September 2007 Archive
- August 2007 - October 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 August comment - Could technological development kill off broadcast media as we know them? Recent surveys on demographic and listening changes make us gloomier than 18 months ago.
RNW July comment -Looks at regulation in other countries in the light of attacks on the idea of reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine in the US and concludes that other factors are much more important in affecting effective freedom of speech.
RNW June comment - Boycotts and pork or a business approach. We suggest that a single royalty rate for digital - or analogue - audio is nonsense and that the system should be changed to provide tiered charges and a choice of collection agencies.
2007-09-30: Last week saw no major issues raised by the regulators with the main point we noted relating to comments made at the NAB Radio Show by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin about the US satellite radio merger, the satellite radio companies' supply of equipment that caused interference and their alleged siting of repeater towers in incorrect locations (See RNW Sep 28) rather than regulator decisions as such.
In general there was a steady flow of radio-related postings but not on major issues although in Australia there was a move forward on digital radio with a call by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for comments on its plans to issue digital multiplex licences in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (three multiplexes each) and Adelaide, Hobart and Perth (two multiplex each - See RNW Sep 28).
The ACMA also posted details of a further cash-for-comment decision relating to John Laws and Sydney 2UE where it has agreed additional compliance measures to be taken (See RNW Sep 27).
In other decisions the ACMA has proposed the lifting of additional licence conditions it imposed on Darwin community radio service, Radio Larrakia in 1998 when the licence was allocated to Radio Larrakia Association.
These required it to include Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association and Larrakia Nation on its board and sub-committees and to open membership to all Darwin residents.
Radio Larrakia has now submitted a proposed constitution and requested that ACMA revoke the additional licence conditions and Acting ACMA Chair Lyn Maddock said the Authority considered that in terms of the goal of ensuring that "that Radio Larrakia met the existing and perceived future needs of the broader indigenous community in Darwin" the proposed constitution was a "more efficient and effective method of ensuring representation."
The AMCA has asked for submissions on the matter, to be received by October 4, before taking any final decision.
In New South Wales the Authority is not renewing the licence community radio broadcasting licence held by Armidale Community Radio Co-Operative Ltd since 1976. This licence expires on October 3 and is the only community service for the area: The ACMA says it has invited the licensee to apply for a temporary community broadcasting licence to start from the day after the licence expires but the frequency may have to be shared with other temporary broadcasters.
Maddock commented that the "'ACMA has significant concerns about whether the licensee's service meets the needs of the general community in the Armidale licence area, and also that the licensee has not satisfactorily identified and monitored the community's needs."
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) gave Astral Media the go-ahead to become Canada's largest radio broadcaster with 83 stations in eight provinces through the takeover of Standard Radio's stations and also approved the Rogers Media purchase of CHUM's Citytv stations whose disposal it had required to approve the CTVGlobemedia (CTVgm) acquisition of CHUM (See RNW Sep 29).
The CRTC also posted corrections to some fairly minor errors in previous postings and approved a new 49 watts FM transmitter at Sioux Lookout to broadcast the programming of CKQV-FM, Vermilion Bay, Ontario
There were no radio decisions from Ireland although the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now posted its General Advertising Code ( a 44 page 506 KB) PDF on its website.
Iin the UK, Ofcom also had a fairly quiet week although it did post its latest Broadcasting Bulletin in which it upheld no radio complaints (See RNW Sep 26).
In the US, as noted the issues of the satellite radio merger came up again in addition to which it has extended from October 1 and 16 respectively to October 22 and November 1 respectively the deadlines for filing comments and reply comments on its media ownership studies.
The FCC also issued or proposed a number of penalties including (in descending order of amount):
USD 7,000 notice of apparent liability for forfeiture (NALF) to Robert J. & Katherine M. Bohn, licensees of KCNQ-FM, Kernville, California for failure to file licence renewal in time and continued operation after expiry of the licence. It also renewed the licence
*USD 7,000 notice of apparent liability for forfeiture (NALF) to Robert J. & Katherine M. Bohn, licensees of KVLI-FM, Lake Isabella, California for failure to file licence renewal in time and continued operation after expiry of the licence. It also renewed the licence
*USD 7,000 notice of apparent liability for forfeiture (NALF) to Robert J. & Katherine M. Bohn, licensees of KQAB-AM, Lake Isabella, California for failure to file licence renewal in time and continued operation after expiry of the licence. It also renewed the licence.
USD 750 notice of apparent liability for forfeiture (NALF) to Home Town Communications, Inc, licensee of low power FM KWSP-LP, Kerrville, Texas for failure to file licence renewal in time. It also renewed the licence
USD 250 notice of apparent liability for forfeiture (NALF) to KSUN Community Radio, licensee of low power FM KSBP-LP, Parachute, Colorado for failure to file licence renewal in time and continued operation after expiry of the licence USD 250 each for the late-filing and the two periods of unauthorized operation. It also renewed the licence
In a number of licence decisions it took the following actions
*Denied objections and renewed the licence of The Hopi Foundation's non-commercial educational station KUYI-FM, Hotevilla. The objection was made on the grounds that the licensee had engaged in discriminatory hiring and management practices and failed to broadcast issue-responsive programming and renewed the licence. The licensee pointed out that the station has fewer than five employees and therefore is not subject to the Commission's Equal Employment Opportunity recruitment requirements and also said no evidence was provided of its alleged bias.
*Granted with conditions an application to assign the licenses of Station WEWC-AM, Callahan, to Norsan Consulting and Management, Inc. The licence was held by of Circle Broadcasting of America, Inc. whose President, Director, and 55 percent stockholder Nestor C. Miranda was sentenced to jail for conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering, a conviction he is appealing.
The station is being sold for less than its full value because of debts it has and the conditions prohibit Nestor C. Miranda without advance notice and prior Commission consent from holding or acquiring an attributable interest in any Commission authorization or application; require that the proceeds of the sale be distributed to various listed creditors and that no payment be made to Eleonora Miranda or Amanda Miranda until these creditors' claims have been satisfied in full.
*Denied objections and granted licence renewal of Millennium Central New Jersey License Holdco, LLC.'s WKXW-FM, Trenton. The objection was made on the basis the station had broadcast defamatory statements about the Executive Director of the Monroe Township Municipal Utilities Authority, and aired a series of false and irresponsible allegations regarding the quality of drinking water in Jackson Township" but the FCC pointed out that its remit did not cover programming issues of this kind.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-09-30: Radio One Inc. is being sued by its former Indiana controller who says she was fired because of her race after she raised concerns about fraud and payola in relation to the company's financial statements.
The Indiana Business Journal reports that Denise Redding, who is black, says she was fired three months after she reported to Radio One officials that she would not sign off on the company's financial statements because she could not certify that they were valid and accurate and told Radio One's local vice president of finance, Deborah Cowen, that Radio One's local general manager, Chuck Williams, had inflated revenue reports resulting in first-quarter revenue that was not accurately reported.
She also says her review of the company's financial records convinced her Williams "may have committed payola violations and actionable fraud." Redding adds that she received positive performance reviews at Radio One until shortly after April 2006, at which time her first-quarter bonus was cut and she was fired a few months later purportedly for inadequate performance on an internal Sarbanes-Oxley review. She alleges that Williams "accorded more favourable treatment to similarly situated employees who are male and/or non-African-American."
The Journal says Williams, who is white and joined Radio One as vice president and local general manager in 2005, referred questions to corporate counsel and that an attorney with the firm that represents the company told it there was "no merit to Ms. Redding's allegations, and we believe the litigation process will reveal that."
Redding's attorney said she was seeking at least USD 82,000 in back pay, plus damages for lost benefits and emotional distress and added that they were looking forward to a "a jury trial" although he added that he didn't rule out the possibility of an out-of-court settlement.
RNW comment: The Journal report says the lawsuit does not make a clear connection between Redding's accusations and payola and its report also does not seem to indicate a clear cut case that the dismissal was linked to race or sex. There would appear to be an element of throwing as much mud as possible and we wonder how far this may be directed to gaining an out-of-court payment rather than a case of specific detail being listed to go to trial.
Previous Radio One Inc:
Indiana Business Journal report:
2007-09-29: Astral Media Inc. has now been given the formal go-ahead by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to become Canada's largest radio broadcaster with 83 stations in eight provinces through the takeover of Standard Radio's stations.
The deal is expected to complete on October 29 and involved the acquisition of most of Standard Radio's assets including its 52 radio stations in 29 provinces, IMS, a national advertising sales company; Sound Source Networks, a leading radio content service provider offering a comprehensive range of targeted programming; and two television stations located in northern British Columbia - for CAD 1.08 billion (Then USD 950 million, now USD 1.09 billion as the dollar has fallen significantly in value): It did not include assets such as the Sirius Canada Holdings that were retained by the Slaight family, Standard's owners (See RNW Apr 14).
The CRTC has also approved Rogers Media Inc's. CAD 375 million (Now USD 377 million but USD 352 million at the time of the deal's announcement) purchase of CHUM's Citytv stations whose disposal it had required to approve the CTVGlobemedia (CTVgm) acquisition of CHUM.
Originally CTVGlobemedia (formerly Bell Globemedia Inc.) had agreed to sell its A-Channel stations and certain specialty channels to Rogers Media to gain approval of the deal but the CRTC had not required this and the Citytv sale agreement replaced the previous agreement (See RNW Jun 14).
The deal gave CTVgm, which had no radio holdings, 14 AM and 20 FM radio stations from the CHUM stable (See RNW Jun 9).
Previous Rogers Media:
2007-09-29: In more UK radio results The Local Radio Company says the second half of the year is proving very encouraging and it expects like-for-like revenues to be up 7.5% year-on-year.
Executive Chairman Richard Wheatly said the steps the company had "taken to improve the performance of our network of local radio operations have begun to take effect" and added, "We are looking forward to next year with a renewed sense of optimism. We believe that our strategy to focus on the local radio market in the UK is absolutely right and that the fundamental strength of our local radio proposition will create value for shareholders in the future."
Previous Local Radio Company:
2007-09-29: Entercom's WWL-AM, New Orleans, took three Marconi Radio Awards in the 2007 awards just announced. The full list of awards, announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show hosted by talk radio personality Glenn Beck of Premiere Radio Networks, was:
WWL-AM - Legendary Station; News/Talk Station of the Year; and Medium Market Station of the Year.
WBEB-FM Philadelphia - AC Station of the Year.
WVAQ-FM, Morgantown, West Virginia - CHR Station of the Year
WGN-AM, Chicago - Major Market Station of the Year.
WIVK-FM, Knoxville, Tennessee - Country Station of the Year.
KSTP-FM, Minneapolis - Large Market Station of the Year.
WWSW-FM, Pittsburgh - Oldies Station of the Year.
WAXX-FM, Eau Claire, Wisconsin - Small Market Station of the Year.
KLTY-FM, Dallas - Religious Station of the Year.
WMMR-FM, Philadelphia - Rock Station of the Year.
KLVE-FM, Los Angeles - Spanish Station of the Year.
KTCK-AM, Dallas - Sports Station of the Year.
WHUR-FM, Washington, DC - Urban Station of the Year.
Sean Hannity, ABC Radio Networks Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.
Big Boy, KPWR-FM Burbank, California - Major Market Personality of the Year.
Chuck Collier, WGAR-FM Cleveland, Ohio - Large Market Personality of the Year.
Van & Bonnie, WHO-AM, Des Moines, Iowa - Medium Market Personality of the Year.
Mike McNamara, KNOX-AM Grand Forks, North Dakota - Small Market Personality of the Year.
Rafael Pulido, WOJO-FM, Chicago - Spanish Format Personality of the Year.
Previous Marconi Awards:
2007-09-28: US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO David K. Rehr unveiled what the association terms an "unprecedented, comprehensive marketing campaign to reposition radio for a vibrant and successful future" during his keynote address at the opening of the NAB Radio Show in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday.
The "'Radio 2020" initiative is a co-operative venture between NAB, the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), and the HD Digital Radio Alliance and in a news release NAB says to prepare for the initiative the groups "oversaw an in-depth research project -- analysing hundreds of reports, interviewing scores of radio stakeholders, fielding a dozen focus group sessions and conducting telephone research with over 5,000 consumers."
NAB says the initiative will not only address radio's greatest challenges, but will also guide us on how to explore our greatest opportunities" and added that the research showed nearly all participants said they rely heavily on radio and added, "Radio's value lies in the fact that it's accessible -- it's everywhere and portable. It's the one medium where everyone can freely and easily connect to a diverse world of entertainment and information, anywhere and everywhere."
In his speech Rehr said, "As we near commercial radio's 100th anniversary in 2020, this initiative will be our roadmap to building radio's future. Where we go from here is being packaged into a cohesive, branded program that NAB and our partners - RAB and the HD Radio Alliance - will champion. Radio 2020 will not only address our greatest challenges, but will also guide us on how to explore our greatest opportunities."
He then went on to refer to key initiatives included trying to ensure that radio signals are "available on every gadget, everywhere" and that radio reacts to what consumers want.
Rehr also said the medium needed to "do a better job of informing listeners about the great variety that radio already provides" and added, "We must remind the public why they value radio to re-ignite their passion for it. Think about this: You don't have to be wealthy to own a radio. In fact, you can buy one for a buck. You don't have a subscription fee with radio. And, you don't have to be stationary to listen to radio - it's in your car, MP3 player or headphones. What listeners love most, and what radio must promote, is how accessible, ubiquitous and easy to use radio is."
Rehr then went on to comment on legislative and regulatory issues affecting radio - concentrating on the issues that he termed "The attempt to impose a performance tax on radio"; "Efforts by Sirius and XM Satellite Radio to become a government sanctioned monopoly"; and "The Copyright Royalty Board's terrible decision on Internet royalty rates."
Regarding the first, a reference to attempts by the recording companies to gain performance royalties for music aired by terrestrial radio, Rehr commented that what was being spoken was a "government-mandated levy on radio" and said "By every definition, this is a tax."
Rehr then went on to attack the idea of a satellite radio merger - allowing what he termed a government sanctioned monopoly - and the Copyright Royalty Board rate increase for Internet streams.
RNW comment: By any normal definition we would suggest that Rehr is any or all of naïve, dishonest or ignorant as his argument concerning performance royalties for radio - the practice in most of the world is that they are paid - would logically remove copyright from the statute books. What is in fact at issue regarding this is how fair a bargain the practice of allowing radio a pass on the basis of "free play for free promotion" can be considered and what Rehr is trying to do is to upend the idea of a free market in favour of government determination of how business is conducted. Rehr's arguments in terms of the current situation may be sound in terms of the bargain making sense for both broadcasters and radio companies but his approach cannot be justified in principle and government control is an area about which there should be great caution.
On the issue of copyright royalty rates the principles are the same as should apply to all copyright, the striking of a suitable balance in the public interest so as to provide incentives for creation and at the same time not stifle it. The logic is clear- radio should pay as should others but the rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board need to strike the correct balance and it is arguable that they do not.
The NAB Radio Show was also attended by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin who at the annual "FCC" breakfast commented on issues concerning the satellite broadcasters that had been raised by NAB in the past.
Regarding the merger he re-iterated past comments about a "high threshold" that the satellite companies had to pass to show that a merger would be beneficial for consumers. He also commented about possible fines on the two companies in relation to sales of receivers that generated interference and were withdrawn from the market (See RNW ) and also about siting of terrestrial repeaters by the companies at unauthorized locations.
2007-09-28: SMG has delayed its autumn (Fall) flotation of Virgin Radio and appointed Virgin Radio's non-executive chairman, former Chrysalis chief executive Richard Huntingford, as executive chairman as executive chairman.
Huntingford takes up his role on Monday and his appointment is one of three made this week: David Connolly, former vice chairman of ad agency Starcom and former Ofcom contract rights renewal adjudicator, becomes its commercial director and earlier it had announced that David Lloyd, the former LBC managing director who was amongst five former Chrysalis executives dropped by new owner Global Radio (See RNW Sep 14) has been appointed as its programme director.
The role had been retained by Paul Jackson when he became Virgin chief executive who resigned to take over as managing director of G-Cap's London station, Capital (See RNW Sep 1), and is currently working out his notice. In addition Andy Grumbridge, formerly of Channel 4, recently joined the management team as Head of New Media (See RNW Jul 5).
SMG today reported half-year revenues for continuing operations (its TV division) marginally down - from GBP 57.9 million (USD 117.6 million) to GBP 55.6 million (USD 113 million) with statutory operating profit down from GBP 9 million (USD 18.3 million) a year earlier to USD 2.3 million (USD 4.7 million) and a statutory loss after tax of GBP 7.1 million (USD 14.4 million) compared to a 2006 profit of GBP 3.7 million profit (USD 7.3 million). It adds that its loss for the period on discontinued operations amounted to GBP 34.5 million ( USD 70.1 million ) compared to a 2006 profit of GBP 2.6 million (USD 5.3 million) with a total loss attributable to equity holders of GBP 41.6 million ( USD 84.5 million) compared to a 2006 profit of GBP 6.3 million ( USD ).
In divisional terms it reported TV results as above; Outdoor -concerning whose sale that it announced in August for up to GBP 62 million ( USD 126 million) it is calling an Extraordinary General Meeting on October 15 - revenues up 3.6% to GBP 11.5 million ( USD 23.4 million) but with operating profit halved to GBP 800,000 ( USD 1.625 million) ; radio revenues up 9% to GBP 12.1 million ( USD 24.6 million) with operating profit up 25% to GBP 2. 5 million ( USD 5.1 million); and cinema advertising revenues up 9.4% to GBP 9.3 million ( USD 18.9 million) and operating loss flat at GBP 300,000 ( USD 609,000).
SMG said its board was satisfied with the outcome - the business fetched more than had been offered during its disposal process that it suspended in April.
Regarding radio it commented that there was a strong team to drive the business forward, adding that its IPO (Initial Public Offering) or trade sale was to go ahead but had been postponed from autumn (fall).
"The board," it added "is pursuing the realisation of full value for Virgin Radio. An IPO remains an option that we will continue to explore, however, the current sentiment in equity markets has meant a revision of the timetable. We have also had significant interest from a number of parties to buy Virgin Radio and we will concentrate on moving this divestment process forward.
It noted that the division had "a strong half year, having outperformed the radio market; achieved its best performance in RAJAR's in hours and audience reach in 3 years; and is leading the field in digital listening with 20.5% of its audience being digital listeners against the industry average of 12.8%.
For the year to date, SMG says its TV and radio divisions were outperforming their respective markets with STV airtime up 5% for the third quarter, down 3% for the first nine months and down 5% for October; radio up 13% in the quarter and 10% for the first nine months with October up 8%; Cinema up 8% for the quarter and 9% for the first nine months and up 62% for October whilst outdoor was down 5% in the quarter, flat for the year so far and up 1% in October.
GCap Media and Emap reported their half-year results on Thursday and GCap shares ended the day down 3.1% after an initial surge on an upbeat update that showed like-for-like revenues in the first half up around 4% up year-on-year whilst those of Emap ended up 3.5% although its update showed revenues for the continuing group, adjusted for disposals and closures, likely to be up 1% year-on-year with underlying revenues down by the same amount.
GCap shares started the day at 212.5 pence and then moved between 200.50 pence and 214.00 pence before ending at 205.75 pence after the update that showed its radio advertising revenue has performed in line with the market. GCap noted that the year-on-year comparisons for the second quarter, when like-for-like revenues were up 6% were boosted because last year's revenues were depressed by the World Cup.
GCap has also announced that it is ending the contract with independent production company Somethin' Else to produce the Sunday afternoon chart show Hit 40 UK. It will take the show in-house from the beginning of the next year and expects to make some cost savings.
Capital DJ Lucio will continue to host the show, which is broadcast on 118 commercial stations around the country, and it will be overseen by the GCap programme director for content and digital, Pete Simmons.
Somethin' Else still retains the contract to produce commercial radio dance chart, Fresh 40, but there will be greater involvement from Kiss parent Emap.
Emap, meanwhile, in its update said trading continues to be encouraging and the Group remains on track to deliver against expectations for the full year.
First-half (to the end of this month) overall continuing group revenues it said are expected to be up 1% (down 1% underlying) with B2B up 5% in total and underlying; radio up 2% in total and underlying; and consumer magazines down 8% overall and down 7% underlying.
Emap notes that the radio figures excluding its Republic of Ireland stations are expected to be flat with London stations down 5% and its Big City network up 2%: It has agreed a sale of the Republic of Ireland stations for around GBP 135 million ( USD 270 million) and has also raised some GBP 123 million (USD 246 million) through the sale of its French B2B exhibition business, our consumer magazines business in Australia, and 50% of its TV business to a joint venture with Channel 4.
Emap also says that its board "continues to be encouraged "with the progress of the review of its group structure and "remains focused on examining all options to maximise shareholder value, including a possible sale or de-merger of some or all of the constituent parts of the Group."
Executive Chairman Alun Cathcart commented, "Overall, trading is in line with our expectations. The consumer magazine market remains challenging, although indications for the second half are more encouraging. There is real momentum in our B2B activities and tangible signs of improvement in Radio. We remain focused on examining all options to maximise shareholder value and are encouraged with the progress of the review."
Previous GCap Media:
Previous SMG (Virgin Owner):
2007-09-28: The Bush administration is to ask the US Supreme Court to re-instate penalties for fleeting indecency in broadcasts following a 2-1 majority decision by 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down the Federal Communications Commission (FCC ) policy on the matter (See RNW Jun 5).
FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin, announcing that U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement will seek Supreme Court review of the decision, said he was "pleased that the solicitor general will be seeking Supreme Court review of the 2nd Circuit's decision" and added,"I continue to support the commission's efforts to protect families from indecent language on television and radio when children are likely to be in the audience."
The Court had sent the matter, which related to decisions concerning the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards back to the FCC for further consideration, leading Martin to comment at the time, "Today, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the use of the words 'fuck' and 'shit' by Cher and Nicole Richie was not indecent. I completely disagree with the Court's ruling and am disappointed for American families. I find it hard to believe that the New York court would tell American families that "shit" and "fuck" are fine to say on broadcast television during the hours when children are most likely to be in the audience. "
He then continued, "The court even says the Commission is 'divorced from reality.' It is the New York court, not the Commission, that is divorced from reality in concluding that the word 'fuck' does not invoke a sexual connotation."
2007-09-28: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has launched a consultation on proposals to make available three multiplex transmitter licences in each city for digital radio services in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and two multiplex licences each for Adelaide, Hobart and Perth.
The plans are in draft radio proposals for multiplex licences that would provide for the digital transmission of existing wide-coverage national, commercial and community radio services and detail the number and categories of multiplex transmitter licences proposed for issue as well as the transmission frequencies and associated technical data for the main transmission sites.
Acting ACMA Chair Lyn Maddock said the release was "an important step toward the introduction of digital radio services in Australia, which are on track for a 1 January 2009 start" and added, "These digital radio channel plans will enable the radio industry and audio product manufacturers to start their planning for the introduction of digital radio with some degree of certainty."
2007-09-27: The HD Digital Radio Alliance has followed the release by Paragon Media of a March survey that showed under half of Americans were aware of iBiquity's HD radio with the results of a later survey - a phone survey conducted this month by Critical Mass Media - that says 77% of Americans were in fact aware of HD. It also said that nearly a third were interested in HD.
It also attacked the Paragon study, which was conducted online, as "unreliable" and its President and CEO Peter Ferrara said in a news release, "This study clearly shows the significant momentum HD Radio continues to build on a real-time basis. Programming variety, less talk and fewer interruptions are helping to drive awareness and interest as a whole. Although, we still have work to do in increasing consumer awareness and interest, HD Radio has clearly grown exponentially the past year."
The survey release came as the Alliance and Ford announced that the automobile company is to make HD available as a dealer-installed option on almost all of its 2008 model year vehicles from Ford, Lincoln and Mercury.
The announcement makes Ford the first automaker to offer HD so widely: Ford also said that HD will be available immediately as a dealer-installed option on new, pre-owned and currently-owned vehicles.
RNW comment: It may well be that the last six months has seen significant increase in the awareness of HD and accounts for the discrepancy in the two surveys but we are sceptical about what the 77% figure means and the Alliance as far as we can see has posted only the details it sees positive for it about the methodology and questions asked in the latest survey.
If the Alliance is correct there will be a major increase in HD purchases by the end of the year and the proof will be there: If on the other hand very few receivers are purchased during the holiday season, the surveys are irrelevant as regards the success of the technology.
Previous HD Digital Radio Alliance:
2007-09-27: GCap Media has set noon on November 29th as the launch date for its Xfm South Wales station that will broadcast from the same Cardiff site as sister station Red Dragon FM. Around GBP 1 million ( USD 2 million) is to be spent on the station launch and announcements are to be made soon on its planned DJ line-up..
It won the licence in May and has already been involved in event sponsorship in the region including the sponsorship of Festival24 that it has taken over from Red Dragon and Xfm managing director, Nick Davidson said that the launch would be "followed up within days by one of the biggest music events the area has ever seen - Winter Wonderland."
Xfm is already on FM in London, Manchester and Scotland and is also available nationally in the UK through digital TV platforms and the internet and is also on digital multiplexes covering most major cities in the UK.
Previous GCap Media:
2007-09-27: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has wrapped up the latest saga of the cash-for-comment that broke in 1999 when a number of Australia's best-known talk hosts were found to have been presenting material as editorial concerning companies by whom they were being paid.
This led to various rule changes including requirements for disclosure of financial interests and notice to the regulator of any commercial agreements within 14 days of them being made.
The latest case concerns an agreement between John Laws, morning host for Southern Cross Broadcasting's Sydney 2UE, and communications company Telstra: 2UE had posted details on the station web site but failed to provide written notification to ACMA.
The breach arose in relation to discussion on Laws programme in August 2006 about the Telstra T3 share offer and the ACMA notes that the privatization was discussed in detail on six occasions during the programme but Laws did not make a disclosure announcement.
ACMA has now accepted an enforceable undertaking from 2UE that requires the licensee to have its compliance with the Compliance Program Standard and the enforceable undertaking externally audited every six months, and to report the results of these audits to ACMA. The licensee must also report six-monthly on its compliance with the notification provisions in the Disclosure Standard: In addition the licensee has undertaken to monitor each broadcast of The John Laws Morning Show to ensure the required disclosure announcements are made, and if not, the licensee will cause one to be broadcast as soon as possible during the program and report to ACMA within 72 hours. The licensee has also undertaken to appoint an external person to audit and report to ACMA fortnightly on its compliance with the disclosure announcement provisions in relation to The John Laws Morning Show.
Previous Southern Cross:
2007-09-26: Clear Channel shareholders have approved the USD 19.5 billion buy-out of the company by a private equity group led by T.H. Lee Partners, L.P. and Bain Capital Partners, LLC. that had offered USD 39.20 per share (with an option to exchange some shares for a share in the new company subject to aggregate and individual caps) - with additional consideration if the deal closes after December 31.
Clear Channel said in a news release that more than 73% of votes outstanding and entitled to vote at a special shareholders meeting held on Tuesday were cast in favour and adds that preliminary tabulation indicates that approximately 98% of the shares voted were cast in favour.
No details have been released of how many shareholders opted to exchange part of their holding for shares in the new company.
Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays said the board was "pleased with the outcome" and added that they looked forward to completing the transaction "as quickly as possible."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2007-09-26: HD radio has hit the 1,500 station mark with the addition of Clear Channel's WROV-FM, Roanoke, Virginia (The Rock of Virginia) according to iBiquity Digital Corporation but despite the hype a survey from Paragon Media Strategies indicates that most Americans were still unaware of the technology six months ago..
Among 707 respondents to an online survey it conducted in March this year only 42% said they had heard of HD, less than half the 85% who had heard of Internet Radio and 87% who had heard of satellite radio.
There was also ignorance about what HD was - 32% of respondents said that Sirius and XM were examples of HD - although 72% said they thought a special receiver was needed and 59% said it was untrue that all radio stations "broadcast in HD". Women had heard of HD far less than men - 59% of males said they had heard of HD and 35% that they had not whilst only 26% of women said they had heard of HD compared to 63% who had not.
In response to further questions - after Paragon had given a description of HD that included statements that it carried no subscription fees, could double or triple the number of stations available, and improve quality significantly - 62% said they would be interested in purchasing an HD receiver but the interest was very dependant on price. When the price was put at USD 200 the percentage who said they would be "somewhat" or "Very likely" to purchase an HD receiver was 36% but it jumped to 81% when the price was put at USD 40.
The poll would appear to have been self-selective with a bias in favour of HD - 34 people amongst those who responded owned an HD receiver (4.7%, which would if scaled up mean millions of receivers rather than thousands sold nationally in the US).
Of those who did own a receiver 61% said they got better audio quality [RNW comment - a check of various technical sites indicates that in fact a high quality FM signal and reception equipment will in fact deliver better audio], 13% appreciated extra channels and 9% cited fewer or no commercials as a main reason for listening to an HD station.
2007-09-26: Jones MediaAmerica retained top rank ranking in the RADAR 94 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience rankings just released by Arbitron and covering the period from June 29, 2006 - June 27, 2007.
Its new MAI Adult Power was No 1 - previously it had been Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network - followed by the ABC Daytime Direction Network that it finally pushed out of top spot in the RADAR 93 survey and the Westwood WON I Network. Premiere's top network, the Premiere Morning Drive Network was seventh, up a rank from the previous survey.
It was followed by the ABC Daytime Direction Network that it finally pushed out of top spot in the RADAR 93 survey and the Westwood WON I Network. Premiere's top network, the Premiere Morning Drive Network was seventh, up a rank from the previous survey.
There were no rank changes in the overall top five networks in the survey, which were:
There were no rank changes in the overall top five networks in the survey, which were:
1 - Jones MAI Adult Power, which lost 23,000 listeners compared with predecessor, the Jones MediaAmerica TWC Radio Network - to end with an average audience of 6.646 million and an AQH unchanged at 2.7.
2 - ABC Daytime Direction Network, which lost 156,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 6.445 million and an AQH unchanged at 2.6
3 - Westwood WON I Network, which lost 489,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.712 million and an AQH down from 2.5 to 2.3.
4 - Dial Global Complete FM Network, which lost 118,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.532 million and an AQH down from 2.2 to 2.1.
5 - ABC Prime Access Radio Network, which lost 111,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.144 million and an AQH down from 2.1 to 2.0.
Previous Citadel (Formerly Disney)/ABC, America:
Previous Jones MediaAmerica:
Previous Premiere Networks:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 93):
Previous Westwood One:
2007-09-26: UK media regulator Ofcom upholds no radio complaints in its latest Broadcast Bulletin that upheld standards complaints concerning four TV items and gave details of another TV standard complaint not upheld and also partly upheld a TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint and gave details of three other such complaints not upheld.
Ofcom also listed without details 104 complaints against 84 TV items and 11 radio complaints against 11 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 149 TV complaints involving 120 items and 22 radio complaints involving 21 items that were out of its remit or not upheld in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2007-09-25: Clear Channel shareholders are due to vote today on the company's plan to sell itself off to a private equity consortium led by from Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, a vote that has been delayed four times but is expected to gain approval.
Since the first vote was postponed in March as it became clear it was likely to be rejected (See RNW Mar 15) capital markets have become tougher, primarily because of the sub-prime mortgage problems in the US: This may affect the new owners who need to dispose of assets to reduce debt.
Clear Channel is selling off 448 radio stations in smaller markets and its TV stations and some of those sales have already run into problems, particularly the largest sale, that of 187 stations to Frequency Licence LLC., a USD 453 million deal (See RNW Aug 23).
This could lead to additional asset sales such as outdoor operations outside the US and even then the markets currently appear tough for the new owners to return to the public markets.
Previous Clear Channel:
2007-09-25: DAB digital radio will be available nearly six out of ten UK households by 2011 according to latest projections from the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (UK DRDB) which says the figure will be 21% by the end of this year, when there will be around 6.6 million receivers in households; 30% by the end of 2008; 40% in 2009, 50% in 2010, and 58.5% by the end of 2011.
It comments that sales success will continue in domestic systems including clock radios where there is already significant growth and that by the end of next year digital receiver sales will account for nearly 90% of the total sales of domestic portables by value and 70% by volume and around 70% by value and 40% by volume of personal stereos with its share of audio systems rising to around 32% by value and 27% by volume.
For clock radios it says the figure will be more than 50% by value and 27% by volume and it adds that figures for overall sales could increase significantly if DAB finds a good foothold in new form factors such as MP3/MP4 devices, adaptors, docking stations and, especially, mobile phones.
DRDB chief executive, Ian Dickens commented of the last, "A number of manufacturers are already starting to see the value of adding DAB digital radio to some of these new form factors. While it is important to continue to see successful growth in traditional radio products, DAB's longer-term future lies in the penetration of these new products, along with in-car and mobile phones. Over the coming months, the DRDB will be changing its shape and focus to ensure that radio moves swiftly down this road."
2007-09-25: Arbitron, pushing its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings technology has posted details of presentation prepared in conjunction with ROI Media Solutions that it says provides "compelling insights for targeting and reaching the Black consumer."
Arbitron presented data from its "Urban Radio in the PPM World" at Interep's 9th "Power of Urban Radio Event" last week and says Urban Radio is the only radio format to effectively and efficiently reach the African-American consumer.
In all, it says, radio reaches 97% of all Blacks 12 and older in the US each week and three-quarters of these listeners spend most of their listening time with Urban radio.
Arbitron quotes Radio One, Inc. president and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III, as saying, "Electronic measurement is providing compelling evidence about the power of Urban radio to reach and engage the African-American consumer. It is also demonstrating the 'working persons' advantage that Urban radio offers marketers who want to reach the brand conscious and brand loyal African-American consumer."
Interep EO and vice-chairman David Kennedy added, "No other medium engages, captivates and motivates the African-American community like Urban Radio. It always has, and this study makes clear that it still does -- in a powerful way."
Arbitron -ROI presentation (1.5MB PDF):
2007-09-25: UBC Media has announced that its commercial sales division has been awarded the contract to sell commercial radio's popular chart show formats, the A-List and Fresh 40, adding to a portfolio of Network Drive, Sky News Radio Network and Entertainment News.
UBC adds that it is to integrate the A-List, Fresh 40 and Entertainment News networks into a "Lifestyle and Entertainment" team that will form a dedicated "Entertainment and Lifestyle" sales unit selling a combination of our existing Entertainment News Network and "the charts".
With the addition, UBC says it can now deliver a weekly audience of 19 million adults and CEO Simon Cole said the contracts were "significant" wins, adding "Combining our Entertainment News network with A-List and Fresh 40 provides advertisers with a great opportunity to reach over 11 million adults within compelling and exciting programming."
2007-09-24: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with a view of a digital future from the New York Times on a topic we feel has had insufficient consideration because it is highly technical.
The topic is software-defined radio and the article was written in terms of mobile devices rather than radio but there are potential applications for radio use. Entitled "Software That Fills a Cell phone Gap", Michael Fitzgerald's report looked at work done by Vanu Bose - son of Bose Corporation founder Amar Bose - whose Vanu Inc. has been doing work for the military on software-based radio with the aim of allowing its various radio systems to intercommunicate but whose work is becoming practicable for commercial purposes as manufacturing technology has cut chip prices.
Various companies including Motorola and Ericsson use software-defined radio in some equipment and Vanu has developed equipment that will allow base stations for mobile communications to switch automatically between the G.S.M. standard that is used by most of the world and the C.D.M.A. standard, (code division multiple access) system used in the United States by Verizon amongst others.
The article does not mention radio use as such but we felt it worthy of note since various digital radio receiver manufacturers in Europe are also using the idea so as to allow for future upgrades and changes of equipment: It also has the potential to also allow automatic switching of data between spectrum by both transmitters and receivers, thus allowing even more information to be packed into digital transmissions than the DAB or US HD in-band on-channel digital radio systems permit since in theory at least, the technology can spot where spectrum is unused within various parts of a number of channels.
The concern of course is that, suitable though the idea may be for less demanding voice audio, there may be a temptation to pack in even more into a music radio signal and - despite the publicity about superior audio quality - digital radio signals to date do not actually provide better audio than well set-up FM, just get rid of some of the annoyances of interference and signal loss.
In other words it may be yet another way in which quality gets degraded as has already happened with DAB broadcasts in the UK - and that we feel should be in people's minds well before development goes ahead.
Next another area where "quality" in the broader sense would appear to be affected by financial considerations that are sometimes hidden rather than made clear. The topic here is the use of radio programmes to promote a product or service rather than advertising the products and services.
In "Brought to you by " Laura Smitherman in the Baltimore Sun looks at the use of shows, which are in fact advertisements, to promote stock purchases and other investments.
"As radio stations confront stagnant advertising revenue, " writes Smitherman, "many sell blocks of time to stockbrokers, doctors, lawyers, mortgage brokers and other entrepreneurs who produce their own gabfests intended to promote a product or service. It's a departure from the traditional format in which talk jocks are paid to draw listeners to the station, which sells time for commercial breaks."
She notes the similarity to "infomercials" on TV and in print and says those behind the idea consider the programmes an effective and inexpensive way to advertise and also point out that shows must carry disclaimers at the beginning and end, explaining who paid for the program.
Consumer advocates on the other hand want more regulatory oversight and contend that listeners may not understand that the programs are an advertising pitch, or think that they are getting unbiased advice. According to them writes Smitherman "The shows blur the lines between independent talk shows and ads, critics say, and disclaimers might not be heard by the casual listener tuning in for a short commute or break."
Smitherman then cites a Baltimore case where Ferris Baker Watts Inc. stockbroker Brian J. Kelly recently pulled the show he paid to put on Baltimore's WBIS-AM after regulators barred him from the securities profession this summer on the basis that he bilked a client who invested money with him after hearing his radio program. Kelly has denied the allegations.
At the heart of the dispute is how far there is clarity and Smitherman quotes Linda Sherry, director of national priorities at Consumer Action, as saying, "You don't really know what you've tuned into. That's the problem with radio" whilst James Weitzman of Nations Radio LLC, which owns WBIS, said that claims about products or services are "signs easily recognized by consumers" that they are listening to a sponsored show and not editorial content from the station."
The more highly-rated stations indicates Smitherman avoid sponsored shows and she quotes Edward C. Kiernan, general manager of Baltimore's top-rated talk station WBAL-AM, as saying, "We're not doing that kind of stuff. We've had many people come to us with real estate and business shows, and we decided not to be in that business. You're basically turning the radio station over to someone else, and you kind of don't know what's going to happen."
Frank Saxe, senior editor of the trade journal Inside Radio, commented on the attitudes of stations taking the business - they "sort of hold their nose and take the revenue" - and the reason for the business - he says radio is attractive to advertisers because it's harder to differentiate the commercial from the regular programming and, therefore, listeners are less likely to turn the channel and adds, "The reason there are so many of these shows on the radio is because it actually works."
After detailing more examples of sponsored programming Smitherman goes on to note that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)has moved away from action over radio content whilst the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which polices deceptive advertising, is more likely to build cases against the advertisers than the radio or TV station, or publisher.
She quotes Lesley Fair, an attorney with the agency, as saying the FTC not only pursues cases concerning false claims but also advertisements intended to trick consumers into thinking they are watching or hearing a news or entertainment show as opposed to a commercial, commenting, "When companies buy time and appear to be an independent radio program peppered with tough questions when it's really scripted as an ad, that raises concerns from the FTC's point of view .Underlying our law is a presumption that listeners listen to news programming with a slightly different set of ears than they would advertising."
RNW comment: Since the material concerned is being aired as programming it seems to us the licensees should in fact have considerable responsibility for monitoring what goes on their airwaves and should have liability if there is a pattern of allowing to air material that is in breach of the law. We would suggest a variation on the three-strikes law - a warning in the first case where there is action (as opposed to just a warning) against an advertiser by the FTC; a regulation that would allow a considerable fine - say ten times the amount paid to air the programming concerned for a second offence and any subsequent offences; and if there is a third offence within three years automatic termination of the licence. We suspect the industry would then self-police itself fairly effectively after a first offence and very effectively after a second one.
Next a brief mention of praise for US talk radio - or rather a smallish part of it - from an Op-Ed in the Washington Post. It's by Eugene Robinson on the case of the "Jena 6" and, as well as a brief summary of the story of the lenient treatment of white students compared to the severe treatment of the black students involved - Robinson also notes that the story remained almost unknown nationally for months.
The reason that changed, was, says Robinson, a combination of bloggers and black talk radio.
" I'm quite sure there would have been no busloads of protesters descending on Jena if the cause hadn't been taken up by a radio personality best known for R-rated banter about sex and relationships," he writes.
"Michael Baisden, whose afternoon drive-time show "Love, Lust & Lies" is heard in urban markets across the country, launched a crusade on behalf of the "Jena 6" -- a group of black students, ages 15 to 17 when they allegedly beat up a white schoolmate and who still face adult charges of aggravated battery that could send them to prison for up to 20 years. The hours that Baisden normally would have spent in risqué repartee with 'grown and sexy' callers about romance or infidelity were devoted instead to the Jena case.
"The obvious issue was one of equal justice: Either treat the whole series of incidents as a mere disciplinary problem for the high school to handle, or treat it as a criminal matter. Just don't have one standard of justice for whites and another, much harsher standard for blacks.
"The cause was then taken up by other black radio hosts -- Tom Joyner, whose morning drive-time show has enormous reach; Steve Harvey, the comedian whose morning show usually covers the same "Does he really love me?" territory as does Baisden's; the Rev. Al Sharpton, whose show, as you might expect, was already heavy on politics and activism."
And later:"It's fair to say that without black radio, the case of the Jena 6 probably never would have become a significant national story -- and certainly never would have sparked one of the biggest civil rights protests in decades Black radio is one of the places where all the varied segments of black America still come together. It's a true community medium, even if what we still call "the black community" is, for most purposes, best thought of as plural."
RNW comment: Although Robinson does not raise the point, the issue brought up at the Chicago media ownership hearing held by the FCC last Thursday about ownership of media by non-white groups would seem very relevant to this (See RNW Licence News Sep 23).
Next listening suggestions and first a significant radio anniversary, the 40th for the launch of BBC "numbers" radio - or put in another way the end for pirate radio ships, the BBC Home Service, Light Programme and Third Programme and the start for BBC Radios 1, 2, 3 and 4 plus the start of BBC local radio with the launch of BBC Radio Leicester - on an "experimental basis.BBC Radio 2 marks the anniversary next Saturday at 19:00 GMT with "Stand By For Switching... ...The Soundscape of 1967", hosted by Tony Blackburn, who was the first voice on Radio 1.
Blackburn is also back on Radio 1 - co-hosting the breakfast show from 06:00 to 09:00 GMT with current breakfast host Chris Moyles - the following day when it marks the anniversary
BBC Radio 3's anniversary celebrations include next Saturday in the 14:00 GMT "World Routes" slot highlights of the station's landmark 1987 concert series Music of the Royal Courts, including Uighur music from China and a retelling of the Malian epic Sunjata by veteran griot Djely Madi Sissoko.
Before that on Friday "Jazz Library" at 21:30 GMT was the first of two "Radio 3 at 40" programmes in which Alyn Shipton selects commercially issued jazz CDs that started life as broadcasts on Radio 3 itself.
BBC Radio 4 programmes on the Sunday also include two that mark the anniversary - "4 at Forty" at 18:15 GMT in which Eddie Mair presents a celebration of 40 years of Radio 4 and a special edition of "This Is Your Life" in the following slot in which Stephen Fry and Matt Lucas host an irreverent romp through the station's broadcasting history.
In non-anniversary mode, drama from the corporation includes last Sunday's "Drama on 3", a production of Christopher Marlowe's 1604 classic "Doctor Faustus" about a man who defies the authority of God by selling his soul to the Devil in return for 24 years of knowledge and power on Earth and from later that evening in the "Words & Music" slot came "Faust", a sequence of music and poetry concerning the German legend of Faust.
Sticking with Radio 4 we then suggest last Friday's "US Comics Confidential" in which American stand-up comics talk about their life and work - this edition featured an interview with Robert Klein
Also from Radio 4 we suggest the three part "Bullying.com" (10:00 GMT today, tomorrow and Wednesday) in which Penny Marshall looks at cyber bullying of children - and tomorrow's "The Choice" (08:0GMT) in which Michael Buerk interviews American journalist Laura Blumenfeld, who tracked down the Palestinian who shot her father
RNW note: We hope to update suggestions further this evening GMT .
Baltimore Sun - Smitherman:
New York Times - Fitzgerald:
Washington Post - Robinson:
2007-09-24: An expected sale by Columbia Union College of Takoma Park of the school's radio station for which one bidder was reported to be prepared to pay more than USD 25 million has been nixed by the school's board of trustees according to the Washington Post.
The paper says the managers of 23,500-watt Christian-music station WGTS-FM had planned to take its DJs off the air after the trustees met to consider approval of a bid from public broadcasting company American Public Media Group but the trustees emerged from a day meeting to announce the decision not to sell.
They issued a statement saying they had voted "to rescind the action to enter into negotiations to sell the radio station license" leaving, says the paper, the would-be buyer stunned and the station staffers jubilant.
Station General manager John Konrad was quoted as saying, "The Lord performed a miracle today, and we give Him all the praise and thanks for what happened [WGTS] is God's radio station and always has been."
The paper says American Public Media wanted to concert the station to a news and public affairs format and saw an opening in the local market through the September 20 demise of Washington Post Radio that had been produced by the paper in conjunction with owner Bonneville International (See RNW Aug 29).
The paper notes that the school, operated by the Silver Spring-based Seventh-day Adventist Church, had considered a deal to pay down about USD 5 million in debts and to fatten its endowment of USD 4 million. It quotes American Public Media as saying it was "disappointed" by Columbia Union's decision, and hoped it would someday reconsider.
Washington Post report:
2007-09-23: Last week, apart from hearings into media ownership and the diversity of voices in media regulation in the US and Canada respectively, was a very quiet one for the regulators as far as radio was concerned.
There were no radio postings from Australia and only a few from Canada where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) held a hearing on the diversity of voices in Canadian Media. That meeting was told by CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein that he is sceptical about industry claims that consolidations increased the programming choices available to Canadians (See RNW Sep 18).
Other radio-related postings included one decision, a rejection of an application by 101056012 Saskatchewan Ltd. to add a 43.3 watts low-power FM transmitter at Melville, Saskatchewan, to broadcast the programming of low-power Specialty Christian music station CJJC-FM, Yorkton. This would have extended CJJC's service area beyond that of its current licence.
The application was opposed by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) and Walsh Investments Inc. and Yorkton Broadcasting Company Limited, partners in GX Radio Partnership, licensee of CJGX-AM and CFGW-FM, Yorkton. They argued that the new transmitter would have a significant impact on the existing stations in the Yorkton market and the CAB additionally submitted that the application represented a step in a "back door" approach using multiple low-power transmitters to expand the licensee's coverage area in order to create what would in effect be a full commercial radio station.
The licensee said the proposed transmitter would allow the churches of Melville to broadcast information related to their community events and their organizations and would extend CJJC-FM's unique Christian music programming to Melville residents and argued that this would have very little impact on the Yorkton and Melville markets.
The CRTC noted that the licensee made no arguments to the effect that it was not adequately serving Yorkton given its existing technical parameters, nor did it indicate any financial difficulties necessitating an expansion of its service to encompass a greater population and rejected the application.
The CRTC also posted a public notice that included the following radio-related applications:
*Application by Newcap Radio Manitoba Inc. to relocate the transmitter of CHNK-FM, Winnipeg, increase its antenna height and increase the station's power of from 1,300 watts to 55,000 watts. Newcap says listeners are having difficulty tuning in CHNK-FM with any regularity and therefore more often than not are tuning it out.
*Application by Communications CHIC to increase the power of French-language specialty commercial station CHIC-FM, Rouyn-Noranda, from 50 watts to 300 watts. The Commission notes that this would change the station's status from an unprotected low-power service to a regular Class A service.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) posted just one radio-related notice, the signing of a ten-year community sound broadcasting contract with Inishowen Community Radio Limited (See RNW Sep 18).
In the UK, Ofcom posted one radio notice, its reasons for the award of four community licences earlier this month (See RNW Licence News Sep 16).
In all four cases it noted experience in running stations under Restricted Service Licences plus active support within the communities involved.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday held the fifth of its six planned hearings on media ownership: As with other hearings this one, in Chicago, heard concerns about media consolidations with specific emphasis in this hearing on minority ownership issues (See RNW Sep 22).
All the Commissioners attended and their opening statements showed some movement in emphasis in some cases. FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin in his comments referred to arguments made at previous hearings that "the impact of the media consolidation that has already occurred has had several negative impacts."
"First," he said, "they argued that consolidation has limited the number of channels available to minorities and new entrants. Second, they argued that it has made it more difficult for independent programmers. And third, they argued that it has made it easier for large media companies to advertise products by integrating them into programs without notice."
He then continued, "Regardless of whether the Commission makes any changes to its ownership rules, these are important issues that the Commission should address."
Martin argued in favour of easing barriers to entry into broadcasting by allowing "small and independently-owned businesses" to lease spectrum from existing stations since digital broadcasting allowed the possibility of additional channels. [RNW note: We did not see any mention that existing broadcasters should in fact keep spectrum sufficient for transmission of their existing services with the additional channels being made available for additional services from newcomers, something that would presumably upset the existing media owners but could be argued as more in the wider public interest than the solution Martin suggests and could still be done within a market framework].
His fellow Republican Deborah Taylor Tate in her statement referred to new technology and highlighted comments made to her by students about sources for their information in which it became clear that "blogs represent a growing sector of America's news information sources."
"Today, " she commented, the Internet enables individuals of any age to be writers, editors, and publishers of news Whether in small towns or major media markets , people today, especially the I-Generation, continue to have access to more news and information outlets than ever before not just here in the United Stats but globally."
[RNW comment: Tate's views in our estimation generally seem to be at the level of a not particularly perceptive ten-year old. This comment is no exception since although sources have proliferated the day still contains 24-hours and people do not have time available to absorb all the information available from the Internet and check how accurate it is. Thus comment and bigotry seem to proliferate as people choose sources that fit their prejudices but collated primary sources for information - the function fulfilled by local newspapers and broadcasters in the past - have not proliferated and effectively what has happened in many places is that there has been a decrease in coverage of local news and an increase in reliance on just two sources, the AP and Reuters services. This is not to decry the value of a blog but there are millions out there and very few have any substantial readership. Availability does not necessarily mean people are better informed.).
The remarks from the third Republican on the FCC, Commissioner Robert M. McDowell were bland and raised straightforward and obvious questions about the purpose of the hearings.
Statements from the Democrat commissioners had rather more bite. Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein said of Chicago that it had "one of the most racially ethnically diverse communities in America" and continued, "It is outrageous that Chicago, with all its diversity, has the lowest proportion of minority radio ownership of the nation's 22 largest markets. Roughly two-thirds of the people in the city are black and Hispanic, and over half are women. But they collectively own just six percent of TV and radio stations in the Chicago market."
"The founding charter of the FCC," said Adelstein "requires us to promote the public interest. It requires us to take affirmative steps to prevent discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, and nationality. It also requires us to take affirmative steps to promote diversity of ownership because, in America, ownership is the key to having your voice heard In a rare moment of candour before I joined, the FCC itself acknowledged that, as a result of our system of awarding broadcast licenses in the 1940s and 1950s, no persons of colour won a competitive hearing until 1975."
He then said the FCC rather than taking "regulatory steps to promote diversity of ownership, we have taken steps to specifically undermine it."
"Opportunities to promote small, female, and minority-owned businesses were cast aside, as the Commission repealed the only remaining policy specifically aimed at fostering diversity," he said. "As Senator Barack Obama said, 'We promoted the concept of consolidation over diversity.' The result of this consolidation is not only a lack of ownership diversity, it is also a lack of programming diversity. And again, people of colour are the biggest losers. We see the constant stereotyping of African-American and Latino men and women by multinational corporations that have no real connection to the needs of the community We now need a comprehensive response to the lack of diversity in programming and ownership. We need to develop policies that engage the minority as owners of the media, not just as consumers or sharecroppers. We need to turn our legacy around."
His fellow Democrat Michael J Copps also highlighted the ethnic make-up of Chicago and of broadcast station ownership in the market, saying after he had noted how under-represented minorities were in ownership "So is it any wonder why the depictions of minorities in our media are so often distorted? Why their issues get scant coverage? Why their contributions to the good things happening in America are so seldom even mentioned on the air? Let's be frank: ownership matters. Truth be told, ownership rules. Unless and until we do something to increase minority ownership and minorities in top broadcast jobs, our communications sectors will continue to under-serve the great Promise of America. "
Copps blamed consolidation for many of the problems, saying, "I believe there are many broadcasters who want to serve the public interest. Some are doing good jobs and I recognize and applaud them. But I'm worried that in this era of huge consolidated media-with a few broadcasting giants owning so many properties-it's harder for these folks to be captains of their own fates. More and more they are captives to the unforgiving expectations of Wall Street and Madison Avenue. In the process local coverage has diminished, the news has been dumbed down, and diverse local and regional cultures have been subsumed to homogenized, nationalized programming fare. Too often it doesn't reflect who we really are and it doesn't give us the information and understanding we need to sustain our civic dialogue. The bargain that America made with commercial broadcasters-that they could use the airwaves and make a good living from that use, but in return they would be stewards of the public interest-that bargain has gotten wildly out of whack in too many places. "
The FCC was also involved in a few enforcement actions including the confirmation of a USD 12,000 penalty on Delta Radio Greenville, LLC., licensee of WROX-AM, Clarksdale, Mississippi, for failure to maintain operational Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment and its failure to enclose an antenna tower with radio frequency potential at the base within an effective locked fence.
Delta had argued for reduction or cancellation on the grounds of financial hardship and also that the violations were not wilful because the owner, who had moved from Mississippi in 2004, was unaware of them and relied on employees to manage the station. The FCC rejected this and after examining documentation provided also rejected the financial arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
In Texas it reduced a proposed USD 7,000 penalty issued to Donald Winton of Corpus Christi for failure to make his CB radio station available for inspection to USD 225.
It rejected arguments justifying the refusal on the grounds that dogs in Winton's house might bite the FCC agent but reduced the penalty on financial grounds on the basis of tax returns provided.
In Colorado it rejected a petition to deny award of a licence for a non-commercial educational FM in Strasburg, to the Mary V. Harris Foundation. There had been three mutually exclusive applications and Harris was awarded the licence under the commission's points system but JPI Radio, Inc., which was involved in one of the competing bids, argued that Harris had not disclosed additional interests to the commission.
The Commission noted that the information had been disclosed before the petition to deny was filed and confirmed the licence award.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-09-22: SoundExchange, the body charged with collecting performance royalties, is accused of being deceptive in its spin on small webcasters agreeing to deals over internet streaming rates with some going close to accusing it of downright dishonesty.
SoundExchange had described settlements by 24 small webcasters in a news release under the headline "Small Webcasters Embrace SoundExchange Offer on Discounted Rate" as "significant numbers" signing agreements (See RNW Sept 19 ), a news release described by Kurt Hanson of RAIN as having "crossed the line, I believe, into disingenuousness-bordering-on-dishonesty."
Hanson added, "The truth is that most small webcasters didn't take the deal because there are supposed to be active negotiations going on at this moment between SoundExchange and the Small Commercial Webcasters (as represented by David Oxenford)!" and said of Sound Exchange's actions, "In this entire escapade, SoundExchange is trying to confuse Congress and the press by conflating the Small Commercial Webcasters (upper case) group that participated in the CRB with "small webcasters" (which could be tiny, one-person, part-time hobbyists). It's a disappointing and dirty trick. Hopefully it didn't work."
Oxenford in a posting on Broadcastlawblog makes it clear that "Contrary to what many press reports have stated, this is not a settlement with Small Commercial Webcasters" and continued to say of the offer, ". Essentially, this is the same offer that SoundExchange made in May, which was rejected by many independent webcasters as being insufficient to allow for the hoped for growth of these companies, and insufficient to encourage investment in these companies."
"Commercial webcasters, including those that participated in the Copyright Royalty Board proceeding," he continued, "rejected that offer and instead have sought to negotiate a settlement with SoundExchange that would meet their needs. Instead of reaching a true settlement with these companies that had participated throughout the CRB proceeding and now have an appeal pending before the Court of Appeals, SoundExchange instead announced that their unilateral proposal was accepted by 24 unnamed webcasters. Thus, rather than negotiating a settlement, if anything this announcement shows that SoundExchange has not been willing to negotiate - as it has not moved substantively off the proposal they announced over 4 months ago.
Oxenford then noted that those who had signed "must be entities that don't expect to grow their revenues to $1.25 million, or grow audiences that reach the 5,000,000 tuning hour limit at which, under the SoundExchange-imposed agreement, the webcaster needs to start paying at the full CRB-imposed royalty rate" and that the agreements only cover music from SoundExchange members, thus excluding music from many independents for which the full rates would apply.
He said the deal would do away with independent webcasters and left with "an industry essentially made up of hobbyists and big companies that subsidize their webcasting with their other lines of business - essentially crushing the hopes of those who saw the Internet as a way to build an independent radio business."
Savenetradio.org took a similar line, commenting in a news release signed by a number of webcasters, "The latest take-it-or-leave-it 'offer' made by SoundExchange on behalf of the recording industry has done nothing to further negotiations with webcasters, and a mere 24 small webcasters have felt they had no choice but to give in to the record labels demands,"
It described the business implications in the same terms as Oxenford adding, "We have asked for a reasonable, long term solution, not one that is subject to increase at the whim of the record industry every five years. 2010 is little more than 2 years away, and it would be difficult for any business owner to accurately forecast profits and build a successful business model with a huge expense variable looming in the future."
It continued, "Although several of the webcasters listed below are currently involved in direct negotiations with Sound Exchange, the process remains exceedingly slow and increasingly unpromising. In the continuing absence of a genuine offer that would allow internet radio to continue to be the vital medium for new music discovery, we implore our listeners and fans of Internet radio to continue to urge your legislative representatives to pass the Internet Radio Equality Act."
RNW comment: We expressed scepticism from out outset and the more that comes out the more it would seem that releases from SoundExchange, like those from NAB, should immediately be consigned to a "dubious at best" file with further checks being made before they are considered of any value - except maybe by the politicians and others whom they are bribing (whoops - supporting and assisting with election expenses).
Broadcastlawblog - Oxenford comments:
RAIN (Hanson comments in Sep 20th edition):
2007-09-22: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) public hearing on media ownership in Chicago on Thursday evening heard calls for more minority ownership of media and less consolidation.
It also heard that cross-ownership was benefiting Chicago as far as WGN-AM was concerned with the station vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer highlighting its local programming and saying that if divestiture were forced on it - its owner Tribune Company needs temporary FCC waivers on its ownership of newspapers and broadcast outlets in Chicago and four other markets in order to move ahead with its plan to go private - the station would probably be bought by a conglomerate that would air some syndicated programming.
A report in the Tribune cited comments made by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin earlier in the day in a meeting with the paper's editorial board in which he acknowledged the strain the Internet was putting on newspapers and quoted him as saying, "The Tribune transaction raises many of the issues that are teed up in relation to newspaper cross-ownership rules. Many of the properties that Tribune owns date back to that original cross-ownership here in Chicago, [and] there have been many positive aspects of that cross-ownership, as demonstrated by the ability to try to have other outlets for the news, which has been very important in trying to sustain the investment in news-gathering that's occurred."
Some 250 people attended the meeting and in his opening statements Rainbow PUSH chairman Martin L. King noted the disproportionately low number of minority owned media. In the US he said minorities constitute 33% of the population, but only 7.7% of radio and 3.26% of television ownership but in Chicago minorities constitute two thirds of the city's population, but had only 5% of its media ownership.
Melody Spann Cooper, a hearing panellist, is the only black female media owner in the city of Chicago- she owns RLL 1450 AM and operates WVON 1690 AM, a Black talk radio station: She defended her lease deal with radio conglomerate Clear Channel that made WVON-AM 1690 a 24-hour station and upped its wattage to 10,000 from 1,000 as a way to have greater impact but she has also noted the problems, with broadcast prices so high, in growing minority businesses.
Chicago Tribune Report:
2007-09-22: Local radio website have made significant gains over the past year according to the Media Audit, which has posted preliminary findings from a new report to be released at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) conference later this month.
The survey, conducted in 88 US radio markets and conducted between fall 2006 through spring 2007, measures adults who visited a local radio web site in the past 30 days. It will reveal top ranking individual station sites and analysis of aggregated results for individual radio groups for the markets that were measured.
The preliminary results rank Clear Channel Radio in Cincinnati, Ohio as the top local radio web site and also show the heaviest users of the Internet to be adults who listen to Public Radio, Sports, and Modern Rock-formatted stations.
According to the study, 52.7% of Public Radio listeners are heavy internet users, spending 430 or more minutes in a typical week online; listeners to Sports radio ranked second in the survey with
50.7% who are heavy internet users; and third are, followed Modern Rock listeners, 49.7% of whom are heavy internet users. The figures compare with 39.1% of all US adults.
The results indicate that formats that attract wealthier or male listeners rather than younger ones contrary to the expectations of the Media Audit whose president Bob Jordan said they expected to see younger-oriented formats dominating the list for top radio website visitors.
Previous Media Audit:
2007-09-21: Greater Media's scheduled Thursday launch of a WTKK -FM morning drive time show hosted by Howie Carr, the former Entercom WRKO-AM afternoon drive host, was cancelled on Thursday following a ruling by Suffolk Superior Court judge Allan van Gestel that WRKO was entitled to exercise the "right-to-match" provision in Carr's contract with WRKO, which gives the station the right to meet a competing salary offer within 180 days from any radio or TV station within WRKO's coverage area.
The morning slot at WTTK was formerly filled by "Imus in the Morning" until Don Imus was fired and his show cancelled. Carr agreed to move to the slot under a five-year USD 7 million deal but was then told that Entercom was exercising the provision and he reacted by going to court to claim that the clause was not enforceable under state law (See RNW Jul 12).
Carr's contract expired September 19 and his attorney Bret Cohen, argued that the both right-to-match and non-compete clauses in Carr's WRKO contract are illegal and unenforceable under state law.
The judge agreed regarding the non-compete clause but said the "right-to-match" provision is valid and enforceable although he emphasized that he was not ruling that Carr is forced to remain with WRKO: Entercom has said its matching offer ties him to the station until 2012.
The Boston Herald quoted Carr spokeswoman Nancy Sterling as saying, "While we would like to have achieved a complete victory in court, we are gratified that the decision leaves open the opportunity for Howie to work at the place of his choosing. Not only did the court find unlawful a portion of Entercom's employment agreement, but the court adopted our argument that Howie cannot be forced to work for a particular radio station. Howie looks forward to taking some well-deserved time off from one of his three careers and to joining WTKK in the very near future."
WTTK said in a statement, "At this point, Howie Carr has failed to obtain the ruling from the court that was a condition of him coming to work for us. The court's decision left many questions unanswered. We are disappointed that Howie will not be on WTKK (today), but we are hopeful that he will be a part of the Greater Media family in the very near future."
Previous Greater Media:
Boston Herald story:
2007-09-21: BBC 6-Music head of programmes Ric Blaxill, who has been "on leave" since September 6, has resigned following revelations about fictional competition winners being named on the station and the firing of 6-Music producer Leona McCambridge, for gross misconduct following revelations that BBC staff regularly posed as winners on the Liz Kershaw show.
She is the first person to be dismissed following revelations about faking competition winners and the broadcast as if they were live of programmes that had been recorded and thus listeners had no chance of winning: In some cases there were no competitions or prizes and the callers were members of the programme team or their friends.
The broadcasting union BECTU, which is representing McCambridge in her appeal against the decision, said she had been made "a sacrificial lamb" and the UK Telegraph quoted BECTU assistant general secretary Luke Crawley as saying, "It appears that Indians are being sacked rather than chiefs. It is pretty clear that she did not make up the policy. It was pointed out to her that if she tried to rock the boat, her career would be over. How can the BBC blame someone who does not draw up the policies?"
Crawley added that to sack her "for gross misconduct is incredibly harsh" and noted, "There's no question of financial deception where someone has reaped financial gain from their actions."
The BBC Trust, which on Wednesday was briefed in a report from Director-General Mark Thompson about various breaches of the corporation's editorial standards, on Thursday issued a statement saying it was "is very concerned by any serious editorial breach, especially where it involves audience deception" and added, "These breaches, and other matters where competitions have not been run in a manner which is wholly fair, suggest that in certain parts of the BBC a culture has developed where knowledge of and/or adherence to the BBC Editorial Guidelines and external regulation is inadequate and this is resulting in standards not being met which the BBC and the public expect of its content producers. The Trust is clear that these cases arose not because of an individual's desire for personal gain but because of some programme-makers' misguided belief that these decisions were in the interest of the programme and that that was more important than honesty and fairness to the audience. Had the BBC Editorial Guidelines already in place been complied with none of these breaches would have occurred."
Thompson said in a release that also detailed various training and other compliance measures taken, "I would like to repeat my apology to viewers and listeners who were misled by these editorial lapses. The BBC has taken a wide range of actions in recent months to strengthen our editorial guidelines and processes to address the very significant concern rightly felt over editorial misjudgements."
He then added, "Although these lapses amount to tens of hours across one million hours of broadcasting, the BBC's standards must be as high in small scale competitions as they are in the most major news story."I believe that the actions we have and are taking demonstrate the central importance the whole BBC places on getting it right."
UK Telegraph report:
2007-09-20: Mississippi Republican Congressman Chip Pickering along with Utah Democrat Jim Matheson , North Carolina Democrat Mike McIntyre, and Pennsylvania Republican Joseph Pitts have introduced legislation that would allow the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take indecency or obscenity enforcement against a broadcaster for a single offending word or image.
The "Protecting Children from Indecent Programming Act" is similar to an act introduced into the US Senate in July by West Virginia Democrat Sen. John D. Rockefeller and follows the passage last year of the "Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005" that increased the maximum penalty for broadcast indecency from USD 32,500 US to USD 325,000 US per incident with a USD 3 million maximum for continuing violations (See RNW Jun 8 2006).
In a statement posted on his website Pickering commented, "As the father of five sons, I have a vested interest in what broadcasters present over the public airwaves. We do not want our children to grow up with the mindset that certain behaviour and language is ok. I speak for our families in Mississippi, as well as across the country - we deserve a peace of mind when watching television with our family and expect a level of decency in our programming."
Pitts added, "There is no reason to allow broadcast networks a free pass as long as 'not too much' profanity makes it on the airwaves. We passed legislation to keep profanity from the airwaves because parents do not want their children to see any profane images or hear any indecent language. Families should have a reasonable expectation to believe television broadcast over public airwaves will not contain indecent material, not even once."
Matheson commented "Families have had it with inappropriate scenes and language that shock and confuse their children. This legislation gives them the tools they need to help maintain the home environment families want and deserve" whilst Pickering added, "Values, character, and faith are the foundation of the American family. Not one of those principals is present in vulgarity or the indecency of an image, whether it is shown once or ten times. Through this legislation, we will end the discrepancy of how many times it takes to claim profane material inappropriate and enforceable by the FCC. We can continue to raise our children as respectable, responsible, and honourable individuals- who know right from wrong, and who know once is enough."
RNW note: We have left the incorrect "principals "in the statement as it was posted. Maybe the politicians concerned have a problem with principles!
The legislation is opposed by the US National Association of Broadcasters which argues that industry self-regulation is preferable and also points to the use by broadcasters of delay technology to allow them to "dump" language where they consider it appropriate and also their zero-tolerance policies about breaches by staff.
RNW comment: We rather think this legislation should be sub-titled the "Live broadcasting (Prohibition of) Act" since it certainly will have a severe "chilling" effect on decisions whether to carry live broadcasts.
We now look for an amendment, the "Profane Politicians" clause that allows an exception where broadcasters are required -with no penalty for broadcast but severe fines for omissions - when they obtain recordings of politicians using the prohibited phrases in public - tto broadcast the offending segment.
In addition the politician concerned suffer a mandatory fine of an amount equivalent to the largest sum they have received during the previous five years whilst in office with a ten-fold clause for the all those who vote for the legislation (since they of course would never allow such words near their lips so will have nothing to fear!). Senior figures such as the President or Vice-President who swore in public would of course be sent immediately to jail!
Pickering news release:
2007-09-20: CBS Corporation President and CEO Leslie Moonves has told the Merrill Lynch Media & Entertainment Conference being held in Marina del Rey, California, that the company has no plans to sell its radio division or to off its outdoor advertising unit according to Reuters.
The agency reported that he said the company was "happy" with radio, although it may "trim" it "a little more" in the future, adding that CBS Radio delivers a lot of cash to corporate operations.
Regarding outdoor the agency quoted him as saying, "We like the outdoor business a great deal. I don't foresee us in the near term or the long term spinning it out."
Reuters also quoted Moonves as saying that CBS is happy with its deal with iTunes and won't join a battle against Apple Inc over the pricing of television shows on the online store that was begun last month when NBC Universal decided not to renew a deal to sell downloads of its television shows on iTunes. Moonves added that CBS had been invited to b a partner in an advertising online-video joint venture called Hulu that NBC and News Corp plan to launch next month but declined and said that CBS did not provide significant revenues for CBS which regarded it "as much as a promotional vehicle for our shows as a financial vehicle."
In other news concerning CBS, its former news anchor Dan Rather on Wednesday filed a USD 70 million lawsuit against CBS, CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, Viacom, Viacom Chief Executive Sumner Redstone and Andrew Heyward, the former president of CBS News, claiming that the network violated his contract by not giving him enough air time and made him a scapegoat in a bid to "pacify the White House" over a 60-Minutes report, later retracted that said that President George W. Bush received preferential treatment during his Vietnam War service in the Texas Air National Guard.
The suit says that Rather, who stepped down as anchor but remained with 60-Minutes until he left, saying he was offered no assignments, had been caused "significant financial loss and seriously damaged his reputation."
CBS described the complaints as "old news" and the suit as "without merit".
2007-09-20: Preliminary results from Arbitron's RADAR 94 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) radio network ratings just released show radio as reaching 233 million listeners a week, a similar figure to that of a year ago.
In demographic terms, says Arbitron, 96% of US Adults age 18-49 with a college degree and an annual household income of USD 50,000 or above, tune into radio over the course of a week and . RADAR Network affiliates, which account for over 50% of all radio stations, reach 84% of this coveted demographic. The survey also shows RADAR networks reaching 84% of adults 25-54 in households with a college degree and an annual household income of USD 75,000 or above.
As regards younger listeners Arbitron says that while overall, RADAR networks reach 82% of all radio listeners, these same networks reach 85% of listeners aged 12-17.
The medium does better with black non-Hispanics and Hispanics. Reaching 94% of the former and 95% of the latter aged 12 and above during a week and 96% of the 25-54 demographic in each group. It also reaches 94% of college graduates aged above 18 and 96% of adults 18-49 with a college degree and an annual income of USD 75,000
Previous RADAR (RADAR 93 results):
2007-09-19: SoundExchange, the body responsible for collecting performance royalties in the US, has announced that significant numbers of small webcasters - those with a turnover of USD 1.25 million or less per annum, have now signed or are in the process of making agreements that allows them to continue operating through 2010 with essentially the same terms they have enjoyed under the Small Webcaster Settlement Act (SWSA).
In all SoundExchange said that by Tuesday 24 small webcasters had "signed the new agreements, with more in the process of doing so as well" and then added, "Some have not signed the agreements because their business models benefit more from commercial rates, while others did not sign because other webcasters operate their stations on their behalf."
SoundExchange Executive Director John Simson said in a release posted on the organization's website: "Giving small webcasters more time to build their businesses with below-market rates is something Members of Congress wanted us to get done and we have. We hope that these small webcasters will continue to provide innovative kinds of programming and a rich diversity of music."
He added, "It's a sacrifice our members are willing to make at the request of Members of Congress and in order to give the smallest webcasters below-market rates for an additional limited time. This is a great deal for someone who wants to start or build a webcasting business."
The webcasters who have signed the agreements, which are backdated to January 1 last year and continue to December 2010, will be able to stream songs from SoundExchange members. They will pay royalty fees of 10-12% of revenues and will also be subject to a usage cap.
RNW comment: Forgive us if we are sceptical of SoundExchange's response and consider that the organization has done a pretty good job from its point of view in dividing the small webcasters from others and extracting fair- or unfair - amount from them for the privilege of airing the music.
What it has not done is to yield on the basics and the new rates only run until 20:10 by which time SoundExchange can presumably try to squeeze more from those who have been able to build up their business and are thus vulnerable to demands for more cash.
2007-09-19: Jane Garvey, who was the first voice on BBC Radio Five Live and who the station said last week was leaving as co-host of its weekday drivetime show because of "family commitments" (See RNW Sep 15) is to join the BBC Radio 4 "Woman's Hour" team: There her load will be lighter because she will be one of a team of presenters and share the main presenting role with Jenni Murray from October 8.
Garvey will replace Martha Kearney who had worked for Woman's Hour and BBC 2 TV Newsnight and in February was named as the main presenter of Radio 4's lunchtime news and current affairs programme, "The World at One" (See RNW Feb 23) in succession to the late Nick Clarke who died of cancer last year (See RNW Nov 24, 2006).
Radio 4 Controller Mark Damazer commented of the appointment: "I have been a fan of Jane's work for many years and am thrilled that she will be joining Jenni Murray on Woman's Hour. She has verve and wit and she has demonstrated over many years an ability to deal with a huge array of current affairs topics. It's a very good day for Radio 4."
Garvey began her career in commercial radio at Radio Wyvern where she began as a promotions assistant and became news editor. She left in 1988 to join BBC Hereford & Worcester as a reporter and in 1989 she became the station's breakfast presenter, joining BBC Radio Five in 1994 as breakfast co-host.
She added of her move, "Woman's Hour is part of radio history and I'm thrilled to be given the chance to present a programme that has a special place in so many people's lives."
2007-09-19: XM Satellite Radio today launches a second season of Bob Dylan's award-winning XM music show "Theme Time Radio Hour" with a first episode on the theme "Hello".
Its song list spans "Hello, Mello Baby" by The Mardi Gras Loungers, "Hello Trouble" by Buck Owens and "Hello in There" by John Prine. among many others. Fans can expect to hear future
Later episodes this season will be dedicated to themes such as "Young & Old," "California," "Dreams," "Fruit," "Something," "Nothing," "Streets," "Parties," "Mail," and there will also be a 2nd Annual Countdown Show.
The Theme Hour shows will air at 10:00 ET on XM's "Deep Tracks" (XM 40) channel and will also be available all day every Wednesday on "XMX" (XM 2), a recently launched channel that provides fans with XM's most popular and critically-acclaimed original music shows all in one place.
XM has also announced that it will launch a dedicated South Asian Channel next month in conjunction with Asian Television Network International Limited.
"ATN-Asian Radio" will feature dedicated programming for the South Asian community in North America and will feature a broad range of music, highlighting the best of Bollywood and popular South Asian artists; a variety of talk and live listener call-in programmes covering issues relevant to the South Asian community; shows dedicated to news and current affairs and live cricket commentary from ATN, Canada's largest distributor of World Class Cricket.
The majority of the channel's talk programming will be in English but, there will also be a substantial amount of content broadcast in South Asian languages such as Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi and Sinhalese.
XM has also gained kudos for its web site that had been recognized as "Best Radio Website" in the 2007 WebAwards from the Web Marketing Association, the premier organization for Internet marketing and development.
2007-09-19: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has posted further details of its Chicago field hearing on media ownership that is to be held tomorrow and that will be the fifth in a series of six media ownership hearings the Commission intends to hold across the country..
There will be two panel discussions - "Perspectives on Media Ownership" - with the first at 16:30 and the second at 20:00.
Members of the first panel will be Charles Benton, Chairman, Benton Foundation; Karen Bond, Executive Director, National Black Coalition for Media Justice; Cynthia Canary, Director, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform; John Chadwick, Vice President, General Manager, WREX-TV (NBC), Rockford, Illinois; Melody Spann Cooper, General Manager, WVON-AM, Chicago; Marv Dyson, Director of Operations, WKKC-FM; Kennedy-King College; Founding Partner, Urban Radio Broadcasting LLC; Tom Langmyer, Vice President and General Manager, WGN Radio, Chicago; Dorothy Leavell, Publisher/Editor, The Chicago Crusader; Dennis Lyle, President and CEO, Illinois Broadcasters Association; Doug Nowakowski, International Representative, International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Silvia Rivera, General Manager, WRTE-FM, RadioArté; and Dana Withers, President, Dana Communications, Inc., Benton, Illinois
Members of the second panel will be Linda Sue Brown, TV News Producer, WBBM-TV; Kristine Laudadio Devine, Juris Doctor Candidate, Class of 2008, Northwestern University School of Law; Cliff Kelley, Radio Show Host, WVON-AM, Chicago; John Lavine, Dean, Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism; Joyce McCullough, Publisher, News Tribune, LaSalle, Illinois, and General Manager of, WLPO-AM)/WAJK-FM, LaSalle and WKOT(FM), Marseilles, Illinois; Milly Santiago, Former Reporter, WSNS-TV, Telemundo; Jim Speta, Professor, Northwestern University School of Law; and Patric Verrone, President, Writers Guild America West
The moderator will be Louis Sigalos, Chief of the Consumer Affairs & Outreach Division, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, FCC.
2007-09-18: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) chairman Konrad von Finckenstein, has told a public hearing on the diversity of voices in Canadian Media that he is sceptical about industry claims that consolidations increased the programming choices available to Canadians.
In his opening remarks von Finckenstein said the issue of media concentration was "an important one that has preoccupied policy-makers in Canada for some time" and added, "The concern over media concentration is not limited to Canada. Many other jurisdictions, including the United States and the European Union, are currently studying this issue, and Australia has recently passed new legislation."
Industry leaders argued against new rules with Shaw Communications saying that, "that future mergers or acquisitions should be governed on a "case-by-case" basis, as currently done, with the regulator imposing conditions at time of licence renewal or transaction approval if concerns emerge regarding the availability of Canadian content.
Responding to testimony from Shaw chief executive Jim Shaw, von Finckenstein said: "I find it hard to accept when you say we need no new rules. This newfound love with case-by-case regulation is news to me. I take this advocacy with a grain of salt."
Finckenstein pressed the broadcasters, who have argued for few or no new rules dealing with acquisitions, as to whether they could live with rules proposed by Crown-owned CBC, which would limit companies in the following ways: ownership to no more than two of three mediums (TV, radio and print) in a local market; no more than 33% of Canadian-based specialty-TV channel assets; and no more than two distribution systems, either cable or satellite, in a market.
Previous von Finckenstein:
Canadian Financial Post report:
2007-09-18: Radio One Inc. has announced the completion of the previously-announced sale of stations in Louisville, Kentucky;, Dayton, Ohio; and Minneapolis, Minnesota for some USD 104 million.
It has also announced that it recently amended its bank credit facility to, among other things, adjust its covenant levels.
CEO and President Alfred C. Liggins, III stated said of the sale and credit facilities, "The sale of these radio stations has allowed us to pay down debt and enhance our financial flexibility while this bank amendment provides further flexibility under our bank credit agreement. All of these transactions are beneficial to shareholders from a variety of perspectives."
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2007-09-18: According to the UK Telegraph, SMG has postponed the sale of Virgin Radio after receiving offers that were below its GBP 80 million (USD 160 million) target price.
The paper says it understands that Global Radio, chaired by former ITV chief executive Charles Allen and private equity house Vitruvian Partners were among those who submitted indicative offers and that SMG's intention is to resume the sale process once credit markets settle and other deals in the sector conclude.
It adds that earlier this year SMG announced it was writing Virgin's book value down to GBP 105 million (USD 210 million) and says one of the issues for new owners is that Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group can revoke the station's right to use its brand, which runs out in 15 years, when it changes hands, and that the agreement to use the name restricts the business areas Virgin Radio can move into. It expires in 15 years.
UK Telegraph report:
2007-09-18: Clear Channel at 10:00 local on Monday flipped its hot AC KBIG-FM, Los Angeles, to "contemporary adult hits" "MYfm" format.
The KBIG website is now under the new name and the station has no on-air personalities: Its long-time morning host Charlie Tuna saw out the old format before the switch, which began with Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah" and Bon Jovi's "Livin On A Prayer."
Tuna in a posting on his website before the change announced that Monday morning would be his "last day and last show on KBIG (No April Fool joke this time)!" and continued on to say "Clear Channel management has new plans for this dial position at 104.3FM and I'm not part of that plan. What I have been told is that Clear Channel wants to talk to me about the future with them and explore a number of new ideas they are still in the process of developing."
He then went on to thank listeners and suggest checks back with the website over what he is doing.
Clear Channel L.A. VP of programming Michael Martin said of the move, "With today's consumer wanting to custom tailor everything to their liking the name MY is a perfect brand for radio. This is a station designed by the listeners to play music they tell us they want to hear. How do we know what they want to hear? Extensive market research and continual weekly music information to keep the station familiar, fun and family friendly."
RNW comment: And does the cynic in us note that the costs have gone down; that almost any corporate honchonowadays seems able to spout any corporate nonsense without blushing - there was more from Martin; and that those who really want to choose what they want to hear have many options nowadays that will tailor play lists more closely to their tastes.
Clear Channel has also announced a deal with The NBC Agency under which Clear Channel stations in the top 10 markets will promote NBC's new romantic mystery/drama series "Journeyman" that premieres on Monday (Sep 24).
The promotion began Monday with on-air and online promotions begin on select Clear Channel stations in the markets and next Monday NBC will be the exclusive advertiser on/ sponsor of five of the stations with the largest reach - WHTZ-FM (Z100) in New York, KIIS-FM in Los Angeles, KYLD-FM in San Francisco, WKSC-FM in Chicago and WIOQ-FM in Philadelphia.
These stations will, says Clear Channel not carry "typical" commercials but "entertaining vignettes" hosted by the new show talent" and in addition from 06:00 to 19:00 stars of a new NBC fall show "Chuck" are taking over the airwaves to discuss their new show.
During the period, all five stations will refer to themselves as "Chuck-FM" and Zach Levi and Josh Gomez (who play Chuck and Morgan respectively) will introduce all station content reports with no other commercial breaks or advertisers.
Jeff Howard, President, Clear Channel Radio Sales commented of the deal in a news release: "These marketing programs are great examples of Clear Channel's ability to customize audio and digital messaging for massive impact. We expect the combination of NBC's high-quality production and the massive listenership of five of our largest-reach vehicles in the U.S. will drive viewership in their core 18-49 demographic."
Previous Clear Channel:
Tuna web site:
2007-09-18: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the signing of a ten-year community contract with Inishowen Community Radio Limited, which will serve the North Inishowen peninsula of Donegal.
Inishowen Community Radio has previously held a five year contract and broadcasts a service that is half-music and half-speech.
2007-09-18: US radio revenues in July were down 1% on a year earlier according to figures from the Radio Advertising Board (RAB) that again showed non-spot revenues as the only bright spot.
They were up 6% whilst local revenues were down 1%, national revenues were down 4% and combined local and national revenues were down 1%.
Previous RAB and RAB Revenue figures:
2007-09-17: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with a report cum blog from Marc Fisher in the Washington Post that notes the success of digital radio in the UK and its so-far abysmal failure in the US where HD radio so far has left most people cold.
Fisher cites as the main reason for the difference the content offered, noting that "British commercial and public broadcasters are providing extensive new and live content on digital stations, while U.S. media companies use their extra channels mainly to provide canned, automated music programming."
RNW comment: To that we would add issues of price - DAB only took off in the UK when receiver prices came down markedly (Fisher does mention that HD receivers are around USD 200 in the US and British receivers are now available at less than half this price - and also note that the reason the UK stations are offering new content relates to regulation. In the UK, analogue stations were offered the carrot of automatic renewal of their licence if they provided a service on the local digital multiplex and winning bids for multiplex are chosen by a committee according to criteria set out by the government.
In addition DAB is broadcast on different spectrum. By contrast in the US, renewal is effectively automatic anyway and frequencies are sold by auction without any regulatory control of the service they are then used to provide and digital signals are being broadcast using part of the analogue signal, thus entrenching existing licensees in their dominance but not providing much incentive to spend money or be truly innovative.
The blog includes the article that then notes that Washington public station WAMU-FM today drops all of its bluegrass and acoustic Americana music programming from its regular FM schedule and starts up a digital-only channel devoted entirely to that music.
WAMU will now have news and talk shows on its main FM channel; second HD channel carrying BBC news and NPR shows that haven't had a Washington outlet; and bluegrass, folk and other acoustic sounds on the third channel.
Fisher quotes station general manager Caryn Mathes saying of the changes, "We've been searching for a way to do right by bluegrass. We believe in HD Radio, and it allows us to give bluegrass lovers not just one shelf in a very big store that specializes in something else, but their own store."
Mathes says that WAMU's programming will contrast with that of most HD stations: "Most of it is automated tape loop stuff and it sounds stale. We're going to be among a handful of stations doing live, fresh programming on HD."
WAMU is attempting to boost use of its HD signal by offering free or much cheaper receivers: Around 1,000 members who joined the station during its bluegrass programs will each get a letter inviting them to accept a free digital radio and new members are to be offered free radios at a membership price level that barely covers the cost of shipping the set according to Mathes.
Fisher also notes that eventually US HD receiver makers hope to be able to offer some of the additional features that are available on some UK DAB receivers such as -demand song downloads, text news, traffic updates, and the ability to time-shift programming.
The blog comments that follow seem to indicate that HD has a struggle ahead if it indeed does manage to survive:
Some comments raise issues of the power of the HD signal: One says in part: "If you don't live or drive next to WAMU, you can't hear it and the same goes for nationwide. No one uses it... You wonder why the technology hasn't taken off???
Why can't you hear it? Regular 88.5 has 50,000 watt signal, HD has only a tiny 500 watt signal. Less power really does mean less signal and poor reception.
Yet you ask folks to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on expensive, overpriced, untested, unproven technology that is just as likely to disappear in a couple years as AM Stereo?"
In response another posting says, "I agree, HD Radio will simply die out if they don't increase the power of the signal. There is no point in getting it if you can't hear anything. I live near Annapolis and I can only pull in two stations. I can get all the FM stations loud and clear though."
And yet another raises the issue of content, commenting, "Another factor in the difference in digital radio take-up in the US versus the UK is the existence of satellite radio in the US. XM and Sirius have shown that there is an audience willing to pay a monthly fee for a much more diverse (and, in many cases, commercial-free) selection of programming. It's hard to see HD Radio competing with satellite radio in the sheer quantity of programming; they're going to have to compete in quality (doubtful) or cost (more likely)."
And yet another raises the issue of proprietary standards, commenting: "A large part of the problem with HD Radio in the US is that the FCC has chosen to go with a proprietary format for signal encoding, as opposed to the open source standard in use in Europe. The great democratizing power of the airwaves has been diminished as a result, I feel, and in addition it has stifled innovation in HD Radio services."
RNW comment: We tend to agree with the criticism albeit the proprietary nature is only relevant in as far as this means charges from iBiquity that keep up the costs of the system: Were iBiquity to drop charges the proprietary element is negligible albeit we, as we have argued in the past, think there was tremendous value, now being lost, in the universal nature of AM and FM.
Irrespective of this it's too late now! The only way the US will move away from HD is if it's a total failure AND alternative spectrum is made available as for Eureka DAB and there are too many vested interests for this to happen.
Next the issue of satellite radio's potential merger in the US, a merger that analysts seem increasingly to think will be allowed by the regulators.
Commenting on the plan, Rick Aristotle Munarriz of the Motley Fool writes: "It's been nearly seven months since XM and Sirius announced plans to merge. It seemed like a preposterous proposal at first. Satellite radio is a duopoly aspiring to become a monopoly. The precedents weren't kind. When the two satellite TV providers tried to get hitched five years ago, they were shot down by the FCC.
However, things are different this time. Even greying regulators are beginning to see that the marketplace is evolving with every passing digital audio introduction. After all, you can't be a monopoly when you're competing against a growing list of ear magnets. You can't be accused of hurting consumers when both companies have spelled out lower-priced plans that will be available within a year of the 'I do' swaps."
And of the lobbying by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Munarriz comments: "The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) doesn't have a firm footing, though. In throwing its support against the merger back in February, it argued that a merger "will impose higher prices, less diversity, and equipment costs on subscribers." Two months later, it took out an ad in a couple of industry trade periodicals that essentially said the same thing.
XM and Sirius have shot down those fears. In a cynic-popping move, the satellite radio upstarts committed to lower-priced tiers -- as low as $6.99 a month -- while assuring existing subscribers that their existing receivers and content expectations would not change.
It wasn't a genuine shot to begin with by the terrestrial radio-backed NAB. In theory, AM and FM broadcasters would be cheering for higher prices, less diversity, and additional hardware outlays. Those moves would send many of the roughly 15 million satellite radio subscribers back to listening to commercial radio."
NAB's inconsistency is also raised in "Navigatethe Future" in a posing by Dave Van Dyke, President of Bridge Ratings under the heading, "What's Good for the Radio Goose...."
Van Dyke says Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin has "done an expert job of laying out the rationale [for the merger] and presenting it in an intelligent, non-offensive manner" and although NAB has done a respectable job, "the time has come for the NAB to face the 'Rule of Consolidation'".
"The fact is that the NAB has lobbied for consolidation of the radio industry since the early 90's and got permission for radio companies to begin buying up each other in a 1996 act of Congress.
The argument was that not only is consolidation good for the business - it's good for the consumer.
Now, eleven years later, many in our business - even on Wall Street - believe that this wave of consolidation has had negative repercussions on the financial well-being of the radio business."
Finally back to the UK and musings from Amanda Andrews in the Times about the future of advertising-funded radio.
She starts by noting that almost 30 years after "video killed the radio star", "radio is still alive, despite some industry figures sounding its death knell as advertisers flock to the internet."
"While it has been a difficult time for radio," she continues, "what with money from advertisers going online and competition between key stations greater than ever, the medium has proved to be a survivor in the cutthroat world of advertising."
And later a positive in relation to the internet: "The feeling among media buyers is that radio works well with the internet, so much so that advertising space on the radio and internet could be sold together. More and more people are now using the internet and listening to online radio simultaneously. Many radio stations, such as the SMG-owned Virgin Radio, are now reliant on a successful marriage between show and website."
And of the future: "The general feeling in the industry is that British radio eventually will merge into two main players - something that has been welcomed by leading advertising groups. One said that it would be happy with a shake-up of the industry, saying that it would lead to fresh ideas and an injection of talent, while another said the industry is too fragmented and consolidation would create a couple of one-stop shops for advertisers."
Next listening suggestions and first a regular in last week's "On the Media", chosen in particular for reports that illustrate the way in which media can highlight the less important, first in the case of the Move On adverts concerning General Petraeus - or "Betrayus" as the ads said in a play on the name. This of course led to a concentration on attacking the ads by many commentators rather than looking at the substance of the General's testimony and in the UK the dominance of the media headlines and analysis by the story of 4-years-old girl Madeleine McCann, who went missing during a family holiday in Portugal.
Then to BBC World Service and a note that this week will see the last of the "Clinton Years" Monday documentaries (It will be posted as a podcast/MP3 after the transmission).
Next BBC Radio 3 and the 50th anniversary of the death of Sibelius - the "Composer of the Week" on the station ( 11:00 GMT today to Friday) and also featuring in the "Sibelius Cycle" that (at 13:00 GMT) features the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra performing the complete cycle of his symphonies performed at the 2006 Bergen International Festival.
Also from BBC Radio 3 we again suggest "The Essay" (22:00 GMT Today through Thursday) that this week is on the topic "The Cult of Childhood" in which Deborah Bowman explores of the theme of childhood in the literary culture of the first half of the 20th century.
And BBC Radio 2 on Thursday when at 22:00 GMT in the fifth of the seven-part "Seven More Days That... ...Rocked the World" Stuart Maconie looks at the "Alan Freed: Payola Scandal."
Then to music documentaries from BBC Radio 4 and from last Saturday "King Size Papas Mighty Tight Women" in which Julian Clary celebrates the use of double entendre in 1920s and 30s blues songs plus "The Music Feature" (14:30 GMT but repeated Tuesday at 13:30): This programme, "I Should Be Proud", documents how the attitude of black America to Vietnam shifted, through music, over the course of the war and how it fused with the civil rights movement during the period.
Also from that day we suggest "The Saturday Play" - "That Man Attlee" by Robin Glendinning - which dramatises the infighting in the British Labour Party when it unexpectedly came to victory in the 1945 General Election.
Next sex and lots of it for different tastes from Radio 4, which last week began its series "The Sex Lives of Us" season about British attitudes to sex.
Amongst the offerings, last week's "Case Notes" (Tuesday 19:30 GMT with a Wednesday 15:30 GMT repeat so the stream and podcast will be available a little longer) looked at Sexual Dysfunction; This Friday's "Front Row (18:15 GMT) includes a discussion on whether the freedom to write about or depict sex more explicitly has helped or hindered creativity.
Also under the series title are "The Sex Lives of Us" - startling with "Old Age to Fortysomething" last Thursday and continuing this Thursday (19:30 GMT-) with "Fortysomething to Teens"; and
"The Sex Lives of Us: Gay Times" - two programmes (last Thursday and this Thursday10:30 GMT).
And as a final suggestion in this context, the "Book at Bedtime" this week (21:45 GMT weekdays) is "Damage", Josephine Hart's novel about the obsessive sexual relationship between a fifty-year-old politician and his son's thirty-year-old fiancée.
The other "Book" from the station, "The Book of the Week" (08:45 GMT weekdays) is "Rudolf Nureyev: The Life", readings from Julie Kavanagh's biography of the dancer.
Then remaining with the literary we suggest Radio Netherlands and Wednesday's "Arts and Culture" that includes a new feature called "Radio Books" - an eclectic collection of short stories by Dutch and Flemish writers presented for the first time in English translation.
We also suggest from the station last week's "Research File" - three reports, one on a very successful alcohol prevention programme for young drivers; a second looking at sat-nav systems; and the last a test drive in the world's first hydrogen powered lorry (truck) that is going to be used on a day-to-day basis
After this we suggest last Saturday's "All in the Mind" from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; "Carer Couples: when a partner has a mental illness" looked at the way relationships change when a partner is afflicted with a severe mental illness.
Also from the ABC, last week's "Media Report" looked at a topic that has a wider resonance: "The public cost of government advertising" looked at ways to reform government advertising campaigns to stop the political hand raiding the public purse.
And finally BBC Radio 4 again and two programmes on the faults of politicians and civil servants. The first suggestion is "Not My Words, Mr Speaker" in which Matthew Parris explores the vocabulary of politics, asking why politicians cling to cliché and meaningless bits of jargon. It aired as part of "The Westminster Hour" on Sunday and also as a separate programme last Wednesday (the first part) with the second part due this Wednesday (or from Sunday's Westminster Hour).
The final suggestion is from next Sunday when Julian Putkowski presents the first of series on cases from the UK National Archives that show up Civil Service bureaucracy at what the station terms " its nonsensical and frequently hilarious worst."
This programme deals with the discussions about the design, location and function of the police telephone box that was introduced into Britain at a time when most people had never used a telephone and many had not even heard of the device (A police telephone box was installed in Albany, New York in 1877 and in the UK the police telephone box was patented in 1891 by a Glasgow fireman- the British boxes were generally blue although some in Scotland were red: Nowadays the standard British blue box is familiar, if at all, to people mainly because of its use for the Tardis time machine in the BBC science fiction television programme Doctor Who).
Motley Fool - Munarriz:
NavigatetheFuture - van Dyke:
UK Times- Andrews:
Washington Post - Fisher:
2007-09-17: D.C. area radio veteran Jacob "Jake" Einstein, who boosted the fortunes of WHFS-FM by introducing rock-and-roll on the station, has died aged 90.
The Washington Post say that when he became general manager and part-owner of the 2,300-watt Bethesda station in 1967 the station's format of pop, light classical and jazz drew only hundred of listeners a night but that number rose to nearly 33,000 after Einstein in 1969 hired Spiritus Cheese - Joshua Brooks, Sara Vass and Mark Gorbulew - three would-be DJs who approached him with an idea for a free-form rock-and-roll program.
Einstein's daughter Rose said her father saw rock-n-roll "as an all-night format that would sustain a station" and Brooks said of Einstein's approach, "Jake got it He didn't know about the music, but he trusted the DJs."
Einstein began working in radio in 1939, selling advertising at WINX-AM in Rockville, and as well as being an advertising salesman was also a newspaper columnist and speechwriter before he joined WHFS (Washington High Fidelity Stereo) as an advertising salesman in 1964. He was, reports the Post, a strong believer in local programming and never ran a syndicated show on the station.
He sold WHFS, despite a grass-roots campaign that elicited 17,000 letters of protest, for USD 2.2 million in 1983 and took the call letters to a station he had bought in Annapolis and there he rehired many of his old DJs.
He sold WHFS-FM and WNAV-AM in 1987 for USD 8.2 million and later bought low-wattage alternative rock WRNR-FM in Annapolis, and WYRE-AM, selling these in 1998 and retiring.
Washington Post report:
2007-09-16: Last week saw regulators in Australia, Canada and the UK issue reports on the potential effects of new media laws (Australia); of the efficacy of existing regulations (Canada); and start a second public broadcasting review (UK) but otherwise it was mainly a matter of routine work.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has, as already noted, posted its the Local Content Levels Investigation Report that was laid in Parliament by Communications Minister Helen Coonan who on the basis of the report eased the regulations.
The 105-page report (a 990 kb PDF) said that the new regulations, due to take effect from January 1, could in some circumstances "place unsustainable financial impositions on some operators."
The ACMA also called for comment on Macquarie Media Group's proposed acquisition of radio licences in Port Lincoln and Spencer Gulf North (For both see RNW Sep 14).
In radio licence decisions the ACMA has directed Groove FM licensee Youth Media Society of Western Australia, to broadcast Australian music and encourage participation.
In July it found that the Perth station had breached three of the additional conditions on its licence and said it was considering heightened compliance measures to prevent potential recurrence of breaches of these additional licence conditions (See RNW Licence News July 22).
Specifically the station has to broadcast an average of four Australian music items per hour during each eight-hour period commencing 6.00 am, 2.00 pm and 10.00 pm; to develop and deliver training programs on the requirements of the additional licence conditions for Groove FM's employees, agents, contractors and volunteers; to broadcast announcements inviting listeners to become members of Groove FM, in accordance with clause 4.1 of the additional licence conditions; to broadcast announcements inviting listeners to participate in talk programming at Groove FM, in accordance with clause 4.3 of the additional licence conditions; and provide ACMA with copies of these announcements.
In New South Wales it has directed Queanbeyan Community Radio Inc, the licensee of community radio station 2QBN, to take steps aimed at ensuring it complies with the conditions of its community broadcasting licence and the Community Radio Code.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as well as posting details of a review of the country's broadcasting system that says it needs to be less regulated (See RNW Sep 14) has also posted a public notice calling for comments or interventions by Oct 15 on an application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a 765 watts FM transmitter at Marathon to broadcast its programming service La Première Chaîne originating from CBON-FM, Sudbury, Ontario.
The CRTC notes that the Marathon's transmitter was previously licensed as a radiocommunication distribution undertaking to rebroadcast the programming of CBON-FM Sudbury for which the licensee has ceased the operation. The CBC agreed to maintain its service at Marathon and wishes to have the transmitter added to the CBON-FM Sudbury licence.
There were no radio releases from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom, as well as starting a second review of public service broadcasting - mainly in relation to TV - has also issued notices relating to community and digital licences.
In relation to community radio it has announced the award of four new licences and also updated its timetable for inviting community radio licence applications.
The new licences awarded went to:
*Stevenston, Saltcoats and Ardrossan, North Ayrshire- 3TFM, a station that is to offer a service that places particular emphasis on improving the health and general well-being of local residents.
*Middlesborough - Community Voice FM, a station to serve the community of Middlesborough, in particular those who are most marginalized and suffer the most disadvantage.
*Newcastle-upon-Tyne - Spice FM, a station that will aim to serve the South Asian and new and emerging communities of interest and identity in Newcastle.
*Sunderland - Utopia FM, a community radio station by and for students at the University of Sunderland and young people in the wider City of Sunderland.
Under the updated timetable, applications are to be invited for the following stations:
North Wales and northwest England - under offer with a closing date of Oct 30.
West Midlands, East Midlands and Lincolnshire - to be offered from Oct 10 with a closing date of Jan 15, 2008.
East and Southeast England, including London - To be decided.
In relation to digital licences, Ofcom has posted details for its award of the new Herefordshire and Worcestershire and Northeast Wales & West Cheshire multiplexes to Muxco and has also announced that Muxco was the only applicant for the North Yorkshire digital multiplex.
In the case of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire licences, Muxco plans to launch with eight local digital sound programme services, including BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester and add a ninth service, Local Live, within nine months of the launch of the multiplex (See RNW Licence News Jun 10)
The Radio Licensing Committee in this said it noted some comparative deficiencies in coverage around the Redditch area of Worcestershire, but this was acceptable given that this area already has access to DAB digital radio from the West Midlands local radio multiplex service. It added that although MuxCo is a new company, many of its executives have extensive experience in the management of local DAB multiplexes and the operation of digital radio services and MuxCo shareholders include established radio companies with knowledge of local markets.
The Committee said it felt that MuxCo's business plan demonstrated the group's ability to operate the multiplex over the term of the licence, although it was acknowledged that there was no definite agreement in place with GCap Media for the proposed simulcast of local analogue services Wyvern FM.
The proposed multiplex line-up, it said, would broaden local digital choice by offering local services specific to the Herefordshire and Worcestershire area on DAB for the first time, coupled with a range of new stations which should therefore provide an extension of choice to listeners in the Herefordshire and Worcestershire area.
Regarding the Northeast Wales & West Cheshire licence MuxCo proposes to launch with eight local services including BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru (See RNW Licence News May 20). In this case Ofcom made similar comments and also noted that it felt that MuxCo's business plan demonstrated the group's ability to operate the multiplex over the term of the licence, although it there were no definite agreements in place with GCap Media for the proposed carriage of Marcher Sound and Gold.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been involved in a number of enforcement actions with forfeitures or penalties for apparent violation ranging downwards from USD 8,000.
*A forfeiture of USD 8,000 issued to Broadcast Entertainment Corporation, former licensee of stations KICA-AM and KKYC-FM serving Clovis, New Mexico, for failure to maintain a complete public inspection file for each station. Broadcast Entertainment Corporation had been issued with a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) for this amount but argued for cancellation on the basis that it is no longer the licensee and that it had rectified the violation following the inspection that brought the matters to light The FCC disagreed and confirmed the full penalty.
*An NAL for USD 7,000 to Detroit Lakes Broadcasting Company, Inc., licensee of KRCQ-FM, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, for failure to file renewal application on time and for unauthorized operation after the licences expired. The licence was renewed.
*An NAL for USD 7,000 to Lea County Broadcasting Company, licensee of KLEA-AM and KLEA-FM, Lovington, New Mexico, for failure to file renewal application on time and for unauthorized operation after the licences expired. The licences were renewed.
*USD 2,800 forfeiture to Pereira Broadcasting, licensee of KIGS-AM, Hanford, California for failure to enclose the KIGS antenna towers within effective locked fences or other enclosures.
Pereira argued for reduction or cancellation on the basis that the chain link of the fences had been removed to allow use of an herbicide to eliminate a fire hazard of over growth of weeds underneath each of the towers as required by the County Fire Inspection and on the basis of inability to pay.
The FCC said it considered as an extenuating circumstance the effort by Pereira to comply with both local and federal requirements, and reduce the proposed forfeiture to USD 5,600 on this basis. On the basis of financial records provided it then reduced the penalty further to USD 2,800.
*USD 2,000 forfeiture to Larson-Wynn, Inc., licensee of KODL-AM, The Dalles, Oregon for operating at an unauthorized location. Following complaints an inspection in October last year found that the station had been operated from the house of Al Wynn, a representative of Larson-Wynn. He produced documents showing the station had been operated from the location under Special Temporary Authorization and had submitted an extension request: This had been returned because the fee was not enclosed.
The FCC noted that its records showed the most recent STA expired on February 25, 2004 and that at the time of the inspection there was no pending request for STA for KODL-AM, and no pending modification application.
An NAL for USD 4,000 was issued to which Larson-Wynn responded by arguing for cancellation on the basis of its good faith efforts to comply with the rules: To back-up its argument it said it had resubmitted the STA application along with a check in the amount of the required application fee, produced a copy of the cancelled check as proof. The FCC on this basis reduced the penalty to USD 2,000.
The FCC also issued a number of licences to which there had been objections including:
*Colorado: Granted licence renewal for Jacor (Clear Channel) station KOA-AM, Denver. An objection had been filed by John Ravetti of Colorado Springs on the basis that the licensee "shirked" its responsibility as an Emergency Alert System station on several occasions, especially during the 2002 Hayman Fire, by failing to adequately issue emergency alerts.
*Michigan: Granted application Steven A. Roy, Personal Representative for the Estate of Lyle R. Evans for a new AM station at Escanaba. The application had been opposed by KMB Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of stations WDBC-AM and WYKX-FM, Escanaba.
*New York: Granted licence renewal application for AMFM (Clear Channel) stations WINR-AM, Binghamton; WKGB-FM, Conklin; WENE-AM and WMRV-FM, Endicott; WBBI-FM, Endwell and WMXW-FM, Vestal. Petitions to deny renewal had been filed on the basis of the licensee being a "near duopoly" in Binghamton New York, and "an illegal monopoly under the Sherman Act with further dissatisfaction concerning the stations' formats, use of automation, and alleged lack of public affairs, news, political and local entertainment programming.
*Oregon: Granted application to assign the license of KACI-FM, The Dalles, Oregon, from Columbia Gorge Broadcasters, Inc. to Bicoastal Columbia River, LLC. This had been opposed by Cumulus Licensing, licensee of KNRQ-FM, Eugene, Oregon.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-09-15: Regent Communications has seen off lawsuits launched against it in August by Riley Investment Management LLC and SMH Capital Inc. (See RNW Aug 16) and has announced an agreement with the two companies under which all pending litigation has been dismissed.
It also announced that John Ahn, a Principal in Riley Investment Management, and Joseph Patrick Hannan - most recently Chief Financial Officer of the Radio Division of Lincoln Financial Media - have been appointed to its board. They take up two newly created posts that take the board up to seven members. Ahn is to serve on the Board's Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and Hannan will serve on the Board's Audit and Compensation Committees.
2007-09-15: BBC Radio 5 has announced a new schedule from next month that includes a move by Anita Anand to Drivetime, where she replaces Jane Garvey as co-host with Peter Allen: Richard Bacon is taking over Anand's late evening weeknights slot.
Garvey, who was the first voice on the station and has been with it for 13 years, is leaving because of family commitments and commented, "I'm very sad to be leaving 5 Live, where Peter Allen tells me I've been fortunate to spend the best years of my life. When we started in 1994 I thought of myself as hip and happening, and of Peter as a cantankerous old git. Thirteen years on and I'm a weary wife and mother and he's still a cantankerous old git.
She added that she was "very proud of 5 Live and of everything we've achieved. It's easy to forget how many people thought the concept was bound to fail. In fact, the station has a unique bond with its audience and I'm happy I played a part in that. "I'll never, ever stop listening to 5 Live and I'm leaving Peter in the hands of another feisty female, Anita Anand, so I know he will come to no harm."
Allen commented, "Jane's been a delight to work with - and very long suffering. Bear in mind our partnership has lasted longer than the average marriage at the BBC! We are likely to have a custody battle over the 6 Sony Awards we have won over the years, some of which have gone missing, but we will try to settle the matter without recourse to the courts.
"I will miss her and I know the listeners will too, but fortunately there is another talented presenter ready to take on the task."
Also paying tributeto Garvey was Radio 5 Live Controller Bob Shennan who said: "It's the end of an era and I am really sad to lose Jane. She is a fantastic broadcaster and has played a major part in the station since its launch. I hope she will be back on it at some stage in the future. "
Other changes to be made include a new two-hour news programme on Sunday mornings from 10am to noon hosted by Gaby Logan, who has hosted the station's the Saturday morning sports show during the summer. It will replace Worricker On Sunday and will start in the New Year.
2007-09-15: An Emmis stockholder has called for the company to consider breaking itself up and returning capital to shareholders before its value falls further according to a report in the Indianapolis Business Journal.
It says that Frank K. Martin, CFA Managing Partner of Martin Capital Management, which owns just below 10% of Emmis's stock, said in a filing that he and a Martin Capital colleague had conducted a video teleconference with he and a Martin Capital colleague held the video conference call with Susan Bayh and four other outside Emmis directors this week to express his deep dissatisfaction with the company's performance and adds that
Martin has been publicly critical of Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan for more than a year, objecting amongst other things to Smulyan's voting control of the company through special shares although he owns less than a fifth of its stock and the Journal says according to the filing he and his colleague "reiterated concerns about concentration of power and the apparent negative impact on corporate governance" and also complained about the "lack of clarity of vision with regard to corporate strategy [and] the apparent reluctance to monetize the worth of valuable properties", ending the meeting by advocating liquidation, which it says is justified in light of the company's "dismal long-term economic performance."
In another report the Journal says that Emmis has described the USD 6 million lawsuit filed against it by Talk Radio Network morning host Erich "Mancow" Muller (See RNW Sep 13) as "without merit."
It quotes Emmis Radio President Rick Cummings as saying in a written statement. "Emmis doesn't have the ability to keep a good show off the air."
Previous "Mancow" Muller:
Indianapolis Business Journal re liquidation call:
Indianapolis Business Journal re lawsuit:
2007-09-15: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has characterized a response to its offer made in June to SoundExchange - the body that collects performance royalties in the US - regarding Copyright Royalty Board rate increases as "dismissive" and gone on the attack publicly about the matter.
In a letter to SoundExchange Executive Director John Simson, NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr expresses "extreme disappointment" with SoundExchange's letter and comments that it "comes over three months after our initial meeting, and the brief response mischaracterizes the offer made on June 6, indicating a lack of understanding with what we presented."
Rehr says the "detailed proposal" presented by NAB sought to achieve a number of important objectives, such as:
1. To encourage greater participation by radio stations in Internet streaming than would otherwise be possible under the misguided CRB rates;
2.To enable greater radio station streaming activity, allowing revenue to artists through SoundExchange to grow beyond that achievable under the CRB rates; and
3. To address ancillary aspects to streaming above and beyond the CRB decision that would be beneficial to musicians and SoundExchange.
In his letter Simson had said," "While your position was that this would help bring small broadcasters online, the offer also provided discounts of nearly 50% for the largest NAB members as well. We are unable to accept your offer but would like to continue our dialogue to see if there are other possible solutions to encourage small broadcasters to stream online. One option presently available is the small webcaster rates -- which are offered to services with under USD 1.25 million in revenue."
2007-09-14: The Australian commercial radio industry has welcomed an easing of local content regulations for regional radio by the country's Communications Minister Helen Coonan.
The industry had been pressing for the move with particular criticism coming from Macquarie Media, which owns 85 regional stations and whose costs would have gone up considerably from January when the new local content requirements that were introduced as part of Australia's media law reforms were due to take effect.
The regional content requirements were introduced into the legislation to gain the support of National Party senators for the new media laws, which in March were given a cautious welcome by industry body Commercial Radio Australia although it commented that "the local content and local licence conditions being imposed on commercial regional radio operators are an unnecessary intrusion by Government in the day to day running of commercial enterprises." (See RNW Mar 29).
A subsequent review by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) raised doubts about how sustainable the policy was, saying in part that the rules could in some circumstances "place unsustainable financial impositions on some operators".
The changes instituted reduce the requirement for local content from each regional radio licensee from 4.5 hours a day to three hours a day (starting on January 1) whilst stations in licence areas with populations of less than 30,000 will be required to broadcast 30 minutes of local content per day and racing radio and remote area licensees will be required to broadcast 5 minutes of local content per day.
There was also an easing of regulations in a change of the time within which the content has to be broadcast from 06:00 to 18L00 to a longer period from 05:00 to 20:00. In addition Coonan said that if the government is re-elected it will exempt remote area services and racing radio services from the local content requirement and will also further ease the regulation by allowing allow licensees to be credited for local content on any five days during the week (rather than business days only) to allow, as an example, for local sports broadcasts on weekends to be counted and will also provide a 6 week non-compliance period each year to allow for holiday periods. It will also consider possible amendments to refine the definition of a trigger event.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive Joan Warner said of the changes, "We are pleased the Minister has listened to the industry and has taken the industry's concerns on board by making some conditions of the legislation more flexible. We are also pleased to see the Government's undertaking to pass important and necessary amendments to the legislation after the federal election."
She added that Commercial Radio Australia had "had very positive discussions with a range of Government members, in particular with Paul Neville and National Party MPs and Senators who, while seeking to ensure a minimum level of local content, were also willing to respond to the concerns of the regional broadcasters re unintended consequences on the day to day operation, and ultimately the value, of their businesses" and also said the opposition Labor Party has also given the commercial radio industry an assurance that it will support changes that can be made before the election and indicated that a Labor Government will do at least as much in terms of the promised legislative amendments after the election.
"Commercial radio broadcasters," said Warner, "already provide a high level of local content, on average around 3.5 hours per day, and are closely involved with their local communities. The Australian Communication and Media Authority's (ACMA) report into the local content requirements contained in the media reform package, tabled today by the Minister, confirms this as well as taking a flexible, realistic and practical approach to addressing both the business issues and concerns that arose as a result of the legislation."
Commercial Radio Australia has also announced details of its National Radio Conference to be held in Melbourne next month to look at issues concerning the future of radio in Australia with particular reference to the rollout of digital radio; the impact of media reforms on regional radio operators and radio's place in the multimedia age.
In all some 400 commercial radio executives from around Australia will attend the conference on October 12. It will be addressed by amongst others by American satirist Harry Shearer; KGO Radio president and general manager Mickey Luckoff; WABC New York program director John McConnell and James Cridland, Head of Future Media and Technology at BBC Audio & Music Interactive as well as by Austereo chairman Peter Harvie. The conference is followed on October 13 by the 19th annual Australian Commercial Radio Awards.
In other Australian radio news, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has called for comment on Macquarie Media Group's proposed acquisition of Star Broadcasting Network Pty Ltd, which is currently controlled by Fairfax Media Limited and owns the only two commercial radio licences in each of Port Lincoln (5CC and Magic FM 89.9) and Spencer Gulf North (5AU and Magic FM 105.9) in South Australia.
Macquarie already controls the two commercial TV licences in Port Lincoln and Spencer Gulf North through its acquisition of Southern Cross Broadcasting (See RNW Jul 4).
This means that it would for a period control all commercial radio and television licences in the South Australian radio licence areas of Port Lincoln and Spencer Gulf North although it is proposing to sell a radio licence in each licence area within a year and says an independent manager, who would have a reporting responsibility to ACMA, would manage the licences in the period before they are sold..
Comments from local residents, businesses, advertisers and those involved in making radio or TV programmes in the area have to be submitted by September 28.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Macquarie Media:
2007-09-14: Global Radio, which took over Chrysalis's Radio division in a deal completed six weeks ago (See RNW Aug 1), has axed five senior management jobs as part of a reshuffle that the new owner says is intended to simplify the group's management structure.
Out are the managing directors of Heart (Barnaby Dawe); Galaxy (Martyn Healy); and LBC (David Lloyd); plus Heart programme director Francis Currie and Managing Director Tina Finch.
Staff were told about the changes by Global Radio chief executive, Ashley Tabor, and the executive director, Richard Park.:They also see Global Radio finance director Don Thomson become Chief Operations Office; finance director Mark Evens become Chief Financial Officer; and the creation of as-yet unfilled roles for a head of marketing and London stations director.
Tabor said the changes would enable the company to develop a "new culture that values creativity, enthusiasm and innovation while rewarding success and enabling fast moving and precise decision making."
Previous Global Radio:
Previous Tabor: :
2007-09-14: The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has posted a review of the country's broadcasting system that says it needs to be less regulated and driven more by consumer choices if it going to remain relevant to the country's future needs.
Communications law experts - Laurence Dunbar and Christian Leblanc say in their 337-page "Review of the Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting Services In Canada" that although they "do not consider that that market forces alone are likely to achieve all the statutory policy objectives" that have been set in relationship to Canadian content of broadcasts they do question whether "all of the existing regulations and policies are working in a manner that effectively achieves these objectives."
They also suggest that the CRTC's current powers of sanction - revocation of licences or imposing criminal sanctions - are "not very practical means of enforcing regulatory obligations - except in the most egregious cases" and suggest that the government should consider granting it the power to impose administrative fines.
They note that as far as radio is concerned "between 2003 and 2006, the Commission licensed 233 new OTA radio stations, including 76 new stations in 2006 alone" and say this has "resulted in more competition for advertising revenues and greater choice for consumers" but that the CRTC has been "more reticent towards allowing new entry in the OTA television market."
They recommend that consumer demand should be allowed to determine the broadcasting services that a particular market can support rather than the current policy under which the CRTC assesses whether a market can sustain additional services, thus acting to the benefit of incumbents rather than acting to improve programming quality and efficiency.
The report aroused "grave concerns" from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters whose President & CEO, Glenn O'Farrell said in a new release, "We believe that the report's far-reaching recommendations, if not properly applied, could fundamentally undermine the foundation of the Canadian broadcasting industry. While we empathize with the authors, who were given a broad mandate and a short timeframe to produce this report, we do not believe that the report has displayed a necessary depth of analysis, nor an appropriate rationale or context for some of the sweeping recommendations contained within."
In particular O'Farrell raised concerns about "simultaneous substitution of programming" commenting, "Simultaneous substitution is a mechanism of fundamental importance to ensure that broadcasters are able to preserve their territorial programming rights. To remove this mechanism would effectively expropriate rights holders. It is irresponsible to suggest such a recommendation without any rationale demonstrating an understanding of the economic underpinnings of the industry."
Previous Canadian Association of Broadcasters:
Dunbar- Leblanc report (337 page 3.5 MB PDF):
2007-09-14: UK GCap Media is to re-launch its 42-strong local station network -"The One Network" - with a single logo and strapline -"Haven't you heard?" -for the whole network, which includes flagship London station Capital Radio and Birmingham station BRMB.
The network will feature networked weekend shows hosted by Myleene Klass and Jeremy Kyle plus a two-hour weekend celebrity show hosted by Ryan Seacrest (See RNW Aug 28) and the re-launch will be backed by a marketing campaign, the first for the network in seven years.
As well as the on-air changes, there will be an associated online re-vamp including a facility, intended to boost local music, on all the station websites for artists to upload their music with a chance of getting airplay on the station and also for people to post details of forthcoming local events in an events calendar.
There will also be additional local news and traffic news on stations and websites will offer additional streaming of celebrity and show business gossip.
Previous GCap Media:
2007-09-14: CBS Radio officially flipped WYSP-FM in Philadelphia to a new rock format at 17:00 local on Thursday, a move expected to take place after it dumped most of its on air staff on Wednesday (See RNW Apr 13).
The station site when we checked it had dropped all its previous details and lists "WYSP. The Rock is Back" above a "COMING SOON" slogan below which is a promo for Opie and Anthony live at the station on Thursday and Friday.
2007-09-13: Bridge Ratings in a report "The Impact of Wireless Internet" says that a survey it conducted in July and August showed that if the technology becomes practical for and gains widespread acceptance for in-car use it poses a significant threat to listening to satellite and terrestrial radio.
According to Bridge, listening to terrestrial radio that is now around an average 23 hours 36 minutes a week could call to below 19 hours a week by the fifth year of acceptance of in-car Wi-Fi and three years later, when Bridge projects that nearly a quarter of the US public will have adopted the technology, the figure is set to drop below 18 hours a week.
After nine years of market of in-car Wi-Fi Internet it says the technology should reach more than half of the US population with listening dropping under 14 and a half hours a week.
Satellite radio, comments Bridge, should experience a more severe drop-off in weekly time-spent-listening due to the wide variety of programming available on Internet Radio and the lack of comparable subscription expense.
It note that focus groups indicated that quality and variety of content was more important to them than the cost and it was generally assumed that that the monthly cost of satellite radio and in-car Wi-Fi reception of Internet Radio would be comparable. Those who currently subscribe to satellite radio, it says, expected to listen less if they had wireless Internet radio in their cars or they would cancel their satellite radio subscription.
Bridge's survey included interviews with 2,200 members of the public and device and automobile manufacturers and to make its projections it asked those in the former group who defined themselves as "innovators" or "early adopters", how likely they would be to buy a car or equip a current vehicle with a wireless Internet device.
In financial terms, Bridge estimates that traditional revenue could be boosted by Wi-Fi Internet Radio only if the radio industry vastly improves its advertising sales techniques and commits to dedicated Internet radio sales teams.
With dedicated sales teams experienced in selling the Internet, it says, traditional radio can expect to see a return to 3-4% revenue growth after consumer acceptance of in-car Wi-Fi surpasses 7% of the population: It adds that in the ninth year of market availability of in-car Wi-Fi the combination of natural market growth (1-2% per year) and a more effective effort at selling its Internet radio channels, traditional radio revenues could reach over USD 26 billion.
The Bridge survey was released as iBiquity Digital CEO Robert Struble in a briefing at its new HQ stated the obvious by saying that its HD digital radio now needed to get people to buy it as the FCC had adopted the system and broadcasters had put infrastructure into place.
Struble said the aim was that in five years HD would be the standard purchase and also commented on integrating the technology with other devices such as portable players, particularly with reference to development of new chips that would substantially reduce HD's power consumption: As with Eureka DAB receivers, digital radios consume considerably more power than analogue ones. He also admitted that better programming would help although he noted this tied in to public acceptance of the system.
In particular IBiquity is involved in pushing automobile manufacturers to offer HD in their vehicles, an area where it has lagged well behind satellite, which is aided in part by shareholdings that automobile makers have in the satellite companies.
RNW comment: In the end it seems to us that content and marketing will determine how things play out in the areas of terrestrial, satellite and in-car Wi-Fi. So far the terrestrial players lag woefully, satellite has done its job quite well with both general marketing and tie-ins with automobile manufacturers, and Wi-Fi has yet to come.
We suspect that if satellite can keep the content coming and market it strongly, particularly resisting the temptation to take adverts that might well make it more like its terrestrial competitors, it has a stronger future than Bridge's estimates suggest. In particular, even without a merger, it could offer limited packages as well as a full service via the Internet, thus keeping subscribers who might opt to drop satellite equipment if a reliable - and that is a big IF - Wi-Fi service were available that would allow listening to both satellite and Internet stations.
There is also, of course, the continuing issue of attempts by the recording companies to gouge as much as they can from Internet audio, attempts that could stifle the medium's growth although we think that as we have said in the past, a concerted effort by the Internet industry to set up its own distribution system for artists could potentially kill the recording industry rather than allowing the industry to castrate it.
We are therefore a little sceptical about Bridge's "positives" for terrestrial radio and more than a little sceptical about HD unless prices are cut to make receiver prices little more than that of current analogue prices and programming is developed to make a purchase of HD worthwhile whenever a receiver is replaced. If Wi-Fi is really within sight and terrestrial and satellite stations can be reliable heard using it, we see very few strong reasons to spend any substantial sums on getting HD.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2007-09-13: Former Emmis Chicago host Erich"Mancow" Muller has launched a USD 6 million lawsuit against the company but in New York Rutgers women's basketball player Kia Vaughn has withdrawn her lawsuit launched last month (See RNW Aug 15) against Don Imus, CBS Radio and others.
Vaughn alleged damage to her character and reputation when Imus referred to the team as "nappy-headed hos" in April (See RNW Apr 8), comments that subsequently led to his dismissal (See RNW Apr 13) and his threatening a USD 120 million lawsuit against CBS that was subsequently dropped in a settlement announced last month without details of the amount involved (See RNW Aug 15).
The New York Times reporting Vaughn's decision to drop the case cited a filing made in state Supreme Court in the Bronx and quoted a spokeswoman for her attorney as saying, "Last week Kia Vaughn returned to Rutgers University to focus upon both her academic pursuits as a journalism major and upon her basketball team. Her strong commitments to both have influenced her decision to withdraw the lawsuit at this time."
The paper added that Imus's lawyer Martin Garbus, said that he had no comment, other than that Imus had paid no money to Vaughn.
In Chicago, Robert Feder in his Sun-Times column says that Muller's suit - filed in Circuit Court against Emmis, his former station WKQX-FM, and his former bosses and co-workers - alleged that Crawford Broadcasting had withdraw an offer to hire him at its urban AC WPWX-FM because of "false and disparaging statements" made about him by his former bosses and alleges that as part of an alleged pattern of "malicious acts" against him Q101 aired a bit in which one of his former sidekicks pretended to be Muller talking about wanting to have sex with his twin 10-month-old daughters as soon as they turn 18.
The suit, reports Feder, also says Emmis disparaged him by sending advertisers "a package containing raw, bloody, rancid meat depicting the spoiled meat as 'Mancow' -- a dead cow."
Feder quotes Muller's attorney, Michael Young as saying, "When they [Emmis] let him go, they didn't just let him go. They went out of their way to interfere with his efforts to get back on the air in Chicago" and adding, "Mancow is very sincere about this. He was most reluctant to take this step, but he felt that this was the only way to address his concerns."
Feder also quotes Emmis Radio Chicago regional vice president and market manager Marv Nyren as saying, "I have no idea what any of this is, but it sounds very frivolous to me. Obviously he's looking for media attention. I feel very sorry for Mr. Mancow."
Muller still has no Chicago outlet for his "Mancow's Morning Madhouse" although it is broadcast from leased studios in the city and syndicated to other markets.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
New York Times report:
2007-09-13: Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (CSR) which operates the service says XM Canada's fourth quarter to the end of August was its best ever and it now has 306,000 subscribers, more than double the number at the end of its 2006 fiscal year.
Commenting on the performance, XM Canada chairman and CEO John Bitove Jr. said, "Our dedication to provide amazing programming and secure a great roster of sports coverage, including our exclusive satellite radio broadcast partnership with the NHL, is clearly demonstrated by our rapidly growing subscriber base. We have successfully increased subscribers this quarter through a number of strategic initiatives including an increase in our retail distribution network, the addition of innovative new products including the XpressRC, XpressR and XpressEZ and our outstanding programming line-up available on 120 channels.
CSR has also announced that it has successfully concluded a CAD 20 million ( USD 19.3 million) private placement of convertible unsecured subordinated debentures due September 12, 2014, financing that Bitove said they were "very pleased" to announce "especially during these challenging credit market conditions."
The debentures bear 8% per annum interest payable semi-annually in arrears on December 31 and June 30, with the initial interest payment due on December 31 this year.
Bitove said of their plans for the funds, "Our growth exceeded expectations this quarter and as we continue to focus on new development initiatives, we will use the proceeds to search for innovative opportunities to aggressively grow the business and further increase our subscriber base."
Previous XM Canada/CSR:
2007-09-13: CBS Radio's WYSP-FM, Philadelphia, appears to be on the verge of a switch to a rock-talk format - although the station website has no word on the matter - following a move to drop most on-air staff plus a number of others: The changes were discussed on air by afternoon drive host Kidd Chris, who appears to have survived, on Wednesday.
Dropped are "The Barsky Show (Paul Barsky, Kim Douglas and Vinnie the Crumb"); "Matt and Huggy"and "Scotty and Alex" along with Chris's producer Brad Maybe and show staffer Monkeyboy.
In a posting on their site - comments on other hosts' departures are in various blogs - Scotty and Alex along with their producer say, "Today, we were let go by WYSP-FM. The station has decided to go in another direction, and unfortunately S&A were not in their plans. We want to thank all of the SNAholes who have supported us and tuned in every night. YOU were the reason we did this show every night. You killed us when we sucked and you laughed when we were kind of funny. YOU were just as important to the show as any of us! Keep checking out all of the websites as we try to land a job somewhere else...Click below to listen to the last half hour of the last S&A show on WYSP!"
The station, as noted, had posted nothing of the moves on its website when we last checked although it was heavily promoting the visit to Philadelphia of Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) along with Jim Norton: They are in the city today and tomorrow, gearing up for the "Virus Tour" that plays in Camden, New Jersey, on Saturday.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
Scotty and Alex web site:
WYSP web site:
2007-09-12: Latest Australian ratings from Nielsen Media Research show Macquarie Radio Network's Sydney 2GB retaining its lead although its share slipped from 13.7 to 12.7 whilst Austereo's 2-DAY FM, its nearest rival, aided by a strong performance by the breakfast team of Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O - who took their share up from 9.2 to 11.4 - increased share from 9.2 to 10.5.
In Melbourne 3AW moved even further ahead in, taking its share up from 14.7 to 15.5 and ABC 774 moved up the ranks to end second with 11.2, up from 10.2.
In the Sydney breakfast slot, Alan Jones for 2GB slipped back from a 17.0 to 16.1 whilst 2-Day as noted upped its share from 9.2 to 11.1 and third-placed ABC held on to a 10.1 share whilst at DMG's Nova Merrick Watts and Tim Ross dropped back from 9.1 to 8.6.
In the morning slot Jones and Ray Hadley for 2GB slipped back- down from 14.6 to 13.1 - but rival commercial talk station, Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE (soon to change hands if a takeover goes through) also fell back - from 8.9 to 8.1.
In the drive time slot, 2-DAY led the way as comedians Hamish Blake and Andy Lee took their share up from 12.6 to 13.8 followed by Nova with 10.7 - up from 10.5 - and then ABC 702 with 8.5, down from 8.8.
In Melbourne where 3AW retained the lead it also got a boost from sports, clawing back the lead from Triple M on Friday nights and Sunday Afternoons but the latter continued to dominate Saturday afternoons and evenings.
Commenting on the results, Austereo CEO Michael Anderson singled out the revival of B105, Brisbane, and 92.9 FM, Perth, noting that "Both stations have shown impressive momentum in the past two surveys, with excellent results in the latest survey confirming this."
He added, "These results validate the confidence we have shown in the Today Network format, and the commitment to our strategy for returning both stations to strong ratings. That strategy has seen B105 and 92.9 in the past year go from having major line-up changes to both within one percentage point of the number two station overall in their markets."
"The result is also a reflection of the strength of the Today Network across the country, with Sydney's 2Day FM and Melbourne's Fox FM remaining the number one FM stations in their Markets," he said.
DMG concentrated its release on the success for its Nova network, which it noted increased its share in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide and rated No. 1 with the Under 40 demographic across Australia. Its Vega network, targeted at an older demographic, fared less well with its share remaining static at 4.6 in Sydney and falling back from 4.4 t 4.2 in Melbourne.
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
Adelaide: 5AA with 17.0 (15.9) - Up from second; Mix with 16.4 (17.0) Down from first; Nova with 11.9 (11.6) - Same rank.
ABC 891 fell from fourth to fifth with 10.8 (10.9), swapping places with SAFM, which had 11.1(10.7).
Brisbane - Nova with 14.8 (14.3) - Same rank; B105 with 11.1 (10.6) - Up from fourth; 97.3 FM with 11.0 (10.7) - same rank.
Triple M with 10.3 (11.6) - fell to fourth ahead of 4BC that remained fifth with 9.2 (9.1).
Melbourne - 3AW with 15.5 (14.7) - same rank; ABC 774 with 11.2 (10.2); Fox FM with 10.5 (10.2) -falling behind ABC;
*Nova with 9.3 (9.7) remained fourth, ahead of Triple M that overtook Gold as it went up from 7.2 to 8.7 and Gold slipped back from 8.7 to 7.9.
Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 17.5 (16.8) - same rank; 96FM with 12.3 (12.5) - Same rank; Nova with 11.0 (11.2) - Up from Fifth. ABC 720 with 11.0 (11.9) was previously third.
Sydney: 2GB 12.7 (13.7) - same rank; 2-DAY with 10.5 (9.2) - up from third; Nova with 8.8 (8.7) - up from fourth.
*2UE with 7.9 (8.6) remained fourth and ABC 702 with 7.5 (7.6) moved up a rank to fifth, swapping places with WSFM, whose share fell from 7.6 to 7.2)
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2007-09-12: BBC Radio 2 has given details of its plans to mark its 40 Birthday including a poll of its listeners to vote for their Ultimate Icon - an enduring personality that they believe best represents popular culture over the past four decades: Nominations have already opened and the winner is to be announced on Radio 2 on Sunday 30 September 2007 during a special day of programming to mark the birthday including returns to the station's airwaves ofthe voices of Paul Hollingdale, Ed Stewart and Kenny Everett.
The programming on the day will include a Breakfast Special With Paul Hollingdale, the first voice heard in the station (9.00-9.55am -all times local).
Five To Ten (9.55-10.00am) presented by Colin Semper, the former BBC Head of Religious Broadcasting who presented Five To Ten on Radio 2's first day.
Junior Choice With Ed Stewart (10.00-11.00am).
The Kenny Everett Radio Show (11.00am-1.00pm), a re-run of his first show on the station. It was originally broadcast on Oct 3, 1981.
Family Favourites With Michael Aspel (1.00-2.30pm).
Pick Of The Pops With Smashie And Nicey (2.30-4.30pm) featuring Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse resurrecting their spoof DJs Smashie and Nicey for a one-off running down the chart from the last week of September 1967.
Brian Matthew (4.30-6.30pm). This is a birthday special that will include archive interviews with names including the Beatles, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithfull, and Pete Townshend.
Semprini Serenade (6.30-7.30pm). An edition broadcast on 24 January 1971.
Sing Something Simple (7.30-8.00pm). An edition from 16 March 2000.
Round The Horne (8.00-8.30pm): An edition of the classic radio comedy first broadcast on 10 March 1968.
2007-09-12: US National Public Radio (NPR) and Boston public broadcaster WGBH have announced that they have made a bid that has been accepted in principle by Williams Communications, Inc., its majority owner, to acquire National Public Broadcasting, LLC (NPB), the leading multi-market sponsorship representative for public television and radio stations.
They say they will combine NPB with NPR Corporate Sponsorship, to form a new independent non-profit company to represent sponsorship across all media for public broadcasting: The new company will become the largest and most comprehensive representative for national and local public radio, television and multimedia.
Robert Williams, who founded NPB in 1997 with his partner Linda Williams, is to stay on as CEO of the new company as will NPB executives Don Ershow and Carl Mathis: NPR CEO Ken Stern will become its chairman: WGBH Chief Operating Officer and President-Elect Jonathan Abbott is also to be on the board of the new company.
Williams said of the sale, "Every company founder wants to see his company succeed long-term, and this is the best outcome we could have imagined. We are delighted that these two powerful institutions have chosen to make NPB a central strategic asset for an expansion of the sponsorship efforts of the public broadcasting community."
Stern added, "This new organization will enable us to better communicate the value, and values, of public broadcasting to the corporate community," said Stern. "Public radio and television hold a critical role in American life, and our rapidly-growing audiences trust and support the companies that support our public service mission. With the rapid growth of audience throughout public broadcasting and the expansion of media platforms we serve, this new organization will provide greater resources to fully, actively represent our shared assets."
2007-09-12: Eastlan has announced that it is to provide radio ratings for Springfield, Illinois, a market that Arbitron abandoned in 2002.
Its Fall 2007 report will be the market's first ratings since then and Kevan Kavanaugh, President and General Manager of Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Springfield, noted that because Springfield "has not had metro radio ratings for the past five years, the market has seen a three-year decline in national and regional marketing revenues."
"I think there has been a tendency for buyers and planners to steer more advertising dollars toward television or nearby radio markets where there are ratings for them to look at," he added. "Consequently, I'm excited about Eastlan Ratings measuring the Springfield radio market."
He was backed up by Kevin O'Dea, General Manager of Neuhoff Broadcasting in Springfield who commented, "Getting Eastlan into our market is an important step in keeping local radio in Illinois' capital city front and center with both media buyers and our regional client base."
Eastlan President and CEO Mike Gould said he couldn't think of a market where its date had been more heavily anticipated and added, "Hardly a week goes by when we don't have a media buyer ask us about Springfield. We're flattered that Mid-West Family and Neuhoff Broadcasting have placed their trust in Eastlan Ratings with multiple-year agreements."
2007-09-12: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin upholds one radio standards complaint relating to sponsorship and also recorded a breach of licence conditions relating to retention and supply of recordings against another.
The sponsorship complaint was made against Ipswich station Town 102 FM in relation to Wimbledon tennis updates and a broadcast in which the presenter after an update said, "BUPA Wellness makes you feel better", before he covered other sports news. A listener complained that this was an attempt by Town 102 to "increase their advertising profits" by "interrupting their news with subliminal adverts."
The BCAP Radio Advertising Standards Code requires that the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre ("RACC") clear some categories of advert or sponsorship before broadcast and in this case the RACC confirmed it knew of the sponsorship of the updates but had not cleared the message in advance.
Town 102 said it always tried to ensure regulatory compliance but had mistakenly believed that its sports news provider had obtained RACC clearance in this case and added that it had taken action to ensure no recurrence.
Ofcom ruled that there had been breaches in not getting advance clearance and also because the channel failed to make clear to the listener that BUPA Wellness was a sponsor or that the Wimbledon updates within the bulletin were sponsored.
In the second case involved Hilltown FM, Dundee, Ofcom received four complaints about swearing in conversations and music during the daytime and evening broadcasts on this station and asked for a copy of the station's output but the station was unable to provide a copy.
Ofcom was thus unable to rule on the complaint so is holding the breach of licence conditions by failing to provide a recording on file.
Radio was indirectly involved in a further case, in this case a TV Fairness and Privacy complaint against BBC Northern Ireland. This involved a programme that used animation to bring to life
some of the radio phone-in exchanges between the presenter of The Gerry Anderson Show and callers to his programme.
In the case at issue a caller, who said she was going out on a singles night, had referred to a Mrs S who she said was going with her and who, it was alleged was looking for a man and would end up in a ditch with one.
In upholding the complaint Ofcom sad it considered that the comments made about Mrs S in both the original radio programme and the subsequent television animation were unsubstantiated and had the potential to materially affect viewers' understanding of Mrs S and her private life.
This, Ofcom found, was unfair to Mrs S and concluded that the programmes' reuse of
this material resulted in unfairness to her. It also found that the inclusion of Mrs S's name in the programmes along with the district where she lived was sufficient to render her identifiable and said the inclusion of this information in the context of a light-hearted conversation, in which the allegations already referred to above were made, did infringe her privacy. The use of this information in this context, it said, was not justified by the content and context of the programmes.
In addition to the above Ofcom also upheld seven TV standards complaints, considered another revolved through action taken by the broadcaster, and gave details of a standards complaint not upheld: The numbers compare with figures for the previous bulletin of two radio complaints upheld plus another case where no recording could be provided; One TV standards complaint upheld; another considered resolved; and details given of a further TV complaint not upheld plus one TV fairness and privacy complaint partly upheld and details posted of a further TV fairness and privacy complaint that was not upheld.
Ofcom also listed without details 149 complaints against 120 TV items and 22 radio complaints against 21 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 143 TV complaints involving 118 items and 21 radio complaints involving 21 items that were out of its remit or not upheld in the previous bulletin:
Ofcom has also started its Second Review of Public Service Television Broadcasting that it says will look through and past digital switchover - that is, roughly the period 2008 - 2016. The review is expected to be completed by early 2009 and Ofcom notes that radio will be "included in this Review at a high level but the work will draw largely on the "Future of Radio" work already undertaken by Ofcom.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2007-09-11: The US satellite radio companies and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) locked horns again on Monday over the issue of the proposed merger of Sirius and XM that the two companies said a survey they sponsored had overwhelming public support. The NAB responded by decrying the questions asked in the poll, suggesting a question of its own that tied in with NAB propaganda efforts to tag the proposed merged company as a monopoly.
According to the survey, conducted by phone last month with a sample of 800 registered voters, a majority of those polled responded positively when asked if the new programming offers from the companies would be "generally good" for consumers. The majority in support -56% - was lowest for "A choice of 'family-friendly' packages that block adult-themed programming and gives subscribers a credit off their monthly bill for blocking such content" and highest (77%) for the cheapest a la carte option that would allow customers to select their own mix of 50 XM or 50 Sirius channels for USD 6.99 a month and next highest (72%) for a second USD 14.99 per month la carte package where consumers would select 100 channels from a pool that includes the channels on one service plus popular selections from the other
Those being polled were told that "These next two new a la carte offerings will be available on newly equipped radios that will be priced the same as current radios", a condition that NAB in a response from NAB Executive Vice President of Media Relations Dennis Wharton turned in a news release to "Did you know you will have to buy a new radio that costs USD200 or more to get the alleged benefits of a la carte programming?"
Wharton also commented, "Here's what XM and Sirius conveniently did not ask poll participants: Do you like monopolies? Does competition restrain a monopolist's price-gouging? Should government reward two companies that routinely violate FCC rules with a monopoly?" and also claimed that the price for "Howard Stern and other 'talent'" would be more under a la carte and re-iterated NAB's earlier release about an increased cost per channel under the a la carte offerings.
"Today's poll signals," he concluded, "the lengths "to which XM and Sirius will game the system in order to achieve monopoly status."
The NAB has also been involved in placing adverts opposing the potential use of unlicensed personal-portable devices that would use the "white space" in spectrum reserved for TV broadcasting for wireless services such as broadband internet. The adverts- being placed in print and TV media in the DC area urges viewers to "tell Congress not to allow unlicensed devices on digital TV channels."
Their sponsors play up the potential for interference, making reference to a report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that said sample prototypes had caused interference.
RNW comment: Assuming the satellite companies are not telling downright lies in saying that radios required to receive both signals would be "priced the same as current radios", Wharton's comment is the usual contemptible response we have come to expect from him and his organization since a quick online check (around 30 seconds with a search engine) shows a number of models available as considerably less than the figure he gives: Indeed we would go as far as to suggest that any broadcaster that belongs to the NAB should have to attend a hearing to show fitness to hold any licence as they are obviously supporting an organization that widely misrepresents situations for what it perceives as its interests.
At the same time we do think there is a valid point to be made about competition - applicable just as much to consolidated US media companies as to any merged satellite company. What a shame - a shame, not a pity - that it is possible to put out the drivel regularly issued by US companies without a hoot of derision that would make employees ashamed to have the company name on their business cards!
2007-09-11: BBC Radio Five Live on Monday came under criticism from listeners over a call on its morning phone-in show, hosted by Victoria Derbyshire, for them to vote on whether they still had sympathy for Gerry and Kate McCann, the parents of 4-years-old British girl Madeleine McCann who has reported missing in Portugal in May.
Callers told the programme that they thought the questions was inappropriate whilst a legal process that could see the parents arrested in connection with the disappearance was continuing and the vote was changed to one on whether the station should be discussing the case at all - resulting in a 68% to 32% vote against it doing so.
Messages posted on the station's notice board in response to an initial posting by its hosts were generally hostile to the sentiments express. The posting read:
"Now suspects in the disappearance of four year old Madeleine, Kate and Gerry McCann flew home yesterday to wall to wall media coverage, most of it sympathetic, but do you share that sympathy?
What started as a police investigation into a missing child turned into a worldwide media campaign to find her.
Now it seems to be a battle between two campaigns: one OFF the record by the Portuguese police
One ON the record by the McCanns and their supporters.
Are you one of the millions who donated to the Madeleine fund? Do you back the family and feel they have to fight their corner against the speculation?
Or do you think all those involved, including the media should shut up and let the experts do their jobs."
Amongst the early most critical comments was one that read, "What a thoroughly nasty little debate, exactly what we've come to expect from Radio 5, and in particular the Victoria Derbyshire Show.
A glorified, old woman's gossip show, why are we served up this grubby, sub-standard rubbish, masquerading as serious debate? What happened to the BBC?"
Another comment was:" No offence mods, but this is just about the most stupid question i think i've ever seen asked in the 9 years i've been posting on the BBC boards.
Its not for us to say whether we support the Mccanns or not. We are not in a position to judge either way. We have no idea what the investigation has found, we have no idea what evidence the police have, and what the mccans defence/response has been, so really none of us are in ANY position to judge either way.
Its a very silly question and is something i'd expect from the tabloid press, maybe even Fox news, but not from the world respected BBC."
2007-09-10: This week to start our look at print comment on radio we commence with two bête noirs - advert breaks and lack of information that we think a station should reasonably provide but frequently doesn't, often because the broadcaster is putting its own interests before those of its listeners for what we consider inadequate reasons.
Regarding the first, a major reason we frequently don't listen to commercial radio stations nor watch movies on commercial TV (regular programming is different in that it is designed to be broken up at chosen points and the breaks allow time to get a drink), it would appear that our view is not as widely shared in the US at least as we might have thought albeit the figures that show the absence of advertising being a reason to subscribe to satellite certainly indicates that a fair number of people share our view.
In his Radio Waves column in the San Francisco Chronicle, Ben Fong-Torres would seem to be amongst those who expect adverts to lead to tuning away: He wrote in his column last week, "JUST A SPOT AWAY: Here's one thing we can all agree on: We hate those clusters of commercials that come on the radio, two or three times an hour, running five or six minutes but sounding endless, one darn spot after another. What are those programmers thinking? Who's going to stand for this? I'm outta here!"
And then came the "but": But guess what? You're not. At least according to research I just got hold of, courtesy of Steve DiNardo, VP/GM of KFRC (106.9 FM) and KITS (Live 105). Recently, I was whining to him about KFRC's morning clusters, which take away from the tempo of the Top 40 version of the station in the '60s and '70s, when there were no more than two commercials in a row. They popped up after every song or two; DJs often read (or misread) the spots themselves, and all was well But, DiNardo says, today's listeners will take the trade-off of a mess of spots for a long run of non-stop music."
"The study, called "What Happens When the Spots Come On," writes Fong-Torres, "was sponsored by Arbitron, Media Monitors and the research firm Coleman. It tracked audience actions during 94,000 commercial breaks over two months in Houston, tracing their responses from a minute before each cluster and through a series of spots, ranging from one to six minutes. The overall conclusion: 'Radio does a remarkable job of retaining audiences through commercial breaks.'
"Specifically, according to the study, radio holds more than 92 percent of the audience after a commercial break has begun. In other words, only 8 percent push the button. Stations do lose some audience after the second commercial, but "audience levels do not drop significantly between the third, fourth, fifth and sixth minutes of a commercial break." And, the survey says, younger listeners are more likely to tune out of commercials than older listeners.'"
Fong-Torres like ourselves is sceptical about what this means, commenting, "'Younger' means teens and 20- to 24-year-olds. We all know about ADD among the young. And, just as they punch out of, say, Wild 94.9 and check out Movin', as soon as the latter goes into commercials, the kids are Wild again My quarrel with the study is simple. The researchers seem to assume that just because listeners haven't switched stations, they're tuned in and paying attention to the commercials. I don't think so. I believe they tune out mentally, unless a spot offers interesting, useful information or pulls them in with humour. As for older listeners being less likely to go away: That may be because they have fewer alternatives. If they like classical music, or sports talk, or news, they're pretty much stuck with one station."
Fong-Torres also takes up the issue of the quality of the actual adverts themselves quoting Kim Bryant, president of Clear Channel's San Francisco stations, as noting that the limit for adverts on the stations is 12 minutes of commercials and promos, with no cluster running more than four minutes, and adding, "People are sticking during the stop sets because advertisers - and we - have gotten smarter about content. We realize that a commercial break is just as important as the music. Advertising is more creative and engaging than it was even two years ago."
He was backed up on the issue of the quality of the adverts by Valerie Geller, radio consultant and author of "Creating Powerful Radio", who said, "Bad spots are a tune-out."
The good ones, however, do work. "Research shows audiences believe commercials sometimes can serve as 'new information about products or services, or as a way to save money.' At one focus group, respondents strongly recalled only a spot from a half hour of radio. The spot: Dominos was offering a two-for-one pizza deal until Thursday. They recalled little else from that broadcast segment."
There's also comment on the 15-second "adlet" and one-second "blink" but for that read the column.
On then to the other issue, that of stations not giving information listeners are almost certain to find of interest but that it does not for whatever reason carry. A regular one is the departure of a popular host and, even if it has not been completely amicable, listeners in our view deserve better than just an absence, even if it is a straightforward announcement on a website.
The issue is one that Paul Donovan takes up in his "Radio Waves" column for the UK Sunday Times.
His column last week began, "Robert Robinson has chaired Brain of Britain for 34 years, and when it returns without him tomorrow, it will be like Trafalgar Square without Nelson. Richard Edis produced it for 27 years; Kevin Ashman, crowned head of quizzes and a former Brain of Britain, Brain of Brains, Top Brain and BBC1 Mastermind winner, set all the questions for five years."
He then goes on to comment of the departures: "Heart trouble, sadly, is depriving us of the show's urbane and witty presenter. Listeners are being kept in the dark about that, and there is no mention of his absence in the new series, hosted by Peter Snow. More than that, there is no mention of the other two. And no mention of any of them in the listings, press information or Radio Times. They have been airbrushed from history; not exactly what Jeremy Paxman [RNW note: A BBC TV current affairs presenter] was referring to when he called the BBC 'Stalinist', but a rather good example of it."
Donovan then considers the listeners: "Many listeners who tune in tomorrow will be baffled by both the changes and the lack of explanation for them. They will notice other alterations, too. The four contestants no longer come from a different region each week. They are referred to by their first names, so it is now "Peter" rather than "Mr Spicer". The questions, which under Robinson never even included a single one about Harry Potter, are easier ("Name the animals into which Jesus drove the evil spirits in the land of the Gadarenes"). Hearts will sink."
Donovan then notes that Robinson, who is 79, had told colleagues he wanted to step down because of a recurrence of the heart problems that forced him to take a break in 2004 and quoted a Radio 4 spokeswoman as saying, "Peter Snow is filling in for Robert Robinson for this series only. Robert very much hopes to return to the chair next year. He specifically requested that no announcement be made regarding his health while Peter is temporarily chairing."
Donovan makes no further comment on this - we wonder whether the BBC did suggest to Robinson that listeners deserved some information - and then continues to say of the other changes that they were made to cut costs: "Ashman, for example, was offered a brutally reduced new role: no longer to be the on-stage referee ("Jorkins"), who no longer exists; no longer to compile each edition (ensuring, for example, that the first eight questions were relatively easy, to relax the contestants); and no longer entitled to repeat fees. This was a humiliation and cut his fee by two-thirds: unsurprisingly, he said no.
Edit, who is now a freelance, cited the same reason saying, "The reason I was relieved of the programme was to make savings. Paul Schlesinger [the BBC's head of radio entertainment] told me, 'I cannot afford to pay freelances when I have staff producers twiddling their thumbs.'"
Donovan then ends by expressing very indirect scepticism about the likelihood of Robinson's return and noting that if he does, "By then, he will be 80. He will have neither his usual producer nor his Jorkins, nor his format, nor the previous standard of questions. We shall see. Miracles can happen. Get well soon, Mr Robinson."
RNW comment: An opportunity here we would suggest for Channel 4 when its new digital multiplex goes to air to consider. A working title of "Superior Brain of Britain" would certainly get up the BBC's nose and surely it would be worth Channel 4's while contacting Ashman and Edis to see if they can come up with a suitable format to go head-to-head with the dumbed-down BBC version.
Finally a contrast in hosts in North America: First the US and a regional editorial in the New York Times concerning the move of Craig Carton from the "Jersey Guys" to WFAN where he will co-host the replacement show for Don Imus.
The tone is set by the opening paragraph: "For central New Jersey listeners, the departure of a radio "shock jock" known for his ethnic slurs may be a welcome signal that the loud-mouth, tasteless tone of the local airwaves will quiet down. But for his new employer, the radio station WFAN, and its owner, CBS, it may just mean more of the same."
The paper notes that with his co-host Ray Rossi Carton "managed to offend just about every group in the state - Hispanics, Chinese, Korean-Americans and women. Two years ago, the pair struck a personal low in tastelessness by making fun of the postpartum depression suffered by the wife of Richard Codey, then the governor. Most recently, and with equal insensitivity, they embarked on their "La Cucha Gotcha" campaign, in which they urged their listeners to report any immigrant they thought was in the country illegally. The campaign ended only when several big advertisers spoke up."
After more notes of racist, chauvinist and xenophobic comments from the duo the paper notes that CBS had said the host "is more likely to behave himself on WFAN since his show will be devoted to sports, rather than subjects in the general news."
"And maybe he will," it adds. "But wasn't Mr. Imus's fateful remark directed at athletes?"
To end on a more positive note we go north to Canada and a report by Jane Armstrong in the Toronto Globe and Mail that sums up the positive role radio can play in a community. It was centred round the raising by Radio India of funds to pay for a hip operation for a teenager - who is not Indo-Canadian.
It was raised in a quarter-hour after Harpreet Singh told the story of the teenager who walks with a cane and hasn't played sports since his hip socket began disintegrating at age 10 and just one of many actions by the 39-year-old host who has two university degrees and a background at English-speaking news organizations, including Time magazine and the Hindustan Times: The report notes that he is an immigrant who abandoned a rising journalism career in India to move to Canada to give his two children a better life and that he, like many of his audience, faced closed doors in Canada, despite his qualifications.
The bulk of his audience don't have the same advantages they are mainly farmers and trades people from small villages in the Punjab and have little or no education
His station has more than 350,000 listeners and he says his strength is his objectivity and that "People trust me."
Some of his campaigning has not been welcomed however including an abuse hot-line set up after a rash of domestic violence in B.C.'s Indo-Canadian community and that drew remarks from social agencies to the effect that the station had no expertise in domestic violence. He [reasonably in our view ] responded that many frightened abuse victims don't speak English and don't trust government agencies and said his show will continue to highlight social issues especially problems such as drugs and gang violence although he added, "The majority of the community. ... is peace-loving and helpful. We also have a grudge, to be very frank with you. We feel that when something good happens it is not brought to attention."
On then to listening suggestions and first to note for anyone who speaks Punjabi that Radio India streams its signal live (Its schedule carries a link to the Real Audio stream)
Then to two BBC World Service documentaries "Credit Crunch" (available as streams or MP3 downloads) that in our view did a good job in putting the effects of the US sub-prime mortgage crunch into context, a worrying one as it makes a strong case that there are likely to be credit shortfalls for some time for many companies and individuals in areas unconnected with housing and higher credit charges for those who can get it.
Those affected are all round the world as made clear by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Background Briefing": Its most recent edition on Sunday looked at the investments made by many local councils in high-yield risky investments that as a result of the sub-prime problems have become money losers rather than money makers, much to the dismay of the taxpayers.
We also note that the BBC World Service documentary podcasts also now include the third of the four-part "Clinton Years" series - the final part airs next Monday.
Staying in the US, we next suggest last Saturday's "Archive Hour" from BBC Radio 4 - "The Sound of America: The Story of NPR" in which Joe Queenan takes a look at the past 35 years of American history through the news reports and documentaries produced by National Public Radio.
More up to date from the US was last week's "On the Media" that featured various current political campaigning reports but also one that would probably be not that different from a decade ago that looked at the way drug companies in the US market their products to the mugs - whoops too much honesty there but a fairly accurate way of looking at how a condition can be discovered and publicized when a treatment for it (never a cure, of course, since there's not the repeat business) has been developed by the drug companies.
P.T. Barnum - of "There's a sucker born every minute" fame- had only one inaccuracy - he underestimated the birth rate although in all fairness the US birth rate when he made the remark was much lower - it's now around eight a minute!
Then to BBC Radio 2 and tomorrow for the second half of "What's My Name? The Muhammad Ali Story" (21:30 GMT. The first part is on the station site until then). This programme includes Ali regaining his world title and also the impact of his final fights and his battle with Parkinson's syndrome.
Also from Radio 2, on Friday (18:00 GMT: And again the first programme is on the site until then) we suggest the second part of "Stand by Your Man: Tammy Wynette", Bob Harris's story of the life of the first lady of country music.
And a final selection from the station on Thursday with a spell of two programmes - "Seven More Days That... Rocked the World" (22:00 GMT- last week's edition "The Dixie Chicks and That Bush Comment..." is on the site until then) in which Stuart Maconie looks at "The Release of Rapper's Delight" - and then "The Green Guide to Life" (22:30 GMT), the comedy clip show presented by comedian Jeff Green. This week's edition "The Workplace" includes the classic Bob Newhart Driving Instructor sketch(The second in the series - last week's edition on the challenges of getting married is available until then).
After this back to BBC Radio 4 and Monday night with "Take Two" (21:30 GMT), the series in which Richard Coles presents a discussion looking at collaborations between two musicians. This week's duo was Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.
Then two tales that show governments in an unflattering light - first BBC Radio 4 and next Saturday's "Face the Facts" that looks at the dangers faced by local translators who work for the British and US forces in Iraq.
Some 250 of them have been killed but so far the British and American governments have been far less than helpful in offering them and their families any kind of help or asylum in marked contrast to the policy of then-President Ford in offering asylum in the US to those who had been allies during the Vietnam War.
And from the Australia Broadcasting Corporation the story in last week's "Law Report" of the Melbourne solicitor who was given a four-month suspended sentence and fined AUD 12,000 for failing to comply with a court order that he pay the State of Victoria AUD 400,000 (USD 333,000) in legal costs.
The case arose from an assault by four policemen - now back on duty - on a Victoria woman for whom he was acting and who was initially awarded damages and costs for a raid that the judge said was conducted with unnecessary and grossly excessive violence. The state won its appeal on the basis that what the police did was outside the scope of their duties leaving the lawyer with the bill. A case of law but not justice that is truly contemptible.
Finally moving to BBC Radio 3, the 2007 Proms having now ended, we suggest a dip into "Composer of the Week" (11:00GMT weekdays with an evening repeat) that this week features Donald Macleod looking at the world and music of successful life insure - and composer - Charles Ives.
Also from BBC Radio 3 we again suggest "The Essay" ( 22:00 GMT Monday through Thursday) that this week ends its eight-part "Lingua Franca" series in which Michael Rosen looks at the roots of Europe's languages. It begins this week with a look at the Celtic languages, continues with the Finno-Ugric and Basque languages on Tuesday; the tongues of frontier areas on Wednesday; and ends on Thursday with a look at the language corpses of the continent under the heading "Last Chance to Hear".
New York Times - editorial on WFAN:
San Francisco Chronicle - Fong-Torres
Toronto Globe and Mail - Armstrong:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2007-09-09: Last week was again one of routines for the regulators albeit one routine decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) garnered considerable publicity because it involved rejection of the latest action by Chicago activist David Edward Smith in his campaign against Emmis and Erich Mancow Muller - in this case an attempt to stop renewal of five Indiana licences because of citations against the company over Mancow broadcasts.
There were no radio announcements in Australia but in Canada there were again a number of radio-related postings from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) including, in order of province:
Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario:
*Approval of transfer of effective control of Fairchild Radio Group Ltd., licensee of CJVB-AM, Vancouver, British Columbia and CHKT-AM and CHKT-DR-2, Toronto, Ontario; Fairchild Radio (Calgary-FM) Ltd., licensee of CHKF-FM, Calgary, Alberta; and Fairchild Radio (Vancouver-FM) Ltd., licensee of CHKG-FM, Vancouver; to Fairchild Broadcasting Ltd.
*Denial of application by Corus to add a 100,000 watts FM transmitter in Winnipeg to broadcast the programming of CJOB-AM, Winnipeg. The CRTC noted that the proposed transmitter would surpass coverage of the AM signal to the west and south and that Corus already owned one AM and two FM stations in the Winnipeg market
*Approval of transfer of ownership and control of 9079-3670 Québec inc., licensee of CHEQ-FM, Sainte-Marie de Beauce, Quebec, from Jacques Poulin to 9174-8004 Québec inc., a corporation owned by a group of minority shareholders and controlled by its board of directors.
In Ireland the only announcements posted related to TV but in the UK Ofcom has awarded two more digital licences, those for Herefordshire and Worcestershire and for Northeast Wales and West Cheshire that each went to Muxco (See RNW Sep 7).
Ofcom also updated its Broadcasting Code in relation to advertising and sponsorship in light of the fact that the Gambling Act 2005 went into effect on September 1.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted rejected challenges to five of Emmis's Indiana licences by David Edward Smith. The stations involved were WIBC-AM and WYXB-FM, Indianapolis; WENS-FM, Shelbyville; and WWVR-FM and WTHI-FM, Terre Haute.
Smith had argued that renewal should be denied because the licensee had "engaged in a pattern of wilfully broadcasting indecent language" and also "abused the Commission's processes by allegedly supporting a "SLAPP" lawsuit filed against Smith by one of its Station announcers."
In regard to the "indecency" argument the commission noted Smith's claim to have filed more than 60 complaints against "Mancow's Morning Madness" and various Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Forfeiture Orders made in relation to the programme but pointed out that under the terms of a 2004 USD 300,000 Consent Decree with Emmis (See RNW Aug 13, 2004) it had agreed no to take any action against Emmis based in whole or part on these matters.
Smith's objections over the indecency matters were presumably intended for publicity reasons in view of the order and the fact that he had got nowhere with action to challenge the legality of the decree that he announced in September 2004 he intended to take (See RNW Sep 16, 2004).
Regarding the lawsuit the FCC pointed out that it did not regulate non-broadcast activities of station personnel, noted that the lawsuit was filed after the Commission had already rejected the claims made by Smith that were at the heart of this, and said it would not consider the issue further. It granted all the renewal applications.
In other actions the commission has also denied an objection to the renewal of AMFM Radio Licenses' (Clear Channel's) WKQI-FM, Detroit. Michigan that was filed by Word of Faith International Christian Center on the basis of an "alleged pattern of wilfully broadcasting indecent language on its stations."
In rejecting the objection it noted that the allegations referred to broadcasts by the company's WITH-FM. Washington, D.C., and a complaint about a prank call to a 24-hour prayer line aired on WKQI on January 21, 2004. The first it said was not relevant since by law renewal consideration was limited to acts by the stations concerned and regarding the latter that Word of Faith had failed to provide any details about this allegedly indecent broadcast, including its content or what time of day it was aired It also noted that even if there had been an indecent broadcast its USD 1, 75 million Consent Decree agreed with Clear Channel in June 2004 (See RNW Jun 10, 2004) it could not have taken action. It renewed the licence.
In other licence decisions the FCC has announced that it is now ready to issue construction permits for two more licences from its auction 62 of 171 FM permits, in this case to Horizon Christian Fellowship for a station in Yakutat, Alaska and to Eric P. Reier for a station in Ennis, Montana. Payments have to be made by September 18 to avoid a late payment surcharge.
In Massachusetts it denied an objection to Entercom's acquisition of WVEI-FM (formerly WBEC-FM), Easthampton, from Great Northern Radio, LLC.
An objection, on the grounds that Entercom was not qualified to hold a licence because of past indecency violations and pending payola allegations had been filed in the name of Irene M. Stolz who had died five days before its submission and the Commission said the objection could be heard on behalf of her estate, dismissing Entercom calls for it to be rejected on the grounds of her prior death. It still dismissed the objection on the basis that the indecency allegations did not warrant denial of the acquisition and the payola issues had been settled by a USD 4 million Consent Decree in April this year (See RNW Apr 14).
In Michigan the Commission denied a petition from Superior Communications ("Superior"), licensee of non-commercial educational ("NCE") Station WHYT -FM, Goodland Township, against a staff dismissal of an application to increase its power from 0.4 kW to 12.5 kW and to increase effective radiated power towards WBFH-FM, Bloomfield Hills. An amendment to the request had been filed on the date WBFH's licence expired and Superior said it had assumed the licence had automatically expired but in the event WBFH licensee Bloomfield Hills School District filed a late renewal application that was granted. The licence thus was not forfeit and the power increase in its area was rejected.
In North Carolina it denied petitions for reconsideration of a decision to allow Davidson County Broadcasting Co., Inc. to construct a tower for modified facilities for WTHZ-FM, Lexington.
FCC staff had said North Carolina construction of WTHZ-FM's modified facilities would have no significant impact on the quality of the human environment and required no further environmental processing but local residents objected on the basis that construction of the 411.4-meter (1361-foot) transmission tower near Mt. Ulla, would adversely affect several historic properties, principally the Dr. Oni Pinkney Houston House, the Rankin Sherrill House and the Carlyle Sherrill House. The FCC requested additional information from Davidson and the State Historic Preservation Office of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources had said the tower would not would not adversely affect the characteristics that qualified listed properties concerned for inclusion in the National Register although it expressed concern that the addition of additional antennas to the tower would increase its visibility and might adversely affect historic properties. It had requested that it be permitted to review all proposed collocations for the WTHZ-FM tower and Davidson had agreed to contact the North Carolina SHPO for review prior to mounting an antenna on the tower.
In Washington State it rejected a call to deny renewal of the licence of the University of Washington's NPR station KUOW-FM that objector Virgil Howard accused of using its call-in talk shows - specifically the "Weekday" and "The Conversation" programs - as a means to conduct "clandestine" focus group research on certain topics (including and especially the Seattle monorail project), and then selling that research to undisclosed paying customers, all without the knowledge of callers or listeners to those programs.
The University denied Howard's allegations, insisting that no such "focus groups" are being conducted on-air and said that, while it did take underwriting funds from groups affiliated with the Seattle monorail project, such funds were not used to sponsor talk shows during which the monorail project was the topic.
The FCC also issued a number of penalties including:
*USD 6,400 forfeiture to One Mart Corporation , former licensee of KEVT-AM, Cortaro, Arizona, for failing to ensure the operational readiness of KEVT's Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment.
It had originally proposed a penalty of USD 8,000 to which One Mart responded by requesting a reduction on the basis of its good faith efforts to comply with the Rules, its history of compliance with the Rules, and its financial ability to pay the forfeiture, caused in part by the fact that two of its four towers had been destroyed by "tornado force winds" in July 2003 forcing it to operate at substantially reduced power.
The FCC considered financial information provided and said this and efforts to comply with its regulations did not warranty a reduction but it did agree to a reduction to USD 6,400 on the basis of a history of compliance.
*USD 4,000 forfeiture to Radio Wise, Inc., licensee of WNVA-AM, Norton, Virginia, for failure to maintain and make available a complete public inspection file.
In addition regarding the current running issue of media ownership regulation the commission gave further details of the agenda for the Chicago meeting it is to hold on September 20 (See RNW Sep 5).
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-09-08: Sirius Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) are to launch an HNIC (Hockey Night in Canada) Radio service from the start of next month, taking the TV programme back to its radio roots of 74 years ago.
The programme began with the national radio broadcasting of hockey games in over the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC) network and moved to CBC TV in 1952 with Imperial Oil, the sponsor of the radio broadcasts for most of their life - the programme was known as the Imperial Oil Hockey Broadcast - continuing as sponsor.
The broadcasts will not, however, include games coverage but will be talk about games - XM Canada in 2005 announced a ten-year deal with the NHL that gave it exclusive rights to broadcast NHL games - a factor that Sirius and the CBC did not highlight in their news release.
In that release about the programme, which will air throughout North America Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. ET on Sirius Satellite Radio's Channel 122, Scott Moore, executive director, CBC Sports said, "This is a wonderful extension of the Hockey Night in Canada brand. Hockey Night in Canada is the most powerful sports brand in the country, and we are thrilled to partner with
Sirius Satellite Radio to provide Canadians with more of what they love throughout the week. Saturday night is simply not enough to provide our fans with the best, most up-to-date hockey news and information - but now - HNIC Radio will do just that Monday through Friday."
Sirius Canada President Mark Redmond added, "HNIC Radio on Sirius will give listeners the hockey news, talk and analysis that they have been asking for in an exciting new daily drive-time program featuring top commentators and personalities from the Hockey Night in Canada television line-up."
Main host for the radio show will be Jeff Marek, who is leaving Toronto radio station AM 640 to join the CBC, along with rotating co-hosts Kelly Hrudey, Elliotte Friedman and Scott Morrison and there will also be regular contributions from HNIC analysts Craig Simpson and Greg Millen.
Previous Sirius Canada:
Previous XM Canada:
2007-09-08: US radio executives have welcomed the introduction by Polk Audio of its I-Sonic Entertainment System 2 table top model and JBL's iHD , the first radios in the US that allow listeners to buy songs heard on HD Radio broadcasts using Apple's iTunes Tagging technology.
The receivers are fitted with a button on the equipment's front panel and remote control that allows listeners to tag songs broadcast by HD radio stations, storing the information that can then be moved to an i-Pod when it is docked, and subsequently when connected to a computer presents the songs in a Tagged play-list for preview, purchase, and download.
Apple's VP of iPod Product Marketing Greg Joswiak said of the launch of the Polk system - and also the JBL iHD system that will also has a "tag" button, the iTunes tagging "took music discovery on the radio to the next level" and IBiquity CEO Bob Struble added, "Research consistently shows that radio is the predominant source of music discovery. Now, with iTunes Tagging, HD provides a cool new way to capture the songs listeners discover, buy them on iTunes and enjoy them."
RNW comment: Bearing in mind the degree to which people listen in automobiles rather than at home, this technology should surely had the industry any real marketing sense have been also included in an automobile receiver with the addition of a sound-commend system that can allow a driver to choose a phrase that when spoken produces a tag. 3 out of 10 at best.
2007-09-08: Equipment belonging to a Boston pirate radio operator has been confiscated under a judge's order after "foreign language music" from it had been found to be interfering with air traffic control conversations according to a report in the Boston Globe that says the details became available from records unsealed in federal court this week.
An affidavit from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agent Edward Kelly said the interference "created a serious safety issue" and continued on to say there was a risk that changed information "would not be communicated to pilots, creating a dangerous situation."
The paper reports that after pilots reported the interference FCC agents traced the signal to a basement in Brockton: Kelly said he turned off the radio transmitter, which had been operating unattended, and left a note on his business card warning the operator not to turn it back on because it was interfering with an FAA frequency and was operating illegally.
Two days later the broadcasts began again and a judge granted a request to seize the radio transmitter, an antenna on the roof of the house, and other equipment.
Boston Globe report:
2007-09-07: BBC Radio1 has announced a revamped schedule to come into effect from Friday October 12 that will see breakfast host Chris Moyles' show starting half-an-hour earlier at 06:30 local time from the following Monday and Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates taking over as hosts for the station's Sunday afternoon chart show, currently hosted by JK and Joel (Jason King and Joel Ross)
JK and Joel, who currently also host the station's Monday through Thursday early breakfast show, are leaving it after three-and-a-half years as are the Trophy Twins who had been with it for two years.
The main changes are on Friday evenings and the weekend with Friday and Saturday evenings becoming what the station terms "the best club flyer in the world" dedicated to dance music genres (Fridays) and black music genres (Saturdays) whilst Sunday evenings from 19:00 become the teen zone and will feature a new show hosted by Annie Mac that will be followed from 22:-- to Midnight with the "Radio 1 Surgery With Kelly Osbourne", a new signing for the station.
Cotton and Yates, whose 1600-1900 chart show precedes this, will also host a new Saturday afternoon request show in the same time slot.
In other changes, Nihal is to host the weekend breakfast show; a new DJ Greg James, who was previously with student radio, takes over the early breakfast slot; Dick and Dom join the station to host its Sunday morning show; Rob da Bank gains a new show "Rob Da Bank Presents" in which he will introduce new talent from his musical world and that will air on from midnight Sunday to 04:00 Monday; and Trevor Nelson's Saturday evening show will be simulcast with sister station 1Xtra.
Commenting on the changes Andy Parfitt, Controller, Radio 1, 1Xtra and Teens, said in a release, "It's important that we keep up the pace of change and innovation both on air and online.
"This simplifies and strengthens Radio 1 and is an important step in providing programmes focussed on the under-18 audience. The Sunday pm line-up, which I'm delighted includes Kelly Osbourne, is a great addition to a zone that will include Fearne Cotton, Reggie Yates and Annie Mac."
He added that the schedule "coupled with the recently announced changes for 1Xtra, really give us the chance of turbo-charging the BBC's performance with young audiences over the coming years."
In the UK commercial sector, Virgin Radio breakfast host Christian O'Connell has signed up with the SMG-owned station for a further two years from the expiry of his current agreement that runs to the end of this year.
He joined Virgin from GCap Media's Xfm and in the latest ratings his show had 1.2 million listeners.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous J K & Joel:
2007-09-07: Bridge Ratings in its Fall 2007 Media Consumption Projections, an annual survey that concentrates on the consumption of music and electronics heading into the holiday season, says that over recent years new releases of equipment and entertainment media have tended to fuel increasing difference between use of media during the period and the rest of the year.
"Users of MP3 players and Satellite radio, in particular," it says, "continue to find increasing time to spend with these technologies. 31% of satellite radio subscribers - fuelled by heavy listening by 'introductory satellite radio subscribers" - expect to be listening more over 'the next three months". 22% of MP3 player owners expect to be using the device more." Bridge also emphasizes the growth in listening via cell phones.
Regarding traditional radio listening in the fourth quarter, Bridge says a net 10% of those surveyed said they expected to listen more, a rise "primarily fuelled by talk and news/talk radio listeners who intend to listen more in an effort to be more knowledgeable about the coming elections": Bridge adds that the net figure is made up from 25% of people who say that they intend to listen more counterbalanced by 15% who said they intend to listen less. It also notes that listeners who currently listen to AM/FM more than 14 hours a week say overall that they will listen less whilst those who listen for less than 13 hours a week expect to listen more.
As regards portable players Bridge says they will get a "massive infusion of users and use during the fourth quarter with manufacturers bringing multiple new product versions to market" specifically noting the introduction of the new iPods. It estimates that 22% of portable player users will increase the time they spend listening to their devices this fall.
Satellite radio does well in the survey with Bridge saying the average time spent listening by satellite subscribers "continues to increase over time", a rise it puts down to a combination of listening by those new to it and by mature listeners who have subscribed for a while with some reduction in between these groups as listeners reduce listening from an initial peak.
Internet radio is also growing with 17% of the Internet radio listeners - Bridge notes that some 27% of the US population now listen to Internet radio - saying they expected to listen more in the next three months although the heavier listeners - 14 or more hours a week- indicated they would be likely to spend slightly less time listening this fall.
Podcast consumption is also increasing -63% of the panel said in June they had listened to a podcast within the previous 30 days and 71% of them said in August that they expected to listen more to podcasts: Bridge notes that since January the number of Americans who are regular listeners to podcasts has gone up by 40% and currently some ten million say they have listened to at least one podcast in the last seven days, up from 7.1 million in January.
The most significant change, however, according to bridge is in the area of cell phone use where the use of additional facilities has increased and spread in demographic terms from primarily teenager use to use of them by other age groups: Listening at least once a week to audio streaming on mobile phones it says has gone up from 14% to 21% of the sample with use for audio playback going up from 27% to 37%.
Bridge comments of the developments, "Of all the technologies studied in this project, the cell phone continues its march toward dominance as the one device that can satisfy multiple needs for most age groups. Cell phones that double as music playback devices continue to grow in popularity and even video playback and video streaming - previously of little interest to consumers - is showing signs of improved acceptance Convergence of all the media in this study is occurring and we see a time in the not-too-distant future when a hand-held media centre will be the preferred consumer choice. As mobile carrier networks become faster, Wide-area Wi-Fi becomes commonplace and cell phone manufacturers figure out how to put it all together, these devices will be more pervasive than any other device in history."
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2007-09-07: UK Media regulator Ofcom has announced the award of the digital multiplex licences for both Herefordshire and Worcestershire and for Northeast Wales and West Cheshire to Muxco Limited which was bidding in each case against rival bids from GCap Media subsidiary Now Digital Limited.
In the first case Muxco was offering eight local digital sound programme services, in addition to BBC Hereford & Worcester, although it would commence with only seven, whereas Now Digital was offering six plus the BBC service (See RNW Licence News Jun 10) and in the second area it was offering six services plus BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru on launch with a further service to be added later whilst the Now Digital Bid was offering nine local digital sound programme services, in addition to the BBC services (See RNW Licence News May 20).
Previous GCap Media:
2007-09-06: Responding to concerns from clients about its sample size for Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in Houston and Philadelphia, Arbitron is to introduce a "PPM Sample Target Guarantee" from the beginning of next month under which clients will get a rebate if the company falls below a set minimum for its 6-plus target for the markets.
In a letter to clients Arbitron CEO Stephen Morris admits that performance fell short in the markets, noting that although they began at or near to its targets the total panel sizes "dropped over the summer as we introduced a new 'tough love' panel-management approach'."
He says that as a result they began removing panellists at a faster rate and were unable to get new recruits up to speed quickly enough to upset the loss and adds that the advisory council had urged Arbitron to take steps to install confidence in the PPM currency by holding itself more accountable, writing in relation to this, "We understand that you want us to have some 'skin in the game' when it comes to our sample targets."
Morris says that details of its plan are to be worked out with its radio advisory council to make sure it is meaningful" but re-iterated the company's belief that despite the shortfalls the "audience data are statistically reliable, and audience trends from month to month are stable and credible."
Arbitron is due to start PPM measurement in New York on September 20th and says it is on plan for January pre-currency survey starts in Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino and Chicago.
Arbitron has also announced more customers for the PPM service in Houston with the addition of local talk station KSEV-AM, which has entered a multi-year agreement for the ratings service, and a deal with InStore Broadcasting Network (IBN) to measure the audience of IBN's in-store audio network in 200 Walgreens drug stores in the Houston-Galveston DMA.
The latter is the first agreement for Arbitron to use the PPM to provide audience estimates to place-based media using its existing PPM panel.
2007-09-06: BBC Radio 1 is calling in past hosts and some of pop music's biggest names for its 40th birthday celebrations that will run from Monday September 17 through to Sunday, September 30th, the actual anniversary of its launch in 1967: On that day the station's breakfast show (06:00 to 09:00 GMT) will be co-hosted by its current host Chris Moyles and Tony Blackburn, who launched the station and hosted its first breakfast show.
The launch of Radio 1 was introduced that day as part of a major revamp of BBC Radio in which the former Light Programme became Radio 2; the classical "Third Programme" became Radio 3, and the "Home Service" became Radio 4.
The Radio 1 celebrations begin on Monday September 17, a fortnight before the actual anniversary, with a series of weekday evening shows to be hosted by pop music names, starting with Paul McCartney. He is followed by Dave Grohl (Sep 18); Gwen Stefani (Sep 19); Paul Weller (Sep 20); Paul Oakenfold (Sep 21) and then in the following week the hosts are Noel Gallagher (Sep 24); Debbie Harry (Sep 25); the Arctic Monkeys (Sep 26); Ozzy Osbourne (Sep 26) and Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim (Sep 28).
The schedule for the actual anniversary day will start with the Moyles-Blackburn breakfast show to be followed by Vernon Kay (0900-noon GMT) with a show featuring other former breakfast hosts; A Sara Cox-Zoë Ball show (noon to 15:00 GMT) - Ball is another former breakfast host at the station; the weekly Chart Show hosted by JK and Joel who will be joined by former hosts Mark Goodier and Bruno Brooks (15:00-18:00 GMT); the Annie Mac and Annie Nightingale Request Show (1800-20:00 GMT); a Radio 1 documentary "The A-Z of Radio" (20:00-21:00 GMT); and finally to 23:00 GMT (midnight local) "Keeping it Peel", a tribute to the late John Peel hosted by Hollywood actor and John Peel fan Elijah Wood.
BBC Radio 2's programming will mark the anniversary by including a show with Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse's Smashie and Nicey whilst BBC Radio 4 will feature Stephen Fry and Matt Lucas in a "This is Your Life" comedy special tracing the history of the station. Contributors will include station regulars John Humphrys, Sue Lawley, Jonathan Dimbleby, Barry Cryer, James Naughtie, Martin Jarvis and Rabbi Lionel Blue and the show was written by a number of the writers for Radio 4's most popular comedy shows such as Dead Ringers, The News Quiz and The Now Show.
Radio 4 is also to air a documentary "4 at Forty" looking at how the station has changed over the years and also a documentary "Flowers in the Rain" that will trace the story of the eponymous record that launched BBC Radio 1 and will be hosted by Blackburn.
2007-09-06: Overall US radio revenues for the first half of this year were flat year-on-year at USD 10.435 billion with falls in both local and national revenues being counterbalanced by a small rise in network revenues and a 12% increase in non spot revenues according to figures released by the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
RAB says that for the half year local revenues were down 1% to USD 7.1 billion; national revenues were down2% to USD 2.073 billion - the combined total was down 1% to USD 9.173 billion - whilst network revenues were up 3% to USD 551 million and non-spot revenues rose 12% to USD 711 million. Non spot revenues were 7.2% of the grant total for the quarter and 6.8% of the half-year grand total.
For the second quarter, grand total revenues were down 1% year-on-year to USD 5.707 billion within which only non-sport revenues rose - up 16% to USD 409 million.
The falls were of 2% to USD 3.876 billion for local revenues; of 2% to USD 1.128 million for national revenues with the total local and national figure down 2% to USD 5.004 billion: Network revenues also fell 2% - to USD 294 million.
RAB President and CEO Jeff Haley said of the figures, "The average monthly non-spot revenue growth rate for the last two years has been 10%...At this rate, non-spot revenue will be over USD 1.5 billion for 2008 and approach USD 2 billion by the end of 2009."
He added that the majority of non-spot revenue came from online activities and said RAB expected this "to continue accelerating as more and more stations expand their online offerings."
In sector terms RAB noted that figures from Nielsen Monitor-Plus, Political Ad Units showed a 17% gain in political spending in the first half year and that the medium was poised to capitalize on expected spending -forecast to total USD 3 billion - up to November 2008.
Apart form politics leading growth sectors were Communications/Cell/Public Utilities - up 17% for the half-year and 16% for the second quarter; Concerts/Theaters/Movies - up 10.8% for the half and 4% for the quarter; Professional Services - up 7.3% for the half and 6% for the quarter; and insurance - up 1.9 % for the half and 13.7% for the quarter.
2007-09-05: Digital audio technology company Frontier Silicon and audio coding experts Fraunhofer IIS have teamed up with receiver manufacturers to launch a range of DAB+ receivers using Frontier Silicon's multi-standard digital radio SoC Chorus 2 with Fraunhofer's audio decoder IP.
The DAB+ system, which uses advanced audio coding (MPEG-4 HE-AAC v2 audio IP) rather than the MP2 (MPEG 1 layer II) in the original Eureka DAB is being adopted by Australia - other countries including Canada, China, Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Malta, Israel, Hungary, Kuwait, Malaysia, and New Zealand are expected to follow suit - and enables the same bandwidth to produce considerably better audio quality or the transmission of additional channels within the same bandwidth..
Amongst manufacturers whose products will use the Frontier Silicon/Fraunhofer combination in receivers to go on the market this year are Bush, Grundig, Magicbox, Ministry of Sound, Pure, Revo, and Tivoli.
Frontier Silicon VP Sales and Marketing Steve Evans said of the move, "As DAB+ is being adopted by an increasing number of broadcasters worldwide, we are pleased to announce that our DAB+ solution is being integrated into a variety of audio products, including table top, clock radio, battery powered and WiFi enabled radios. While DAB+ is not required for established markets such as the UK and Denmark, this development will help to accelerate the global adoption of digital radio."
Previous Frontier Silicon:
2007-09-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that its Chicago field hearing on media ownership, the fifth of six open public hearings it is holding, will be held on Thursday, September 20 from 16:00 to 23:00 local at Operation Push National Headquarters, Dr. King's Workshop, 930 East 50th Street.
Further details including the names of panellists at the hearing are to be posted later and as at previous meetings panel discussions will be followed by a period for public comment/
2007-09-05: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "AM" current affairs programme celebrated its 40th anniversary on Tuesday having seen the world change from a time when technology meant for broadcasters that most up-to-date news from elsewhere in the world was made up text stories read by a newsreader or shipped into the country.
1967 also saw the first live TV interview and first transmission of a TV news story by satellite to Australia but for regular news the country's TV services remained dependant on shipped coverage until 1975 when the Visnews agency (and this writer) launched the first daily TV news satellite feed to Australia.
For radio the situation was made easier by the commissioning of two new undersea cables that made it easier to transmit audio into the country.
The show was launched by presenter Robert Peach and included a then cutting-edge moment when the programme cut live to London.
Less cutting edge were its initial facilities: For most of its first decade its studios were in Forbes Street, around a corner and up a hill and stairs from the ABC's main radio offices that were in William Street, leading to the nickname "Cardiac Hill" because of the regular sprints from the offices to the studio with tapes - now replaced by digital technology.
John Cameron, the Director of ABC News, said the programme had "not only been a news leader and agenda-setter over 40 years on the national stage, but it's also been both a great breeding ground and journalistic home for some of Australia's best known broadcast talent," adding, "We're very proud of the program's history and we're confident it will continue to set the pace in the decades to come."
The programme currently has a national audience of some two million and it has produced some of the country's best known reporters including Ray Martin, Charles Woolley, Richard Carleton and Jeff McMullen.
Previous ABC, Australia:
2007-09-05: CBS Corporation has increased its quarterly dividend, which is payable on October 1 to stockholders of record as of September 14, by 14% from 22 to 25 cents a share and has also announced a USD 1.6 billion stock repurchase program.
President and CEO Leslie Moonves said of the move, "Raising our dividend and using a portion of our excess cash to buy back shares reaffirms CBS's commitment to return a sizable portion of our strong free cash flow to shareholders. Since January 1, 2006 we have raised our quarterly dividend by nearly 80%."
CBS shares ended the day up seven cent s- 0.22% - at USD 31.58 after a busy days trading during which they reached USD 32.00 before falling back.
2007-09-04: India's Information and Broadcasting Ministry has reminded private FM stations in a circular that they are not allowed under their licence conditions to air news or current affairs.
The circular says in part, "Some private FM radio channels are airing news snippets and current affairs in violation of rules for FM radio operators. These violations have been viewed very seriously by the Ministry. As per the policy, news and current affairs are not allowed to be broadcast by private FM channel in any manner." and says that the stations concerned should cease such practices.
The private FM industry has opposed the restriction - with support from the Radio Forum of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) - and exchange4media quotes Rajiv Mishra, Convenor, Association of Radio Operator of India (AROI), as commenting in response, "News is really needed and we had made the demands during the policy formation as well. There is no logic in refraining FM radio stations from airing news. Today, most radio stations do not have any separate genre and depend more on the same format - music. Inclusion of news would provide a separate genre as in satellite channels."
He added, "The FM radio operators have paid INR 1,100 crore as license fee (USD 271 million - a crore is ten million), but still the permission to air news has not been granted. If the Government feels that news in FM can cause trouble then they can monitor them because the news items are available at the stations for the next 90 days. If the Government finds anything objectionable, it can take action. During the Mumbai bomb blasts, the radio stations were of great help in keeping together the communities. We follow rules and only provide light news which are weather and traffic related."
Previous Indian Radio:
2007-09-04: XM Satellite Radio next week moves into book readings in partnership with the US National Endowment for the Arts. It is to launch "The Big Read on XM" on Tuesday (Sep 10) on its Sonic Theater Channel that is devoted to audio books and contemporary theatre.
The series is based on the agency's national reading programme, "The Big Read" and will feature readings of classic novels in 30-minute instalments and programmes will also include interviews and commentary by authors, actors and other public figures.
The launch programme will feature "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury and other works to be featured will include "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston; "My Antonia" by Willa Cather; and "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullen.
Those taking part in the series will include Bradbury; retired US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor; actor Robert Duvall; and former US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
2007-09-04: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that comments broadcast on CFRQ-FM (Q104), Halifax during a discussion of a September 2006 Rolling Stones outdoor concert in the city sexualized children in violation of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Sex-Role Portrayal Code.
The breach took during a discussion by Scott Mars and J.C. Douglas of the concert at around 22:30 local during which Mars commented that " the rain fell down on J.C. Douglas. He's drenched, but he's excited like a little school-girl; I can just tell."
Douglas responded, "Like a little school-girl" to which Mars said, "Like a tiny little school-girl" and Douglas said, "Oh my god. My budding breasts and my, uh, my hard, rock-hard nipples" followed by further banter.
The comment led to a complaint to the station from the Women's Innovative Justice Initiative that said the comment regarding breasts and nipples was "totally unacceptable - it ridicules and objectifies girls' bodies, which fosters a climate of abuse. This is a very negative thing for girls of any age listening to Q104 to hear, as well as for boys and men. The more sexualisation and ridicule that is focused on girls' and young women's bodies, the more negative environment we have to live in. ..."
The response, described by the complainant as a "form letter" from Douglas, the station's Director of Programming, did not take up any specifics and led to a complaint to the CRTC, including a call for a statement "from the station repudiating performances that ridicule adolescent girls' bodies and breasts, as well as information regarding what their standards actually are regarding sexism, and how performers are accountable in any way."
The CRTC forwarded this to the CBSC and this led to a second letter from Douglas who wrote, "Thank you for the opportunity to respond again to your concerns regarding the statement you heard on Q104 on September 23rd. I assure you, my response to your letter of October 21st was not a form letter. I had held a meeting with the three announcers involved in the on-air conversation to listen to the tape of the program in question, and discuss your comments. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was I, myself, who had uttered the words in question. In the spirit and excitement of the moment, I didn't recall having said that phrase."
Douglas then noted the audience for the station would be likely to recognize the "context of the quote (a humorous take-off of a well known pop culture quotation " and continued, "The announcer who used the first phrase, commenting that I seemed like "an excited schoolgirl", was quoting a catch phrase made popular in the 1990's by actor Mike Myers, and used often by his character, Dieter, in the recurring "Sprockets" sketches on the TV show Saturday Night Live. In the sketch, Dieter would claim to be as "excited as a little girl", and pull the fabric of his shirt out from his chest, so as to suggest breasts. My retort, "With my budding breasts and rock hard nipples," was simply to address the previous comment and complete the mental image of Dieter's famous line. It was an attempt at humour meant to spoof the level of excitement experienced by a grown man meeting a world famous rock band during their first appearance in Halifax (which was the topic of the conversation). In no way was this intended to ridicule or objectify girls' bodies. It's difficult to imagine that Q104's listening audience would interpret it as such, but we accepted your assertions in the spirit in which they were intended, and discussed them amongst the announce [sic] staff."
He then partially accepted that there could have been a potential problem, writing, "Prior to receiving your letter, I would not have seen any potential harm from the words in question. Your comments opened my eyes to an issue that I thought warranted the attention of my staff. Having considered your perspective, and being sensitive to the issues involved, it was a useful exercise to re-examine our use of potentially offensive language in such cases. However, I'm confident that while certain words and phrases used for comedic intent may inadvertently spark such misinterpretation on occasion, the station's performers are in no way fostering a climate of humiliation and abuse toward girls and young women. It has never been our intention, and never will, to contribute to a negative environment which would lead to the logical outcome of violence against women or girls."
This later letter was welcomed by the complainant as "considered" but she noted that "The bottom line of that letter, however, asserts that in fact the station views the comments as acceptable, and for this reason I request a ruling from the CBSC as to whether the references to the 'budding breasts and rock hard nipples' of 'excited schoolgirls' are acceptable. There is no indication of where the station will draw the line in the future, or how it will avoid crossing that line Despite the context of so-called humour regarding men's excited states of mind at concert attendance, these phrases focus in a sexualized way on young girls' body parts "
The CBSC Atlantic Regional Panel in its discussion noted that complaints of this nature were rare and referred to two previous rulings, one against Howard Stern for comments made in relation to a statistic concerning syphilis among babies in New York to which Stern had asked, "who are they getting it on with?"; commented, "nothing better than a good baby"; and also told a joke: "What's the worst thing about having sex with your sister? [...] Breaking the crib."
The other case involved a satirical sketch in which unrelated comments made by U.S. President George W. Bush were edited together to create a fictional speech for intended humorous effect, one portion of which went, "To all the men and women in our military so far from home, I gave a fourth grade girl. And now every sailor, every soldier, every marine will come."
In both these cases the CBSC had ruled that there were Code breaches and in this case the Panel also found a breach saying that had they stopped with the phrase, "Like a tiny little school-girl" there would not have been an issue. The reference to "budding breasts" and "rock-hard nipples" they said meant they could only conclude that the broadcaster unacceptably sexualized children in breach of CAB codes.
2007-09-03: This week for our look at print comment on radio, we have opted to start with enthusiasm about the media courtesy of Gillian Reynolds in the UK Daily Telegraph.
Back in her regular spot commenting on radio, she started her column last week by writing, "Purely in the interests of media research, I spent most of my holidays in the grip of the sofa, watching TV. I can exclusively reveal, therefore, that, without my consequent ingestion of old episodes of Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Bergerac and that bargain, GBP 1-a-month summer offer on the Sky movie channels, I would not have the evidence to hand to explain why radio's latest listening figures are so good."
" Coming back to radio is like waking up to a glass of water in the middle of a dark, parched night, welcome as dawn silence after the Notting Hill Carnival, comforting as friends meeting you at the airport."
The programmes then mentioned were mostly from BBC Radio 4 including encomiums for its series "The Reunion" of which she said. "Its great achievement is to refresh public memory by bringing together key witnesses to a recent piece of history. What it adds is that rare thing in broadcasting - perspective."
Reynolds uses "perspective" with an enlarged meaning - to put things in context as opposed to narrow down the perspective - and this sense and with a sense of fairness to Clear Channel applies to Brad Kava's look in "Inside Bay Area" at the output of the company's San Francisco liberal talk station, the former KQKE-AM that is now KKGN, "Green 960."
"Originally the home of the struggling nationally syndicated "Air America" network," writes Kava, "it has spun away with other local and syndicated liberal hosts, who are slowly but successfully fighting an uphill battle to reclaim the almost exclusively conservative medium of talk radio
The line-up of Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Rachel Maddow, Bill Press, Mike Malloy, Jon Elliot and Randi Rhodes is a liberal dream team, intelligent and entertaining. It is virtually tied in the ratings with conservative talker and sister station KNEW-FM (910), both down in the lower 20s for Bay Area audiences over 12."
After then noting details of the "Green Seed Radio" show just added, Kava comments that the station sound a lot more like local public stations than "anything on the commercial dial" to which program director Bob Agnew, whose background includes running sports station KNBR and bringing Rush Limbaugh to the Bay Area, responds, "I know. Can you believe this is what I'm doing? But after two years of working with this station, I've moved dead centre - from hardcore conservative. And I really think we are ahead of the curve on this movement."
On then to a rather narrower perspective, but a different one, on UK political gadfly and Member of Parliament George Galloway - expelled by the governing Labour Party after it held that statements he had made in opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq had brought the party into disrepute but returned to Parliament in the 2005 General Election as the Respect Party MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.
Galloway has spread his wings beyond political activities - coming under much ridicule when he appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and imitated a cat but then taking on a current affairs chat show for UTV's talkSPORT.
Reporting on the success of that show Arifa Akbar in the UK Independent notes that he decided to make the best of a bad thing in relation to that ridicule and quotes him as saying, "I decided to have the music from the cartoon show Top Cat for the start of the show. It was a genuflection to my much-ribalded cat impersonation on Big Brother, and I called it The Mother of All Talk Shows as a reference to Saddam Hussein's comment about the 1990 Gulf War as the 'mother of all wars'."
Over the 18 months since he launched the show Galloway has doubled his audience, which has been given more time and now airs for three hours on Friday and Saturday nights.
Galloway argues that, contrary to the views of detractors that his radio role has diminished his integrity as a politician, both roles are part of the same process, commenting, "I don't see a dichotomy between media and politics. It's all politics to me, and I think it should be entertaining, unless you choose to define entertainment as the opposite of politics, as being earnest and bland.
"Nothing," he added, "can be more democratic than standing in front of hundreds of thousands of people, which is what I do every week. Most politicians couldn't fill a cappuccino bar with people who wanted to listen to them,"
Of his radio style - he chooses to stand up because "it's more like being on a platform, and I can put more energy into it" - Galloway comments, "On radio, I make jokes, I play music when it's germane to the subject - when we talked about the Vietnam War, we played the music of 1968."
And of the political risks: "You have no idea what the next person on the line will say. No matter how brutal the call, I'll take it. It's short sword fighting, and that's my speciality. I'm not sure who would do it. Tony Blair? To get in a room with him, you have to have been vetted and on-message, and you can't do that on radio. You are at the mercy of the audience."
And as for those who disagree - he's only had to "dump" two callers on the basis of racism or obscene language, - he says, "I encourage callers and even prioritise callers who disagree with me. I never want my show or the radio station not providing different points of view, and it also makes better radio than people phoning up to say they agree with what I've said."
So for our first listening suggestions we start, for a change, with UK commercial radio and Galloway (21:00 to midnight GMT Friday and Saturday) on talkSPORT and also Xfm for its current series of documentaries (See RNW Sep 2): The latter are available as a stream or podcast and are an interesting venture from a commercial station albeit we found the pace a little too frenetic in the first show on the Arctic Moneys and the overall style was rather too gushing and promotional for our taste: As a contrast we'd suggest some documentaries from BBC Radio 2 - and also note that our suggestions last week of the two Sgt Pepper documentaries aired on Monday will also still be on the site for a few hours/
We start with last Saturday and "Blood and Fire: Roots, Reggae and Rastafari" presented by Don Letts and looking at the religious movement and the music associated with it.
Then tomorrow we suggest a non-musical documentary from the station - "What's My Name? The Muhammad Ali Story" at 21:30 GMT tomorrow, the first of a two-part series that includes interviews with boxers George Foreman, Henry Cooper and Ernie Terrell, sportswriters Colin Hart and Alan Hubbard and Ali's daughters Maryum and Hana Ali."
On Thursday (21:00 GMT) the station has the third of its continuing six-part "Masters of Rock" series in which Iron Maiden's vocalist Bruce Dickinson continues his exploration of the world of hard rock and talks to pop metal Californian rockers Tesla. Later that evening the station has the third in Stuart Maconie's seven-part "Seven More Days That..." (22:00GMT), an edition on "The Dixie Chicks and That Bush Comment..."
And finally from Radio 2 we suggest Friday (18:00 GMT) and "Stand by Your Man: Tammy Wynette", Bob Harris's story of the first lady of country music.
After that some suggestions from BBC Radio 4 starting with "The Reunion": Last week's edition re-united five campaigners who fought to bring about the 1976 Race Relations Act: Anthony Lester, Dipak Nandy, Jocelyn Barrow, Usha Prashar and Herman Ouseley and this week's and this week's (10:15 GMT Sunday with a Friday 09:00 GMT repeat) features British veterans of the Korean War and look at just how close we all came to a Third World War between 1950 and 1953.
Also from BBC Radio 4 we suggest the most recent edition of "The Archive Hour" -"Saving the Sounds of History" tells the story of how temporary secretary Marie Slocombe started the BBC Sound Archives almost by accident when in the 1930's she was told to clear out some old records.
Fortunately she had some initiative - the first batch included recordings by GB Shaw, GK Chesterton and Winston Churchill and she held on to them and spent the rest of her career developing the collection.
Sticking with the theme of perspective, we then suggest some podcasts/MP3 downloads starting with Radio Netherlands and last Sunday's "Amsterdam Forum" in which a panel discussed issues of "Corporate Social Responsibility", a term that can refer from anything to insisting on decent treatment of workers by suppliers to carbon trading. CSR is touted by many companies as a way for industries to police themselves but many critics consider it window dressing and would prefer laws to enforce standards.
Then to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Saturday's "All in the Mind", timely as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches with a debate from the Australian Science Festival on "The Nature of Fear". Those taking part include Australian personality psychologist Dr Doris McIlwain; Dr James Blair of the US National Institute of Mental Health - termed by the ABC "A world leader in psychopath research; political scientist Prof Chris Reut-Smith of the Australian National University; and Richard M. Price, author of "The Chemical Weapons Taboo."
And for those who are not fearful enough, in view of recent reports that the US military has prepared for a massive attack on Iran, we suggest the August 26 edition of Ian Masters' "Background Briefing" that airs on Pacifica's KPFK-FM. This edition includes comments on the reports from Robert Baer, a former case officer in the Directorate of Operations for the Central Intelligence Agency, and Wayne White, an Adjunct Scholar at Washington s Middle East Institute and was an advisor to the Iraq Study Group who recently served as Deputy Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia (NESA).
Baer says there is another example of Bush-Cheney wishful thinking in progress and predicts a "petulant, counterproductive" attack on Iran within six months. If he is correct not only has the Bush-Cheney combination been disastrous for Iraq but has also boosted Iran and Shia Islam throughout the Middle East to the concern of Israel and Saudi Arabia in particular and of Sunni states in general.
He also refers to the arming cum funding of Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province by the US and Saudi Arabia as buying a truce that he thinks may only last to September.
One can only hope he is misinformed but it seems more likely that the misinformation is coming from the Bush administration whose legacy may yet be massive hikes in oil prices, a regional conflict, and long-term attacks on the US.
Also from the ABC and in the Middle East we suggest Sunday's "Background Briefing" - no relation to the Masters' programme - in which Prof Michael B. Oren, who is now with the Shalem Centre in Israel looks at the history of Israel and how its behaviour challenges Jewish morality.
In contrast to this we suggest a listen to "The Clinton Years" series currently being aired by BBC Radio 4 and World Service (available as MP3s through the World Service documentary site that currently carries the first two of the series).
Having returned to the BBC, we then suggest from BBC Radio 3 various of the continuing 2007 Proms - the programme is online - and also this week's "Essay "(22:00 GMT Tuesday through Thursday): Entitled, "Only a Monkey Shaved", it features Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College, London, looking at the latest scientific evidence about the similarities and differences between human and apes - in terms of genetics, diseases and behaviour amongst other things.
And finally back to BBC Radio 4 for two more series -"Inside the Ethics Committee" and "The Last Word". In the first last week's edition looked at the dilemma of whether to go ahead with invasive treatment for a form of blood cancer of a middle aged man with severe learning difficulties, no spoken language ability, and no family who lives in a residential care home.
This week's edition (Wednesday, 19:00 GMT) considers the case of Kate, a woman who has lived with anorexia nervosa since the age of 14. Now in her late 20s, she has reached the point where she can't face the trauma of more treatment and wants to opt for palliative care rather than be force fed.
Finally "The Last Word", a series in which Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently.
Last week's edition was strong on US civil rights, including comment on Irene Morgan, who eleven years before the Rosa Parks case had refused to give up her seat on a bus (she had suffered a miscarriage and was in the rear of the bus. When arrested she kicked the sheriff in his privates, subsequently paying the fine for resisting arrest but not one for refusing to give up her seat); Oliver Hill, the civil rights lawyer who represented Morgan at the Supreme Court hearing on her case; and reporter Inez Baskin. Morgan died aged 90 on August 10; Hill aged 100 on August 5; and Baskin aged 91 on June 28.
Ian Masters site:
Inside Bay Area - Kava:
UK Independent - Akbar:
UK Daily Telegraph - Reynolds:
2007-09-02: Last week saw no major issues before the regulators but there was a steady flow of decisions in most areas.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has posted three community licence notices: They were:
*Invitation for submissions on proposal by Portuguese Cultural and Welfare Centre WA Inc., licensee of 6PCR, Fremantle, currently licensed to serve the Portuguese speaking community of the licence area, to be able to serve the general community of the licence area.
The ACMA notes that it is considering this request as part of its consideration of whether to renew 6PCR's licence for a further five years.
* Invitation for submissions on licence renewal application by Central Coast Broadcasters Ltd, licensee of Hits n Country 2CCH, Gosford. The licence expires on November 21 and comments have to be made by September 21.
*Invitation for submissions on applications for two new community radio licences in Perth, Western Australia. The ACMA says it has received four applications for a licence on 100.9 MHz - from Peedac Pty Ltd; Capital Community Radio Inc.; Phoenix Radio Pty Ltd and Western Sports Media Inc. - and three applications for one on 90.5 MHz - from Capital Community Radio Inc., Phoenix Radio Pty Ltd and Western Sports Media Inc.
In Canada radio-related announcements posted by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included the following (In order of province):
*Short-term licence renewal until 31 August 2011 of Standard Radio Inc.'s CIBK-FM, Calgary. The CRTC noted that the licensee may have failed to comply with the requirements regarding its contributions to Canadian talent development (CTD) for the broadcast years 2003 and 2004. Standard has said it would make up the shortfall by the end of August this year.
*Administrative renewal to 31 May 2008 of Cameron Bell Consultancy Ltd.'s low-power FM licences in Chilliwack and Surrey so as to allow the licensee to resolve technical impediments in order to receive its broadcasting certificates from the Department of Industry and, if required, to obtain all authorizations from the Commission to change its authorized technical parameters.
*Approval in part of application of conversion of Vista Radio Ltd.'s CFWB-AM, Campbell River, to FM. The applicant's proposed technical parameters were not approved and it has three months to submit an application for another frequency.
*Approval of application by Northwoods Broadcasting Limited, on behalf of Fawcett Broadcasting Limited, to amend the broadcasting licences of the radio programming undertakings CFOB-FM, Fort Frances; CJRL-FM, Kenora; CKDR-FM, Dryden; CKDR-5, and CKDR-5-FM, Red Lake; and CKDR-2 and CKDR-2-FM, Sioux Lookout by replacing each undertaking's condition of licence pertaining to Canadian talent development with a condition reflecting the Commission's new approach to Canadian content development. The new conditions are transitional and shall only be in effect until such time as the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the Regulations) are amended to reflect the Commission's new approach.
*Approval of applications to convert from AM to FM CFFX-AM and CKLC-AM, Kingston and also of application by K-Rock 1057 Inc. for a licence to operate a new FM. Corus's CFFX will be replaced by a 4,000 watts FM retaining the current Oldies format and CHUM's CKLC-AM by an 8,700 watts FM retaining the current Adult standard/middle-of-the-road music format.
The new station will be a 3,230 watts English-language Country music format commercial FM.
The CRTC noted that if all three applications are approved, Corus, CHUM and K-Rock would each own two commercial FM radio stations in the Kingston market and said it is of the view that licensing all three proposed stations would improve the competitive balance among the incumbent owners in the market.
*Licence renewal until 31 August 2014 of CKMW Radio Ltd.'s ethnic commercial AM station CIAO-AM, Brampton. The CRTC noted that in 2007 its records had shown that there had been a CAD 3,000 shortfall in the licensee's Canadian Talent Development payments in 2001 in relation to contribution towards the establishment of a catalogue of Canadian ethnic recordings on behalf of the Ontario arm of the Canadian Association of Ethnic Broadcasters (CAEB) in regard to which the licensee stated that the shortfall was due to the CAEB catalogue initiative not being ready to receive funding until 2002, at which time the shortfall was paid.
*Licence renewal until 31 August 2014 of licence of English-language commercial station CHMS-FM, Bancroft.
*Short-term renewal until 31 August 2011 of licence of Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc.'s CKAP-FM, Kapuskasing and its transmitter CKHT-FM, Hearst. The CRTC noted that the licensee may have failed to comply with the requirements regarding its contributions to Canadian talent development (CTD) for the broadcast years 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 but added that the shortfalls had been made up, albeit the payments were made late.
*Short-term renewal until 31 August 2011 of licence of Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc.'s CHMT-FM, Timmins. The CRTC noted that the licensee may have failed to comply with the requirements regarding its contributions to Canadian talent development (CTD) for the broadcast years 2001, 2002 and 2003 but added that in March this year following a letter to the company Haliburton had advised that the shortfall had been made up.
*Approval of application by RNC MEDIA Inc. (formerly known as Radio Nord Communications inc.) to acquire, from its wholly-owned subsidiary Radio Couleur Jazz inc., the assets of French-language specialty station CFLX-FM, Montréal, as part of a corporate re-organization.
*Short-term licence renewal until 31 August 2009 of licence of French-language commercial station CKVM-FM, Ville-Marie and its transmitter CKVM-FM-1, Témiscaming.
The CRTC noted that in 2003, when it approved a conversion of the station from AM to FM it had noted a short term renewal in 2001 because of serious concerns including failure to comply with Canada's Radio Regulations, 1986. It also issued a mandatory order requiring the licensee to comply with regulations relating to logger tapes and required the licensee to submit to the Commission, every three months or until otherwise advised in writing by the Commission, a self-assessment of the programming broadcast over a given week.
This year it added it noted apparent non-compliance with the provisions of the Regulations concerning the broadcast of French-language vocal music (FVM) during the broadcast weeks of 2 to 8 May 2004; 22 to 28 January 2006; and 4 to 10 February 2007; when analysis showed that it broadcast 54.6%, 62.47% and 63.9% respectively of its content category 2 vocal musical selections over the week analyzed to French-language musical selections whereas it is required to broadcast 65% or more.
The licensee had said that it had taken measures to correct the situation and noted that in May the reason it dipped below the required level was the broadcast, on Saturday evening, of a special program devoted to rock music and in February because of the broadcast of a telethon for the physically challenged in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue area.
The CRTC also said it considered it necessary to retain the condition of licence to submit every three months a self-assessment of the programming broadcast over a given week as proof that the licensee has complied with the Regulations, the Commission's policies and the conditions of its licence.
*Public notice calling for interventions or comments - with a deadline of October 2 - in relation to application to renew the licence of CFQC-FM, Saskatoon.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland and no licensing decisions from the UK although Ofcom posted its Radio Broadcast Update for August noting various activities during the month,
These included agreed changes of format for Bath FM, 3TR & Vale FM; for Kerrang! 105.2; and for the Gold network plus Content Sampling reports for South London Radio, Palm FM (Torbay); digital multiplex format changes ; a change of control review relating to the acquisition of The Saint (now 107.8 Radio Hampshire) by Town & Country Broadcasting. It also noted the issue of one Radio Licensable Content Service (RLCS) - to Asia TV Ltd for 'Zee Radio' on the Sky digital satellite platform.
The digital multiplex changes noted involved:
*Ayr, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Perth, and Northern Ireland multiplexes - Replacement of '3C' with a 'Celebrity' service.
*Birmingham multiplex - Replacement of 'Magic FM' with a 'Celebrity' service.
*Cardiff and Newport multiplex - Removal of obligation to bring on a 'Hot Adult Contemporary' service.
*Exeter and Torbay multiplex - Removal of obligation to bring on additional service.
*Greater London 1 - Replacement of 'Smash Hits' with a 'Celebrity' service.
*Humberside, Leeds, and South Yorkshire multiplexes - Replacement of 'Heat' with a 'Celebrity' service.
* Inverness multiplex - Replacement of '3C' and 'MFR FM' with a 'Celebrity' service.
*Liverpool, Central Lancashire, Tyne and Wear and Teesside multiplexes - Replacement of '3C' and 'Heat' with a 'Celebrity' service.
*Manchester multiplex - Addition of a 'Celebrity' service.
*Sussex Coast - Removal of 'Local Adult Specialist' service 'Passion Radio'.
In the sampling reports all the stations were found to be operating within format. In the case of South London Radio - a full service speech and music station for Lewisham and the surrounding area - it had been issued with a "yellow card" after a previous sampling report had found that the musical content did not adequately reflect what was defined in the Format and that the Public File was found to be misleading, indicating that there was no automation during the station's daytime output when, at that time, programming outside of breakfast was automated. The yellow card has now been lifted.
The other station - Palm FM, which was found to be operating within its format- is a full local service dedicated to listeners in Torbay.
The format changes were:
The Local Radio Company's Bath FM, 3TR FM & Vale FM: Ofcom gave the go ahead to replace a current requirement to run a 15min bulletin and a further 10min extended bulletin with a "15 minutes of unique news daily." Ofcom noted that the original requirement was difficult to fulfil given the transmission area involved.
Emap's specialist rock station Kerrang 105.2, which was given permission to reduce the requirement that around half of daytime music tracks must be less than 6 months old to around one-third.
Kerrang had argues that the increased flexibility afforded by the requested change will allow it to more accurately reflect the tastes of our audience.
The Gold Network (Formally Capital Gold and Classic Gold networks) related to informational inserts/drop-ins that had differed for the two original networks and were requested to allow a common requirement for the combined network of a weekly requirement for at least 40 informational inserts/drop-ins spread through weekday daytime and 10 through weekend daytime.
Capital Gold stations had only been required to have least 40 informational inserts/drop-ins spread through weekday daytime whilst Classic Gold had been required to provide this number of inserts during non-locally produced/presented time spread through weekday daytime, 20 through weekend daytime and 20 through all non daytime.'
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posted details of its payment requirements for Fiscal Year 2007 Regulatory Fees that have to be made by September 19 or face a 25% late penalty fee.
Payments may be made by credit card up to USD 99,999.99 per day from a single card; those of USD 100,000 or more have to be made by cheque, debit, or wire transfer.
As regards radio the commission had a quiet week apart from routine work although it issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for USD 7,000 to Israel G. Ybanez, licensee of KYMI-FM, Los Ybanez, Texas, for failing to file its licence renewal on time and operating after the licence had expired. It also granted licence renewal and re-instated the station's call letters.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-09-02: GCap Media's Xfm today makes a move into an area largely dominated in the UK by the BBC when it marks its tenth anniversary by airing the first of a series of ten one-hour music documentaries about what it considers to be among the most influential albums issued since the station launched in 1997.
The documentaries, written, produced and presented by Xfm music news producer Matt Everitt, are to air on the Xfm network which includes FM stations in London, Manchester, and Scotland, at 5 P.M. (16:00 GMT).
Everitt commented that during its life the station had "championed and supported some of the world finest bands" and added that it was "great to go back and revisit not only 10 of the albums that have shaped popular music, but also the incredible musicians who created them."
The programmes will include not only music from the albums but interviews with the artists involved including Franz Ferdinand, Noel Gallagher, Kaiser Chiefs, Fatboy Slim, Muse and the White Stripes.
The first programme is the story of Artic Monkey's 2006 debut album: 'Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not' and subsequent programmes, all of which can be listened to as a live stream or for seven days through the station's Listen again player and also via free podcasts (through i-Tunes), will be on:
September 9 - Kaiser Chiefs 'Employment' (2005)
September 16 - Franz Ferdinand 'Franz Ferdinand' (2004)
September 23 - The White Stripes 'Elephant' (2003)
September 30 - The Streets 'Original Pirate Material' (2002)
October 7 - Muse 'Origin of Symmetry' (2001)
October 14 - Queens of the Stone Age 'Rated R' (2000)
October 21 - Travis 'The Man Who' (1999)
October 28 - Fatboy Slim 'You've Come A Long Way, Baby' (1998)
November 4 - The Verve 'Urban Hymns' (1997).
Xfm web site:
2007-09-01: Westwood One, which last month had said it expected to complete negotiations to continue its syndication contract with CBS Radio by the end of this month (See RNW Jul 13) has now issued an update saying the negotiations continue.
In a statement it gave no details of when it now expected to conclude the negotiations, merely saying it is "continuing to negotiate with CBS Radio and work towards finalizing definitive documentation regarding the modification and extension through 2017 of its various agreements with CBS Radio."
Previous Westwood One:
2007-09-01: Filings by Sirius and XM Satellite Radio show that they, like their opponents, have been spending considerable sums in lobbying concerning the merger. Between them they spent USD 810,000 in lobbying in the first half of this year, USD 580,000 by XM and USD 230, 00 by Sirius.
The principal opponent of the merger, the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) spent USD 4.28 million in lobbying in this period although it did not give specifics of how this was broken down (See RNW Aug 16).
2007-09-01: Virgin Radio Chief Executive Paul Jackson has jumped ship from the SMG-owned company, which is beign prepared for a public offering, and is to join GCap Media as Managing Director of its London flagship Capital 95.8: He had moved to Virgin in 2001 from Capital Radio where he had been amongst other things its regional programme director, joining as Programme Director and becoming Chief Executive.
At Capital he will report to Fru Hazlitt, GCap's London managing director and his predecessor as Virgin Radio chief executive (See RNW Jan 9): She welcomed his recruitment, commenting in a GCap news release,"The MD of Capital is probably the most high-profile job in commercial radio and we are delighted to have been able to recruit someone as talented as Paul. He has a brilliant track record, a broad set of skills and I am confident that Capital will flourish under his leadership."
Jackson commented that he was "thrilled" to join Capital saying, "I am thrilled to join Capital 95.8. It's the station I've always aspired to lead and to be given the opportunity to be MD at this time is both a great challenge and hugely exciting for me personally. I can't wait to get started!"
Virgin owner SMG, which is preparing to split off Virgin in an initial public offering, said that Virgin Radio chairman Richard Huntingford, formerly Chrysalis Group Chief executive, and SMG Chief Executive would continue the IPO process.
Woodward in a statement following the announcement that Jackson - whose contract requires six months notice, was leaving said, "Virgin Radio consistently outperforms the market, has a unique audience relationship and is the leader in digital listening: We are privileged to have Richard Huntingford, one of the most respected figures in commercial radio, as Chairman of Virgin Radio. Richard and I are working to build a first-class management team, and look forward to appointing a CEO with the right experience to lead the business into the public markets"
SMG, which has been disposing of assets to reduce its debt burden has also announced that it is planning to sell its Primesight Outdoor subsidiary to GMT Communications Partners ("GMT"), a leading and long established provider of private equity for mid-market European buyouts in the media and telecoms sectors: The price being paid is GBP 52 million (USD 104 million) in cash, plus additional payments of up to GBP 10 million (USD 20 million) including a loan note of GBP five million (USD 10 million), payable at the earlier of five years from completion or an exit of the business by GMT and a further loan note payable on a pro rata basis of up to GBP five million (USD 10 million) contingent upon Primesight achieving agreed target profits for the financial year ending 31 December 2007. This is also payable at the earlier of five years from Completion or an exit of the business by GMT.
SMG says that in addition GBP 1.4 million (USD 2.8 million) of the cash proceeds are to be placed in a retention account for use by GMT in relation to certain planning consents currently being sought by Primesight and this will be offset by a GBP 800,000 (USD 1.6 million) payment to SMG at Completion in respect of expected surplus working capital in Primesight. It described the valuation as a "clear uplift" on indicative offers it had received before suspending the Primesight disposal process in April
SMG says that it has already received irrevocable undertakings to vote for the disposal from the Board and Hanover Investors Management LLP, accounting for just below 13% of its voting shares. It also said that its television and cinema advertising divisions and Virgin Radio continue to trade in line with the Board's expectations for the current financial year adding that a further update on current trading will be included in SMG's interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2007 to be announced on September 18.
Woodward said of the proposed sale, "This is a good price for the business and clearly ahead of where we were in the previous sale process. This is a strong example of the new Board delivering on its promises. The proceeds of the sale will strengthen SMG's balance sheet while freeing the management team to concentrate on the turnaround of the television business and the disposal of our other non core businesses."
Previous GCap Media:
Previous SMG - Virgin Radio:
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