November 2007 Archive
- October 2007 - December 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 November comment - As Don Imus prepares to return to air, we look at issues of getting booted, coming back, and staying on air!
RNW October comment - Asks why there should be a problem with radio ratings using electronic metering and wonders whether it is just a matter of resources - and if broadcasters and advertisers are wise to rely on one ratings supplier.
RNW September comment - Considers whether we would develop radio today if it did not already exist and concludes it still remains a very valuable medium for information.
2007-11-30: According to the New York Post, host Don Imus is vowing vengeance on those who failed to defend him when he was fired by CBS Radio for his infamous "nappy-headed ho's" comments [RNW note the Post uses the term "joke" but the dictionary definition of this would seem to rule out the term if using language accurately] that led to his dismissal. The host returns to the airwaves on Monday on Citadel's WABC-AM, and in syndication with current rumours of around ten stations signed up including Greater Media's Boston WTTK-FM (See RNW Nov 17).
The paper quotes WABC general manager, Phil Boyce as saying of the host's scheduled return on Monday, "I think he will have some scores to settle."
The paper says that it is "doubtful Imus will ever forgive CBS chief Les Moonves, who fired him, or regular guest Tim Russert, the host of NBC's 'Meet the Press,' who was 'an invisible man' while Imus was under attack" and adds that Private eye Bo Dietl, who will join Imus in the 8 a.m. hour on Monday, also named Harold Ford Jr. and Al Roker as two Imus regulars who abandoned him.
"They turned their backs on him so fast," Dietl said "Al Roker had his stomach stapled - he should have had his mouth stapled.".
Dietl added that Imus's remark "brought attention to that Rutgers basketball team. They really benefited. It turned out to be a positive thing" but did say he expects "a kinder, gentler Imus" but I don't know how long that will last."
As regards advertisers, the Post reports that the Hackensack University Medical Center which cancelled its multimillion dollar budget on WFAN when Imus was fired - will air the first spot on the new show and will be one of its is one of the biggest advertisers.
Imus is to be interviewed by Barbara Walters on ABC TV's 20/20 tonight.
RNW comment: The Post does not comment on other advertisers but a number of those who were large advertisers with his previous show including General Motors are waiting to see how things go before they make a decision and Verizon has said it has no plans to advertise on the Imus show.
Our view is that if Imus is stupid enough to go for settling scores rather than producing a good show for the long term he will probably gain audience in the short term and lose advertisers in the long one, which would be a form of poetic justice.
It would be interesting to find out if Citadel has any get-out clauses if it ends up losing money with the show, for which it has dropped previously highly-rated hosts Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby who did not have the syndication that Imus formerly enjoyed.
As for the Dietl attitude, which seems to be that the comment is OK as the outcome was positive for the Rutgers' team, contempt seems to be the appropriate word.
New York Daily Post report:
2007-11-30: UK media regulator Ofcom has re-advertised the Plymouth FM licence that was awarded last year to Radio UK Holdings Limited, a consortium led by Macquarie Bank-owned (See RNW Mar 10, 2006). The award aroused local protest (See RNW Mar 21 and RNW Mar 18, 2006) and Macquarie decided not to take up the licence.
There were five bidders and the licence was the first won by Macquarie following other bids that had been fronted for them by former EMAP Performance chief executive Tim Schoonmaker. Previously one foreign-owned company had been awarded a licence since they were allowed to bid - the CanWest winning bid for the new Solent licence with an Adult Alternative format.
Ofcom has also published its planned timetable for the re-advertisement of local analogue commercial radio licences.
The list is:
January 2008 - Kingston-upon-Thames, currently held by Radio Jackie.
February 2008 - Wigan, currently held by Wish FM.
March 2008 - Yorkshire Dales, currently held by Fresh Radio (This licence may qualify for renewal depending on the outcome of the North Yorkshire local radio multiplex licence award, and thus may not be re-advertised.).
- Ullapool, currently held by Lochbroom FM.
- Medway Towns, currently held by KMFM (One of the four licences - this licence, Canterbury, Dover/Folkestone, and Thanet (see later adverts) held by KM Radio Ltd. qualifies for renewal and thus will not be re-advertised.)
- Greater London, currently held by XFM (currently qualifies for renewal since it is on a local digital multiplex and may not be re-advertised).
-Canterbury - currently held by KMFM.
-East Midlands - Heart FM (currently qualifies for renewal since it is on a local digital multiplex and may not be re-advertised).
June 2008-Wolverhampton, currently held by The Wolf.
July 2008 - Southport, currently held by Dune FM.
-Eastbourne, currently held by Sovereign Radio.
- East of England, currently held by Kiss 105-108 (currently qualifies for renewal since it is on a local digital multiplex and may not be re-advertised).
- Peterhead currently held by Waves Radio (currently qualifies for renewal since it is on a local digital multiplex and may not be re-advertised).
-Thanet, currently held by KMFM.
October 2008 - Huddersfield , currently held by Home FM.
November 2008 - Western Isles, currently held by Isles FM.
-Cambridge, currently held by STAR Radio.
- Liverpool, currently held by Juice FM (currently qualifies for renewal since it is on a local digital multiplex and may not be re-advertised).
January 2009 - Hastings, currently held by Arrow FM
Previous Macquarie Bank/Macquarie Media:
2007-11-30: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has now posted its response to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote that would expand low-power FM radios (See RNW Nov 29 )with comments from Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton that in essence back those parts that NAB sees as of benefit to its members and opposes anything that it sees otherwise.
Wharton said the NAB was "pleased the Commission clarified that LPFM stations must indeed be locally-owned with locally-originated programming, and limits ownership to one station per licensee"
He then added over giving LPFM enhanced stature: "We share the concerns expressed by Commissioners Tate and McDowell about the Commission's decision to adopt interim processing guidelines without full notice and opportunity for comment, but we look forward to working with the Commission to find a solution that works for all."
On third-adjacent channel protection, he commented, "Though this is a recommendation identical to one made several years ago by the FCC, NAB continues to believe that statutory third-adjacent channel protections are critically important to protect listeners against interference. The idea that hundreds, if not thousands, of additional LPFM stations can be shoe-horned into an overcrowded radio dial without causing considerable interference simply defies the laws of physics."
RNW comment: Over the years we have considered the NAB close to dishonest over the third-adjacent channel issue and what "evidence" is has produced to sustain its case has been less than substantial.
In particular we note that the problem seems to exist to a greater degree in some places with full-power stations that would not now be granted a licence.
Maybe the FCC should take the NAB seriously, announce that in view of the LPFM objections it is to conduct relevant tests nationwide and, where there is an interference problem, revoke licences that are held by NAB members (for which there should be no compensation for the NAB members, who obviously would not wish to create such interference.)
2007-11-30: CBS has named Anton Guitano as Senior Executive Vice President of Finance and Operations and Chief Financial Officer of CBS Radio to succeed Walter Berger who will remain with the Company working on special projects under the direction of Fredric G. Reynolds, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of CBS.
Guitano is a 29-year CBS veteran who most recently served as Executive Vice President of Operations and Chief Financial Officer of the CBS Television Stations Group. In his new role he will be responsible for establishing the financial strategy and direction of the division and overseeing all of CBS Radio's financial functions at the local station and corporate level.
CBS Radio President and CEO Dan Mason, making the announcement, commented, "Anton is one of the strongest financial executives in the Company with a record of success at every step of his career. Additionally, he has a proven background in local operations that will extend the scope of his contributions far beyond finance.
CBS Radio is also extending its station web site operations through a deal with AOL's Truveo that will give the stations access to a host of new searchable video content. As part of the deal more than 35 CBS Radio stations have already integrated Truveo's video search engine online with more scheduled to launch in the coming weeks.
The search engine indexes generated video from popular video uploading sites such as YouTube and Dailymotion and also video from many major media companies including the main US TV networks, the BBC and Skynews.
2007-11-29: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) late on Tuesday approved rule changes that would expand low-power FM in the US, possibly eliminating third-adjacent channel protection, a move welcomed by the two Democrats on the commission but arousing dissenting statements from the two Republican Commissioners.
Chairman Kevin J. Martin, who is also Republican, said in his statement, "Today's item facilitates LPFM stations' access to limited radio spectrum by significantly reforming our LPFM rules."
He added," The limited number of channels in the radio spectrum bands and the high start-up cost of building a station are significant barriers to entry in broadcasting. It can be very difficult for anyone-in particular a new voice-to find an available channel and gather enough capital to build a new broadcast station" and said the commission was taking "several important steps to improve our Low Power FM rules to better promote entry and ensure local responsiveness without harming the interests of full-power FM stations or other Commission licensees."
Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps, approving the changes, commented on the effects of consolidation in radio that had left "homogenized content, national play lists, outsourced news, a dumbed-down civic dialogue, and shameful levels of minority and female ownership" and added, "That's why low power radio is such a breath of fresh air. It is a positive response to what ails us. These are truly local stations run by local organizations. They provide an outlet for local voices and local talent. They cover issues of importance to local and very often under-served communities. Low power is truly radio of the people, by the people, and for the people. We cannot let it perish from the earth."
His fellow Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein in his statement commented, "When the FCC created low-power FM (LPFM) service in 2000, some argued that there was no viable business model for such a localized medium, while others argued that LPFM stations would undermine the economic stability of existing full-power FM stations. Time, however, has revealed that neither prediction was accurate. There continues to be great public demand for radio spectrum, especially LPFM stations. Full-power FM stations continue to be scarce, and they remain as valuable financial assets. In spite of initial and considerable scepticism, LPFM stations have proven to be a great success story of communications policy. Creating LPFM is one of the few steps that the Commission has taken in recent history to democratize the public airwaves."
He also commented, "Perhaps more than any measure in this item, I am especially pleased that we have tightened LPFM ownership rules. Simply put, we cannot allow what has happened to commercial radio to happen to LPFM. Accordingly, I strongly support the fact that we reinstate the restrictions on local LPFM ownership. In doing so, we explicitly recognize that "doing away with the locality restriction could threaten its predominantly local character, in particular the hallmark of the LPFM's station's local character, its local origination of programming." And, equally important, we clarify that repetitious, automated programming does not meet our local origination requirement."
úThe Republicans Deborah Taylor Tate and Robert M. McDowell raised concerns about potential interference with full power stations with Tate commenting, "At present, there are several bills pending before Congress and it would seem appropriate to wait on their instruction before moving forward, especially before moving beyond what is included in the legislation regarding 3rd adjacent channel interference. I also think that we should have a rational basis for setting the standards for Low Power FM, perhaps using the minimum operating guidelines for the required number of hours of operation."
She concluded, "I dissent from this Order's finding of a ten application limit on translators, from the finding regarding second-adjacent channel waivers, and from the portion of this Order that places Low Power FM in a superior position to full power. I find no justification in the record for such a complete shift in well-established policy. Low Power FM licensees provide a great service to their communities, but they accept their license knowing that they are a secondary service, and accept both the risks and rewards that status entails. "
McDowell said he dissented on three grounds, adopting immediate policies for waiving second-adjacent channel protection; establishing "a licensing presumption to protect certain operating LPFM stations from subsequently proposed city of license modifications where there would be no alternate channel available to the LPFM station "; and limiting further processing of FM translator applications submitted during our Auction 83 filing window to 10 proposals per applicant.
2007-11-29: Yahoo and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL unit may shut down their Web radio services because of the increased rate they are having to pay for music royalties according to a report from Bloomberg.
The report, which says Yahoo and AOL stopped directing users to their radio sites after SoundExchange, the Washington-based group representing artists and record labels, began collecting the higher fees (RNW comment:We had no problem finding links)- they have gone up by 38% - in July, says that although Yahoo and AOL don't release details of the finances of their radio units, Pandora Media Inc., the largest privately owned Internet radio company, is losing money according to its founder Tim Westergren.
He added, "At the new rates we're losing tons of money. If we don't think there's a real answer that's going to happen, it's our fiduciary responsibility to stop.''
Bloomberg quotes Ian Rogers, general manager at Yahoo's music unit, as saying, "We're not going to stay in the business if cost is more than we make long term" and also quotes Jeffrey Lindsay, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York as saying that Internet radio sites have been dealt a "severe blow" by the rate increases and adding, "It seems very unlikely that at this stage a solution will be reached.''
Lisa Namerow, managing director of AOL Radio in Dulles, Virginia, said, "The current math doesn't add up. If the rates remain as they are, it would be very challenging to sustain a business that is profitable.''
RNW comment: This may well be a negotiating tactic but it increasingly seems to us that the best bet for the Internet music companies is to get together very urgently, set up their own internet system that makes sense to up and coming artists and then just go with them, produce and promote their own CD/DVD sales- making a virtue of the additional of a high quality physical product, and cut out the recording companies completely. In the short-term it would cost them but in the long-term we think the recording companies would lose. We certainly wouldn't be buying shares in the latter anyway.
2007-11-29: The WorldDMB will hold a meeting in Australia for the first time tomorrow when its technical committee, which includes representatives from industry body Commercial Radio Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), meets in Sydney. The chairman of the committee Lindsay Cornell said there was great deal of international interest in Australia's plans to introduce digital radio in 2009, particularly its decision to go for the advanced audio coding version.
"Our goal is to encourage international cooperation on the successful introduction of digital radio worldwide and we are very interested in the work being done in Australia," he said. "DAB+ allows more content options, both high quality audio and new multimedia services, which offer significant enhancements for consumers in the digital age."
This meeting will be preceded today by a digital radio seminar staged by Commercial Radio Australia that will provide provides an opportunity for digital radio equipment suppliers, broadcast infrastructure suppliers and receiver manufacturers from Australia and overseas to make presentations to the industry.
Also today Commercial Radio Australia in conjunction with the Advertising Federation of Australia (AFA) are running the last in this year's series of radio creative workshops targeted towards creative writers for radio ads in advertising agencies.
The free workshops are part of a continuing strategy by Commercial Radio Australia to help improve the education and training for creative personnel in radio stations and advertising agencies and ultimately deliver better radio ads: So far workshops have been held in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said feedback from participants at the workshops throughout the year has been very positive with creative directors reporting a marked improvement in standards and added, "Australia is now being recognized as a source of great innovation in radio advertising, and the radio industry is keen to provide ongoing support and training for agencies and radio stations."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2007-11-29: BBC Radio 4 has named the four guest editors who will take over its programme between Christmas and the New Year: For the period as in past years they will be responsible for between a third and half of their programme and will have the assistance of regular staff.
Thus year's editors are the former Director-General of the domestic security service MI5, Dame Stella Rimington; singer, songwriter and keyboard player Damon Albarn of Blur and who is also the leading man behind the music of Gorillaz and The Good, the Bad and the Queen project; historian and author Professor Peter Hennessy; and Sir Martin Evans - winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work in stem cell research.
Previous guest editors include Bono, Professor Stephen Hawking, Anthony Minghella, Yoko Ono and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and the programme's editor Ceri Thomas said they " never fail to surprise us with the breadth of their interests and the quality of their ideas", adding, "We've got a fantastic line-up this year."
In addition to the guest editors, one edition of the programme will also be edited by a group chosen from its audience, in this case a team from Dyfed Powys Police.
Rimington said of her decision to accept the invitation, "I couldn't resist the opportunity to take the agenda out of the hands of those who usually set it - namely the politicians - and instead have some of the issues that I think are important aired and debated."
She will deal with declining trust in politics; Albarn finds lessons for Britain in Mali's approach to recycling; Hennessy will track the evolution of political satire; and Evans will investigate the consequences of the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl
2007-11-29: Mega Media Group, whose radio division Echo Broadcasting Group, Inc. earlier this month announced a long-term lease of Island Broadcasting Company's 87.88MHz frequency covering New York City, has hired former Clear Channel and Emmis DJ Star, real name Troi Torain.
Mega says it is creating a new station -" Pulse 87" - using the frequency and will feature the "Star & Buc Wild Show", which is co-hosted by star and his stepbrother Buc Wild - real name Timothy Joseph.
Torain in a statement said he was "excited to return to the New York City airwaves and look forward to working with Mega Media Group and Pulse 87."
He did not directly refer to his dismissal by Clear Channel, made following a row when he made on air threats to the wife and children of rival DJ Emmis Hot 97 DJ Raashaun Casey. - DJ Envy - and threatened to find and sexually abuse the rival's daughter, who was then four (See RNW May 12, 2006).
He did comment, "I am excited to return to the New York City airwaves and look forward to working with Mega Media Group and Pulse 87. Times have changed and I am ready to deliver the great entertainment that my listeners have come to expect from me, while also offering responsible social commentary. The Star & Buc Wild journey continues!"
The new show will debut on January 12 when Pulse switches from its current Russian ethnic programming to a top 40 format and an AP report quoted its chief executive Alex Shvarts as saying it would be "a clean, interesting, edgy show for New Yorkers."
Newsday/Associated Press report:
2007-11-28: Sirius and XM Satellite Radio have responded to a letter opposing their merger that was sent to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by a coalition of consumer groups by saying they stand by their arguments that the merger would benefit consumers and say they are confident the Commission and Department of Justice (DOJ) will allow the merger to go ahead "by the end of the year."
The Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union and Free Press had said in a 20-page filing that the proposed merger would create a monopoly that would "unleash the market power of the satellite digital radio service providers at the expense of the public" and also attacked the proposed a la carte pricing put forward by the satellite companies as "ill-defined and deceptive."
They say the proposals do not "protect artists or retailers from the exercise of market power" by the satellite companies and content, using data from the FCC, that satellite radio does not compete with terrestrial radio.
The merger they say would produce a monopoly and they accuse the satellite companies of shifting ground to defend their position and producing internal data that addresses the wrong questions and is contradicted by publicly available date.
Regarding the contention by the companies that a merged entity would provide cheaper and better value services for subscribers they say the satellite companies "tried to sweeten the pot with an offer of price regulation that adds little value for consumers and is riddled with uncertainties, which, given their track record they will likely exploit to the detriment of the public, and fails to address a broad range of competitive concerns beyond price."
"Federal regulators," they conclude "should reject the merger."
2007-11-28: Shares in Arbitron, which had fallen on Monday by 3.6% to close at USD 48.91 plunged at one point to USD 34.81 on Tuesday as the implications of delays in introducing its Portable People Meter (PPM) electronic metering services (See RNW Nov 27) took their toll.
They ended the day down nearly 15% at USD 41.70, valuing the company at around USD 1.18 billion.
At its conference call with analysts to explain the decision the company came under criticism for making it with Barton Crockett of JP Morgan commenting that the radio industry was never going to be completely happy with the system and adding f the delay, "Now that there's blood in the water, they may get harder on you [Arbitron] rather than easier."
Arbitron President and CEO Steve Morris commented of the critics that he couldn't do anything about those who were "vocal and venomous" and adding, "All we can do is address the overall needs of the market. If we can address the concerns, I'm confident the industry will be anxious to move forward," he said.
2007-11-28: GMG Radio has announced that Graham Dene, the former Emap Magic FM drivetime host whom it signed up in February (See RNW Feb 22) for its London Smooth Radio- one of five "Smooth" stations owned by the group - is to host the station's breakfast show from January 1.
Dene is on "gardening leave" from Emap, having presented on Magic until September.
A sixth Smooth station is to launch in the north-east on January 8 with Tom Davies, formerly breakfast host on TFM, Middlesborough, and BBC Radio Newcastle, hosting its breakfast slot.
On the business front, GMG Radio has announced that it has short-listed four media planning and buying agencies to bid for the media buying business for its 13 stations currently held by Brilliant.
As well as Brilliant, the others on the list are MediaCom, PHD and MediaEdge:cia: All of them will put their proposals in a two-day process on December 13 and 14 with a decision expected before Christmas:
Previous Guardian Media:
2007-11-28: Former Clear Channel Power FM DJ Star (Troi Torain) who was fired after making sexual and racist remarks about a rival Emmis DJ's daughter and wife (See RNW May 12, 2006) is to return to host a morning show in New York along with his half-brother Buc Wild (Timothy Joseph) according to the public relations firm 5W.
5W, whish is representing the station concerned, says it will give details in a news conference today. Clear Cannel has said the station is not one of its stations.
Previous Clear Channel:
2007-11-28: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday delayed the start of its previously announced Open Meeting and dropped from the agenda a planned item on minority ownership regulations.
The dropping of the item from the agenda was praised by the two Democrats on the commission and Jonathan S. Adelstein issued a statement that said he was "pleased that the Commission has backed off its fig leaf attempt to address minority and female ownership. It was an obvious effort to provide cover for more media consolidation, which would only have take media outlets further out of the reach of women and minorities."
He added that it was "high time we create an independent, bipartisan panel that will look at these issues in a comprehensive and substantive fashion. Media sharecropping is no substitute for media ownership. Given the crisis we face in ownership, we need real actions, not just token gestures."
His fellow Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps said he was pleased the commission had "avoided a premature vote on minority and female ownership" adding that urgent but not reckless action was needed and continuing, "We should start by getting an accurate count of minority and female ownership. We also should heed the call of Commissioner Adelstein and many others to convene an independent panel to review the proposals. Most importantly, given the destructive impact of media consolidation on opportunities for minorities and women to compete for a share of the people's spectrum, we must act on these issues before voting on any proposals permitting big media to get even bigger."
No reason was given for dropping the item from the agenda but there had been criticism earlier this month of a short deadline proposed by Commission chairman Kevin J. Martin for a limited change that would have allowed newspaper-broadcaster cross-ownership (See RNW Nov 14).
A number of lawmakers who said Martin's plan for a vote on the regulation before the end of the year did not allow sufficient time for proper consideration (See RNW Nov 17).
2007-11-27: Arbitron, which has come under criticism over under-reporting of black and Hispanic stations in its pre-currency Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in New York, has announced that it is to delay the commercialization of the PPM in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas: The decision does not affect PPM ratings in Houston and Philadelphia and Arbitron says it intends to introduce the PPM service in Atlanta, Detroit, Washington D.C. and subsequent markets as originally scheduled.
Under the new schedule the PPM is now slated to be "currency" in September next year for New York, Nassau-Suffolk, Middlesex-Somerset-Union (it was scheduled to become currency in these markets next month); Los Angeles, Riverside; Chicago (it was to have become currency in these three markets in March next year); San Francisco and San Jose (It was to have become currency in these two markets in June next year. In Dallas the delay is least - to December next year from an originally scheduled September. The September survey ratings covering the period August 21 - September 17 are scheduled to be delivered on October 8 and Arbitron says it plans to precede their delivery with two pre-currency monthly reports in July and August for Los Angeles, Riverside, Chicago, San Francisco and San Jose. The Dallas December survey, covering November 13 - December 10, is to be delivered on December 31 next year and be preceded by pr-currency reports for October and November.
The use of the diary system will be extended to cover the delay and Arbitron says that during the delay it will "continue to work with customers, the Media Rating Council, other industry organizations and community groups on the research and business issues related to the Portable People Meter radio ratings service in local markets."
President and CEO Steve Morris said Arbitron remained "confident in the audience estimates that the Portable People Meter service is producing" but added, "However, over the past three weeks, feedback from our customers, the Media Rating Council and other constituencies has led us to conclude that the radio industry would be better served if we were to delay further commercialization of the PPM in order to address their issues."
"We already have a number of initiatives in the pipeline for implementation in the first quarter of 2008 that we believe will improve the performance of our PPM samples," said Morris. "Our intention is to expand significantly this list of improvement initiatives by working closely with customers, industry organizations and community groups. We expect that the Media Rating Council will be a particularly valuable source of guidance and advice on the more technically oriented aspects of this review and improvement process and we intend to work closely with the members of the MRC over the next several months."
Regarding the demographics where there is a perceived problem Morris said the company planned to use the delay time to "work closely with community leaders to review the workings of the Portable People Meter service and to gather their insights as to how we might improve compliance among persons 18-34, including ethnic young adults, across the diverse communities of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and subsequent markets."
The decision, says Arbitron, is expected to reduce per share earnings for 2007 from between USD 1.35 and USD 1.45 - its previous guidance - to between USD 1.30 and USD 1.35 and for 2008 by 22 cents to 33 cents per diluted share.
Previous Media Rating Council:
2007-11-27: Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6, has turned to BBC Radio 1 to boost its image and recruitment and has allowed reporter Andy West to conduct interviews with its Head of Recruitment and two officers as part of a week long series of special reports on the Service that began on Radio 1's Newsbeat on Monday: A special documentary is to air on Thursday from 10.30pm as part of Colin Murray's Radio 1 show.
The service has already used BBC Radio 1 in a similar manner a year ago when, at the time of the release of the latest Bond film -"Casino Royale" - it allowed Murray to interview two of its officers, a man and a woman, about life as a real British spy. Those interviews went along to a degree with the Bond image with the woman saying there was "a lot of adventure and it's also quite glamorous" and the man commenting on a "Q figure whose team is responsible for innovative technology and gimmicks and gadgets and things like that."
Then, as this time, the service, which controlled West's movements to prevent him from seeing anything that could be sensitive to active operations or compromise staff or agents, insisted on anonymity for its staff.
The recruitment head - "Mark" - spoke of the need to recruit a wider range of staff from different ethnic backgrounds and said they were sometimes "hindered" by the James Bond association "because I think it gives people a false impression of what working for the organisation is actually like, so it does tend to turn up quite a lot of thrill seekers and fantasists and we're really not interested in them."
He said this was because people with a different background could go to places that those from a white background could not but denied that this was a call for more Moslem staff although the female operational office whom West was allowed to interview was a Moslem in her 20s from the Midlands.
The officer - named "Yasmin" and whose voice, like that of the others was distorted to prevent identification - she sounds like a cross between a butch public schoolgirl and feminine public schoolboy, said her job was "to identify, target and recruit people from abroad who will provide us with secret intelligence - for a particular part of the world - I can't tell you which one."
Of working with informants (agents) abroad she said the service will "will do everything in our power to make sure our agents are safe" and added of the approach to them, "We absolutely never ever threaten or blackmail or coerce people to work with us ... that is the most counter productive tactic you can ever use."
The station web site carries streaming audio of the reports.
Radio 1 Newsbeat - MI6 page:
2007-11-27: XM Satellite Radio is not interested in signing Don Imus nor will it hire more high-priced talent after [if] its planned merger with rival Sirius gets regulatory approval according to Reuters.
The agency quotes XM Chairman Gary Parsons, speaking to Reuters Media Summit in New York on Monday as saying, "Imus appears to have found a home that he's happy with, and he's back on the air, so I don't see any value from our standpoint."
He added, "We're not actually looking to add much of any new high-priced content to the platforms," Parsons said. "We have what we consider to be a very high-quality set of offerings that cost us an adequate amount."
2007-11-27: Clear Channel Radio's Total Traffic Network is to add ten more markets to its traffic service, taking the total coverage to 80 metropolitan markets
Being added are Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Des Moines, Iowa; Ft. Pierce, Florida; Greenville, South Carolina; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Huntsville, Alabama; Lexington, Kentucky; Madison, Wisconsin and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Jeff Littlejohn, Executive Vice President of Distribution Development for Clear Channel Radio, said demand was high for the service and added that with the addition of the new markets it "extends its leadership and offers the most coverage in the industry by providing over 194 million people with the most reliable traffic data for use on a wide selection of devices."
Previous Clear Channel:
2007-11-26: This week we begin our look at print comment on radio looking both backwards and forwards. The looking backwards came from Justin Bell who in the Edmonton Sun looked at the 80th anniversary of CKUA, founded in 1927 at the University of Alberta - initially allowing the University's Faculty of Extension to broadcast educational talks throughout the province with music programming soon added: It is what Bell terms "A true institution in the radio world."
The station was brought into Alberta Government Telephones (AGT) in 1945 and four years later Jack Hagerman, who broadcasts as John Worthington, a name he took up after filling in for a union job while in management, joined the station having previously worked in Saskatoon.
He commented of it at the time, "It was a sea change when I came here. The station I came from in Saskatoon was a quite a bit like WKRP." [RNW Note: As in the US TV sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati" that ran from 1978-82.].
Hagerman, who moved up from announcer to chief announcer, program director, and station manager formally "retired" 25 years ago and was selected to host the 80th anniversary celebrations at the weekend at the Myer Horowitz Theatre on the University of Alberta campus, celebrations that included recreations of radio shows from the past.
He says the station's commitment to its founding principles is part of the reason for its success and the devotion it inspired from Albertans, commenting, "We stayed close to our roots in the idea that we were not intended to be a popular outlet to sell lots of airtime. We were intended to be educational."
That devotion may well have saved the station that was "cut loose" in 1995 by Ralph Klein, Albertan premier from 1992-2006) and in 1997 was put in the hands of a government-appointed board and went off the air but a public outcry, letter-writing blitz, and a CAD 1 million fundraising campaign over the span of two weeks brought the station back (Currently the CAD is approximately the same as the USD) .
That devotion remains important for the station which gets around 60% of its budget - CAD 1 million a year - from its annual fund drives.
Current CKUA general manager Ken Regan says of this, "If we don't respect our listeners to the extreme, if we aren't relevant to our listeners, they just don't give us the money. They appreciate the product."
He says they are planning for five, ten and fifteen years ahead and concludes, "I think there's no question there's a lot of pride among people who work at CKUA. That's no small thing, particularly in media, to last 80 years."
Next one view of the future from Sam McManis of the Sacramento Bee albeit we noted the item in an Ontario paper, the London Free Press.
Pegging his report to the Hollywood writers' strike, he offers the advice "Don't overlook radio's diverse offerings" for those whose regular TV diet may come to an end.
"People, people. Time to think outside the idiot box," he writes. "No, we're not saying to read a book. Nothing that drastic. Rather, can we interest you in ... radio? You remember radio, don't you? It's that other medium, the one about which Grandma could prattle on for hours."
"These days, when we think about radio," he continues, "it's usually of bloviating talk-show hosts or scatological shock jocks, industry-controlled music or boring stuff like, you know, news" but he then goes on, "But we're here to tell you that radio offerings -- comedy, dramas, documentaries -- have never been more entertaining, diverse or plentiful. Credit podcasting for that. Even if your local stations are blandly corporate, chances are you can download whatever niche interest you have to your computer or MP3 player."
McManis suggest ten shows, mainly from US public radio including "This American Life" from Public Radio International and "StoryCorps" from National Public Radio but also including podcasts offered by organizations best known in print (the 30 minute podcast "The New Yorker: Fiction" hosted by Deborah Treisman, fiction editor of the New Yorker); archive material ("Dragnet" from Old Time Radio, Humphrey Camaradella Productions) and in a different vein "The Onion Radio News."
His last suggestion is "Poetry off the Shelf" from NPR of which he comments, "Oh, come on. A little poetry never hurt anyone. All you have to do is listen -- not, like, read it or anything. You may even come to enjoy it."
Finally still on the subject of diversity of offerings a service that with a little luck may bring back classical music to parts of California: It's commercial-free Mexico-based station XLNC-1 that Randy Dotinga concentrates on in his column in the North County Times.
Dotinga begins by noting the problems for those who want music that is seen as attracting a demographic unwanted by advertisers "Like, say, rock 'n' roll oldies (aaaaaah!), golden oldies of the '30s and '40s (eeeeek!) or classical music (aaiiiieee!). If you wander up and own the dial, you'll find that these kinds of music are pretty much impossible to find."
The reason, writes Dotinga, is "Because the suits who run radio stations figure that listeners who supposedly spend the most money ---- those who aren't yet eligible for AARP ---- won't bother to listen. Advertisers, they fear, will stay away, because they have no interest in older folks, no matter how many tune in."
He then notes of classical music that San Diego lost its classical station around a decade ago and there are only a couple of options:" KPBS's sleepy overnight music feed from Minneapolis (specifically programmed not to startle night owls with any moments of actual passion or excitement) or try to pull in L.A.'s KUSC, which reaches some parts of the region at 91.5 FM."
XLNC-1, now broadcasting at 90.7, expects to switch to a stronger transmitter at 104.9 FM before the end of the year he writes and this means, "North County listeners will be able to tune in without interference for the first time and hear a station that's quietly offered classical programming to both sides of the border for seven years."
Lisette Atala, the station's U.S.-based executive director, says the station, founded by the late businessman Victor Diaz, has had trouble catching on and gaining enough financial support. It has only 5,500 paying members, and Atala said it reaches 65,000-70,000 listeners on the U.S. side each week because of the weak signal.
The content? "? Plenty of opera and classical music, although without on-air hosts much of the time. XLNC has long been a low-budget, no-frills operation, and some listeners are sure to hope for more in the way of commentary about the music."
And for the future Atala said the station hopes to beef up its programming and work more closely with local classical music venues, such as the San Diego Opera, commenting, "We believe passionately that this kind of format should not die, and it should be the opposite, especially in these times when we're living with stress and lack of beauty in our lives."
After that to listening suggestions and we realise from the above how fortunate people in the UK are to have BBC output available with a much wider range than is on tap almost anywhere else apart for those with a good broadband service that means the Internet can bring the BBC and other stations well into reach: Even satellite radio in the US (particularly if public broadcasting channels are excluded) offers nothing like with for all its channels, since it mainly slices and dices musical formats rather than offering the BBC's range of programming.
So to take the "classical" station first - dip into BBC Radio 3's online schedule any week for a range of classical, jazz, and world music plus intelligent speech and drama. This week we'd suggest the noon GMT "Composer of the Week" in which Donald Macleod explores the music of Miklos Rozsa and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, best known for their work for Hollywood: The story's one of a silver lining in that their moves to the US resulted from work they had to turn to because of poverty - Rozsa wrote fanfares for Pathé newsreels and Korngold turned to arrangements of Viennese operetta.
Rózsa's film work began with Knight without Armor (1936) and ran through from notables of the 40's including The Thief of Bagdad (1940) ; 50's including The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Quo Vadis? (1951) , and King of Kings (1961); 60's including El Cid (1961); 70's including Last Embrace (1979) and 80's with his last film Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982) ; whilst that of Korngold includes Captain Blood (1935) ; The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939); Of Human Bondage (1946) and The Magic Fire (1956). For a single programme we suggest Wednesday.
Also from Radio 3 of the regular 19:00 GMT weekday "Performance on 3" we would suggest Wednesday's "A Tribute to Sibelius" or Thursday's "The Britten Sinfonia at the London Jazz Festival."
For more London Jazz Festival, Friday's "Jazz on 3" comes from the festival and features highlights from the Adventures in Sound event at the Southbank Centre with a line up including Gutbucket from New York. We would also note that last week's "Private Passions" featured Iowa-born jazz bassist Charlie Haden.
Then for poetry we first stick with Radio 3 and suggest "The Essay" (Monday through Thursday 23:00 GMT) that this week marks the 250th anniversary of William Blake's birth by considering his works and Jenny Uglow's profile of him on BBC Radio 4 - "The Poet of Albion" (11:30GMT Tuesday): Also linked to Blake are the Radio 4 "Afternoon Readings" this week, a series of short stories under the heading "Blake's Doors of Perception" (15:30 GMT weekdays): They're followed (at 15:45 GMT) by stories of the Dickin Medal, often termed "The Animals' VC."
Still with the literary BBC Radio 4's "Book of the Week" (09:45 GMT) this week is "The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street", Charles Nicholl's account of a little-known episode of William Shakespeare's life.
Going further afield for literature, Radio Netherlands "Radio Books" when we just checked had MP3s of six readings whilst the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Book Show" has the past week that includes a stream but not an MP3 (for copyright reasons) of "First Person - The Land of the Green Ghosts" Pascal Khoo Thwe's Burmese Odyssey. Last Friday's edition amongst other items looked at the role of political satirists.
Then for documentary starting with music-related ones from BBC Radio 4 - last Saturday's "The Nun who Nurtured Reggae", the story of Sister Mary Ignatius Davies, who ran the music programme at a school for wayward boys in Jamaica for 64 years until her death in 2003 and is credited with nurturing the talents of many of the key players in Jamaican reggae plus from later on Saturday "The Archive Hour", an edition "The Sounds of Flanders" in which BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner discovers a collection of First World War propaganda recordings and considers their impact on the ordinary civilians and soldiers.
Then on Tuesday at 13:30 "The Music Feature" on Radio 4 is "Wheatstone, His Sighing Reed ..." in which Dr Bernard Richardson recalls the great Victorian physicist Sir Charles Wheatstone - of Wheatstone Bridge fame - who also developed the concertina.
And on Saturday Radio 4 has "The Best DJ You've Never Heard ..." in which Martin Bashir profiles Howard Stern.
Finally three less than cheerful items starting with "Mind Changers" (BBC Radio 4 11:00 GMT) on Wednesday and "The Stanford Prison Experiment" - an experiment that produced behaviour so extreme that Philip Zimbardo closed the experiment: He also testified in defence of one of the soldiers accused of abuse at Abu Ghraib because of that experience.
At the same time on Thursday the in "Crossing Continents" Julia Rooke tells the story of Leila, who lives in Tehran: She was Sold into prostitution by her own mother at the age of nine, sentenced to death by hanging nine years later but saved by human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr. A story that says much about both poverty and "justice" in Iran.
And from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Spirit of Things" on Nov 18 (Still on the site for another two weeks) excerpts and discussion of Tom Keneally's new play "Either Or" that explores the moral dilemmas encountered by evangelical Christian Kurt Gerstein, a Nazi SS officer implicated in the gassing of Jews during the Second World War.
Edmonton Sun - Bell:
North County Times - Dotinga:
Ontario Free Press/Sacramento Bee - McManis:
2007-11-25: With Thanksgiving reducing the working week in the US and a quiet time elsewhere last week's most important posting by the regulators came from the UK where Ofcom has posted its latest proposals for commercial radio in which it proposes to retain requirements for local output but also allow more sharing of programming between stations in the same area (See RNW Nov 23).
There was only one radio announcement from Australia where the Australian Communications and Media Authority has ruled that Macquarie Bank Limited and Macquarie Regional Radioworks Pty Ltd breached media control rules for some eight months in relation to a loan made to allow Elmie Investments to purchase five regional radio licences ( See RNW Nov 22).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in a generally quiet week posted only one radio decision, the administrative renewal to 31 December of the licence of CHIM-FM, Timmins, and its transmitters in Timmins, North Bay, Iroquois Falls, Kirkland Lake, New Liskeard, Sault Ste Marie, Elliot Lake, Wawa, Chapleau and Kapuskasing, Ontario, and Red Deer, Alberta.
It also posted a public notice with a deadline for the submission of interventions or comments of December 28 concerning Peachland Communications Society's application to add a 37 watts transmitter at Cochrane to broadcast the programming CHIM-FM, Timmins, Ontario.
There were no radio postings in Ireland but in the UK Ofcom, as well as posting its "The Future of Radio - The Next Phase" consultation document has also published its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld one complaints against radio (See RNW Nov 20) and posted its reasons for the award earlier this month of the Oxfordshire digital multiplex licence to GCap Media's Now Digital (Oxford) Ltd. against competition from Muxco (See RNW Nov 11). Ofcom said that it considered Now Digital's timetable for launching its services was realistic; its business plan was credible; and noted that its portfolio of proposed services included the simulcast of the commercial analogue services as well as BBC Radio Oxford plus five further formats that are not currently available in the area and would thus "broaden local digital choice by offering a variety of local radio services specific to Oxfordshire on DAB for the first time, augmented by a spread of new stations and formats which would provide a genuine extension of choice to local listeners."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was still in the news regarding media ownership regulations and the proposed Sirius-XM merger. Regarding the latter minority-owned private equity firm Georgetown Partners L.L.C., which has asked the Commission to make it a condition of any approval of a Sirius-XM merger that it require the combined entity to turn control of a fifth of their combined channels over to a minority-controlled entity (See RNW Nov 14) has now accused the satellite companies of misrepresentation in their filings to the FCC and has also played a political support card in terms of obeying the same indecency rules that apply to terrestrial broadcasters (See RNW Nov 22).
In relation to media ownership, Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell has dismissed criticism that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been rushing into the enactment of new media ownership rules as unfounded, commenting that the Commission was "rushing toward a decision in media ownership the way a slug races across a garden." (See RNW Nov 21).
McDowell's view was not shared by many politicians including Wisconsin Democrat Senator Russ Feingold who wrote to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin to express his concern that the commission appears to be "again rushing this proceeding with inadequate or selectively chosen information." (See RNW Nov 20).
Also in relation to ownership rules the FCC has posted notice of an open meeting on Tuesday at which this issue and that of low-power FM rules are on the agenda and has also posted a number of enforcement actions including radio-related ones that included penalties or proposed penalties (in descending order of amount) as below:
USD 7,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Paul Smith's College, licensee of WPSA-FM, New York, for failure to file licence renewal application on time and operation after licence had expired. The licence was renewed.
USD 750 NAL to Moundbuilders Christian Radio Corporation licensee of low power FM Station WJHE-LP, Heath, Ohio, for failure to file licence renewal application on time and operation after licence had expired. The licence was renewed.
USD 500 NAL to Priority Radio, Inc. licensee of FM Translator Station W246AQ, Collingswood, New Jersey for failure to file licence renewal application on time and operation after licence had expired. The licence was renewed.
USD 500 NAL to the State University of New York College at Oneonta, licensee of WUOW-LP, Oneonta, New York, for failure to file licence renewal application on time and operation after licence had expired. The licence was renewed.
The FCC has also issued a notice in which its Media Bureau seeks comments on conditions it made in relation to the acquisition of Univision by Broadcasting Media Partners, Inc., an investor group that includes investment funds controlled by Providence Equity Partners, Inc., and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.
Because of Providence's 16% share in Freedom Communications Holdings, Inc. and Lee's 25% in Cumulus Media Partners LLC., the Univision acquisition would have resulted in violation of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rules in five markets for Providence and of the radio/television and local radio ownership rules in three markets for Lee. The FCC approved the acquisition subject to the post-merger Univision coming into compliance within six months, either by suitable divestitures.
The companies were subsequently granted a further month to come into compliances and have converted their voting stock in the companies concerned into non-voting stock, and say no further action is now needed.
In the case of another deal, the USD 260 million acquisition of various CBS Radio licences by Entercom (See RNW Aug 22, 2006) the commission has denied applications filed by Royce International Broadcasting Company (which in 1995 finally lost a nine-year battle to get the FCC to overturn the sale of its KWOD-FM, Sacramento to Entercom to halt the sale - See RNW Jan 25). It has also granted Entercom's request for a six-month temporary waiver in regard to divestitures required to bring it into compliance with ownership limits. Entercom has retained a brokerage firm to search for a buyer of at least two of the stations and the FCC has assigned the CBS licences to Entercom on the basis of full compliance with radio ownership rules in the Rochester market within six months.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-11-25: Canadian broadcaster Bob Hutton, a Vancouver morning host for three decades and also a TV host in the early 1960s, has died aged 87 in Ontario.
After working as a radio dispatcher for Yukon Southern Airlines and in the forestry business he got his first job in radio as an announcer at CFJC-AM, Kamloops, when he was 19 and was later asked during the Second World War by CKWX-AM's then programme manager who heard him whilst on a walking tour, to audition.
He sent in a disc and was hired, working for the station until 1955 when he moved to CKNW, remaining there until he retired in 1973.
The Vancouver Sun quoted Stocker, who runs CKNW's Orphans Fund, as saying, "He had an incredible personality and his audience loved him to pieces. His legacy went on at the station when I arrived in 1974."
She then read a passage about him from "The Top Dog" book that traces the history of radio: "When Bob Hutton moved over to CKNW in 1955 in one of the most astounding convulsions in the history of Vancouver radio, so did all of his listeners. The Vancouver audience at CKNW went from third in the morning to first."
The paper says he was noted for his pranks and when he switched from CKWX to CKNW he rode an elephant to move from one station to the other.
An interview with him in which he talks and reminisces about his career and radio in his time is available on the sound-click.com music web site.
Soundclick.com site (Hutton page audio including two-part Hutton interview):
Vancouver Sun report:
2007-11-25: In further Sydney radio changes, morning host Bianca Dye and breakfast newsreader Sami Lucas have now left DMG's Nova FM.
Dye is to travel the world with her boyfriend Alex Dean and Lukis is returning to her Brisbane hometown where DMG is expected to find her a slot with its Nova station in the city.
Dye will be replaced by Harlee McLeod, who will move from Nova FM in Melbourne next year.
2007-11-24: Shares in GCap Media, the UK's largest radio group, fell by more than 15% at one point on Friday and ended the day 14.2% down at 132.5 pence following the release of interim results to the end of September allied with an announcement that chief executive Ralph Bernard is to step down as soon as a replacement is appointed.
GCap reported underlying revenues down 2.2% at GBP 100 million (USD 206 million) but like-for-like underlying revenues, which exclude the revenues of Century stations that it has sold were up 4.5% and underlying pre-tax profits were down 3.4% to GBP 5.6 million (USD 11.54 million).
Overall the company cut its loss before tax by 34.6% to GBP 5.1 million (USD 10.5 million a basic loss per share of 0.4 pence compared to 5.7 pence a year earlier): It is proposing an interim dividend of 1.5 pence per share, just under half the 3.1 pence of a year ago.
GCap added that it was on track to achieve the GBP 7.3 million (USD 15.1 million) cost savings it announced in May and Bernard said of the results, "During the half we have made significant strategic progress. The deal we have signed with GMG [An airtime sales agreement that it took over from Global Radio - see RNW Oct 30: This starts on January 1 next year and will allow GCap to offer its national clients access to a combined total of nearly 200 million hours of listening representing 40 per cent of commercial radio's total weekly hours.] is particularly important. It leaves GCap in a strengthened position as the industry landscape changes, with new entrants into the market and the prospect of sector consolidation. We have made the planned investments in our key brands such as the One Network and Capital 95.8 and have strengthened our online offering, with the launch of initiatives like the personalised radio player mi-Xfm."
He added, "We continue to focus on maximising efficiency and the savings we have identified so far, together with the revenue initiatives we are undertaking, mean that we are on track to target an operating margin of 12-14% by March 2009. The outlook remains stable within the context of the limited visibility of the radio industry and at this stage we have seen no evidence of any impact from the difficulties in the financial markets."
Barnard began his commercial radio career in 1973 when 19 stations were launched, jointing Radio Hallam as a journalist: There he was responsible for a documentary on alcoholism "Dying for a Drink" that was broadcast over the Independent Radio Network.
He later moved to Hereward Radio in Peterborough before becoming the programme controller for the launch of Wiltshire Radio in Swindon in October 1982, rising to become its managing director.
He then saw a chance to take over nearby Bristol station Radio West, which was struggling financially, and succeeded in getting regulatory approval and in October 1985 Wiltshire Radio re-launched as GWR Radio (Great Western Radio), a company that Bernard built up into a leading position in UK commercial - including the launch of Classic FM in September 1992 - before its merger with Capital Radio into GCap Media.
This was completed in May 2005 and at first Bernard took the role of Executive Chairman, and David Mansfield from Capital Radio that of CEO: Mansfield stepped down in September 2005 and Bernard took over both roles. As well as his role in building up the GWR group, Bernard was the commercial radio pioneer of DAB digital radio. This was launched as a result of BBC backing with commercial radio unsupportive - apart from Bernard - on financial grounds.
GCap says it is launching a search for a successor both internally and externally. Internally GCap's London managing director Fru Hazlitt, the former Virgin Radio chief executive, is probably the leading contender with group operations director Steve Orchard and Capital managing director Paul Jackson, another former Virgin managing director who has just joined GCap, also likely to be contenders.
Externally potential candidates include former Chrysalis Radio chief executive Phil Riley; Emap Radio managing director Dee Ford, depending on who buys Emap's radio assets that are currently up for bids; and maybe GMG Radio chief executive John Myers.
Previous GCap Media:
2007-11-24: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has announced plans to integrate its English-language services under an executive vice-president, English services, a newly-created role to be taken by its English television vice-president, Richard Stursberg.
The move was proposed by outgoing CBC president Robert Rabinovitch and mirrors similar changes made in 2005 by the Corporation's French-language services in which Sylvain Lafrance, formerly head of French Radio, took a combined role after his TV counterpart Daniel Gourd, stepped down: At that time Rabinovitch had said there were no plans for similar changes at the English language service.
The current move follows an announcement by CBC Radio vice-president Jane Chalmers earlier this month that she intends to retire at the end of the year: Her deputy, current CBC Radio programming head Jennifer McGuire, has been promoted to the new post of executive director of CBC Radio. She, CBC-TV programming head Kirstine Layfield and CBC News publisher John Cruickshank will all report to Stursberg. The CBC has yet to name a replacement for the head of CBC news, Tony Burman, who resigned in June and whose role is being split into the two separate roles of "publisher" of CBC News and editor-in-chief.
Sturburg told CBC staff that there were no plans for job cuts and that the CBC's English language operations - online, radio and TV - will continue on their own paths.
He said the decision is part of an overall CBC integration plan, adding, "What this is about is actually finding ways of taking the content and making sure that it is more broadly available across all platforms as they develop. As media evolves one wants to make sure that you can adapt and move forward so you can meet the public on whatever platform they want to be on The real trick for media companies over the course of the next little while is to say 'How do we retain the great strengths of the services that we have, but position ourselves so that we can respond effectively as public tastes change?' "
2007-11-24: Checks carried out by the Washington Post of 60 of the thousands of e-mails sent to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing the merger of Sirius and XM Satellite Radio appear to show that the e-mail campaign instigated by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) are of little or no value when it comes to assessing public feelings about the merger.
The Post says that its check resulted in most cases in unanswered phone calls and recordings saying the phones were disconnected and of the ten people who were reached "nine said they never sent anything to the FCC, and only one said she remembered filling out something about Sirius but did not recall taking a position on a merger."
Betsy Vargovich of Orofino, Idaho, said she was behind an e-mail sent in her husband's name and did remember visiting a Web site about Sirius but did not recall what side of the issue she took. "When I saw Sirius pop out, I picked it up to see what it was," she said, adding that she was eager to do anything she could to keep her Sirius service without interruption.
NAB Executive Vice-President Dennis Wharton said his group has the name, date, postal address and numerical Internet address of the e-mailers, including those contacted by The Post, to show that the electronic letters were sent by actual people and added that it inspired the sending of 8,500 e-mails to the agency by buying pop-up ads on consumer-oriented Web sites such as CarMax.com, Staples.com and PriceGrabber.com in August and September.
He noted that the e-mails were sent after people clicked on an ad with the headline, "The XM Radio/Sirius Merger will create higher prices. Stop the Monopoly!" The ad invited users to choose either, "Yes, I'd like to help stop the monopoly" or "No, thank you" and Wharton said those who clicked "yes" were asked to type in their contact information and later received a confirmation e-mail "detailing their action and providing a copy of the letter to be sent to the FCC" with them then being given "another opportunity to opt out of the process and cancel submission of their letter,"
"I have a high degree of confidence in this," Wharton said. "They [the e-mailers] had to physically type in their name and address. It was a fairly rigorous process."
The Post says that online experts say it is not unusual for e-mailers to forget what they have -- or have not -- clicked on and quoted B.R. McConnon III, chief executive of the online advocacy firm Democracy Data & Communications as saying, "The Internet makes things so easy. People move through the process like they were clicking on next, next, next."
The satellite companies were less convinced and Kelly Sullivan, a spokeswoman for both companies said, "The timing and pattern of delivery of these comments is highly unusual and suspicious. The letters lack any apparent common tie or indication of the source of the effort, all of which calls into question the legitimacy of the filings."
The Post noted that many lawmakers, concerned at the volume of e-mails received - they rose to 318 million last year from 200 million e-mails and postal letters in 2004 - are taking measures to block e-mails not written personally by constituents with such barriers as requiring e-mailers to fill out a special form on their web sites.
Stuart W. Shulman, a political scientist at the University of Pittsburgh commented of the e-mails to government departments and lawmakers: "It's a problem. If someone sends a meaningful comment, which is what the agencies are seeking, it becomes difficult to find."
RNW comment: It will certainly remain unclear whether there was any deliberate misleading in this case but even our limited experience of having to delete hundred of junk e-mails a day to this site alone (never mind the additional ones we get elsewhere) means that we have to waste time trying to scan them to see if there is a genuine message (as per the note on our left-hand column). Mass e-mailings are to us simply a waste of resources that - were it technically possible - probably should get the same treatment as unsolicited faxes relating to which the US does impose fairly severe penalties on the basis of the annoyance and cost (paper and printing out) they impose on recipients. Faxes, can of course, be tracked back to a company whereas e-mails can't so the best default position is probably just to ignore them, a sound default position in our view for anything emanating from the NAB in view of its general habit of pushing propaganda to the limits of truth.
Washington Post report:
2007-11-23: UK media regulator Ofcom is proposing to ease its local programming requirements for commercial radio stations and also allow smaller stations to share a large proportion of programming, apart from breakfast time, with other nearby stations.
The plans, listed in "The Future of Radio - The Next Phase" follow responses to Ofcom's 'The Future of Radio' consultation published in April this year and will be subject to a further consultation with a deadline for submissions of December 21 this year after which Ofcom will publish the outcome of the consultation and then update current localness guidelines and contact each commercial radio licensee regarding these changes.
In the 249 page report, Ofcom's Chief Executive Ed Richards and chairman Lord David Currie comment in a foreword that "Over the last three years radio has occupied two parallel universes" - one the experience of millions of listeners for whom things have seldom been better and another that of station owners who have been facing declining revenues and also increased transmission costs because of the partial migration of radio to digital.
They note that "The current [regulatory] framework is designed to ensure that commercial radio in the UK serves diverse tastes and interests; that it meets the needs of local audiences and that it is protected by ownership rules from the kind of excessive concentration which would jeopardise the plurality of voice which audiences value highly. In the 2003 Communications Act, Ofcom was also given the responsibility to expand the scope of radio. "
"Achieving this balance," they say "requires Ofcom to make judgments about the likely further development of digital radio. In The Future of Radio consultation document we argued that while it is not yet time to consider establishing a date for a switch-off of analogue radio, we need to think about providing the flexibility for such an outcome. This remains a subject of the utmost importance, but it is also one which requires the direct involvement of Government, as well as Ofcom, broadcasters, manufacturers, consumers and other stakeholders."
Ofcom says on this basis it is delighted that James Purnell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has recently announced the formation of a new Digital Radio Working Group, to carry forward this discussion.
In its localness proposals Ofcom says it has decided "protect a minimum amount of local radio programming" and adds that it "is not convinced by the argument that the market alone would provide this content without regulatory intervention."
On this basis it is proposing that all FM local radio stations should provide at least ten hours of locally-made programming each weekday - its original proposals were for four, eight or 13 hours of local programmes depending on market size - but also to allow smaller stations to share a large proportion of this programming (outside breakfast) with other nearby stations; including breakfast) and at least four hours on Saturdays and Sundays and allow them outside of locally-made programming requirements to broadcast network programming for a maximum of three hours a day during weekdays at day time and more at weekends.
Richards commented of the proposals, "Our research shows that localness is still important to listeners and we believe that this should be protected "We are confident that our revised proposals strike the right balance between easing financial pressures faced by industry and safeguarding the interests of listeners."
In regard to the Digital Radio Working Group, this is expected to include representatives of government, Ofcom, the BBC, Channel 4, commercial and community radio; transmission operators; manufacturers and listener representatives: It will consider under what conditions digital listening will be the norm, the barriers to digital's growth, and how the barriers can be tackled.
Purnell said in a statement, "Digital radio offers more choice to consumers and the British radio industry is leading the world in the transition to digital. There would be great advantages for both consumers and business to completing that transition, but there are also a number of obstacles.
"I have asked the group to develop a consensus about whether, how and when those obstacles could be overcome."
Ofcom report (1.07 MB 249 Page PDF):
2007-11-23: The BBC Unions are to ballot their members on a call for industrial action following moves by the corporation to push ahead with plans for compulsory redundancies: They had dropped plans for such a ballot last month after the corporation backed down on plans to start cutting 2,500 posts without consulting unions.
The unions - BECTU, the NUJ, and Unite - say their decision was prompted by a BBC Vision - the TV production division - announcement that it was to begin selecting people for compulsory redundancy, despite the fact that more than 300 people expressed an interest in taking a voluntary pay-off. In a joint letter to the BBC they say they are prepared to suspend the ballot if the BBC will suspend its compulsory redundancy process and enter into meaningful negotiations.
The BBC in response says it will not negotiate under duress and adds that given the information it has provided to the unions they will understand "exactly why we cannot suspend the process of selection for compulsory redundancy."
"Industrial action," it says, "will not serve the licence fee payer not will it change the economics of running the BBC."
NUJ General Secretary, Jeremy Dear, said: "We've been very clear with the BBC that any attempt to force through compulsory redundancies will result in a ballot for industrial action. Our members are already deeply concerned about the strain they will be put under as a result of the BBC's cutbacks. Now management is piling on the pressure by leaving thousands of people uncertain about whether they will have a job in the New Year, even though it appears that many of these cuts could be dealt with through voluntary redundancies. "
He added, "When a negotiated settlement is within reach it is madness for BBC to force experienced staff out the door. At a time when the BBC needs top-class management it is suffering from poor decision making. We urge the BBC to rethink its decision which makes a mockery of the voluntary redundancy process and to come back to the table to discuss how we can deal with these changes without resorting to industrial action."
The Unions say they were told 343 staff had volunteered for redundancy in News, and 303 staff in Vision, more than the BBC's target for cuts of 328 in News but fewer than the 440 it wants in Vision, but the corporation will not guarantee that those who have come forward as volunteers will be allowed to go. In addition to these cuts, the BBC is also threatening compulsory redundancies in BBC Scotland; the World Service, and other areas and plans to withhold unpredictability allowances from new staff from the beginning of next year and also change the pension scheme from April 2010.
Unions want the trawls for volunteers extended, and more effort made to retrain and redeploy threatened staff in the 700 new jobs that the BBC plans to create in the next five years and BECTU General Secretary Gerry Morrissey said, "The BBC has left us with no option than to ballot our members for strike action. I am confident that we will get an overwhelming 'Yes' vote and that very successful strike action will take place at the beginning of January."
The BBC issued a statement saying it was "difficult to understand, particularly given the very positive position with volunteers in some areas of the BBC where compulsory redundancies are now much less likely, why our unions (NUJ, BECTU and UNITE) have decided to ballot for strike action. It's important to say that the vast majority of staff will not be affected by the proposed job reductions."
"A strike," said the BBC "will inevitably hurt the people who pay for our services. It will not change the overall economics of the BBC. The bottom line is that increasing expenditure in one area means reducing it in another."
2007-11-23: Administrative staff at Indian state broadcasters Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR), who had walked out on Tuesday, called of their action on Thursday following assurances by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting P R Dasmunsi that their demands will be taken up by the Group of Ministers within a week.
The administrative workers want pay parity with engineering and programming employees whose scales have been increased. Programme transmissions were not affected by their action.
Previous Indian Radio:
2007-11-22: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that Macquarie Bank Limited (MBL) and Macquarie Regional Radioworks Pty Ltd (MRRW) were in breach of Australian media control rules from 5 September 2005 to 8 May 2006 but that no criminal offences were committed and no further action needs to be taken.
The breaches occurred in relation to a AUD 9 million (then USD 6.7 million) loan to facilitate Elmie Investments Pty Ltd 's purchase of five regional radio licences in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia and centred on whether Macquarie had been in a position to exercise control over Elmie as this would have taken it over permitted ownership limits in each of the licence areas involved (See RNW Feb 21, 2006). The licences were subsequently sold in 2007.
The ACMA found that there were breaches until May 8, 2006, when the terms of the deal were revised in reaction to concerns it had raised in relation to convertible notes held by Macquarie Regional Radioworks that the ACMA found had no effective block on conversion, thus giving it voting interests that exceeded 15%.
The ACMA added that it accepted statements by both Macquarie companies and their directors concerning legal advice given to them that the finance arrangements did not at any time give rise to any issues of non compliance and also that during the period of the breach Elmie's owner Stuart Simson retained actual control of Elmie.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said of the ruling, "ACMA regards compliance with the media control rules as a most serious obligation placed on licensees under the Broadcasting Services Act. Industry participants should be aware that ACMA intends to closely examine any future arrangements which mirror the several elements observed in this investigation. Any such examination would have particular regard to the new provisions in the Act which give further guidance as to the circumstances in which control might exist.2
Previous Macquarie Bank/Macquarie Media:
2007-11-22: Minority-owned private equity firm Georgetown Partners L.L.C., which has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make it a condition of any approval of a Sirius-XM merger that it require the combined entity to turn control of a fifth of their combined channels over to a minority-controlled entity (See RNW Nov 14) has now accused the satellite companies of misrepresentation in their filings to the FCC and has also played a political support card in terms of obeying the same indecency rules that apply to terrestrial broadcasters.
It specifically accuses them of misrepresenting the record of support and opposition to the merger and also of "failure to address the fact that not a single third party entity that is on record with the FCC opposes Georgetown's proposed solution to the fundamental flaws in Sirius/XM's proposed merger, as currently structured."
In its filing Georgetown comments, "If this merger is approved as structured, the Commission will have approved the creation of a single entity with control over all 300+ nationwide satellite radio broadcast channels, thereby enabling this entity to exclude any programmer or message, for any reason, from the national satellite radio marketplace. This would be the first time such absolute control in this country is created over such an important and fast-growing medium."
It goes onto say that Sirius and XM urge the Commission to reject Georgetown's minority-based spectrum divestiture remedy, citing, in part, "...the impressive record of content providers and organizations representing the interests of underserved communities supporting the merger", a response that Georgetown says it based on an incomplete and of date reading of the record that is very different from the picture shown by a complete and current review.
Georgetown also refers to what it terms "the risk to family-oriented programming from a Sirius/XM satellite monopoly, in light of Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin's long track record of promoting programming considered by the FCC to be indecent and his championing of Howard Stern and adds that "By contrast, Georgetown commits to ensuring that, if it leases and operates broadcasting infrastructure and satellite channels, all of its programming complies with the FCC's broadcast indecency rules even though such rules do not apply to satellite broadcasting."
2007-11-22: BBC Radio 4 has announced that the BBC's Economics Editor Evan Davis is to join its flagship "Today" breakfast show in the Spring next year, replacing Carolyn Quinn who is to concentrate n other work for the Corporation.
Evans, who will be with the programme full time for a year, said of the move, "It's perhaps a bit annoying to take a break from my current job just at the very time the economy seems to be getting interesting. But Today is a radio institution and I'd obviously be mad to turn down a chance to present it."
He added: "I tried it for two weeks over the summer, and found that if you can mentally re-classify the early mornings as late nights, they really don't seem so bad."
Quinn has been with the Today show part time since the start of 2004: She also presents "The Westminster Hour" and has worked on the PM programme. She said, "In recent months my energies have been increasingly split three ways between working late nights as the presenter of The Westminster Hour, early mornings on Today and afternoons on PM. It's been a tough decision but in order to focus on presenting The Westminster Hour full-time, now is the right moment to give up my part-time role on the Today programme. I've had a hugely enjoyable and fulfilling four years with the Today team, I wish them all the best for the future."
Davis will present the programme on rotation alongside current regulars John Humphrys, Sarah Montague, James Naughtie and Edward Stourton and the programme's Editor Ceri Thomas said he was "simply one of the outstanding BBC journalists of his generation He's knowledgeable, surprising, and brilliantly clear-sighted when it comes to working out what really matters on the big stories. There's nobody better-qualified to present Today."
Davis also presents the BBC 2 TV business programme "Dragons' Den" and it is not yet clear whether this will be re-commissioned and whether he would continue to present it.
2007-11-22: CBS Radio's WCKG-FM, the former FM talk station that switched earlier this month to a "Fresh FM" adult contemporary format (See RNW Nov 7) is hoping to change its call letters over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
It has applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the call letters WCFS (for "Chicago's Fresh"), previously used by a low-power station. The station is currently airing without DJs but Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the station's vice president and general manager Dave Robbins said he and program director Mike Peterson will start looking at hiring an on-air talent in the New Year.
Of the format Robbins said response had been "amazing" and added, "We feel the station is dialled in musically. Having been involved in many adult contemporary launches in the past, I am reminded by listeners that this station is positioned right where they want it to be. Advertisers are also seeing the benefits and hearing about the new 'Fresh 105.9' from their customers. They want to be part of the excitement, too."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2007-11-21: Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell has dismissed criticism that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been rushing into the enactment of new media ownership rules as unfounded, commenting that the Commission was "rushing toward a decision in media ownership the way a slug races across a garden."
In a speech to a Media Institute luncheon in Washington DC he began be highlighting the concept of "competition" as being at the heart of all the decisions arousing controversy at the competition including media ownership rules, the proposed Sirius-XM merger, and also a proposal from FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin that the cable industry be more regulated because it now reached 70% of US homes - a proposal that he disagrees with and where he also says that the figures used to show that the 23-year-old 70/70 rule has been triggered are not accurate. He and his fellow Republican Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate say the figures used conflict with findings for recent years- McDowell notes that last year the Commission put cable subscribership at around 60% penetration and since then the "cable industry's share of video customers has declined steadily."
Both issues are on the agenda for an Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Tuesday next week that also includes other matters : Of specific note for radio are a report on expanding low power FM services where it is suggested that third adjacent channel protection should be dropped,
In relation to media ownership he says the current proceedings began at his first open meeting as a commissioner 17 months ago and that since then the FCC has held six field hearings on ownership and two more on localism; heard from 115 expert panellists on the state of ownership; and commissioned and released for public comment ten economic studies by respected economists from academia and elsewhere.
The review, he says, has not only been ongoing during his entire term as a commissioner but followed a previous round that started in 2002 and that "In 2001, the FCC issued a rulemaking focused on the newspaper-broadcast cross ownership ban - a concept that has been around since at least 1975."
McDowell quotes from a 1960 book on the problems newspapers faced in "Trying to keep readers from migrating" to other forms of information and says there "there is not a general concept before us in this proceeding that hasn't been debated for decades."
The newspaper industry he says has "undergone dramatic change in the 32 years since the newspaper-broadcast cross ownership ban went into effect Consumers have more choices and more control over what they read, watch and listen to than ever. As a result, at least 300 daily newspapers have gone out of business in the last 32 years because people are looking elsewhere for their content. "
2007-11-21: The development of UK digital radio has seen some question marks this week with separate decisions by SMG, parent of Virgin Radio, to shut down its Virgin Radio Groove and pull out of plans to launch Virgin Radio Viva on the Channel 4 Radio national digital multiplex and by UBC to issue a statement confirming that it has already fully written off its 49% investment in national digital speech channel Oneword and is looking for ways out of the venture.
The remaining 51% of Oneword is owned by Channel 4 and there has been speculation that the station will close by the end of the year. Channel 4 has not commented so far on the future for Oneword but says the decisions will not have a great impact on its national multiplex and adds that it has signed nearly all of its long-term agreements for the station.
In the case of Virgin, its executive chairman, Richard Huntingford said the decision to close Groove - which is targeted at older women and airs a mix of Motown, soul, and disco - and not go ahead with Viva - which was to be targeted at 15-29 years old women - were related to a decision to concentrate on its male-oriented core brand. He said the company was doing "the sensible thing" and focussing digital investment in areas core to the radio operation with a concentration on guitar-led pop and rock stations.
Virgin, like everyone else needed "the right return" on investment he commented, adding, "We are moving towards that critical mass where we will start moving into profitability [on our digital stations] but we are not quite there yet."
Virgin Radio Groove has struggled to gain an audience and in the last UK radio ratings only had 94,000 listeners a week compared to 244,000 for its Virgin Radio Classic Rock station.
Virgin has also announced changes to the weekend schedule of its national analogue station from the New Year when J.K. and Joel (Jason King and Joel Ross), who were dropped by BBC Radio 1 from its early breakfast and Sunday afternoon chart show in September after a year in the role, take over the weekend morning (10:00-13:00) slots, replacing Leona Graham who is expected to remain at the station with a different role. Also joining the station in the New Year will be former LBC host Ian Lee: He will host a Sunday late evening music and chat show (22:00 to 01:00).
JK and Joel said in a statement, "No longer are we hauling our arses out of bed at 3am looking like crap, instead we are really looking forward to doing weekends It'll be great to go up against our old mate Vernon [Vernon Kaye of BBC Radio One] at 10am, that's if he can be bothered to turn up - his random game show schedule is demanding, don't you know!"
The changes have been made by Virgin's new programme director David Lloyd why says he wants to put "energy" back into the station's weekend schedule.
On the way out of Virgin is Greg Burns, who has been signed up by GCap Media's Capital 95.8 to replace its weekday morning host James Cannon who is leaving the station after a decade with it at the end of the year when his current contract ends. GCap says Cannon is discussing other opportunities within the group.
Already out of Virgin is its former chief executive Paul Jackson who resigned earlier this year ( (See RNW Sep 1) and has just started his job as managing director of Capital Radio:
Previous Channel 4:
Previous GCap Media:
Previous J.K. and Joel:
2007-11-21: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) says the 104 members of the House have now signed up to co-sponsor a resolution that would prohibit performance royalties for music played on terrestrial radio.
The resolution was introduced last month by Texas representatives Gene Green (Democrat) and Mike Conaway (Republican).
2007-11-20: Arbitron's president and CEO Steve Morris has acknowledged there may be problems with the company's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in a letter replying to the four broadcasters - Clear Channel, Cox Radio, Cumulus, and Radio One Inc - who last week complained about the service (See RNW Nov 16).
The four together account for some quarter of Arbitron's revenues, giving weight to their protest, and Morris has offered to meet the groups along with Arbitron president of sales and marketing Pierre Bouvard.
In his letter he says their letter raises "important points that are clearly fundamental to having a currency that commands the respect and support of broadcasters and advertisers" although he notes that the issues were "extensively" discussed during the testing of the PPM, in particular issues of trade-offs to keep costs down.
He then says, "It seems clear from your letter, however, that we need to go back and revisit previous assumptions about how the service is to be built and to make sure that we are doing this in a way that serves your needs" and ends by saying he'd like to hear from them in regard to a "rebalance" of trade-offs and costs.[RNW Note: The group had suggested in their letter that Arbitron consider "eliminating the 6-11 portion of the sample and reallocation of the PPM devices concerned to other demographic groups."]
Previous Arbitron :
Previous Clear Channel/Cox/Cumulus/Radio One:
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2007-11-20: Wisconsin Democrat Senator Russ Feingold has joined with those opposed to a speedy passage of US media ownership changes by writing to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin to express his concern in respect to the FCC's proceedings, saying, "Given the importance of these rules and the Commission's problematic proposals in the past, I am concerned that the commission appears to be again rushing this proceeding with inadequate or selectively chosen information."
Feingold adds that he is particularly concerned that the FCC has "Not sufficiently evaluated the impact of media consolidation on local programming" and "may even be selectively collecting and releasing information to support its pre-conceived agenda". The latter a reference to reports that were subsequently posted by the FCC when their existence came to light last year (See RNW Sep 20, 2006).
Feingold then asks for the FCC to complete a separate localism proceeding before making decisions on media ownership rules adding that "This proceeding should provide ample opportunity for the public to comment."
Martin's attempt to get new rules passed speedily has stirred up widespread opposition and in a news analysis by Jim Puzzanghera in the Los Angeles Times noting what happened when the FCC, under then chairman Michael Powell, tried to change the rules comments that "the effort bombed like a bad movie" and adds, "The sequel appears to be headed for the same fate."
Puzzanghera cites the response of the Democrats - Jonathan S Adelstein and Michael J. Copps - on the commission who termed the latest proposal for a limited easing of cross-ownership rules "a wolf in sheep's clothing" (See RNW Nov 15).
Martin, says Puzzanghera had seemed to have learned from the previous "debacle" and at first was praised by opponents of media consolidation when he announced that the FCC was to hold six public hearings on the matter as opposed to the one held by Powell until last month he proposed a vote by December 18 on the changes he was drafting, proposals he announced earlier this month (See RNW Nov 14) and termed a "relatively moderate change."
The changes adds Puzzanghera "threatens to turn his attempt to craft a successful new episode in the media ownership debate into a rerun of the FCC's high-profile flop of 2003" with Copps and Adelstein in "open revolt" and House and Senate committees planning to summon Martin to Capitol Hill to explain himself in the coming weeks.
In addition says Puzzanghera a growing group of both Republicans and Democrats are threatening to block any speedy action, the AFL-CIO and MoveOn.Org have sent alerts to their members to raise the matter and the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm that filed the successful suit against the 2003 rule changes, says it planned to challenge Martin's cross-ownership rule in court if the FCC approves it.
He quotes Media Access Project President Andrew Jay Schwartzman as saying, "The way in which Martin has handled this has reignited the citizen groups."Their membership is riled up and there is a real sense of 'They're doing it to us again.' "
That view appears to be more widely held and Puzzanghera quotes Maine Republican Senator Olympia J. Snowe as saying, "It seems like here we go again."
Previous Media Access Project:
Feingold letter (2-page 855 Kb PDF):
Los Angeles Times report:
2007-11-20: The Canadian Parliament's Heritage Committee is today due to start considering a draft report on the future of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) which in the New Year will see Montreal lawyer Hubert Lacroix take over as its and CEO in succession to Robert Rabinovitch, who two years ago following a staff lockout was the subject of a campaign by the Canadian lobby group Our Public Airways to force his resignation (See RNW Nov 10, 2005).
The Corporation, like many other state broadcasters is under financial pressure with politicians reluctant to increase funding and at the same time insist on public service programming, a dilemma that Rabinovitch raised before the Heritage Committee in March this year.
At that time he called for the government to give the CBC a long-term mandate and the financial means to meet commitments, commenting, "Anything less is to pay lip service to public broadcasting while watching it wither."
At that time the CBS had been granted a CAD 60 million "supplementary contribution" for each of the next two years [RNW note: We have not converted to USD since the loonie (CAD) at that time was worth a dollar: It is now worth 1.02 USD] but Rabinovitch pointed out there had been no permanent increase in the CBC's annual funding base for 33 years.
He also noted that the CBC was expected to operate in two languages with an annual budget of some CAD 1.6 billion, some CAD 930 million of it from the government, compared to a BBC income of around CAD 7.3 billion, saying the CBC had to do its job "with CAD 1 billion in public funding, or about CAD30 per person over five and a half time zones in two languages."
The CBC under the 1991 Broadcasting Act that the committee is to review is required to provide programming that amongst other things has to be predominantly and distinctively Canadian; reflect Canada and its regions in both English and French to both national and regional audiences and also serve specific regional needs and also to reflect the country's multicultural and multiracial nature.
A Senate Committee last year recommended that CBC's TV services should follow the example of CBC radio and focus on news and information programming not available from other broadcasters but even that it seems to many observers would require better funding if it is to be done well.
The lobby group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting has on a number of occasions expressed concern about the policies of the current government and when Lacroix's appointment was announced accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of ignoring a unanimous recommendation of the House of Commons Standing Committee that "...in the interests of fuller accountability and arm's-length from government, nominations to the CBC Board should be made by a number of sources, and the CBC President should be hired by and be responsible to the Board."
The body's spokesperson Ian Morrison said, "It is against the national interest for the senior leader of Canada's public broadcaster to be appointment by a politician. In continuing his predecessors' practice, Mr. Harper has embraced a regrettable tradition which reduces the arms-length relationship between the national broadcaster and the government of the day."
2007-11-20: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin has upheld a standards complaint against UTV's talkSPORT concerning comments made by its host - and Respect Party MP - George Galloway, who was standing in for the regular morning host, in which he announced his intention to stand in the next general election in the constituency of Poplar and Limehouse and also made derogatory comments about the existing MP, Jim Fitzpatrick. It also upheld complaints against four TV programmes and upheld in part a TV fairness and privacy complaint and gave details of three TV standards and one TV Fairness and Privacy complaint.
Regarding the radio complaint upheld, talkSPORT had accepted that Galloway had breached rules concerning impartiality and that his criticism of Fitzpatrick was inappropriate, particularly as his future opponent did not have the opportunity to defend himself: It added that the matter had been discussed with both the presenter and the producer and it was made clear to them that this item had fallen short of the Code's requirements regarding due impartiality although it noted that Galloway had not mentioned the name of his political party and he did offer his opponent the opportunity to challenge him anywhere, anytime, in a public forum for a public debate.
Ofcom, while welcoming the station's response, said it had considered sanctions against the station but as it was the first case in which it had found talkSPORT in breach of the due impartiality requirements it opted against a penalty although it did issue a warning that a recurrence would result in consideration of further action.
In the case concerned Ofcom said a sitting MP had used his position as presenter on a radio station to promote his own possible candidacy in a parliamentary seat and further that position to attack a potential political opponent without giving him an opportunity to respond. It noted that Galloway had not named his political party and invited Fitzpatrick to a public debate in a place of his choosing but said that was clearly insufficient to achieve due impartiality in this context.
In addition to the breaches Ofcom also listed without details 191complaints against 135 TV items and 35 radio complaints against 31 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 296 complaints against 169 TV items and 28 radio complaints against 37 items that were out of its remit or not upheld in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2007-11-20: In an attempt to boost its holiday sales, XM Satellite Radio is to offer an additional three months of service without charge to anyone who has purchased a retail receiver and has not yet activated it.
The offer will apply from November 23 to the end of the year and will be applied over the first six months of a subscription activated in that period.
2007-11-19: This week for the start of our look at print comment on radio, we start in Australia where talk radio is in for a significant shake-up, particularly for Sydney 2UE whose long-time morning star John Laws is due to retire shortly, whose breakfast show co-host Peter FitzSimons has recently opted out and is not renewing his contract and which lost late night host Stan Zemanek last year because of a brain tumour from which he subsequently died.
In "Talkback in turmoil" in the Sun-Herald Miranda Devine noted that as well as the 2UE changes already decided, the station, now owned by Fairfax Media (the Sun-Herald's owner - following the takeover of former owner Southern Cross Broadcasting by Macquarie Media and a further deal , the contracts of drivetime presenter Steve Price and FitzSimons's co-host, Mike Carlton are also up for negotiation by the new owners who are looking to trim budgets.
2UE, she notes, led the ratings for years but its hosts did not enjoy cordial relationships - Carlton said on air the day Zemanek was cremated that he "loathed" his dead colleague and would only go to the funeral "to check he was actually dead".
That loathing she says was held in check and the station "held together by the Herculean efforts of program director John Brennan, whose blood pressure soared as he soothed the fragile egos of his stars, making sure they were '"psychologically No.1,' as he put it but eventually "The hatred ultimately proved too much for Jones, who jumped ship to 2GB five years ago, taking with him millions of dollars in advertising revenue and much of 2UE's audience."
Brennan, adds Devine, also went with Jones and now works as a consultant two days a week with his son, Peter Brennan, as program director, nurturing the family feeling that took 2GB to No.1, while 2UE plummeted to fourth place.
All that has of course left 2UE with problems to sort out but its main rival may also have its own problems as Jones is pushing for his dram job as Wallabies coach and if he gets it will give up radio for a year and leave 2GB with "with a difficult hole to fill and a potential loss of millions of dollars."
And, although she doesn't spell it out may also put 2GB into significant conflict as Jason Morrison, who has been Jones fill-in is facing competition for the breakfast slot from morning host Ray Hadley, a former Laws understudy who now out-rates Laws to the latter's displeasure - he recently disparaged his younger rival as an unhappy man who "only had the success he's had because of me."
Over next to the US and another host, Don Imus who will soon be back on air, a move that doesn't please everyone as evinced by the headline to Dave Zirin's Los Angeles Times report: "Why is Imus back in the game? He got $20 million, a vacation and a new contract. What kind of punishment is that?
Zirin, obviously no Imus fan, comments, "Perhaps you thought that Imus' comments calling the Rutgers University women's basketball team 'nappy-headed hos' would have rendered him untouchable -- that at best he would find a home in the outer banks of satellite radio?
"But no. Instead, the man who seamlessly blended wonkish Beltway interviews with crude racist and sexist shock jockery will be returning to his old life, this time shaming the WABC airwaves in New York and, presumably, being syndicated across the country. Imus' punishment in retrospect appears like a massage on the wrist: He received a USD 20-million settlement from CBS for cutting his contract short, he took a nine-month vacation, and now he's returning to commercial radio.
The Rutgers people have generally behaved with dignity but basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer, who has the consolation of having in her latest recruits signings from Mississippi, Texas, Florida and California probably in large part due to the publicity about the success of the team disparaged by Imus and whose stars were local - commented of the incident, "I won't kid you, I was and still am very angry."
She also commented that she valued the opportunity Imus's casual abuse gave her to raise draw attention to the issues involved saying, "God knows that I would love to win the national championship, and I have been in pursuit of this all of my life. But, if I were given the choice -- do you wish to speak to the world and really have an effect or a change and make people feel better, or to win a national championship, if I have to choose between the two -- I would take what happened this year because far more people paid attention and far more people were really and truly affected than a basketball game could ever have been."
Deepa Kumar, a media studies professor at Rutgers, was more critical and said. "Imus' return to radio exposes in no uncertain terms how low the corporate media will sink to make a profit. For students and faculty at Rutgers who organized to get Imus fired from CBS Radio, this is a slap in the face."
Zirin says of the current situation, "Already a terrific fiction has been laid out about why Imus lost his job in the first place. Some have said it was all the Machiavellian machinations of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Sportswriter Jason Whitlock, for instance, called them 'domestic terrorists' for leading protests. Others have written that the uproar was strictly a function of political correctness. As Dick Cavett wrote in the New York Times: 'How absolutely silly it looks from this distance. . . Among the erstwhile Imus program's virtues was that it provided a welcome relief from political correctness.'"
He continues, in what from a distance would seem to be an all-too- perceptive analysis of American mores and bigotry, "In other words, we couldn't take a joke. It's certainly true that there is no shortage of shock jocks making millions by dumping on people because they're the wrong colour, gender or sexuality. This is big business built on the idea that some people are less human than others. But Imus hit a nerve when he applied this brand of "humour" to sports."
That combination indicates Zirin would appear to be the crucial error - he notes that "Rush Limbaugh felt the biggest backlash of his career when he said that the media over-hyped Philadelphia Eagles football star Donovan McNabb out of their 'social concern' to see a successful African American quarterback. After thousands of angry calls and e-mails, Limbaugh was bounced from a sports gig on ESPN. Both Imus and Limbaugh built empires on this kind of bombast, but when they cross-pollinated their bigotry with sports, a new level of anger erupted."
The reason: "We are relentlessly sold the idea that our games -- our precious sports -- are a safe space from this kind of political abuse. Sports are a 'field of dreams' where hard work always meets rewards. We treasure this idea. When the Rutgers basketball players defy the odds and make the NCAA finals -- and get called "nappy-headed hos" for their trouble -- it presses an all-too-raw nerve."
Zirin concludes by commenting, "Imus once again has the microphone. The question will be whether he learned anything in his nine months away, or if the trials of Stringer and her team were for naught. Or maybe Cavett is right and we should all just smile as he lets the hate fly."
After that where to go but towards Limbaugh - or in this case a research project from Zogby International and the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School about why Limbaugh and other hosts are as popular as they are.
The answer would seem to be that hit may be more to do with listeners "pre-set beliefs" [RNW comment "prejudices" would seem to be a good synonym most of the time] rather than their presentational skills.
Limbaugh it seems already recognizes this and often says he succeeds because he is merely confirming what listeners already believed, not because of his powers of persuasion but also that he suspects he has a sizeable audience of people who are at the other end of the political spectrum with which they disagree than conservatives [RNW comment: A statement of the obvious to us which if those who wish to make all dictionaries "descriptive" rather than "prescriptive" might wish to ponder on Our Oxford English Dictionary, looking at non politicized definitions, lists meanings including "free from narrow prejudice; open-minded; candid" for "liberal" and "Characterized by a tendency to preserve or keep intact or unchanged" for "conservative".]
Putting numbers to this it came up with 22% of conservatives saying they "never" enjoy entertainment that reflects values other than their own but just 7% of liberals felt the same way whilst at the other end of the scale 11% of conservatives said they "very often" enjoyed programming that ran counter to their personal philosophies, compared to 20% of liberals and 18% of moderates who said the same thing.[RNW comment: Which being blunt about it means there are around three times as many narrow-minded bigots amongst "conservatives" as amongst "Liberals" although at the other end of the scale around twice as many broad minded "liberals" as conservatives"].
Zogby comments that this means the potential audience for "conservative" hosts in the US is significantly larger than for that of "liberal" competitors and the poll also shows there is a sharp divide in the US not only about politics but also about the entertainment and information that appeals to "Reds" (conservatives), "Purples" and "Blues" (liberals).[RNW comment: The colour choice is also illuminating since in the UK "Blue" is associated with the "Conservative" party; "Red" with the "Labour" Party that pre-Blair tended towards a socialist view whilst the middle has, if one discounts the Liberal-Democrats who are not the same group as the "moderates" of Zogby, has no defined colour].
Again putting numbers to this, the poll has Reds making up 37% of the US population [Oh dear! Those Red Republicans in the beds!], "Blues" making up 39%, and Purples 24%.
RNW comment: The poll does not list the degree of commitment amongst the groups to their particular bloc and without this the figures do not really suggest that conservative talk hosts should have the dominance they do - the potential "liberal" audience would seem to be 814 (22% of 370 Reds being ruled out) and the potential conservative one 973 (7% of 390 blues being ruled out.
It is, however, for those interested, quite illuminating in terms of the preferences of the various groups.
Next a quick note of commentary in Business Week from Virginia Democrat Rick Boucher in favour of the Sirius-XM merger that presents the case as well as any we have seen albeit we would not necessarily agree with his contention that: "As an additional benefit of the merger, the extra bandwidth that the elimination of duplication would produce will result in the offering of more public-interest programming than either XM or Sirius now offers. The combined company will be able to expand diverse programs for underserved interests, such as foreign language and religious programming."
Our view is that it might enable this but would not necessarily ensure it happening unless very strict conditions are put on the licence and that additionally that very "duplication" may be leading to competitive pressures that keep up the standards of the programmes concerned to the benefit of listeners.
We did, however, think he made a sound case in relation to satellite competing with terrestrial [An area where, were the National Association of Broadcasters a human, it might well see itself committed to a mental institution] about which he comments, "For the past decade broadcasters have fought satellite radio, and they continue to do so. In fact, the leading opponent is the National Association of Broadcasters, the trade association for AM and FM stations, whose mere presence in this debate as a merger opponent is compelling evidence that terrestrial and satellite radio are in direct competition and are part of a unified market."
And finally, as a lead-in to listening suggestion two UK radio columns, starting with Chris Campling's Radio Head from The Times. He comments on the programmes on BBC Radio 4 concerning "the allure of Grub Street" and asks, "Does the BBC know something the press doesn't? A couple of weeks ago we had Kim Fletcher's elegy to ol' Fleet Street and Philippa Kennedy's analysis of the local and regional press. In all, that meant five episodes of "shape up or die". And now we have this - Tintin's Guide to Journalism (today, Radio 4, 10.30 GMT)."
He then continues with a tone of gentle mockery: "The jig is well and truly up if Mark Lawson's theory that the comic books were the inspiration for a generation of young reporters is borne out by the facts, considering that to the best of my knowledge the quiffed pantaloon was never actually shown sitting down at a battered old Remington. The man - sorry, boy - wouldn't have known a good story if it walked up to him and said: "Blistering barnacles, I'm Captain Haddock and I've got drunk and lost my ship again."
And as examples he cites the "globetrotting photo-journalist Nick Danziger" as telling Lawson: "My parents tried to stop me travelling by reducing my pocket money, but that didn't prevent me. My inspiration was Tintin." To which Campling's reasonable response is, "How much pocket money was Danziger on?"
And then: "the former editor of The Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore, is quite happy to admit: "Almost everything I imagine about the Balkans or believe about the virtues of monarchy over fascism derives from King Ottokar's Sceptre." To which Campling's response is, "This could, of course, explain why he is the former editor of The Daily Telegraph."
After the potential entries for Private Eye's "Pseuds Corner" Campling also mentions Saturday's Archive Hour in which former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neill celebrates great editors of the past 50 years and this week's "Book of the Week" on Radio 4 - "Selective Memory" in which former Observer columnist Katherine Whitehorn reads from her autobiography (09:45 GMT weekdays), citing one example of when she and her husband Gavin Lyall, the thriller writer, "showed up in Paris with two typewriters and one toothbrush, a neat symbol of what we were and were not prepared to share."
And from the Sunday Times "Radio waves"column, Paul Donovan's column that highlights two radio stations, Resonance FM and BBC Radio Scotland that on Wednesday this week will play no music at all in observance of "No Music Day, which, despite its apparent absurdity, might just catch on and make us think a bit more about what is so easily taken for granted."
"No Music Day," writes Donovan, "was conceived two years ago by an ex-pop star, Bill Drummond, who, as half of the K Foundation, supposedly burnt GBP 1 million ( now USD 2 million) in bank notes on the island of Jura in 1994. He is a self-publicising scourge of cultural tsars, but also someone who wonders if music's transcendent power has become devalued now that everything recorded can be downloaded, carried about on an iPod, like any other consumer item, and made into a 'non-stop soundtrack to our lives'".
Donovan says the BBC Radio Scotland decision is the most surprising - its musical output on Wednesday normally includes adult rock, 1970s and 1980s pop requests, singer-songwriters and jazz plus jingles and idents, all of which will be replaced with special speech programming - and he quotes music producer David McGuinness as saying, "It's a great challenge to our programme teams to come up with something different. It's fun to assemble, the publicity is helpful and I think November 21 will make many people realise how connected they are to music, whether they have been aware of that or not."
Resonance FM, founded by the London Musicians Collective, lists "No Music Day" special programming on its station web site but it also offers MP3s and streams of past programmes that as far as we are aware will remain although the live stream (and live signal, which is only available for a few miles from Guy's Hospital in London will be speech only).
Donovan ends by commenting, "I think we are lucky to have the range of music stations now available, and lucky to have the digital technology, musical culture and licence fee that have made it possible. If Drummond's wheeze has any value, it will be to make us cherish it more; for a life without music is no life at all."
So on the theme of music to programming that offers illumination on music from BBC Radio 3 with last Saturday's "Between the Ears." This was "Rock's DNA - Portrait of a Guitar Chord" in which various guitarists comment on the importance of what the listing terms, "The Jimi Chord, a conflicted major-minor chord with a flattened seventh, unlocks the window into the soul of rock music and much more besides."
Also from BBC Radio 3 we suggest the regular "Discovering Music" programme that on Sunday was on "Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 3."
And from BBC Radio 2 for those who enjoy musical documentaries we suggest last Saturday's "Days in the Life... Pink Floyd at 40", the first of two programmes - the second one is next Saturday marking the 40th anniversary of the band. Also from Radio 2 - on Thursday (23:00 GMT) we suggest "The Cowboy's Last Ride", the third in a four part series in which Tom Russell looks at the story of the cowboy and his music this programme looks at the death of Hollywood's singing cowboys and includes the music of Ramblin' Jack Elliot, the Brooklyn Cowboy often credited with kick-starting Bob Dylan's career.
Then back to BBC Radio 3 and Jazz with Friday's "Jazz on 3" (23:30 GMT) the second of three editions from the London Jazz Festival and opera with "Opera on 3" (18:30 GMT), which next week is a production of Keiser's "The Fortunes of King Croesus" from Opera North.
Then speech from Radio 3 and we suggest this week's "The Essay" (23:00 GMT Monday through Thursday in which this week four writers consider different emotional states - Tenderness; Patience; Guilt; and Courage; plus next Saturday's "Between the Ears" (21:30 GMT). In "Dreaming of Osama", Pejk Malinovski produces a soundscape of real dreams and reflections on security and gauges the impact of the 'War on Terror' on our collective unconscious.
And to speech again with BBC Radio 4 starting with this week's "Book of the Week" already mentioned, "The Afternoon Reading "(15:30 GMT weekdays) that this week features short stories by writers from the Chinese diaspora about life in modern China and is followed by "National Obsession" in which Britons of all ages describe their own obsessive rituals.
Then from Wednesday to "Neanderthal" programmes starting with"The Jawbone" (11:00 GMT) in which Dr Tom Higham from Oxford Radiocarbon Unit and Dr Roger Jacobi from the British Museum analyse a small jawbone found in Kent's Cavern in Torquay over 80 years ago to find if it is the remains of one of the oldest examples of a modern human to be found in Europe or is it a Neanderthal?
Later "Frontiers" at 21:00 GMT has Andrew Luck-Baker describes efforts to sequence Neanderthal DNA, work that if successful might make it possible to identify specific genes common to both modern humans and Neanderthals and also throw light on human evolution. We also wonder what might be the result if certain politicians and leaders were subsequently tested to find out their genetic make-up. And finally from BBC Radio 4 last week's The Archive Hour", also already mentioned, on great editors.
RNW Note: We hope to update later today with some suggested MP3s/podcasts from other broadcasters.
Business Week - Boucher:
Los Angeles Times - Zirin:
Sun-Herald - Devine:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times - Campling:
Zogby/Lear Centre poll:
2007-11-19: Pioneering Philadelphia DJ Hy Lit has died aged 73 of what his son Sam termed "bizarre complications" after a knee injury.
Lit made his name on WIBG in the 50's and 60s, subsequently moving to WDAS-FM in 1967 and then after spells with WAMS, Wilmington, Delaware, and WHUM, Reading, Pennsylvania, with WPGR from 1984. He also worked for WHAT, WRCV, WSNI and WCAU where in 1990 he launched the Oldies format - and finally on then Infinity (Now CBS Radio)'s WOGL-AM from 1989 to 2005. He left the station - his last "Hy Lit Hall of Fame Show" aired on December 11, 2005 - after agreeing a settlement to an age discrimination claim in which he said that WOGL cut his hours and pay from 2000 because of his age and also the effects of Parkinson's disease. After the settlement, one part of which was his resignation he retired from broadcast radio but started up Internet station hylitradio.com with his son.
At the time he told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Radio is habit-forming. Fifty-one years. I would go on forever. I'm Old Man River."
The paper reporting on his death said that according to Sam his father had recorded audio for the web site the day before he went into hospital to have fluid drained from his knee after a fall.
Lit was born Hyman Litski in South Philadelphia and began in radio in 1955 after leaving the University of Miami. He was credited as a pioneer in developing the dance party and the Inquirer quoted DJ Bob Pantano as commenting from his dance party, "There's a piece of Hy Lit in all of us. My greatest thrill was working with him."
It also quoted Don Cannon, another radio personality as saying, "Here's a guy who made it for all of us. He was kind of wild back then."
Lit's honours include a spot on the Avenue of the Arts Walk of Fame; the first March of Dimes Lifetime Achievement of Radio Award in 1994; an AIR Award for best show in 1997; and Radio and Records magazine's Oldies Personality of the Year for 1999. He was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame in 2003.
Philadelphia Inquirer report:
2007-11-18: Last week yet again the main regulatory topic in the news was that of US media ownership regulation with Federal Communications Chairman Kevin J. Martin proposing changes limited to lifting the cross-ownership of a newspaper and broadcaster in some markets and subject to restrictions (See RNW Nov 14), proposals that promptly came under criticism from the Democrats on the commission (See RNW Nov 15) and later from politicians who feel the timescale proposed is far too short (See RNW Nov 17). Elsewhere things were far more routine.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) posted one radio decision, one to make spectrum available for a temporary community radio broadcasting service for the Gosford area when Hits n Country 94.1 FM goes off-air in late November.
The ACMA says it expects to issue a temporary community radio broadcasting licence for six months to Todayscountry94one, to broadcast on 94.1MHz as soon as Hits n Country, whose licensee Central Coast Broadcasters Ltd (2CCH) withdrew its application for a permanent community licence, goes off-air: Todayscountry94one approached ACMA because it wants to continue to broadcast a service for the Hits n Country FM audience.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted no radio decisions but did post public notices, each with a deadline of January 23 next year, calling for applications for new commercial licences in Edmonton and Red Deer in Alberta.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) posted latest radio ratings (See below) and also awarded Euros 48,000 (USD 70.300) from its new Media Research Funding Scheme in funding to 3 individual projects in the area of media and broadcasting research.
They went to the National University of Ireland for an 18-months project on "Irish broadcasting and the 'New Ireland'; mapping and visioning cultural diversity"; to the University of Amsterdam for a nine months project on "Promoting Cultural Diversity in the Irish Broadcasting sector: an assessment of international standards and best practices with a view to their operationalisation in an Irish context"; and to the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) for a nine-months project on "Media Literacy and the Public Sphere: a Contextual Study for Public Media Literacy Promotion in Ireland".
In the UK, Ofcom posted one radio decision, the award of a community AM licence to Radio Jcom in Leeds, which is set to become the first wholly dedicated Jewish radio station in the UK, and only one of a handful of such stations in the world outside Israel (See RNW Nov 14). It also appointed former ITN Editor in Chief and Chief Executive Stewart Purvis as its Partner for Content and Standards with a remit to oversee the regulation of television and radio quality and standards plus compliance with broadcasting codes. (See RNW Nov 15).
It also published its Consultation Guidelines- November 2007.
In the US, the main matter of note for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was, as noted, the issue of media ownership.
The FCC also posted a number of enforcement decisions involving penalties or Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NALs) ranging in relation to radio from USD 17,000 to USD 500. In descending order of amount they included:
USD 17,000 penalty to Jairo Diaz of Paterson, New Jersey, for operating an unlicensed FM in Paterson and failing to permit a station inspection. The FCC had issued an NAL for this amount in July and received no response.
USD 7,000 NAL and USD 500 NAL to Christian Radio Fellowship for late filing of renewal application and operation after the licence had expired of WFTF-FM, Rutland, Vermont - the USD 7,000 NAL - and a USD 500 NAL relating to FM Translator Station W220AX, Ludlow, Vermont. Both licences were also renewed.
USD 7,000 NAL to the Trustees of Mount Holyoke College, licensees of WMHC-FM, South Hadley, Massachusetts, for late filing of renewal application and operation after the licence had expired. The licence was renewed.
USD 7,000 NAL to Nyack College, licensee of WNYK-FM, Nyack, New York, for late filing of renewal application and operation after the licence had expired. The licence was renewed.
USD 7,000 NAL to Liam Patrick Ryan, doing business as L. P. Ryan / Low Power Radio, St. Louis, Missouri, for marketing uncertified AM transmitters. Ryan had argued that he was selling kits -which are not normally subject to equipment authorization requirements, and also providing an assembly service rather than selling complete units, which do require authorization. The FCC noted that completed units had been sold and rejected the argument.
USD 1,500 NAL to Brookdale Community College, licensee of WBJB-FM, Lincroft, New Jersey, for late filing of renewal application. The licence was renewed.
USD 1,500 NAL to Cazenovia College, licensee of WITC-FM, Cazenovia, New York, for late filing of renewal application. The licence was renewed.
USD 1,500 NAL to Trinity Media, Ltd., licensee of WLNL-AM, Horseheads, New York, for late filing of renewal application. The licence was renewed.
In addition the FCC issued a protective order in relation to various documentation from Sirius and XM Satellite radio, following an earlier similar order: This order limits access to information, related to their operational and financial data, contracts, programming and merger agreements, marketing and pricing strategies, and sensitive technical data and trade secrets, that the companies have been asked to provide to the commission in relation to their proposed merger.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-11-18: Latest Irish radio ratings from the JNLR/TNSmrbi survey covering October 2006-September 2007 show overall listening stable with 85% of the adult population listening daily to a mix of national, regional and local radio throughout the country, the same as a year earlier and in the previous survey.
Nationally compared to the previous (July 2006-June 2007) survey, listenership to any regional local station was down 1 to 52% with national station reach unchanged - 23% for RTÉ Radio 1; 18% for RTÉ 2FM; 16% for Today FM; and 3% for RTÉ Lyric FM - apart from that for Newstalk 106-108FM which was up 1 to 6%.
In share terms for 07:00 to 19:00 the overall figure for any regional/local station fell 0.8 to 48% with RTÉ Radio 1 up 0.3 to 21.2%; RTÉ 2FM down 0.3 to 12.7; Today FM and Newstalk each up 0.1 to 12.5% and 3.3% respectively; and RTÉ Lyric FM unchanged at 1.7%.
In the South-East Region Beat 102-103FM had an unchanged 18% reach but its market share was down 0.6 to 11.7%.
Amongst local stations, excluding Dublin and Cork, the top five stations in terms of weekday reach were Highland Radio with 60% -down from 64%; Limerick's Live 95FM with 58%, down from 59%; Shannonside/Northern Sound with 55%, up from 54%; WLR FM with 51% , up from 49%; and Midwest Radio/ RadioKerry/ KCLRFM each with 46%- down 5, 1 and 1 respectively.
In share terms the top five were Highland Radio with 63.4% (-0.8); Mid West Radio with 53.6% (-2.4); Tipp FM with 52.9% (+6.3); Radio Kerry with 47.5% (-3.9) and WLR FM with 47.4% (+1).
In Dublin the leaders in terms of weekly reach were RTÉ Radio 1 with 39% (-1); FM104 with 31% (-1 and retaining top rank for a local station); 98FM with 26% (-2); RTÉ 2FM with 24% (-2) and Newstalk with an unchanged 19% whilst in Cork the leaders in reach were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103FM with 66% (+1); Cork's 96FM with 51 (Not listed previously); RTÉ Radio 1 with 32% (-2); Cork's Red FM with an unchanged 29%; and Cork's 103FM County Sound with 26 (Not listed in previous survey). They were followed by Today FM with an unchanged 25%; and RTÉ 2FM with an unchanged 20%.
Commenting on the figures, commercial radio body the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) noted a total share for the sector of 63.8%, nearly double RTÉ's 36.2% and a weekday audience topping 2.25 million.
IBI Chairman David Tighe said: "We are delighted with these results which show evidence of a fight back from the independent sector following the figures published in August. The consistently strong performance of our members in these listenership surveys shows that independent commercial radio has really embedded itself as part of the lives of the Irish public. This adds further credence to the words of Minister Eamon Ryan when he addressed our members recently that independent radio has proven to be extremely popular, giving listeners around the country significantly increased choice and this is all provided without any cost to the listener! The results also show how far we have come in under 20 years and our members continue to prove that there is further potential for growth in our market share. The figures underline the strength of radio as a medium in Ireland and prove beyond doubt that independent radio stations are delivering the content that their audiences want."
RTÉ noted audience growth across their services and Ana Leddy, Head of RTÉ Radio 1, said, "All indications are that the strategic changes made in the weekday, afternoon schedules have taken root.'Mooney' has captured the largest actual increase for any national programme, adding 18,000 listeners and 'Drivetime' is Ireland's favourite show in this hotly contested slot."
Previous Irish Ratings:
2007-11-18: Veteran US radio and TV host Jim Hawthorne, termed by the Los Angeles Times a "wacky and wildly inventive" personality who "turned traditional post-World War II broadcasting on its ear", has died aged 88.
Colorado-born Hawthorne made his name in 1947 on Pasadena radio station KXLA (now KRLA) and the paper notes that Time Magazine reported he "suddenly turned his show into a carefree, wit-loose 'Hellzapoppin on the air.' "Before that he had started in radio in 1940 at KYMR whilst attending Denver University: He moved to Los Angeles after a brief stint in the army and joined KXLA in 1943.
The paper says he would play unpredictable mixes of music and comment and voiced a slew of characters that populated his show, including Skippy (a mischievous old man who made fun of him), Eggbert (his "engineer") and Scrappy (an aptly named piece of paper he'd carry on conversations with by crinkling it against the microphone).
It also notes that he would introduce commercials by banging two cymbals together, might play the commercials at extremely slow or extremely fast speeds and do the same with records, dragging the needle across one that he was really bored by.
In 1950 he Hawthorne produced and starred in "The Hawthorne Thing," a Saturday night radio show that originated at NBC's Hollywood studio and was broadcast coast to coast and from 1950 to 1952 he also hosted TV shows.
Hawthorne moved to Honolulu in 1965, working on radio and TV and then in 1970 to Denver doing the same. He retired in 1985 but continued to make occasional radio appearances and in his last years whilst a resident of the Buena Vista Care Center in Santa Barbara, he produced several local cable-access variety shows.
Los Angeles Times report:
2007-11-17: Boston host Howie Carr was back on air in Boston on Friday having returned to his WRKO-AM drivetime slot after an attempt to move to the morning drive slot at Greater Media's WTKK-FM was stymied when Entercom exercised an option in his WRKO contract to match any other offer made by a rival broadcaster within the WRKO coverage area (See RNW Sep 21).
WTTK has now confirmed that Don Imus, who formerly filled the slot with his syndicated "Imus in the Morning" show until he was fired by CBS Radio and the show cancelled following his remarks about the Rutgers University Women's Basketball Team ((See RNW Apr 13) will be back in the slot from December 3.
The announcement followed Citadel's decision to hire Imus to fill the morning drive slot at WABC-AM from that date and was made to WTTK listeners on Jay Severin's drivetime show on Friday.
Carr had agreed to move to the slot when it had been left vacant 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), subsequently losing his claim (See RNW Oct 17).
WRKO welcomed Carr back on its web site with Entercom New England Vice President and Market Manager Julie Kahn commenting, "We are thrilled that Howie is back on WRKO. Howie is a one-of-a-kind talent, and I'm sure all of Howie's listeners are looking forward to hearing him on our air again."
Carr, whose contract now runs to 2012, was quoted as saying "I'm very happy to be reunited with my loyal listeners on WRKO. I said I'd be back on the air before Imus and now I am!"
The Boston Herald, for which Carr writes a column, said in a report written before Carr was back on air that Carr commented that he prefers to be on afternoons on WRKO but wouldn't elaborate and added, "We'll get along fine. I worked there for two months after I announced I wasn't going to be there. It is what it is. I'll be fine."
It says Carr refused to comment on the details of his contract - WTTK had offered him USD 7 million a year - and ducked a question of whether WTTK was out of the picture, commenting, "Who knows what the future holds?"
The Herald says that WRKO had lost ratings in Carr's absence - he had been off air since September - with his stand-in Todd Feinburg taking a 2.7 share and 14th place among 25-to 54-year-olds compared to Carr's figures a year ago of a 3.9 share and eighth rank.
WTTK issued a statement saying, "We are disappointed that Howie Carr will not be able to join WTKK at this time, but we fully support him in his decision to return to work at WRKO. "
It added, "While we strongly disagree with Judge Van Gestel's decisions, which forced Howie to choose between working for WRKO or being unemployed for five years, we have always said that we would abide by the ruling of the court. To pursue what would likely have been a very long appeal with an uncertain outcome would have been counter-productive for Howie and his loyal listeners. Howie also has his family to think about; anyone in his position would make the same decision. It is time to move forward. We wish him all the best.
Previous Greater Media:
Boston Herald report:
2007-11-17: XM Canada has appointed Michael Moskowitz, former President, Americas International of Palm, Inc., as its new President and CEO from the start of next year, adding that Donald McKenzie, who has served as acting President and COO since June will return to his position as XM Canada's Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing.
McKenzie had taken over the roles following the departure of XM Canada president and chief operating officer Stephen Tapp.
Announcing the appointment, XM Canada Chairman John Bitove, who formerly also held the CEO post and is to take the title of Executive Chairman of Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.(the Canadian operator of XM), said they were "very pleased" about the appointment and were "confident that his background will result in a positive benefit to our shareholders."
He added, "After an extensive search, we felt Michael was the best fit due to his outstanding leadership in the Canadian communications technology industry. He has a strong background in management, particularly operations, marketing, sales, distribution and finance. Michael is perfect for XM Canada today."
Moskowitz commented, "I am really excited to join Canada's number one satellite radio company at a key stage in its development. I look forward to working with the team to achieve our goal of having one million subscribers in 2010."
XM Canada has also just reported its third quarter results that showed revenues doubled over a year ago to CAD 6.8 million (Now USD 7 million but at a year ago rates USD 6 million) from with its subscriber base more than doubling to 306,300 from 151,600 in 2006.
Adjusted operating loss was down from CAD 14.4 million (then USD 12.6 million) a year ago to CAD 12.2 million ( Now USD 12.6 million but USD 10.7 million at year ago rates) and Cost per Gross subscriber addition was down by 24% on a year ago to CAD 183 (USD 188).
Bitove commented of the results, "We had an exceptional fourth quarter as our exclusive 10-year agreement with the NHL attracted new subscribers across the country. In addition, while retail sales have been slow for much of the year, we are pleased to report that in September the satellite radio category grew by 39 per cent and XM Canada captured 50 per cent of all satellite radio sales through major retailers. Canadian consumer appetite for satellite radio is strong and it is clear we are gaining momentum entering the holiday shopping season."
Previous CSR/XM Canada:
2007-11-17: The bipartisan group of Senators who have introduced the "Media Ownership Act of 2007" (S. 2332) that would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to give 90 days for public comment on any media ownership rule proposals that it puts forward and also require the FCC to complete a separate proceeding to evaluate how localism is affected by media consolidation with the same 90-day public window have now begun pushing for support for their legislation.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Byron Dorgan (North Dakota Democrat.) and Sen. Trent Lott (Mississippi Republican) and co-sponsored by Sens. Barack Obama (Illinois Democrat), Olympia Snowe (Maine Republican), John Kerry (Massachusetts Democrat.), Bill Nelson (Florida Democrat), Maria Cantwell (Washington Democrat) and Diane Feinstein (California Democrat) would also require that localism proceeding be done separately and completed prior to a vote on proposed media ownership rules as well as require establishment of an independent panel on female and minority ownership and for the FCC to provide the panel with accurate data on female and minority ownership and additionally require that the panel issue recommendations that the FCC would have to act on before voting on proposed ownership rules.
The action follows the latest proposals made by FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin that would keep existing rules apart from allowing limited cross ownership of a newspaper and broadcaster in larger markets subject to various conditions (See RNW Nov 14).
Martin was proposing action next month and the Bill's supporters say this does not allow sufficient time for proper consideration. They are not thought, however to be able to pass the legislation before the FCC acts unless the Republican majority on the commission decide not to push forward controversial new rules by a majority vote.
2007-11-17: Entravision has announced that it is to explore "strategic alternatives for its outdoor advertising operations" and has hired Citi and Moelis Advisors, a division of Mercanti Securities, LLC, to act as its financial advisors in this process.
Chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa said the board had taken the decision "in order to unlock the value of these assets to the benefit of our shareholders." He added, "We will also continue to build and invest in our TV and radio assets with the goal of further strengthening our position in the nation's highest density Hispanic markets."
In other US radio news, Washington DC council members have rejected a plan that would have brought Radio One Inc. back to the city from Lanham in Maryland, to where it moved in 1997. Under the plan, the developers would have been given city-owned land worth some USD 6 million according to the Washington Post but the council baulked at this element of the deal in which Broadcast Center One intends to build a USD 115 million development atop the Shaw-Howard University Metro station. The development would include Radio One offices, shops, 185 parking spaces and 180 apartments.
The paper said the DC planning and economic development office offered to give the developer more than an acre of land at Seventh and S streets NW, as well as USD 16 million in public financing but it has not been told the deal has to be renegotiated. It quoted Councilman Jack Evans as saying," The problem I'm having is giving away land."
The Post also quoted John Ross, a senior adviser and director in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, who said the city could consider increasing public financing to help Broadcast Center One offset the cost of buying the city land.
Previous Radio One Inc.
Washington Post report:
2007-11-17: Arbitron has announced that its Board has authorized a USD 200 million stock repurchase programme that at its closing price on Friday would amount to a little under a seventh of the 28.2 million shares outstanding. The company has already completed a previously authorized USD 100 million stock repurchase programme and its shares rose by 2.5% on Friday to end the day at USD 51.81
2007-11-16: Four of the largest US radio broadcasters - Clear Channel, Cumulus, Cox Radio, and Radio One Inc - have now formally complained to Arbitron about deficiencies in its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings, specifically highlighting sampling issues and urging immediate action.
In the letter, sent to Arbitron President and CEO Steve Morris; President, Sales & Marketing, Pierre Bouvard; and President, Operations, Technology & R&B Owen Charlebois, the four broadcasters start off by writing, "All of us have been vocal supporters of the concept of electronic measurement in radio for several years -- and we remain committed to the need for accurate, high quality electronic ratings as a way to program and sell our stations. As of this writing, the PPM system has been implemented in two markets for several months, with one month of information available in New York. To date, PPM has not provided accurate or reliable data for all demographic groups. We are calling on you to take immediate action to resolve this. "
They then continue to say the "most immediate issue is sample size - especially with regard to 18-34 year olds and ethnic groups" and say Arbitron must increase its sample size rather than reduce it - they also comment, "Your recent proposal to lower the number of market-level respondents needed to issue a valid report for a specific demographic is both specious and dangerous. This proposal could result in some stations doing business based on the activity of as few as a single - one - listener. Your own researchers have concluded that such a sample size 'has a greater range of error than the size of the estimate.'"
The four say Arbitron has "many ethical and sound business choices" that can be made, such as eliminating the 6-11 portion of the sample and reallocation of the PPM devices concerned to other demographic groups and end, "Please be aware that this is a critical and immediate issue for your customers undersigned and we are expecting an action plan to correct these matters within 30 days."
So far we have noted no response from Arbitron to the letter.
RNW note: We have already made brief content on the issues of the PPM - and note that those broadcasters who seem to stand to benefit from the PPM ratings do not seem to be concerned about any inaccuracies whilst those with a lower rating have been vocal (See RNW Nov11). We had planned our October comment - still not filed - on the issue of electronic metering but then held over filing it because of additional information: We expect to file within a few days.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2007-11-16: UK Commercial radio is experiencing a continuing upturn according to industry body the RadioCentre, which says third quarter total revenues were up 5.4% on a year ago to just below GBP 149 million ( USD 306 million ).
Within the figures national revenues were up 7.7% year-on-year to just above GBP 81.5 million (USD 167 million) but local revenues were down 0.7% to just below GBP 39.5 million (USD 81 million). Sales and promotions revenues were by 8% to a record of just below GBP 28 million (Just above USD 57 million).
RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison commented in a news release, "These revenue figures are another set of impressive results. 2007 really has been a turning point for the Commercial Radio industry - not only have we seen a record number of people tuning in but advertisers are really recognising the power of radio advertising."
Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) managing director [RAB is now part of the RadioCentre] Simon Redican added, On the back of another good set of Rajar results in Q3, a successful RAB conference last month and indeed a number of wins for our members at the recent Media Week awards, our industry is in great shape as we head towards the final quarter of the year."
In other UK radio news, the UK Guardian says its Guardian Unlimited web site is to become the first media outlet outside traditional radio stations to join industry body the Radio Academy and will also join the UK Podcasters' Association.
The paper quoted Guardian head of audio, Matt Wells, as saying, "It makes sense to have a seat at the top table at the leading radio industry organisation, and also to be a major player in the only body that represents podcast producers in the UK. We are now a significant force in quality speech programming, with hundreds of thousands of downloads a week. For the first time, the BBC has a serious rival in this area."
The Guardian's audio department produces a range of programmes including Football Weekly, one of the most popular football podcasts in the UK; the daily news show, Newsdesk; Media Talk; and other specialist weekly shows including the award-winning Islamophonic podcast for the Muslim community.
Previous Guardian Media:
Previous Radio Academy:
UK Guardian report:
2007-11-16: LBI Media Holdings has reported strong third quarter revenues, with radio revenues performing particularly strongly, although LBI's bottom line, affected by impairment charges and a loss on redemption of notes went from a net income of USD 3.8 million a year ago to a net loss of USD 12.8 million.
Included in the loss are a USD 8.8 million one-time loss on the redemption of the 10 1/8% senior subordinated notes by our wholly owned subsidiary, LBI Media, Inc., a USD1.8 million increase in impairment charges for our radio broadcast licenses, and local marketing agreement fees and start up costs relating to its USD 25 million acquisition of KWIE-FM (now KRQB-FM), San Jacinto, in the Riverside/San Bernardino market (See RNW Jul 20).
Net revenues for the quarter were up 5% to USD 30.3 million - for the first nine months they are up 9.4% to USD 88 million - with radio revenues up 20.2% to USD 16.5 million although operating expenses were also up - by 51.7% to USD 12.2 million - and TV revenues down 8.8% to USD 13.8 million with its operating expenses up 5.8% to USD 9.7 million.
LBI said the radio increases came from revenue increases at its new and existing Dallas radio stations and also an increase at its Los Angeles stations whilst operating expenses rose primarily to an increase in broadcast license impairment charges related to our newly acquired Dallas radio stations, as well as to additional programming expenses and selling, general and administrative expenses related to radio stations we acquired in Dallas in November 2006 [RNW note: These were four FMs and an AM bought from Entravision] and local marketing agreement fees and start up costs for KWIE-FM /KRQB-FM.
The TV revenue decrease said LBI was primarily attributable to decreased advertising revenue in our California markets, partially offset by increased advertising revenues in our Texas markets and expenses were up primarily because of increases in programming expenses related to the additional production of in-house programming.
EVP Lenard Liberman said of the results, "In the third quarter we closed our acquisition of KWIE-FM (now KRQB-FM) and we still look to complete our acquisition of KPNZ-TV [Salt Lake City] in the fourth quarter. Our ratings across radio and television have remained strong and we remain optimistic that we will experience revenue growth in 2008 as a result of that performance."
Previous LBI Media:
Previous Lenard Liberman:
2007-11-16: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has announced the appointment of Jeremy Millar as the new Local Radio & Online Manager for ABC Local Radio, New South Wales.
Millar is a media veteran with 25 years experience, the last 16 in senior executive roles, who has worked in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide , as well as overseas. Most recently he was responsible for content development and implementation for the Australian Radio Network (ARN), a nine station network reaching 4 million listeners every week.
The Head of ABC Local Radio Michael Mason said of the appointment, "Jeremy's in-depth understanding of radio and other media platforms as well as digital radio developments will be invaluable as we continue to build on the achievements of 702 [ABC Sydney]and the NSW regional stations in the coming years.
Previous ABC Australia:
2007-11-15: Reacting sceptically to proposals by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin for a limited easing of US cross-ownership restrictions (See RNW Nov 14), the two Democrats on the FCC have in a joint statement said that rather than the "moderate proposal" that Martin terms it, the proposal is "a wolf in sheep's clothing."
"Don't let the wool be pulled over your eyes," say Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps. "The proposal could repeal the ban in every market in America, not just the top twenty. Any city, no matter how small, could be subjected to newspaper broadcast ownership combinations under a very loose standard. "
They then continue: "Under Chairman Martin's plan, all markets will be open to one company combining broadcast properties with cable, the newspaper (already a monopoly in most places), even the Internet Service Provider. His proposal could propel a frenzy of competition-stifling mergers across the land. He can try to characterize his plan as affecting only the "largest markets," but consider:
*The top 20 markets account for over 43% of U.S. households. Even on its face, this proposal directly affects over 120 million Americans.
*The Chairman then creates a loophole that Big Media will drive a truck through, permitting a newspaper-broadcast combination in any market in the country. We have seen how loosely the Commission has granted waivers in the past. If this proposal goes through, the FCC could grant cross-ownership applications in such small towns as Meridian, Mississippi and Bend, Oregon. When big conglomerates can't get their way in a general rule, they press for loopholes that swallow the rule, and they would succeed with this approach.
*The non-top four stations that major newspapers will now be competing for are precisely the stations more likely to be owned by small, independent broadcasters. If we ever got serious about women and minority ownership, these are also the stations most available to them. Chairman Martin's rule pretty much reserves these outlets for the big guys. So this proposal actually perpetuates the shamefully low levels of minority and female media ownership."
The duo continue on to say the "Martin rules are clearly not ready for prime time"; again complain of what they term "grossly insufficient" time for public comment saying they calculate Martin's proposal to allow 19 working days whereas they think the minimum should be 90: They also note that the Commission has yet to complete its "Localism proceeding, teed up four years ago, or to forward comprehensive ideas to increase women and minority ownership of broadcast outlets."
Adelstein and Copps also note pressures in connection with the sale of Chicago-based media giant Tribune Co, which owns 25 newspapers plus broadcast stations, some in the same city , and which has cross-ownership waivers that would not automatically carry on to a new owner, but say that the chairman has refused to act on Tribune's waiver requests that would permit the transaction to close whilst they are prepared to vote on "the Tribune waiver requests within three working days after the Chairman circulates a draft decision" and conclude, "There is simply no excuse for using Tribune as a human shield. ."
Martin's plans have also been criticized by North Dakota Democrat Senator Byron Dorgan who termed his announcement "ill-advised" and said it only added, "urgency to his effort to pass legislation that would allow time for completion of a separate FCC proceeding on localism and for public input."
Dorgan says Martin has "yet to make the case for why any further media consolidation is necessary. Indeed, he is relying on an assumption that newspapers are doomed and that cross-ownership is necessary to save them. I believe this is not the case. He has also failed to make the case that cross ownership will be beneficial to local communities -- that requires an understanding of how ownership affects local coverage."
He then continues, "The FCC still has not completed a separate proceeding with a thorough study of the impact of media concentration on localism. In my view, that work is a necessary and a prerequisite to any discussion of whether media ownership rules ought to be changed. Senator Lott [Mississippi Republican Trent Lott] and I have introduced legislation that would address Chairman Martin's rush to judgment on this question. We believe it is important that the public is heard and that facts guide these decisions. The proposal from Chairman Martin today only adds a greater sense of urgency to our effort to enact our legislation."
2007-11-15: According to the New York Observer, Don Imus has had to accept a 21-second tape delay as part of his deal to return to the New York airwaves- he starts on Citadel's WABC-AM on December 3 with a deal reported to be worth between USD 5-8 million a year compared to USD 10 million when he was with CBS Radio, which fired him over the "nappy headed hos" comment abut members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team.
The Observer says that Imus's lawyer Martin Garbus told them the host has been on a five-second tape delay, which was rarely used, at CBS. The paper adds that many of Imus's "big-name guests from the worlds of politics and media appear ready to welcome him back with open arms, unconcerned about the inevitable charges that by returning to the scene of the crime, they're accessories to buddy-buddy bigotry."
It also says that WABC executives say there are syndication deals in the works but would not elaborate: At CBS Imus was syndicated to around 60 stations.
The host is also slated to sign an agreement for a simulcast of the show on RFD-TV (Rural Free Delivery, a cable and satellite channel that caters to farmers, ranchers and equestrians, as well as others who merely aspire to live a small-town life according to the New York Times.
It says that Patrick Gottsch, a former satellite-dish installer from Nebraska who founded RFD-TV in 1988, said he had reached agreement with Imus on a five-year contract to televise the Imus show. Gottsch would not comment on the finances but the paper said someone else "briefed on the deal" said it could be worth up to USD 5 million a year and said that Imus could end up with range of the amount he was paid by CBS.
New York Observer report:
New York Times report:
2007-11-15: UK media regulator Ofcom has appointed former ITN Editor in Chief and Chief Executive Stewart Purvis as its Partner for Content and Standards with a remit to oversee the regulation of television and radio quality and standards plus compliance with broadcasting codes.
He takes on the role on December 3 in succession to Kip Meek, who is leaving to set up a media consultancy with his former Ofcom colleague Kip Meek, who left Ofcom, where he was chief policy partner early this year following an announcement in 2006 (See RNW Nov 3, 2006). Meek subsequently joined the board of the UK RadioCentre (See RNW Feb 20).
Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said of the appointment, "Stewart Purvis is a highly distinguished broadcaster who enjoys an enviable reputation across the industry. I am delighted we have been able to recruit someone with his insight, experience and calibre to this crucial role."
Purvis, who in 2003 he was made the first Chair of Television Journalism in the Department of Journalism at City University, London, and in 2005 was also News International Visiting Professor of Broadcast Media at Oxford University, commented, "Ofcom has played a positive role in helping create a dynamic and responsive broadcasting industry. There is much still to do, so I look forward to joining a first-rate team and contributing to Ofcom's important work in an area that touches so many people daily."
2007-11-15: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has announced that Chicago DJ Larry Lujack is to be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame during the NAB Show Radio Luncheon in Las Vegas in April next year.
Commenting on the decision, NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr commented, "For decades, Larry Lujack entertained audiences with his sardonic wit, quirky characters and deadpan humour. NAB is proud to recognize him for his significant contributions to radio."
Lujack, who was born in Quasqueton, Iowa, on June 6, 1940, as Larry Blankenburg changed his last name in honour of his football idol John Lujack.
After college he began his radio career in the early 1960's at KCID-AM, Caldwell, Iowa, and then worked at a number of stations before moving to Chicago in 1967 to join WCFL-AM, moving four months later to top-40 competitor WLS-AM.
At WLS he launched his trademark "Animal Stories" feature. He stayed with the station until 1972 when he went back to WCFL for four years before returning to WLS. There he teamed up with Tommy Edwards for the "Uncle Lar and Li'l Tommy" broadcast segments.
Lujack retired from WLS in 1987 - an enforced one as WLS owner ABC paid him for a further five years to prevent him from competing with them - but in 2000 came out of retirement to join WUBT, working from a studio in New Mexico.
In 2003 he teamed up with Edwards again on Real Oldies WRLL-AM but was fired last year along with the rest of the WRLL air staff when Clear Channel closed down the station to lease its frequency (See RNW Aug 18, 2006).
Lujack has already been inducted into the Illinois Broadcasters Association's Hall of Fame (2002) and the Radio Hall of Fame (2004).
2007-11-15: Westwood One has announced the appointment of Peter Sessa to the post of Vice President, Marketing & Communications and of Johanna Shandalow as Sr. Director, Marketing & Special Events.
Sessa joined Westwood One in March 2000 as Promotions Coordinator and has since risen to become Director of Marketing & Communications. In the New York based VP post he will be responsible for developing, supervising and facilitating the Company's marketing, creative and communications strategy.
Shandalow, who will also be New York based, will be responsible for the execution of all Company events including radio remote broadcasts, client events and ticketing.
Previous Westwood One:
2007-11-14: The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Exploring the Scope of Public Performance Rights" on Tuesday heard from proponents and opponents of a performance royalty for airing music on terrestrial radio.
For the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), its Radio Board Vice Chairman Steven Newberry, who is also President and CEO of Commonwealth Broadcasting Corporation, argued that the current system was working well and said NAB strongly opposed creating what it is attempting to get labelled a "performance tax" because "compensation to the record labels and performers is already provided under the current system."
He then trotted out NAB's argument on the promotional value of airplay and also noted, "Beyond just playing music, consider that local radio stations give away free concert tickets, conduct on-air interviews with bands releasing a new CD, or hype a newly discovered artist. Without question, local radio is the engine that drives music sales."
He differentiated terrestrial radio from satellite and Internet radio, which have to pay such fees, because "and both offer consumers true interactivity to download songs. Local radio, however, is an entirely different platform. We are free. There is no subscription. It is not interactive. Between disk jockey lead-ins and commercials, no one is stealing music from over-the-air radio. Congress came to this same conclusion in 1995 - namely that local radio airplay does not threaten music sales. In fact, local radio directly and positively promotes the sale of music."
"..a new performance tax takes this mutually beneficial system and transforms it into an unfair, one-sided scheme that financially benefits only the recording industry - and to the detriment of the local radio stations," said Newberry. "The negative effect of such a dramatic increase in radio station costs will be felt by radio stations and their listeners across the country and in every one of the states you represent. Many many radio stations across the country are struggling to be profitable since most of our operating costs are fixed. The money to pay for this new performance fee has to come from somewhere."
Singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett, speaking on behalf of the musicFirst coalition that is pushing for the fees, said that radio generated profit from playing recordings "because they attract listeners and advertising dollars. Yet radio has never compensated performers for the value their creative work brings to the radio industry, because the Copyright Act does not protect sound recordings in the same way it protects the underlying songs Let's face it. No one tunes into a radio station to hear the commercials."
Also speaking for musicFirst Alice Peacock said of the NAB argument, "Every performance has the potential to be promotional, but why should that make a difference. I just got back from a gig in Grand Rapids, MI. Imagine if the club owner used the same logic about promotion. What if at the end of the night, after I had filled his club with paying customers, he told me he didn't have to pay me because my performance helped promote my record sales. Such a scenario would be unacceptable by any standard. Frankly, the promotion argument sounds a little silly."
Also supporting a performance fee was the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) whose National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth commented, "Advanced nations recognize artists' value to terrestrial radio. The U.S. has recognized artists' value to satellite and webcast radio. It is time for this last isolated area of inequity--terrestrial radio in the U.S.--to be fixed by establishing the right of recording artists to receive fair compensation for the value they bring to the American airwaves."
The NAB has also announced that 79 members of Congress have now put their names to a resolution recognizing the promotional value of free radio airplay that was introduced in late October by Texas Reps. Gene Green (Democrat) and Mike Conaway (Republican)
2007-11-14: UK Emap has reported half-year revenues to the end of September down 26% to GBP 408 million (USD 845 million) with underlying revenues down 1% whilst revenues for the continuing group were up 1% to GBP 386 million (USD 799 million ) - down 1% underlying.
Operating profit for the continuing group was up 6% (14% underlying) to GBP 93 million ( USD 193 million ) whilst total group operating profit was down 14% (up 14% underlying) at GBP 92 million ( USD 191 million ) and overall pre-tax profit was down 16 % to GBP 80 million ( USD 167 million - per share earnings were up 7% to 28.8 pence)
Continuing statutory results, which exclude Emap France since this was not a continuing operation, showed revenues down 6% to GBP 408 million (USD 845 million), operating profit up 144% to GBP 154 million (USD 319 million); pre-tax profit up 176% to GBP 141 million (USD 292 million) and total group earnings per share down 44% to GBP 62.8 million (USD 130 million).
In divisional terms Emap's B2B divisional revenues were flat (up 4% underlying) at GBP 134 million (USD 277 million) with operating profit down 7% (up 13% underlying) at GBP 39 million (USD 81 million).
Consumer magazines division revenues were down 6% total and underlying at GBP 173 million (USD 358 million) with operating profit up 3% (7% underlying) to GBP 35 million (USD 72.5 million) and radio division revenues were up 1% (Up 2% underlying) to GBP 82 million (USD 170 million) with operating profit up 13% (26% underlying) at GBP 17 million (USD 35.2 million). Emap notes that excluding its Republic of Ireland stations whose sale is awaiting completion subject to regulatory clearance, radio revenues were broadly flat.
Emap notes that within radio its London revenues were down 6%, due to the impact of a first quarter during which we renegotiated certain advertising deals; Revenue from the Big City network was up 1% and our Republic of Ireland stations continued to perform well, with revenue up 14%. National and local advertising revenues were broadly flat in the period.
Executive chairman Alun Cathcart said of the results, "Our performance in the first half gives us confidence that we remain on track to deliver against our expectations for the full year. Our B2B activities are demonstrating good growth and we have continued to invest in both the core business and new acquisitions."
"In our consumer magazines," he added, "forward bookings are showing signs of improvement and we are experiencing earlier than expected benefits from our operational efficiency initiatives. Our Radio business has delivered growth in revenue, profit and audiences. We have also realised significant value for shareholders through our recent disposals We are encouraged by progress on our review of Group structure, which is firmly on track, and we remain committed to exploring all options to maximise shareholder value."
Emap has received no bids for the whole company and Cathcart says its shareholders back a break-up but if that didn't happen he had kept in touch with a number of candidates to replace former chief executive Tom Moloney who left the company in May (See RNW May 18).
Emap, which is in an offer period following its review of Group structure announced in July and that it says is on track with good interest from both private equity and trade buyers for all parts of the Group.
Its outlook it says is good for B2B events, reasonable for B2B magazines, and strong for B2B Information whilst Consumer Magazines Circulation is mixed and Consumer Magazines advertising is weak but improving, and radio outlook is reasonable.
2007-11-14: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin has proposed that the Commission make only one limited change in its media ownership regulations namely to end the 32-years-old absolute ban on newspaper-broadcast station cross-ownership but only in the largest markets and subject to various criteria and limitations. Other regulations would remain as at present.
In a statement posted on the FCC web site Martin notes that although the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 2003 sent back the proposals made by the Commission it agreed that the blanket ban was no longer in the public interest. He adds that when the rule was introduced cable TV was in its early years and there were no satellite broadcast services or Internet.
Consumers, says Martin, have benefited but "according to almost every measure newspapers are struggling" with at least 300 daily papers having ceased publication and those remaining seeing circulation and advertising revenue fall along with their stock price.
He says permitting cross-ownership can preserve the viability of newspapers by allowing them to share their operational costs across multiple media platforms but is only proposing it be allowed in the largest markets and where it meets four conditions.
These are that the market is one of the 20 largest Nielsen Designated Market Areas; that the transaction involves the combination of a major daily newspaper and one television or radio station; that if it involves a TV station this is not amongst the top four ranked stations in the market and at least eight 8 independently owned and operating major media voices (defined to include major newspapers and full-power commercial TV stations) would remain in the DMA following the transaction.
Martin adds that in evaluating any particular transaction that met the conditions the Commission would consider the level of media ownership concentration in the market; require it to be shown that the combination will increase the amount of local news in the market and a commitment that both the newspaper and the broadcast outlet will continue to exercise independent news judgment and the financial condition of the newspaper.
The release notes that the previous proposals would have allowed cross-ownership in 170 markets rather than only some transactions in the top 20 markets where they are determined to be in the public interest.
The release also includes an attached Op-Ed by Martin that was published in Tuesday's New York Times and goes over details of the plight of newspapers before concluding that "The F.C.C. needs to address these issues in a coherent and consistent fashion rather than considering them case by case, making policy by waiver."
Martin also pays a tribute to Democrat Commissioner Michael Copps who he writes "has argued that our very democracy is at stake in the decisions we make regarding media ownership."
"I do not disagree," says Martin. "But if we believe that newspaper journalism plays a unique role in the functioning of our democracy, then we cannot turn a blind eye to the financial condition in which these companies find themselves."
New York Times - Martin Op-Ed:
2007-11-14: Sirius and XM Satellite Radio stockholders as expected on Tuesday voted by an overwhelming majority to approve a merger with XM satellite radio: A preliminary count showed a vote of more than 96% in favour at Sirius and more than 99.8% at XM.
Commenting on the vote, Sirius Chairman and CEO Mel Karmazin said he was "pleased" with the outcome and continued, "The approval by Sirius stockholders of our merger with XM represents a significant step in the approval process, and on behalf of the Board and management team, I want to thank our stockholders for their continued support. We look forward to completing the merger by the end of the year and, together with XM, becoming an even stronger competitor in the ever expanding audio entertainment marketplace offering consumers more choices at lower prices."
At XM, chairman Gary Parsons said in a statement, "Today's vote is the latest demonstration of the strong support for our merger from a wide range of individuals and prestigious organizations who recognize the benefits that a merger will bring to consumers. We are proud to have received support for our merger from organizations representing African Americans, women, rural Americans and Hispanics, as well as from former FCC Chairmen and Commissioners and a diverse group of elected officials. We appreciate our shareholders' overwhelming support."
The merger requires regulator approval from both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the satellite companies have continued to publicize the support they have gained for the merger as on the other side of the fence have the merger's opponents, particularly the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
Regarding the merger, the Washington Post reports that Bethesda-based minority-run private-equity firm Georgetown Partners, which has opposed the merger on the basis that it could limit opportunities for minority programming, has asked regulators if they do approve it to require the combined company to turn control of some channels over to a minority-controlled entity.
The paper says that in a meeting with FCC staff Georgetown Partners said it wanted to lease around a fifth of the 300 available satellite channels from a combined satellite radio company and use them to create subscription and free advertiser-supported programming.
It quotes from a letter that the firm's managing director Chester Davenport wrote to the FCC saying that without such a condition the merger would "bestow upon the combined Sirius-XM a stranglehold on nationwide programming and content."
The paper says some minority groups have expressed concern that a single monopoly satellite radio company could cut niche programming and also that offering channels on an a-la-carte basis, as Sirius chief executive Mel Karmazin has proposed, could put minorities at a disadvantage because consumers are more likely to buy mainstream channels.
It also quotes Gary L. Flowers, executive director of the Black Leadership Forum, who supports Georgetown Partner's proposal, as saying, "People of colour, particularly African Americans, do not fare well under mega-mergers, both from a consumer perspective and a contracting one."
The satellite companies say there is no need for any plan and notes the support it has attracted from organizations representing minorities including the NAACP and the National Black Chamber of Commerce.
Washington Post report:
2007-11-14: Leeds community station Radio Jcom has been awarded an AM licence by UK media regulator Ofcom and is set to become the first wholly dedicated Jewish radio station in the UK, and only one of a handful of such stations around the world, excluding Israel.
The station was formed by a group of community members with broadcasting, media, communal and business backgrounds from a cross-section of the Leeds Jewish community and will launch as an Internet-based station offering web site information and a full service programming schedule for the Leeds Jewish community.
It will not broadcast on Shabbat and envisages a 24-hour service 6 days a week service comprised of a wide range of programmes from music to sport to youth to news, encompassing every aspect of the Jewish community.
Radio JCom web site:
2007-11-13: The US Senate Judiciary Committee is today to hold hearings on performance fees for music aired on terrestrial US radio stations in a hearing, "Exploring the Scope of Public Performance Rights" that has spurred the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) into further lobbying.
In the latest stage of its campaign against performance royalty fees for music aired on US terrestrial radio the NAB is today sending all Members of Congress a stuffed toy duck bearing the message "No Performance Tax on Local Radio" along with a copy of its latest advert that it is placing in publications such as Congress Daily, The Politico and Roll Call.
The advert shows the duck with above it text reading "If it walks like a duck, and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck well, you know" and then below it further text reading ,
"The big international record labels are asking for a congressional mandate to force local radio stations to pay for promoting the labels' artists, music and concerts. But they'd rather you not call it a tax, because no one likes to pay taxes
You can't change the facts.
By levying a new fee on radio stations - which some analysts estimate could reach USD 7 billion annually - Congress would be taxing the stations in their backyards to line the pockets of international record label executives.
Taxing radio for promoting their music free of charge? That's one idea that just won't fly.
Below this in bold is the line "and NAB's logo.
The musicFirst Coalition, which will be represented at the Senate hearing by Lyle Lovett and singer/songwriter Alice Peacock, in a news release decried NAB's figures on the cost of any fee, saying NAB had been "spinning so much that even their spokespeople are confused. What will the story be tomorrow: millions or billions, tax or no tax?"
The group says that an NAB spokesperson claimed on Nov. 8 performance fees force radio stations to pay "to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars," but that the "NAB-supported Free Radio Web site"cited some press and analyst reports that said the fee could mean an extra USD 2 billion to 7 billion annually "into the pockets of record label executives."
In another news release last week musicFirst pointed to a report from an FCC economist that showed radio advertising rates had nearly doubled over the past decade and said recording artists were being "left in the lurch as radio refuses to pay for sound recordings."
It quoted Tom Lee, international president of the American Federation of Musicians, as saying, "What people don't realize is that 99% of the people who make money from music are not household names. They are club acts, mid-tier and emerging artists, background musicians, orchestra musicians, and others who struggle to make ends meet."
RNW comment: If it perverts the language, provides misleading research, or treats you as if you are illiterate or stupid or both well you know it well may be from NAB. And if it is and you have any standards you know where it should go!
musicFirst isn't much better either: It shoots itself in the foot with an awful, slow-loading Flash-based website and isn't particularly sharp on putting forward its point of view. And when it does, as per the Lee quote, it doesn't think things through since we would suggest the people about whom he comments are precisely those who would benefit most from promotion of their acts rather than fees for airing music.
In fact we continue to think, as per our March comment that the best way forward is a market-led approach of a number of classes of copyright that would allow artists some choice as to whether to waive performance fees in favour of getting promotion or levy them at the risk of less airplay.
2007-11-13: UTV has enticed BBC Radio Five Live's managing editor, Moz Dee to join it as programme director at talkSPORT and its new digital station Talk Radio from early next year to replace Bill Ridley who is to retire from talkSPORT after eight years.
Dee joined talkSPORT's predecessor Talk Radio as a presenter in 1995 after starting his career in 1990 as a presenter on BBC local radio station CWR. He moved back to the BBC in 1999 when he joined Five Live in 1999 working on sports rights and programming and later commissioning editor and finally managing editor.
He said in a statement released by UTV, "I've had eight fantastic years at Five Live. It's been a privilege to work with Bob Shennan [Five controller] and the team The decision to leave clearly wasn't taken lightly. But the opportunity to work with UTV, talkSPORT and the new Talk Radio station was too good to resist. UTV is a dynamic commercial operation and Talk is a fantastic product. I look forward to contributing to their continued growth and success."
Ridley commented, "It's been a great eight years and I'm very grateful to Scott [Taunton] and to all of my colleagues who have helped make the station what it is today. Moz Dee is a great appointment and I look forward to helping him in anyway he wants me to."
UTV Radio Chief Executive Scott Taunton said of Dee's move and Ridley's retirement, "Moz has a wealth of experience in speech radio, which will be invaluable as UTV continues to invest and grow its radio assets. He will have a pivotal role in the launch of Talk Radio in the summer of 2008 and as well as driving forward the company's flagship station, talkSPORT. I look forward to working with him in the near future."
He added, "Regrettably Bill Ridley has taken the decision to retire from the position of programme director following eight tremendous years with talkSPORT. His achievements during this period have been without parallel and earlier this year Bill took talkSPORT to its highest ever market share. No one was more worthy of the recognition he received at the Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards this year, where he was awarded Programmer of the Year. I'm delighted that Bill has agreed to continue to play a significant role as a consultant to the station and will be heavily involved in the exciting launch of Talk Radio later next year."
Dee is currently on "gardening leave" from the BBC.
2007-11-13: Greater Media, Inc. has announced agreement on a USD 100 million cash deal to buy Lincoln Financial Group's Charlotte-based radio cluster - simulcast news/talk WBT-AM & FM and talk/AC WLKN-FM, the home of home of the nationally-syndicated "The Bob and Sheri Show."
Lincoln Financial Group announced in June that it had hired Merrill Lynch & Co. to advise it on options for its media business, Lincoln Financial Media, including a sale (See RNW Jun 9) and in a separate deal has sold its three TV stations - WBTV, Charlotte, North Carolina., WWBT, Richmond, Virginia., and WCSC, Charleston, South Carolina - and its sports syndication business, to Raycom Media Inc. for USD 583 million in cash.
It still owns 15 radio stations - in Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego - and said it would continue to "operate and invest in its remaining radio properties to improve value and will explore options to divest those assets as market conditions dictate."
Lincoln Financial Group President and CEO Dennis R. Glass said it was "pleased" to have reached the sales agreements and described the buyers as "high-quality media companies with a commitment to building these businesses." Lincoln says it will use the sale proceeds primarily for debt reduction and share repurchases.
Commenting on its acquisition, which is expected to close early next year, Greater Media President and CEO Peter Smyth said, "Charlotte is a huge growth market and gives us a strong presence in the Southeast to balance our successful markets in the Northeast. We've met with the team in Charlotte and think they will be a great fit with the Greater Media family."
Also with Greater Media, its WROR-FM, Boston, has now switched to Christmas programming with "Loren and Wally and Boston's Favorite Christmas Songs."
The station yesterday began a weeknight 18:00-20:00 link to the North Pole for children to "talk to Santa" as well as Loren and Wally in the morning and Paul Perry in the afternoon and on Christmas Day will air Christmas Songs all day and night.
Program Director Ken West commented, "With Loren and Wally in the morning, Paul Perry in the afternoon, and Santa talking to kids each evening, 105.7 WROR is definitely the most fun place to get all of Boston's Favorite Christmas Songs."
Previous Greater Media:
Previous Lincoln Financial:
2007-11-13: The BBC on Monday launched its first podcasts containing music- albeit on a very limited basis of 30-second clips - starting with a podcast of the BBC Radio 1 Chart Show that included clips of the hits played on the show along with the run down of the Top 40.
Other BBC Radio 1 podcasts with music clips are to launch this week including its Punk Show; Rock Show; Indie Weekly; Dance Weekly; Zane Lowe's Hottest Records; and Mini Mix podcasts and there are also clips in BBC 1Xtra podcasts with the offering to be extended from next Saturday to include some shows from other stations including Folk & Acoustic with Mike Harding from BBC Radio 2; Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone from BBC 6 Music; and the BBC Asian Network Chart.
Mark Friend, Controller, Multiplatform & Interactive, BBC Audio & Music, said of the change in a release, "Including clips of music in our podcasting service allows us to represent the incredible breadth of BBC Radio's output. We now have a service that offers highlights of both music and speech programming, giving listeners a much wider choice of great content to download."
RNW comment: Much more like acceding to a smart marketing move by the recording companies than benefiting would-be listeners in our view.
We still won't waste our time on these particular podcasts- and can't really understand why anyone would have bothered with them without the music - but will go for the listen-again stream or live programme when interested or forget the programme totally.
2007-11-12: This week in our look at print comment on radio, we again concentrate on the US and consider reports on media ownership regulation, satellite radio and the proposed merger of Sirius and XM, and various thoughts on terrestrial radio: To start off with, however, we note an AP article in Business Week that both reflects on a bad year past and suggests a stronger year to come "as a hotly contested presidential election and improved economy are expected to amplify ad revenues."
We take leave to doubt the latter but the first is certainly true, albeit it may be as much an indictment of the US political process as a forecast for radio's future.
The base being worked from is also a depressed one - the article notes that stocks overall are down 3.7% for the year according to a Morningstar index but that this figure is heavily weighted by the effects of the potential Sirius-XM merger and also includes Clear Channel, whose shares were up 2.6% mainly because its purchase by private equity investors. "Most large radio operators" it continues, "have seen their shares crumble by more than 25 percent. Among the hardest hit have been Westwood One Inc., which is off 67 percent; Citadel Broadcasting Corp., down 45 percent; and Cox Radio Inc., off 26 percent."
On then to comment that combines satellite and radio courtesy of the Chicago Tribune and a Phil Rosenthal report based on comments from Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin, most of whose career was spent in terrestrial radio.
Karmazin commented of radio consolidation and his advocacy of it that this was "Strictly for business reasons. No one asked me if it was good for consumers" and says of Clear Channel's policy of clustering station management and sales - a policy followed by the rest of the industry - "It totally homogenized radio ... and, surprise, surprise, the revenue was affected. That's why you're seeing terrestrial radio not growing It's very similar, pardon the expression, to the newspaper business. It's a very good business. It throws off a lot of cash. But it's not growing ... and once it's not growing, then they started cutting costs and letting Howard Stern and other talent get away."
Karmazin commented on some of the Chicago stations once owned by Infinity/CBS Radio, saying of "great oldies station" WJMK, "Someone made a decision to screw it up. Maybe that wasn't their plan at the time, but that's what happened. You go around the country and an awful lot of the decisions that radio people have made have affected the values of [media] corporations by billions of dollars."
Of satellite he noted that CBS's WUSN-FM country station "will play country music, but we have five country music channels we'll offer you, so there's more choice," he said. "And, by the way, as the consolidation of radio has taken place and there seems to be more commercials on [broadcast stations], then we're going to offer you those channels commercial-free."
Karmazin's comments naturally lead to the issue of the satellite radio merger and Marc Fisher's report in the Washington Post under the headline "XM-Sirius Merger Made Simple: One Is Always Less Than Two."
Significantly Fisher begins on the basis for regulatory decision - "Would combining the two companies unfairly diminish consumer choice or, as the companies argue, turn losing operations into a profitable service with lower prices?" before going on to suggest that "the questions for listeners are different: Would a single satellite radio company produce more or less interesting and entertaining content? Would the menu of music, news, sports, comedy and talk programming get longer or shorter -- and at what price? Wouldn't reducing the satellite field to one company lead inevitably to service cuts and price increases?"
He continues, "Think about it: Can you name one example of a new consumer technology that was guaranteed to a single provider and still served customers well? (Don't everyone say "cable TV" at once.)"
Fisher then runs through the arguments made by the satellite companies in terms of the existence of other sources of content that did not exist when their services were approved together with a ban on their merger.
Fisher asks in relation to this, "Will Americans in a decade or two recognize any useful distinction among different media, or will broadcast, Web, print and phone all merge into one stream of information and entertainment?"
He also turns the arguments of the satellite companies in favour of their consolidation against them, writing, "The past decade has provided convincing evidence that corporate consolidation in radio and other media leads to dramatic cost-cutting, which results in less local programming and lower quality. Why wouldn't the same happen in satellite radio?" [RNW comment: Maybe the Chicago Tribune should have thrown Karmazin's comments about his earlier support for terrestrial radio consolidation being "Strictly for business reasons. No one asked me if it was good for consumers" back at him in relation to satellite?].
Ultimately Fisher comes down against a merger, asking how long "more obscure, low-rated satellite programming such as Sirius's Underground Garage rock or NPR Talk channels or XM's Cinemagic movie music or choral classical outlets" would survive in "a monopoly, a la carte system?"
"Virtually anyone can start an Internet radio station these days and play an intriguing mix of music," he says, "But only XM and Sirius -- and National Public Radio, perhaps -- have the resources to produce a great range of creative, professionally produced programming: Bob Dylan's explorations in music and storytelling on XM; original radio dramas; XM's Artist Confidential series of sessions with big-name performers; and specialized programs for truckers, gays, Latinos, NASCAR fans, Broadway lovers, opera buffs, movie-music mavens, presidential campaign addicts and on and on.
He concludes, "Both XM and Sirius say they can survive without the merger, even in fierce competition with all the other content providers scrapping for an audience today. Let them compete."
And after that a strong blog from Jerry Del Colliano in Inside Music Media last week that he headlined, "Radio's New Litmus Test."
After commenting on controversy surrounding Arbitron's PPM ratings he continues that he has "a litmus test, if you will, for a radio station's real popularity that has nothing to do with Arbitron diaries or new technology."
"Imagine for a moment that your station had to support itself like a non-commercial public station does -- by soliciting donations from happy listeners and willing corporations and sponsors. Not just spots So, if your station turned to its listeners tomorrow and said support us because we're your lifeline to -- blank (whatever you do so well that they would give donations to you), would your listeners do it?"
That is perforce he says the choice for Public radio which "has to have high (approval) ratings from its listeners because the stations ask their listeners to help fund operations. These stations have to be seen as critical to the community because they have to go to sponsors and corporations and seek grant money for local shows. (I'm not talking about the national beg-a-thons here, just the local ones).
"It's remarkable that public stations -- available to everyone for free -- can attract donors who will support them nonetheless. This means they are filling an important need in their communities, in their niches, in the lives of their audiences.
"Could commercial stations say that? " he then asks and answers the question by writing, "Of course they could say it, but I doubt that they could even begin to get donations because most commercial stations are either glorified iPods with inane DJs or outlets for national programming that makes little sense to the successful radio mantra -- local, local, local.
"In the months ahead, watch the radio industry commit suicide The consolidators inspired by the folks at Clear Channel are cutting expenses and reducing their staffs in anticipation of more trouble ahead. The outlook for radio in 2008 is bleak. Seven years of erosion and poor prognostications for the year ahead in audience and billing. That's not me talking -- it's your few remaining Wall Street analysts who cover radio."
And after commenting on radio as a "safe haven for blowhards" and its business model - he suggests fewer commercials and cites Peter Smythe of Greater Media as in favour of "tightening inventory and raising prices" - Colliano comments, "What I am saying is that commercial radio doesn't have to become public radio, but it should think like public radio."
And finally another bit of blowhard in the shape of Rush Limbaugh who has been upsetting some folks in Alaska according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. It commented that Limbaugh "specializes in touching nerves that lay very close to lines others have the decency not to cross" and then said he had crossed the line in relation to the testimony 18-years old Cheryl Charlee Lockwood offered to the congressional Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
Of comments made by the "Excellence in Broadcasting " host, the paper says his "first-day reaction was to inaccurately and insultingly describe Ms. Lockwood as a 13-year-old Inupiat (she's Yup'ik) girl from Alaska and cast her on par with the white actor who played the "crying Indian" during 1970s TV commercials aimed at littering. He decried her emotional testimony as a nauseating Democrat ploy."
He then "added her to his list of 'victims exploited by the Democrats' and joined callers in painting her as 'brainwashed' and belittled her cultural concerns" . "continued to exploit her testimony, playing it time and again, and would not apologize for his attacks" and then "The coup de grace was Mr. Limbaugh laughing with a woman caller who claimed to be a former Alaska resident, now 'a Texan by choice.' Of Ms. Lockwood's testimony she said, 'if they're losing their way of life, that would probably mean the liquor store was closing.'"
The paper comments of this comment, "Under no circumstance is a reference to alcoholism in rural Alaska a laughing matter. Tasteless is a kind modifier for allowing it into a national radio discussion of a civic-minded young woman's testimony."
RNW comment: Whilst we would question Limbaugh's taste in attaching his party-proselytising rants to many subjects, one might have thought that with his experience in relation to Oxy-Contin some warning light would have flashed up about this last remark in the brain of any reasonably intelligent and decent human. We leave it to others to decide as to which of these qualities is lacking in Limbaugh.
Finally listening suggestions starting with some of the BBC Radio 4 MP3s cum podcasts that we have put on our list as worthy of trying to listen to: The weekend's "Profile", which was on Cyril Ramaphosa whose life has encompassed being a trades union leader, significant player in the dismantling of apartheid in his native South Africa, to millionaire businessman and now potentially a leader of the African National Congress; Last Thursday's "Material World", in particular for an item on how Bombardier beetles' use of a toxic blast of steam to fend of predators has inspired development of needle-free injections and could also by making development of sprays more efficient yet improve automobile fuel efficiency; and also the BBC World Service Documentary Archive for the three-part "Inside the Climate Change Talks" currently on the site and also the "Can America Go Green" series, parts 1 from last week - on how the US might step back from its role as the planet's greatest polluter - and 2 from today - on General Electric's green efforts - are on the site along with the special One Planet debate "In search of a New Kyoto" from Friday last week and also from Friday the latest programme in "The Interview" series, this one featuring former US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Then from Radio Netherlands we suggest last Saturday's "The State We're In", which had comments from Edwin van der Laar on being very tall and Dr Tom Shakespeare on being four foot five (137cm); a model who is fighting the urge to be size zero and a Nigerian husband who finds his wife's obesity beautiful never mind a visit to the Museum of Broken Relationships in Berlin that opened last month (The Zagreb one opened last year!).
Then from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation we suggest last week's "Media Report", a discussion on the power of blogging, and Sunday's "Night Air" on the topic of String Theory!
And from on-air (or streamed) BBC programmes we suggest BBC Radio 2 from last Saturday and "A War less Ordinary" that followed the "Festival of Remembrance" by looking on Remembrance Day (originally Armistice Day to mark the end of the First World War -Veterans Day in the US) with a look at the wartime experiences of non-combatants such as nurses, fire wardens and Land Army workers and tomorrow's (22:30 GMT) "I Wish I'd Thought of That", which is on the topic of "MySpace".
For Americana addicts the station on Thursday (19:00GMT) has highlights of the Sixth Americana Music Association Awards in Nashville and later (23:00 GMT) in the second of a four part series "The Cowboy's Last Ride" looks at Hollywood and the cowboy - from Gene Autry to the happy Indian and Tex Ritter. Finally from Radio 2 on Saturday, "Days in the Life" marks the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd.
From BBC Radio 3 we suggest last Sunday's "The Choir", which featured "A World Requiem" by John Foulds. Later in the evening the "Drama on 3" slot was "Yesterday an Incident Occurred" by Mark Ravenhill, a play looking at Britons' relationship with the "War on Terror".
This was part of the station's "Free Thinking 2007" series of programmes that also includes in "The Essay" slot (23:00GMT Monday through Thursday), four essays reflecting on Freedom.
And finally back to BBC Radio 4 and from today (11:00GMT) "The Age Old Dilemma" in which Dr Michael O'Donnell asks why our images of the elderly are so misinformed and whether this affects how old people are treated. It was followed by "Fordham and Lipson", comedy sketches from Philippa Fordham and Simon Lipson that range up to the very good.
On the station tonight (A repeat that is already on the site as an MP3) "Crossing Continents" looks at the plight of Thalidomide victims in Spain and in the afternoons (15:45 GMT) ) in "Turn Over Your Papers ... Now!" John O'Farrell explores our relationship with exams and tomorrow (20:00GMT) "File on 4" - "How to Close Guantanamo?" looks at the potential problems in closing the US's controversial detention facility and investigates claims that the US is already breaking international law by sending detainees to countries where they may face abuse and torture.
Business Week - AP on radio business.
Chicago Tribune - Rosenthal:
Inside Music Media - Del Colliano:
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner re Limbaugh:
Washington Post - Fisher:
2007-11-11: Last week the main regulator issue yet again was that of US media ownership and the final meeting on the matter organized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)heard yet more opposition to loosening the rules (See below): Elsewhere things were fairly quiet with only a few decisions from Australia, Canada and the UK and no radio announcements from Ireland.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has revoked additional licence conditions it placed when the licence was allocated in 1998 on community radio broadcasting licence 8KNB Darwin held by Radio Larrakia Association Inc.
Announcing the decision, ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said the original purpose of the conditions was to ensure that the station "met the existing and perceived future needs of the broader indigenous community in Darwin."
The additional licence conditions required Radio Larrakia to include representatives of Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (TEABBA) and Larrakia Nation on its board and sub-committees and to open membership to all Darwin residents and the station had requested their revocation when it submitted a proposed revised constitution.
The ACMA has investigated a complaint that Radio Larrakia failed to meet licence conditions to encourage members of the community it serves to participate in the operations and programming of the service - it had frozen its membership in 2006) and to represent its community of interest, finding that there had been a breach relating to the obligation to encourage community participation as a result of a freeze on its membership but not of the requirement to represent its community of interest.
Regarding the former the ACMA noted that the decision to freeze membership was not made by Radio Larrakia but by an authorised external body and that the breach arose from circumstances not entirely within Radio Larrakia's control and was not within its power to remedy.
Accordingly it opted to take no enforcement action and in removing the licence conditions noted that it "considers that the interests of the indigenous community in the Darwin licence area continue to be protected by the standard licence condition in the Broadcasting Services Act and that Radio Larrakia's proposed constitution provides an efficient and effective method of ensuring representation of Larrakia and non-Larrakia people on 8KNB's board and sub-committees."
In Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C. has told the annual Convention of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) that finding the optimum balance between market forces and regulation remains the main challenge for the Commission (See RNW Nov 6).
Radio related decisions posted included:
*Administrative renewal until Feb 28 next year of the licence of CIQX-FM, Calgary. The short-term renewal was made because the Commission was unable to rule on the application before the licence expired.
Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to increase the power of its transmitter CBDB-AM, Watson Lake, by increasing the , power from 40 watts to a daytime transmitter power of 400 watts and a night-time transmitter power of 165 watts.
The CRTC also posted a public notice calling for applications for a new commercial licence to serve Winnipeg, Manitoba, with a deadline of January 16 next year. It notes that in making the call, which follows its receipt of such an application, it has not decided to issue a licence at this time.
In Ireland no radio decisions were posted but in the UK, Ofcom has awarded the new digital multiplex for Oxfordshire to the GCap Media-led bid from NOWdigital (Oxford) Ltd. which was competing against a rival bid from Muxco (See RNW Nov 4) and also said it has received a total of 71 applications for Short-term Restricted Service Licences (S-RSLs) for Ramadan 2008 broadcasts by the end of its deadline (See RNW Nov 8). It also posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld three radio standards complaints (See RNW Nov 5).
Regarding community radio it has announced the receipt of 24 applications for community radio licences in North Wales and North West England from:
Llandudno - Tudno FM;
Rhyl - The Light FM; Point FM;
Wrexham - Wrexham FM:
North West England:
Altrincham, Hale and Bowden - Halt FM;
Bolton - Bolton FM;
Burnley - Burnley FM;
Congleton - CCM;
Crewe and Nantwich - The Kat;
Knowsley - KCC Live;
Lytham St Annes - The Source Radio;
Macclesfield - Canalside Community Radio;
Manchester - Gaydio; North Manchester FM; Peace FM; Unity Radio (Manchester, Trafford and Salford);
Preston - City Community Radio Preston; Preston FM;
Rossendale Valley - Rossendale Radio;
Southport - Southport Community Radio;
St Helens - Radio Together;
Tatton - Tatton FM;
Warrington - Radio Worm;
Wirral - Flame Christian & Community Radio;
And in staffing, Ofcom has announced the appointment of Stuart McIntosh, who has been a leading Strategy Partner in the Communications practice at IBM in the USA for the past two years, as its new Competition Partner
In the US, the main issue for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was, as already noted, that of ownership regulation. The FCC was also involved in a number of enforcement actions and renewal of licences where there had been objections to the renewal.
In California, it rejected calls to deny renewal to a number of Clear Channel's licences but did propose penalties.
Renewed were the licences of KSJO-FM, San Jose; KNEW-AM-, Oakland; and KYLD-FM and KMEL-FM, San Francisco.
Petitions to deny their renewal has been filed by, amongst others, the Youth Media Council and Media Alliance in addition to various individual objectors and in the case of KNEW-AM the licensee had admitted that some quarterly issues and programmes lists were not in the stations public information file.
The FCC in relation to this matter has proposed a USD 10,000 forfeiture regarding KNEW and it has also proposed the same forfeiture in the case of KSJO for falsely saying it had not breached any regulations during the licence term preceding the application.
In relation to objections to renewal on the basis of failure to serve the public interest the FCC rejected the calls to deny renewal and noted of objections on the basis of airing indecent or offensive material that the matter was one which had been dealt with under a USD 1.765 million
*Consent Degree between the company and Clear Channel.
In other enforcement and renewal matters the FCC granted renewal and proposed penalties for filing renewal applications after the deadline and in some cases proposed penalties including the following ( In descending amount of penalty proposed):
*Issued USD 1,500 Notice of Apparent liability for forfeiture (NAL) to Visible, L.L.C. , licensee of WIPS-AM, Ticonderoga, New York for late filing of renewal application.
*Issued USD 500 NAL to Scotnmex Broadcasting, LLC, licensee of low power FM Station WAPP-LP, Westhampton, New York for failure to file renewal application on time and unauthorized operation after expiry of its licence.
*Issued USD 500 NAL to California Black Chamber Of Commerce, licensee of low power FM Station WAPP-LP, Westhampton, New York for failure to file renewal application on time and unauthorized operation after expiry of its licence.
*Issued USD 250 NAL to Aquila Broadcasting Corp., licensee of low power FM Station WAPP-LP, Westhampton, New York for failure to file renewal application on time and unauthorized operation after expiry of its licence.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-11-11: The latest - and last - of six planned meetings on media ownership held by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has heard more criticism of consolidation in US media and also saw FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin, who has been criticized by Democrats on the Commission for the short notice given of the meeting and also for trying to push eased media regulation through, greeted with boos and catcalls
In all some 750 people attended the meeting and around 200 had signed up to testify at the hearings, nearly all of them opposed to relaxing ownership regulations.
Opposition to more consolidations reported the Seattle Times, came from a range of speakers including Washington State governor Christine Gregoire and Attorney General Rob McKenna and media-form activists who staged a demonstration dressed as "media-consolidation zombies" to draw attention to what many see as a supine attitude from the FCC in relation to the wishes of the media industry.
Support for changes and an easing of regulations came from the general managers of Seattle's KING-TV and KCPQ-TV, owned respectively by Dallas-based Belo and Chicago-based Tribune, both of which owned newspapers and broadcasters in some locations before the ban on co-ownership was introduced and who say that technological changes such as the Internet and cable and satellite services have produced additional media choices.
Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen, whose family control 50.5 percent of The Seattle Times Co., called for additional restrictions rather than an easing of regulations, saying that there should be a ban on cross-ownership of national print and broadcast outlets as well as of local cross-ownership. He says the result of consolidation and absentee owners had been "a disinvestment in journalism, causing serious erosion in America's public-policy literacy and civic engagement."
Martin noted that Blethen was in a minority of newspaper publishers in opposing an easing of the rules and said most had called for opportunities to diversify to avoid news cuts.
Seattle Times report:
2007-11-11: Two prominent Sydney radio hosts have chosen to quit, one to work full-time in TV and the other to spend time with his family because of the early job his wife has on TV, thus meaning they have had little time with their children.
Quitting to concentrate on TV work is former ABC Melbourne drive time host Virginia Trioli, who moved to Sydney in October 2005 (See RNW Oct 24, 2005) to take over the ABC 702 morning slot following Sally Loane's departure after six years in the slot.
Trioli announced her decision to move - her last show will be on December 14 - on her show last week, saying, "After eight years [on local radio] ... I have decided it's time to shift the focus of my life this morning. It's not been easy making this decision because I love radio, it's in my blood."
She added, "It's time for a change and time to focus on my other work with Sunday Arts and Lateline on ABC TV, so I'm not going too far. The past two years at 702 ABC Sydney have been a pleasure and a privilege. My greatest thanks go to the generous, diverse and well-informed 702 ABC Sydney audience for being such good company."
In a report on the station web site, acting manager Andy Henley noted Trioli's ratings success - over 2007 she was second-ranked amongst talk shows with an 8% share average and a 10.6% share of her target audience, and continued, "We are disappointed that Virginia has decided not to be part of the station's line up in 2008 but understand her need for a change and support her desire to concentrate on her work for ABC TV. We will now begin the search for a replacement who can continue to provide the Sydney community with the high standard of local information that they have come to expect."
Also moving on is Mike Carlton's Sydney 2UE breakfast co-host Peter Fitzsimons who has decided not to renew his contract next year. The Sydney Morning Herald says he made the decision because of the strains on his family from his wife Lisa Wilkinson's work on the Channel Nine "Today" TV show.
"For me, my wife and three children, the situation changed from the first days of Lisa becoming co-host of the Today show," he told the paper. "While we coped fairly well as a family with the two of us getting out of bed in the wee hours, we came to the conclusion that it was going to be difficult to flourish as a family doing that over the long haul."
Fitzsimons, a former Wallabies rugby star, who left the team for five years to live, play, and write in France and Italy, before regaining his position, is a columnist for the Morning Herald and Sun-Herald and also appears regularly on the "Today" show on Nine as well as Foxtel's "The Back Page." He has also written 14 books and is one of Australia's busiest after-dinner speakers.
The paper says he intends to continue his newspaper columns and is also working on a book about Australia's aviation pioneer, Charles Kingsford Smith.
His decision to leave came shortly after the sale of the station which was part of the Macquarie Media purchase of Southern Cross Broadcasting, a deal that was followed by the sale of
Southern Cross's metropolitan radio stations and Southern Cross Syndication to Fairfax Media, whose newspaper holdings include the Sydney Morning Herald, and a sale by Fairfax Media to Macquarie of its nine regional radio stations.
In addition to these moves, Sami Lukis who reads the news on DMG's Nova in Sydney is leaving the Merrick and Rosso breakfast show and is to return to her home town of Brisbane.
According to the Courier Mail, Lukis, who is 37, says she has decided to put her personal life before her career and look for a man in her life, saying, "For fifteen years I have been focussing on my career and maybe I have spent too much time doing that. Maybe that's why I have not met a bloke yet."
Yet another radio host who is to leave shortly - in this case 2UE morning host John Laws, who is to retire after 55 years in the business, has said that he suffers from manic depression and is so down some days he can't get out of bed.
Laws, who is 72, told Andrew Denton in a TV interview with on the ABC TV "Enough Rope" show that is to be broadcast tomorrow evening (21:25 local, 11:25 GMT) -some three weeks before he retires, "Some mornings I get so depressed I can't get out of bed - I ring up and say I've got a headache. I haven't got a headache. I just am so down I can't get out of bed."
As to why he felt that way he commented, "I don't know. Ask anybody who gets depressed. They don't know. I don't know It's a very difficult thing to explain because you look at yourself and even in a depressed state you lie in bed and you think, well, I've got Caroline[his wife], I've got kids who in the main are pretty good . . . and I've got sufficient money -- what have I got to be depressed about?"
He also spoke of being a womaniser before settling down with his wife, commenting, "I just loved women and I love their company and I like being in their company" but adding that his philandering ended after he married"
"I fell in love with Caroline when Caroline was 14. And then she went to London and did ballet dancing, and then married and left the country, and there was a 20-year gap where I didn't see her," he said. "But as soon as she came back into my life, that was it . . . we've been together ever since."
Previous Fairfax Media:
ABC 702 - Trioli report:
Courier Mail - Lukis report:
ABC Enough Rope web site (Normally posts video excerpts after show: Site currently includes excerpts of Rod Stewart and Helen Mirren interviews amongst others.)
Sydney Morning Herald -Fitzsimons report:
2007-11-11: Arbitron has reacted to criticism of its portable people meter (PPM) ratings by the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), concerned that the electronic meter produces lower figures for urban and Hispanic stations, by saying it would welcome "independent review of the PPM's methodology."
Arbitron president and CEO Stephen B. Morris said that the company would take action if the PPM was found to be "not valid" but defended the system, whose "pre-currency" numbers for New York city significantly cut the ratings for urban stations, saying, "We fundamentally disagree with NABOB that the PPM needs fixes in New York, so the idea of an independent panel makes a lot of sense. We welcome independent review of our methodology."
NABOB Executive Director and General Counsel Jim Winston commented of the PPM, "The New York City results were even worse for urban and Hispanic radio than the Philadelphia and Houston numbers. The New York PPM numbers showed a substantial loss of audience for all stations, but the loss for the urban- and Hispanic-formatted stations was far worse than for the market as a whole."
Winston said NABOB had been meeting with Arbitron for months - and several of its members has been meeting with them for years- to urge improvements in PPM methodology and added, "The New York results demonstrate that the limited changes that Arbitron claims to have implemented have done no good."
He continued, "Declines this substantial raise serious issues about who and what is actually being measured and how the PPM methodology manipulates that data. Given Arbitron's virtual monopoly, Arbitron is able to dictate tremendous fee increases, which it knows the stations must pay because there is no other ratings alternative. Therefore, Urban formatted, Hispanic formatted and minority owned stations -- formats and stations that have been the most negatively impacted by PPM to date -- are forced to pay increased fees for a service they know produces results that will likely be to their financial detriment. Arbitron has issued several months of PPM data, and it is clear, not just to our members, but to the radio industry as a whole, that this new technology is flawed. This is an industry problem, not just an urban radio problem."
The PPM ratings are due to become "currency" in New York next month and its PPM service in Houston has already received Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation with the MRC audit for Philadelphia completed and that for New York due to be completed this month.
Previous Media Rating Council:
2007-11-10: Latest US radio results from Citadel and Entercom confirm a continuing weakness in US radio as regards same-station revenues although diverging considerably in other areas because of deals they are involved in.
At Citadel Communications revenues more than doubled - from USD 112.5 million to USD 240.2 million - as a result of its acquisition of ABC Radio but pro-forma figures including the year-earlier results for ABC radio showed revenues down 3.6% to USD 240.2 million (radio station revenues were down USD 10.2 million but this was offset by a Radio Network revenue increase of USD 1.5 million) and an operating profit of USD 40.3 million became a loss of USD 427.4 million because of a USD 495.8 million asset impairment and disposal charge.
Citadel said the charge was "related to an overall deterioration in the radio market place and to a decline in the Company's stock price during the three months ended September 30, 2007 as compared to the Company's stock price that was used under generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America ("GAAP") to record the ABC Radio merger "
Overall Citadel recorded a net loss for the third quarter of USD 447.8 million (USD 1.71 per basic share) compared to net income of USD 18.4 million (16 cents per basic share) a year earlier: It noted that the loss includes USD 463.2 million of asset impairment and disposal charges, net of tax, and USD 4.6 million of stock-based compensation expense, net of tax (Together accounting for USD 1.79 per basic share).
Chairman and CEO Farid Suleman commented, "The Company is pleased with the progress of integrating the ABC Radio and Network business with our existing operations, and we are focusing our efforts on the potential sale of certain radio stations, which is expected to reduce the Company's outstanding indebtedness."
At Entercom, net revenues increased 8% to USD123.1 million and station operating expenses increased 11% to USD 71.3 million with the result that net income fell from USD 16.2 million to USD 14.1 million ( from 41 cents to 38 cents per basic share to and from 41 cents to 37 cents per diluted share): it notes that its same station revenues rose marginally - from USD 122.6 million to USD 123.1 million - and that during the third quarter of 2007, it repurchased 0.3 million shares of common stock for USD7.6 million. Overall Entercom has now retired in excess of 28% of its outstanding common stock since the commencement of its share repurchase programmes.
Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, Entercom says it expects same station net revenues to be in the range of flat to down 2% from the prior period and adds that it is worth noting that in the fourth quarter of last year the Company realized over USD 2.7 million in political revenue.
It also notes that in the fourth quarter it expects to complete various deals including a station exchange with Bonneville that gave it three stations in San Francisco whilst Bonneville gained four stations in Cincinnati, Ohio and three stations in Seattle (See RNW Jan 19) and also the purchase of 11 CBS radio stations in Austin, Texas, Memphis, Tennessee and the Cincinnati, Ohio, stations that went to Bonneville. It has also agreed a USD 20 million sale of KXBT-FM, one of the four Austin stations it acquired from CBS and the purchase for USD 5.8 million in cash of WVEI-FM (formerly WBEC-FM), serving the Springfield, Massachusetts radio market.
A further deal, the acquisition of four CBS stations in Rochester, New York, is not expected to close until early next year.
Entercom President and CEO David J. Field commented of the results, "Third quarter revenues were up fractionally aided by our growth in digital and business development initiatives, offset by sluggish general advertising conditions affecting most traditional media. We continue to build around the power of our integrated marketing platform, which offers customers the power of radio's near universal reach and strong local brands and personalities, plus an expanding menu of creative on-air, on-line and on-site marketing opportunities. We also continue to reward our shareholders with a very attractive dividend from our significant free cash flow."
In the company's conference call, Field was positive about Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings, noting that Entercom's portfolio is concentrated in formats such as AC and Rock that "that appear to do relatively well in PPM, and so we would expect to become one of the primary net beneficiaries of the new technology."
Field was also positive about the overall effect of the PPM, saying that radio had "an incredible reach story that has been validated and dramatically enhanced by PPM" and noting that advertisers would prefer PPM's results. On other matters Field suggested that he would be surprised if a merger of the satellite radio companies were approved and also said he didn't think there would be approval of performance royalties for music broadcast on terrestrial radio.
2007-11-10: Emap's board has issued a statement saying that its review of the company, to include the sale or de-merger of some or all of the constituent parts of the Group, remains on track but so far there have been no bidders for the whole of the current business.
As a result it is asking those parties interested in acquiring its B2B division - which is valued at around GBP 1.2 billion (USD 2.4 billion) and said to be attracting interest from Guardian Media Group and private equity groups Providence and Apax - to consider including the acquisition of Emap plc in their proposals, should an outcome of the review result in B2B being the only business remaining within Emap plc.: It ads that this is being proposed purely as a possible way of enabling the return of the cash, including the proceeds of any potential disposals, to shareholders in an efficient manner.
As well as the B2B business Emap has a consumer magazine division valued at around GBP 700 million ( USD 1.4 billion) and radio assets including the Kiss and Magic stations that is valued at up to GBP 400 million ( USD 800 million) and are of interest to major UK radio groups including GCap Med and Global Radio.
2007-11-10: XM Satellite Radio says it has been told by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it is closing its inquiry into the company's marketing and customer service practices and intends to take no further action.
The inquiry was started in April 2006 (See RNW Apr 28, 2006) at a time when XM was also facing problems with receivers that were not compliant with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations and also with a number of law firms trawling for complainants to launch class action suits against it for what one firm termed violations of "federal securities laws by issuing a series of materially false statements (See RNW May 14, 2006).
In other US satellite radio news, Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin in the course of an interview with the Chicago Tribune editorial board has said defended the satellite companies' contention made in favour of their merger that they compete with other audio sources not just amongst themselves and added that were the FCC to reject the merger he would "sue."
Asked why the FCC and Justice Department should approve the merger, he noted that according to Arbitron the two companies combined represented only 4% of the radio listening market and added, "It's bizarre for me to think that anybody could think that in this whole area of audio entertainment there isn't plenty of competition, and new competition coming every day. Not only do we compete with all of the radio stations that exist, we also compete with all of the other alternatives that have come along since we've gotten our license."
He added that the "efficiencies" (RNW comment: He means cost cutting that would be possible - "efficiency" is just a euphemism) that would come with a merger had been estimated at between USD 3 billion and USD 9 billion and would allow the combined company to offer lower prices and more choice.
Karmazin also commented on the maths of the Howard Stern deal, which required that he attract a million subscribers a year to make it work and says that he thought that they had attracted more than that number of subscribers because of Stern and says of Stern " Well, he's a pretty happy guy now. It used to be better radio when he was bitching, right? But he doesn't have the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] to complain about. From my point of view, just using the "F-word" or using some of the language that you're allowed to use on satellite radio that you couldn't use in terrestrial radio, I mean, at my age, I don't find that to be the attraction. I've always thought that Howard was a comedian. I used to commute to work; I'd listen to him to make my commute go better."
Chicago Tribune report:
2007-11-10: Emmis has dropped its 14-month old morning comedy show "The Morning Fix" on Q101 and replaced it with a show with much more emphasis on music although host Alan Cox and news/sports anchor Jim Lynam remain.
Other on-air staff - James Engel, Ginger Jordan, Dave Ball, Aemilia Scott and Michael McCarthy- are out and Tisa LaSorte, Emmis brand manager of Q101.1 and co-owned classic rocker WLUP-FM said its research "clearly tells us that our music focus is in sync with audience demand and that our listeners really want to listen to our alternative music in all dayparts."
The slot was previously occupied by Erich Mancow Muller's show and the station had plummeted in the ratings following his departure - down from a 3.1 share and eighth ranking for Muller's last full quarter to a 1% share and 27th place in the latest ratings.
Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times noted that "The Morning Fix" was the brainchild of Mike Stern, former vice president of programming for Emmis Radio Chicago, who had said before it was launched, "We think there's a place for smart, topical humour that doesn't talk down to people. Listeners have been telling us for years that radio sucks, but we keep putting the same thing on the air. Well, maybe the listeners are right. We believe it's worth the risk to try something new on radio."
Stern was ousted in February and Marv Nyren, regional vice president and general manager of Emmis Radio Chicago, then ruled out changes but now says, "I loved listening [to the show], but I'm not a 26-year-old person. To the audience we are reaching the rest of the day, we had no presence in morning drive. Everything we heard from them was: 'We want the music.' So now the station will be about the music 24/7."
Also in Chicago, CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR-AM has picked up Dan Patrick's new syndicated talk show- coming from Jimmy deCastro's Chicago-based Content Factory - which it is to air via a tape delay from 22:00 to 01:00 Monday through Friday starting next week.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2007-11-09: More radio revenue declines are reported in the latest US results with Clear Channel radio down although third quarter revenues overall were up 5% year-on-year thanks to outdoor with net income up 51% but Cumulus revenues were only up marginally and its bottom line was hit by a USD 81.3 million impairment charge that reduced the value of various licences and goodwill.
In addition US-headquartered international satellite radio operator WorldSpace reported flat revenues but an increased loss.
At Clear Channel outdoor more than compensated for a fall in radio revenues and took the overall figure up 5% to USD 1.73 billion including USD 32.4 million from foreign exchange movements without which the rise would have been 3%: Its income before discontinued operations increased 51% to USD 256.3 million and diluted earnings before discontinued operations per share increased 53% to 52 cents whilst net income was up 51% to USD 279.7 million.
Within the figures radio revenues fell 1% to USD 882.2 million whilst outdoor was up 14$ to USD 817.5 million and other income was flat with eliminations up from USD 29.2 million to USD 31.4 million.
CEO Mark P. Mays said the "third quarter revenue and OIBDAN growth was fuelled by another exceptional performance from our outdoor advertising business, which continues to post consistent growth on a global basis" and added of ratio that once again its " management team delivered results that outperformed the rest of the industry. "
"Going forward," he continued, "we remain committed to strengthening the value proposition we deliver to our audiences and advertisers as we continue to prudently invest in our brands, our content and our multi-channel distribution."
Regarding its divestiture plans, Clear Channel noted agreement to sell its TV operations and continuing radio station divestitures: In all it is proposing to sell 448 radio stations and as of the end of September had reached agreement on the sale of 353. Subsequently the sale of 187 stations has fallen through but Clear Channel has signed agreements for the sale of 11 other stations; completed the sale of 91 stations for USD 192.7 million, expects to close on the ale of 86 more stations by the end of this year and is pursuing the divestiture of 220 radio stations in 42 markets.
Clear Channel says that as of November 2, 2007, revenues for the Radio division are pacing down 4.7% for the fourth quarter of 2007 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2006 and revenues in the Outdoor division are pacing up 7.7% overall.
At Cumulus net revenues were up 0.3% to USD 84.2 million but station operating expenses were up 07% to USD 52.2 million and station operating income was down 4% to USD 31.9 million.
As already noted the company took a USD 83.1 million impairment charge with the result that its net loss of USD 669,000 a year earlier rose to USD 70.53 million after taking into account an income tax benefit of USD 9.97 million (per share loss rose from two cents to USD 1.63).
WorldSpace reported 177,644 subscribers worldwide at the end of the third quarter, a loss of 12,689 subscribers from the previous quarter, reflecting loss of 8,713 net subscribers in India and the planned cessation of marketing efforts in Europe ahead of the company's efforts to test and subsequently commence mobile service in Europe.
Its revenues for the quarter were roughly flat at USD 3.3 million of which subscription revenue was USD .19 million - up from USD 1.8 million a year earlier - and its net loss went up from USD 28.9 million to USD 36.7 million ( from 71 cents to 91 cents per share).
Subscriber Acquisition Costs (SAC) were $10 in the third quarter of 2007 on a blended basis (India and the rest of the world) and $12 in India, compared with $21 on a blended basis and $22 in India for the second quarter of 2007. Cost Per Gross Addition (CPGA) decreased in the quarter to $80 on a blended basis, down from the $110 CPGA in the prior quarter, reflecting the lower marketing spend in India, where the CPGA decreased to $75 for the third quarter of 2007 from $108 in the second quarter of 2007.
WorldSpace noted that during the quarter, in order to shore up its liquidity, it has been engaged in discussions with a variety of potential investors and partners, strategic and financial, about equity and debt financings and hopes to conclude a transaction in the next few months.
Its Chairman and CEO Noah Samara said of its business plans, "We are very pleased with our continuing progress in Italy, as we have now lined up the right partners to make this launch successful, between Fiat, Telecom Italia and Fraunhofer for receiver development. We see great opportunities in this market for a robust mobile service offering, and are confident that, with our partners, we can devise a strategic course to implement our strategy and acquire the financial resources to support it.
"In India, we are operating on a restrained basis," Samara said. "We are postponing marketing spending until we secure a repeater license that will enable us to provide seamless service to automobiles. We will then be in a position to leverage our streamlined presence in India to launch a successful mobile service there. Over all, we remain confident in the long-term viability and opportunities that our business represents and are encouraged by our initial discussions with a series of potential investors about additional financing."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2007-11-09: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced additional details of its sixth and final field hearing on media ownership to be held in Seattle tonight.
There will be two panels, each followed by a period for public comment: The first commences at 16:30 and panellists are Mark Allen, President & CEO, Washington State Association of Broadcasters; Frank Blethen, Publisher/CEO, Seattle Times; John Carlson, Radio Talk Show Host, KVI-AM; Erubiel Valladares-Carranzo II, Technical Engineer, KPCN-LP 96.3 FM Radio Movimiento "La Voz del Pueblo"; Bernie Foster, Publisher, The Portland Skanner, The Seattle Skanner; Ray Heacox, General Manager, King Broadcasting Seattle; Elizabeth Blanks Hindman, Associate Professor, Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University; Diana Kramer, Vice President and General Manager, Puget Sound Publishing Company; Pamela S. Pearson, Vice President/General Manager, KCPQ/KMYQ-TV, Tribune Broadcasting Company; Jon Rand, General Manager, KAYU TV, Spokane, KCYU TV, Yakima, KFFX TV, Tri-Cities; and Cheryl A. Salomone, Vice President and Market Manager, New Northwest Broadcasters - Tri Cities.
Members of the second panel at 20:00 are Abby Dylan, National Board Member, Screen Actors Guild Seattle; Bruce Fife, President, American Federation of Musicians, Local 99; Christina Romano Glaubke, Director, Children and the Media Program, Children Now; Joseph Orozco, Station Manager, KIDE 91.3 FM; and Michelle Santosuosso, Former Vice President of Artist and Label Relations, Napster, Inc.
The FCC has also announce that comments on its plans to allow AM broadcast stations to operate FM translator stations have to be submitted by Jan 7 next year with reply comment to be filed by Feb 4.
2007-11-09: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the new digital multiplex for Oxfordshire to the GCap Media-led bid from NOWdigital (Oxford) Ltd. which was competing against a rival bid from Muxco (See RNW Licence News Aug 12)
NOWdigital, whose shareholders are GCap (75%) and Passion Radio (Oxford) Ltd (25%) is proposing eight local services in addition to BBC Radio Oxford.
Previous GCap Media:
2007-11-09: The first glimpses of Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings for New York have boosted pop and rock stations but delivered bad news for urban stations with Vinny Brown program director of WBLS-FM, telling the New York Daily News the station could be put out of business by the numbers.
"And it's not just us. Listeners need to know this could threaten the future of black and Hispanic radio across the board," he added of the "pre-currency" numbers that showed sharp falls for Urban WRKS-FM and WBLS-FM, as they did for Emmis's WQHT-FM (Hot 97), and Spanish-language WCAA-FM, WPAT-FM and WADO-AM.
The fall was greatest for WBLS which under the former diary system ranked first amongst the 25-54 demographic with a 5.2% share but in the first PPM ratings was 12th with 3%.
The paper also quotes Frank Flores, general manager of Hispanic WSKQ and WPAT-FM as saying he has "some concerns. I'm a big believer in a more accurate count, but I don't know that we're there yet."
RNW comment: There has already been concern in other PPM areas about the panels and fears that it may undercount black and Hispanic listeners, although Arbitron has insisted that the results are sound. The question therefore arises as to whether people grossly over-recorded such listening in diaries or whether the PPM panels are skewed.
The answer to that question has to be in the information Arbitron possesses about the make-up of its panels but it it's the first, the logical response seems to be to dump shares in companies heavily reliant on such listening since they will fare badly under the PPM, Whichever way it goes, Arbitron was either inaccurate in the past or is inaccurate now - or it could be that it was and remains inaccurate!
New York Daily News report:
2007-11-08: In more US radio results, Salem Communications has reported total revenues up marginally - by 0.3% to USD 58.1 million - but net broadcasting revenue was down 1.2% to USD 51.9 million and Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has also reported a revenue increase - in its case of 2% to USD 46.8 within which TV revenues were up 82% to USD 1.1 million and radio was down marginally - from USD 44.552 million to USD 44.333 million.
Salem's station operating income was down 7.3% to USD 19.2 million whilst same station revenues were down 0.7% to USD 50.8 million with same station operating income down 6.9% to USD 19.3 million.
Non-broadcast media revenues in contrast rose 14.9% to USD 6.2 million with non-broadcast operating income more than trebling to USD 400,000.
Net income was up 44.4% to USD 2.1 million ( from six cents to nine cents per diluted share.) including a USD 300,000 loss on disposal of assets - it sold WKNR-AM in Cleveland, Ohio in February this year and USD 900,000 (before tax; USD 500,000 net of tax). Salem notes that the figures include a USD 800,000 gain from discontinued operations and non-cash compensation charges of USD 1.7 million. During the quarter Salem repurchased 187,232 shares of its Class A common stock for approximately USD 1.8 million at an average price of USD 9.55 per share taking the total spent on repurchases since it began of approximately 34 million.
CEO Edward G. Atsinger III, said of the results, "The radio market continues to prove challenging for all broadcasters. While our net broadcasting revenue was down 1.2%, we did have some positive indications during the quarter. On a same station basis, advertising revenue on our Contemporary Christian music stations grew 3.1%, our block programming revenue increased 3.6% and our non-broadcast businesses grew revenue 14.9% to $6.2 million. We remain confident about the stability of our business model as we continue to invest in new media businesses that give us the ability to repurpose content and leverage the promotional abilities of our radio stations."
At the company's conference call, Atsinger indicated that Salem could follow CBS and Clear Channel in selling off underperforming stations although he said he could not yet give details of the criteria to be used in selecting stations for a re-vamp or s ell-off.
At SBS Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón, Jr., said its "overall third quarter revenue increase exceeded our guidance, reflecting substantial growth at Mega TV, offset by flat results at our radio segment. Mega TV continued to convert its fast-growing audience share in the Miami market into robust gains in advertising revenue, a trend that has continued into the current quarter. Mega TV premiered nationally on DIRECTV MAS in October and we are confident this will lead to significant growth in our viewing audience as we capitalize on our top-ten market presence to cross-promote our radio, TV and online properties."
"While the radio advertising market remains difficult," he continued, "we are seeing an improvement in revenue trends and we are continuing to deliver consistently strong audience shares across our portfolio. Through the continued development and expansion of our diversified asset base in the nation's largest media markets, we remain well positioned to benefit from the growth of the nation's Hispanic population."
SBS says it expects final quarter net revenue to be up year-on-year by low-single digits.
2007-11-08: Westwood One has announced that it is to enhance its radio network distribution system and will be shipping Media Access Xchange (MAX) receivers to approximately 2,000 radio stations across the country.
It adds that the network upgrade represents an expansion of the major-market sports broadcasting network IDC installed in 2005 for Westwood One, which for the first time, allowed ad insertion on a regional basis during live sporting events (i.e. copy-splitting in live sports) and will allow copy-splitting functionality beyond sports.
The upgrade will, says Westwood, replace an older, obsolete infrastructure and will dramatically reduce costs and increase revenues over the long-run, as well as improve quality for the listener: It will consolidate various services, currently provided by parallel infrastructures or outsourced, into a single, streamlined network.
Westwood One EVP of Network Sales, Paul Gregrey, commented, "The ability to copy-split during live sports proved to be a major success to advertisers in giving them unprecedented flexibility in their national campaigns. We are excited to build on that success, taking it to the next level and upgrading our delivery system to make every Westwood One program copy-splitable across the entire network."
Deployment of the new system is scheduled for the first quarter of next year.
Previous Westwood One:
2007-11-08: UK media regulator Ofcom says that it received a total of 71 applications for Short-term Restricted Service Licences (S-RSLs) for Ramadan 2008 broadcasts by the end of its deadline. Where there are a large number of competing applications it draws lots to decide which stations will receive a licence, a process it will commence early next year.
Where a draw is required applicants will be informed and can withdraw their applications and have their application fee refunded at that stage. Once an application is entered into a draw, the GBP 400 (USD 800) fee becomes non-refundable.
In area terms most applications came from the Bradford area (16) followed by Huddersfield (7); Leeds (6); and Keighley (5) - all in West Yorkshire.
2007-11-08: Continuing its mopping up deals with smaller stations to use its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings, Arbitron, which has all the major US radio companies signed-up, has announced agreements with Los Angeles Urban AC KJLH-FM, owned by Stevie Wonder's Taxi Productions Inc., and Liberman Broadcasting.
The latter has signed a five-year contract covering 16 stations Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles.
Previous Liberman (LBI media):
2007-11-07: In more US radio results, revenue figures have generally fallen with a headline 24.9% third quarter increase to USD 25.7 million for Regent turning to an 0.8% fall to USD 19.6 million on a same-station basis with Cox Radio also reporting an 0.8% decline - to USD 111.8 million; Radio One Inc reporting a 1.7% decline to USD 40.9 million. Univision reported an overall 9.8% revenue rise to USD 529.1 million ( A 4.4% increase including World Cup revenues a year ago) within which it said its radio division revenues were up 7%.
Overall Cox Radio's net income was down 15.7% to USD 20.2 million with net income per diluted share down 16% to 21 cents a share. President and CEO Robert F. Neil highlighted success in Atlanta in his comments, saying he was pleased with the 9% revenue growth in the market.
He also commented on the introduction of Arbitron PPM ratings in Houston, saying, "While sampling and other issues still remain related to the PPM, I'm pleased with our stations' initial ratings under this new measurement method and the potential revenue opportunity those ratings represent going forward."
In the company's conference call Neil expanded on his criticism of Arbitron saying it "is a monopoly and they behave like a monopoly" and adding that poor sampling in Houston and Philadelphia shook confidence in the data.
Neil said Arbitron needed to stop defending bad research and "start producing good research" and that it was up to the radio industry as a whole - broadcasters, agencies and advertisers - to ensure they did not get away with bad research.
Regarding the figures, Cox noted a boost from a 31.1% increase in other revenues to USD 10.1 million, primarily from a 19.7% increase in Internet revenues, but an 0.8% fall in local revenues to USD 77.2 million and a 5.2% fall in national revenues to USD 24.5 million.
Radio One inc. net income was down 40% year-on-year to USD 4.8 million and president and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III commented," This quarter we continued to see a challenging radio industry environment as well as another rough quarter for our Los Angeles station. However, had Los Angeles maintained market share, our radio properties would have outperformed the industry, this time by approximately 100 basis points. Further, the fourth quarter looks soft, consistent with the past few quarters. Thus, we continue to make progress on the evolution of the company in non-radio areas. Reach Media's performance was strong for the quarter, Giant Magazine is showing nice top-line growth on a sequential basis from the beginning of the year and we are building a highly qualified team in New York to help us build our Internet initiative. Also, TV One continues to perform very well. In addition, we are executing on our asset sales strategy, having closed on or agreed to sell approximately $150 million worth of radio stations to date. We are hopeful that 2008 will be a better year for radio and an even better year for our various other businesses that we believe have so much promise."
Regent, despite its revenue increase, went into loss for the quarter - a profit of USD 800, 000 - two cents per share- a year ago became a loss of USD 1.3 million (three cents a share).
President and CEO Bill Stakelin commented, "During the third quarter, we continued to execute on our strategic plan in a challenging environment. Our station results from continuing operations were in line with our guidance. While we were impacted by industry-wide weak advertising demand, we made considerable progress in building our audience shares and advancing our digital initiatives. Our fully integrated web platform continues to take shape across our group as we build out our sites, train our sales teams and begin to cross promote our enhanced platform to our listeners. In line with our focus on maximizing our assets, we also recently entered into agreements to divest several non-core stations, including our smallest market cluster. The proceeds from these sales will strengthen our financial flexibility as we continue to invest in our content, promotion and digital infrastructure, with the goal of increasing the value of our portfolio to the benefit of our stockholders."
Regent is predicting fourth quarter net broadcast revenues of USD 24.6 to USD 24.0 million with earnings of approximately three cents a share with same station net broadcast revenues up in low single digit figures for the final quarter,
Univision CEO Joe Uva said of its performance, "I am extremely pleased that Univision has continued the positive momentum of last quarter, producing third quarter operational and financial results that demonstrate strengthened fundamentals and, combined with last quarter's gains, solidify our platform for future growth across all of our core businesses Univision Radio has sustained very strong revenue growth, while Univision.com continued to grow in strides, underscoring its position as the No 1 Internet destination among Hispanics."
Previous Radio One Inc:
2007-11-07: SMG has announced a rights issue, subject to shareholder approval, of just under 634 million new shares under a two-for-one issue that it expects to raise GBP 95.1 million ( USD 198.5 million) , funds that it plans to use to reduce debt and thereby strengthen its hand in the planned sale of its Virgin Radio division.
Announcing the plan the SMG board said it felt the issue would "will create a more robust, appropriate and sustainable capital structure, enabling SMG to run its business more efficiently, with significantly lower interest charges" and added that it also believed the issue would "substantially enhance SMG's financial stability " and also "increase flexibility for SMG to dispose of its non-core assets from a position of strength so as to maximise shareholder value."
Immediately after the right's issue, said the Board, it intends to re-finance SMG's remaining debt, expected to be approximately GBP 40.3 million (USD 84.1 million)..
It re-affirmed its commitment to a future centred on its TV business but its rights announcement sent shares down a fifth initially although they ended the day 7.3% down at 16.7 pence,
2007-11-07: As expected CBS Radio on Monday at 17:00 local time flipped WCKG-FM, Chicago, from to a female-friendly adult-contemporary format known as "Fresh 105.9" with the slogan "Today's soft music" in place of its former adult-talk format.
Prior to the switch the station had aired simulcasts of other CBS stations for seven hours: It is currently airing without personalities and Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times says this is expected to continue until the New Year when hosts will sign-on: He adds that the station is expected to unveil new call letters this week and mount a "significant marketing campaign."
At the management level Dave Robbins, vice president and general manager of CBS country WUSN-FM, has taken on the same duties at WCKG whilst the station's program director is Mike Peterson, who retains the same role at US 99.5.
Robbins said of the new format in a statement, "No doubt women of all ages -- especially those in our target demo of 30 to 40 years of age -- will embrace the dynamic sound of 'Fresh 105.9,' the most contemporary music station to hit the market in years."
Feder also notes that station aired Steve Dahl tapes over the weekend having planted the idea that it would switch to all-Christmas music (See RNW Nov 13)and adds that the idea was that this would put pressure on Clear Channel to switch its competitor WLIT-FM to holiday music early thus leaving the field open for the new station.
Clear Channel, he says, opted, despite suspicions of such a tactic by CBS, to make the move on Friday, switching to "The Holiday lite" then rather than next week as originally planned, thus giving CBS the freedom to drop its holiday music plans in favour of the Dahl shows.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2007-11-07: UK radio stations have taken 23 of the 30 2007 Global Traffic Network European Radio Awards awarded with the remaining seven divided between stations from Denmark, France, Germany (with a report on UK soccer and thus counted as part of the UK total), Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Turkey.
The awards were presented in Barcelona on Monday night and the event was part of the NAB European Radio Conference 2007 with Russian Station Relax FM taking the Gold for European Radio Station of the Year (TSA over 1 Million) and two UK broadcasters taking the awards for smaller stations - TFM Radio for a TSA between 300,000 and 1 Million and Coast 96.3 for a TSA of less than 300,000.
The other Golds went to:
Best Breakfast Personality - Adam Catterall of 97.4 Rock FM (UK):
Best Breakfast Show Producer - Dick Stone/Mark Hitchings from Trent FM (UK):
Best Breakfast Show - Jo & Twiggy from Trent FM (UK):
Best Regular Music Programme - Krystle from Forth FM (UK):
Best Regular Showbiz Feature - Phillip Chryssikos/Matt Cadman's Entertainment News from UBC Media (UK):
Best Music Special - Unique and Simon Jacobs/Andy Parfitt's California Dreaming for BBC Radio 4 (UK):
Best Syndicated Programme - Totally 80's and Paul Hollins/Gary King Blue Revolution (UK):
European Voice Artist of the Year - Johnny Daukes (UK):
Best Writing For Radio - Mike Hally/Hermione Cockburn - various programmes for BBC Radio 4:
Best New Media Initiative - Crack the Code - Richard Spears/John Hipper of Kiss 100 (UK) :
Best Internet Only Station - Matt Bowling/Eamonn Kubb of KUBE FM (UK):
Best Original Podcast - Peter Sale's My Streets My Streets for Channel 4 Radio (UK):
Best News Documentary or Special - Steve Hothersall/Phil Cooper's Toxteth Riots Anniversary for Radio City 96.7 (UK):
Best Coverage of Breaking News - Gareth Boulton/Howard Banks's MSC Napoli for Gemini FM (UK):
News Journalist / Team of the Year - Ionela Tudor/Elena Tudor's News Journals for Europa FM (Romania):
Best Radio Personality - Geoff Lloyd, Virgin Radio (UK):
Best Talk Host - Pete Price of Radio City 96.7
Best Music Presenter - Nelson Monfort of Radio Classique (France):
Station Sound Producer / Team of the Year- Ian Ferguson & Team, 96.3 Rock Radio (UK):
Best Programme Producer - Sedat Serkan Guray of Burc FM (Turkey):
Best Produced Promo - Car giveaway promo Expres Media Ltd., for Radio Expres (Slovakia):
Best Radio Commercial - Carsten Agerbaek for Per Osten Undertaker's on Radio SLR (Denmark):
Programmer of the Year - Dave Shearer, Wave 105 (UK):
Best Radio Station Website - Antoine Baduel for Radio FG (France):
Community Award - Mark Peters for Liam's Mile, Star FM Cambridge (UK):
Enviroment Award - Scott Muller/Margherita Taylor, Capital Radio (UK):
Best Sports Special - Steve Hothersall/Carl Woodward - UK Champions League Final for Deutche Welles Radio (Germany):
2007-11-06: Beasley Broadcast Group has reported a 7.2% increase in revenues to USD 33.3 million in the third quarter to the end of September but it has not bucked the trend of falling revenues as figures were boosted by the acquisition of WJBR-FM, Wilmington, Delaware: Same station revenues for the period were down 2.1% and all other income figures were negative year-on-year.
Operating income was down 20.8% to USD 5.1 million; station operating income was down 9.4% to USD 8.5 million; net income was down 58% to USD 1 million ; and Net Income per diluted share fell from 10 cents to four cents.
Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley commented of the results, "Despite the weak industry environment, Beasley Broadcast Group's third quarter revenue exceeded the guidance provided at the time we reported second quarter results as we benefited from better than expected performance from our Philadelphia and Fayetteville clusters. We also out-performed the Miami and Philadelphia markets and, in aggregate, our station clusters out-performed their markets on a total spot and national basis. Growth in Miami, our largest revenue market, was led by continued gains at Power 96 and stronger results at our sports station related to our football broadcast rights and related programming. These factors offset general industry softness as well as the expected revenue decline at our Las Vegas cluster. While station operating expenses and SG&A expenses rose due to our new stations, the football broadcast rights in Miami, increased promotion, programming and other costs, cost disciplines remain an important element of our operating strategy and the increases recorded in the third quarter were below the levels provided in our guidance."
Same station revenues he added were down 2.1%, "primarily as a result of recent programming changes at two Las Vegas stations and overall market softness particularly in Fort Myers and the Coastal Carolina markets" with Beasley's Las Vegas cluster in transition following programming and on-air changes at KKLZ-FM and KFRH-FM intended to position the cluster to resume the growth it had been achieving based on the successful country station format launch in 2005."
Beasley also continued its share repurchase scheme, buying back some 58,000 shares for a total of USD 500,000 - an average USD 8.10 per share - during the quarter and taking the total since it began the programme three years ago to around 1.3 million shares for USD 11.5 million.
For the final quarter, Beasley expects net revenues to be down 2% year-on-year with same-station revenues, excluding revenue derived from the Miami Dolphins broadcast rights, down 6%.
Beasley shares and ended the day up 1.09% at USD 7.42 having ranged between USD 7.13 and USD 7.51.
Saga Communications reported third quarter revenues up 1.2% on a year earlier to USD 36.2 million with net income up marginally from USD 3.264 million to USD 3.321 million ( From 16 cents to 17 cents per fully diluted share).
Same station net revenue was virtually flat - up from USD 35.778 million to USD 35.903 million as were radio segment net revenue - Up from USD 31.402 million to USD 31.904 million as reported and from USD 31.389 million to USD 31.589 million on a same station basis - and TV segment - as reported and same station revenues were each down from USD 4.389 million a year ago to USD 4.314 million
In terms of the overall US picture, the Radio Advertising Board (RAB) reported September radio revenues down 7% on a year ago within which non-spot revenue was again the bright spot with a 9% increase year on year.
Local revenues were down 7%; national ones down 9%; the combined national and local figures were down 8%
Previous George Beasley:
Previous RAB & RAB figures:
2007-11-06: Canada's Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages Josée Verner has announced the appointment of Montreal lawyer and broadcaster Hubert Lacroix as named president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Radio-Canada.
He takes over from Liberal appointee Robert Rabinovitch, whose second term ends this month and was appointed following recommendations from the headhunting firm of Egon Zehnder International that had been hired to seek out potential candidates.
Verner said of the appointment that Lacroix "possesses the necessary experience and skills to lead Canada's national public broadcaster," adding, "I am confident CBC/Radio-Canada will be well-served by the leadership of Mr. Lacroix."
Lacroix, a lawyer for some three decades and is a senior advisor with the Montréal office of Stikeman Elliott, worked for Radio-Canada as a colour commentator for basketball during the Olympic Games in 1984, 1988 and 1996. Lacroix worked for Radio-Canada as a colour commentator for basketball during the Olympic Games in 1984, 1988 and 1996. He was also a regular weekly contributor to the Saturday evening sports show Hebdo-Sports on the radio network of Radio-Canada, reporting mainly on amateur sports.
Also in Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C. has told the annual Convention of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) that finding the optimum balance between market forces and regulation remains the main challenge for the Commission. Noting the CRTC's mandate to produce a distinctly Canadian broadcasting system with a predominance of Canadian content he said these were "social and cultural objectives, and it is clear that they can't be magically realized through the free flow of market forces and economic self-interest."
von Finckenstein highlighted radio and its localness in his speech, saying those in radio "know especially well that your survival and prosperity depend on the strength of your connection to the people in the communities you serve. It is the key to your success" and referring to the agency's recent public hearing on diversity of voices which demonstrated just how important it is for radio to remain relevant to local listeners and to address their interests and concerns.
The importance of local broadcasts was also highlighted in the CAB's "Broadcasting 2007: Report on the Industry" report, an overview of the country's private broadcasting industry. The 22-page (2.6 MB PDF) report says Private broadcasters' Canadian programming expenditures have all increased at a faster rate than the growth in broadcaster revenues whilst employment in private radio was stable.
Like its US counterparts Canadian Broadcasters are also opposing recording companies' performance royalty demands - unlike the US Canadian and most other broadcasters already pay such fees- and have passed a resolution opposing proposed increases in rates that would nearly double the amount paid.
They have passed a resolution saying the "CAB will take all measures to publicly oppose this egregious and abusive demand by the record labels including taking action before Parliament, the Copyright Board and the courts."
CAB President & CEO Glenn O'Farrell said, "The irony of the record labels' demand is that private radio creates value for the recording industry. Private radio broadcasters are deeply concerned about the attempt by the recording industry to recoup its losses by claiming additional payments for music played on the air While broadcasters recognize that artists, producers and other rights-holders should be fairly compensated for the use of their songs, our industry believes that this tariff proposal is a blatant abuse of the principles of the Copyright Act. This demand won't help the record labels - it will only hurt one of the few areas that is still working well for them in the digital world."
The CAB also presented its 2007 Gold Ribbon Awards at the convention: Radio winners were:
Aboriginal Programming- Northwestern Radio Partnership's CJNB-AM, North Battleford (Cree Ways).
Information Program - CORUS Entertainment Inc.'s CHED-AM, Edmonton (Remembering the Fallen Four).
Breaking News: Astral Media Inc.'s CJAD-AM Montreal (Dawson College Shooting).
Diversity in News and Information Programming: Rawlco's CKOM-AM, Saskatoon (Seeds of Success) Radio Ltd.
Previous O'Farrell :
Previous von Finckenstein:
CAB Broadcasting report (2.6MB PDF):
2007-11-06: Australian commercial radio body Commercial Radio Australia and the Media Federation of Australia (MFA) have announced that they are to collaborate over future radio ratings in the country.
The two bodies had been in informal discussions and came to a formal agreement at a Agreement was reached at a meeting between Michael Anderson, Chair of Commercial Radio Australia and CEO of Austereo, and Gary Hardwick, President of the MFA and Managing Partner of Ikon: Under the new arrangements the MFA will be formally represented on the Commercial Radio Australia Research Committee and have input into decisions affecting the radio audience measurement surveys.
Anderson commented of the agreement, "The commercial radio industry is looking to the future with the next survey contract to commence in January 2009 so this arrangement is very timely. The MFA is an important stakeholder in the radio advertising area and we are pleased that we were able to formalise a collaborative way forward with the MFA."
Commercial Radio Australia is currently evaluating tenders from Nielsen Media Research, Ipsos and Roy Morgan Research for its next radio ratings contract that is due at the start of 2009 and Hardwick added, "This is an excellent opportunity for us to work with the radio industry in seeking continuous improvement to the current methodology and in assisting the industry to critically analyse current and developing electronic devices."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2007-11-06: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that its sixth and final public hearing on media ownership issues will be held in Seattle, Washington on Friday, leading to complaints from the Democrats on the commission about the short notice given.
In a joint statement Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps, who had already complained about the short notice given for the previous meeting in Washington DC (See RNW Oct 25) comment that "A hearing with only five days notice is no nirvana for Seattle and the Pacific Northwest" and add, "This smells like mean spirit.."
They continue, "Clearly, the rush is on to push media consolidation to a quick and ill-considered vote. It shows there is a preordained outcome. Pressure from the public and their elected representatives is ignored. With such short notice, many people will be shut out. We received notice of the hearing just moments before it was announced. This is outrageous and not how important media policy should be made."
2007-11-05: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin has upheld three radio standards complaints as well as imposing sanctions on a digital TV channel regarding cancer cure claims made by an alternative health practitioner, upholding four more TV standards complaints, considering two TV standards complaints resolved through action taken by the broadcaster and giving details of standards complaints that were not upheld against two TV programmes and details of two TV and one radio fairness and privacy complaints that were not upheld.
The radio complaints upheld - two involving Guardian Media Group Real Radio stations and the third GCap Media's Kent station Invicta FM - all concerned competitions: In the GCap case the complaint was about a lack of consistency in the running of the competition, with its format appearing to change, depending on the presenter hosting and also a lack of clarity in its rules.
In the competition, which involved a cash prize of just above GBP 6,000 (USD 12,000), GCap had taken a call from the complainant who gave the correct answer but later heard the station later announce the name of another winner. GCap said that the original idea had been to put the 103rd caller - 103.0 is the station frequency - through to the studio but on this occasion the producer/presenter realized there were unlikely to be that many callers and changed the system to a new on based on a numbered caller within the remaining period of the show.
Ofcom agreed with the complainant that the change of rules had not been made clear to listeners, a breach of its codes, and ruled that the competition had not been conducted fairly and its rules were not appropriately made known.
The Real Radio cases concerned its "Real Summer Quiz" (two programmes in June) and "Real Football Phone In" (the August 1 show) programmes and in each case presenters had made a number of comments about the sponsors, leading to a complaint that they had been given undue prominence and breached the rules for sponsorship.
Real Radio said no payment or other consideration had been made to the presenters or broadcaster in any of the cases and the presenter had chosen without knowledge of codes or intent to breach them to engage in "what he felt was acceptable and believed in his experience, fairly common and light hearted banter on the virtues of the programme sponsor."
It added that the matter had been brought up with the presenter after the first programmes and had been severely reprimanded after the August incident.
Ofcom ruled that its codes had been breached and added that it was "disappointed that Real Radio's efforts to avoid recurrence were not effective, after the comments broadcast in Real Summer Quiz": The breaches it said raised "serious concerns" and it said it would consider taking further regulatory action should there be another recurrence.
In addition to these rulings, Ofcom also posted details of a complaint of unfair treatment against the BBC Asian Network in relation to a video game was being created that was set in 18th century India and depicted "Sikhs killing Muslims".
One of those involved in the creation of the game complained that it was misrepresented but Ofcom disagreed and ruled there had been no breach.
In addition to the breaches Ofcom also listed without details 296 - 99 of them against one programme - complaints against 169 TV items and 28 radio complaints against 37 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 115 complaints against 94 TV items and 22 radio complaints against 22 items that were out of its remit or not upheld in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2007-11-05: After concentrating on UK radio last week, we have emphasized the US this week and in particular the fortunes of two talk hosts but first a more general comment about talk radio in the US.
But first another topic dealt with last week in a UK context but very much a live issue in the US, that of localism. In his "Pattern Change" blog Jay Marvin comments on his perceptions of it disappearing in US talk radio.
After asking when others had taken a road tip and gone up and down the AM dial he says of his experiences doing so this year, "What I found was God awful. It used to be twenty years ago you could drive through a city, and find out what was going on by locating the "local" talk station. Notice I use the word local. Sometimes the station was a small some times a big one. The phone lines were always hot, and the host was either so good, entertaining, and compelling or so bad it was like a massive train wreck and you couldn't stop listening. The callers were great too. Crazy people who came out of the cracks to take on the host, share all kinds of weird views on that hour or days subject. It was a zoo and you couldn't get enough."
And nowadays? "Now you go through those same cities and 95% of the stations are syndicated and run the same cookie cutter right-wing water carrier crap you can hear on every other talk station in every other town. If you go up and down the AM spectrum what you'll find is all of these right-wing or left-wing hosts going on and on about either how bad liberals and Hillary are or how bad movement conservatives are until you either fall asleep at the wheel or go to your I Pod "
He then asks where the "entertainment and shtick" went and continues, "There is one thing I do know: radio use to be so much fun and talk radio use to be the most fun of all. You had great folks on the air like Joe Pyne, Les Crane, Neil Rogers, Bob Grant, Alan Berg, Al Jazzbo Collins, Studs Turkle, Steve and Garry, Marv Gray and so many more. Who gave a damn about their politics? They were good they made you laugh, cry, and hang on with every word. Every day was an "oh, wow" day. I can still remember classic moments from people like Pyne, Grant, and others and much of what I recall dates back to 1965 and now it's 2007 soon to be 2008.
"Ask yourself this question: if you love talk radio, and radio in general, when was the last time you made sure you caught someone on the air because you didn't want to miss what they had to say. You too wanted to be part of the club. Can you really say you feel that way now?"
He concludes, "Here's something we ought to try. How about going for four hours with out saying Bush, liberals or Hillary? How about we get on one day and try to have some fun? Try to talk about things that come down to right vs wrong not left vs right, and how about we try and laugh a little and cut up for the right reasons not the wrong reasons. Talk radio is dying. Has anyone got what it takes to step up and fix it? I wonder."
Then the tale of two hosts, one of whom got another job but can't take it and the other of whom was fired, paid off, and now has a new deal.
The first is Howie Carr from Boston and writing about his attempted move from Entercom to Greater Media: Joan Vennochi in The Boston Globe under the headline "Howie Carr's bales of hay" comments on Carr being a "a donkey caught between two bales of hay" and says he will end up "with one very lucrative bale, probably at WRKO-AM, the station he tried to leave."
The size of the bale I substantive - Greater Media's WTKK-FM offered Carr USD 6.75 million to host its morning show but Entercom, which had not until then renewed his contract, then took advantage of a right to match any other offer made to Carr whilst he was employed by them.
Vennochi says that at the moment Carr isn't being paid by Entercom and can't move although his spokeswoman said he was "pretty busy these days with public appearances and TV commentary, newspaper columns, and a new book. And the last time I checked, he wasn't walking anywhere."
Entercom attorney Shepherd Davidson said," He has the legal right to continue the lawsuit. I wouldn't think he would want to sit on the sidelines for two years. But that's his choice. We're not going to let him go to WTKK."
Greater Media says it is "keeping all options open" but Vennochi reckons the return of Don Imus, via a deal with Citadel weakens Carr and strengthens Entercom since the Imus show will be syndicated and could turn up on WTTK's morning slot
Her conclusion: Carr will probably end up backing his afternoon slot at WRKO.
And finally Don Imus, whose Citadel deal puts the Ron Kuby-Curtis Sliwa morning show on WABC off the air. Kuby is not happy according to an AP report by Larry McShane carried by Newsday that notes that the comparatively left-leaning show he co-hosted had over its eight years at WABC built up an audience that outranked Imus's ratings for WFAN
McShane notes that when Kuby, a civil rights lawyer, and Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, first went on air on the conservative talk WABC, which also airs Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, his appointment was anything but popular with listeners.
When his removal was announced, calls flooded in that Kuby said were "were almost all prefaced by `I'm a Republican, I'm a conservative, I don't agree with your politics, but ..."' and he added of his views - he was one of the few who whilst condemning Imus's remarks said the host should not be fired - "One of the odder aspects of this is that Imus makes a racist comment, and the damage is done to a civil rights lawyer He gets my job, and I'm told about the high price he paid. He's paid? What about me? The press release ought to say, `Ron Kuby has paid a high price for Don Imus' mistake.' He gets USD 20 million, an eight-month vacation and my job."
Sliwa who is to remain with WABC in a different slot, commented, "We were like mixing ammonia and bleach _ very volatile, like the husband and wife in `Goodfellas.' It was great radio. But this is new management, and they want a national show."
Which is of course the reason Imus was hired albeit in the New York Times Peter Applebome comments in terms of the show in New York: Of that show he says "It wasn't very good." But then goes on to temper the criticism by adding that another opinion was that it "was much better than almost anything else on the radio."
Applebome quotes Michael Harrison, editor and publisher of Talkers magazine as saying, "Imus had a marvellous niche offering a non-stop parade of top contemporary newsmakers who you actually hear in an unpredictable setting, as opposed to the predictable, sanitized way you see them on television," he said. "Sure, he could be curmudgeonly, and nasty and weird. So what? No one forced you to listen. If you don't like it, listen to someone else."
However Harrison is cautious about the success of talk shows nowadays because of the switch away from the radio to other sources of audio. "Radio's becoming marginalized," he said. "Cars are like the last bastion where AM radio has a captive audience, but even there children today don't think of cars as the place where you listen to the radio. They think it's where you get to see cartoons and Barney videos."
The Applborne conclusion is, "We could do better, but in the prefab world of commercial radio, we usually do worse. For all his flaws, Imus is closer to the spirit of what radio used to be than almost anyone out there."
RNW note: We will update listening suggestions on return from a hospital visit but to start off with suggest two BBC Radio 4 programmes, both of which aired on Tuesday last week and are available as MP3 downloads or streams until then.
One was"File on 4" on" Racism revisited in the USA" in which Julian O'Halloran investigates the growing fears of African Americansand the other was "In Business" in which Peter Day looked at the revival of rail travel in Europe.
Also from Radio 4 starting today (11:00GMT) is the first programme in a series that runs until November 17 - the web site has details - on the British newspaper industry. Today's programme asks if newspapers can survive and there are other programems each day this week.a series
Also today on the station is the first of this week's "Book of the Week" programmes (09:45 GMT daily) - John O'Farrell's comical and irreverent take on British history," An Utterly Impartial History of Britain."
Boston Globe- Vennochi:
Newsday/AP - McShane:
New York Times - Applebome:
2007-11-04: The main regulatory news last week was again from the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held the fifth of sixth ocalism hearings it has scheduled. Like the previous meetings, opinion seemed to be fairly clearly divided between broadcasting and media executives who stand to potentially gain from consolidation - and favour it - and pretty well everyone else, who is concerned about its effects in terms of diversity of ownerships and viewpoint (See RNW Nov 1). Elsewhere it was more a matter of routine.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued no radio licensing decisions but did post its 2006-07 annual report ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said it reflected new initiatives and projects and also covered its wide range of essential activities with its structure reflecting the converging nature of technology. (See report below).
Canada was fairly quiet although the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in the following radio decisions (In order of province).
*Approval of use of frequency 95.7 MHz by Vista Radio Ltd. for its new English-language commercial FM at Powell River that was approved subject to an amendment to the original 94.1 MHz frequency requested.
*Short-term renewal until 31 August 2011 of the licence of Radio Port-Cartier inc.'s French-language commercial station CIPC-FM, Port-Cartier. The CRTC notes that the short-term renewal will allow it an early review of the licensee's compliance with its conditions of licence relating to contributions to the development of Canadian talent and content in relation to which there had been a shortfall in the 2005 broadcast year.
The CRTC also posted a public notice regarding a radio application for which the deadline for interventions or comments is December 6. It came from by International Harvesters for Christ Evangelistic Association Inc. to relocate the transmitter and increase the antenna height of specialty English-language station CJLU-FM, Halifax, Nova Scotia, so as to overcome problems it found when it set up two years ago.
The CRTC has also posted a public notice regarding a revised version of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB's) Best Practices for Diversity in Private Radio that it has adopted.
It specifically notes that large commercial radio operators (Astral, Corus, CTVgm, Newcap, Pattison and Rogers ) - with revenues above CAD 50 million- will be required to report annually on diversity; medium-sized commercial radio operators (Cogeco, Elmer Hildebrand, Maritime and Rawlco ) - with revenues of more than CAD 20 million and up to CAD 50 million - will be required to report on diversity every five years; and small commercial radio operators - with revenues of up to CAD 20 million - will be exempted from reporting requirements (RNW Note: A CAD is currently approximately US 94 cents). It added that it expects large commercial radio operators to file their first annual diversity reports no later than 31 January 2009 and; medium sized operators to submit reports covering the broadcasting years 2008 to 2012 on 2 November 2012.
It also noted a proposal by the CAB to exempt small commercial radio operators from the Commission's new Canadian content development policy concerning which it said sufficient time should be given for the policy, set out in its Commercial Radio Policy 2006, to be implemented and results assessed before considering if exemptions are justified.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland although there the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) did post its latest Compliance Policy (a 136 KB 16 page PDF) but in the UK Ofcom posted its Radio Broadcast Update for October including details of format changes agreed for Rugby FM, and 96.2 Touch FM Coventry (See Licence News Oct 21); Your Radio; and Smooth FM plus content sampling reports for CanWest-owned Solent station Original 106 for which it issued a yellow card (See RNW Oct 9) and Choice FM (operating within format).
It also agreed an addition of a Polish Radio London service to the third London digital multiplex.
In the US, as noted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was primarily in the news in relation to ownership and localism regulation.
The FCC also issued a number of penalties related to late filing of renewal applications including the following radio ones (In descending order of amount):
* USD 7,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Donald De Rosa, licensee of WAMF-AM, Fulton, New York for late filing of renewal application and unauthorized operation after licence had expired.
*USD 1,500 NAL to Twin City Baptist Temple, Inc. , licensee of WCMX-AM, Leominster, Massachusetts, for late filing of renewal application.
*USD 1,500 NAL to Cutting Edge Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WEIB-FM, Northampton, Massachusetts, for late filing of renewal application.
*USD 250 NAL to Washington County Chamber Of Commerce, licensee of Low Power FM Station WBLQ-LP, Ashaway, Rhode Island, for late filing of renewal application.
The FCC also denied finally a petition from the Caribbean Festival Association, Inc. (Carifesta) to reconsider its decision to dismiss its application for a new low power FM in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Cox Radio, Inc., licensee of WSUN-FM, Holiday, Florida, had objected to the grant of a licence on the basis that only two of the six officers and directors were listed as American citizens; the other four held Jamaican citizenship.
Carifesta had subsequently amended its application and said that its board as amended had four American Citizens and to Jamaican citizens, one of whom had pledged to recuse himself from voting, thus, it said, resulting in 80% American ownership.
The FCC staff noted that any corporation where more than a fifth of its capital was held or voted by aliens or their representatives was barred from holding a broadcasting licence, whether or not they were legally US residents and on the basis of voting interests had again rejected the application because it Carifesta was one-third Jamaican-owned. Carifesta argued that because there was no investment in return to share in profits, only the composition of the board was relevant but the FCC rejected the argument and refused the licence.
In Colorado, it granted a petition to reconsider cancellation of the licence of Limon Broadcasting, LLC.'s KIIQ-FM, Limon following late filing of the renewal application and continued operation after the licence had expired. It re-instated the licence and instead of a financial penalty opted to admonish the licensee.
In New York it renewed the licence of The New York Times Radio Company's WQXR-FM, New York, New York, and denied an objection from a Marsha Farley on the basis that it was "secretly acting contrary to the public interest" in relation to having evidence of dishonesty in the casino industry that it had suppressed for the sake of advertising revenues the station received from the industry. The commission considered the objection did not raise any matters that needed further enquiry or justify refusal of the licence.
In Texas it refused an application filed by Roy E. Henderson, licensee of KNUZ-AM, Bellville, Texas, seeking to change the community of license from Bellville to Katy, which has around three times the population. The commission although accepting some of the arguments in favour of the change said they were not sufficient to justify removal of Belleville's sole service.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-11-04: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in its 2006-07 annual report emphasises convergence within communications with particular reference to digital technology as regards broadcasters. Regarding radio Australia is planning to introduce DAB+ services in the six capital cities by the start of 2009 and it is also trialling Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) technology.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman in his foreword to the 225-page report (Posted as a 3.57 MB PDF) comments, "The Australian media and communications landscape shifted significantly this year. Key legislative reforms, new and converging technologies and changing consumer needs and expectations reshaped our media and communications environment."
Amongst major investigations the report notes one radio matter, the three investigations between January and June 2007 which found that Macquarie RadioNetwork's Harbour Radio Pty Ltd, the licensee of commercial radio service 2GB Sydney, was in breach of the vilification provision of the Commercial Radio Code of Practice for broadcasts that occurred between May and December 2005 (See RNW Jun 27 and Apr 12).
In all the ACMA completed 136 investigations into broadcasting matters (compared with 142 in 2005-06) and 477 investigations into online content (compared with 638 the previous year).
In regard to the country's new media legislation it completed its review of "trigger events" that would require licensees affected to comply with ACMA's local presence licence condition: The licensees affected now have to comply with statutory minimum service standards for local news and information, file draft local content plans with ACMA within 90 days of a trigger event and submit annual local content plan compliance reports.
In budget terms the ACMA's funding was up 12.7% year on year to AUD 82.1 million (currently USD 75.8 million - the US dollar is, of course, very weak at the moment) and its regular revenues from broadcasting, radiocommunications and telecommunications licence fees, and charges for telecommunications numbers were down 4.6% to AUS 700.7 million ( USD 646.7 million).
The report notes that in May 2007, the Australian Parliament passed legislation to implement the government's policy framework for the introduction of digital radio - based on digital audio broadcasting (DAB/DAB+) technology- that requires the ACMA to plan for the introduction of digital radio services in the six state capital cities by 1 January 2009.
It also notes that it is in the process of planning the introduction of digital radio in non-BSB (broadcasting services bands) spectrum, a part of which involves embargoing the use of suitable bands below 30 MHz to avoid premature introduction of unplanned services that may compromise the benefits to the public that would otherwise result from the introduction of planned services.
The ACMA says it will consider applications for trials to investigate the use of these bands for Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) services following expressions of interest received from the communications industry.
In May it had allocated a licence to TJH Systems to operate a trial of DRM technology in Wollongong using the unused Sydney MF-AM band frequency of 1386 kHz and it comments that the DRM system has been shown in international trials to have better immunity to interference, superior audio quality and greater coverage area than analogue transmissions.
In Australia, says ACMA, DRM is considered a complementary technology to DAB.
Previous Digital Radio Mondiale:
ACMA Annual Report (3.57 Mb PDF):
2007-11-04: Time Magazine has named the i-Phone the 2007 Invention of the Year and has also named Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) as one of three "Entertainment" Inventions of the Year: The other two go to Robert Zemeckis' digital 3-D movie Beowulf, which is to premiere later this month and Subtitle Glasses that researchers at Madrid's Carlos III University have devised to incorporate a mini-display that picks up text transmitted to it.
RNW Comment: Apart from the misnaming of the awards - in our view many of them may be innovations but they are certainly not inventions and many of the devices gaining awards are a developments and re-packaging of earlier inventions and technology - the list is of interest in terms of what is being developed and the reasoning behind and or the description of the devices involved. Were it for inventions, we think other companies' work in terms of audio matching is much more of a technological invention than embedding codes in digital date, something that has been around for years and is the basis of Arbitron's system and indeed in innovative terms some of Arbitron's competitors appear to have more advanced thinking. In terms of the overall combination of marketing and introduction there is, however, no doubt that Arbitron seems to have won the fight for an audio metering system unless one of its competitors has a use in other markers that means it will continue development and potentially be able to compete.
Time Magazine PPM Award:
2007-11-03: Simon Redican, managing director of the UK Radio Advertising Bureau - now part of the RadioCentre - has announced at the organization's autumn [fall] "Radio 3.0: Catch the New Radio Wave" conference details of its "RadioGauge", which is designed to allow advertisers to measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns that use radio in such terms as brand awareness and performance in relation to other advertising campaigns.
Redican said research would be conducted at regular fortnightly interviews with up to three advertisers being measured each time - qualifying advertisers do not have to pay for the service, which is provided on a first come, first served basis.
The conference heard RAB chairman Martina King note that commercial radio in the UK has 53.6% of the listening amongst under-45s in the UK with three quarters of those 15-24 listening to commercial radio weekly.
She added, "Even more encouraging is the fact that the new digital stations are really helping to drive the growth of radio - we are without doubt the market leaders in this area" and said digital should not be underestimated with latest figures showing 28% of UK adults listening via digital platforms - DAB, online or via digital TV platforms - each week and more than 40% of 15-24 year olds using digital platforms.
"Our audiences are strong and our revenues are building, radio really is on the crest of a new wave," she said.
Amongst other speakers, GCap Managing Director London Fru Hazlitt spoke of radio's development of online and broadcast and Channel 4 director of radio, Nathalie Schwarz spoke of its plans to "reverse" BBC dominance of radio. Channel 4 led the consortium that won the second commercial national digital multiplex with a bid offering ten services and a wide range of podcasts (See RNW Jul 7)
Schwarz spoke of targeting both BBC speech - she termed Radio 4 "stuffy" - and music channels - she commented that BBC Radio 1 was set up to serve those 16-24 but was not serving them.
RNW comment: We await the Channel 4 offering with interest but being - like most of Britons - in an older category than the advertisers seem to want beg to doubt whether it will tempt us away from BBC services. We also think that there is a degree of confusion amongst commercial companies who on the one hand want to complain about BBC dominance and on the other promote their success with the result that far too frequently they ignore in the first case the demographics of the BBC audience and in the second seem to forget that targeting youngsters who are spending less time listens will necessarily affect their audience figures.
Previous Channel 4:
2007-11-03: CBS Radio's WCKG-FM, Chicago, is switching to "all-holiday" music over this weekend in preparation for the station's re-launch on Monday in what is expected to be am an adult-contemporary music format for women between 25 and 54 according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
The station earlier this week dropped its FM talk format and all its line-up apart from Steve Dahl's afternoon drive show (See RNW Oct 30) and has been running Dahl live in afternoons plus highlights of his shows before he moved to CBS sister station WJMK (Jack FM) on Monday from 05:30.
Feder also notes that the idea of bringing Christmas early is not confined to CBS in Chicago: Clear Channel's Adult Contemporary WLIT-FM, which made the switch on Nov 2 last year, is he says to become "The Holiday Lite" sometime next week.
For those who have the time for even more "holiday", XM Satellite Radio has already started airing its Holly - contemporary holiday hits mixed with selected traditional favourites from popular artists - channel that will run until the New Year.
Holly is one of seven holiday channels that will be on the station@ The others are:
*From Nov 19 midnight to Dec 25:
Holiday Traditions - traditional holiday recordings from the 1940s through 1960s.
Music City Holiday -contemporary and traditional holiday hits from popular country music artists. A Classical Christmas - traditional holiday carols performed by celebrated classical musicians.
Special X-Mas - novelty songs, parodies, and retro oddities.
*From December 4 midnight to Dec 12:
Radio Hanukkah - eight days of Hanukkah music and celebration of Jewish culture, including exclusive live performances.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2007-11-02: Citadel has now made it official - shortly after a report in Newsday - that it has agreed a deal with Don Imus, fired in April from WFAN-AM by CBS following his "nappy headed hos" comments about the Rutgers' Women's basketball team (See RNW Apr 13): Imus will return to the airwaves on December 3 on the company's New York WABC-AM, replacing the morning team of Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby.
No announcement was made about the future of the duo: Last month Sliwa told the New York Post, "There's nobody that's been more supportive of Imus than me, but I don't think he should get to take bread out of my mouth. He deserves to be back in the game - just not in my seat." (See RNW Oct 17)
The Citadel announcement said that Imus would be accompanied by newsman Charles McCord and other members of his morning team but did not specifically mention producer Bernard McGuirk, who had also been involved in the on-air discussion that led to Imus's firing and who was also dismissed.
No details were given of the finances of the agreement but last month the New York Post reported that Imus was to sign with Citadel for between USD 5 million and USD 8 million a year (See RNW Oct 17).
Earlier the National Organization for Women (NOW) has called for a letter-writing campaign to Citadel to oppose his hiring (See RNW Oct 12) as had the National Association of Black Journalists (See RNW Oct 10). Both made their opposition known following comments by Citadel's chief executive Farid Suleman to the New York Times that although Imus "did something wrong. He didn't break the law. He's more than paid the price for what he did." (See RNW Oct 6).
CBS settled with Imus in July but gave no details of the financial settlement involved although the Drudge Report had said it was around USD 20 million, a figure that New York Times said CBS Radio spokeswoman Karen Mateo characterized as too high. (See RNW July 8).
RNW comment: Without the figures it's hard to say for sure but we rather think that more than 99% of the world population would be very happy to pay the price that Imus appears to have paid in this case. Maybe he'll be making a large donation to support Rutgers?
2007-11-02: Latest results posted from the US show radio revenues down in general with only Fisher Communications bucking the trend so far.
At CBS overall revenues were down 3% year-on-year to USD 3.3 billion, reflecting said CBS the impact of lower television license fees, the impact of radio and television station divestitures and the absence of UPN, which ceased broadcasting in September 2006.Within the figures Publishing revenues were up 9% to USD 214.2 million; Outdoor revenues were up 3% to USD 552.2 million; TV revenues were down 3% to USD 2.08 billion and radio revenues were down 12% to USD 445.7 million.
CBS said the fall reflected both a weakness in advertising sales and the impact of the sale of stations and on a same-station basis radio revenues were down 12%
Overall CBS had flat operating income for the third quarter of USD 645.8 million (USD 600,000 down on the previous year) within which Outdoor was up 13% to USD 99.8 million; Publishing was up 6% to USD 21.6 million TV was up 4% to USD 430.9; and Radio was down 20% to USD 162.0 million.
Net earnings from continuing operations for the quarter were up 5% to USD 340.2 million and diluted income per share from continuing operations were up 14% from 42 cents to 48cents, primarily because of the reduced number of shares - CBS in September repurchased approximately 51 million shares of its Class B Common Stock for USD1.6 billion. Net earnings were up 8% to USD 343.3 million with diluted earnings per share up 17% from 41 cents to 48 cents.
Commenting on the overall performance, Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone said CBS continued to "position itself for future growth during this time of extraordinary opportunity."
President and CEO Leslie Moonves said the company "once again delivered on our promise to return capital to shareholders while driving solid EPS growth" but regarding radio he said its performance was "not acceptable" adding that under Dan Mason he believed the "turnaround" was under way, citing ratings success in New York and recent management changes.
He also noted that "CBS Radio is making a very aggressive move into the new digital future. We think there's a significant upside here in a business that clearly has to change and look for new ways to grow."
"Radio has to change, and it is changing," he commented. "We believe in its unique local power, both terrestrially and digitally, and we won't be satisfied until radio is growing its audience each year, revenue and profits."
Regarding the outlook, CBS said that revenues for the full year on a reported basis would be down 2% to 3% year-on-year as the result of divestitures of lower-margin assets including 39 radio stations, 9 television stations, UPN, and the non- renewal of several of urban outdoor transit contracts - this year so far "other items" include a pre-tax gain of USD 12.6 million from the sale of radio and TV stations. . For the long-term is said its outlook remained unchanged with expected low single-digit growth in revenues, mid single-digit growth in operating income and high single-digit growth in earnings per share.
CBS has also announced a quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share on its common stock, payable on January 1 to shareholders of record as of November 30.
Entravision reported a third-quarter decline of 3% in pro-forma net revenues and a 5% fall in net revenues - to USD 74.3 million - but it also trimmed operating expenses by 3% and corporate expenses by 13%.
Its net loss was up from USD 108,000 to USD 1.38 million - from nil to one cent a share - and Chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa commented, "During the third quarter we continued to execute our strategy and build our audience shares in a challenging environment. We faced difficult comparisons due to the absence of certain major events, such as World Cup and political activity, that occurred in the prior year period, as well as some softness in the advertising market, but we benefited from our focus on cost controls. Looking ahead, we remain well positioned to capitalize on the continued growth of the Hispanic population."
Entravision also announced the re-purchase for approximately USD 42.5 million of 4.8 million shares in the quarter taking the total bought since it began a stock repurchase plan up to 6.5 million for approximately USD 56 million.
Within the total pro-format TV revenues for the quarter were down 2% to USD 39.9 million, pro-forma radio revenues were down 6% to USD 24.2 million and Outdoor was up 2% to USD 10.2 million whilst net revenue figures were the same for TV and outdoor but 12% down for radio reflecting the sale of the Company's radio assets in the Tucson and Dallas markets in the third and fourth quarters of 2006.
Entravision said that for the fourth quarter it expects net revenues to fall by low single digit percentages and operating expenses to rise by a similar amount: Excluding political revenues it said it expects net revenues to increase by low single digit percentages.
For Seattle-based Fisher Communications, radio was a bright spot. Overall revenues were up 5% year-on-year to USD 40.8 million with TV revenues up 4% and radio up 6%: net loss for the quarter was down from USD 7671,000 a year ago to USD 533,000 and the loss from continuing operations was down from 784,000 to USD 601,000: For year to date TV is up 5% and radio is up 3% year-on-year.
President and CEO Colleen B. Brown said the quarter " continued our trend of revenue growth," and added, "The revenue increase was driven by Fisher's expanding efforts in Spanish-language television, increased broadcast advertising, increased rental income from Fisher Plaza, and an improved news performance."
Westwood One revenues were down 8.8% to USD 108.1 million, a fall put down to reduced audience levels, lower demand for the Company's products and services, and increased competition with national advertising revenues down 3.7% and local/regional adverts down 12.8% year-on-year.
Net income was down 19.4% to USD 8.5 million (from 12 cents to ten cents per basic and diluted share) but putting a positive front on, President and CEO Peter Kosann, said, "We have seen recent signs that demand for our programs and services are improving, and accordingly have taken steps to stabilize our audience levels and begin making selective investments in additional programs and product offerings."
Westwood One says it expects full-year revenues to be down by low double digits and operating costs to be down by mid-to-high-single digits compared with 2006.
Previous Westwood One:
2007-11-02: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has posted on its website a copy of a resolution signed by 53 members that opposes the introduction of performance copyright fees for music aired on terrestrial radio stations.
Unlike most countries the US exempts - on the basis of the promotional value of airplay - terrestrial radio broadcasts from such fees although they have to be paid for streaming music by the stations or others and by the satellite broadcasters.
The resolution - No 244 - was introduced by Reps. Gene Green (D-TX) and Mike Conaway (R-TX) and co-signed by a further 33 Republicans and 18 Democrats - and starts of with a self-congratulatory line about the US enjoying "broadcasting and sound recording industries that are the envy of the world" and then notes the rejection for more than 80 years by Congress of "repeated calls by the recording industry to impose a performance fee on local stations for simply playing music on the radio and upsetting the mutually beneficial relationship between local radio and the recording industry", referring specifically free promotion and publicity for the recording industry."
It then says that a fee would cause "severe economic hardships" to "many thousands of local radio stations" and lead them to divert efforts from providing essential information during emergencies and natural disasters and from public service announcements and charity raising before going on to say that no new performance fee or any charge for airing sound recordings.
Commenting on the resolution's introduction, NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said, "NAB salutes Reps. Green and Conaway and their House colleagues for formally recognizing radio airplay's enormous value to both record labels and recording artists. The undeniable fact is that radio airplay is a musician's greatest promotional tool and generates millions of dollars in revenue annually for RIAA-member companies and performers."
RNW comment: At least the Congress members concerned did not go so far as to label the RIAA proposals for a fee a "tax" as NAB has promoting but equally clearly they don't believe in the market since the logic if they did is that the recording companies should be allowed to charge what they can get with the consequence of overcharging that they would damage their own business whilst the radio companies would have to declare the payments (under Payola laws) but could charge what they could get for airing tracks.
We don 't believe the market is always the answer but would like to see some consistency in argument form the NAB which prattles on and on and on over various issues, contradicting itself time and again as it tries to get a short-term advantage.
2007-11-02: Former Welsh Rugby international and BBC Wales host, commentator and pundit Ray Gravell, who also appeared in many TV dramas, has died aged 56 whilst on holiday in Spain. He had been diagnosed with diabetes and earlier this year his right leg was amputated below the knee, an amputation from which he had made a remarkable recovery.
Paying tribute Menna Richards, Controller of BBC Wales, said, "There's no-one in BBC Wales, and probably no-one throughout the nation, who won't take the news of Ray Gravell's death as a personal bereavement. Ray was one of BBC Wales' best-loved broadcasters on BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Wales and on television as a rugby commentator and pundit."
Siân Gwynedd, Editor, Radio Cymru, said, "Grav was a truly unique personality and he was always full of energy and warmth. His closeness to people and his infectious enthusiasm made him an extremely special presenter "It was a real pleasure having Grav as part of the Radio Cymru presenting team and his colleagues felt privileged to work along side him. He was an inspiration to us all and he will be greatly missed."
2007-11-02: Arbitron, which has now signed all the major US radio companies to agreements to use its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings service, has now added Red Zebra Broadcasting for PPM ratings when the service is introduced in Washington, D.C.
Red Zebra, which operates ESPN on Redskins Radio, a three-station sports radio simulcast by WXTR-AM Alexandria, Virginia; WWXT-FM Prince Frederick, Maryland and WWXX-FM Warrenton, Virginia, is controlled by Washington Redskins' owner Daniel Snyder.
The service may well boost listening figures for the stations according to Arbitron's manager, Custom Sports Sales, Mason Meyer who said, "While the standard Arbitron radio diary does indicate that flagship sports stations have higher total audiences during a regular season, the Arbitron PPM shows a significantly larger total audience for play-by-play sports than does the paper and pencil diary. That's why the Portable People Meter is the centrepiece in our efforts to help radio broadcasters and sports franchises get the full value from the passion that fans feel for their teams."
Previous Red Zebra:
2007-11-01: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin J. Martin has told the Commission's fifth of six scheduled meetings on localism - held at the FCC in Washington DC on Wednesday - that he believes that most broadcasters do a good job in terms of contributing to their local communities but that some "may not be doing all they can or should to serve their local communities" and the commission needs to make policy and rule changes to ensure that all broadcasters better serve their local communities.
His opening remarks were interrupted by a Samantha Miller demonstrating on behalf of Code Pink, which opposes media consolidation. She was wearing a French maid's outfit and festooned with various references to major media organizations and resisted attempts by FCC guards to escort her from the meeting room: Eventually the guards allowed her to stay but they did prohibit other potential demonstrators with signs and banners from taking them into the room.
Miller later said during the public comment part of the hearing that she had dressed as a "corporate media whore" because her group's anti-war stance had been marginalized by corporate media although it was shared by the majority of Americans. She accused the media of selling the Iraq war and now trying to sell a war with Iran.
Martin said of the changes needed that the FCC needed to create more opportunities for new and independent voices and to address concerns that consolidation had limited the number of outlets available to minorities and new entrants. Regarding the latter he said this was he proposed a new tax incentive program, which the commission subsequently recommended to Congress, to aid small firms to acquire communications businesses.
Martin then went on to say that he had also suggested that the Commission could take action itself by allowing Qualified Designated Entities-small and independently owned businesses-to lease some of an existing television station's excess digital broadcast spectrum to distribute their own programming.
He also suggested that Low Power FM rules could be improved and suggested eliminating rules that prohibited LPFM sales and transfers subject to safeguards such as a three-year holding period; re-instituting original rules that all authorization holders be local to the community and limit ownership to one station per permittee and making it clear that repetitious, automated programming does not meet the local origination requirement.
Martin also suggested that AM stations be allowed to use FM translators and that commercial stations should be required to have staff present during all hours of operation.
Democrat commissioner Michael J. Copps agreed about the importance of localism, whose loss he said, had not been inevitable but the result of FCC decisions and suggested that what might well happen at the meeting was the delivery of nice words that "will float into the ether."
Consolidation he said "continues to choke the lifeblood out of localism, with its outsourced news, homogenized play lists and distant ownership. Meanwhile, consolidation denigrates diversity, denies minorities and women, and diminishes our already-distorted democratic dialogue. It seems to get worse with almost each passing week. I, for one, can wait no longer. If we truly believe in localism - if it's not just lip service - the time has come to do something about it."
Copps referred to past practices that promotes localism like a licence renewal process every three years rather than eight and said as far as the localism proceedings were concerned the public had to be given "adequate time to comment on the specific proposals to put localism back into broadcasting, and a timetable for final Commission action."
Regarding concerns about localism and diversity he suggested the best way to address them might be "an honest-to-goodness license renewal process and a reinvigorated public interest standard."
He was backed up in his concerns about consolidation and localism by fellow Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein who commented that then the Localism Task Force was launched, we were promised "rigorous studies" and clear policy and legislative recommendations. "We have seen neither any studies nor any recommendations thus far," said Adelstein who added that before addressing media ownership rules the FCC needed to implement concrete steps to enhance localism.
As regards the effect of media consolidation on localism, Adelstein said the public had spoken and comments received at hearings across the country were overwhelmingly negative on how consolidation has detracted from the responsiveness of media outlets to local concerns.
Apart from comments by media executives, others at the meeting backed up the concerns about media consolidation with Media Access Project president Andrew Schwartzman agreeing that the FCC should set local content requirements as part of licence conditions before it considers relaxing media ownership rules and Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America who said that if the FCC looked at the impact of its ownership rules on local content it would find that relaxing local ownership limits would "make it harder to achieve the goal of a broadcast media that is truly responsive to local needs."
Similar views were expressed by AFTRA National First Vice President and former National Public Radio and current XM Satellite Radio host Bob Edwards who said localism was "inextricably linked with the rest of the commission's regulations governing media ownership" and added, "The drive to consolidate ownership of media seems to ignore the disaster that consolidation has brought to local news and public affairs on radio in this country."
Edwards said the FCC should not intensify continuing "evisceration of broadcast localism" that had resulted from consolidation and distinguished terrestrial from satellite radio. The latter he said was by definition on a national platform whilst the strength and appeal of terrestrial was that it is local.
He said his experience showed that when it came to local information, news, weather and community events there is no real competition between terrestrial and satellite radio.
Also speaking was the Rev Jesse Jackson, the Rainbow PUSH coalition founder who also hosts a syndicated show on terrestrial radio: He spent part of his time attacking "Sirius' proposed acquisition of XM as that transaction is now structured."
Jackson said that that the transaction would create a "monopoly, virtually making competition impossible, and programming dangerously subject to the combined entity's self-interests and whim. This puts the public at a disadvantage. It has the potential of serious economic havoc on any business attempting to be a part of this marketplace and to the communities of which these businesses serve."
He added that the deal was not in the public interest saying it "will eliminate diversity of content and meaningful opportunities for minority partnership in media ownership."
2007-11-01: The future of BBC Radio 2 host Sarah Kennedy may be in doubt following her latest controversial comments about black people - she has previously been in hot water for suggesting seven years ago that black people were fast runners because they were used to being chased by lions.
Her latest comments were made in the context of discussion about children wearing visible clothing when walking to and from school but then she went on, "That's not just children. You know what happened to me yesterday. It was this black guy. It's lucky he opened his mouth to yawn or do something and I saw him. He was wearing a black hat, black clothes and he was just invisible."
Among critics were various contributors to the stations message board, politicians and equality campaign group the Runnymede Trust whose deputy director Rob Berkeley was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying, "I am sure that people say silly things all the time about race but a public service broadcaster like the BBC need to be very upfront about what's acceptable and what's not."
Shahik Malik, Labour MP for Dewsbury, said, "This is certainly not something the BBC would want to be associated with," he said. "In the 21st Century, most sensible and reasonable people would consider these remarks to be completely unacceptable" whilst Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, who had to resign from his job as shadow homeland security minister after comments about "idle and useless" ethnic minority soldiers who used racism as a "cover", said that he felt sorry for her but then went on, "Having fallen foul of something similar, I can empathise with her but I can't sympathise. She is a public and influential figure and she simply cannot be seen to make such remarks."
The BBC itself has issued an apology and said she has been spoken to about the matter.
UK Daily Telegraph report:
2007-11-01: Astral Media has now become Canada's largest radio broadcaster following its CAD 1.08 billion (now USD 1.15 billion -USD 950 million when the deal was agreed - See RNW Apr 14 ) acquisition of almost all of Standard Radio.
Announcing the completion, Astral President and CEO Ian Greenberg said the acquisition "positions Astral Media as Canada's leading radio broadcaster with unsurpassed national coverage. Our national network of 82 radio stations now enables us to offer advertisers an unprecedented access to highly defined audiences at the local level through some of the best radio brands in the country. In today's changing media world, radio remains a very powerful and exciting medium that positions us well for future growth."
Astral now has an English service, including brands such as CFRB, EZ Rock, The Mix and The Bear, with a presence in 34 markets in eight provinces and a French service including Énergie, RockDétente and boom fm in 13 francophone markets.
Jacques Parisien, Group President, Astral Media Radio and Astral Media Outdoor added of the deal, "Radio is well adapted to today's mobile and time-pressured households. In the business of helping clients reach and influence their customers on a very personal level, radio is unrivalled Our greatly expanded radio network, combined with Astral's other media assets further strengthens advertisers access to audiences locally and nationally.
2007-11-01: UBC Media has now reached agreement with Sony-BMG to use its recordings on UBC's "Cliq" service that allows radio listeners to purchase a track they hear on radio.
The service, which is due to launch on December 3, now has agreements with all the major recording companies. Initially it will allow purchases via an application that is available to 85% of current mobile phone handsets, meaning that radio listeners can use their mobile phones to instantly identify and purchase music that they hear on the radio.
This will be enhanced with the next generation of digital radios which will also be broadband Internet devices and will feature a 'buy' button and enable listeners to purchase songs with a single click from live radio stations.
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