broadcasting Society's CKHR-FM, Hay River.
*La radio communautaire de Rivière St-Augustin inc.'s CJAS-FM, Saint-Augustin.
The CRTC also announced reception of renewal applications for a number of commercial stations whose licences are due to expire on 31 August. The deadline for submitting comments or interventions if June 26:
*902890 Alberta Ltd.'s CIHS-FM, Wetaskiwin.
*4323041 Canada Inc.'s CKGY-FM, Red Deer.
*Corus Radio Company's CKRY-FM Calgary and its transmitter CKRY-FM-2,
*Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership's CIBW-FM, Drayton Valley; CHLB-FM, Lethbridge; CJBZ-FM, Taber;
*Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited Partnership's CKBZ-FM, Kamloops, and its transmitters CKBZ-FM-1,Pritchard; CKBZ-FM-2 Chase ; CKBZ-FM-3, Merritt; CKBZ-FM-4, Clearwater; CKBZ-FM-5.Sun Peaks; plus CHWF-FM, Nanaimo.
*Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation's CHMB-AM, Vancouver .
*Rogers Broadcasting Limited's CKQC-FM, Abbotsford; CFSR-FM, Hope, and its transmitter CFSR-FM-1, Boston Bar. CKIZ-FM, Vernon and its transmitter CKIZ-FM-1, Enderby;
*The Beat Broadcasting Corporation's CFBT-FM, Vancouver.
*Vista Radio Ltd.'s CFFM-FM, Williams Lake.
* The Joy FM Network Inc's CIXN-FM, Fredericton.
*Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation's CKYC-FM, Owen Sound.
*Blackburn Radio Inc.'s CHYR-FM, Leamington.
*Burlingham Communications Inc.'s CIWV-FM, Hamilton / Burlington.
*CHCD Inc.'s CHCD-FM, Simcoe.
*1158556 Ontario Ltd.'s CHIM-FM, Timmins, and its transmitters CHIM-FM-1, North Bay; CHIM-FM-2, Iroquois Falls; CHIM-FM-3, Kirkland Lake; CHIM-FM-4. New Liskeard; CHIM-FM-5, Red Deer; CHIM-FM-6, Sault Ste Marie; CHIM-FM-7, Elliot Lake; CHIM-FM-8, Wawa; CHIM-FM-9, Chapleau; CHIM-FM-10, Kapuskasing;
*CHUM Limited's CIMX-FM, Windsor.
*CIRC Radio Inc.'s CIRV-FM, Toronto.
*Eternacom Inc.'s CJTK-FM, Sudbury.
*Fairchild Radio Group Ltd.'s CHKT-AM, Richmond Hill.
*Larche Communications Inc.'s CICZ-FM, Midland.
*Newcap Inc.'s CJUK-FM, Thunder Bay.
*Pineridge Broadcasting Inc.'s CKSG-FM, Cobourg.
*Rogers Broadcasting Limited's CKGB-FM, Timmins.
*Trafalgar Broadcasting Limited's CJMR-AM, Mississauga.
*CFMB Limited's CFMB-AM. Québec.
*Communications CHIC's CHIC-FM, Rouyn-Noranda.
*Radio Plus B.M.D. inc.'s CJAN-FM, Asbestos.
*Golden West Broadcasting's CHSN-AM, Estevan.
*629112 Saskatchewan Ltd.'s CJWW-AM, Saskatoon.
*Northwestern Radio Partnership's CJNB-AM, North Battleford.
*Klondike Broadcasting Company Limited's CKRW-AM, Whitehorse and its transmitters VF2063,
Faro; VF2143, Watson Lake; VF2266, Carcross; VF2267, Carmacks; VF2269, Haines Junction; VF2268, Mayo; and VF2270, Teslin.
The CRTC also notes an applications, with a deadline for interventions or comments of June 29, from Slocan Valley T.V. Society to renew the licence of the radiocommunication distribution undertaking (RDU) serving Passmore, British Columbia, and distributing, in non-encrypted mode, the programs of CFMI-FM, New Westminster, British Columbia and CISN-FM, Edmonton, Alberta; and from Norwesto Communications Ltd. to add a 49-watts FM transmitter at Sioux Lookout to broadcast the programming of CKQV-FM, Vermilion Bay, Ontario.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has acceded to a request from Emap to waive the moratorium that would have prevented it selling Today FM, which was re-awarded its licence for ten years on 2006, for two years from its award and also to the sale of the majority shareholding in the Waterford City and County service, WLR FM, and the south-east regional youth service, Beat FM, to Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH) Limited. (See RNW May 24). Earlier it awarded the country's new Midlands/North-East Regional licence in principle to i Radio North East & Midlands Limited (See RNW May 23).
In the UK, Ofcom has published its Communications Market 2007 report detailing the state of Britain's communications industry (See below for summary of the radio section).
It also updated details of its award of Community Radio Fund grants for 2006-07, noting that Chelmsford Calling, which had been awarded a grant of GBP 6,000 (USD 11,900), will not be able to take up the offer as it is closing and Voice of Africa, which had been awarded GBP 30,000 (USD 59,500) would not be able to get on air within the required timeframe.
Accordingly it made grants to two stations that had previously been put on its standby list - Radio Asian Fever, which gets GBP 18,600 (USD 36,900) for a fundraising officer and Revival Radio, Cumbernauld, which gets the same amount for a production manager.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it is to hold an Open Commission Meeting on Thursday with an agenda mainly concerning Public Safety & Homeland Security items
In Texas the FCC modified the license of Station KYVA-FM, Channel 279C0, Grants, New Mexico, to specify Church Rock as the community of license, dismissing collective counter-proposals from Sierra H. Broadcasting, Inc., licensee KNRJ-FM, Payson, Arizona, Sanpete County Broadcasting Co., Marathon Media Group, LLC, College Creek Broadcasting, LLC; and Sky Media, LLC. and from Smoke and Mirrors, LLC, College Creek Broadcasting, LLC, and Desert Sky Media, LLC.
The FCC enforcement bureau also issued radio-related penalties or Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NALs) totalling approaching USD 50,000: In descending order of amount they included
USD 10,000 forfeiture to New Relampago Car Service Corp. in Brooklyn, NY for operating a base station and mobile units on the frequency 35.08 MHz without the required license.
USD 10,000 forfeiture to Mobile Car Service Inc. in Brooklyn, NY for operating a base station on the frequency 35.18 MHz and mobile units on the frequency 34.94 MHz without the required license.
USD 8,000 forfeiture to Fun Media Group, licensee of WAFN-FM, Arab, Alabama, for failure to clean and repaint its antenna structure to maintain good visibility. The FCC initially issued an NAL of USD 10,000 to which Fun Media had responded seeking cancellation on the basis that the tower met the painting requirements and on the grounds that the penalty would cause financial hardship and the FCC had reduced the penalty to USD 8,000. Fun Media had then filed for reconsideration but this was rejected and then applied for review and sought reversal of the order. The FCC said nothing provided by Fun Media warranted overturning the order and confirmed the forfeiture.
USD 7,000 NAL for failure to file timely renewal application and unauthorized operation to Hendrix College, licensee of KHDX-FM, Conway, Arkansas. The licence was renewed.
USD 4,200 forfeiture to Sandhill Media Group, LLC, licensee of KSPZ -AM (KSPZ (formerly KUPI-, Ammon, Idaho for Sandhill for failing to enclose the KSPZ antenna towers within effective locked fences or other enclosures.
Initially the FCC issued an NAL for USD 7,000 and Sandhill had argued for reduction on various grounds: The FCC cut the penalty to USD 5,600 on the basis of based on Sandhill's good faith efforts to repair the individual fences surrounding the two antenna towers and then to USD 4,200 on the basis of a history of compliance.
USD 4,000 NAL to Charles River Broadcasting, licensee of WFCC-FM, Chatham, Massachusetts, for failing to retain required documentation in the WFCC-FM public inspection file. The breach came to light during an application for renewal of the station licence, which was granted.
USD 3,000 forfeiture to Infinity Radio Operations, Inc. , the then licensee of WBLK-FM-, Buffalo, for broadcasting a telephone conversation without prior permission of the other party to the conversation. It had originally levied a base-amount penalty of USD 4,000 but Infinity, which did not deny the breach, had called for reduction or cancellation on the basis of a reference to a prior breach - the forfeiture order was unpaid and not finalized - at another Infinity station to rebut Infinity's claim that this was an isolated incident. The FCC refused the claim on this basis but did reduce the penalty to USD 3,000 because of action taken by Infinity, which had prior to the FCC investigation suspended the host concerned without pay and reiterated its written policy to all station employees against airing or recording telephone conversations without permission.
USD 1,500 NAL for failure to file timely renewal application to H&H Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of KLBA-FM, Albia, Iowa. The licence was renewed.
USD 1,500 NAL for failure to file timely renewal application to Burnet Bible College, licensee of low power KFGG-LP, Marble Falls, Texas. The licence was renewed.
USD 250 forfeiture to Gla-Mar Broadcasting, LLC, licensee of KBZB-FM, Pioche, Nevada, for failing to ensure the operational readiness of the KBZB-FM Emergency Alert System . The FCC had issued an NAL of USD 8,000 and Gla-Mar's had argued for cancellation on the basis that it was in the process of ordering new EAS equipment prior to the inspection by the San Francisco Office and its inability to pay. The FCC only accepted the latter argument but reduced the penalty to USD 259.
The FCC also issued an amendment of its rules clarifying corrective action to be taken by AM stations when encountering difficulties in the operation of a station's AM directional antenna.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-05-27: UK media regulator Ofcom has published its Communications Market 2007 report - available in PDF form in a number of sections on its website.
The Radio report notes that by April this year the UK had 310 licensed local commercial radio stations and a further three nation-wide stations on top of which it is considering advertising up to two new FM commercial radio licences in 2007 for coverage of most of mid- and North
Wales, subject to gaining international agreement for the use of the required frequencies).
As well as commercial stations the UK has 46 BBC local or nations-based analogue radio services, 40 of them in England and of the commercial stations 244 (79%) are in England, 39 (13%) in Scotland, 17 (5%) in Wales and 10 (3%) in Northern Ireland.
Throughout most of the UK listeners can receive five BBC network analogue services and three commercial national services on top of which listeners in England can also access an average of 6.1 local stations per head; listeners in Scotland listeners can receive an average of 5.5 stations - two of them the two national BBC stations, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio nan Gaidheal; in Wales 4.5 including BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru; and in Northern Ireland the north-west area is also served by BBC Radio Foyle and Radio Ulster in addition to an average of 2.1 local commercial stations
Regarding DAB digital radio, the installation of new transmitters have been installed by both the BBC and Digital One national multiplex operators over the past year plus those scheduled for 2007, should put the medium on target to reach 90% of the UK population.
In commercial terms, total revenue from local commercial radio advertising and sponsorship in England in 2006 totalled GBP 379 million (USD 752 million ), including the revenues of the three national commercial stations Classic FM, TalkSPORT and Virgin 1215. This was 82.8% of the GBP 506 million (USD 1.004 billion) UK total with Scotland next with revenues of GBP 49 million (USD 97.2 million - 10.6% of the local commercial total) then Wales with GBP 19 million (USD 37.7 million - 4.1% of the total) and Northern Ireland with GBP 11 million (USD 21.8 million - 2.4%).
In ownership terms, the top three groups (in station number terms) in England - GCap, The Local Radio Company and Emap - hold 47% of station licences; in Scotland the top three - Emap, GMG and UTV have 49%; in Wales the top three - GCap, Town and Country and UTV- have 76% and in Northern Ireland the top three - Northern Media, Emap and the CN Group - have 90%.
In listening terms, average weekly listening to radio is 23.5 hours and the medium reaches 90% of the population. Regional figures show heaviest listening in Wales with an average 24.7 hours a week although reach is lower - only 88.4%.
Next is England with 23.4 hours and a 90.6% reach then Scotland with 23.2 hours (89.4% reach) then Northern Ireland with 23 hours (90.7% reach).
In audience share terms, local commercial radio is most popular in Scotland, where it attracted a 43% share of audience listening, compared to 32% in England, 27% in Wales and 24% in Northern
Listening to local BBC radio is highest in Northern Ireland at 27%; three times more than in Scotland (9%) and also substantially higher than the 11% share of local BBC radio in England and 14% in Wales.
Networked BBC radio was most popular in England and in Wales where it attracted just under half of all listening, at 45% and 46% of audience share respectively. In Northern Ireland just over a quarter of all listening was to the BBC network stations, behind Scotland (36%).
Overall listening to the BBC stations accounted for 62% of listening in Wales, higher than in Scotland (45%), England (55%) and Northern Ireland (54%). Meanwhile, listening to the UK-wide commercial stations Classic FM, Virgin and TalkSPORT, was similar across the nations ranging from 10-12% of listening.
2007-05-27: The Walt Disney Company says that it has now set June 6 as the record date for the previously announced spin-off of its ABC Radio Business - to be merged with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Citadel Broadcasting with an expected merger date of June 12 (See RNW May 26).
Under the scheme Disney shareholders of record at the close of business on June 6 will receive shares of Disney's wholly-owned subsidiary, ABC Radio Holdings, Inc., subject to the consummation of the spin-off and merger: Prior to the spin-off, Disney will transfer to ABC Radio Holdings the ABC Radio Business, which includes 22 large-market radio stations and the ABC Radio Network but not Disney's ESPN Radio and Radio Disney networks and station businesses.
All shares in ABC Radio Holdings will be distributed to Disney shareholders on a pro rata basis by means of a share dividend - the exact number is to be determined and is currently expected to be approximately 0.0766 shares of ABC Radio Holdings common stock for each share of Disney common stock.
Immediately following the spin-off, ABC Radio Holdings will merge with the wholly-owned subsidiary of Citadel Broadcasting and Disney shareholders will each receive one full share of Citadel common stock, par value one cent per share, in exchange for each full share of ABC Radio Holdings common stock received in the spin-off with a cash payment to be made in lieu of fractional shares.
2007-05-26: Citadel Broadcasting Corporation has declared a provisional special cash distribution of USD 2.46 a share in preparation for the merger of a wholly-owned subsidiary with ABC Radio Holdings, Inc.
The distribution is subject to consummation of the merger, closing of which is expected on June 12, and Citadel says it anticipates that the record date for the special distribution will be June 8.
In other UK radio business, Clear Channel has revealed in an SEC filing that it has awarded 265,000 restricted shares to the founding Mays family as part of its remuneration for 2006.: Based on latest offer of USD 39.20 per share from a private equity group led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.; the shares would be worth just below USD 10.4 million.
Previous Clear Channel:
2007-05-26: Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin has told shareholders at the company's annual meeting that he was as disappointed as they were by the company's stock price but then added that compared to rival XM "We suck less". He also said he had not sold any of his own holding of around USD 20 million in Sirius stock.
Sirius stock, which opened 2006 at USD 6.81, was down to USD 2.90 at the end of the week whilst that of XM was down from USD 27.47 at the start of 2006 to USD 11.80 - Karmazin, ever the salesman, compared the share price over the period from September 2004 since when Sirius shares have risen by 8% and those of XM fell by 61%).
At the meeting Karmazin acknowledged that there was an uphill struggle going on to get the Sirius takeover of XM approved. He blamed the weak stock performance on a negative view of the satellite radio business on Wall Street despite the progress both companies had made towards profitability and also defended the USD 500 million deal signed with Howard Stern, saying he had earned the money.
Houston Chronicle/AP report:
2007-05-26: SMG Chairman Richard Findlay told shareholders at the company's annual meeting on Friday that trading was in line with expectations that, as previously stated had been varied with TV advertising revenues in the period to June down 7% compared to 9% for ITV as a whole whilst Virgin Radio revenues were up 8% with particularly strong online revenue growth and its Pearl and Dean cinema advertising division reported revenues up 7% and its outdoor division Primesight recording an 8% revenue increase.
Regarding the last three Findlay said the company had "terminated the sale process of Primesight for the time being and are re-energising the sale of Pearl & Dean" whilst it had announced an Initial Public Offering for Virgin Radio.
"We believe a flotation of Virgin Radio," he added, "will create a strong and clearly focussed radio business, with a powerful brand and will provide an attractive pure play investment opportunity. Once completed, it will leave SMG with a stronger balance sheet on which to move forward and rebuild shareholder value."
Also holding its annual meeting was UTV whose chairman, John B. McGuckian said the company's "diversification into radio passed an important milestone in 2006 with radio revenues at 54% of total group revenue for the first time overtaking television revenue at 37%."
"UTV Radio," he added, "is now a significant player in both Ireland and Great Britain and the development of this part of our business continues to be a key focus of our corporate strategy."
McGuckian said operating profits for 2006 were broadly flat with increased profits from radio operations offset by reduced revenue in its television division and start-up losses at new radio stations in Edinburgh and Belfast.
Regarding this year, he said UTV expected to outperform the industry overall for the first six months of the year to the end of June in both radio and TV with radio revenues to be broadly flat compared to an industry decline of 2% and TV to record a revenue decline of 1% compared to around 10% for the ITV network.
UTV's Irish radio division expects a 2% increase to record revenues although the rise is smaller than forecast with strong national sales growth being offset by what UTV thinks will be a short-term weakness in local sales whilst its new media division expects revenues to be up by 15%
Overall said McGuckian the company "mitigated the effects of the significant decline in television in 2006 and, through outperformance in both that division and in radio, continues to progress well in difficult market conditions. This outperformance leaves us well-placed to take advantage of any improvement in the market."
The markets reacted positively to SMG with its shared ending the day up 1.6% at 62.5 pence whilst those of UTV were down just under 1% to 428 pence.
2007-05-26: The Internet Radio Equality Act that would vacate the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision that increased Internet streaming royalty rates threefold to twelve-fold over the next five years has now gained the support of 100 members of the House of Representatives.
Under the bill the royalty rate from 2006-2010 would be set at the 7.5% of revenue level currently paid by satellite radio services and the standard used to set rates in royalty arbitrations would be aligned with that applied to satellite radio.
Welcoming the support, Jake Ward, a spokesperson for the SaveNetRadio lobbying group, said, "Members of Congress are hearing loudly and clearly the passionate voices of webcasters, music fans and artists who have marched on Capitol Hill with their feet, their calls and their letters. Reaching 100 cosponsors in three legislative weeks is extraordinary, and is a major milestone for tens of thousands of webcasters, millions of Internet Radio listeners, and thousands of artists invested in the future of Internet radio."
2007-05-25: CBS Radio, which under new CEO Dan Mason had already dropped the Free-FM name in Baltimore, Chicago and Dallas and moved the format onto an AM frequency in San Francisco, has now dumped Free FM in New York in favour of a return for the K-Rock contemporary rock format.
The move - at 17:00 ET on Thursday - was preceded with stunting on air immediately following the end of the "Opie and Anthony Show": The station aired an audio collage including clips from TV shows, vintage New York Commercials and references "Today at five" and "You're not allowed to talk anymore" whilst the web site went to a countdown clock that at 17:00 flipped to a redirect to a new K-Rock site.
Gone in the move are most of the hosts - only Opie and Anthony are mentioned on the new website, which under station info carries the line "92.3 K-Rock is one of New York's favourite radio stations and available everywhere streaming online for free. 92.3 K-Rock is also the terrestrial home of The Opie and Anthony Show. Given the ratings of Free FM, which was introduced as a replacement to K-Rock, Howard Stern's long-time home, during former CEO Joel Hollander's reign to try and retain the younger male demographic when Howard Stern left for Sirius but which in the Winter ratings had only a 1.3% audience share, the term favourite would seem to have either a different meaning in CBS and most dictionaries or is an expression of hope.
Amongst those out are PD John Mainelli, and hosts Nick DiPaolo, Leslie "The RadioChick" Gold, and "Ron and Fez".
Gold, on her site commented, "Today the news isn't good, Chick fans. They blew up the station, and there won't be much talking on it anymore."
She then continued on her blog, "Its Toast! Free FM in NY has flipped formats to music. That's how it goes in radio, one day your [you're!] employed, the next day you aren't. I was told the decision to flip was a result of low revenues, a series of many poor management decisions made over many months, and a post-Imus environment that doesn't allow talk shows like the ones on Free FM to do what they need to do to get ratings...that is talk about race, sex and other potentially offensive and provocative material. I'm not telling you this, this is what I was told..."
The new K-Rock it to take back the WXRK call sign that had been parked in Cleveland by CBS with the calls in Cleveland to be changed to WKRI.
K-Rock version 2 was introduced by Tom Chiusano, the long-time VP and general manager of K-Rock 1, who began, "I'm the general manager of.... What am I the general manager of today? We're halfway through the year, and it looks like 2007 will be the year of the radio apology I want to apologize to you, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, for letting K-Rock be taken away. Fortunately for me, that screw-up didn't cost me my job. All day, we've been saying, 'Today at 5' -- and it wasn't in reference to my tee time, which, if I don't stop talking, I'm going to miss. So, like you, I'm tired of all this talking, so I'm going to shut up now."
The station is currently without DJs - its first song was Nirvana's "All Apologies" and the playlist includes Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Guns N' Roses, Metallica and Led Zeppelin - but CBS is said to be looking for talent along with a new PD.
Previous Gold (Radio Chick):
K-Rock web site:
Radio Chick web site:
2007-05-25: Responding to an objection by the satellite radio companies to a Freedom of Information Act it has made for information on them, the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has written to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) saying there is a compelling public interest" in having access to information with a direct bearing on the pending XM/Sirius Merger Application".
The NAB request was for information related to the satellite radio companies' violations of FCC rules governing FM modulators and terrestrial repeaters and the letter says the records are needed to shed light on the scope, nature, and degree" of the violations.
NAB has accused investigation of the satellite companies a number of times, particularly in reference to their use of repeaters that did not meet their licence terms, to FM modulators that produced interference and to plans that it alleges the companies have to introduce local advertising and the companies have admitted publicly to various breaches.
The NAB has also welcomed a letter sent by Wisconsin Democrat Senator Herb Kohl, who is chairman of the Senate antitrust subcommittee, the US Justice Department and FCC saying that a merger of the satellite companies would hit consumers, breach antitrust laws and should be rejected by regulators.
Commenting on the letter, NAB EVP Dennis Wharton said, "XM and Sirius are fierce competitors in the finite market of satellite radio. It defies logic to think that their request for a government-sanctioned monopoly would be beneficial to consumers."
2007-05-25: Roberts Radio and Frontier Silicon are to introduce a DAB/FM plug-in radio for iPods in the UK in late autumn with a planned retail price of around GBP 50 (USD 100).
The device will potentially boost on-the-move listening to radio significantly as more than 13 million iPods have been sold in the UK. When the radio is in DAB mode, the device will display the station name.
The introduction was welcomed by both the BBC and UK commercial radio with Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Audio & Music commenting, "One of the key challenges for the radio industry is how to ensure that radio is included in every device. I am delighted that the first ever DAB/FM plug-in for iPods will be launched later this year bringing radio to our audiences where they want and when they want it."
GCap Media chief executive Ralph Bernard added, "We recognise the importance of putting radio into new devices and of keeping the medium relevant for a new generation of listeners. Adding radio to mobile phones and MP3 players means the size of the radio receiver market can double overnight, leading to more opportunities to listen to radio than ever before. So, it is important for radio's digital future that we are available to consumers via market leading devices like the iPod."
Previous Frontier Silicon:
2007-05-25: XM Satellite Radio, which lost service to many customers this week due to a software glitch (See RNW May 22) has said it will give customers who request it a two-day credit. The problem affected its XM3 satellite, which services its network of repeaters and XM says many customers were unaffected and that its satellites had worked. Streams on the Internet were unaffected.
2007-05-24: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has acceded to a request from Emap to waive the moratorium that would have prevented it selling Today FM, which was re-awarded its licence for ten years on 2006, for two years from its award.
The BCI noted in making the decision that there was no other applicant for the licence and that Emap, which has put its Irish radio stations up for sale, had kept local management for the stations since it acquired them.
Commenting on the decision BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said, "The Commission's two-year moratorium on the sale of a commercial radio licence contains within it an overriding flexibility which enables the Board to consider particular and unique circumstances, as was the case on this occasion. It is important to note that the decision reached by the Commission is without prejudice to its rights and obligations regarding any proposed ownership and control changes that may be received in respect of the Today FM service."
The BCI also announced its agreement in principle to the sale of the majority shareholding in the Waterford City and County service, WLR FM, and the south-east regional youth service, Beat FM, to Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH) Limited.
TCH will take control of 75% of both services, with Des Whelan, Chief Executive of WLR FM and a Director of Beat FM, holding the remaining 25%.
2007-05-24: Australian Broadcasting Corporation Managing Director Mark Scott has announced the appointment of Hanh Tran, Executive Producer of Vietnamese content for the station, as the new Chief Executive of Radio Australia.
Hahn, who originally went to Australia in the late seventies as a Colombo Plan student and studied forestry at the Australian National University and media at the University of Canberra, was previously - from 1997 to 2001, Head of the BBC World Service's Vietnamese Service and from 1993-1996 he was executive producer of Radio Australia's Vietnam Program Unit.
Making the announcement, Scott said, "I am delighted that from a very strong field of internal and external applicants that the next person to lead Radio Australia has come from our own team of managers and executive producers [Tran] will bring a wealth of expertise in radio and digital media that will contribute to enhancing the services provided by Radio Australia, while exploring opportunities to expand the service into new markets."
Previous Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
2007-05-24: Arbitron has announced that it has signed a five-year renewal contract for its services for Cox Radio's stations in 18 markets.
The new agreement will provide Cox Radio with Portable People Meter ratings services when the technology is commercialized in the eight Cox Radio markets in Arbitron's previously announced PPM rollout plan: Houston, New York (Nassau-Suffolk), Atlanta, Miami, Tampa, San Antonio, Orlando and Jacksonville.
2007-05-24: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest broadcast bulletin has upheld three standards complaints against radio, involving Radio XM; GCap Media's SGR, Colchester; and UKRD's Star Radio in Cambridge.
All of the complaints involved advertising or sponsorship and that against XL resulted concerned a complaint that a programme involving a homeopathic practitioner who is regular contributor amounted to promotion of his practice and that he advertised his services to promote his infertility treatment and suggested he could help in selecting a baby's sex.
The station said they felt they had complied with codes and that the homeopath's contribution was "designed to provide information to their listeners and not a programme designed to promote his services, although they did concede that a proportion of the broadcast was used to mention his practice and telephone numbers" and also confirmed that his practice was advertised on the station.
Ofcom noted that the homeopath's practice and contact details were promoted and ruled that "references to the contributor's practice went beyond what was editorially justified" and thus breached its Code.
In the case of GCap's SGR, a complainant considered that a "Quiz of the Week" on the station's breakfast show amounted to a disguised advertisement for the store that provided the prizes and GCap, whilst saying that after reviewing the material it fully appreciated Ofcom's concerns, insisted that at no point had the programme's editorial independence been compromised.
Ofcom, ruling that there had been a breach of two rules, noted that in September last year a breach of one of them by the station had been recorded. It said it had considered whether further action was needed but in light of action taken by the broadcaster, including an undertaking to put in place specific training along with a best practice guidelines scheme to ensure compliance in future, it felt no further action was necessary on this occasion.
In the Cambridge case two complaints were made against UKRD's Star Radio. One concerned an edition of its 15 minute extended news programme "Star Reports" that included a pre-recorded introduction and interview with the Managing Director of an overseas property company that was considered by the complainant to be a glorified "plug" for the station and on another occasion had
The second compliant concerned the station's "Music To Make You Feel Good " programme that included an item that had featured an interview with an employee of a garage and had given full details of how to get to the garage and also details of a launch event for a new car. The complainant said the item was presented as editorial when it was "clearly an extended advertisement for the garage "
UKRD had acknowledged weakness in understanding Code requirements by station staff and said it had met station management to emphasise the Code obligations they needed to follow and had also put systems in place across its whole group to avoid recurrence.
Ofcom noted that two codes were breached and also the measures taken to address the failures and opted on this basis to take no further action although it warned that it would take any further similar compliance failures extremely seriously.
As well as the radio complaints upheld, Ofcom upheld five standards complaints against TV and gave details of another not upheld and two more that ere considered resolved through action taken by the broadcaster and also gave details of a TV fairness and privacy complaint that was not upheld (The matter involved 40 complaints on behalf of a German who had been in the SS and more than half of the bulletin was taken up with details of the comprehensive rebuttal of the matters complained of.
The numbers compare with one radio complaints concerning sponsorship upheld in the previous bulletin along with details of a fairness complaints made in this bulletin.
In addition, the bulletin also lists with no details a further 270 TV complaints involving 222 items and 30 radio complaints involving 30 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 242 TV complaints involving 171 items and 22 radio complaints involving 20 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Broadcasting bulletin:
2007-05-23: Sound Exchange, the body that collects royalties from US users of recordings and that has come under pressure over massively-increased new rates put forward by the Copyright Royalty Board, has thrown a bone to small webcasters by offering to extend most of the terms of the Small Webcaster Settlement Act that in 2002 set lower rates for small Internet stations to 2010.
SoundExchange says the offer has been made as a "direct response to a request from the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property to "initiate good faith private negotiations with small commercial and non-commercial webcasters with the shared goal of ensuring their continued operations and viability."
The Subcommittee's request was sent to SoundExchange last week in a letter co-signed by Representatives Howard L. Berman (California Democrat) and Howard Coble (North Carolina Republican) and in a release SoundExchange Executive Director John Simson commented, "Although the rates revised by the CRB are fair and based on the value of music in the
marketplace, there's a sense in the music community and in Congress that small
webcasters need more time to develop their businesses. Artists and labels are offering a below-market rate to subsidize small webcasters because Congress has made it clear that this is a policy it desires to advance, at least for the next few years."
It adds that as suggested it is proposing to keep payments based on a percentage of revenues with the same rates as before - 10% of gross revenues up to USD 250,000 and 12% above that. The proposal also includes a revenue and usage cap but these were not specified.
Michael Huppe, General Counsel of SoundExchange, said the offer "is not about displacing the Judges' correct analysis of the market, but rather about extending for a limited time the below-market rates that these small businesses received several years ago. We have heard the concerns of Congress and we are responding."
Simson added that SoundExchange has particular concern about "the lack of compliance by most small webcasters" and continued, "The artists and labels are acting in good faith today, giving small webcasters a break. In return they expect the integrity of their music and their copyrights to be respected. That includes proper tracking and reporting of how their music is used, and that they are properly compensated."
The new rates have come under attack not only from many webcasters, who say they would be put out of business, but also from the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) whose Radio Board accepted a resolution saying that it "recognizes that the new streaming rates established by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) will cause significant harm to broadcasters that stream over the Internet" and continues, "The radio board supports a comprehensive approach to addressing the CRB rate determination, including legislation that vacates the CRB decision and establishes an interim royalty rate structure."
RNW comment: This seems to us to be an offer that contains very significant omissions, in particular those of the revenue caps proposed. If made very low, the offer may take some political pressure off SoundExchange but will in practical terms be almost worthless in terms of most streams.
We still think that the best way forward may yet be for the webcasters to apply market practices - the theory of the rates set after all is that they are those for a willing buyer and seller - and agree deals with small labels at rates and with conditions - such as promotion and direct sales of music - that both sides can agree as fair. The opposite side of this deal would be to keep down to an absolute minimum the use and mention of music from those sticking with SoundExchange. We suspect that such a deal would greatly benefit all but the most prominent artists and could lead to a substantial secondary form of musical distribution that would increase diversity. It might, of course, also put some of the majors out of business but we can't really feel much sympathy for them in view of the unimaginative way they have reacted over the years to technological change
It is, after all, something that is already happening for many orchestras who have had to set up their own recording and distribution as the recording companies moved away from the commitment to classical.
2007-05-23: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has given Rogers Broadcasting Limited the go-ahead for a new commercial-free national pay audio service, Rogers Pay Audio, that will be comprised of some 30 audio channels in a number of formats.
Following objections to Roger's initial proposal for a service of which 60%-70% of the proposed service's audio content would consist of pop, rock, dance and easy listening music, 5%-10% of oldies music, 5%-10% of ethnic music, 5%-10% of programming directed to children, and 15% of specialty music, including classical, world beat and jazz and that would have a Canadian content level that would mirror the Canadian content requirements set out in section 2.2 of the Radio Regulations, 1986, Rogers has amended its proposal.
It is now saying that - in line with the general requirement for pay audio services to have a minimum of 35% weekly Canadian musical selections - its service will ensure that a minimum of 35% of the musical selections broadcast each week on the proposed undertaking's Canadian-produced pay audio channels, considered together, will be Canadian selections.
Rogers also now proposes that a minimum of 25% of all its Canadian-produced pay audio channels, other than those consisting entirely of instrumental music or of music entirely in languages other than English or French, would devote each week a minimum of 65% of vocal music selections from category 2, as defined in the Radio Regulations, to musical selections in the French language; and that at no time would subscribers be offered a service where foreign-produced channels predominate and a maximum of one non-Canadian pay audio channel would be packaged or linked with each Canadian-produced pay audio channel.
In addition in relation to a request for permission to broadcast spoken word programming, Rogers says that spoken word programming would be limited to programming directed to children and to segments identifying musical selections or promoting the service and it has also amended its targets for Canadian Content Development contributions to bring them in line with the current policy with a contribution of 4% of gross annual revenues, half of which would be devoted to funding Canadian Music Week to support music education programs and emerging artist showcases.
2007-05-23: UK media group Emap has announced revenues for the year for its continuing business to the end of March up 4% to GBP 884 (USD 1.745 billion) although it said underlying revenues were down 1% as was group operating profit of GBP 203 million (USD 400 million) - underlying profit was up 1%.
Group chairman and acting chief executive Alun Cathcart, who took on a dual role following the departure of chief executive Tom Moloney this month (See RNW May 1) insisted there were no plans for a break-up, saying that on the contrary they believed there were "enormous opportunities" for the company as a group and adding that the numbers were against it.
"We are going to keep the group together," he said. "Yes, we're going to carry on, and no, there have been no approaches of any kind, it's just speculation."
In a statement Cathcart commented, "The 2007 financial year has been a period of transition for the Group against a background of challenging trading conditions and a changing consumer environment. Despite this, we have delivered 4% revenue growth from our continuing business
Our strategy is to migrate resources onto faster growth platforms and to develop new business models based on content, community and commerce. We will vigorously pursue this strategy which will mean increasing our digital activities, investing behind our growth assets and increased international exposure."
Last year Emap sold Emap France for GBP 380 million (then USD 720 million), returning GBP 2875 million (then USD 540 million) in cash to shareholders and has also started the process of selling its radio stations in the Republic of Ireland and also set up strategic reviews of its Australian consumer magazines business and French exhibition business "Agor": It says it is now to focus on "faster growth platforms" with B2B information and events remaining a priority when it comes to investment and acquisitions and internationally will increase its focus "in faster growth geographies where we can build scale."
For the total group, including Emap France for part of the year, Emap revenues were down 13% to GBP 1,003 million (USD 1, 98 billion) - underlying revenues were down 1%; operating profit was down 1% to GBP 203 million (USD 400 million) - up 2% underlying; pre-tax profit was down 13% to GBP 193 million (USD 381 million) with Earnings per Share down 7% to 60.7 pence and dividend per share down 3% to 30 pence.
Emap said that within the figures "B2B information products all showed strong growth" and added, "Cannes Lions had another good year and our portfolio of businesses in the Middle East under the MEED brand also grew strongly. We have seen strong performances from all our women's weekly titles, in particular Grazia. In Radio we have seen good results from our Republic of Ireland and Scottish stations."
"However," it continued, "areas of weakness remain our men's and automotive titles and national advertising across our Big City radio network. B2B recruitment advertising continues to be weak but is now a much smaller part of the overall Group.
Within the figures, B2B revenues and operating profit were up 11% with underlying revenues flat and underlying operating profit up 2%; UK Consumer Magazines reported revenues down 5% - 1% underlying - with operating profit down 11% with underlying operating profit up 8%; International Consumer Magazines faring worse with revenues down 11% - down 7% underlying ; radio revenues up 16% - flat on a pro-forma basis that assumes SRH was owned for all of the comparable periods with radio operating profit up 3% but down 1% underlying; and TV revenues up 11% - and 11% underlying - with operating profit down 8% - also down 8% underlying.
Of radio, Emap commented, "We have seen a mixed performance in Radio, with good results from our acquired stations in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, but tougher conditions in national advertising for our Big City network. In our UK stations, national advertising revenue was down 8% with local advertising down 2%. Sponsorship and promotions revenue, which now accounts for 16% of UK revenue, was up 16% as advertisers are increasingly looking for more innovative solutions."
Emap also noted that it had re-organized various back office and production functions to drive "operational efficiencies" and that it was "taking advantage of the ability to network certain programming."
2007-05-23: XM Satellite Radio says it is now back to normal following problems on Monday with its services (See RNW May 22).
In a posting on its web site the company says the "problem occurred during the loading of software to a critical component of the satellite broadcast system, which resulted in a temporary loss of signal from one of the company's satellites."
It then tells subscribers to allow their receivers 5-10 minutes to re-acquire the signal and apologizes for any inconvenience caused.
Postings on the xmfan web site indicate that a number of listeners did indeed have to refresh their receivers leading to a response to one post - "I'm getting only a subset of the stations offered-- nothing above 76" - that said, "I hate to say it, but you might need a refresh. call xmradio or go to their website. (which sucks)."
2007-05-23: Former Don Imus producer and sidekick Bernard McGuirk has lost an expected gig with Entercom's Boston talk station WRKO-AM as a guest host for the rest of this week (Today to Friday) on host - and disgraced former speaker of the Massachusetts House - Tom Finneran's morning-drive show.
Finneran had denounced Imus on the show before the McGuirk appearances were confirmed, leading to comment on the move indicating how weak he now is having lost audience compared to Scott Allen Miller, the host he replaced: In the Winter ratings the station lost almost a third of its audience amongst the 25-54 demographic.
The Boston Herald said that the decision to cancel McGuirk's appearances was made by Julie Kahn, vice president and market manager for Entercom, and Jason Wolfe, program director for WRKO, and quoted George Regan of Regan Communications, which represents Entercom, as saying, "Julie Kahn and Jason Wolfe have decided not to go ahead with the guest hosting of Bernie this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Maybe in the future. But not at this time."
It also quoted Boston media attorney George Tobia, who represents McGuirk as saying, "Both parties decided not to do the show this week. We're going to pull back from doing further guest appearances for now."
Although Entercom did not say why it had made the decision some observers think it was probably in large part because major sponsors of the show put out messages about their diversity efforts that conflict with the comments on Imus that led to his show being cancelled. "Finneran's Forum" has a number of major sponsors including Comcast, which funds local non-profit organizations and encourages "tolerance, acceptance and understanding of different perspectives among young people." funds "local non-profit organizations encouraging tolerance, acceptance and understanding of different perspectives among young people."
In another US radio move, Elroy Smith, program director at Clear Channel's Chicago urban AC WVAZ-FM, is to leave the company at the end of this month. Until March he had been operational manager at urban contemporary WGCI-FM, WVAZ and gospel WGRB-AM - he was replaced at WGCI by Kris Kelley from WJLB-FM, Detroit - under a re-organization that put one program director at each of Clear Channel's Chicago stations
Smith, who was hired by Marve Dyson, had been at WGCI for 15 years and six at WVAZ. He will be replaced for the time being by Armando Rivera, who has been WVAZ assistant program director since 2001.
Previous Clear Channel:
Boston Herald report:
2007-05-23: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has awarded the country's new Midlands/North-East Regional licence in principle to i Radio North East & Midlands Limited (trading as i 107FM).
i 107FM is offering a new youth-based service that will cover the counties of Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Kildare, Offaly, Westmeath and North-East Laois and was competing against four other applicants, two of whom along with I 107 were called to an oral hearing, held in Tullamore Co. Offaly last month (See RNW Feb 22).
2007-05-22: XM Satellite Radio, which on Monday was experiencing satellite problems, has announced that it is to launch a national radio channel dedicated to the US Presidential election in partnership with C-Span and other media outlets.
The 24-hour channel, to be called "POTUS '08" -derived from the Secret Service code name for the President of the United States - will be commercial free and also free-to-air on XM, allowing anyone with an XM receiver to tune in whether or not they have a current subscription.
XM says it content will include news updates, candidate interviews, complete speeches, debate coverage, latest polling results, fundraising status, and live call-in shows and the channel will also provide free airtime for presidential candidates to speak to voters.
It is to be formally launched in September although it will preview in June with a mix of live XM original coverage and a re-broadcast of candidate debates hosted by CNN.
XM CEO Hugh Panero said the channel would be a "unique public service opportunity to provide our listeners with a commercial-free and politically neutral destination that is focused solely on this important presidential election."
RNW comment: The cynic in us regards this as a good PR move by XM in terms of its ambitions to gain regulatory approval for its takeover by Sirius, ambitions that look as if they may well fail.
Ironically the announcement was made on a day when XM's service was hit by outages that according to the satellite radio blog "Orbitcast" was due to one of its satellites being out of operation whilst it performed a "software update."
Postings on the xmfan.com website indicated that the problems were being experienced in many areas and affected repeater signals as well as those from the satellite but XM's main site did not have any mention of the problems.
Another site noted that XM reported that one satellite was out of action but the second was still in service and pointed out that the company had kept its original "Rock" and "Roll" satellites in orbit as back-up after it launched new more powerful satellites "Rhythm" (XM3) in 2005 and "Blues" (XM4) in 2006. The two newer satellites has to be commissioned after their predecessors experienced power problems and when put into services had a contract lifespan of 15 years (See RNW Dec 19, 2006).Were one of them to have failed this could be a serious problem for the company.
RNW comment: To put it bluntly it is very dumb of XM not to post information about this outage on its website. It's hardly something they can hide - there are pages and pages of reports on the blogs - and it must be frustrating for customers to have to phone the company's service department (as well as overloading the department to no good effect) only to have someone give them information that the blogs would indicate could just as easily have been posted online together with an apology. Perhaps their efforts were concentrated on Wall Street as the stock was up 2.6% on the day when we last checked - Sirius was up 2.2% - figures that are likely to go down very quickly if it does turn out to be a serious problem.
2007-05-22: The BBC says that its combined international news services attracted a record global weekly audience of more than 233 million during 2006/7m up 23 million on a year ago according to independent surveys.
Within the total, World Service radio listeners went up 20 million a year ago to a record 183 million whilst the number viewing the BBC World TV channel was up 11 million a week on a year earlier to 76 million.
It adds that its BBC's international-facing online news sites attracted a record 763 million page impressions in March 2007, up from 546 million in March 2006. There were a record 38.5 million unique online users across the globe during March 2007, up from 32.8 million a year ago.
BBC Global News Director Richard Sambrook said, "This is a strong and welcome indication that the BBC's news services are strengthening their impact with audiences around the globe in the highly competitive multimedia age. People around the world are increasingly turning to the BBC when they need quality news and information that is independent and trusted."
Split geographically the BBC notes particular success in Bangladesh where the audience was up 8.3 million year-on-year and in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan where audiences were up 7.5 million and 7 million respectively, an increase put down in large part to increased survey coverage.
There was also growth of more than a million a week in audiences in India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Rwanda and "Substantial" growth in Africa overall, Canada, Egypt, India, Pakistan and the USA.
Previous BBC World Service figures:
2007-05-22: Clear Channel has kicked off a national rollout of customized mobile phone applications in New York where it is making facilities available for users to send text messages into the studio, participate in contests, receive an alert before their favourite song plays, make requests and dedications, and view the last 10 songs played on five New York City radio stations.
Involved so far are Contemporary Hits WHTZ-FM (Z100); WAXQ-FM Q104.3; Rhythmic Adult Contemporary WKTU-FM; Urban WWPR-FM (Power 105.1) and Adult Contemporary WLTW-FM but the company says it expects to launch similar programs on up to 100 more of its radio stations by the end of 2008, beginning with stations in Salt Lake City and St. Louis in the next 60 days.
Clear Channel Radio President and CEO John Hogan said of the move, "By making these applications available for free via any cellular phone carrier, Clear Channel Radio is monumentally expanding access to its growing mobile content portfolio. Each application allows users to have an individualized, on-demand experience, which will strengthen listeners' connection with their favourite radio stations."
The announcement comes shortly after Bridge Ratings released its latest report on its bi-annual study on mobile phone consumer behaviour and potential impact of cell phone use on terrestrial radio.
Bridge concluded that cell phone technology is the only audio-capable technology that could approach traditional radio's market penetration and noted that "As users of cell phones become more comfortable with technology they are using their devices in ways previously monopolized by terrestrial radio: distribution of information and music."
At current expected growth rates, it says, cell phone users in the US will top 300 million by 2015 and it adds that while "The ability, for example, to catch up on news and sports information is preferred by 28% of our panel and text messaging remains the primary service most preferred by our sample use" radio is moving up in the list of preferences with 15% of those surveyed wanting a radio receiver on their cell phone - more than those who prefer the idea of viewing television with their phone.
When it comes to some services, says Bridge, underlying trends are of concern, citing as an example a change in the ratio of those who prefer to get News/Sports updates from radio as opposed to on a cell phone changed from a 76% radio- 19% cell phone ration in 2005 to 65% radio and 30% phone this year whilst for weather reports the figures moved from 72% radio and 23% cell phone to 53% radio and 43% cell phone over the same period.
Bridge also notes that some formats are more susceptible to losing out to cell phones with CHR and Hot AC listeners most likely to use cell phones at the expense of radio listening.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
Previous Clear Channel:
2007-05-22: The Local Radio Company (TLRC), which operates 28 local stations in the UK, has announced that its non-executive chairman Graham Parrott is stepping down after three years and has named chief executive Richard Wheatly as executive chairman and appointed John Perris as senior non-executive chairman.
The announcement was made as the company produced interim results that showed its listening hours up a tenth in the most recent ratings with Wheatley saying that the improved ratings and increased advertising revenue meant that by the end of this month the company would become "cash positive" for the first time in two years.
TLRC said that for the six months to the end of March it had trimmed its losses by 30 % to GBP 1.4 million ( USD 2.76 million) on turnover down 5.9% to GBP 8.72 million (USD 17.19 million) but there was an "encouraging" outlook with this month showing a like-for-like revenue increase for the first time in twelve months.
Previous Local Radio Company:
2007-05-21: Yet again this week, the most commonly cover radio topic was that of US talk show hosts in view of the suspension of Opie and Anthony by XM Satellite radio (See RNW May 10): We propose to start out look, however, with something totally different.
And what a contrast in the headline "How the Queen saved The Archers from axe" and the comments of Homeless Charlie about sex with her amongst others.
The story was a report from the UK Observer social affairs correspondent Amelia Hill based on a new book on BBC Radio 4, the station that is the home to the long-running radio soap.
"Life On Air, A History Of Radio Four" by former World Tonight producer David Hendy, - the book has been published to mark the 40th anniversary of the station, which replaced the former Home Service on September 30, 1967 - tells how in 1976 the station's Review Board queried whether the soap had a future and continues to say that the book tells the story of "how an unlikely combination of support from the Queen and Julie Burchill led to the transformation of Britain's 'everyday story of country folk' from a dull and tired format to its present cult status."
Ian McIntyre, controller of Radio 4 in the late Seventies, compared listening to the programme to "going to church" and the article says its future was hanging in the balance when Bill Smethurst, then the youngest member of its writing team was appointed editor and announced that he would controversy and political rows in an attempt to save the programme.
"I decided that The Archers was going to be 'more aggressively reactionary'," he said. "It was going to feature, among other things, blood-sports and sexual politics."
That, he did, before moving on and amongst comments made about the changed programme, Julie Birchill wrote in 1980 that it was changing "what women are allowed to hear" and later the Queen mentioned that she was a fan of the Sunday Omnibus edition whilst her sister, Princess Margaret, let it be known that she wanted a walk-on part in the series. Her wish was granted with the recording of a scene in Kensington Palace.
After radio that gained royals as fans we stick to Radio 4 and move on to a prince of interviewers in the shape of "Today" Show presenter John Humphrys and comments on the Radio 4 website (the audio is there as well) on his interview on Thursday last week with John Bolton, who was appointed by President Bush as US Ambassador to the United Nations (a recess appointment).
It was 7-8 minutes of interview that attracted much comment -and more to the point was quite revealing both in itself and in reactions to it of attitudes to various issues (See the links below and listen to the interview to make up your own mind). The interview itself did not descend into personal abuse but some of the reactions did - in the light of row about the Opie and Anthony show comments, we felt part of one response, taken from "Anorak" was worthy of a repeat (exactly as posted): "you are the stupid euros who want a one world government to be controlled by believing this war on Iraq is about oil. What this war is actually about is protecting your stupid Masonic butts while your stupid queen sells you out to the highest bidder. This is one of the reasons why my ancestors left your stupid country. both majors and your stupid fat queen are leftist (communist). i really don't care what you believe. just believe this, the american military can wipe any country off the face of this globe. the u.n. has no say over the american sovereignty and neither does your country. stay there and leave us americans alone and please do take bill clinton and his dope along with his ugly ass wife and their stupid lesbian daughter chester the molester, chelsea, and make these socialists your queen and king and whore your leader. i am sure these idiots will protect you."
Which of course takes us back to US talk radio and first Craig Lyndall's attempt to put the Opie and Anthony comments into context: Of this comment Lyndall writes, "I know how that looks in print. There is no way in the world that that could possibly be funny, right? I can understand those thoughts. It makes sense to me. The thing is that people who are reading this quote in print from their newspaper or on The Drudge Report have no idea what the context truly was."
" Earlier on during Homeless Charlie's ranting, Opie asked him what he did for money. Charlie said that he panhandles, or sometimes he would "punch an old bi*** in the face." Keep in mind that these are the ramblings of a homeless crazy person. Opie and Anthony were running with it and taking it to whatever limits they could find to take it in order to keep the crazy talk coming. And it worked for the most part."
He then continues, "The thing is, when the news reports that Opie and Anthony talked about a violent sexual assault of Condoleezza Rice, they are not reporting honestly and fairly. The way that reads, it would seem that the jocks were rooting for this to happen, when in fact, they were looking to exploit the juxtaposition of a crazy homeless man who has a penchant for bragging about making money by punching women in the face, who also happens to be attracted to a person who could be considered the most powerful woman in the country. You may not find it funny, but it is certainly without malice and/or ill will toward Ms. Rice."
RNW comment: In the end, having listened to excerpts of the show, we have to say that irrespective of context we really can't find much to chuckle about in the idea of a man smacking a woman around whilst holding her down and having sex with her. We do, however, take the point about context seriously and also the importance of tone of voice and emphasis in an interview, factors that can make the difference between an exchange being acerbic or friendly.
Irrespective of any other factors Lyndall is certainly not the only person who thinks that the sales pitch of the satellite companies is being corrupted by such action. He comments "So, what has XM done? They have made portions of their advertising fraudulent. They have violated the philosophy of free speech. Worst of all, they have failed to support their talent and let their subscribers down" and others in a Los Angeles report by Jim Puzzanghera and Amy Kaufman said they had signed up because of the absence of censorship.
As for the motivation behind the action, the consensus seems to be that it's the merger again although Puzzanghera and Kaufman note that the suspension followed complaints by the hosts - who had apologized on air after XM condemned the comments - about "dumb rules" and an "umbrella of morality and decency", complaints that XM said "put into question whether they appreciate the seriousness of the matter."
Others thought it put into question the honesty of XM leading one post on Orbicast to say, "I will not support a company that has decided the one true reason they exist no longer matters" and an Oklahoma subscriber to talk to an attorney about a class-action suit on the basis that XM has violated it promise to deliver uncensored comment.
In contrast to the rows over comments by Don Imus and JV and Elvis, who were fired by CBS, and by Opie and Anthony that led to their suspension, Rush Limbaugh has so far been able to get away pretty well scot-free over his use of the "Obama: the Magic Negro" audio, leading Andrew Guy Jr. in the Houston Chronicle to ask if he is "getting a free pass?"
David Ehrenstein, the (black) freelance writer who wrote the essay about the "Magic Negro" for the Los Angeles Times, said this was "an interesting question. Barack (Obama) was asked about it [he said the skit was "dumb"], and he blew it off. But I'm not sure why no one else has really talked about it."
He commented of Limbaugh's actions that the host was trying to bait people into paying attention to him, commenting, "He's been in sort of a frenzy since the Imus firing. He's been sort of flailing around to bait his bosses and the media, to take it right up to the edge if he can and scream if anyone says anything. But people are pretty much ignoring him. I think people can see what this really is about."
Limbaugh himself again commented on the issue last week, posting a transcript of his comments - the audio is only for those willing to pay for it - in relation to a plan by "The wizards at the Today Show plan, on Monday, to do a big exposé on my parody tune 'Barack, the 'Magic Negro.'"
Limbaugh in the commentary referred to the Houston Chronicle column commenting, "-- and I own Houston. We just got the latest ratings, and I own Houston. I don't remember this guy's name, but there are so many facts in this piece that are wrong" and then adding as an example, "this guy refers to 'the video that Paul Shanklin and I put together'.
We have re-read the article and yet again Limbaugh is talking out of a horse's ass - the nearest Guy comes is to comment on Limbaugh "proudly airing the work of Paul Shanklin, a conservative commentator and impressionist and a regular on Limbaugh's syndicated radio show Both are White" and later commenting on what is in the skit and saying it is "loaded with racial stereotypes. Shanklin sings in a dialect that, we're guessing, is supposed to be ebonics, saying 'dat' instead of 'that' and implying that Obama wasn't from 'da 'hood'."
Limbaugh then goes on to blather on and set up scenarios - such as saying that video linked to the parody has nothing to do with him because the EIB Network doesn't do videos that he must know full-well were not in the Chronicle - in fairness he does not say it is but he must know full well that many of the ignorant who listen to him [Yes we accept this is not all of his audience] will conclude it is.
Limbaugh also puffs up positive comment, referring to the Chicago Tribune column by Clarence Page that we noted in last week's comment. That said of the skit: "As satire, Limbaugh's song passes three critical tests that Imus' offhand comment flunked: (1) it's funny, (2) it took at least half of a brain to think up and (3) it contains a nugget of truth."
Limbaugh paraphrases this - his description as "Limbaugh's parody is funny. It's good. It's true. I don't particularly like it, but this is not an Imus situation." So we can presumably conclude that to have "at least half a brain" is pretty good for Limbaugh and his audience - we paraphrase but with no more distortion than is customary from El Bighead [We paraphrase from his "Excellence in Broadcasting" and the "Dittoheads"].
We could continue but will not massage El Bighead's ego any more, opting instead to suggested listening starting with the Humphrys-Bolton interview cum exchange followed by another suggestion from BBC Radio 4, that of the 14:45 GMT afternoon slot that this week is occupied by "Men Read Maps, Women Gossip" in which Vivienne Parry and Quentin Cooper compete in a battle of the sexes, taking part in live experiments designed to test their respective abilities in controversial areas such as gossiping, multi-tasking ability as they attempt to count backwards in 7s while frying an egg, making toast and answering incoming texts; and the ability to read a map or empathize with someone.
Then from last week on the station, we suggest Thursday's "From Our Own Correspondent" that included a Mark Urban report on time spent with American troops in Baghdad (An MP3 or stream); the same day's "Costing the Earth", which was on biofuels and contained some healthy scepticism about them; Saturday's "Lost Albums" in which Music journalist Pete Paphides reveals the stories and music behind some of the great albums which were never released. That edition looked at "Sing Slowly Sisters", recorded in 1970 by Robin Gibbs after the Bee Gees had split up but never released as they subsequently got together again; and also from Saturday the most recent edition of "A World in Your Ear", which is being dropped from the schedule - the final edition will be a special show on the corporation's first African radio awards to be aired next Saturday (See RNW May 10).
Changing stations but sticking with the BBC our next suggestion is from BBC Radio 3 last Saturday and "Jazz File", which featured the fourth and final programme in the series "Concerts That Changed Jazz" with "Keith Jarrett: The Koln Concert" plus, in the vein of music and documentary, BBC Radio 2 tomorrow at 21:30 GMT and "Talkin' 'Bout My Remuneration", a look at the business of pop that features contributions from accountant Steve Daniels, manager John Glover, producer Tony Visconti, promoter Harvey Goldsmith, and various artists and promises to be revealing about how much actually gets to the musicians.
Then with a different range of music we go to Radio Netherlands and last week's "Flatlanders" - an edition featuring European pop charts programme "Euro Hit 40" - Number One was "Grace Kelly" by Beirut-born Mika - and then back to BBC Radio 4 for "A Guide to Garden Birds" at 08:30 GMT. This features presenter Brett Westwood with bird watcher Stephen Moss and wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson in a Somerset garden.
Sticking with Radio 4 for a while we then suggest from last Sunday "The Insider's Guide to...... Writing a Prime Ministerial Memoir" in which comedian and impersonator Rory Bremner and guests offer some not totally serious suggestions to Tony Blair.
Also from last Sunday we recommend three evening programmes from BBC Radio 3 - "Drama on Sunday", which was a production of Henrik Ibsen's "The Wild Duck" and which was followed in a strong evening by "The Sunday Feature", which was "The Splintered City: The Halifax Harbour Explosion, 1917", the story of the greatest man-made explosion before the atom bomb was exploded and in which 2,000 people died after a munitions ship and a refugee relief vessel collided; and then by "Words and Music", which was "Russian Dreams" - a journey to Russia, as imagined by poets and musicians: natives, exiles and foreigners.
Also with drama we'd suggest the BBC Radio 4 "Friday Play" , which has been having a strong run - last week's production was "The Angel of Covent Garden" by Colin Bytheway and this week (20:00 GMT) the slot has "The Prospect" by Avie Luthra in which a newly-elected MP Bobby Khan is forced to question his own motivations and political and personal values after his cousin is arrested on a terrorism charge and he himself becomes involved in a murder case in his constituency.
Also having a strong run is the Radio 3 slot "The Essay" - Monday thru Thursday at 22:00 GMT ( and tonight followed at 22:15 GMT by Andy Kershaw's tribute to the Isle of Man's music and motorbikes that was recorded last year during the TT Grand Prix races that this year have their centenary). The essays this week concern "The Great Essayists" and feature programmes about Francis Bacon; Joseph Addison; William Hazlitt; and Matthew Arnold whose works are explored by writer and philosopher AC Grayling.
Finally to wrap up the week on a lighter note we suggest comedy starting with suggest "The News Quiz" on Friday in the 17:30 GMT Radio 4 comedy slot (It's repeated on Saturday at 11:30GMT) and the BBC Radio 2 Saturday comedy hour from noon GMT - featuring "Miranda Hart's Joke Shop" and "On the Blog."
BBC - Humphrys-Bolton Audio stream:
BlogCritics - Lyndall:
Houston Chronicle- Guy:
Los Angeles Times - Puzzanghera and Kaufman:
UK Observer - Hill:
2007-05-21: CanWest's newest station, Original 106.5, Bristol, was launched on Sunday at 1:06 and thirty seconds, playing Dandy Warhols' "Bohemian Like You" as its first song and promising never to play the same song twice in a day.
As well as adult alternative music, the station will provide local news 24-hours a day from a five-strong news team - Simon Hancock, Fiona Honan, Adaobi Ifeachor, Manfred Roxon, and Charles Rowe - backed up by IRN's news feeds.
Its hosts include Stewart Smith (Breakfast); Faye Dicker (Mornings); David Francis (Drive); Ricki Lee (Evenings) and Vicky West (Overnight) plus Chris Criddle and Rosie Kendrick at weekends, when the station will also air the networked "A List Chart" on Sundays.
The station website offers a 64kbps live stream but only to those who say they are in the UK.
Also in the UK according to the UK Sunday Telegraph, IPC is in talks with the founders of the original XFM indie station to set up a digital radio station under its NME brand name.
The paper says the station will broadcast via digital radio and TV platforms and online. and adds that it understands the station will be run by Sammy Jacob, who took XFM from its roots as a pirate station broadcasting from his mother's house in Clapton, East London, through various spells using restricted service licences to a full-time licence in September 1997, a year before it was bought by Capital Radio and Jacobs walked out.
Jacobs, says the Telegraph, is back in a joint venture with Seven Broadcast, a small radio group whose directors include former XFM director Jonathan Arendt , that is understood to be in talks with IPC to help set up the NME station.
Original FM, Bristol, web site:
UK Sunday Telegraph report:
2007-05-20: Last week was another when issues beyond the current scope of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - in this the latest Opie and Anthony crudity - attracted more interest than did the areas that it does regulate whilst elsewhere it was much more a matter of routines.
There were again no radio-related releases from Australia but in Canada postings from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included a finding in a review of a previous decision that the airing of the song "Banging in the Nails" by "The Tiger Lillies" on CKUT-FM, Montréal during the programming segment Space Bop did not contravene the Broadcasting Act and did not breach the prohibition against abusive comment contained in the Radio Regulations, 1986 and that the licensee addressed the concerns of the complainants adequately and in a timely manner.
The complainants had contended that the song in question was distasteful, hateful and "gleefully mocked" the Crucifixion. They also argued that licensee Radio McGill, in airing a song that glorified hatred, contempt and sadistic violence towards a venerated religious figure, contravened provisions of both the Broadcasting Act (the Act) and the Canadian Human Rights Act.
The station had subsequently apologized on air for not having given appropriate background and context information about the song to justify its airing and expressing regrets for having offended any listeners. It also provided contact information for any listeners who wished to provide additional feedback.
The complainants had rejected the apology and proposed a new on-air apology under which the licensee would state that it contravened its broadcasting policy in airing the song, that it apologizes for any offence caused to its listeners, and that it was reviewing its guidelines and policies to ensure that this does not happen again.
After further exchange with the station, the complainant had complained to the commission saying it should censure Radio Mcgill for "having aired material that heaps contempt on a particular religion" and take various actions that included noting the "infraction" on the record for the next station licensing hearing.
The Commission staff in October last year ruled that in its view Radio McGill had satisfied its obligation to respond to the concerns of the complainant, noting in particular that it had apologized, both in writing and on-air but the complainant had asked for a review of this decision.
In upholding the decision the Commission re-iterated its view that the complaint had been taken seriously and addressed in a timely manner and noted that it is not " a board of censors." It added that listeners to campus stations "should expect to hear music that is out of the ordinary, which does not preclude content that may be shocking to some."
The Commission also released its report on the state of Canada private commercial radio industry (See RNW May 17) and details of a number of routine decisions including (In order of Province):
*Approval in part of application by Vista Radio Ltd. for an 8,600 watts English-language FM to replace CHQB-AM, Powell River, the only commercial station in the market, Vista says the new station will offer the same Adult Contemporary format as that currently offered by CHQB and would target listeners between 25 and 54 years of age.
Vista now has three months to find an alternative frequency to the 94.1 MHz that it had proposed and that the CRTC said are technically mutually exclusive with the CBC's Long Range Radio Plan to implement Radio One service in Powell River and Port Renfrew, and Radio Two in Campbell River.
The Commission also denied an application by Westwave Broadcasting Inc. for a licence to operate a 3,000 watts Pop Adult English-language commercial FM in Powell River using 105.3 MHz, commenting that it did not think there was enough advertising in the market to support the entry of competition.
* Renewal of licence of English-language community-based campus station CJLX-FM, Belleville.
* Renewal of licence of English-language community-based campus station CKCU-FM, Ottawa.
* Renewal of licence of Type B English- and Native-language station CFGI-FM, Georgina Island.
* Renewal of licence of English-language community-based campus station CKDJ-FM Nepean.
*Renewal of licence of French-language Type B community station CKVI-FM, Kingston.
*Approval of application to increase the power of CHUC-FM, Cobourg, from 1,030 watts to 6,300 watts, and increase the antenna height. Among interventions, the application had been opposed by Corus Entertainment Inc., licensee of CJXY-FM, Burlington, on the basis of possible interference through "thermal ducting" but the CRTC took the view that this was unlikely in this case.
*Renewal of licence of French-language community-based campus station CHYZ-FM, Sainte-Foy, Quebec.
*Renewal of licence of French-language religious FM VF8017, L'Assomption, which provides live broadcasts of masses, weddings, funerals, baptisms and other similar religious celebrations.
*Renewal of licence of French-language Type B community station CKIA-FM, Québec.
*Renewal of licence of French-language Type B community station CKRL-FM, Québec.
*Renewal of licence of French-language Type B community station CFLX-FM, Sherbrooke.
*Renewal of licence of English-language Type B community station CJTR-FM, Regina.
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with a deadline for the submission of interventions or comments of June 19, regarding a number of non-commercial licences due to expire on August 31 this year and that it intends to renew for a full seven year term, subject to any interventions.
Community-based campus station CHLY-FM, Nanaimo.
Native Type B station CKTP-FM, Fredericton.
Community Type A service CFAI-FM, Edmundston.
Community Type A service CIFA-FM, Comeauville / Yarmouth.
Community-based campus station CFMU-FM, Hamilton.
Community-based campus station CHRW-FM, London.
Community-based campus station CHUO-FM, Ottawa.
Community-based campus station CKLU-FM, Sudbury.
Community-based campus station CKLN-FM, Toronto.
Tourist service CKTT-FM, Timmins.
Community Type A service CHOD-FM, Cornwall.
Religious service VF8013, Ottawa.
Community-based campus station CKUT-FM, Montréal.
Native Type B station CKII-FM, Dolbeau.
Community Type A service CHIP-FM, Fort-Coulonge
Community Type A service CILE-FM, Havre-Saint-Pierre.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) announced no radio decisions but was involved in the release of the latest ratings (See below) and in the UK. Ofcom made no new radio licensing decisions but did post reasons for its award of the new South Wales regional licence to GCap Media's bid with its alternative rock Xfm format (See RNW May 9) and of its award of six new community licences (See RNW Licence News May 13) and updated its community licence schedule.
In the South Wales case it said it felt that the proposed service would "significantly broaden choice" for listeners and also noted that the applicants research "demonstrated clearly that the applicant's chosen target audience of 15-34 year-old males is relatively underserved by existing local commercial radio services."
In the case of the community licences, the awards were made on the basis of various combinations of experience, local support, and broadening of choice.
Ofcom also updated its timetable for inviting applications for Community Licences with current expected dates for inviting applications (closing ate in brackets) of:
West and South Yorkshire and the Humber - already on offer (closing date June 26):
North Wales and northwest England - July 25 (October 30).
West Midlands, east Midlands and Lincolnshire (to be decided).
East and southeast England, including London (to be decided).
It also announced receipt of two applications for a new Northeast Wales and West Cheshire digital multiplex - from MuxCo Northeast Wales and West Cheshire Limited and Now Digital (North Wales, Wirral & Cheshire) Limited.
The Muxco bid shareholders, each with a 25% holding, are Dee 106.3 Limited; UTV Radio (GB) Limited; Town & Country Broadcasting Limited; and MuxCo Limited whilst Now Digital is a wholly owned subsidiary of GCap Media.
Muxco is offering a launch service of seven services plus BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru. They are:
Marcher Sound - A Contemporary service from GCap Media plc.
Classic Gold Marcher - A Gold service from GCap Media plc.
Dee 106.3 - A Contemporary service from Dee 106.3 Limited.
107.6 Juice FM - a New music, chart and dance service from UTV Radio (GB) Limited.
Easy Radio - an Easy service from Easy Radio Limited.
Wales Live - A full service offering from Town & Country Broadcasting Ltd.
Jack FM - Variety pop & rock from Absolute Radio International Limited.
Now Digital is offering the BBC services plus:
Marcher Sound - an Adult Contemporary service from GCap Media plc.
Wirral's Buzz 97.1- an Adult Contemporary service from GCap Media plc.
Dee 106.3- a Full Local Service from Dee 106.3 Limited.
107.6 Juice FM - a Youth-oriented rock, dance & chart service from UTV Radio (GB) Limited.
Classic Gold Marcher - a Classic Hits service from GCap Media plc.
Xfm - a modern rock service from GCap Media plc.
Sunshine - a full service Adult Contemporary offering from Laser Broadcasting Limited.
UCB UK - A religious service from UCB Limited.
Traffic Radio - A Local Traffic and Travel service from the Highways Agency.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denied a petition from Centennial Licensing LLC. and gave the go ahead for the assignment by Capstar (Clear Channel) to assign the licences of WNGA-FM, South Pittsburg, Tennessee; W278AC, Walden, Tennessee; W257AZ, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee; WUUS-AM, Rossville, Georgia, WGMN-AM Roanoke, Virginia, and WVGM-AM, LynchburgnVirginia. to 3 Daughters Media, Inc.
According to Centennial, which had acquired the licence of WLNI-FM, Lynchburg, Virginia, from 3 Daughters' sole shareholder, officer, and director, Gary E. Burns in February 2005, Burns had entered into an agreement prohibiting him directly or through a business entity from operating in the Roanoke-Lynchburg Arbitron Metro area for five years a station with a format "substantially similar" of that of WLNI-FM when it was acquired.
Centennial said that subsequently 3 Daughters acquired WBLT-AM, Bedford, Virginia. In the market and changed its format to one that Centennial felt was similar to that of WLNI regarding which it had taken legal action and obtained a permanent injunction preventing 3-daughters for five years from being connected with operating in the market a commercial talk, news/talk, full service talk or specialized talk format with a focus on current events.
This decision is currently being appealed but Centennial argued that it means WBLT-AM is unable to air talk programming that concerns issues facing the community of Bedford, programming that is required by FCC rules. The FCC while accepting that Centennial had the standing to file the petition, said there was no presumption that misconduct at "one station is necessarily predictive of the licensee's operation of other stations" and also did not accept that 3 Sisters had abdicated its public service obligations as licensee of WBLT. It accordingly denied Centennial's petition.
In Texas, the FCC confirmed a USD 8,000 forfeiture on The Russell Company, licensee of KWRD-AM, in Henderson for failure to ensure the operational readiness of KWRD's Emergency Alert System.
Russell did not deny the breaches but said that the station had sold time under a brokerage agreement and he had been unaware of the problem. The FCC pointed out that the licensee was under obligation to ensure regulations were adhered to and confirmed the full penalty,
The FCC also announced that a further Construction permit - in Colchester, Illinois - sold in its FM auction 37 is now ready to grant.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-05-20: Latest Irish radio ratings from the JNLR/TNSmrbi survey covering April 2006 to March 2007 show radio yet again to be holding its audience with an unchanged 85% of the adult population listened to radio daily with only minor changes within the figures.
Nationally compared to figures for January to December 2006, listenership to any regional or local station was down 1% to 55% and of national stations RTÉ Radio 1's reach was down 1 to 23% whilst others maintained their reach - 18% for RTÉ 2FM: 16% for Today FM; and 3% for Lyric FM, which was behind Newstalk, which for its first "national" figures - covering September 29 to March 31- had a reach of 5%.
Share was also down overall in this category - by 0.5% to 50.5% - within which RTÉ Radio 1's share was down by 0.4% to 20.5% and RTÉ 2FM's's share was down 0.1% to 12.6% whilst that of Today FM was up 0.3% to 12.4% and that of RTÉ Lyric FM was up 0.2 % to 1.9%.
South-East regional station Beat 102-103 FM, retained a reach of 17% and increased its share by 0.1 to 11%.
Amongst local stations, excluding Dublin and Cork, the top five stations in terms of weekday reach were Highland Radio with a 64% reach, down 5%; Limerick's Live 95FM with 59% (-3); Shannonside/Northern Sound with 55% (-1); and then Galway Bay FM -down 1- and Mid West Radio - down 2 - each with 53%;
In terms of market share the top five local stations in the period were Highland Radio with 64.4% (-0.1); Mid West Radio with 57.8% (-1.1); Radio Kerry with 54.2% (-2.8); Shannonside/Northern Sound with 49.6% (+0.8); and WLR FM with 49.4% (+0.8).
In Dublin the leaders in terms of weekday reach were RTÉ Radio 1 with 28% (unchanged); FM104 with 23% (+1); 98FM with 18% (+1); RTÉ 2FM with 13% (-1) and Spin 1038 with an unchanged 12% whilst in Cork the leaders in reach were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103FM with 47% (-1); RTÉ Radio 1 with 19%(-1); Cork's Red FM with 18% (unchanged); Today FM with 14% (unchanged); and RTÉ 2FM with 7% (-1).
Previous Irish Ratings:
2007-05-20: Two members of the Harvey family have been given honours in the past week: ABC Radio Networks host Paul Harvey received an honorary doctorate of journalism degree from Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, at the university's 146th Commencement ceremony on May 18 and the conference and special events venue in the new Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) in Chicago is to be named after his wife Angel, who has been his producer as well as creating "The Rest of the Story" for ABC in 1976.
Commenting on the naming, the museum's founder and president Bruce DuMont said, "Angel Harvey has been the Museum's single greatest financial backer for over 20 years and she has always been there during our times of trouble. We want Angel to know how much we appreciate her guidance and generosity in her time of personal trouble": Earlier last week Paul Harvey had announced to his audience that Angel has leukaemia.
Angel Harvey is also an inductee into the National Radio Hall of Fame for which she provided initial funding in 1992.
The couple have donated more than USD 6 million to the museum since it was founded in 1983. It will mark the 20th anniversary of its opening to the public on June 13.
Previous Paul Harvey:
Previous Museum of Broadcast Communications:
2007-05-19: Clear Channel's Board has approved an improved offer from a private equity group led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. under which shareholders will receive USD 39.20 per share or can opt to take part of the payment in shares of the new corporation that will acquire Clear Channel subject to a cap of 30.6 million shares, around 30% of the new corporation and also a cap of 9.l9% of the new corporation for any single shareholder. Clear Channel says shares of the new corporation to be issued to Clear Channel shareholders who elect to receive them in exchange for their existing shares will be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, but will not be listed on any exchange.
Added to the agreement since the improved monetary offer was made earlier this month leading the Clear Channel board to re-open talks (See RNW May 8) and delay until next Tuesday (May 22) the special shareholders meeting about the takeover that it had already postponed twice. The May 22 meeting had now been postponed with a date to be set for the new special meeting after the company has after filing the updated proxy statement and prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Clear Channel adds that it will go ahead with the annual meeting on Tuesday.
In other US radio business, Radio One Inc. has announced agreement on a USD 76 million deal to sell its stations in Dayton, Ohio, and five of its six stations in Louisville, Kentucky, in another private equity deal, this one a sale to Main Line Broadcasting, a portfolio company of Washington DC-based fund Arlington Capital Partners.
Radio One CEO and President Alfred C. Liggins, III, said in a release, "This attractive transaction represents a continuation of our stated plans to sell radio stations in markets that are not necessarily core to our strategy, at prices above the current public trading multiples for most radio companies. Louisville and Dayton are actually the smallest of all of our markets in terms of the actual population of African-Americans. Additionally, there are several non-urban stations among the 10 stations being sold in this transaction. We expect to use the proceeds from this transaction to reduce our leverage and further strengthen the Company's balance sheet."
Radio One has also announced receipt of an additional Staff Determination Notice from the NASDAQ Stock Market in relation to the delayed filing of its 10-Q report for the quarter ended March 31, 2007 that it announced earlier this month (See RNW May 11).
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2007-05-19: Air America Radio's new owners are to officially re-launch the progressive radio network on Monday as version 2.0 with an advertising campaign and re-designed website that will highlight interviews of prominent figures on the network.
The interviews - on such topics as the Iraq war, campaign finance reform and the '08 election - featured amongst others Senators Clinton, Edwards, Feingold, Kerry and Obama; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; actors Paul Newman and Robert Redford and its former host Al Franken.
They will be aired on the shows of all the company's 12 hosts starting from Monday when the website, which already has a new look promoting the interviews, new line-up and new "blogger" , will feature an interactive blog for comments on the day's events. Air America has hired Brooklyn-based blogger and writer Nancy Scola, who has served as a congressional aide and a presidential campaign staffer, as its chief blogger.
Air America president Mark Green said the redesigned website would give listeners "another platform to participate in the progressive movement through an interactive blog where they can read and give commentary on topical issues of the day" who added that new phase in Air America's three year history has three goals.
"First," he said, "we've created an even stronger line-up based on proven veterans, like Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Rachel Maddow, and The Young Turks. Second, we've rebuilt the website to create a community and conversation that becomes the go-to progressive bulletin board and social network in the country. And third, we're asking all progressive patriots interested in talk radio to become 'Air Americans.' The critical mass of 30 headliners kicking off Air America 2.0 is the kind of news and views that we'll be offering for years to come and that no other radio or TV network now provides."
Previous Air America Radio:
Previous Mark Green:
2007-05-19: BBC Radio Five Live is to air a new show hosted by Gabby Logan in its Saturday Morning "Fighting Talk" slot from next week :It replaces the regular Eamonn Holmes hosted show that is taking a four-month break until the soccer season begins again in September.
"The Gabby Logan Show", which runs from 09:00 to noon, will start with two hours of talk with topical guests plus items from regular contributors and features and end with a one-hour quiz show "The Umpire Strikes Back" that will see two teams of sports stars and celebrities test their sporting and entertainment knowledge against each other.
The station says rounds will include "Sven Sings" in which the former England manager will perform a classic track from his CD collection, and "Posh & Becks in Hollywood" in which impressionist Owen Parker will pose as the Beckhams reading excerpts from popular films whilst regular contributors to the earlier part of the show will include racing tipster Steve Harley, cricketer Graeme Swann and a regular slot called "Whitley Baywatch" for Peter Beardsley as well as a regular "Gabby's Theatre of Dreams" slot in which listeners will be invited to share their sporting dreams.
BBC Radio Five Live controller Bob Shennan said in a release, Gabby has already made a great impact on Five Live and now our listeners can look forward to a regular date with her on Saturday mornings. She is a radio natural."
The show is being produced for the BBC by "Bite Yer Legs" whose executive producer Keith Bunker commented, "Gabby has encyclopaedic sporting knowledge, but she also has an infectious personality and a wicked sense of humour. We hope to help Five Live's listeners discover this."
2007-05-19: CBS Radio has moved the "Free FM" talk format that it launched some 18 months ago in San Francisco to the AM band in a flip that saw KIRF-FM (Free FM) on the 106.9 signal take over the KFRC call letters and change to a classic rock format.
The Free FM programming that had been airing on KIRF when the station was bought in 2005 by Viacom from Family Stations (See RNW Dec 9, 2005) has been moved over to to KYOU Radio 1550 AM - the KYCY-AM station that Infinity had switched to what it termed at the time the world's first podcasting radio station with all content to be created by its listeners (See RNW Apr 28, 2005).
The Free FM format was launched as the then Infinity Radio announced its plans for the period following Howard Stern's departure for satellite (See RNW Oct 26, 2005) and in San Francisco featured Adam Carolla, Danny Bonaduce, Opie and Anthony and Tom Leykis.
An announcement on the free FM web site notes the move as well as offering archived shows and live streams of the shows online at a different free fm site.
The KFRC call letters had been in use on the 99.7 FM frequency "Moving 99.7", which will now change its call to KMVQ.
Likening the new KFRC format to "oldies" without the name, the San Jose Mercury News quoted station manager Steve Dinardo as saying the change had been made "because the classic hits format is not being served right now. The old KFRC had 400,000 listeners a week and combined with MAX going away, there is a huge opportunity to serve people with rock-based music."
"It's not like we're trying out a new format," Dinardo added. "This is enduring music that has entertained generations while remaining relevant to present day life and culture. And what better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the `Summer of Love'?"
The paper also says that the new station is to hire DJs and is looking for a morning show.
San Jose Mercury News report:
Free FM 106.9 site (for podcast archives):
Free FM site (for audio stream):
2007-05-18: A bald statement of figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has shown a very weak March for US radio with overall revenues down 2% on a year ago.
Although it put a gloss on the results with a headline "Non-Spot Radio Revenue Continues to Gain Traction with March Results" - non-spot revenues were up 8% - all the other news was bad.
Local revenues were down 3% on March last year and national revenues were down 2%
The figures came out as a report in the Wall Street Journal said two major Clear Channel Shareholders - Highfield Capital Management and Fidelity Investments are now expected to approve the latest - and "final" - bid for the company from a private equity group led by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners and may well provide impetus for some other shareholders to move to support it at a vote due on May 22 on the basis that the sector is weakening.
The Journal report does warn, however, that there are still issues that could stymie the deal.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous RAB figures:
2007-05-18: UK Emap chief executive Tom Moloney is leaving the company after 26 years with it in a move - said in a news release to have been made by "mutual agreement" - that has renewed speculation that it could be a takeover target: Whilst a new chief executive is sought, Emap's non-executive chairman Alun Cathcart has been appointed interim Executive Chairman and will take over Moloney's role.
Emap added that 2007 final results, to be issued on 22 May 2007, will be in line with current expectations and that current trading continues as indicated in the Company's trading update, issued on 27 March 2007.
The departure led to a jump in the company's valuation with shares up some 6% by mid-morning and they ended the day up 5.2% at 881 pence, put down to the potential for a bid.
Moloney, who is 48, joined Emap in 1981; was appointed Group Managing Director of Emap Metro and Elan in 1989. After spells with its UK Consumer Magazines and Emap USA, he was appointed as Group Chief Operating Officer in May 2001 and promoted to Group Chief Executive in January 2003.
No further details were given of the reasons behind Moloney's departure but Cathcart in a statement said the Emap board thanked him "for his dedicated service to Emap throughout his career and for the last four years as Chief Executive" and said he left Emap "positioned for growth in the new digital era."
"The Board," added Cathcart, "has a clear strategy which we will vigorously execute to deliver growth and value for our shareholders."
Moloney had a 12-month contract and last year his remuneration was GBP 602,000 ( USD 1.19 million ) of which GBP 536,000 ( USD 1.06 million ) was base salary on top of which he received a bonus of GBP 56,000 ( USD 110,000 ).
He said in a release, "Emap is a company with many talented people, the business is moving steadily into digital and I am confident that it has a very bright future."
Emap had warned in its March update of tough trading conditions in radio and magazine markets and also gave flesh to rumours that it may sell its radio stations in the Republic of Ireland by saying it is "considering its options" in relation to them and intends to "to provide an update on this at our final results in May." (See RNW Mar 28):
This has led to suggestions that Emap itself could be considering splitting up the company or that a bidder could take over and do so.
2007-05-18: Arbitron has announced that its President and CEO Stephen B. Morris has been appointed by its board as its chairman amongst a number of other moves that included the appointment by the board of Luis Nogales, Managing Partner, Nogales Investors LLC, as its Independent Director and the election by stockholders at its Annual Meeting of William T. Kerr, current Chairman of Meredith Corporation, as a director for a one-year term.
Morris replaces Lawrence Perlman, who has been non-executive Chairman for the past six years, and who said of his replacement, "Steve has been with Arbitron for 15 years, in which time his efforts have helped bring about a transformation of the company and a revolution in media measurement. Given his track record of innovation and his dedication to the Company, I am confident that he will successfully lead Arbitron's Board of Directors in the same manner he has the Company."
Arbitron also announced that its board had approved the payment of a quarterly cash dividend of ten cents per common share - 40 cents per share on an annualized basis.
2007-05-18: GCap Media has confirmed that it is to drop DJs from its Xfm stations from May 29 and will instead air just music to be chosen by listeners via text messages, phone calls or online.
Under the system listeners will be asked to compile playlists from the full Xfm music library via a new microsite called Xu on the Xfm websites and then collectively vote for the music they want to hear.
Managing director Nick Davidson said Xfm had always been "innovative "and now "we really felt that we were ready to push the boundaries again."
"We are all excited about handing over the airwaves of Xfm to our listeners," he added. "It's a new era and we can't wait to see what kind of playlists and discussions they come up with. Our listeners are used to being able to control what they watch or listen to as these days people are inundated with choice. Allowing them to shape their own content seems the next logical step.'
Xfm currently has stations in London, Manchester and Scotland with a new South Wales station licence awarded earlier this month (See RNW May 9) although it has not confirmed that the new station will adopt the same practice.
The changes affect the time slot from 10:00 to 16:00 and all six DJs affected will be offered new slots according to GCap.
Previous GCap Media:
2007-05-17: Shares of both Sirius and XM Satellite radio fell again on Wednesday following the announcement that the latter had suspended Opie and Anthony (See RNW May 16) spurring market fears on two fronts - that perceptions about content on the stations will affect approval of their planned merger and the other that removing risqué comment from the satellite output will affect subscriptions.
At the end of Wednesday, XM was down 1.33% on the day to USD 10.48 having been as high as USD 10.95 on Monday whilst Sirius was down 1.47% to USD 2.69 having been down at one point to USD 2.66 - a 52-week low - and as high as USD 2.87 on Monday. [RNW comment: Logic would imply that Sirius would be hit harder were Stern to land in hot water than XM have been by Opie and Anthony's outburst.]
There are also reports of significant cancellations by Opie and XM fans of their XM subscriptions, a move being plugged by their unofficial fan site - still putting up a message about high traffic and not allowing guest access when we last checked but starting with a static page calling for such cancellations.
The message on the page says that the person posting it has received word that "O&A have been FIRED from XM!!!", attributes the information to "an extremely trusted source, and not an employee/relative of an XM employee" and then says, "Get on the phone, cancel your XM. DO NOT take the 30-day credit - CANCEL it! XM will feel that much more on their bottom line than a 30-day dip. If XM feels the sting of thousands of people cancelling their subs, then there is some sort of a chance!"
The hosts themselves have so far kept quiet about their suspension and made no mention of it in the version that CBS aired on Wednesday - the XM content ran longer and was not subject to the same restrictions CBS imposes.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
Wackbag unofficial O&A message board:
2007-05-17: Canada's private commercial radio industry revenues in 2006 hit CAD 1.4 billion (USD 1.27 billion), up 5.7% on 2005 according to latest figures released by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which notes that local advertising revenues were up 4.6% to top CAD 1 billion (USD 906 million) for the first time whilst national advertising was up 9% to CAD 351.1 million (USD 318.3 million).
The CRTC also notes that the industry employed 9,763 people in 2006 and paid a total of CAD 577.8 million (USD 523.8 million) in salaries and that a total of 34 new stations were added, all of them FM.
Profits were up less than revenues - PBIT (Profits before interest and taxes) was up 2.7% to CAD 284.5 million (USD 257.9 million) with PBIT margin steady at 20% whilst spending by stations was up 6% to CAD 1.1 billion (USD 997 million).
Within the figures, AM stations revenues were up by4.6% to CAD 320 million (USD 290 million ) - the highest annual rise over the past years - the average revenue growth rate from 2002 to 2006 was 1.9% 0 whilst PBIT rose 33.7% to CAD 17.8 million (USD 16.1 million).
Within the AM figures, English-language stations fared better than those in French with the revenue of the country's 155 English-language AMs up by 5.3% to CAD 280.4 million (USD 254.2 million) with PBIT up 33.4% to CAD 23.0 million (USD 20.9) whilst for the 14 French-language AMs revenues were only up 1.4% - to CAD 18.2 million (USD 16.5 million) - and losses went up 10.4% CAD 7.4 million (USD 6.7 million).
Faring worst in revenues were the country's nine ethnic and Aboriginal AM radio stations whose revenues were down 1.2% to CAD 21.5 million (USD 19.5 million) although they had a PBIT of CAD 2.1 million (USD 1.9 million).
FM radio, however, did well, partly boosted by an increase in numbers as more AM stations converted: Revenues were up 6.0% to CAD 1.1 billion (USD 997 million) although PBIT was almost flat - up from CAD 263.7 million (USD 239.9 million) to CAD 266.7 million (USD 241.8 million). In language terms the 331 English FMs increased revenues 6.1% to CAD 877.3 million ( USD 795.3 million) with PBIT steady at CAD 232.9 million (USD 211.1 million) whilst the 79 French-language FMs recorded an increase of 4.8% to CAD 200.3 million ( USD 181.6 million) with PBIT up 9.8% to CAD 32.9 million ( USD 29.8 million ).
The nine ethnic and Aboriginal FMs recorded a revenue rise of 15.2% to CAD 15.1 million (USD 13.7 million) but PBIT was almost flat - up from CAD 919,356 to CAD 924,937 (from approximately USD 834,000 to USD 838,000).
CRTC report (51 page, 427 KB PDF):
2007-05-17: Cox Radio has announced an additional USD 100 million share repurchase programme, doubling the amount that has now been authorized by its board: The previous plan was authorized in August 2005 and so far Cox has spent USD 85 million. It says is it will use the remaining USD 15 million from that allocation before making any purchases under the new plan.
Cox also announced that Nick Evans, currently chairman of ECP Benefits, LLC, a firm specializing in comprehensive benefit products including health insurance, voluntary benefits, enrolment and consultative services, is to join its board as a non-executive, independent director, and will serve as chair of the Audit Committee and as a member of the Compensation Committee.
The Cox board now has nine directors and has re-elected the other eight - James C. Kennedy, Juanita P. Baranco, G. Dennis Berry, Jimmy W. Hayes, Paul M. Hughes, Marc W. Morgan, Robert F. Neil and Nicholas D. Trigony.
Previous Cox Radio:
2007-05-17: Clear Channel, which not that long ago was jumping onto the Spanish-language bandwagon, has flipped its Philadelphia Rumba WUBA-FM 104.5 frequency to alternative rock and moved the Rumba format onto the frequency that had been home to its low-power gospel outlet WDAS-AM.
Reporting the switch the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that the new "Radio 104.5" first song was the Ramones' "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" and that the initial playlist was a series of male rockers - Daughtry, Sublime, the Police, Tom Petty and the Beastie Boys. It adds that one wag at rival Greater Media Inc. dubbed it "BEN for men," after Greater Media's eclectic station WBEN-FM.
The last song on Rumba was Frankie Negron's "No Vuelvo Contigo" and the paper notes that Clear Channel had already been carrying Phillies baseball games in Spanish on WDAS-AM.
The WDAS web site was out of action when we checked but radio 1045's site was up and asking for listeners suggestions as to what it should play - it says "Build the playlist. Tell us the songs you wanna here" and also "tell us about any indie or local band you think we should play " with mail-to links goes to a link - and also a message "be on air. If you've ever got mad at the radio, be the dj. send us some info. on why you want a shot."
Manuel Rodriguez, President and Market Manager, Clear Channel Radio Philadelphia, said in a release, "We are thrilled to bring this unique format to Philadelphia! In addition, we have moved Rumba down the dial to 1480 AM so we will continue to serve the Rumba listeners as well. It is a rare opportunity indeed when all of our listeners can get radio their way."
Rumba had been on the air for nine months but rated 19th in a market of 27 in recent Arbitron ratings.
Previous Clear Channel:
Philadelphia Inquirer report:
Radio 1045 web site:
2007-05-16: XM Satellite Radio has announced a 30-day suspension of Gregg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia, hosts of "The Opie & Anthony Show" and taken the show off the air for the same period.
The move followed comments the hosts made on Monday that XM said in a statement "put into question whether they appreciate the seriousness" of comments made on their show last week in which a guest "Homeless Charlie" spoke on how he would like to have "fuck that bitch" with reference to Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush and Queen Elizabeth. The hosts responded in part by saying they wondered what the reaction on Rice's face would be if she was being held down and punched in the face.
XM had deplored those comments (See RNW May 12) and said in a news release following the Monday show, "The management of XM Radio decided to suspend Opie and Anthony to make clear that our on-air talent must take seriously the responsibility that creative freedom requires of them."
Whilst the show is off air on XM - so far there has been no announcement by CBS Radio, which broadcasts a separate - and "tamer" - version of the show that it will cease broadcasts - their "Virus Channel 202" will air replays of the Ron & Fez Show.
XM, which is engaged in a campaign to get regulatory approval for its merger with Sirius Satellite Radio, stressed in its release that the Opie and Anthony channel is on one of its XL (explicit language) channels that can be easily blocked and notes that whenever a radio is tuned to such channels the letters "XL" are continuously displayed on the receiver screen and that there are frequent mentions on the channels "the content may be inappropriate for certain listeners" and that they can be blocked.
The Opie and Anthony web site contains a link to the XM release but no comment from the hosts and we have seen no reaction from them: The fan site and unofficial notice board wackbag was receiving very high demands when we checked and we could not get into it to check what was being said there.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
Opie and Anthony web site:
Wackbag unofficial O&A message board:
2007-05-16: BBC Radio 3 has announced that its summer drama schedule is to include the first broadcast of Gregory Burke's Iraq war stage play "Black Watch" that was a hit at last year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Black Watch, which is currently on tour in Scotland, is described as "an unauthorised biography of the legendary Scottish regiment" and the National Theatre of Scotland's production of it, directed by John Tiffany, has won a number of awards including Herald Angel, a Scotsman Fringe First, a Best Theatre Writing Award from The List, a Stage Award for Best Ensemble, and The South Bank Show Award for Theatre.
It tells the story of the famous Scottish army regiment through their own voices based on interviews conducted with former soldiers by Gregory Burke.
It is to be broadcast on June 10 -preceded in the "Drama on 3" summer schedule with a broadcast of "Elgar's Rondo" by David Pownall, a work that explores the composer's complex feelings in the latter period of his life following the unfavourable response to the premiere of his second symphony and followed the next Sunday by a new production of "An Ideal Husband" by Oscar Wilde.
Other plays in the season include a first radio broadcast of Abi Morgan's "Splendour", set in an unnamed European presidential palace on the eve of revolution. In it four women wait for the return of the president and as they wait and talk it becomes clear the president may not return.
Also in the season are two works specially commissioned for Drama on 3 - "Bora Bistrah" in which five internationally-based writers, including Kaite O'Reilly and Avaes Mohammad, follow the fate of one matriarch and her lineage dispersed around the world following the partition of Pakistan from India and "Seven Wonders Of The Divided World" in which seven writers living near artificial borders around the world tell their stories (The last in the season and to be aired on September 9).
It also includes "The Two Gentlemen Of Valasna", an adaptation based on Shakespeare's "The Two Gentleman of Verona", that relocates the story to India n the weeks leading up to the 1857 Indian Mutiny, The production was recorded in English and Hindi, entirely on location in Maharashtra, India, with a cast of Indian actors drawn from Bollywood, Indian television and the Indian English theatre tradition.
2007-05-16: Citadel Broadcasting is suing competitor Peak Broadcasting alleging that Peak's CEO Todd Lawley, formerly a Citadel executive, and other former Citadel executives hired by Peak stole company information and that Lawley "initiated a scheme to raid the ranks of Citadel Broadcasting employees (and, thereby, cripple Citadel Broadcasting in a host of markets) by recruiting and luring away key employees and managers."
According to the Idaho Statesman, Citadel, which owns six stations in Boise, alleges that one manager took a disk from a Citadel computer that contained customer and market data, plans, projects, revenues, expenses and promotional materials as well as monthly sales goals, plans, projections and results.
Peak Broadcasting, based in Fresno, California, bought six Clear Channel stations in Boise in March and it has hired three Citadel managers who were based in Boise and another who was based in Colorado according to the paper.
It says Lawley, a former regional president with Citadel and the company's third-highest executive, resigned in November to become CEO of Peak, which also bought Clear Channel stations in Fresno that Citadel was bidding for and in whose purchase Citadel alleges Lawley used inside information he took from Citadel.
Also named in the lawsuit are:
* former Citadel regional manager Kevin Godwin, who the company says oversaw the Pacific Northwest Region including Colorado, Idaho and Utah and is said to have irretrievably deleted Citadel data from a Citadel laptop computer and tried to recruit Citadel account executives.
*Former Citadel Boise general manager Michael Owens who it alleges left the company taking a disc of company information.
*Former Citadel Boise general sales manager Michael Sutton who is said to have been part of the "scheme and conspiracy."
*Rick Sutherlin who Citadel says was hired by Owens on February 26 as the new PD for Boise country station, KQFC-FM and allowed to start work a week early. Citadel says this gave him access to information including play lists, marketing plans and strategic goals but he did not start work for the company on his first scheduled day, which was to have been March 19. Citadel alleges that he had secretly travelled to Fresno to meet with Lawley the week before.
Idaho Statesman report:
2007-05-15: UK Chrysalis Group chief executive Richard Huntingford has denied reports that it is struggling to attract buyers for its radio business, saying its review of the sale is "progressing well" although interim results published on Monday showed first half revenues down by 17.8% on a year ago to GBP 58.3 million (USD 115.4 million) with radio revenues down 9.1% to GBP 30.1 million (USD 59.6 million) "in line with radio advertising sector."
Chrysalis said its music division revenues for the half were down 20.3% to GBP 29 million (USD 57.4 million) with all the fall in Lasgo Chrysalis," which suffered from both the continuing weakness in retail demand and price deflation in the CD and DVD markets." It added that its music publishing and recording revenues were in line with the figures for a year ago and noted that for music publishing its NPS (Net Publisher's Share) for the first half of the year increased by 7.6% (11.3% in constant currency terms) thanks to "strong international success of the H2 2006 release schedule, which included hit albums from Gnarls Barkley, The Raconteurs, Ray LaMontagne, Feeder and the Dixie Chicks."
Chrysalis EBITDA was down 37.5 % to GBP 3.0 million (USD 5.9 million) with a group operating profit down 42.5% to GBP 2.3 million (USD 4.6 million): It put the falls down to the radio division saying that the overall GBP 1.9 million (USD 3.8 million) operating profit of its music division was in line with the first half of 2006.
"Normalised pre-tax profit" was down from GBP 2.2 million to GBP 200,000 (from USD 4.4 million to USD 396,000) and pre=tax profit fell from GBP 1.4 million to a loss of GBP 100,000 ( From USD 2.8 million to USD 198,000) with 2006 earnings per share of 0.45 pence becoming an 0.02 pence per share loss.
Regarding its radio operations said that although there have been "some signs of an improvement in UK radio advertising performance in the second half of our current financial year, in the first six months conditions remained volatile and fairly weak on a month-by-month basis."
It said it thought the radio revenue decline was in line with the industry as a whole and noted that, although starting from a low base, its digital revenues in the half year were up by 79%.
"Our high operational gearing, characteristic of the radio industry," said Chrysalis "has caused EBITA for the first half to fall to GBP 3.4 million from GBP5.1 million in the comparable prior year period. Our radio division continues to trade in line with the Board's expectations. Revenues for our third quarter are likely to be flat and forward bookings for the fourth quarter are currently strong and showing double digit growth over last year. As such, we continue to anticipate a flat revenue outturn for the full year."
Huntingford commented of the figures, "Chrysalis Group has performed broadly in line with budget in the first six months and both our radio and music publishing businesses continue to meet the expectations set out by the Board at the beginning of the financial year. As such, we are confident that we can continue to outperform our markets in the current year."
He then continued, "This is an encouraging performance given the ongoing volatility and change being experienced by the media sector. It is with these changes in mind, and consistent with our long held commitment to ensure that our businesses are best placed to deliver value to shareholders, that we are currently reviewing the strategic options available to our Radio business. We are making good progress with the review, having received a range of different proposals and a number of offers, and we will provide further updates in due course."
Chairman Chris Wright added, "Chrysalis Radio and Chrysalis Music's publishing and recording businesses continue to trade in line with the expectations set out by the Board at the beginning of the financial year and we are confident that both these businesses remain well placed to outperform the sectors in which they operate in the current financial year."
Reporting on the results, the UK Guardian, whose parent is the same as GMG Radio, said the latter, which "has been growing its radio business rapidly and is raising £675m from offloading a 49.9% stake in Trader Media, is now a leading candidate to buy Chrysalis Radio."
UK Guardian report:
2007-05-15: The HD Digital Radio Alliance, which was formed by radio broadcasters in December 2005 to promote HD digital radio in the US, has announced that HD multicasts are now available in the top 100 US markets following rollout in 15 new markets.
Its president and CEO Peter Ferrara said in a release, "This notable achievement resulted from a collaborative industry effort, giving the consumer the opportunity to discover HD Radio virtually anywhere in the country."
Adding comment, Greater Media, Inc. president and CEO Peter Smyth said, "The HD Radio and HD2 multicast formats selections that the Alliance has helped to allocate will broaden the horizons of radio, enabling us to provide unique programming and compelling content, such as Deep Trax, Live Rock, Irish music and other new, exciting formats. The additional channels will also give young artists the opportunity and ability to be heard on the airwaves."
CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason commented, "We live in a digital world today. The majority of the U.S. population tunes in to radio every day and we are now able to offer them superior sound quality with additional choices. This is a significant step for the future of radio and offers a whole new way in serving the local listener. The options with FM spectrum are virtually limitless" and Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays added, "HD Radio is a vision that the industry got behind to benefit the consumer. The top 100 markets announcement is a significant milestone and a statement that HD Radio is here and growing every single day. With each day, new formats are added and the consumer will keep reaping the benefits."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Greater Media:
Previous HD Digital Radio Alliance:
Previous Mark Mays:
2007-05-15: GCap Media has confirmed it is to close its digital only station Capital Disney, co-owned with Disney, which launched five years ago.
Live broadcasts will end on June 1 - when it promises to "go out in style": After then the station will broadcast non-stop music to June 29.
The announcement was made on air on the station on Monday morning and a notice on the station web site says "the time has come for us to move on. Just as you're growing up, starting at new schools, colleges and universities, you're trying out new things, making new friends and saying goodbye to old, so are we."
In an FAQ section it says the reason for the closure is that "a lot has changed in the world of radio in the last five years. Capital Disney is a partnership between GCap Media plc and the Walt Disney Company. Both parties have now agreed to pursue their interests separately."
Regarding DJs - the current hosts are Matt James (breakfast), James Beckingham (Afternoons) and Saffron (Drivetime) - it says "All the team are moving on to new opportunities."
Previous GCap Media:
2007-05-15: Irish watchdog the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of Ireland (BCCI) in its latest round of rulings has upheld four complaints against radio and two against TV and rejected four more against TV and eight more against radio.
The radio complaints upheld included one about an advert on UTV-owned Dublin station Q102 for an Irish comedian's live show breached Irish broadcasting standards because it might stigmatise people with mental illness.
Complainant Ms. Rachel Wright said the advert for a Deirdre O'Kane comedy show was "extremely offensive and stigmatising to people with mental health problems ": It contained the remark: 'I actually thought she might get a straitjacket and have me transferred to Pat's'. [A reference to a hospital that treats people with mental illness].
Wright added that some people may find the advert funny, but it only contributes to the ongoing stigmatising of mental health facilities and the people who have resided in them.
Q102 responded by saying the excerpt, which was supposed to be funny, was part of a much longer monologue and someone would "need to have a full knowledge of the context of the advert to make an impartial judgement" whilst advertisers Digital Audio Productions said they did not wish to cause offence and had removed and replaced it when the complaint was received by them.
The BCCI said it acknowledged that comedy is subjective but in this case "by taking the excerpt out of context and using it in the advertisement, the general standards of advertising were breached."
The other complaints upheld involved to complaints regarding impartiality and unbalanced discussion against RTÉ Radio 1 and one of Taste & decency; inappropriate sexual content against Emap-owned Today FM.
In the latter case the complainant said a discussion on the Ray D'Arcy show around 09:35 about the use of sex toys was sexually explicit and had been heard in his car in which shortly before all four of his children had been present.
Today FM submitted that sex toys are legally on sale in the Republic of Ireland and a discussion on this topic would naturally seem appropriate on a mid-morning show that regularly deals with sexual themes and said it was conscious that children might be listening at earlier times and thus excluded such items but that after 09:00 most children were at school or very young, in which their parents could regulate their listening.
Upholding the complaints, the BCCI said," In the opinion of the Commission, the content was explicit and the manner of the presentation was at times gratuitous. The nature and style of the discussion was inappropriate and totally unsuitable for time of broadcast. This broadcast item was not within acceptable standards. "
The RTÉ Radio 1 complaints involved its Liveline programme and a discussion about the rights of homosexual people to adopt or foster children. Both complainants objected to the treatment by presenter Evelyn O'Rourke of journalist Hermann Kelly who had written an article in the Irish Mail on Sunday under the heading "Why I am sick of this plaster saint of Irish victim culture". The article was critical of the director of "One-In Four", who campaigns for and supports victims of child abuse.
They alleged that callers were repeatedly allowed to slander Kelly and then not called upon to apologize or retract allegations and that Kelly was interrupted, cut off and misrepresented.
RTÉ submitted that when a journalist writes an opinion piece which contains highly controversial assertions and agrees to go on a radio programme to defend those assertions, it is highly likely that many of the contributors to the programme will be critical of the views expressed in the article but the Commission took the view hat on various occasions Kelly had not been given appropriate opportunity to respond.
BCCI web site:
2007-05-14: In view of the row about the Opie and Anthony show comments in which a "homeless man" spoke about having sex with Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush and Queen Elizabeth (See RNW May 12) and the canning by CBS Radio of the "The Dog House with JV and Elvis" (See below), which had followed Opie and Anthony on WFNY-FM (Free-FM), we find ourselves back to US hosts again when it came to the main print comment on radio this week.
We should note here that the show aired by XM is not the same as that aired on CBS and thus the Federal Communications Commission is not involved in the way it might have been had WFNY aired the segment.
Before moving on to comment about the latest incidents, however, some perspective from Clarence Page in the Chicago Tribune when he compared the row over comments made by Don Imus with that over the airing by Rush Limbaugh of the "Barack the Magic Negro" audio skit.
Under the heading, "Satire about Obama isn't the same as Imus' flub" Page - who to his honour in a 2000 appearance on the Imus show took the host on head-on concerning making "simian references to black athletes" (and wasn't invited back) - commented, "Citing the large number of wackos in the world, a lot of people on the Web and on talk radio, particularly listeners to [The Rev Al] Sharpton's radio show, think Limbaugh should meet the same fate as Imus. I don't."
"I may not be in sync with Limbaugh's politics," he continues, "but the two cases are quite different. As satire, Limbaugh's song passes three critical tests that Imus' offhand comment flunked: (1) it's funny, (2) it took at least half of a brain to think up and (3) it contains a nugget of truth."
He then says of one critic of Imus and others, "As a guy who builds audiences by inflaming political differences, Limbaugh has more in common with Sharpton than with Obama. Birds of a feather mock together" and says of the Imus incident, "Imus' targets, by contrast, weren't rich, famous, powerful or political. He's entitled to free-speech rights, but the 1st Amendment only protects you from government interference, not from losing sponsors or embarrassing your employer."
"Limbaugh's target" by contrast, writes Page, "is a wildly popular presidential candidate, which is precisely the sort of political expression that the 1st Amendment was written to protect. I may not agree with Limbaugh's politics, but he has a right to express them."
Our second report is also from the Chicago Tribune: It's about the Opie and Anthony show and an XM statement calling the sketch "deplorable" and reporter Eric Benderoff implies a link between business -in this case the desire for a Sirius-XM merger - and possible action against hosts Gregg Hughes (Opie) and Anthony Cumia.
"That kind of defensive move by XM," he writes, "wasn't supposed to be required in the satellite programming business, because it operates beyond the purview of the Federal Communications Commission. Indeed, a good part of the original lure of XM and its rival, Sirius Satellite Radio, was the way hosts like Howard Stern could finally say whatever they wanted."
Then Benderoff continues, "Turns out, for a variety of reasons, that isn't necessarily so This is a sensitive time for XM because federal regulators are considering whether to allow it to merge with Sirius. Further, the radio industry is still stinging from the outcry and firing of legendary radio host Don Imus for his racial comments."
[RNW comment: Another reason, of course, to possible be concerned about consolidation in that a big media conglomerate has much to lose from a vindictive administration if it airs critical reports when it is looking for approval for a business move. Or of course about the effect of the satellite companies- and even more so a merged single company - building up advertising income and thus being more vulnerable to censorship by advertiser.]
Benderoff then quotes Gartner media analyst Mike McGuire as saying of Opie and Anthony, "These guys have crossed the line. But what's the surprise? Aren't these the same guys who were fined by the FCC for recording the sounds of people making love in a Catholic church?"
He added that to come down hard on the duo would be "disingenuous at best" adding of hosts who had moved to satellite, "Some entertainers thought they would be going into a space that would be wide open. In the end, that may not be the case."
Another comment came from Tom Taylor, senior editor for Inside Radio, who noted, "As shocking as it was, it aired on a paid satellite radio service. If you're a subscriber, you know what you're getting That is a key difference from the Imus issue. "I don't sense this story [Opie & Anthony] will have the same kind of legs"
Benderoff also notes that an XM representative said the broadcaster would not go beyond the statement to "address any broader issues," including whether the statement was released to appease politicians who are reviewing the proposed XM-Sirius merger.
Also commenting on hosts last week was Randy Dotinga who in his North County Times column took on criticism of host Bill O'Reilly, compared by an Indiana University study to bigoted pro-fascist (conservative in today's lexicon?) Catholic priest Father Charles Coughlin who in the 30's would "go on the radio airwaves and spout invective against nefarious folks like communists, capitalists, Jews and President Roosevelt."
The comparison, says Dotinga, was not so much as causes supported but "style" with the study saying that in his commentaries on the daily "No Spin Zone" show "O'Reilly called a person or a group a derogatory name an average of once every 6.8 seconds ---- more than Coughlin did."
The study also accused O'Reilly of stacking the cards against the opposition - relying on a "rhetorical strategy of playing on a primal human emotion" and Dotinga after poking a little fun at the study calls it "dumber than dirt."
As so often the devil is in the detail and Dotinga notes that the "authors compared 248 minutes of O'Reilly's commentaries (ignoring the rest of his shows) to just 33 minutes of Coughlin. If you can find only a half hour of Coughlin talking, why bother?"
He continues, "For another, the authors unearthed the disgraced radio priest instead of comparing O'Reilly to someone modern and relevant, such as liberal talk-show host Al Franken. The authors do point out that a 1989 report suggested that researchers "look at left-leaning communicators"; they just didn't bother to follow that wise advice there's this inane tidbit in the study: 'In a post-modern media environment, every communication zone from opinion to hard news has a spin.'
To use a technical term, duh."
"Ever since someone invented gossip (presumably just after the world's oldest profession was created), spin has existed; it's part of every news story in the world. Acting like the media suddenly became full of spin is about as inane as calling your venom-spewing politics show the 'No Spin Zone.'"
Still on issues of US hosts, Bill Virgin in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports on "a succession of incidents involving remarks by local hosts in markets around the country that were deemed over the line" and calls by "some Democratic members of Congress to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine and mandate time for responses to viewpoints expressed on the air."
He quotes Seattle KISW-FM morning host BJ Shea as saying regulation is an issue of "freedom of speech" and adding in terms of FCC obscenity regulations "What bothers me is we're regulating speech beyond what people find obscene."
Shea considers the Commission to be out of touch with current attitudes and says of attempts to clamp down, "Throughout history you can see many examples where there have been certain groups who want to control what can be said."
Shea also commented that an apology may not now be enough, a point of view taken by current WMAL-AM, Washington DC, operations manager and former Seattle KVI-AM and KOMO-AM program director Paul Duckworth who said with reference to Imus "When we say things, it doesn't evaporate."
Virgin also reports of the Washington Supreme Court ruling that comments by hosts on KVI-AM in support of anti-gas-tax Initiative 912 didn't constitute an in-kind contribution to the campaign that
KVI morning host Kirby Wilbur says the issues behind the state Supreme Court decision involving him and John Carlson are not isolated and that he's heard from other hosts in California, Wisconsin and Tennessee who have faced similar issues about political commentary.
Duckworth says he thinks reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, seen by many as the Democrats reacting to perceptions of talk radio as Republican dominated, "would be a mistake, but it's nursing an illusion to believe it won't come up big time."
Some broadcasters take a different view: Steve Ramsey, general manager at KBCS-FM says he'd welcome the return of the doctrine and doesn't see it impinging on his station's operations, commenting, "We've always allowed folks with differing views to come to the station and record rebuttals on issues. It's just that most people don't go to the trouble of following through; they'd much rather complain and usually do that anonymously."
One host on US radio who would appear to differ from the popular "conservative" hosts is Australian expatriate and former BBC journalist Ian Masters whose work on"Background Briefing" and "Live From the Left Coast" (which he posts as MP3s) was profiled by Sean Mitchell in the Los Angeles Times.
Of the programme - the latter described as "the name given to a second hour he got as a consolation prize in 2002 for surviving one of the purges that occasionally sweep through left-leaning Pacifica affiliate KPFK-FM" - Mitchell says it "is considerably more ambitious and frequently more illuminating than such Sunday morning television fare as NBC's 'Meet the Press' and ABC's 'This Week With George Stephanopoulos.'"
On the programme described - it went to air on May 6 - were segments with ex-CIA officer Graeme Fuller to talk about the possibility of a U.S. military strike against Iran; constitutional law professor Dawn Johnsen of Indiana University -about the U.S. attorney firings; Rocky Anderson, the mayor of Salt Lake City, who has called for the impeachment of President Bush; Gloria Steinem about the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama rivalry and Jeremy Scahill, the author of "Blackwater," about the 100,000 American private contractors operating in Iraq.
Of the style of the programme, Mitchell says the interviews "tend to be more conversational and more probing than most - a rare mix that eschews the kind of formal objectivity familiar to American broadcast journalism without lapsing into pure advocacy or rant."
Masters himself says of his approach, "You try not to bring baggage to the story. You try to be an advocate for the truth, not an ideology. Ideology has been the death of the American right and self-righteousness the death of the left" and also notes, Politics is more of a contact sport in Australia and England."
Andrew Davis, the Hollywood director of "The Fugitive" and "Collateral Damage" and a long-time friend who has used Masters as a consultant, says, "He has the ability to ask questions and provide a point of view that inspires people to go deeper into subjects. He sees linkages that other people don't see."
And of the results, "It is a dilemma, but you can't be Pollyanna. I think people fighting the good fight are inspiring. At the end of the day, it's all about trying to empower citizenship. I've spent some time in Washington, and I'll tell you there isn't much to expect from the people on the Hill. The lobbyists are in control. Until the people get back into it, nothing is going to change."
The report has considerably more background on Masters including comments but mainly on his background before radio - sharing flats in London with Monty Python's Eric Idle and Australian director Bruce Beresford, and working alongside Jonathan Miller and Lindsay Anderson at the BBC and getting to know Mick Jagger while working as an editor for Tony Richardson on the 1970 movie "Ned Kelly" - and re-iterates his view of the Beltway, agreeing with Anderson that Congress has "enabled this president through their cowardice, I agree with you entirely," Masters says, in one of those moments that makes it clear this is not 'Washington Week in Review.'"
Then to end with we go for a Los Angeles Times comment - part of its "Dust-up" series last week on the future of media - in which Robert W. McChesney, professor of Communication at the University of Illinois, and Glenn Harlan Reynolds, professor of law at the University of Tennessee, considered the issue of whether there is a need for a regulator like the Federal Communications Commission.
Reynolds essentially anwers the question with a No" but then qualifies his comments slightly. "There's a role for the FCC, in terms of setting technical standards and assigning spectrum-though that could probably be undertaken just as well by private bodies and auctions-but that's about all," he says.
"But there's not much of a role for the FCC in doing what the FCC mostly does: Policing who is allowed to use the airwaves, and trying to regulate the content of broadcasts. In the 21st Century, the twin arguments for an FCC role, limited broadcast spectrum and public ownership of the airwaves, have become obsolete. Broadcast spectrum isn't limited-most towns have room for more TV and radio broadcasters than they can economically support anyway. (Your real information-industry monopolist in most towns is the local newspaper, which the FCC won't touch.) And the public "ownership" of the airwaves-why? The public didn't discover them. Neither did the government. "
He then welcomes a diminution of the FCC's role, says that its no accident that the fastest growing areas are the ones where the FCC regulates least and says a "sensible policy would cut back on the FCC's current authority."
McChesney disagrees, commenting on the "inaccurate assumption" that the "United States has always had (or should have) a natural "free market" media system, and the government has periodically intervened for technical reasons-like a limit to the amount of airwaves that can be allocated for radio or TV stations. Now with the magical Internet, the conventional wisdom goes, there is no longer any justification for government involvement. The free market should be left alone to work its genius unencumbered by bureaucrats."
Not so, he says. The US does not and never will have a "free market" media system but a "profit-driven" one that he says "is built largely upon extraordinary government subsidies. "
He justifies the comment by reference to the "value of monopoly licenses to radio and TV channels or monopoly cable TV franchises" and "of copyright protection, a government created monopoly privilege."
"We are," says McChesney "talking tens of billions of dollars in annual subsidies. The list goes on and on." He then continues by saying that he thinks subsidies are unavoidable, refers to" printing and postal subsidies" instituted by Presidents Madison and Jefferson "to spawn a vibrant press."
McChesney says subsidies are "are the price of building a democratic media culture" but "The problem in recent times is that the policymaking process has gotten so corrupt that the giants firms that dominate media and telecommunication give back very little in exchange for the bounty bestowed upon them. We hear a lot of PR hokum about brilliant entrepreneurs and free markets. But huge corporations like AT&T and Comcast were created based on government monopoly licenses. Their "competitive advantage" comes with owning politicians and regulators, not serving consumers. They are doing everything they can to use their domination of politicians to lock in control over the Internet, and make it their private fiefdom. They want to terminate the egalitarian genius of the Internet, Glenn, which captivates both of us. These firms would not know a free market if it kicked them in the butt.
This is not to say he favours the FCC as at present constituted, referring to it as "poster child for corrupt policy making" that has for decades "doled out the monopoly licenses and goodies to wealthy firms without any public awareness or involvement."
His view, he concludes is that "we need the FCC, and the government-but we need them to reflect policies determined by an informed public debate. If the public does not make these policy decisions, I assure you our good friends at AT&T and News Corp. will. That is the challenge of our times. How this media reform movement proceeds will go a long way toward determining what type of journalism we have and what sort of Internet we have for decades to come."
Next listening suggestions and we start with two programmes that will disappear or start to disappear shortly. One is this week's "The Essay" on BBC Radio 3 at 22:00 GMT. It runs Monday to Thursday and began last Monday an eight part "Lingua Franca" series in which Michael Rosen looked at the roots of European language. It's turned out to be a strong series - continuing this week but worth a listen to the first of the series (still on the site until this evening) for anyone who missed it.
Also about to go is last week's "On the Ropes" (08:00 GMT Tuesday) in which John Humphrys talked to Michael Brown of FEMA and New Orleans fame.
Brown is obviously self-serving but it's a fascinating glance at the Bush administration from one individual's perspective. We particularly appreciated a short segment in which Brown spoke of himself being able to be seen wincing when praised by the President to which Humphrys- obviously British rather than American - asked why Brown had said nothing at the time only to be told that you didn't contradict the President. Being equally British we rather think it might have been a darned good idea all the way through every President's term whenever they sustained a policy by force rather than evidence to do just that.
After this our next suggestion is to dip into Ian Masters' site where his "Background Briefing" and "Live from the Left Coast" programmes going back from the weekend of May 5th and 6th were posted when we last checked.
The contents of the first we have already noted and the "Background Briefing" guests were former the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter Zbigniew Brzezinski commenting on American diplomacy and foreign policy; Daniel Levy, a Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation , commenting on the Winograd Report on Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's war on Lebanon; and law professor Frank Bowman commenting on the possibility of impeaching Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
After that another "Background Briefing", this time "Dry rivers, high hopes", the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio National version with Ian Townsend reporting on drought problems in the country where millions have been spent building an irrigation infrastructure on the Murray Darling system is currently standing idle because the rivers have dried up. The programme suggests that Australia has locked itself into a farming system that is unsustainable in an area that produces some 40% of Australia's food.
Also from the ABC last weekend we'd suggest "All In The Mind" that looked at "Bioterrorism and your brain" with two leading researchers into biological weapons expressing their concern about various frightening possibilities.
Finally from the ABC we suggest last week "Media Report" which featured Jim Lehrer reflecting on American broadcast journalism. That, of course, makes a natural cue for WNYC's "On the Media" that last week featured amongst its topics the "mommy-wars" - finding scant evidence to support stories about conflict between working mothers and those who have opted out of work to look after their children; the closure by the Washington Post of its Toronto bureau, the last full-time US newspaper bureau in Canada; and the potential effect on small magazines of price hikes by the US postal service.
It also had a look at Northern Ireland's peace, an interesting item to compare with BBC cover of the story, which was part of "From Our Own Correspondent" last Thursday, a programme dedicated as PM Tony Blair prepared to leave office, to a look at his legacy with reports from Kevin Connolly in Ireland; Jim Muir in Iraq; Justin Webb in Washington, Mark Mardell on his impact in Europe and Peter Biles on the Blair legacy in Africa.
Still with the BBC another worthwhile download is the latest "In Business" in which Peter Day looked at "Generation Next" - or rather how to sell to youngsters who on the one hand apparently are supposed to have developed their own methods to deal with perpetual sales messages and on the other would seem anything but immune to claptrap.
Its airing on BBC Radio 4 last Thursday was followed by "Costing the Earth", another look at the drought problems in the Murray Darling Basin, this time by Miriam O'Reilly (only available as a stream), and preceded by "The Investigation" (again only available as an on-demand stream) in which Simon
Cox looked at Operation Ore, the largest ever British police investigation into internet child pornography.
The operation led to over 2,000 people being jailed or cautioned, but also number of innocent people being stigmatised as paedophiles. In one case it would appear a man who was arrested had to do the hard work to clear himself of the allegation, which was based on one transaction (made from a machine in Brazil whilst he was at work in the UK and that had been reported to the credit card company). It did rather make the success rate claimed by one of those involved in the investigation seem rather complacent.
Finally from this week on the BBC we would add tomorrow night's "In His Hands" on BBC Radio 2, a music-based documentary looking at changing attitudes towards domestic abuse presented by one victim Candi Staton and including comments from Tina Turner, David Soul, Sheryl Gascoigne and Boy George's mother, Dinah O'Dowd; Radio 4 in the afternoons from 14:30-15:00 GMT with the Afternoon Reading - this week's it's stories celebrating the centenary of Daphne du Maurier's birth- followed by "Me and My Poison", a series about poisons presented by Jolyon Jenkins that starts today with a look at India venomous snakes; and finally another look at Tony Blair, this time tomorrow at 17:30 GMT in a "Dead Ringers" Tony Blair Special.
Chicago Tribune -Page:
Ian Masters website (Has links to MP3s of programmes):
Los Angeles Times - McChesney and Reynolds:
Los Angeles Times - Mitchell:
North County Times -Dotinga:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Virgin:
2007-05-14: CBS Radio has now dropped New York duo Jeff Vandergrift and Dan Lay after having previously suspended their show "The Dog House with JV and Elvis" after complaints about a prank phone call to a Chinese restaurant that included requests for shrimp "flied lice" and "some old dung" (See RNW Apr 25)
The decision to drop the show permanently seems, like that to drop Don Imus, to reflect concerns about advertisers pulling out: The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) set up petitions over the incident and members of its New York area chapters met representatives of CBS radio and WFNY-FM (Free FM) earlier this month to express their concerns.
OCA Executive Director Michael Lin said at the time, "Thanks in part to their cooperation and the hard work of partners across the country, we have to date over 10,200 signatures on a petition demanding the firing of the DJs and their producer, and we are calling on advertisers to pull their support from the radio station. Already Anheuser-Busch, Inc., have pulled their ads from that timeslot, and we thank them for their support" and Vicki Shu Smolin, President, OCA-NY, said, "The meeting was productive. We are hopeful that CBS Radio will take action soon to address the community outcry. Our demands remain the same. We want the DJs and the producer fired."
Bill Imada, former president of the Asian American Advertising Federation, added, "Marketers who advertise on networks that promote racism, hatred, and sexism need to know that their marketing dollars enable shock-jocks to demean communities that are unable to adequately defend themselves. Community-minded marketers such as Anheuser-Busch are no longer advertising on the JV and Elvis program, and more will follow their lead."
Following the CBS decision to drop the show, a New York Times-AP report quoted OCA executive Jeanette Wang as saying, "This is a victory not only for the Asian-American community, but for all communities who find themselves constant targets of racist and sexist programming."
The report said that CBS Radio spokeswoman Karen Mateo said the show would "no longer be broadcast" but would not comment whether the hosts were still being paid by CBS or on the status of their contracts.
The paper also reported that a small rally was held in Union Square in support of the hosts and quoted Debbie Wolf of Far Hills, N.J., president of People Against Censorship as saying, "I find censorship to be far more offensive than anything that was said."
New York Times/AP report:
2007-05-14: According to the UK Independent on Sunday, Chrysalis Group's attempts to sell of its radio stations are faltering because would-be buyers think it wants significantly too much: the paper says Chrysalis wants from GBP 180-200 million (USD 360 to 400 million) but interested parties have only offered around GBP 150 million (USD 300 million).
The paper quotes a "banker close to the sale process" as saying, "No one on the list has so far shown any inclination to pay the £180m to £200m that Chrysalis is looking for. At that price the stations will sell at 15 times EBITDA [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation]. That has to be regarded as a very rich price given the declining state of the radio industry in the UK."
It also cited analysts at stockbroker Numis as saying in a research note following "disappointing" ratings - those released last week - it took the view that "Although we regard the operations highly, in our view there is a shortage of natural buyers. This is likely to curtail disposal proceeds and we believe the group could retain the assets" but said an executive with links to Chrysalis said the sale process was progressing as planned.
Independent on Sunday report:
2007-05-13: The past week was generally fairly quiet for the regulators and there were no radio licensing announcements from Australia although there legislation to launch digital radio has now been passed (See RNW May 12). Elsewhere it was generally a matter of steady levels of decisions plus in the US calls for the FCC to get involve in various broadcasting incidents that would seem out of its remit including the latest Opie and Anthony incident on XM Satellite Radio (See RNW May 12).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week with its main decision a refusal to allow the satellite radio companies to change licence conditions relating to Canadian Talent Development (See below).
Other radio-related postings included:
*Application by Rawlco Radio Ltd. to increase the power from 19.000 watts to 100,000 watts and change from 100.3 MH to 97.7 MHz the frequency of English-language Folk/Acoustic commercial specialty FM in Calgary, approved in August last year.
Rawlco says the frequency requested is currently used by CAB-K Broadcasting Ltd. for CKLJ-FM, Olds, which operates at a power of 13,000 watts, an under-utilization of spectrum. CAB-K, it adds, has agreed to move to 96.5 MHz, which results in the overall best use of the frequency spectrum.
Linked to this application is an application from CAB-K to increase its power from 13,000 to 35,000 watts, increase the effective antenna height to 124.5 metres, and move to 96.5 MHz.
*Approval of application by Chase and District Community Radio Society to acquire from Chase and District Lions Community Club the assets of the English-language developmental community FM radio programming undertaking CFCH-FM, Chase.
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with a deadline for submitting comments or interventions of June 13 that included the following:
*Application by International Harvesters for Christ Evangelistic Association Inc. to change the frequency of CITA-FM, Moncton, increase the antenna height and increase its power from 50 to 880 watts. The change would alter the station's status from a low-power unprotected service to a regular Class A service.
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to add a 37,800 watts FM transmitter at Timmins to broadcast the Espace musique service originating from CBBX-FM, Sudbury, Ontario.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has re-launched its New Adventures in Broadcasting Scheme that aims to support the development of new, innovative and sustainable programming within the radio sector.
For the current year a total of Euros 160,000 (USD 216,000) in grants of up to Euros 10,000 (USD 13,500) per programme application: Applications have to be made by noon on June 8. . The Scheme is a key element of the Commission's Euros 700,000 (USD 950,000) Training and Development programme to encourage and enable the development of skills and standards within the broadcasting sector generally.
In the UK, Ofcom awarded the new South Wales regional FM licence to GCap Media's bid with its Xfm alternative format (See RNW May 9) and updated its timetable for advertising digital licences and advertised a new licence for Oxford: It also in its latest broadcast bulletin has upheld only one complaint against radio (See RNW May 10).
Ofcom also announced the award of six new community licences and said it had decided not to award two more. The applications rejected were from Highland Christian Radio, Inverness, and
Radio North Isles, Orkney.
Licences granted went to:
Bangor - Star FM - offering a service reflecting the area's rich local heritage and arts activities.
Enniskillen - Vibe FM - offering a service focusing on the interests and needs of young people with a diverse range of music genres and participatory speech-based output.
Dumfries - Alive Radio - offering a community service with a Christian ethos for the Dumfries area.
Inverness - Ness FM - offering a local voice and a platform for local culture and the arts.
Isle of Bute - Bute FM - a community-focussed station devoted to the people of Bute. It will include a varied mix of music styles and genres together with local news and views, up-to-the minute travel information and other items of local interest.
North and South Queensferry - Jubilee FM - offering local news, local views, music and entertainment.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released its latest quarterly complaints report - covering the fourth quarter of last year (see below).
In other action, the FCC denied a request from the Kankakee Valley Broadcasting Co., Inc. for waivers in connection with its winning bid for an FM construction permit in Culver City in its auction 62.
Kanakee had made an upfront payment but failed to make its down payment in time and also missed the deadline to file its long-form application for the permit: It sought a waiver for waiver of both deadlines, explaining that Kankakee's board of directors had designated Sidney Marks, its President, to handle its participation in the auction.
He had put in a bid of USD 354,000 for the permit but then left town for medical treatment, not knowing whether this had won the bid, and did not return until after the "auction had long since concluded."
The FCC noted that when the down payment was made Marks and Kanakee's counsel Richard Hayes were both named as points of contact and that the a copy of the Closing Public Notice had been sent to him. It denied the request for waivers.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-05-13: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has refused applications from Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR), which provides the XM service in the country, and Sirius Canada to amend their Canadian Talent Development (CT) licence conditions.
It notes that when the companies were granted their licences, they agreed to contribute a minimum percentage of gross annual revenues each broadcast year to CTD - 4% for CSR, later raised to 5%, and 5% for Sirius Canada.
The two companies had asked for the condition "during each broadcast year" to be deleted, allowing payment to be made at their choice during the licence period to give "flexibility" and the amount be changed to 5% of "gross subscription revenues" rather than gross annual revenues for CSR and gross revenues from broadcasting activities - Sirius is also on cable - rather than gross annual revenues for Sirius Canada.
The Commission in rejecting the applications noted that to accept the changes might well reduce payments made - in the case of CSR the amount would have been reduced by CAD 8,679 (Some USD 8,610) - and said that it felt the change would not best serve the needs of Canadian artists and eligible third party initiatives.
Previous CSR/ XM Canada:
Previous Sirius Canada:
2007-05-13: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says the number of Radio and Television Broadcasting complaints received in the final quarter of last year decreased massively from the previous quarter thanks to fall from 163,134 in the third quarter to 33,327 in the number of radio and TV broadcasting complaints.
Within the radio and TV complaints, those relating to broadcast indecency or obscenity accounted for 30.962 of which 29,821 were received in October. Indecency or obscenity complaints then fell back to 835 in November and 306 in December.
Of the remaining 2,365 broadcasting complaints, the next most numerous concerned "other" programming issues (1,236) followed by general programming criticism (1,106) and finally 23 concerning accessibility issues.
Among complaints in other categories wireline complaints were also well down - they had nearly quadrupled from 15,753 in the second quarter to 67,152 in the third but then fell back to 13,490 of which the most numerous were complaints about unsolicited faxes - 5,455 in all.
Wireless complaints, which rose from 4,050 in the second quarter to 4,149 in the third quarter, were up again, this time to 4,600 whilst Cable and Satellite Services Complaints rose from 689 in the third quarter to 786.
Previous FCC complaints figures:
2007-05-12: Emmis has reported final quarter and full year 2006 results running to the end of February that show final quarter revenues down 4.6% to USD 78.6 million and full year revenues down 4.7% to USD 359.5 million.
Overall Emmis made a net loss of USD 12.7 million in the final quarter and net income for the year of USD 104.6 million but it notes that the figures are not comparable to the previous year - when it had net income of USD 136.7 million in the quarter and USD 348.8 million for the year - because of the effect in the previous year of impairment losses and various charges related to the company's television divestitures.
Regarding continuing operations, Emmis said its per share figures were a loss of 23 cents in the quarter, down from USD 1.01 the previous year and a loss of 33cents for the year compared to 80cents the previous year. These translated after taking into account discontinued operations into net figures of a 34 cent per share loss in the quarter compared to a net USD 3.69 the previous year and a net USD 2.81 for the year compared to USD 8.13 the previous year.
In divisional terms, Emmis radio net revenues were down 6% to USD 57.3 million and 6.4% for the year to USD 271.9 million with publishing down 0.5% to USD 21.3 million for the quarter and up 0.9% for the year to USD 87.6 million.
Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said of the results, "Weakness in our two key radio operations, New York and Los Angeles, presented us difficulties throughout the year and the fourth quarter was no exception. Unfortunately, we will continue to face difficulties in these markets in the foreseeable future. However, I'm confident that the best people in the business, coupled with Emmis' 25 years of innovation and excellence, will lead us to better days."
Looking ahead Emmis says it expects its radio revenues for the quarter to the end of this month to be down year-on-year in the mid- to high single digit percentage range with operating expenses up by a similar range although it notes that its International radio operations continue to perform well, offsetting to some degree continued weakness in domestic radio operations. Emmis noted that its international radio revenues and expenses for the final quarter were each up 9% on a pro-forma basis.
Emmis shares ended Friday down 4.1% at USD 9.83
2007-05-12: Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) have apologized for airing comments by a homeless man who said he'd like to have sex with Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush and Queen Elizabeth.
The apology on Friday followed comments on their XM Satellite Radio show on Wednesday by a man they called Homeless Charlie and who, as the name of each of the women was brought up said crudely how he would like to have sex with her: The hosts laughed as they imagined Rice's horror over a violent sex attack in which she is punched in the face. The man did not, contrary to some reports, say he wanted to rape the women.
The segment only lasted around a minute but gained widespread distribution when the Drudge Report posted a link to the audio.
The do read out on their show - including the portion syndicated by CBS Radio, an XM apology in which it said, "We apologize to the public officials for comments that were made on our XM show. We take very seriously the responsibility that comes with our creative freedom and regret any offence that this segment has caused."
An XM spokesman told the Associated Press they "deplored the comments."
Previous Opie and Anthony:
2007-05-12: The Australian commercial radio industry has welcomed the passage without amendment in the country's parliament of the digital radio act - the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital Radio) Bill 2007 - that will allow digital radio services to be available in state capitals by the beginning of 1990 but there have been some reservations from rural areas that are concerned they may miss out.
The first services will use the Eureka DAB system with AAC coding and Opposition communications spokesman Stephen Conroy quoted the government's own regulation impact statement concerning reservations about the system for large area coverage during the debate on the matter in the Australian senate noting that it said, "DAB is unlikely to be a suitable platform to address the extended coverage requirements of some regional and remote services in Australia."
Earlier when the bill was being debated in the lower house of Australia's parliament, Labor's trade and regional development spokesman Simon Crean had called for the legislation to be deferred until trials of another platform, Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), were complete.
"The government has got to ensure that regional Australia does not miss out on this technology," he told the lower house and said he feared "rushing in haste to introduce this legislation will see them missing out." His amendment to defer the legislation was defeated.
Communications Minister Helen Coonan said digitisation was affecting all media and that radio was the last significant broadcast platform that remains digital only in Australia , noting that the measure had industry support as they didn't want to be left behind.
She said that rural listeners would not miss out, noting that a statutory review of technologies for digital radio broadcasting in rural areas is to be held by the start of 2011.
"Listeners outside the state capitals have not and will not be overlooked," she said, "The legislation will enable the commencement of DAB digital radio services in regional markets, dependant on the interest of relevant broadcasters in providing services."
Concerning coverage she said, "The platform may not be able to replicate the extensive broadcast coverage of some AM services, and consideration will need to be given to whether other technologies ... are better placed to address the audience needs of some regional areas," presumably referring to digital systems that can be broadcast on AM for which the current contenders are DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) and iBiquity's HD in-band on-channel system that has been adopted in the US.
Joan Warner, chief executive officer of peak industry body Commercial Radio Australia, which represents 98 percent of commercial radio stations said the passage of the legislation "means consumers will get vastly superior radio services sooner rather than later and it gives industry the certainty it needs to move ahead on the massive investment in broadcasting infrastructure that will be required."
She added that whilst the initial legislation only covered Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart, regional and rural Australia would not miss out, commenting, "There are around 220 commercial radio stations who play a very important role in the lives of listeners in regional and rural Australia, and it's important that they share in the benefits that digital technology will bring. The industry has already started reviewing the needs of some regional licence areas. The metropolitan roll out will allow us to realistically cost the regional rollout and we will be approaching the government for assistance to help regional commercial broadcasters with the costs of digital infrastructure."
Warner said that the industry was seeking clarification on some aspects of the act including a statutory review of the six-year moratorium period for new entrants depending on take-up levels after five years, restrictions on the allocation of new analogue commercial radio licences and broadening of allowable digital program content from "still visual images" to moving visual images such as dynamic text, animations and short burst video, which would encourage take-up.
"We understood from the Minister's policy announcement that there would be no restrictions placed on broadcasters' use of spectrum," said Warner. "We will continue to work with the Government as the Act is implemented to ensure that the policy settings agreed between the industry and the Government come to fruition."
Warner also noted that unlike the government, the industry considered digital radio an eventual replacement for analogue rather than a supplement to analogue services.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2007-05-11: The fight against increased royalty rates for Internet music has now gained expected support in the US Senate where Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and Kansas Republican Sam Brownback have introduced the Internet Radio Equality Act that mirrors legislation introduced into the House last month by Congressmen (Washington Democrat) Jay Inslee and (Illinois Republican) Don Manzullo (See RNW Apr 28). The legislation would void the increased rates proposed by the Copyright Royalty Board.
As with the House measure, the Senate bill has attracted support from various Internet-related organizations with Jake Ward, a spokesperson for the SaveNetRadio campaign, applauding the move and the Texas-headquartered Roots Music Association, which represents more than 2,200 independent artists and labels, saying it was "very pleased" and adding, "Internet radio has become the lifeblood for so many independent artists that depend on the promotional accessibility it provides niche roots based genres."
In a statement posted on his web site, Wyden said, "Our bill is about standing up for folks ranging from a small Webcaster in a basement in Corvallis to an innovative start-up in Beaverton to a new band trying to be heard in Portland to a huge music fan in Coos Bay. Keeping Internet radio alive is part of a broader issue that is important to me -- keeping the e-commerce engine running by preventing discrimination against it."
Brownback commented, "I am alarmed by the recent Copyright Royalty Board decision and the effect it will have on Internet radio - especially small Webcasters with limited revenue streams. I am hopeful that with this bipartisan legislation Internet radio will continue to flourish."
Wyden also posted a note of support from Ronald Kramer, Executive Director of Jefferson Public Radio in Ashland, Oregon, thanking the senators for "introducing legislation that will permit us to continue to serve Web listeners all across America" and adding, "The public service mission of public radio Webcasters enables programming diversity not available elsewhere. Without passage of Senators Wyden's and Brownback's legislation, the decision of the Copyright Royalty Board will dramatically curtail the Webcast programming diversity we wish to continue providing."
The webcasters are also gaining lobbying support from the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which has become alarmed by attempts by the recording labels to obtain royalty payments for music broadcast by terrestrial radio in the US.
NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr has written to all US lawmakers urging them to oppose any attempts to introduce performance royalties, what the organization is terming a "performance tax."
In asking the lawmakers to oppose the proposal, Rehr comments, "Not only would this new performance tax upend the longstanding mutually beneficial business relationship that exists today between record labels, recording artists and broadcasters, but it would have a serious financial."
"For the last 70 years," he adds, "a symbiotic relationship has existed between radio and the recording industry. Radio has prospered with the use of recorded music, and record labels and performers have benefited from airplay and other promotional activities of local broadcasters. From this free airplay, the recording industry enjoys increased popularity, visibility and record sales. Performers also benefit from radio airplay and on-air interviews, often timed to coincide with concert appearances in the radio stations' service areas."
Rehr notes that Congress has repeatedly refused to impose performance royalties and notes that in 1995 it found that local broadcasters promoted music sales to the benefit of recording companies.
"In reality, the system in place today adequately compensates everyone," writes Rehr. "Radio stations pay hundreds of millions of dollars every year to composers and publishers through fees paid to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. While record labels and performers may not receive payments from broadcasters, the free promotion that they receive by having their music played on the radio increases album and concert sales, which ultimately results in compensation for performers and record labels. The existing system actually provides the epitome of fairness for all parties: free music for free promotion. It has allowed American music and the recording industry to thrive and grow, and has allowed local radio broadcasters to better serve their communities."
RNW comment: In logical terms we see no reason to find that terrestrial radio promotes music to better effect than other distribution methods and indeed suspect that for niche artists satellite and Internet operators, who can aggregate audiences from much wider geographical areas are more likely to give their work exposure and enhance sales.
NAB, needless to say, does not seem to find it unjust that satellite radio should have to pay fees that its members do not whilst at the same time arguing for a "level playing field" in other areas where NAB would benefit- it's only principle would appear to be self interest and this in our view seriously weakens its case on this occasion. However we rather think that its clout will be to the benefit of webcasters since lawmakers (many of them just as principled as NAB) are much more likely in our view to respond to NAB's clout than logical argument.
2007-05-11: International satellite radio operator WorldSpace has reported a loss in subscribers in the first quarter to the end of March compared to the previous quarter because of the expiration of its educational service contract in Kenya allied with low net additions in India, where it has been concentrating efforts.
The Kenya contract had accounted for 13,000 subscribers whilst in India it added 8,344 in the quarter to end with a total of 191,646 subscribers worldwide, 170,354 of them in India.
Financially it ended up with a year-on-year 14% increase in subscription revenues to USD 1.8 million but an overall fall of around the same magnitude to USD 3 million. On a quarter-by=quarter basis subscription revenues were down 7% on the previous quarter.
Overall WorldSpace made a net loss of USD 35.5 million (91 cents per share), down from a year-earlier loss of USD 29.2 million ( 79 cents a share) with an EBITDA loss of USD23.4 million compared to USD 31.2 million a year earlier.
Subscriber acquisition costs rose to USD 33 on a blended basis and for India from USD 23 for India and USD 32 for the rest of the world in the final quarter of 2006 but Cost Per Gross Addition fell from USD 154 in the previous quarter to USD 71 on a blended basis because of a slowdown of marketing efforts in India where CPGA was down quarter-on-quarter from USD 164 to USD 68.
WorldSpace also noted that it had agreed a refinancing with its convertible note holders that included redemption of USD50 million of the USD155 million convertible notes for cash; USD45 million in senior secured notes paying interest at LIBOR plus 6.5% per annum; USD60 million in amended and restated secured convertible notes paying interest at 8% per annum and convertible into shares of Class A Common Stock at USD4.25 per share; and warrants to acquire an aggregate amount of 2,647,059 shares of Class A Common Stock at USD4.25 per share
WorldSpace Chairman and CEO Noah Samara said they were "very pleased to have agreed to refinance our convertible notes a few weeks ago" and added, "The financial flexibility that this step allows is critical to our continued operational development."
"As we stated earlier," he said, "we are simultaneously finalizing a comprehensive review of our strategies and alternatives to drive growth in our key markets. It includes the launching of our mobile service in the Middle East and the build-out of the Italian business, as well as enhancing the long- term value proposition of WorldSpace's global satellite radio business. We are also in active strategic alliance discussions that would capitalize on our existing assets and infrastructure while enabling us to develop meaningful businesses in the key markets on a more rationalized cost basis."
WorldSpace shares ended Thursday up 1.4% at USD 3.64.
2007-05-11: Radio One Inc. has revealed in an SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) filing that it will not be able to file its report for the first quarter of this year on time because it has not completed the re-statement of financial statements relating to its past stock option grant practices.
The company stressed when it released its fourth quarter 2006 figures that they were unaudited and subject to change and noted that the SEC is conducting an informal inquiry and has requested documents related to its review of stock option accounting (See RNW Mar 22).
It also noted then that the NASDAQ Stock Market had written to it to say that it is not in compliance with NASDAQ Regulations because it did not file its Annual Report by the due date and that it had filed for a hearing before NASDAQ's Listing Qualifications Panel (the "Panel") to review the determination and request an exception, an action that stays suspension and delisting pending a determination by the panel.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2007-05-10: Latest UK radio ratings running to March 25 this year show from RAJAR Ltd (Radio Joint Audience Research) show the BBC with record reach and share with the medium's overall reach remaining stable since the last ratings when it reached % of the 15-plus population.
The BBC took its share of overall listening up from 54.4% in the previous quarter to the end of last year and 55.4% to 56% aided in part by a strong performance from Chris Moyles breakfast show on BBC Radio 1 that has now topped seven million and a record performance from a number of its digital networks.
On the commercial radio side, where share was down to 41.1% overall from 43.6% in the previous quarter and 42.6% a year ago, G-Cap's Capital Radio got some good news from London where Johnny Vaughan's breakfast show added 41,000 listeners a week over the previous ratings to hit 854,000 (it had 863,000 a year earlier) and take the commercial breakfast show crown in London while rivals Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott at Chrysalis's Heart FM lost 123,000 listeners quarter-on-quarter to end second with 825,000 (It had 855,000 a year earlier) and Emap's Magic FM in third rank lost 12,000 to end up with 721,000 (It had 804,000 a year earlier).
Overall however, Magic FM was in the lead in London with 1.806 million listeners a week and a 5.9% listening share ahead of Heart in second place with 1.698 million and a 5.4% share, pushing Capital into third rank with 1.623 million listeners and a 4/6% share.
Among the BBC stations Radio 1 went healthily above 10 million - helped by a gain of 744,000 listeners year-on-year for Chris Moyles breakfast show, which was up from 6.821 million in the previous quarter and now has an audience of 7.06 million - whilst leader BBC Radio 2 was down slightly to 13.25 million, down from 13.27 million and BBC Radio 4 had a weekly audience of 9.64 million (9.34 million in the previous quarter.
The BBC also noted gains in digital listening with rises to record levels for four digital networks, Five Live Sports Extra, BBC 6 music, BBC 7 and 1Xtra.
BBC Director Audio and Music Jenny Abramsky said of the results, "The radio industry is in excellent health, as demonstrated by the strong performance of both BBC and commercial radio. It is particularly pleasing to see the continued growth of listening via DAB and digital platforms and the record audiences for a number of our digital stations."
For the commercial industry, RadioCentre CEO Andrew Harrison said, "It's great to see radio listening as a whole remaining strong and we're particularly delighted with Commercial Radio's national performance which sees an increase in the number of listeners tuning in as well as time spent listening."
He stressed the success of commercial stations in digital noting that with them "taking the lion's share of the ever increasing digital only hours, together with an increase in the number of 15-24 year olds tuning in, the future bodes well for our industry. RAJAR also report a 19% rise in the number of MP3 owners who listen via podcast which is particularly pleasing for Commercial Radio having recently signed a ground breaking deal with music industry organisation PPL enabling 30 second clips of music to be used in station podcasts - a first for UK radio."
Harrison sounded a note of warning for small local stations, adding, "One thing that today's figures do show is that some of our small local stations are finding some of the market conditions challenging and we look forward to Ofcom's Future of Radio consultation which we hope will give them more flexibility to compete effectively in the current multimedia environment."
The RadioCentre also stressed that UK commercial radio takes a 53% share of listening in the key 15 to 44 demographic.
At GCap's Classic FM, which was this year's Sony Station of the Year, there was as strong increase in the number of young listeners -its under 15 audience was up by more than half quarter on quarter and its managing director Darren Henley said the figures showed that "today's iPod generation is increasingly turned on by classical music. Mozart and Beethoven remain as relevant today as they were in their own lifetime."
Classic FM also saw a rise of 172,000 listeners a week for its breakfast show, hosted by Simon Bates. This now has a weekly audience of 2.905 million, by far the largest commercial breakfast audience -second ranked commercial national station SMG's Virgin had 1.181 million.
Overall listening remained stable with some 45 million - 90% of the 15-plus population listening weekly within which listening via digital TV or the Internet has risen
To 41% and 24.3% respectively, each two points up on the final quarter of last year and up from 36.5% for digital TV and 24.3% for Internet listening a year earlier.
The figures also show that the percentage of the population who have access to digital signals - Digital Audio Broadcasts, TV or the Internet - has risen from 55% in the final quarter of last year to 58% of those who have the capability to listen in these ways. The figure for the first quarter of last year
Mobile phone listening is also increasing - 10.7% of those surveyed said they had listened to radio via a mobile phone, the same as in the final quarter of last year but up from 8.8% a year ago. For those aged 15-24, a quarter of those with mobile phones who say they have used them to listen to radio.
Regarding podcasts, the figures show that nearly a fifth of MP3 owners say they have used their players to listen to downloaded podcasts, a numerical total of 2.5 million, up from 2.1 million in the final quarter of last year.
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter (and year):
*BBC Radio 1 gained 287,000 listeners and had a weekly audience of 10.549 million with listening share up from 9/7% to 10/1% (9.1% a year ago when it had 9.734 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 2 lost 17,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13.252 million and listening share unchanged at 15.8% (16.0% a year ago, when it had 12.942 million listeners)
*BBC Radio 3 lost 126,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 1.902 million and a listening share down from 1.4% to 1.2% (1.3% a year ago, when it had 2.099 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 4 gained 295,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.637 million and listening share up from 11.1% to 12.2% (11.7% a year ago when it had 9.291 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, gained 27,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.873 million, and a listening share down from 4.4% to 4.2% (4.6% a year ago when it had 6.170 million listeners).
(Including Sports Extra it gained 54,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 5.973 million and a listening share of 4.3%, down from 4.5% (4.8% a year ago when it had 6.269 million listeners).
*BBC World Service lost 125,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.389 million and a listening share of 0.7%, up from 0.5% (0.6% a year ago when it had 1.262 million listeners).
*BBC Asian Network lost 41,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 452,000 but listening share was down from 0.3% to 0.2% (0.2% a year ago when it had 427,000 million listeners).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*G-Cap's Classic FM gained 274,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.031 million and an unchanged listening share of 4.2% (4.2% a year ago when it had 5.711 million listeners).
*UTV's (formerly The Wireless Group's) talkSPORT gained 102,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.341 million and a listening share up from 1.8% to 2.0% (1.7% a year ago when it had 2.070 million listeners).
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) lost 21,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.449 million and a listening share down from 1.5% to 1.4% (1.6% a year ago when it had 2.458 million listeners).
Among digital stations - excluding Emap's Kerrang! which has a substantial analogue and digital listenership and a total weekly reach of 1.324 million including its analogue stations (down from 1.266 million quarter on quarter but up from 1.202 million a year ago) but including BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra and Asian Network - the top ten stations in the survey had a weekly audience as below (previous quarter in brackets):
1 The Hits (Emap) - 1,168 million (down from 1.115 million but up from 970,000 a year ago).
2 BBC7 - 808,000 (up from 672,000 and from 621,000 a year ago) and moving up from third.
3 Smash Hits Radio (Emap) - 759,000 (up from 708,000 and 660,000 a year ago) and down a rank.
4 BBC Five Live Sports Extra - 682,000 (up from 650,000 and from 613,000 a year ago).
5 Planet Rock (GCap) - 498,000 (up from 424,000 and 461,000 a year ago) and up from sixth.
6 BBC 6 Music - 477,000 (up from 383,000 and 359,000 a year ago.).
7 BBC 1Xtra - 465,000 (up from 368,000 and 371,000 a year ago).
8 BBC Asian Network - 452,000 (down from 493,000 but up from 427,000 a year ago).
9 Q (Emap) - 317,000 (up from 289,000 and down from 320,000 a year ago).
10 Heat (Emap) - 224,000 (down from 246,000 and up from 222,000 a year ago) and up from 11th.
*Heat pushed Mojo (Emap) down a rank into 11th place with 222,000 listeners (down from 247,000 and 161,000 a year ago).
Previous RAJAR and RAJAR Ratings:
2007-05-10: In yet more US results, Cox Radio, Saga, and Salem have reported revenue increases but Cumulus revenues were down.
Cox Radio said its net revenues were up 3.2% to USD 100.75 million with station operating income up 0.7% to USD 37.83 million and net income was down 3.2% to USD 13.53 million (an unchanged 14 cents per diluted common share). The reduction was put down mainly to increases in cost of services - up 8.8%; selling and general administration expenses, which were up 5% including a USD 1.1 million increase related to expanded participation in the company's defined benefit pension plan; and corporate and general expenses - up 3.2%.
President and CEO Robert F. Neil said he was "pleased" with the start to the year, adding, "Our revenue growth of 3.2% exceeded the markets in which we operate and compares favourably with the results of other public radio companies that have reported thus far. Our station operating income this quarter included USD 1.6 million of incremental pension expense as we have expanded these benefits to cover all eligible employees. Excluding these incremental costs, station operating income would have been up 3.5% for the quarter. This performance underscores the success of key strategic decisions we have made over the last year as well as our clear focus on driving ratings and monetizing our audience share gains."
Within the figures Cox said local revenues were up 4.2% and national ones down 1.7% whilst "other" revenues were up 9.1% fuelled by a 32.8% increase in Internet revenues. In geographic terms there was "solid growth" in Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, Birmingham, Long Island and Richmond partially offset by declines in Houston, Jacksonville and Dayton.
Cox noted that it did not repurchase any further stock during the quarter but has currently spend approaching USD 85 million of the USD 100 million authorized for repurchases in 2005.
At Cumulus, revenues were down 3.8% on a year ago at USD 72.4 million but station operating expenses were also down - by 3.6% to USD 51.7 million.
Cumulus put the decrease primarily down to the transfer of its Houston and Kansas City stations to affiliate, Cumulus Media Partners, LLC (CMP) in May last year.
Overall Cumulus went from a net income of USD 857,000 a year earlier to a loss of USD 1.81 million (from a positive cent per share to a loss of four cents).
At Saga, revenues were up 2.2% on a year ago to USD 31.9 million - despite a USD 284,000 fall in political operating revenue year on year and station operating expenses were up 5.2% to USD 26.0 million. Operating income was down 20.7% to USD 3.6 million and net income was down 52% to USD 740,000 (from seven cents to four cents per diluted share).
At Salem, revenues were up 7.8% to USD 52 million, net broadcasting revenue was up 3.4% to USD 50.4 million; operating income was up 11.2% to USD 11.9 million , and net income was up 9.2% to USD 3 million ( from 11 cents to 12 cents per diluted share).
President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III noted that within the increase, Internet and publishing businesses revenue rose 73.9% to USD 5.7 million.
"Within the radio business," he added, "block programming revenue increased 8.8% and advertising revenue decreased 1.6%. This advertising decline is principally attributable to high sales staff vacancies, which we are working to fill, and the continued softness of the radio advertising market. The solid growth in non-broadcast media is a direct result of our strategic emphasis on developing new media businesses that exploit the promotional capability and content resources of our radio assets."
On the markets, Cox stock was up 1.43% to USD 14.14; Cumulus was down 0.43% to USD 9.28; Saga was down 0.2% to USD 9.97; and Salem ended down 0.59% at USD 11.74
2007-05-10: BBC Radio 4 "World in your Ear" presenter Rosie Goldsmith is openly questioning the corporation's commitment to foreign affairs in view of a decision by station controller Mark Damazer to drop the programme after nine years. The last programme will air on May 26, a special show on the corporation's first African radio awards.
The decision - made a week after BBC Radio Five Live dropped its foreign affairs slot Euro News - appears related to costs and the current issue of the BBC in-house magazine Ariel quoted Goldsmith, the originator and presenter of World in Your Ear as saying, "We all understand about efficiencies but you have to wonder how great our commitment is to foreign coverage. My fear is that the perspective is becoming too parochial."
Also critical of the decision is Radio 4's world programmes editor, Maria Balinska, who launched the A World in your Ear more than nine years ago and noted, "
"We've just done a programme on Zimbabwe - radio that's produced inside, outside and about Zimbabwe, for instance from South Africa. How would you compile that range of programmes any other way?"
Damazer says the show is being dropped to "refresh" the schedule and added of the programme, "It's done well but we do regularly make changes to our schedule to vary our output and to ensure value for money for licence payers."
Damazer said current affairs remained crucial to the station and that wouldn't change.
2007-05-10: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest broadcast bulletin has upheld only one complaint against radio - against Restricted Service Licensee Meridian FM for accepting sponsorship of a news programme but a number against TV including other complaints concerning sponsorship and separation from programming various Fairness and Privacy complaints upheld in part against a BBC documentary. It also gave details of TV complaints concerning material shown of the execution of Saddam Hussein that were not upheld; of a TV sponsorship complaint that was considered resolved through action taken by the broadcaster; and of another TV Fairness and Privacy complaint that was not upheld.
The bulletin also lists with no details a further 242 TV complaints involving 171 items and 20 radio complaints involving 22 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld. The totals compare with 158 TV complaints involving 106 items and 22 radio complaints involving 20 items that it were out of its remit or not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Ofcom has also advertised a new digital multiplex licence for Oxfordshire and updated its list of digital licences to be offered, replacing a planned licence for York & Scarborough with a licence for North Yorkshire and planned separate licences for Guildford and for Reigate & Crawley with a single licence designed to cover principally the county of Surrey and parts of the counties of West Sussex and East Sussex.
The current timetable is now:
June 2007 - North Yorkshire licence.
July 2007 - Gloucestershire licence.
August 2007 - Mid and West Wales licence.
September 2007 - Surrey & northern Sussex licence.
October 2007- Lincolnshire licence:
In addition Ofcom has published a DAB bit-rate calculator, which can be used to calculate varying options regarding the number of services, which can be accommodated on a digital radio multiplex, depending on the bit-rate that is allocated to each service.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2007-05-09: In more US radio first quarter results Citadel has reported a revenue decline; Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) revenues grew slightly- up 3% - an increase attributed to its TV operations; and Westwood One has turned a loss to profit despite a 9.4% year-on-year fall in revenues.
Citadel Broadcasting reported revenues in the first quarter down 1.2% to USD 92.9 million attributed in part to format and signal changes in the Birmingham, Alabama and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, markets: It noted revenues were down in Providence, Rhode Island, but up in Knoxville and Memphis in Tennessee and in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Operating income was up 8.9% to USD 25.6 million with the increase partly due to a USD 3.9 million gain on the sale of assets and USD 2.7 million decrease in depreciation and amortization partially offset by a USD 4.1 million increase in expenses, part of which related to the company's merger with ABC Radio.
Station operating income was down 3.8% to USD 35.4 million and net income was down 28.4% to USD 6.8 million (from nine cents to six cents per basic share). The figure includes USD 7.1 million of stock-based compensation (six cents per basic share), up from USD 2.5 million (two cents a share) a year earlier.
Chairman and CEO Farid Suleman said Citadel continued "to be impacted by sluggish growth in the radio industry" and noted changes made in Birmingham and Oklahoma City to "position" it for "strategic growth".
He also noted that the ABC Radio merger continued to move forward and added that during the first quarter Citadel had returned some USD 38.1 million to shareholders through dividends of 18 cents a share and the repurchase of some 1.8 million shares.
Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) revenues were up 3% to USD 38.9 million but noted that this came from its TV segment - revenues rose from USD 431,000 to USD 2.11 million - and that radio revenues were down 1% to USD 36.83 million, primarily due to lower national and barter sales.
Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón Jr. said that while SBS radio revenues were slightly down, "we outperformed our expectations and showed gradual operating improvement throughout the quarter."
He added, "We continue to generate significant audience shares across our radio station portfolio, and we are seeing a firming national advertising marketplace in New York and San Francisco. We believe overall advertising trends within our other primary markets are improving, and we are confident our radio segment will return to growth going forward... Overall we continue to execute our multi-media strategy and believe our radio, television and Internet properties are well-positioned to capitalize on the long-term growth trends within the Hispanic media industry."
SBS says that for the second quarter it expects net revenue to increase year-on-year in the low-single digit range and that its TV operating loss before depreciation and amortization will continue to decrease.
At Westwood One revenues were down 9.4% to USD 109.4 million, a fall it put down primarily to "adverse market conditions, a reduced demand for the Company's products and services, and increased competition."
It said national advertising revenues were down 10.7%, partly influenced by comparison with a year before period including the Winter Olympics, and local/regional adverts were down 7.9%.
Operating expenses were also down - by 15.6% to USD 101.1 million - helped by elimination of costs that had been associated with the 2006 Winter Olympics - and overall Westwood One had net income of USD 700,000 (a cent a share) compared to a year-before loss of USD 3.5 million (4 cents per basic and diluted share).
Westwood One said it has decided to discontinue payment of dividends and noted its decision to "evaluate its reinvestment opportunities and resources" whilst it continues with negotiations over extending its syndication agreement with CBS (See RNW May 6).
Looking ahead Westwood One says it expects second quarter revenues down in low double digits with operating expenses to be down in mid single digits resulting in double digit declines in operating income before depreciation and amortization.
Previous Westwood One:
2007-05-09: Macquarie Radio Network's Sydney 2GB has yet again increased its lead in the Sydney ratings in the third survey of the year, results of which have just been released by Nielsen Media and DMG's Vega stations have continued a slow climb. In Melbourne, Vega is now near the middle of the table - up a rank to ninth out of 15 with 3.6 (3.1) - whilst in Sydney its share was up from 3.3 to 3.6 although this did not help it in the rankings where it fell back a rank to end third from bottom.
In Melbourne talk 3AW retained its lead but its share fell back from 17.5 to 13.6 and its drivetime show under Darryl Hinch fared even worse, losing around a third of its audience to end with a 10.7 share, down from 15.9 whilst Fox FM's drivetime duo of Hamish Blake and Andy Lee (Hamish and Andy) took their share up from 15.8 to 17.0 to go into the top rank. The 3AW breakfast team of Ross Stevenson and John Burns fared better than but were also well down - from 21.6 to 18.2.
In Adelaide, 5AAA performed strongly, increasing its overall share from 15.1 to 18.1 to go into the top rank: It had increases in all time slots and dominated breakfast where its team of Keith Conlon, Tony Pilkington and Jon Blake- now in the lead for 19 consecutive surveys - moved their share up from 20.1 to 22.8.
In Sydney, Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB took its share up from 12.8 to 13.8 whilst ABC 702 moved up a rank to second with 9.5 (9.3) pushing 2-DAY with 9.2 (10.1) down from second; In the breakfast slot, however, Alan Jones, although still dominating, fell back a little from 17.9 to 17.7 and in the morning battle with Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE, 2GB also lost a little ground as its share fell from 15.7 to 15.6 with John Laws at 2UE up from 7.6 to 7.8 to move up to sixth rank from ninth.
Austereo in its comment highlighted the Fox FM performance in Melbourne and of SAFM in Adelaide, with its CEO Michael Anderson expressing satisfaction with the performance of its Today and Triple-M networks.
"Fox FM is the clear FM market leader in Melbourne, with a commanding position through entertaining shows such as the Matt and Jo Show at breakfast and Hamish and Andy in drive," he noted, adding, "We're particularly pleased with the Adelaide result - we have a new breakfast show at SAFM and it is connecting with listeners. Triple M has had a great improvement in Adelaide as well, with the biggest ratings increase of any FM station in the city."
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA 18.1 (15.1) - Up from second; Mix 15.2 (15.60) - Down from first; SAFM 12.4 (11.8) - same rank.
*5MMM, which had the largest FM gain was up a rank to sixth with 8.9 (7.6) whilst Nova with 11.2 (10.8) moved up one to fourth, swapping places with ABC 891, which was down to fifth with 9.7 (11.8).
*Brisbane - Nova with 16.2 (15.2) - Same rank; Triple M with 11.3 (12.2) - same rank; 4BH-882 with 10.5 (9.2) - up from fifth.
*4BC, which in the last survey was up from fifth to third, went back again this time with 9.1 (10.7) behind 97.3 FM, which remained fourth with 10.3 (9.6).
Melbourne - 3AW with 13.6 (17.5) - same rank; Fox FM with11.3 (10.6) - up from third; ABC 774 with 11.1 (11.9) - down from second;
Gold with 10.9 (9.6) remained fourth, ahead of Nova, which remained in fifth with 9.2 (9.5).
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 20.7 (20.3) - same rank; 96FM with 11.4 (11.7) - same rank; Nova with 10.8 (10.0) - Up from fourth.
* ABC 720 with 10.2 (11.2) was down from third to fourth ahead of 92.9, which remained fifth with 9.7 (9.9).
*Sydney: 2GB 13.8 (12.8) - same rank; ABC 702 with 9.5 (9.3) - up from third; 2-DAY with 9.2 (10.1) - down from second;
*2UE with 7.0 (6.6) remained sixth behind WSFM which remained fourth with 8.1 (7.6) and Nova, which remained fifth with 7.5 (7.2) and ahead of Triple-M, which fell from seventh to ninth with 6.0 (6.6).
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
2007-05-09: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the new South Wales regional FM licence to GCap Media's bid with its Xfm alternative format that was competing against seven other applications including a speech and easy listening bid from Town and Country Broadcasting , Wales' largest commercial radio group as well as CanWest, Emap, GMG Radio and UTV (See RNW Dec 14, 2006).
The licence covers an area with a 15-plus population of around 950,000 and will give Xfm, which also broadcasts nationally on digital radio, its fourth analogue licence - it already broadcasts in London, Manchester and central Scotland where the former Beat 106 was reformatted as Xfm in January last year.
Previous GCap Media:
2007-05-09: CanWest has announced that it has entered into a lock up agreement with HT Media Limited, a subsidiary of Australian private equity group Ironbridge Capital Pty Limited to sell its 70% share of CanWest MediaWorks (NZ) Limited (MWL) at NZD 2.43 per share, a 49% premium on the price of the stock immediately prior to its announcement in October last year that it was to consider putting its Australasian media interests up for sale. It is selling its Australian and New Zealand interests separately:
The former includes Channel 10 TV whilst MediaWorks operates TV channels TV3 and C4 and RadioWorks, one of New Zealand's two major national commercial radio networks...
The bid values MediaWorks at NZD 727 million (USD 535 million) and CanWest anticipates receiving some NZD 386 million (USD 284 million) gross.
CanWest President and Chief Executive Officer Leonard Asper said of the deal, "For CanWest, this transaction allows us to further our objective of reducing debt and redeploying capital consistent with our corporate strategy. By all financial and other measures, MWL has been an outstanding investment for the Company over the last 15 years."
CanWest MediaWorks International president Tom Strike added, "We are extremely pleased with the agreement that we have reached for the sale of MWL," said, President of CanWest MediaWorks International .We have every confidence that MWL will continue as New Zealand's pre-eminent media company under its new owner."
2007-05-09: The BBC has appointed Radio 2 and 6 Music controller Lesley Douglas as its first Controller, BBC Popular Music in addition to her current post. Her remit includes responsibility for co-ordinating the full range of popular music output across the various BBC platforms - radio, TV and online.
The corporation says she will work alongside Andy Parfitt, Controller, Radio 1 and 1Xtra - who has responsibility for Youth programming, leading the team developing plans to improve the BBC's offering to Britain's teens - and Roger Wright, who co-ordinates BBC's classical music and last month was named as the next Director of the BBC Proms in addition to his role as Controller of Radio 3 and running the BBC Performing Groups. Wright is co-ordinating Classical Music across the BBC (See RNW April 20).
Jenny Abramsky, Director BBC Audio and Music, said of the appointment, Lesley is doing a superb job at Radio 2 and 6 Music and I'm delighted that she will be taking on this role. "Our aspiration is to gain greater impact for the BBC's investment in popular music across our output. I also want the post to be a central point for external contacts thereby simplifying communications with the BBC."
Douglas said of the role, "The BBC has an ongoing commitment to supporting a breadth of popular music programming. We need to ensure that we stay ahead of the game, capitalising on creative opportunities and working even more closely with the music community as a whole to leverage the full strength of the BBC."
2007-05-08: Clear Channel, which last week said that it would go ahead with the meeting today, has yet again postponed its planned special shareholders' meeting on the takeover bid from private equity groups led by Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. and Bain Capital Partners, LLC.
Last week Clear Channel's board, reacting to a revised offer that included an increase in the amount per share to be paid from USD 39 to USD 39.20 per share for all shares except those held by the founding Mays family and Clear Channel Board (who would only get USD 37.60, the original amount offered by the group in November last year) had said it would go ahead with the meeting (See RNW May 5).
The latest statement says it has postponed the shareholders meeting to May 22 because it is in talk with the private equity group about an increase in the offer to USD 39.20 for all shareholders. The offer continues to include an opportunity to take a shareholding in the new owning group up to a cap of 30% of the outstanding shares immediately following the merger - approximately 6% of the shares outstanding before the merger.
Clear Channel says the change was made because since it made its announcement last week "a number of shareholders of Clear Channel, including some of its largest shareholders, have contacted members of the board or its financial advisor and asked the board to delay the date of the special meeting in order to provide them an opportunity to consult with the board on the proposed change in structure and terms.
The announcement followed a report by the Financial Times saying that Bin and Lee had been in talks on Sunday in an attempt to salvage their bid. It said that "according to people familiar with the matter" a price increase was unlikely but other terms could change.
Clear Channel shares ended Monday up 2.6% at USD 37.3 although after hours they fell back again.
RNW comment: It would seem that the price by any normal consideration has changed - to the benefit of the Mays family and Clear Channel Board but with no corresponding benefit to other shareholders. It would be interesting to know who the shareholders were who asked for the delay, if only as an indication of whether the nerve of some of the other major shareholders is beginning to crack and they are tempted to take the offer or whether this is essentially the board and Mays family looking after their own interests.
Previous Clear Channel:
Financial Times report:
2007-05-08: In further US radio results, Entercom has reported first quarter revenues up 10% to a record USD 100 million and Regent says its revenues were up 28.8% to approximately USD 22.0 million but in both cases their bottom lines were negative - Entercom went from net income a year ago of USD 7.76 million to a loss of USD 564,000 (From a positive 19 cents per share to a loss of a cent) whilst Regent went from a small net income of USD 64,000 a year ago to a net loss of USD 1.2 million (from zero to a loss of 3 cents per share).
Entercom said its station operating expenses increased 14% to USD 67.9 million and same station results also showed expenses up more than revenues - same station operating expenses increased 2% to USD 60.7 million whilst same station net revenues were up 1% to USD 90.7 million.
President and CEO David J. Field, President said the first quarter results "were mixed as strong January and February operating results were offset by a weaker March."
"During the quarter," he added, "we commenced operations at our new San Francisco station cluster, launched a major new station in that market, and continued to invest significant resources in our expanding business development and internet platforms, which we believe will emerge as strong sources of growth in the near future. While we see overall flat revenue trends in the second quarter, we are experiencing substantial growth across many of our markets, offset by near term investments in our newer markets."
Entercom says that for the second quarter it expects same station net revenues to be flat but operating expenses to be up by around 5% for the second and third quarter reflecting an increase in Boston Red Sox rights fees from a new long-term contract. Fourth quarter operating expenses should grow minimally it says taking a full year increase to around 3%.
Entercom also announced that its board has extended for a further year a USD 100.0 million share repurchase program that was due to expire on May 7: Around USD 85.2 million is now left for repurchases following first quarter purchases totalling around USD 10 million. Entercom has now retired more than a quarter of its outstanding current stock through repurchases.
At Regent, the revenue increase was put down mainly to its acquisition of CBS Radio's Buffalo stations concerning which President and CEO Bill Stakelin said, "Representing our largest market, this opportunistic acquisition capped a year in which we upgraded our portfolio through over USD 160 million in transactions. As a result, we solidified our leadership position in the nation's mid-sized markets and substantially enhanced our growth profile."
Stakelin added that they were now focussing on operations rather than acquisitions, adding "We are following a clear roadmap designed to fully extract the value of our assets. Among other initiatives, we are investing in the creation of compelling content, developing regional advertising sales opportunities and implementing an integrated online strategy that will strengthen our ability to monetize our audience shares. We have an outstanding track record of operating execution and asset maximization, and we have consistently outperformed our industry and our markets. We have no doubt that the investments we are making in our stations today will lead to increased value for all of our stakeholders."
Regent same station revenues were up 1.5% on a year ago to USD 16.8 million and same station operating expenses were down slightly. Same station operating income rose from USD 1.29 million to USD 2.52 million but after adjustments, including a move from USD 28.000 in barter transactions to a negative USD 93,000, was down slightly -from USD 4.32 million to USD 4.29 million.
Looking ahead Regent says it expects second quarter 2007 reported net broadcast revenues and station operating income of USD 26.4 to USD 26.8 million and USD 8.8 to USD 9.1 million, respectively with earnings per share between two and three cents.
Entercom shares ended Monday down 2.48% at USD 27.50 and Regent was down 1.75% at USD 3.37
2007-05-08: Milwaukee "Word Warriors" host Mike McGee has been suspended indefinitely by WNOV-AM owner Jerrel Jones for saying that the mother of a rival host ,who died in a fire at her home, deserved to die.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that following the death of Katherine Sykes, McGee used it to take a swipe at her son, WTMJ-AM conservative talk host Charlie Sykes, commenting, "A woman that had a fool like that deserves whatever's comin' to her, 'cause she raised a sure enough idiot."
The paper says the station received more than a hundred calls condemning the remarks and Jones responded with the suspension, although the show stays with the McGee family - it will be hosted by his son, Milwaukee Ald. Michael McGee.
Jones, who said Michael was "the natural host for this show at least for now" would not say how long the father's suspension would last, commenting, "Forever is a long time, and I don't want to say something that I may not be able to deal with. But I do want to make it clear that he won't be on anytime soon."
Jones added of McGee after a meeting with him, "He's not apologetic, but does realize his timing was not the best. It was a pleasant meeting. He understands what needs to happen."
Jones has bought station airtime for the programme for the past 12 years although he was taken off air for a short time in 2004 for using the F-word (See RNW Dec 6, 2004). He currently has a contract for the time until January that will be honoured but without his presence on the show.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report:
2007-05-07: In our comment last week we noted various articles about the airing by Rush Limbaugh of the audio of the "Barack The Magic Negro" song, a topic we begin with this week as the comment has continued.
If Limbaugh himself has made further comments about the skit they are in the paid-for section of his site so we will have to pass them by and most of the other comment we have seen comes under an "anti-Limbaugh" heading. Some of that is merely a reflection of different views but some of it backs up the comment in terms of the potential effect of the publicity given to the skit by Limbaugh.
The Chicago Tribune reporting on the matter says that publicity given the skit "renews in a new context the contentious American conversation about race in politics and society."
Senator Obama himself has played down the song but others say it could, as the Tribune put it, "influence the pop-culture understanding of Obama and of black politicians in general."
Obama spokesman Bill Burton said of the song, "It's not the first dumb thing said during the course of this campaign, and it likely won't be the last. But, frankly, I don't think anyone takes this too seriously."
Karl Frisch, a spokesman for (anything but conservative) watchdog Media Matters told the paper, "We take these things seriously because there's a consistent pattern of them making their way into the mainstream media and then the mainstream consciousness. It's important to shoot these things down."
The paper backed up this perception by reporting that a decision to assign special Secret Service protection to Obama and his family followed recommendations from his colleagues who amongst other things had reviewed racist postings on the Internet and notes that CBSNews.com told its staff not to enable comments on stories about Obama because he was drawing an overwhelming number of racist remarks.
In the rival Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Richard Roeper goes for Limbaugh himself rather than any controversy. He starts with Limbaugh's approach, describing the host as the "master of the pre-emptive strike" and continues, "Sometimes when Limbaugh says something controversial, he'll immediately launch into a bit about how the "drive-by media" will misinterpret his remarks."
He then moves on to the song: "Fortunately we have Rush to set things straight. If not, we might be offended by a song called "Barack, the Magic Negro."
After which Roeper comments on the article in the Los Angeles Times (See last week's comment) that was said to have inspired the song, saying of it, "You might not agree with the piece, but it's food for genuine, intelligent debate."
Then of the Limbaugh connection "it's not as if Limbaugh or his listeners are chuckling at the stereotyped voice -- they're mocking the op-ed piece, and the liberal media's fascination with Obama. Right?"
" Some folks criticize Limbaugh for playing the song, for using the term "Magic Negro" over and over, for calling Obama "Barack Hussein Odumbo," for saying Obama is "Halfrican American," for calling him "Obama Osama" -- even though he's just engaging in satire based on what others have said or written. Uh-huh."
After which Roeper, who prints the text of the Barack song, prints his own song so be sung to the same tune - of "Puff the Magic Dragon."
It's not that different in tone to the original, starting:
"Rush the right-wing a------
Is loud and often crass
He's a chickenhawk who never served
Cuz he had a cyst near his big fat ass
He railed against drug users."
Roeper endswith "Now, you watch. Some people will take this out of context and claim I'm making fun of El Rushbo. Damn media."
Indeed so! And El Rushbo doesn't really have much cause for complaint however much people may make fun of him, We can only hope they do it with style and wit - which will probably ensure that most of his listeners don't get it??
Limbaugh, of course, would have to commit and be convicted of a serious felony before he was fired whilst Don Imus managed the feat without as far as we are aware breaking any laws. Other hosts however, unless Jacques Steinberg in the New York Times is seriously perverting the facts, are continuing along lines that would be fairly familiar to both Limbaugh and Imus.
In one case, comedian and CBS Radio WFNY-FM (Free FM) host Nick Di Paolo mocked a manual entitled "Words Hurt and Harm" that he said his bosses had given him and urged avoidance of stereotypes such as those that led to Imus's dismissal and also the suspension of fellow WFNY FM) DJs JV and Elvis (Jeff Vandergrift and Dan Lay) after they broadcast a six minute prank phone call to a Chinese restaurant.
Steinberg says that told his listeners, "Right away, we're starting with a false premise. Because words don't hurt" and then later referred "to someone in the studio who was apparently of Colombian descent as 'a drug dealer,' before using an exercise in the manual as a springboard to the following observations: that 'enough' Native Americans drank to make them fair game for a joke; that waiters in Chinese restaurants were 'efficient' and 'better than most, you know, other ethnic groups as waiters and waitresses'; and that Jewish mothers were 'bad cooks and a little hairy.'"
Steinberg foregoes comment on as such but describes the "part of the radio spectrum2 where he operates - a "morning or afternoon 'zoo'" - as remaining "as arguably and insidiously untamed" in the days after Imus's dismissal as it was before.
His assessment he says is based on monitoring by the New York Times of nearly 250 hours of shock-talk radio, monitoring that led him to comment, "Gay men and lesbians, and women and Muslims, among others, were frequent targets of ridicule; coarse, sexually explicit banter, particularly descriptions of anal and oral sex, proliferated, much of it reminiscent of the routines that once drew Howard Stern heavy penalties; and meanness appeared to be a job prerequisite, whether a host was belittling someone who called in or the unwitting subject of a prank call."
The comments are not without cost, however, as in what Steinberg terms "collateral damage" a number of companies have dropped sponsorship of or advertising on shows. Here he cites the example of the New York State Lottery who said they had decided to discontinue advertising on di Paulo's show after hearing of his comments and had also dropped sponsorship of the "Opie and Anthony" show - also aired by WFNY-FM - after a regular guest on the show asked another guest, a professional whistler (in an old interview replayed on the same edition of the show) if he could "whistle 'Singin' in the Rain' while I rape a girl?"
Other shows cited are those of Erich "Mancow" Muller, now syndicated by Talk Radio Network (which also syndicates the gems of Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham), and The Jersey Guys (Craig Carton and Ray Rossi) of which Steinberg says their content is mild compared to much that is on Spanish-language radio.
Although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seems unlikely to - or because of First Amendment constitutional reasons unable to -take action against much of the speech involved, Steinberg says broadcasters may well take action "particularly if advertisers begin to object."
He notes that already hosts on two "two predominantly black stations in New York - WQHT-FM (Hot 97) and WBLS-FM - have made references on their programs to the need to police themselves, and their callers, better" and on Emmis's hip-hop Hot 97 Tarsha Nicole Jones of the eponymous "Miss Jones in the Morning" show "has taken to using 'wenches' and 'itches' as substitutes for harsher words" and has also reprimanded a caller for using a racial slur whilst the station ran an announcement saying "Due to new regulations regarding the use of language, the 'Miss Jones Show' has made the appropriate adjustments."
Compared to the US, of course, shows in many countries are held back more by industry codes or legal restrictions so for those who want to listen to the American style it is a matter of deciding which shows are of interest and checking if they are streamed some are and others like Limbaugh are available online to paid subscribers and the same is true for shows on the satellite radio services. Comparatively few are available as free downloads whilst many public broadcasters are increasing the degree to which they make shows available both as streams and as MP3s.
Which takes us, of course to listening suggestions, and first to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "All in the Mind" from Sunday (MP3 or stream): It asked the question "Is music the universal language?" and considered the answers with reference to a variety of music from lullabies to religious music and from various cultures including those of Australian Aborigines, Japan, Mongolia, Polynesia, Tibet, and Western music.
Then for more conventional listening, we suggest BBC Radio 2 this evening with firstly - for those in the UK only, another "Theme Time Radio Hour with Dylan" (17:00 GMT) followed at 18:00 GMT by "The Record Producers" in which Richard Allinson and Steve Levine profile one of the UK's most successful and dominant duos of the 1980s, Steve Jolley and Tony Swain.
Also from BBC Radio 2 - this time tomorrow at 21:30 GMT we suggest "Make 'em Laugh, Make 'em Laugh", the third and final part of the station's look at the history of sitcoms.
Then combining continents, we suggest Radio Netherlands and last Saturday's "Vox Humana", a look at the dismantling and transfer of an old Dutch farmhouse - called by locals the "old Winne Place" -from Bethlehem, five miles south of Albany, to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.
We then suggest a run of BBC weekday programmes, first the "Book of the Week" (08:45 GMT) that this week is "Getting Rich First: Life in a Changing China", in which the book's author Duncan Hewitt looks at the rapid changes China is undergoing as seen through the eyes of ordinary people.
Still with China, the afternoon sees Anna Chen continue her look at the early history of the Chinese who came to Britain before the mass influx of the 1960 (14:45 GMT): It is preceded by "The Afternoon Reading - Francis Coppola Presents " - stories from the magazine Zoetrope: All-Story, founded by the film director.
Later BBC Radio 3 from today through Thursday in "The Essay - Lingua Franca"(22:00 GMT), Michael Rosen starts an eight-part look at the roots of European languages, all descendants of a hypothetical Proto-Indo-European root (PIE) that also spawned Sanskrit and Farsi.
From last week and the BBC "Listen Again" on-demand service we suggest Friday's" In Business" (also available as an MP3 download) in which Peter Day looks at the entrepreneurs who say commercial space travel can be economically profitable and also "Costing the Earth", which last week took a look at Perth, the Australian city that, despite being in a desert climate, has green gardens and golf courses, all watered from boreholes - which, of course, won't produce for ever.
And from Sunday some reflections on the links between past and present in "Something Understood." The programme "Future Perfect" saw Mark Tully consider how far it is possible for us to create the future. It contained some thought-provoking comments on haw far humans who through brain damage lose their past cannot consider a future.
And from Radio 4 tomorrow we suggest "On the Ropes" (08:00 GMT) in which Michael Brown who took the rap over Hurricane Katrina dameage to New Orleans says much of the blame should go to President Bush..
Then for some slightly worthy or oddball items from BBC Radio 4 - on Wednesday (at 12:30 GMT) "It's My Story" is about "Daddy Dewick" who on his 90th birthday is visited by Nana Anto-Awuakye who, when she was aged three, was fostered in his white family in a rural Wiltshire cottage along with nine other small children of West African origin, and the "Afternoon Play" (13:15 GMT) - "Darker than you Think" - one of a series of plays imagining how Charles Dickens, as the head of a daily paper, would have tackled bringing the news to the masses. In this case it's to do with a serial killer.
And on Thursday at 22:00 GMT Dave Gorman and guest Sid Waddell ruminate about ridiculous and unworkable inventions and ideas which they consider to display an element of genius in their creator.
And finally something that to a sane person probably should be considered oddball from Monday's Radio 4 at 10:00 GMT: In "I'm Doing it for Me" author and journalist Geraldine Bedell investigates the enormous increase in plastic surgery, asking why people choose it and whether it is of any benefit. A good example - if one is needed for anyone who has seen an American drug advert (basically, the message seems to be to scare you into feeling you need something whilst, for regulatory reasons, pointing out that should you go for it the side effects could be so dire that you shouldn't take it). Difficult not to take it as a good example of the power of marketing and the stupidity or inadequacy - real or perceived - of people, in this case particularly women in falling for marketing guff because others are. Not that the male is immune - think of all the perfumes they're now being sold that not that long ago would have seen the purchaser derided!
Chicago Sun-Times - Roeper:
Chicago Tribune re Obama song:
New York Times - Steinberg:
2007-05-07: Independent Baghdad radio station Radio Dijla, which has come under attack a number of times, has been burned to the ground by arsonists that its founder Ahmed al-Rikabi blames on groups linked to Al Qaeda.
A note on the station web site, which is still functioning (it is in Arabic) says it was blown up at 22:30 local time on Friday evening and notes condemnation of the attack from the Iraqi President's office among others.
Its report on the attack says that on Thursday, World Press Freedom Day, an attempt to abduct four of its employees on their way to work was foiled and then in the afternoon an attack on the station was launched in the afternoon by a group of about eighty members of the terrorist al-Qaeda, using 500mm shells and rocket propelled grenades resulting in the death of a guard and injuries to two more.
It says that appeals despite the Iraqi National Guard having a presence only around 500 metres from the station it took around an hour before there was a response to appeals from its Director General Karim Yousef for assistance from the authorities.
Station staff and visitors were then taken to safety but the attackers later returned to the station and occupied it for around thirty hours before setting fire to it and blowing it up.
The authorities, says the station, were told of the presence of gunmen in the station but it did not see any move to "expel or eliminate them."
Radio Dijla was launched three years ago by al-Rikabi, a former head of the US-funded Iraqi Media Network until he resigned citing frustration at interference and bureaucracy (See RNW Jun 11, 2004). It had a non-sectarian non-political agenda and employees from various religious and ethnic groups that he hoped would help shield it from attack.
Previous Radio Dijla:
Radio Dijla web site (Arabic):
2007-05-07: CanWest has poached Iain McKenna, managing director of Emap's Liverpool station City FM, to join in the launch of its new adult alternative format Aberdeen station Original FM, for which is won the licence in January (See RNW Jan 12) with a launch planned for September.
According to Scotland on Sunday, McKenna resigned last Monday just before the Sony awards in which Radio City took the Gold for Station Of The Year with a potential audience of a million plus (See RNW May 1)
McKenna, a former managing director of Northsound in Aberdeen - owned by Scottish Radio Holdings when he joined it but now in the Emap stable after it took over SRH - will be going up against his old station but told the paper he had not fallen out with Emap.
"I'm leaving for all the right reasons. I had a great time at SRH and Emap. There's no animosity and I would hope I am leaving on good terms," he said adding that the chance to join a start-up was too good to miss.
"If I wanted the opportunity to launch a radio station, this was my last chance. We have achievable targets from a revenue and audience perspectives," he said, commenting on the risk involved, "From a radio station point of view, I don't believe it's risky. We are owned by CanWest and it is investing heavily."
The Aberdeen station is the third "Original" format station for which CanWest has won licences- the first was the Southampton (Solent) station that went on air in October last year after winning the licence in September 2005 (See RNW Sep 6, 2005), the first licence to be awarded by Ofcom to an overseas company. The second was the Bristol licence, which was won in September last year (See RNW Sept 15, 2006) and which tomorrow starts its in-house "as-live" run before the launch on May 20.
Scotland on Sunday report:
2007-05-06: Last week saw no major regulator developments and was fairly quiet for radio with no radio-specific announcements from Australia, Ireland or the UK. In North America there was a steady level of activity in Canada and more criticism of media consolidation at a field hearing by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In Canada, radio-related announcements from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included the following (In order of province):
*Approval of extension until February 27 next year of period during which Standard Radio can simulcast the programming of CKXR-FM, Salmon Arm, on its AM station. It originally allowed a three month simulcast period but Standard says several communities in the original AM coverage area, including Enderby and Sicamous, have been experiencing reception problems. It is to apply to add repeaters in these communities but wishes, in the meantime, to continue simulcasting its programming on the AM band so as to maintain its original coverage area.
*Renewal to 31 August 2014 of licence of English-language, low-power FM station CFIY-FM, Campbell River. The station broadcasts recorded announcements consisting of messages of welcome and general information relating to the sites and events of interest to tourists in Campbell River and the surrounding area.
*Renewal to 31 August 2014 of licence of English-language, low-power station CITB-FM, Thunder Bay. The station broadcasts recorded announcements promoting Thunder Bay tourist attractions, historical information, recreation, cultural and educational activities as well as safety and public service announcements.
* Renewal to 31 August 2014 of licence of English-language, low-power station CFWJ-FM Sault Ste. Marie. The station broadcasts recorded announcements regarding tourist attractions, forestry and outdoor activities specific to Sault Ste. Marie and surrounding points of interest.
*Renewal to 31 August 2014 of licence of English-language, low-power station CFVZ-FM, Moose Jaw. The station broadcasts the hockey games of the Moose Jaw Warriors and the baseball games of the Moose Jaw Millers, fastball games from Memorial Field, and selected Moose Jaw High School athletic events.
*Renewal to 31 August 2014 of licence of English-language, low-power FM station CITT-FM Saskatoon. The station broadcasts recorded announcements to highlight and promote attractions, festivals and events in Saskatoon and surrounding area, as well as street closures, and seasonal highway conditions and service club involvement.
In Ireland as already noted there were no radio announcements although the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced details of a collaborative research project with the National Disability Authority (NDA) focussing on the representation of people with disabilities in Irish broadcast media.
The project involves the commissioning of three independent pieces of work - to run concurrently -addressing: a policy, legislative and practice review of other jurisdictions; an attitudinal survey and; a content analysis of current programming. The aim is to assist in the development of guidelines for broadcasters on the representation of people with disabilities in Irish broadcast media.
In the UK, also as already noted, there were no radio specific announcements from Ofcom although its Ofcom Spectrum Advisory Board (OSAB) has published its Annual Report for 2006 - 2007. The report, posted as a 23 page 270 kb PDF, is mainly concerned with non-broadcast uses of spectrum.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) again heard criticism of media consolidation at its Tampa field hearing (See RNW May 2). It has also been active again in enforcement, issuing or proposing penalties on radio stations totalling some USD 60,000 including (in descending amount order):
USD 11,200 penalty to HRN Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WZGM-AM, in Black Mountain, North Carolina for operating above its permitted power and failure to make available a public inspection file.
The FCC had originally issued an NAL for USD 14,000 but HRN had asked that it be rescinded or reduced because the violations occurred because equipment malfunction caused it to operate overpower after sunset but it had promptly corrected the situation and had also relocated its public inspection to the file within days of the inspection that found it unavailable. The FCC noted that measurements had found the station over power on two occasions and rejected the arguments but made a reduction on the basis of a history of compliance.
USD 10.000 penalty to Marcus A. Roberts of Houston, Texas, for operating a station without a licence: Roberts has used CB equipment with amplification to produce an output considerably higher than allowed and had asked for cancellation or reduction of the penalty on the basis of a fault in the equipment. The FCC noted that he had been given several warnings following complaints about interference and found it strange that the malfunctions only occurred when no inspection was being conducted and that the equipment had performed smoothly during its inspection. It confirmed the full penalty.
USD 10,000 NAL (Notice of Apparent Liability for Foreiture) to Southern Adventist University, licensee of non-commercial educational Station WSMC-FM, Collegedale, Tennessee, for public file offences.
USD 10,000 NAL to Morehead State University, licensee of non-commercial educational Station WMKY-FM, Morehead, Kentucky, for public file offences.
USD 10,000 NAL to Eastern Christian Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WEIC-AM, Charleston, Illinois, for public file offences.
USD 10,000 NAL to Continental Broadcasting Corp. of Arizona, Inc., licensee of KPHX-AM, Phoenix, Arizona, for public file offences.
USD 8,000 NAL to Vision Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of KPXS-FM, Vidalia, Louisiana for public file offences, late filing of renewal application and operation after licence had expired...
Affirmed USD 2,400 penalty to CB Radio, Inc., licensee of WBEJ-AM, Elizabethton, Tennessee, for failure to register its tower with the commission. CB Radio's petition for reconsideration was denied.
USD 1,500 NAL to Taylor Broadcasting Company, licensee of WJTB-AM, North Ridgeville, Ohio, for late filing of renewal application.
USD 500 penalty to Albino Ortega and Maria Juarez, licensees of KIGO- AM, St. Anthony, Idaho for failure to enclose the KIGO antenna tower within an effective locked fence or other enclosure. The penalty was reduced from USD 7,000 on the basis of inability to pay.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-05-06: Final bids are now due to have been placed for CanWest Global's Mediaworks, part of its Australasian interests put up for sale after hiring Citigroup Global Markets Inc. to explore opportunities arising out of the new Australian media ownership law (See RNW Oct 26, 2006).
CanWest, which owns 70% of Mediaworks - operator of TV3 and C4 TV in New Zealand plus RadioWorks, which operates eight radio stations, was reported to have said in January it will sell its New Zealand and Australian Network Ten TV interests separately (See RNW Jan 24).
According to The Dominion Post three Australian groups - PBL Media, a joint venture between James Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting and private equity firm CVC Asia Pacific, Macquarie Media Group and private equity group Ironbridge Capital - are thought to be amongst the final bidders.
The paper says the MediaWorks Chief executive Brent Impey has said that the TV and radio businesses would not be sold separately but the company would not say anything more about the current position except that the process is going into its final stages: It adds that it is unclear whether bidders are prepared to pay a price that would entice minority shareholders into also selling and says that MediaWorks has retained lawyers to act for minority shareholders should the need arise.
In the UK, CanWest's Solent regional radio station Original 106fm has appointed John Evington, to the position of Managing Director and Programme Director.
Evington, formerly UK Wireless Group Programme Director, John Evington, who left the company following its purchase by Ulster TV, joined Original 106 in April 2006 as its Programme Director in the run up to launch (See RNW Mar 31, 2006).
Rick Hetherington, Managing Director of CanWest MediaWorks UK ltd, said of the appointment, "It is a real pleasure to see John take on even more responsibility within the organisation as we role out the Original brand throughout the country. It is our aim to make Original a nationally recognised brand and our first step was to launch Original 106 in the south of England. More stations will follow in other regions over the next months and John will have a consultative role in these new operations as part of the CanWest senior management team."
Dominion Post report:
2007-05-06: According to the New York Post, Westwood One has hired investment bank UBS to identify potential buyers and anticipates putting itself up for sale next month but is first waiting for its shareholders to approve its new syndication deal that was tentatively agreed with CBS Radio last month (See RNW Apr 16).
CBS Radio manages the company and owns an 18% stake in it the paper says its sources say UBS has contacted Citadel Broadcasting as a possible buyer.
It adds that interest has also been shown by new Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell, who holds just under 5 percent of Westwood One, and the company's former President and CEO Shane Coppola, who stepped down in December 2005 (See RNW Dec 9, 2005).
Coppola's father-in-law David Sapperstein founded Metro Networks and sold it to Westwood One.
The paper notes that Westwood One is currently valued at around USD 1 billion. Its shares were up 5.2% on Friday to USD 7.24, capitalising it at just under USD 630 million but at its peak the shares touched USD 36.
Westwood One's stock closed trading yesterday down 2 cents to $6.88. At one point a few years ago the company's stock touched $36, or around six times the price it trades at now. The company has a value of just under $1 billion.
Previous Westwood One:
New York Post report:
2007-05-05: The Clear Channel takeover looks as if it may well have collapsed following an announcement by the company's board that it has rejected a revised bid totalling USD 19.6 billion from a private equity group led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.
In a statement the company noted that it had received a further offer, increasing the amount per share to be paid from USD 39 to USD 39.20 per share for all shares except those held by the founding Mays family and Clear Channel Board, who would only get USD 37.60, the original amount offered by the group in November last year and whose acceptance was recommended by the board at that time (See RNW Nov 17, 2006).
That bid, which valued Clear Channel at USD 18.7 billion, came under fire from various large shareholders (See RNW Jan 20 and Jan 30) leading the company to postpone its planned shareholders vote on the offer.
A revised offer of USD 39 per share, valuing the company at USD 19.5 billion, was made last month (See RNW Apr 19) but this again was considered insufficient by various shareholders (See RNW May 3).
The board noted that the new offer, which also included an offer for shareholders to take shares in the privately-owned company up to a cap of 30% of the total equity, was only half-a-per-cent higher than the previous offer and that to consider it would mean they would have to delay by up to 90 days the special shareholders meeting that is currently scheduled for next Tuesday (May 8) "with no certainty that the transaction would be approved."
It also said that since last month's announcement of the increases bid "significant shareholders of the Company have privately or publicly made known their opposition to the merger at USD 39.00 per share and their lack of interest in stub equity" and added that "tabulated proxies" it had received reflect a vote against the bid of more than the one third share of outstanding shares that are required to reject the proposal.
Accordingly it has opted to go ahead with the vote next week on the existing USD 39 per share offer.
RNW comment: One wonders whether Bain and Lee have decided that that aren't going to get Clear Channel at the price they are prepared to pay and have decided to bring things to a head by only making a very small improvement in the bid, knowing that should their offer be rejected Clear Channel will now have to pay them USD 45 million to walk away and USD 200 million if anyone else succeeds in a bid within a year.
Previous Clear Channel:
2007-05-05: According to ABC News, whose Law & Justice Unit has obtained a draft copy of former CBS Radio host Don Imus's planned suit against CBS, the host is planning to sue for USD 120 million, claiming that his contract showed that the network expected him to be controversial and irreverent and that it could have censored him because the show was on a five-second delay.
It also points out that Imus was not fired for a fortnight after the remarks were made and ABC adds that four former FCC Commissioners it contacted did not believe the remarks did not breach Federal Communications Commission guidelines on profanity or indecency.
CBS has responded by issuing a statement saying, "We terminated Mr. Imus for cause. Based on the comments in question and relevant contract terms, we believe that the termination was appropriate and CBS would expect to prevail in any attempt by Mr. Imus to recover money for his actions."
ABC says CBS is expected to rely on a clause in the radio talk show host's contract that says he can be terminated for 'just cause' if CBS determines that he used "distasteful or offensive words or phrases, the broadcast of which [CBS] believes would not be in the public interest or may jeopardize [the network's] Federal license to operate..."
Imus's lawyer Martin Garbus said he expected to prevail and cited a section of his client's employment contract today that says Imus' "services to be rendered & are of a unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial and personal character & and & these components are desired by Company and are consistent with Company rules and policies."
2007-05-05: Irish broadcasters have set up a new industry group Digitalradio.ie along the lines of the UK Digital Radio Development Board to "explore the development and promotion of digital radio in Ireland".
Its members, who are all currently involved in DAB trials that began in March in the Republic, are 98FM, Digital Audio Productions, FM104, Newstalk 106-108 FM, Phantom 105.2, Q102, RTÉ Radio, SPIN 1038, Today FM and UCB (United Christian Broadcasters). The organization is the first in the Republic to unite the public broadcaster RTÉ and commercial companies in this manner.
In all 11 stations - six national stations and five Dublin stations - are broadcasting in DAB in the Greater Dublin and North East area that includes 36% of Ireland's population.
The new body has so far only posted a brief summary of existing services and plans but says it is to offer more information in the coming months.
RTÉ has been investing around Euros 250,000 (USD 340,000) a year on digital audio broadcasting and its Radio head of operations JP Coakley said the trial is part of a three-year plan for rolling out the service. The trial is currently scheduled to run until November and Coakley said advertisers had taken the view that they needed figures to assess DAB.
Digital Radio Ireland site:
2007-05-04: CBS Corporation has reported first quarter revenues up 2% to USD 3.7 billion with increases at its Television, Publishing and Outdoor operations but radio revenue was down 9% to USD 397.5 million, put down to a combination of divestitures and general radio advertising weakness.
Net earnings for the quarter after adjustment for radio station divestitures were up 8% to USD 254 million with earnings per diluted share of 33 cents.
Without the adjustments net earnings from continuing operations for the quarter were down 5.9% to USD 213.5 million ( from 30cents to 28 cents per diluted share) including a net loss from discontinued operations of USD 7.6 million, or a loss of one cent per diluted share, reflecting the operating results of Paramount Parks, which was sold in June 2006.
In divisional terms TV revenues were up 2% to USD 2.573 billion; Publishing was up 27% to USD 229.3 million; and Outdoor was up 2% to USD 462.3 million with radio as already noted down 9%.
Divisional operating income figures were USD 350.1 million for TV (down 9%0; USD 156.8 million for radio (down 9%); USD 47.0 million for outdoor (Up 6%) whilst for publishing the increase - from USD 3.7 million to USD 21.4 million - is put down as not meaningful.
Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone said he was "very pleased" with the performance, adding, "Strong free cash flow growth and an increase in adjusted earnings per share reflect the strength and vitality of our businesses. CBS creates some of the most popular content in the world, and we're beginning to monetize it effectively with new distribution platforms. I am very confident that Leslie [Moonves] and his team will continue to create value for shareholders by building our core operations while capitalizing upon interactive opportunities."
President and CEO Leslie Moonves said the quarter "quarter showcased CBS's ability to leverage our broad, mass audiences into solid financial results."
He added, "The success of the Super Bowl, Final Four, Grammys as well as our overall schedule proved that our core broadcasting business is strong, a position that is strengthening as interactive technologies become mainstream. To this end, we created the CBS Interactive Audience Network to greatly increase the reach of our core content, and to secure new platforms that can help us create next-generation content as well. What's more, we continue to invest in online and interactive companies that complement our core businesses."
Moonves also noted the payment of dividends and repurchase of shares - to date CBS has reduced the number of its outstanding shares by 7%, primarily through the repurchase of 47 million shares.
CBS noted that is has now completed the sales of stations in five of the ten markets where it had put them up for sale with the deals closing in four of the markets during the first quarter. In four of the remaining markers where deals are yet to be closed it says radio is currently operating under local management agreements and adds that on a "same station" basis radio revenues were down 4%.
Radio OIBDA (Operating income before depreciation and amortization) and operating income it says were each down 4% - to USD 164.4 million and USD 156.8 million respectively - reflecting the impact of station sales and cost -saving initiatives as well as lower sports programming expenses. The radio results included stock-based compensation expenses of USD 3.4 million this year, up from USD 2.0 million a year earlier.
Looking ahead CBS says 2006 to 2007 figures as reported will, because of factors already noted such as higher expenses for stock-based compensation and divestitures, be comparable but for the long-term it is positioned to deliver low single-digit revenue growth, mid single-digit operating income growth and high single-digit growth in earnings per share.
Entravision has reported revenues for the first quarter up 7% on a year ago to USD 63.9 million with operating expenses up 3% and corporate expenses up 2%: Its free cash flow more than doubled - up 267% to USD 6.65 million ( from two to six cents per basic and diluted share) but overall it went from net income of USD 12.12 million to a loss of USD 3.19 million ( from a positive figure applicable to common shareholders of 11 cents to a negative three cents per basic and diluted share ). The 2006 figures had included a gain of USD 19.31 million on the sale of assets.
Chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa said of the results, "We entered 2007 with strong momentum across all of our operating segments as we continued to execute on our business plan to maximize the growth potential of our assets. Our robust first quarter performance reflects our ability to convert our audience share growth into advertising revenues. We are very well positioned to continue to benefit as more and more advertisers seek to penetrate our fast-growing, densely populated Hispanic markets. Going forward, we will continue to explore opportunities to enhance our asset base as we seek to further improve our operating leverage and strengthen our footprint in the nation's most attractive Hispanic markets."
Entravision said that excluding the contributions a year ago from the sale of its Tucson and Dallas radio stations that year, its net revenue would have been up by USD 5.5 million of which USD 2.8 million was from its TV operations, USD 900,000 from its radio operations and USD 300,000 from its outdoor operations. Overall it said the increase was primarily attributable to an increase in inventory sold, partially offset by a decrease in net revenue of USD1.5 million from the Tucson and Dallas radio stations that it sold.
Pro-forma figures excluding Tucson and Dallas showed TV revenues up 8% to USD 36.79 million, radio up 14% to USD 20.10 million and outdoor up 5% to USD 7.03 million with the total up 9% to USD 63.93 million. Pro-forma consolidated EBITDA was up 17% to USD 17.23 million.
For the second quarter of this year Entravision is forecasting flat net revenues with operating expenses up by low to mid single-digit percentages compared to a year earlier. It also noted "difficult revenue comparisons over the second quarter of 2006 due to significant revenue earned for World Cup and political in 2006."
2007-05-04: Virgin Radio Digital Media Director James Cridland has jumped ship to the BBC, where he will take up the post of BBC Head of Future Media and Technology, Audio & Music on 9 July.
He is one of three appointments made to the Future Media and Technology department.
The others are of Erik Huggers, who leaves Microsoft - where he launched the MSN portals in the Benelux countries and went on to lead the European business development efforts of Windows Media Technologies - to become BBC Future Media and Technology Group Controller from July 21, and Paul Dale, who joined the BBC on May 1 and was formerly at BSkyB as Technology Director for Sky Networked Media. He is named Future Media and Technology Controller for BBC Vision.
Huggers role, say the BBC is to "facilitate development of strategy between all three Future Media and Technology Controllers to ensure an appropriate and balanced overall portfolio of future media services" whilst Cridland will "contribute to the development of pan-BBC non-linear/new media strategy and provide strategic focus for new media technology within BBC Audio & Music and prioritise investment and resource relating to new media technology in that group as well as across the BBC's portfolio."
Dale's remit will include "board level point of liaison for strategy between Future Media & Technology and BBC Vision" and he will also line manage all future media designers and technologists based in the BBC Vision group.
Cridland said he'd had a "great time" during his six years at SMG-owned Virgin and was "hugely proud" of his team's achievements there in pioneering online radio.
2007-05-04: Current BBC 1Xtra weekday lunchtime host Nesha (the station has a penchant for using just one host name) broadcasts her last broadcast today and is to be replaced from Monday with Max, who was signed up by the station in December last year.
Since then she has deputized in various slots and hosted the station's Top 50 of 2006 show. Max, who hosted the last series of MTV's TRL, said she was "thrilled at the opportunity to be part of the team at 1Xtra. There's amazing energy here - the presenters are as passionate about music as the listeners, and there's a real sense of fun and excitement."
Nesha, who is leaving the station said, "I've had four fantastic years at 1Xtra. I'm really going to miss the listeners, and the team here, but I'm really looking forward to exploring new opportunities."
2007-05-03: Clear Channel has posted an update on its divestitures saying it has now entered into definitive agreements to sell 362 radio stations in 72 markets for a total consideration of approximately USD 820 million, an additional 201 stations in 38 markets over and above the totals it issued on April 26: In all the company put 448 stations in 88 markets up for sale and it says it expects to close the transactions so far agreed during the second half of this year and is still pursuing the sale of the remaining 86 stations in 16 markets.
Overall it says it expected net proceeds of USD 730 million for these agreed sales that with its TV Division sale that it announced last month will take the grand total to around USD 1.875 billion after tax.
The company notes that the deals are not contingent on proposals for the company to be taken over by private equity groups led by Thomas H. Lee and Bain Capital for USD 19.5 billion. This deal is still facing significant opposition from some larger shareholders and Reuters reports that despite the bid being increased from USD 37.60 to USD 39 per share last month (See RNW Apr 19) proxy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), which had in March urged shareholders to vote against the original offer (See RNW Mar 30) on Tuesday urged a vote against the improved offer.
The deal must gain approval from two thirds of Clear Channel's shareholders not just of those voting and Reuters comments that with ISS "holding sway over nearly 20 percent of Clear Channel's shareholders, the odds for a takeover do not look good." Following the ISS advice it says media analyst John Blackledge told his JP Morgan Securities clients to follow suit.
The New York Post reporting on the possibility that the takeover will fail says it would be the largest ever leveraged buyout to be rejected by shareholders and notes that were this to happen Goldman Sachs will forfeit much of its USD 49 million success fee and other advisers will lose nearly USD 500 million in fees. In addition Clear Channel will have to pay T.H. Lee and Bain USD 45 million and they could also, should the company be sold to anyone else in the next year, be in line for a USD 200 million fee.
Previous Clear Channel:
2007-05-03: Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. has announced first quarter revenues up 13.7% on a year ago to USD 30.8 million with station operating income up 16.9% to USD 8.6 million but net income was down 31.5% to USD 1.1 million (from seven cents to five cents per diluted share), put down primarily to a USD 1.6 million rise in interest expense related to the expiration of interest rate swap agreements; additional borrowings to partially fund the acquisition of KDWN-AM, Las Vegas, and WJBR-FM, Wilmington; and increased interest rates.
The revenue increase came primarily from KDWN and WJBR plus improvements in six of the nine markets in which Beasley operates and on a same station basis Beasley said revenues were 6.1% higher at USD 28.7 million with same station operating income up 8.5% to USD 7.9 million.
Chairman and CEO George G Beasley noted growth through the acquisitions and within its existing stations - " including double digit gains at our clusters in Las Vegas, Ft. Myers-Naples and Augusta and improvements in Miami and Philadelphia " and "reflecting the operational, personnel and programming changes made at many of our station clusters."
"Not only did our first quarter performance exceed the revenue guidance provided at the time we reported our fourth quarter results," he said, " but the 6.1% same station revenue improvement is expected to significantly outpace industry growth during the period."
Beasley has continued its share repurchase programme, buying some 164,030 shares in the quarter to take the total repurchased since it began the programme three years ago to around 1.1 million shares at a cost of around USD 9.9 million.
Looking ahead Beasley says it expects second quarter revenues to be up 5% on a year ago but same station revenues to be down 2%.
Previous George Beasley:
2007-05-03: Westwood One has announced the appointment of eight Senior Vice Presidents to the Metro Networks sales team as part of what it terms Metro Networks process to target and serve local and regional sponsors.
The announcement came from Westwood One Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Operations, Sal Siino and all the new SVPs will report directly to him.
The eight named are:
Michael O'Neil - SVP, Sales- New England and Southeast Region. To be based in Boston.
Fred Bennett - SVP, Sales- Mid-Atlantic Region. To be based in New York.
Dave Smith - SVP, Sales- New York Region. To be based in New York.
Karen Henderson - SVP, Sales- Southern Region. To be based in Louisville
Marc Rochman - SVP, Sales- Midwest Region. To be based in Chicago.
Peter Connolly - SVP, Sales- Central Region. To be based in Detroit.
Larry Urena - SVP, Sales- Southern California and Las Vegas Region. . To be based in Los Angeles.
David Mcllwaine - SVP, Sales- Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest Region. To be based in Denver.
Previous Westwood One:
2007-05-03: Fired former CBS radio host Don Imus is gearing up for a legal fight to get paid USD 40 million left on his five-year contract with the broadcaster according to a report from Fortune posted by CNN. It says that the host's contract contained a clause saying that he had to be warned before being fired for making off-colour jokes, what an unnamed source described as a "dog has one- bite clause."
The report says that both CBS and Imus declined comment but its source said a lawsuit could be filed within a month: Imus has hired New York-based attorney Martin Garbus, a member of the law firm Davis & Gilbert who is widely recognized as one of the country's most able First Amendment lawyers.
CBS lawyers, says the report, contend that Imus was fired for cause and is not owed the balance of his contract: It quotes Washington, D.C.-based attorney Lynne Bernabei as saying, "I'm sure CBS has something about conduct - that he can't use profanity and has to abide by FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulations" and building on this suggests the legal argument could turn on any previous warnings issued to the host and whether the comments are profanity under FCC guidelines that on the agency web site is defined as "including language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance."
2007-05-03: WorldSpace has announced that it has signed a contract with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS to develop a receiver reference design (or blueprint) for the European market.
It intends to roll out services in Europe on a region-by-region basis starting with Italy, where in January it announced an agreement between is subsidiary WorldSpace Italia, S.p.A. and Telecom Italia for the latter to design and deploy a terrestrial repeater network throughout Italy for use with the service (See RNW Jan 26), and to include France, Germany, Poland, Spain, and Turkey.
Its European receiver will be the first satellite-terrestrial hybrid receiver developed to comply with the satellite digital radio (SDR) standard, newly established by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and would enable reception from a combination of satellites and terrestrial repeater networks.
Michael Schlicht, programme manager satellite radio at Fraunhofer IIS, said the two companies had worked together for more than ten years "on a number of satellite radio initiatives including the development of a 'proof-of-concept' for WorldSpace's overall satellite radio system, to the development and implementation of the technology used for the terrestrial retransmission of the satellite signal on the ground."
2007-05-02: Sirius Satellite Radio says that in the first quarter of this year it too two-thirds of new satellite subscribers, adding 556,490 to take its subscriber total to 6,581,045 and driving revenue up 61% - USD 75.6 million - on a year ago to a record USD 204 million.
Most subscriber additions came from automakers' installations - 364,674 OEM additions - a 62% market share- and 192,978 from retail channels- a 76% market share: Advertising revenue fell from USD 7.34 million to USD 6.72 million, a fall CEO Mel Karmazin in the company conference call attributed to the boost Howard Stern's arrival produced last year. He added that ad revenues for the second quarter are around a fifth higher than last year.
Overall Sirius remained in net loss but this was down by 68% on a year ago at USD 144.7 million (Down from 33 cents a share to ten cents a share) and its adjusted net loss, excluding stock-based compensation, was down by 31% to USD 120.5 million (From 13 cents per share to eight cents).
The adjusted net loss from operations was down by 38.6% to USD 84 million mainly because of the increase in revenues - up by USD 77.3 million whilst operating expenses only rose by USD 24.7 million.
For the whole year Sirius is sticking with its previous guidance of total revenues to approach USD 1 billion; total subscribers to top 8 million by year end; and Subscriber Addition Coast (SAC) per gross subscriber addition to be approximately USD 95 compared to USD 104 for the first quarter of this year. It also noted that it now has new exclusive agreements with Lincoln, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Audi, MINI and Mercedes Benz USA, all of whom will make its receivers standard equipment on some models.
Karmazin, who described Sirius as the "fastest growing radio company in the United States" said the results showed the company "off to a great start" to the year, adding, "Sirius once again led the satellite radio segment in net subscriber additions marking the sixth straight quarter of leadership. At the same time, we increased revenue by 61% and reduced our net loss by 68% from last year's first quarter. We are very pleased with our strong operating results and we are on track to meet our 2007 guidance."
Regarding the planned merger with XM - which many analysts are not convinced will gain regulatory approval - Karmazin said, "Sirius is excited about the pending merger with XM. The audio entertainment market has changed dramatically since we received our licenses in 1997 and consumers now have a dizzying and ever-expanding array of options to choose from. We believe the merger makes sense for consumers and stockholders and we are confident that the transaction will be completed by the end of 2007."
Sirius stock, which had risen 2.3% in pre-market trading, ended the day 3% down at USD 2.87.
2007-05-02: Two leading BBC breakfast personalities - John Humphrys of the BBC Radio 4 breakfast programme "Today" and Sir Terry Wogan, presenter of the eponymous BBC Radio 2 "Wake up to Wogan" show that runs from 07:30 to 09:30 - have agreed to stay on at the Corporation for a further two years according to the UK Guardian.
Humphrys, at 65 the younger of the two and the winner of this year's Sony Award as News Journalist of the Year (See RNW May 1), has hinted in the past that he would stand down at the end of his current contract. Following the revelation that he was to stay he told the paper the new contract "will definitely be my last. But I have said that for the last four contracts".
The Today Programme with an audience of more than 6 million a week is the UK's most popular news programme whilst Wogan's show, with 8 million, is the msot popular breakfast show.
Wogan, who is 70 and whose retirement has also been the subject of speculation, was far more definite about staying on the air.
"I have signed a new contract until 2009," he told MediaGuardian.co.uk. "And if I am spared, I will continue until hell freezes over."
UK Guardian report:
2007-05-02: Some 300 people attended Monday's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) field hearing in Tampa on media ownership with many of those present saying that there was already too much consolidation according to the Tampa Tribune.
All five commissioners were present with the Republicans led by chairman Kevin J. Martin making fairly bland opening remarks along the lines of their comments at previous hearings and the two Democrats emphasising the concentration of media in the Tampa market where a few companies dominate the market: Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein noted that two companies controlled half the TV revenue; three radio companies almost 90% of the revenue and four control 73% of its news market with one controlling a third.
"As alarming as these numbers are," said Adelstein. "Tampa is better positioned than many of the major markets in the country based on today's very concentrated standards. You are one of the few markets with two viable major daily, local newspapers."
His fellow Democrat Michael J. Copps expanded on the theme, leading into it by citing comments from Walter Cronkite on how the quality of his news reporting in Houston as a reporter for the Houston Press was improved by his editor's comparison of his work with reports in the rival Chronicle.
Speaking of the Tampa market, Copps said, "...imagine just for a moment, that either the Times or the Tribune went away and the remaining paper, now a monopoly, also owned eight radio stations, three television stations, the cable channels and the largest local internet site. What would happen to the quality of the media then? What would happen to the diversity of voices?"
He then took up the issue of minorities in the media, saying, "Right now, Latinos and African Americans in Tampa make up almost 50% of the population. We need to be asking how local coverage is meeting the needs of these and many other diverse communities. My guess is we need to do a better job of it - a much better job. You know, minorities are now nearly a third of our country's total population, but people of colour own just 3.2% of the full-power commercial television stations and only about 2% of total broadcast assets. Could it be this is why minority interests and issues don't get covered very well? Could it be this is why minorities are so often caricatured and stereotyped in news stories? Our media have an obligation to reflect our country's diversity. They have an obligation to nourish our country's diversity. It's a job not getting done. "
He moved on from this to attack the previous FCC chairman Michael K. Powell, saying, "Getting back for a moment to the world I asked you to imagine where there are a few corporate giants owning all the major outlets. That's exactly the world that former FCC Chairman Michael Powell envisioned three years ago when he rammed new rules through the Commission to loosen the few remaining controls we had against further consolidation. What he didn't expect was three million people contacting the FCC to voice their outrage. Congress joined in and then the U.S. Court of Appeals decided those rules were badly flawed and sent them back to us. Lesson One: Citizen action can still make a difference and even carry the day, provided it's passionate, organized and determined. Lesson Two: With the FCC having all these rules teed up again, the need for citizen vigilance is just as urgent."
Amongst others speaking at the meeting the Tribune reported that Bill Carey, general manager of WFTS-TV and incoming president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, said that anyone with a computer could "compete to serve the local audience", adding that these new outlets were serious competitors for news and showed that traditional media companies needed more flexible rules.
The Tribune also reported that several media representatives argued in favour of cross-ownership of news outlets, saying combined resources allow them to distribute stories to whatever platform is most timely or appropriate. [RNW comment: And of course not bother chasing things as much as they might under the spur of competition!].
Arguing on the other side Steve Erlanger, publisher of Hometown News newspapers on the east coast of Florida said his company has grown in three years to 19 hyper-local newspapers with a circulation of 520,000 copies, a success that showed the appeal of local news.
"What could happen is that major media companies could own the market and put the competition out of business," he said.
Amongst other comments the tribune reports a standing ovation for Robert Dardenne, a former reporter and professor of journalism and media studies at USF St. Petersburg who said, "The FCC rules now narrow the range of viewpoints, and we are overfed Anna Nicole Smith and starved for alternative perspectives on war and how can we become better citizens? We are asked not to think, but to consume."
Tampa Tribune report:
2007-05-02: The BBC has announced a demonstration - at the MIX07 conference in Las Vegas - of how it could add extra functions to its Radio 1 website using Web 2.0 technologies.
A prototype was developed using Microsoft Silverlight software and the new Windows Live Messenger application in conjunction with Siemens, AKQA and Ioko and Executive Producer bbc.co.uk, Jason DaPonte said it shows how the corporation could "enable audiences to enhance their online identity by receiving and creating content packages or 'badges'. These could include music video, pictures and exclusive BBC interviews from their favourite bands or music events. As the user's online footprint expands, Radio 1 would be able to recognise their tastes and offer them even more of what they like. Prototypes such as this illustrate the BBC's commitment to providing online services that are more open, personal and participatory than ever before, using the latest technologies to engage younger audiences."
[RNW comment: By which, stripping away the jargon, we take it he means people can set rules to create a package that the BBC can then put together for them and allow them to share with friends and that from what they choose the Corporation can refine future offering to more closely fit their preferences. As we understand it the prototype allows people to text their Microsoft Messenger details to a dedicated BBC number allowing the Corporation to make the relevant package available next time they log in to Messenger.]
2007-05-02: Arbitron, which introduced its e-Diary, which allowed diary keepers to file their diaries using an electronic form, for the Winter 2007 Book (See RNW Nov 1, 2006), has now suspended its operation after it wound that it was having a negative effect rather than being a benefit.
In a note sent to customers in the markets involved it said that the system has a "negative impact on return rate" and added, "We identified this issue during the survey and placed additional sample in the last month to meet our quarterly sample target commitments."
The company said only around one in twenty diary keepers chose to use the system and the problems did not affect the reliability of the survey. It added that it regretted the problem because it had expected positive results from the introduction of the eDiary but had now suspended its use starting with the Spring 2007 survey and would not redeploy it until it was "comfortable" that this would not negatively affect the return and response rates
2007-05-01: GCap Media's Classic FM has taken this year's Sony "Station of the Year" award, beating off competition from BBC Radios 2 and 1 and another commercial station, Gaydar Radio has taken the "Digital Station of the Year" Sony against competition from FUN Radio and the BBC Asian Network.
Overall the BBC took 24 of the 33 awards and BBC Radio 4 performed most strongly taking seven Golds in all.
The top individual awards went to Paul Gambaccini, who took The Gold Award, and the late John Peel who took The Broadcasters' Broadcaster Award.
Amongst local stations, Emap's Radio City took the Gold for stations with a potential audience of a million plus; BBC Radio Derby took the Gold for stations with a potential audience from 300,000 to one million; and The Local Radio Company's Isle of Wight Radio took the Gold for stations with a potential audience below 300,000.
In Personality Awards, Colin Murray of BBC Radio 1 took the Music Broadcaster Of The Year Gold; Chris Evans of BBC Radio 2, took the Music Radio Personality Of The Year Gold; John Humphrys of BBC Radio 4's Today Programme took the News Journalist Of The Year Gold with his colleague Mike Thomson taking the Silver in the category: Humphrys commented when accepting the award that it should have gone to one of the BBC's overseas correspondents, saying in reference to his spell reporting from Iraq that they were "doing what I did for one week, day after day, week after week, month after month"; Eddie Nestor of BBC Radio London took the Speech Broadcaster Of The Year Gold with Humphrys taking the Silver; and Francis Currie of Chrysalis Radio's Heart FM took the Station Programmer Of The Year Gold.
The Programme Golds went to BBC Radio 4's "Today Programme" - The Breakfast Show Award; BBC Radio 2's "Mark Radcliffe Show" - The Music Programme Award; BBC Asian Network's "Friction" - The Specialist Music Programme Award; BBC Radio Five Live's "Five Live Breakfast" - the News & Current Affairs Programme Award (the Today Show took the Silver); BBC Radio Five Live's "Sportsweek" - The Sports Programme Award (The station's "Five Live Sport" took the Silver); BBC Radio 4/ Whistledown Productions' "The Reunion" presented by Sue McGregor - The Speech Programme Award (The station's "PM" programme took the Silver); BBC Radio 4's "PM" programme - The Interactive Programme Award; and BBC Radio 2's "Chris Evans Show" - The Entertainment Award.
In the Production Awards category Golds went to BBC Radio 4's "Lorilei" - The Drama Award; BBC Radio 4's "1966 And All That" - The Comedy Award; BBC Radio 2/Smooth Operations' "Radio Ballads 2006 - The Song Of Steel" - The Feature Award; BBC Radio 2/Just Radio's "Malcolm McLaren's Musical Map of London" - The Music Special Award ; BBC Radio 4/Whistledown Productions' "Letters from Guantanamo Bay" - The News Feature Award; BBC Radio London's "The London Tornado" - The Breaking News Award; Emap's Magic 1152 & "The Alan Shearer Testimonial" - The Live Event Coverage Award ; BBC Radio Berkshire's "The Plot" - The Community Award; BBC Radio Five Live's "The Ashes" - The Promo Award; SMG's Virgin Radio & "Who's Calling Christian?" presented by Christian O'Connell - The Competition Award; GCap Media's Planet Rock - The Station Imaging Award; and Wise Buddah Talent for firinsquad.co.uk "Firin' Squad Unsigned Podcast" - The Internet Programme Award.
Previous Sony Awards:
Sony Awards web site:
*Sony Gold Awards 2007
2007-05-01: Following a deal with Universal Classics and Jazz (UCJ) GCap Media's national digital jazz station, theJazz is to launch its own record label with the first album to be released in June.
The first two albums will be compilations - "Come Into The Cool ", a two-CD compilation of jazz tracks another 2-CD compilation "The Very Best of Latin Jazz."
theJazz managing director Darren Henley said of the move, "Like Classic FM [GCap's national classical music station], theJazz will be a truly multi-platform brand. We're delighted to be working with UCJ, the UK's most successful jazz record company, on the first of these brand extensions."
UCJ managing director Dickon Stainer, who negotiated the deal with GCap's Head of Commercial Enterprises Giles Pearman, said it would give the label "a unique opportunity to develop new markets for jazz music, traditional and contemporary," adding, "theJazz is a fantastic platform for jazz artists of all kinds."
Previous GCap Media:
2007-05-01: Long-time St Louis DJ Roderick G. "Rod" King, - dubbed "Dr. Jockenstein" by musician George Clinton after King emceed one of the Parliament-Funkadelic concerts in St. Louis- has died aged 55 following a long illness and a 2002 stroke from which he never fully recovered..
During some three decades King, who began his St Louis area career on WESL-AM in East St Louis following an internship at KATZ-AM, worked at KATZ-AM and FM among other stations, ending his radio career hosting a Saturday afternoon "slammin jammin oldies" programme on KMJM-FM.
St Louis Post-Dispatch report:
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