April 2008 Archive
- March 2008 - May 2008 -
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 Note: Technical problems meant we lost this month's comment. If we can find it, it will be reconstituted.
RNW March comment - "The satellite radio Merger - What Now?" considers what conditions the FCC might impose to approve.
RNW February comment - Performance Royalties - Principle, Practice and Fairness - considers the call for performance royalties to apply to US terrestrial radio. In principle it must, in practice nobody gains from putting radio out of business and in fairness the currently proposed charges are too high.
RNW January comment - Digital - What's the point? We consider digital and conclude that the best approach would be for the US to provide DAB/DRM spectrum and let the market decide whether HD dies or -preferably in our view - ends up a licence-free system thus providing incentives for development of a true worldwide analogue/digital receiver and expanding consumer choice everywhere.
2008-04-30: CBS Corporation has reported what its Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone called a "solid financial performance in spite of a challenging economic environment" with net earnings for the first quarter up 14% year-on-year to USD 244 million on flat revenues - down a tad from USD 3.658 billion to USD 3.654 billion.
Within the results TV revenues were up 1% to USD 2.598 billion; radio was down 9% to USD 363.5 million; Outdoor was up 7% to USD 496.9 million and publishing was down 12% to USD 201.6 million whilst OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) was up 13% to USD 449.5 million for TV, down 26% to USD 122.3 million for radio; up 1% to USD 101,5 million for Outdoor; and down 28% to USD 17.1 million for publishing and operating income was up 15% to USD 402.1 million for TV; down 27% to USD 115.0 million for radio, down 6% to USD 44.1 million for Outdoor; and down 32% to USD 14.6 million for Publishing.
Within radio, CBS noted that same station revenues were down 6% year-on-year whilst reported revenues were down 9% to USD 363.5, a figure reflecting weakness in the radio advertising market and the impact of radio station divestitures: These decreases were partially offset by the recognition of $10.4 million of revenue associated with the Company's former agreements with Westwood One which were concluded during the first quarter of 2008.
President and CEO Leslie Moonves said he was "very pleased with the operating performance of the Company, which produced terrific first quarter free cash flow of USD 938 million and diluted EPS of USD 0.36" and added that as a result of "our continued confidence in our businesses, we are increasing our quarterly dividend by 8% to USD 0.27 per share, paying among the highest dividends in the industry."
Although he noted that the performance was driven by increased TV profits he added that radio was "seeing positive signs early in the second quarter with sales pacing up over last year in some of our larger markets."
Looking ahead, CBS says it expects OIBDA and operating income growth to be in the range of 3% to 5% for 2008, excluding stock-based compensation expense and restructuring charges.
The results exceeded market expectations and CBS ended Tuesday up 3.2% at USD 23.26, having touched USD 23.94.
2008-04-30: Clear Channel has won another round against the banks that it accuses of trying to renege on their commitment to finance its purchase by private equity groups led by Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners with a ruling by a Bexar County,Texas, judge that denied a request by the banks to delay a trial, set for June 2, until January next year.
According to Reuters, which says it has seen the relevant court documents which refers to them also needing to prepare for a New York lawsuit, the banks said they needed more time to prepare but the request was denied by a Texas Court.
Clear Channel in a statement said, "We are thankful Judge (Lori) Massey wasted no time in rejecting the banks' latest attempt to postpone this trial. Hopefully the banks are running out of delay tactics, and they will soon face a Texas jury who will make them take responsibility for their actions.
Clear Channel and the putative buyers have launched legal action against the banks involved in Texas claiming "tortious interference" with the deal and the private equity buyers also launched a suit in New York asking that the banks be ordered to comply with a commitment letter that details the plans to fund the buyout. The New York case is due to begin on May 5 although it could be pushed back.
Reuters quotes the banks as saying in their submission, "Forcing the parties to trial on June 2 would not gain (the) plaintiffs the benefit they seek -- a forced closing of the merger on June 12 -- but would certainly result in chaos and needless cost and inefficiency as the parties spend countless hours and resources attempting to comply with a draconian discovery schedule."
It says they also argued that some factors in the New York case have to be decided before the Texas case can start and that many issues in the cases are intertwined.
Clear Channel in its filing argued that delay was unacceptable since the buyers can terminate the deal if it has not closed by June 12 and say "The banks should not be rewarded with a'self-help' causation argument conjured from their own, deliberate efforts to delay (the) plaintiff's efforts to close their merger, or failing that, to have their day in court before their merger is utterly demolished."
In monetary terms the banks stand to lose billions on paper if the deal goes ahead - the offer price if USD 39.20 and Clear Channel stock closed at USD 29.25 on Tuesday - whereas the penalty for the buyers to pull out before June 12 they will only have to pay a penalty of USD 600 million.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-04-30: Guardian Media Group (GMG) Radio has announced the commissioning of ten programmes as the first stage of action under its GBP 1 million (USD 2 million) programming fund.
The commissions include two to independent company Smooth Operations - which has no ties to GMG's Smooth Radio (it also owns the Real, Century and Rock Radio brands): these are for a six-part documentary "Rolling River of Rock" exploring the musical heritage along the route of the Mississippi for Smooth Radio and a two-part "Blogs from the Bunkers", which will across GMG Radio's network of 13 stations to mark Remembrance Sunday and give an audio portrait of the realities of war as told by serving soldiers in Afghanistan.
UBC Media has received a commission for three programmes - "Grease at 30", "Can't Stop the Music - The Village People Story" and "When Saturday Night Fever Ruled the World" marking the 30th anniversary of their associated pop phenomena and Wise Buddha is to make a six-part "Heroes Heroes" series of programmes featuring well-known entertainers sharing their personal admiration for each other's work.
The UK Guardian, which is owned by the same parent, quoted GMG Radio chief executive John Myers as saying, "This first raft of programmes will give listeners a feel for things to come and prove that creative and diverse programming can be just as at home on commercial radio as it is on the BBC. GMG is committed to providing listeners with new and compelling programming and, thanks to the support of the Scott Trust, we have chosen a fantastic array of programmes that we know will be enjoyed by our audience. This is only phase one of our commissioning process and we look forward to ordering more early in the summer."
The commissions were made from 300 submissions from independent production companies.
Previous GMG Radio:
UK Guardian report:
2008-04-30: Westwood One has appointed Andrew R. Hersam, most recently Vice President and Publishing Director at Rodale Inc, to the post of Executive Vice President of Sales and Chief Revenue Officer.
His main experience has been in publishing and he commented, "With over 20 years of media sales management experience, I have had the good fortune of leveraging great content across diverse platforms to achieve significant, dynamic revenue growth working with brands like Sports Illustrated and Runner's World" adding, "Westwood One offers the similar opportunity but on a much grander scale. Westwood One's leadership position in radio content, its aggressive expansion across new and evolving media platforms offers powerful, innovative and measurable solutions for advertisers."
Previous Westwood One:
2008-04-30: As sales of digital radio receivers in the UK grow healthily, the UK radio industry seems to be getting some cold feet over the medium although a number of big players including the BBC and Channel 4, whose consortium won the bidding for the second national digital multiplex, are continuing to emphasize their commitment.
Latest figures from Gfk posted by the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) show that sales in the first quarter of this year were nearly half a million, up 28% on a year ago and 7% above the DRDB's forecast. In all some 6.94 DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) receivers have now been sold in the UK and DAB receivers account for a fifth of all UK radio sales by volume and 26% by value - the increase by value was 10% and annual sales of DAB receivers are now above GBP 170 million ( USD 340 million). There was a particularly strong performance with portable kitchen radios - taking an 82% market share by value- and DAB clock radio sales have more than doubled year-on-year and now account for nearly half all clock radio sales by value.
At the MediaGuardian.co.uk Radio Reborn conference this week, DRDB acting chief executive, Paul Brown, said DAB digital radio "came under fire earlier this year following announcements of withdrawal from the medium by GCap Media and the loss of several national DAB services. However, consumer, retailer and manufacturer confidence in DAB remains high as these figures demonstrate. That confidence is supported by the radio industry which is working together to ensure the future DAB landscape remains an attractive proposition for listeners."
Also at the conference outgoing BBC director of audio and music, Jenny Abramsky, called on the commercial sector to unite with the corporation to tackle issues that threaten DAB's future, saying they should work together on a joint marketing push and also for a higher quality signal - she was almost certainly referring solely to coverage problems but UK broadcasters use bit rates that have led to complaints that audio is not as good as the current FM signal for music - many experts say a 256 kbps signal is needed to get as good a result as FM on quality equipment and most broadcasts use 128KBPS.
Abramsky said that if they were serious about radio in the digital age, the commercial sector and the BBC had to collaborate and she suggested that amongst other things they should create a single DAB electronic programme guide. Abramsky said that radio faced bigger threats now than at any time in the past 50 years and warned that the biggest danger was "technological uncertainty, and this particularly applies to DAB".
Problems mentioned by her included coverage, affordability of receivers and the attractiveness of current receivers, the quality of reception and uncertainty over technological development, saying of the problems "They are not easy barriers to overcome, but they are not insurmountable."
Abramsky said there was no "agreed planning model for digital radio" for the BBC, commercial radio and their transmission providers and said she hoped the Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG), which was set up by the government to help push digital radio and includes representatives from the BBC, commercial sector and Ofcom, could agree instead of the three current methods to have a "single planning model and common measurement and with a plan to fill in areas where DAB coverage has 'holes', thereby providing the consistent reception that DAB is capable of delivering."
Although stressing the importance of DAB as "the only platform that replicates some of radio's strongest features. It is both portable and easy to use", Abramsky said the most important factor was content without which there "will be no future."
"Content," she said, "is everything. Content is what matters to audiences. Everything else, all the digital technology in the world, comes down to convenience."
Abramsky also defended BBC Radio1 & 2 in the face of further calls for them to be sold off - last week Peter Bazalgette, best known for his work on the Big Brother TV programme, called for the sale of the stations and Channel 4 to fund new public service content from arts institutions, museums, galleries and individuals - and said that it was not necessary to destroy Radios 1 & 2 "to ensure that our great cultural institutions are given access to broadcasting."
She also defended the two stations in terms of their impact on the UK music industry, saying, "As the music industry will testify Radio 1 and Radio 2 support UK talent, new music and live performance. They underpin the nation's cultural life in the broadest sense. They also provide news and information for mass audiences and young audiences - think [BBC Radio 2's] Jeremy Vine and Newsbeat [on Radio 1]. For all these reasons it is vital that Radio 1 and Radio 2 remain part of the BBC's public service portfolio."
Commitment to DAB was also stressed by Channel 4's director of new business and corporate development, Nathalie Schwarz, who is also chair of the 4 Digital radio group. She said the second commercial national digital multiplex would be launched although she did not rule an initial launch of some stations on the rival Digital One national multiplex and commented on DAB -, to which she said there was no "viable alternative" - "There are a lot of cross-industry discussions going on and as we have made very clear we are very willing and interested in talking to parties that have an interest in securing a strong future for DAB radio."
Ofcom's director of radio and multimedia, Peter Davis, said DAB needed stronger national brands, improved coverage and more receivers, in particular for automobiles and commented that commercial radio companies had "missed a trick" by transmitting new brands on digital radio but not investing in them, and contrasting radio with the Freeview digital TV platform, which was close to failing before a re-launch caught public interest, Over time the number of [Freeview TV] services grew quite dramatically. The same thing could be possible with DAB. We need to get the re-launch proposition for the platform right."
Previous Channel 4:
2008-04-29: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which had already announced that 123 members of the House of Representatives had signed a letter opposing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to introduce new localism rules for broadcasters has now announced that 23 senators have expressed "'substantial concern" about the plans in a letter to FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin
It has posted the letter and another letter from Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu to Martin on its web site
The main letter starts of by saying those signing appreciate some of the agency's conclusions in its "Report on Broadcast Localism and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" but have " substantial concerned regarding certain proposals in the Report that look to bygone regulations for instruction on today's evolving and highly competitive media industry."
It continues, "We are most concerned with the imposition of permanent advisory boards and the creation of redundant and burdensome requirements for licence renewal. Nationwide, many broadcasters actively engage their audiences to ensure that they meet their public interest requirements. It is wholly unwarranted to force all licensees to adhere to a blanket regulatory regime that does not account for the diverse needs and challenges of communities across the nation and the measures that many broadcasters are already taking in this regard. Such an approach is at direct odds with the policy gal of ensuring our country's broadcasters serve the communities within which they operate."
They then say that implicit in some of the proposals are "clear Constitutional concerns regarding the spectre of government regulated content. Local licensees are compelled by financial and fiduciary incentives to provide responsive, community-oriented programming. If a particular licensee is not meeting the local interests of a given community, listeners and viewers may turn to another source."
They also comment that broadcasters, unlike other media outlets with which they compete, are already have to meet various public interest requirements and communities have a "means of recourse through existing regulations to address complaints if their local broadcasters fail to meet statutory public interest requirements."
They also object to the main studio rule and the requirement that broadcasters maintain a physical presence during hours of operation, saying that technological advances "make these burdensome regulations needless in today's marketplace." Reinstating the rule it says would "require broadcasters to make significant and redundant investment in facilities and personnel, simply to continue serving the same listening audience."
In her letter Landrieu says the commission "should take care so as not to overburden local broadcasters with punitive regulation prompted by the failures of a few."
"Voluntary advisory boards," she continues, "are a commendable approach" but a new federal mandate "may be unnecessarily excessive". Landrieu says that in Louisiana small independently owned stations, which are common, are often "locally or family-owned and routinely provide the best examples of community involvement - without any federal mandate compelling them to do so. Where stations do not meet community standards, the market and other existing regulatory avenues already exist to hold them to account."
She also argues that the technology that allowed unmanned remote operation allowed "several small broadcast businesses to remain viable despite rising costs, thereby keeping an important voice on the air in their communities" and also provides the capability for stations to remain on air when station facilities are destroyed or personnel are forced to evacuate ahead of a disaster.
2008-04-29: There was some mixed news for Arbitron and its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system on Monday with an announcement by UK radio ratings body RAJAR that it is to abandon its PPM trial - not posted by Arbitron when we last checked - and by BBM Canada that it has selected a joint bid by Arbitron Inc. and TNS Media Research to deploy Portable People Meter technology for electronic measurement of television in Canada.
BBM issued the request for proposals at the end of June last year and received bids from three organizations as well as a joint bid from Arbitron/TNS. The submissions were reviewed by a committee of BBM members and after ten months of evaluation a recommendation was made to select the Arbitron/TNS bid.
BBM Canada President and CEO Jim MacLeod said of the decision, "BBM's goal is this process was to ensure that our electronic television measurement system was employing the most efficient and cost-effective technology available. I am confident that BBM's Board of Directors has chosen a technology solution that will not only meet the audience measurement needs of today but will also anticipate and adapt to the needs of the future."
Arbitron president and CEO Stephen Morris added, "We're delighted that the Portable People Meter will be an integral component of the world's most advanced, single source, radio and television ratings system which the BBM is now creating for Canada's radio and TV broadcasters, agencies and advertisers. We designed the Portable People Meter to be a robust and adaptable technology. That's why the PPM is the ideal solution for single source media measurement where one panel of consumers is used to measure many channels of media distribution."
In the UK there is much less confidence in the system and RAJAR has announced that it is to draw a line under its current investment in personal meter testing and actively investigate the introduction of a new online digital survey.
RJAR says it will "undertake an industry-wide review of the future direction of radio audience research and draw up a new three-year strategic plan which is to be published in the latter part of 2008" and noted that the "radio medium has changed rapidly in the past four years, not only in terms of convergence and consolidation but also in terms of the rapid developments in mobile technology and the increasing significance of podcasting and time-shifted listening."
RAJAR has hired Morag Blazey, former chief executive officer of PHD Media Ltd, to undertake an industry-wide consultation. She is to elicit feedback on how the RAJAR survey should move forward in the coming years and will also address the issues and concerns of the radio and advertising industries on a raft of topics from the scope and content of the current survey, to reporting and trading turn-around times and proposed innovations including the value of bigger samples, the introduction of an online diary and future requirements for podcasting, programming information, time-shifted listening and event response.
Regarding the possible introduction of a new online diary RAJAR has commissioned international research agency Nunwood to design an online, interactive diary which is to be field tested in July 2008. Nunwood will work with RAJAR's current fieldwork contractor IPSOS Media and, subject to the results of the consultation and the field tests, could be tasked to develop a model for the integration of the online diary into the main survey (alongside the existing diary) in the near future.
RAJAR managing director Sally de la Bedoyere said of the decision, "RAJAR's vision is to offer a modern and more widely encompassing service for the digital age and the consultation, we hope, will give us a clear mandate to move forward on a range of issues. For instance we would like to become the first port of call, not only for audience data, but for measuring engagement, programme changes and event response. We would like to offer bigger samples and reduce costs." She added, "We would like to measure all audio distribution regardless of digital or analogue platform; live or listen again; fixed, mobile, or personal listening device; out loud or on headphones; alone or collectively; in the home, the car, the office or elsewhere. We would like to work closely with organisations such as ABC-e and JICIMS to encourage standard metrics and measuring of all station websites and traffic. We would like to be able to adapt the survey quickly as needs change, and deliver greater details with the same clarity as is currently used to reflect trend. In addition, RAJAR would like to be in a position to provide more frequent data, loading seamlessly into an enhanced, user-friendly trading system supporting agencies, advertisers and stations should this be their desire, and to provide up to the minute data for all audio and music broadcasts.
RAJAR has already spent some GBP 3.5 million (USD 7 million) on research into audio meters since 2001 and has tested four audiometers - the Arbitron PPM; Eurisko Media Monitor; IPSOS-RSL audiometer; and RadioControl MediaWatch.
Previous de la Bedoyere:
2008-04-29: Emmis has spun off its Emmis Interactive operations, already operating on a stand alone basis, into a wholly-owned subsidiary Emmis Interactive, Inc. that is to start marketing its services to radio broadcasters and other local media companies.
The new company will be led by founders Rey Mena and Deborah Esayian, who have been named co-presidents of the stand-alone operation. It is Chicago-based and amongst its past successes were a 2006 deal with iTunes that made it the first company in the US to integrate the iTunes Music Store into its radio station web sites, allowing listeners to shop from playlists of station artists as well as top picks from on-air talent and celebrity guests.
Services it offers include interactive strategy for executive management, interactive sales training, content management consulting, proprietary technology platform and hosting services, custom web-site design and interactive product development.
Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan commented in a release, "Emmis Interactive has been a true pioneer and innovator in the interactive space. I take great pride in what we've built, and we look forward to providing other media companies the benefits of our interactive platform, sales solutions and know-how."
2008-04-28: This week for our look at print comment on media, we go mainly for various blogs albeit ending in the UK with a tribute allied with a call it a day message.
First up from the blogs, we go for Fred Jacobs and comments on radio and new media. He begins by noting a piece he and Mark Ramsey of Hear 2.0 both noted by Bonneville's New Media Director James Webb in the "INsight" column in Inside Radio.
Webb urged stations to think not of listeners but of users and asked "Why is radio so late to the New Media party?" on which Jacobs comments, "That's the question. And the answer is a combination of denial, fear, and 'that's the way we've always done it.'"
He goes on to comment on a top-down mentality "We broadcast - you listen" and then after comments on the measurements for internet audiences and getting them to come back for more pens a hopeful note: "In many ways, it is similar to the 'old way' of attracting an audience, and most radio programmers and managers could easily make the transition - if they were focused on achieving these goals."
Jacobs goes on to note services his company offers but the next blog, from Dave Martin, may in our view offers a view just as important but often neglected in terms of assessing US radio's performance.
"Today, at least in major market radio, "he writes, "the performance of the cluster appears, more often than not, to count for more than individual station performance. Indeed the conventional wisdom seems to suggest that the cluster affords operators the ability to rationalize one or more failed or marginal niche performers than pre-cluster days."
"Economies of scale and the arithmetic of aggregation," continues Martin, "permit the ratings laggard to be kept around on a kind of artificial respiration so goes the argument but is any such bean counting enabled life support actually hurting the industry?"
In other comments regarding clusters he notes the use of combinations to bar new entrants - "It's considered acceptable to employ a second station as protector of the mother ship (i.e., a flanker) allowing that second station to post a modest, less than full potential performance. The reasoning being the 1.5 share of the second when added to the 3.5 of the franchise not only yields a 5 share but creates a realistic barrier to entry as well."
After more discussion he considers clusters in terms of "avails", citing CBS Radio in San Francisco as an example and commenting that there's "a new and growing abundance of avails today, a potential for wealth creation not around in the last century (e.g., HD Radio spectrum, online)."
On balance he argues in favour of clusters, writing, "My take is the cluster buys time for programmers, reducing the economic stress and pressures on near-term ratings performance. Further, the cluster may be exactly the safe harbour needed to spark genuine product innovation in the most competitive of markets like San Francisco " and concludes "On balance, my suggestion is we are living in a new sweet spot for radio and all measured media; opportunity abounds! The only limitation is our imagination. Game on!"
Finally the tribute, from Gillian Reynolds in the UK Daily Telegraph: She uses her radio column - under the heading "Humphrey Lyttelton: irreverent, irrepressible, irreplaceable" to pay tribute to the British jazzman and broadcaster who died last week, specifically in terms of his BBC Radio 4 programme "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue."
"Humphrey Lyttelton," she considers, "gave the programme its gravity, climate, geography, and eco-system. Thirty six years on [From his start with the programme], the death on Friday night of Humphrey Lyttelton, chairman of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue for all that time, was significant enough to be the lead item on Saturday morning's Today programme, the subject of pages of newspaper coverage and comment all weekend. Anyone looking for evidence of the place BBC radio still holds in the national heart need look no further. "
She then goes on to note that this was a "show built on expedience and experience. Its title came from "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again", which ran to great acclaim from 1964-67 but whose stars and writers had become too busy with television to work for tiny radio fees, although they all missed radio's immediacy, fluidity, freedom."
After more history on how the show actually began , its surviving "long lists of directors general, controllers of Radio 4, heads of light entertainment" and then goes on to ask if it can survive without chairman Humph.
Her conclusion is that the BBC should not try - she comments of Lyttelton that " it was Humph's unique presence, at the still centre of this magically turning world, that gave the programme its gravity, climate, geography, eco-system. Not only did he have wit, style, personality; all those years of experience in leading a jazz band live on a stage (a career that long preceded Clue and co-existed with it happily to the end) had developed his rare skill of letting silence make laughter for him" and concludes, "So repeat the shows, bring them all out again on BBC Radio Collection CDs, but let there be a silence now, because I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue can never be the same again. It was more than a "brand". It was Humph's masterpiece."
Then on to listening suggestions - we note below that BBC Radio 4 airs a tribute to "Humph" on Wednesday - but start with a literary group courtesy of "Radio Books" from Radio Netherlands. This Wednesday it airs a new book - "Arusha" by Tom Naegels, a look at the chasm between cultures as experienced by a young Belgium man who travels to Tanzania to climb Mt Kilimanjaro and stays for a few days in Arusha to find the "real Africa." Currently there are MP3s of nearly thirty other readings on the web site.
Sticking with Africa, on Friday Radio Netherlands starts a new programme "Bridges with Africa" -the first edition looks at Holland's development policy for Africa over the past decade.
Then to the BBC for its usual wide-ranging selections commencing this week with BBC Radio 4 and its own wide rang. This included last Saturday's "Archive Hour" - "Kington's Last Tapes" in which Tony Staveacre presented highlights from conversations with his friend, the late Miles Kington; and Sunday's "Could I Stop Being a Muslim?" and "Analysis" - "War on the Professions", which looked at the idea of the independent self-regulated professional.
Then back to books and this week's "Book of the Week" on the station (08:45 GMT weekdays) is "The Sky is Always There", the story of the 14 months Camilla Carr and Jon James spent in captivity, having been taken hostage by Chechen rebels.
From Monday we suggest "British Jews and the Dream of Zion" (19:00 GMT) , a look as the State of Israel marks 60 years of existence by Jonathan Freedland at the history of Anglo-Jewish attitudes to the Zionist project.
Also from Monday we suggest "x The Miracle Berry" in which Tom Mangold tells the the story of a fruit which turns sour tastes to sweet, and the entrepreneurs who planned to market it in the United States in the 1970s until the US Food and Drug Administration suddenly banned the product despite tests showing it to be safe - the suggestion is that it could have hit the sugar market hard and the action resulted from lobbying by that industry,
Then on Tuesday to "1968: The Year of Revolutions" ( 08:00 GMT) in which John Tusa recalls events in France during May 1968 and also "Great Live" - this week the life is that of US singer, actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson.
On Wednesday (also 08:00 GMT) in "Humphrey Lyttelton: A Celebration", the station pays its tribute to the veteran cartoonist, broadcaster and jazz trumpeter who died last week, and later (10:00 GMT) returns to 1968 with "1968: Philosophy in the Streets" in which Nick Fraser recalls the intellectual revolution of May 1968 whilst in the evening in "Unreliable Evidence", Clive Anderson looks at the issue of what legal standards should be applied to troops in the line of fire?
Finally from Radio 4 drama and next week's "Saturday Play" (13:30 GMT) - a repeat of "Cigarettes and Chocolate", which was first broadcast nearly two decades ago and won author Anthony Minghella the Giles Cooper Award. It's followed (14:30GMT) with another repeat, an issue of "With Great Pleasure" in which the author, who died recently, discussed his favourite pieces of writing.
We then switch stations to BBC Radio 3 starting with this week's "Composer of the Week" - on Richard Addinsell and his close contemporary Noel Coward, who both composed songs and music for stage and screen from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Also from Radio 3 we suggest "The Essay "(22:00GMT Monday through Thursday) -this week it's "Symmetry and the Monster"-named after Prof Mark Ronan's book "Symmetry and the Monster: The Story of One of the Greatest Quests of Mathematics" - and from tomorrow to Friday the Radio 3 "Lunchtime Concert" - this week they feature a trio of young musicians performing works by three of the so-called 'mighty five' composers who were so prominent in 19th century Russia.
And at the weekend from Radio 3 this week's "Jazz on 3" at 22:30 GMT on Friday is live from the opening night of the 2008 Cheltenham Jazz Festival whist Saturday's "Hear and Now" at 21:30 GMT is a concert of five world premieres and Sunday's "Drama on 3" is a production from the Donmar Warehouse production of Shakespeare's "Othello" featuring an award-winning performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor in the title role alongside Ewan McGregor as Iago.
After that another station change and from BBC Radio 2 we suggest Monday (22:30 GMT) and the final part of "Jac Holzman's Elektra Story" - the story of Elektra Records; Tuesday an "Icons Revisited" - the first in a five part series (This programme is on Cliff Richard) - and the second of the four part "The Cowboy's Last Ride" looking at the story of the cowboy and his music; and next Saturday's "ToeRag Studios" - the story of the Hackney studio in London that uses vintage equipment for artists seeking a sound from the past.
UK Telegraph - Reynolds:
2008-04-28: An easing of restrictions on foreign investment in India's broadcasting sector seems increasingly likely following the release of recommendations to this effect by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
TRAI says that foreign investments " have an important role as a source of funding in the development of the sector" and that they "have other benefits also such as bringing in new technology, international best practices, and access to export markets. However, the extent of foreign investment is also conditioned by considerations such as national security, preserving socio-cultural fabric of the country, protection of domestic industry etc."
It has recommended lifting the (Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap in DTH, cable networks and teleport hubs from 49% to 74% and that for FM Radio from 20% to 49% with the cap for news channels that are uplinked from within the country to also be raised to 49%: It is currently 26% for the sector.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry, however, has indicated that it does not favour of an increase when it comes to news channels or cable networks whilst for FM radio it is suggesting the increase is only to 24%. TRAI says the limit should be upped to 49% and the broadcast of news allowed.
Regarding Satellite Radio it notes that it is in the process of examining the proposed draft policy guidelines along with the representation of the service provider and will be sending its comments to the Government separately.
Previous Indian Radio:
2008-04-27: Last week was very quiet for the regulators with no radio decisions posted in Australia and Ireland and in the US there was still no word on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval of the Sirius-XM Satellite Radio merger. Elsewhere there were only a few radio decisions.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted only radio licensing decision, a denial of an application by Radio Rimouski inc. to add a 280 watts FM transmitter in Amqui, Quebec, and a 1.4 watts FM transmitter in Edmundston, New Brunswick, to broadcast the service of CFYX-FM Rimouski, Quebec.
It had argued for the transmitters on the basis of improving its signal quality in Amqui and adding to the diversity of the Edmundston radio market by offering its listeners a French-language radio station with a Classic rock music format.
The application to add an Edmundston transmitter was opposed by Radio Edmundston inc., the Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada, the Syndicat des Communications de la République du Madawaska and the Coopérative des Montagnes ltée, which said a new transmitter in Edmundston would have an adverse economic impact on the local radio market, which is already unstable, whilst Astral said of the Amqui application that it could be perceived as an attempt to bypass the competitive broadcasting licensing process and to expand into new markets without making any commitments to local programming and would also cut into the advertising of its Amqui station CFVM-FM.
In rejecting the application the CRTC said amongst other things that it did not consider the programming offered would be relevant to an Edmundston audience and regarding Amqui noted both the precarious financial position of CFVM-FM, due in part to competing stations in Rimouski, which together capture as much listenership in Amqui as it does and also agreed with the point raised about bypassing the licensing process.
The CRTC also posted a public notice with a deadline for interventions or comments of May 29 that related to an application by Radio-Acton inc. to increase the power of French-language Type B community station CFID-FM, Acton Vale, Quebec, from 1,650 watts to 2,647 watts.
In the UK, Ofcom has announced the receipt of only one application for the one bid for the Somerset local digital radio multiplex licence - from MuxCo Somerset Limited - and has also announced the award of four new community radio licences (See RNW Apr 25).
Earlier it rejected Guardian Media Group's request to change the format of its Smooth Radio stations in London and the North-West by dropping jazz output and also announced the award of the Surrey and northern Sussex multiplex for which MuxCo Surrey & North Sussex Limited (See RNW Apr 24).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it was ready to award another three licences won in its FM Auction 62 - for stations in Jacksonville, Georgia; Kelliher, Minnesota; and Enderlin, North Dakota.
It also released a new version of its "The Public and Broadcasting" publication that all broadcasters must maintain in their public inspection files and added that it would establish a contact point within the agency for public inquiries about broadcast matters. Toll free numbers have been set up for calls relating to audio and video services.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-04-27: GCap Media's UK digital station Planet Rock has been given yet another month before it will be sold or closed with a message on the station site (incorrectly dated as March, which is strange as they sent out an e-mail with the information this week) saying that although "We'd love to be able to announce that the deal to buy Planet Rock is all done and dusted but I'm afraid that we have to keep holding our breath for yet another month The deadline for the sale to be completed has been extended until May 30th while the interested parties continue their negotiations with GCap Media."
The station adds that it "should have more news very soon" but there is no indication on who might be potential purchasers and speculation continues that Global Radio, who are in the process of taking over GCap and who have already stopped the sale of GCap's interest in the national Digital One commercial multiplex and two of the Xfm stations outside London although the South Wales Xfm station is still up for sale (See RNW Apr 12).
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
2008-04-27: Clear Channel and Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, who are leading a private equity purchase of the company, have won another round in their lawsuit against the banks financing the decision with a New York ruling by Justice Helen Freedman that Clear Channel and CC Media, the vehicle set up to purchase the company, are not bound by the terms of the banks commitment letter to the two private equity firms.
The two buyers have sued the banks in New York and, in conjunction with Clear Channel, in Texas, to force them to go ahead with the provision of USD 22.1 billion of finance for the deal or alternatively pay damages up to USD 26 billion. The banks had countersued in New York where amongst other things they asked that their exposure be limited to the USD 600 million it would cost the buyers to walk away from the deal.
The law suits are now to be heard on May 5 in New York and at a date to be set in Texas.
Clear Channel shares closed last week at USD 29.70 compared to the buyout price of USD 39.20 per share.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-04-26: CBS Radio has now launched its latest initiative, the CBS Radio Digital Network, as a presentation in Hollywood with further presentations to come in Chicago next week and New York next month.
The presentation featured CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason; its president of digital media and integrated marketing David Goodman; and its president of sales Michael Weiss, as well as CBS-syndicated morning host Adam Carolla and former KROQ, Los Angeles host Carson Daly. It highlighted the company's "Rethink" philosophy that it says is helping it to improve experiences with CBS radio from clients and listeners on all platforms.
The company is soon to launch a single online player at play.it that will allow listeners to access streams from all CBS Radio stations, which can be sorted by market or format, and also to create and share personalized stations using a graphical interface.
Play.it web site:
2008-04-26: British broadcaster, cartoonist, jazz musician - he taught himself to play the trumpet in 1936 - and composer, and journalist, Humphrey Lyttleton has died aged 86 in hospital following surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm. A posting on his website said he "died peacefully with his family and friends around him on April 25th at 7.00pm following surgery" and added, "We would like to thank everyone for their support and express our deep gratitude to the staff of Barnet General for the care that they gave Humph."
Below that it carries a quote from the host, termed by Louis Armstrong the "top trumpet man in England" and a long-time chairman of the BBC Radio 4 "antidote to panel games", the comedy panel show "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" that is attributed to "Chairman Humph in introspective mode." This says, "As we journey through life, discarding baggage along the way, we should keep an iron grip, to the very end, on the capacity for silliness. It preserves the soul from desiccation."
Amongst tributes paid BBC Director General Mark Thompson described "Humph" as "a unique, irreplaceable talent" and added, "One of the towering figures of British jazz, he excelled too as a writer, cartoonist, humorist and of course as a broadcaster on television and radio" whilst BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer, said Lyttelton encompassed "so many" of the virtues people wanted from Radio Four comedy and added, "He's just a colossally good broadcaster and possessed of this fantastic sense of timing. It's a very, very sad day but we should celebrate and be very grateful for how much he did for Radio Four because he really was one of the giants over the last 40 years, really terrific..."
Outgoing BBC Director of Audio and Music Jenny Abramsky said eh "has been one of the wonders of radio broadcasting for years. He championed British jazz with his weekly programme on Radio 2. At the same time his deadpan stewardship of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, the unique ringmaster of an anarchic world, ensured the programme became the jewel of radio comedy."
Lyttelton went to school at Eton where his father was a housemaster and was commissioned in the Grenadier Guards but despite his background became what he termed a "romantic socialist" after spending some time in a steelworks in South Wales.
During the war he was in action at Salerno and on VE Day (8 May 1945), Lyttelton joined in the celebrations by playing his trumpet from a wheelbarrow - his first broadcast performance as it was aired by the BBC recording whose recording still survives. Following demobilisation after World War II, he attended Camberwell Art College for two years.
On his website he is described as "descended from a long line of land-owning, political, military, clerical, scholastic and literary forebears [RNW Note: His father was second son of the 8th Viscount Cobham and he was male-line descendent of Charles Lyttelton and thus in remainder to both the Viscounty Cobham and the Barony Lyttelton]). Not a musician among them. He claims to have most in common with a former Humphrey Lyttelton who was executed for complicity with Guy Fawkes in the Gunpowder plot."
Lyttleton had chaired "I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue" since it was launched in 1972 and had also presented and performed in many jazz programmes including "Jazz Scene" and "Jazz Club" and most recently "Best of Jazz" which he hosted from 1968 until he bowed out earlier this year. He was still performing with his 8-member group until shortly before his death - he celebrated 60 years as a bandleader in January this year.
RNW Note: Of the obituaries we have read, we suggest The Times, which carries a number of quotations from the host and more than 50 readers' comments, as worth a read.
Lyttleton web site:
2008-04-26: US host Rush Limbaugh has landed in controversy again with comments that -going by the transcripts- clearly indicate that he would welcome riots in Denver at the Democratic Convention as a means of ensuring that Democrats are not elected.
The host in comments and excerpts posted on his website gives only a partial transcript as so often but audio posted online has him saying, "Now, I am not inspiring or inciting riots. I'm dreaming, I'm dreaming of riots in Denver," whilst mimicking the tune White Christmas and then going on to say "Riots in Denver at the Democrat convention would see to it we don't elect Democrats. And that's the best damn thing (that) could happen for this country as far as anything I can think."
The comments led to a call from Colorado Democrat Senator Ken Salazar for a public reprimand of the host by Clear Channel, whose Denver station KOA-AM, carried the show and a comment from Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper saying, "Anyone who would call for riots in an American city has clearly lost their bearings."
The station posted on its website letter from Salazar sent to Lee Larsen, Senior VP of the Rocky Mountain Region of Clear Channel Radio in which he says, "As I read Mr. Limbaugh's comments about riots at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, they appear to me to be a clear exhortation that those riots are exactly what he wants to happen. For that kind of incendiary comment, I ask Clear Channel to reprimand Mr. Limbaugh."
The station did not comply but issued a statement saying that Limbaugh was not advocating violence and carried a report that began: "Yesterday, Rush took a call from a listener who thought that Rush's ego may be getting away from him a bit, and that his Operation Chaos may have ramifications beyond Rush's control. Of course the local drive-by media (see Channel 7) is falsely reporting that Rush is calling for violence at the convention."
[RNW note: If you follow the link to the story carried by Channel 7 - ABC, Denver - it does not accuse the host but says his comments "appear to call for riots" and it later gives fuller comments by the host including the crucial "I am not inspiring or inciting riots, I am dreaming of riots in Denver", which he certainly didn't portray as a nightmare. Misrepresentation, it would appear spreads from Limbaugh to his affiliates.]
A poll on its website showed 70% of its listeners, presumably mainly right-wing, felt the host had not gone too far with 30% thinking he had.
Limbaugh took a number of calls on the issue and the station posed an excerpt in which it quoted the host as saying, in contrasting Republicans to the left - he does not specifically use the term Democrats in this segment, "We don't burn our cars. We don't burn down our houses. We don't kill our children. We don't do half the things the American left does."
RNW comment: The most illuminating things about this story came from the audio posted by the station and comments posted by various listeners. The station couldn't bring itself to do more than very mildly criticize the host - and most of the comment split into the bigots from both ends of the spectrum, albeit in this case with a healthy leavening of people in the middle who used temperate language to comment adversely on Limbaugh's comments. And as usual, of course, the host's own site and the reports on the internet failed to give a full transcript of the initial broadcast to allow assessment in a complete context albeit the audio we have listened to leaves us with no doubt that in this instance Limbaugh's comments are despicable - either as a calculating rabble-rousing because he knows what his audience want or because he really wouldn't be unhappy with riots to his political advantage. One comment summed it up fairly to us: "...add the obvious suppressed premise that Rush Limbaugh would *like* the Democrats' chances to be "hurt" and you're left with the unavoidable conclusion that Rush wants riots in Denver. Otherwise the entire soundbite is pointless, and Limbaugh says nothing without an agenda behind it. As usual, he got his intended message across, but he and the ditttoheads will now whine that he was 'misunderstood'."
We were also surprised to see virtually no comment on the other bigoted elements of his comments suggesting the American left has a habit of burning its cars, its houses, killing its children and much more.
Putting it all in perspective - Limbaugh's audience is around 14 million a week - less than 5% of the 301 million or so total US population - which leaves a vast majority of Americans who presumably are unlikely to dream of riots in a positive frame of mind. They might dream of someone ..whoops - we wouldn't want to be accused of inciting any physical harm to even Limbaugh.
Previous Clear Channel:
KOA web site:
Limbaugh web site:
2008-04-25: The US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has voted to approve a resolution introduced last month by North Dakota Democrat Sen. Byron Dorgan that would negate the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule that was passed by a majority vote, opposed by both Democrat commissioners, in February allowing a media company to own a newspaper and broadcaster in the same market (See RNW Feb 5).
The measure now goes to the full Senate for a vote and a similar measure has been introduced in the House by Washington Reps Rep Jay Inslee (Democrat) and Dave Reichert (Republican) but President Bush has already indicated that he would veto any attempt to overturn the new rules.
Reuters in its report on the measure quoted Dorgan as commenting, "We really do literally have five or six major corporations in this country that determine for the most part what Americans see, hear and read every day. I don't think that's healthy for our country" and adding that he hoped both the House and Senate would vote to kill the rule.
2008-04-25: Following an easing of regulatory requirements for local programming, GCap Media is to cut back further on local programming in June with the introduction of a three-hour weekday network show and a number of weekend syndicated shows on its One Network, a decision that follows similar moves earlier this month by Global Radio - currently in the process of buying GCap - to network daytime output on its Heart and Galaxy stations (See RNW Apr 9)
The new programming will run on most of the One Network stations from its inception although Radio Today UK reports that some stations including Trent FM (Nottingham), Invicta FM (Kent), BRMB (Birmingham) and GWR FM (Bristol) will not join the move until later and London station Capital FM is not expected to take it.
Also in UK commercial radio, Channel 4 is hiring another former BBC executive for its digital radio operations: He is Alex Donelly, a former head of music at BBC Radio 1 which he left in 2005 to join EMI where he is currently senior vice-president of A&R at EMI music publishing.
Donelly will become Channel 4 radio's head of music and will work with former BBC Radio Five Live controller Bob Shennan, now Channel 4 Director of Radio, on 4 Radio's three music stations the first of which, E4, is to be launched later this year.
The announcement came as Channel 4 released its annual report that showed an operating loss at its "core channel" of USD 7.8 million (USD 15.4 million), its first since 1992, despite ratings success and highest-ever share of TV advertising revenue) 24.1%).
Channel 4 in its news release noted its diversification into digital radio having led the successful bid for the second UK national digital multiplex and said it was "involved in industry discussions about a proposed DAB platform re-launch as well as continuing to advance plans to launch new national digital radio stations."
It also noted a number of disposals including its interest in the now-defunct commercial national digital speech channel Oneword Radio and its chairman Luke Johnson said it had now reached the "tipping point" it had been warning about "with the core channel now in deficit and being supported by profits from secondary activities."
Johnson added, "In response to market conditions, we are already having to cut editorial budgets and a new public funding solution is now urgently required if we are to maintain such impressive levels of public service plurality in competition with the BBC."
Previous Channel 4:
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
2008-04-25: Entercom has announced a 4% year-on-year decrease in net revenues to USD 95.4 million in the first quarter but its station operating expenses were down 6% to USD 31.7 million with adjusted net income per share up from nine cents to 13 cents and net income per share of 15 cents, including a gain on the sale of assets, compared to a loss of one cent a year ago.
Same station net revenues were down 4% but same station operating expenses were down by only 3% and same station operating income was down 5%.
Entercom also announced a quarterly dividend of ten cents per share, currently representing an annualized yield of more than 4%, and also that its board had extended for an additional year its USD 100 million share re-purchase scheme that was doe to expire: It still has USD 40 million available to purchase shares under the scheme.
In its release it highlighted a 67% increase in Free Cash Flow to USD 11.4 million - driven primarily by a reduction in financing costs - and President and Chief Executive Officer David J. Field in a release commented, "We are pleased to report that during the first quarter, Entercom achieved strong growth in both free cash flow and adjusted net income per share and moderate growth in EBITDA despite the challenging state of the U.S. economy. We expect to continue to grow our free cash flow for the remainder of 2008, aided by lower expected financing costs this year."
Regarding the share re-purchase he added, "We remain committed to returning cash to our shareholders, but have adjusted our dividend to put greater emphasis on share repurchases in the near term given the relative valuation of the Company's stock" and of prospects he said, "While we continue to be affected by general economic conditions across the country, we are relatively pleased with the state of our business and are optimistic about the business development and growth initiatives that we are pursuing across our organization."
Entercom noted that during the quarter it had executed USD 450 million in hedging transactions to reduce its exposure to interest rate volatility and had also repurchased USD 30.9 million of its 7.625% Senior Subordinated Notes due in 2014 for USD 28.7 million.
Looking ahead Entercom says that it expects second quarter same station net revenues to be down low to mid single digits as compared to the prior year period with same station operating expenses down by approximately 2%.
Entercom shares ended Thursday up 15.2% at USD 9.78 having reached USD 9.84 at one point.
2008-04-25: UK media regulator Ofcom says it has received only one bid for the Somerset local digital radio multiplex licence - from MuxCo Somerset Limited in which a third interest is held by Muxco Ltd. with a third each held by UKRD Group Ltd and The Local Radio Company Ltd.
The applicant is proposing seven services in addition to BBC Somerset. These are:
Star Radio - A full service offering from UKRD Group.
Ivel FM - A full service offering from The Local Radio Company
Orchard FM - a contemporary hit radio offering from GCap Media.
Quay West - A full service offering from Laser Broadcasting.
Easy Radio - an Easy Listening service from Easy Radio Ltd.
UCB UK - a Christian service from United Christian Broadcasters.
Traffic Radio - a Traffic and Travel service from the Highways Agency.
Ofcom also announced the award of four new community radio licences, which went to:
Amber Sound FM (Ripley, Amber Valley, Derbyshire).
Erewash Sound (llkeston, Derbyshire).
Tulip Radio (Spalding, South Holland, Lincolnshire).
Takeover Radio (Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire).
2008-04-24: A Texas jury has awarded Grantley Patent Holdings, Ltd. USD 66 million in a patent infringement judgment against Clear Channel Communications after finding that the radio giant infringed Grantley's intellectual property regarding integrated inventory management systems for multiple radio stations. Grantley, the patent holding sister company of Maxagrid International Ltd, a leading producer of yield management software for radio stations, claims that Clear Channel's Viero software infringed its patented process, which was developed by founder and co-owner Billy Shane Fox.
A post on the website of one of the law firms representing Grantley - Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.(RKMC) - notes that the jury also found that the infringement was wilful, which may allow for damages to be trebled.
Ronald J. Schutz, chair of the Intellectual Property Litigation Practice Group at the firm commented after the judgment, "We are very pleased that the jury understood the complex issues in the case and found that Clear Channel had infringed Grantley's patents."
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-04-24: UK media regulator Ofcom has rejected Guardian Media Group's request to change the format of its Smooth Radio stations in London and the North-West following a four-week consultation period launched last month (See RNW Mar 16).
GMG had wanted to remove an obligation to play 45 hours of jazz music a week on each of the stations, originally Jazz FM stations in return for providing 24 hour a day jazz services on DAB in London and the North West: The 45 hours requirement was imposed last year when Ofcom agreed to allow a change to an easy listening format and Ofcom noted that it received 42 responses, 14 in favour and 28 against the proposed change.
Ofcom notes that more than half the positive responses, which were mainly from individuals, welcomed the creation of a jazz station on digital and suggested linking approval with a requirement to provide such a service but pointed out that it is not empowered to demand such an assurance.
Pf the negative responses 20 were from individuals and Ofcom notes that the tone of many was that GMG knew what they were buying when they took over the stations and had been allowed enough change.
Other responses included one from the All Party Jazz Group of Members of Parliament which had objected to the original changes and remained strongly opposed and termed the latest request "a blatant example of format creep" and one from Bauer, the only industry response, which expressed concern about the timing of the request.
Bauer noted that it had welcomed changes to formats that had been recently introduced following the Future of Radio consultation but added that the industry was only just starting to digest their implications and consequences. It referred to a request for any "further significant format changes. Especially so close to the introduction of the new regime" as "unnecessary and unwarranted" and took the view that Ofcom should defer consideration of any such requests until the new system had been operating for a while.
The request said Ofcom had gone first to its Content Board for advice and then to the Radio Licensing Committee, both of which were unanimous in their view that the requests be rejected: It said that support for more easy listening could not outweigh the effect of removal of jazz from the station.
Ofcom has also announced the award of a further digital multiplex to a Muxco-led consortium: This was the Surrey and northern Sussex multiplex for which MuxCo Surrey & North Sussex Limited -Muxco and UKRD Group each hold half of the company- was the only applicant with a proposal for seven local services (See RNW Licence News Apr 6).
Previous GMG Radio:
2008-04-24: Cork New Life Media Limited has now launched its Life FM station Ireland's first Christian station which will provide a music-driven service for the Christian community in Cork City.
Earlier this month it signed a ten-year community of interest contract with the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) earlier this month.The service is 70% music and 30% speech.
2008-04-23: The banks involved in financing the USD 19.5 billion buyout of Clear Channel on Tuesday offered to go binding arbitration but the private equity buyers Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL) have spurned the offer according to Reuters.
The agency said the banks -Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia -- had said in a letter that they remained "willing to fund the Clear Channel acquisition" and that they believed the situation could be resolved within six weeks.
Bain and THL responded said Reuters, with a statement saying the proposal was "yet another disingenuous attempt by the banks to avoid living up to their commitments. The banks want to move this case into the back room because they fear that a public trial will clearly expose their misconduct."
They added, referring to a lawsuit they have filed in New York seeking to force the banks to fund the buyout - another suit was launched in Texas in conjunction with Clear Channel - "We are ready to complete the deal to buy Clear Channel on terms consistent with the binding commitments the banks made nearly a year ago, and provided all the documentation needed to execute the funding, but the banks refused to sign. The New York court hearing on April 24 offers a further opportunity for these critical issues to be revealed in the bright light of day."
Clear Channel, whose shares ended Tuesday up 4.39% at USD 29.74, which compares to a buyout offer of USD 39.20 per share, refused comment.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-04-23: Arbitron has reported first quarter net income up 5% to USD 16.3 million (Up 9.6 % from 52 cents to 57 cents per diluted share) on revenues up 5.5% on a year ago at USD 94.1 million: Costs and expenses for the quarter were up 4.4% to USD 63.3 million, put down to planned expenditures for the Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings panels in New York, Nassau-Suffolk, Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino, Chicago, San Francisco, San Jose, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Detroit. It also noted that share-based compensation for the quarter was up from USD 1.3 million in 2007 to USD 1.6 million this year.
Chairman, president and chief executive officer Stephen Morris
Said that the company had made "made solid progress in the first quarter toward our financial goals for 2008 and continued our ongoing efforts to optimize our capital structure, all as we worked toward further commercialization of the Portable People Meter ratings service."
He noted that five months had passed since they paused commercialisation of the PPM service "to address issues raised by our customers, the Media Rating Council and other constituencies" and added, "Throughout the first quarter, we worked hard to improve the important measures that our clients have told us are crucial to their confidence in the PPM ratings currency. I am encouraged by the results of our efforts. Arbitron has met or surpassed many of the benchmarks we established with our customers for sample size, sample quality, and in-tab rates. The Persons 18-34 sample among all ethnicities has been strengthened significantly."
At the company's earnings call Morris noted that it and its customers were operating in a "very difficult economic environment" and added that although small markets were still doing better than larger ones it was "hard to imagine" that they would not also be affected.
Regarding the PPM it said the company was on track with its PPM restart and noted industry support for commercialising more PPM markets with open support from CBS and Emmis whilst those with concerns were not going public. He added that they had also been getting positive signals from the buying community.
Following efforts made after the delay, which had been instituted after concerns expressed by several groups, Morris said there was now a "strong feeling" that the data looked good.
He also commented on the request from Cumulus for proposals for a new small-markets ratings service (See RNW Apr 14), which he said was "not a surprise" and confirmed what the company had been hearing from other small-market customers.
Expanding on the issue he said that qualitative information was more important to smaller markets and Arbitron had already enhanced he qualitative questions included in the back of its diaries in its small-market surveys and its Scarborough Research is examining the possibility of adding a small-market service.
Morris added that Cumulus wanted to have information that would enable them to continue to receive information such as AQH that national agencies understood together with qualitative information to help local sales.
Looking ahead, Arbitron has re-iterated its full-year guidance of revenue increases between 8% and 10% for continuing operations - excluding UK-based Continental Research which it has sold (See RNW Feb 15) - with per diluted share earnings from continuing operations between USD 1.30 and USD 1.44 including the costs associated with closing down Project Apollo that it announced in February (See RNW Feb 25).
Previous MediaRating Council:
2008-04-23: Mexican Radio Group Grupo Radio Centro, S.A.B. de C.V. has reported first quarter revenues this year virtually flat compared to a year earlier at MXN 128.26 million (USD 11.99 million) as opposed to MXN 128.53 million, mainly put down to increased advertising revenues.
Expenses were down and operating income more than doubled - up 111% to MXN 13.1 million (USD 1.23 million) whilst net income moved from a net loss of MXN 2.97 million (USD 269,000) to net income of MXN 810,000 (USD 76,000).
Previous Grupo Radio:
2008-04-22: Recent posts from Jacob's Media bring gloomy news for digital radio in the US with its "Tech Survey IV" web survey of more than 27,000 respondents across 69 Rock-formatted radio stations finding that many current satellite radio subscribers "are not committed to continuing with either XM or Sirius" and a post on HD radio finding only a sliver of a silver lining concerning the future of HD.
The post on HD said that the survey shoed awareness and sales to be "up just a tick" year on year and continued, "And that's after all those ads that ran on hundreds of radio stations, and continue to this day. Up against iPods, cool cell phones, and other hot gadgetry, HD Radio isn't even an afterthought. It's just not on radar screens."
Jacobs says its survey asked about the "barriers to purchasing HD" and the bad news is a lack of clarity over what it is, what it's about and price before continuing, "But the roadblocks that worry me the most are that most consumers haven't even heard HD Radio and/or they don't know anyone who owns one."
A bar chart listed the ten barriers, the top five of which were: 40% saying the barrier was that they didn't know enough about HD, 32% that receivers were too expensive; 28% that they hadn't heard it yet; 22% that they didn't know anyone who had one; and 17% that they would need new radios in multiple locations.
Jacobs comments that "It will take consumer buzz about HD Radio content to start motivating radio listeners to run to Circuit City or anywhere else to check out and price these radios" but adds that it is heartening that WNEW is back on HD in New York and then continues, "We need to give these radios away, set up kiosks in high-profile retail centers (called malls), and let people experience HD Radio in markets where there's actually something worth listening to on HD2 channels. But sampling aside, consumers aren't going to get revved about HD Radio until there's unique, buzzworthy programming worth getting excited about. If HD Radio is going to be part of the future of our business, it needs to become a bigger priority in the present."
RNW comment- As we said only a sliver of a silver lining. As regards satellite the survey unsurprisingly showed that those who had acquired satellite as a result of an automobile purchase were less committed to keeping it than those who had made a positive decision to subscribe.
Jacob's asked for the first time how people came to subscribe and found that around 40% made the choice themselves but a third said their subscription came with a vehicle they bought or leased and a fifth that it had been a gift.
Jacob's comments that "the subscription model is a tough putt, made all the more difficult by the plethora of new - and old - entertainment choices. While many traditional broadcasters have long been concerned about the growth of satellite radio, this data suggest that our challenges are clearly coming from other sources - notably, iPods, cell phones, and the Internet. "
The survey also showed that although satellite grew by 12-13% interest amongst non-subscribers is at its lowest level since Jacobs first conducted its first study in 2005 and that for most non -subscribers there is either an attitude of indifference or lack of information about the proposed Sirius merger.
Jacob's also notes that as in the past it found stronger satisfaction with Sirius than XM but says this could be in part because of "Howard Stern who is obviously a big reason why our Rockers opted for Sirius in the first place."
Previous Jacob's Media:
2008-04-21: BBC Radio 4 has cancelled the spring series of its long-running comedy show "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" after its presenter jazz musician and broadcaster Humphrey Lyttelton was admitted to hospital for an operation to repair an aortic aneurysm: He had been hosting the show, self-styled as the "antidote to panel games" since 1972.
Producer Jon Naismith said they were "unclear precisely how long Humph's recovery period will be" but that "Humph" was "otherwise fine and in good spirits".
Lyttelton, who is 88, last month hosted his final "Best of Jazz" show on BBC Radio 2 after some four decades (See RNW Mar 12) and his band's current tour has also been cancelled. A notice on his web site says that the live tour of the show, which ends in Bournemouth tomorrow, will be chaired by Rob Brydon "because of Lyttleton's operation" and also notes the cancellation of concerts planned in Devon (Gt. Torrington) on April 25 and Cornwall (Liskeard) on April 26.
No further details have been posted concerning his health.
Also at the BBC, where Adrian Van Klaveren today moved into his new role as Controller BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra, the station has announced that Blue Peter children's TV programme presenter and Strictly Come Dancing star Gethin Jones will join the station with his own Saturday show for two months from July 5.
"The Gethin Jones Show", says the station will "delve into the great summer of sport, music and culture that lies ahead, and reflect Gethin's own interests in entertainment and sport as a former rugby player for Lancashire."
Jones leaves Blue Peter at the end of June and his show, a Bite Yer Legs production, will initially run from 09:00 to noon but this will be changed in August to fit around the station's cover of the Beijing Olympics: He said of his move that "Joining Radio 5 Live with my own show is fantastic and I can't wait to get started. I relish a challenge and my first venture into radio will be just that. I've always loved the station and look forward to bringing my own flavour to Saturday mornings."
Previous van Klaveren:
Lyttleton web site:
2008-04-21: Last week was another of gloomy prognostications about the future of US radio from various angles with hardly a positive peep from anywhere.
Amongst commentators leading the charge were Jerry Del Colliano in his "Inside Music Media" blog and hear2.0 president Mark Ramsey, neither of whom rate radio's attempts to move forward very highly.
Del Colliano headed his comment "Radio's Future Is Off-the-Air" and then went on to say why, beginning with a note of the decline of traditional spot revenues and rise in revenues from new areas such as the Internet and mobile devices according to figures from the Radio Advertising Bureau.
He later comments, "The recession is going to cause a flat business like radio to post declines at the end of this year and possibly next. The best radio can hope for is to finish flat beyond that because it is a business without a future generation -- that's a big reason. That generation was lost to - new media."
And that he says doesn't mean just streaming a signal since the "next generation is not going to listen to your terrestrial signal streamed on the Internet. And radio has to find a way to get in the content business to generate revenue from the next generation or else it dies as its older audience continues to age."
There are, adds Del Colliano, "some glimmers of hope "- in relation to which he comments that "Dan Mason at CBS is going full throttle into new media. He's building webcasts for AOL distribution, on CBS-owned Last.FM, on his HD channels (lots a luck on that one), and on their own CBS stream. There's a great new WNEW.com channel. Dan's got interesting niche projects going on like a psychic radio channel and so on."
Overall though his predictions are depressing reading for over-the-air broadcasts - he comments amongst other things in a list of challenges ahead:
* On-air and online do not - and probably should not - be tied together. They are separate businesses. One attracts older listeners and the other is where the next generation lives. Never the twain shall meet.
* Podcasting will be the new broadcasting," Ramsey comments on what he headlines, "New! The Worst Rebranding in History! And it's all Radio's!" and goes on to put the boot into the "Radio Heard Here" campaign and research from Inside Radio on perceptions of its logo and imagery - it features a "lightening-bolt emblazoned logo and ads showing people listening to a boom box with a double cassette deck prominently displayed "- saying of the latter: "This is perspective divorced from context - the worst kind of research trash."
He then says, "The context in radio needs to be considered as feedback is gathered. You can't view a logo apart from the context in which that logo will be used and apart from the product which will use it Lightning bolts go back to the origins of radio, and anytime you talk about a hundred year old origin you are communicating one message: OLD."
Also laying into the radio industry was John Gorman who in his blog decried the emphasis being put on satellite radio whilst ignoring other developments such as "the Microsoft-Yahoo merger or who's next in line to get gobbled by Google."
He takes the view that the merger should just be allowed to happen, commenting of satellite, "Show me how it is going to take money away from radio? Or listeners? You can't. Terrestrial radio derives revenue from advertising. Satellite gets theirs from subscribers - and some paltry national business and a fair share of p.i.'s."
He also had no time for "Radio Heard Here," describing it as "a campaign that's certain to repel the iPod generation but we'll save that one for another time."
And also some doubts about the direction of satellite, commenting, "Have you listened to XM or Sirius lately? Does it sound like some of the stations have tightened the playlists? Even the comedy channels. Punch lines get a little stale when you've heard them for the fourth of fifth time in just a couple of weeks. There are already signs of things to come following the proposed merger. You don't have Lee Abrams to kick around anymore, for example."
Gorman thinks a merger failure would be worse for terrestrial radio than an actual merger since it would force up the promotion and marketing by the companies but also that a merger will not benefit listeners, writing, "Anyone who's worked for CBS/Infinity knows what'll happen when it becomes a one satellite radio universe. They'll never see another dime in upgrades. You'll never see more than a three percent increase in salaries. Name me one company whose product improved when its competition was eliminated? "
RNW comment: As part of the "Old" we rather fear that far too many of the comments are accurate and that the future of advertising-funded broadcasting - Google has now overtaken the main UK commercial TV company, ITV, in advertising revenues - is weak. Fortunately so far support for public broadcasters has remained strong enough to ensure that varied and intelligent radio remains on the air in the UK and some other countries and that more and more of it is available in download form. We still see radio as a medium with tremendous strengths albeit technological progress has significantly reduced its impact when it comes to pop music and, when we are forced to listen to pop radio when in a car with sons wonder what the attraction there is in much of the inane drivel and puerile jokes of some DJ's does to attract anyone but those equally puerile.
Which of course takes us onto listening suggestions, most of which would probably not interest many of the young who seem to want a noise on - most of whom rarely seem to really listen to music so much as have sounds on as a backdrop - but which do reveal something of the range of public broadcasters.
We start with BBC Radio 2 and the current "Icons Revisited" series - last Saturday's (on the site) was on Bruce Springsteen and next Saturday's, the fifth and last in the series (18:00 GMT) in on Prince.
Also from Radio 2 we suggest Monday and "Jac Holzman's Elektra Story", the third of a six part series on the history of Elektra Records; and Tuesday - "Who Knows Where the Time Goes... " (21:30 GMT),the first of a two-part documentary on Sandy Denny in which Bob Harris marks the 30th anniversary of her death plus"The Cowboy's Last Ride" (22:30 GMT) in which Tom Russell starts a four-part series looking at the story of the Cowboy and his music.
On Saturday in the lunchtime comedy slot (Noon GMT) the station has the continuing "The Blagger's Guide" plus a new celebrity-based panel show "Hot Gossip" hosted by Claudia Winkleman in which three profession gossip mongers compete for the main prize.
Then to BBC Radio 3 for this week's "The Essay" (Monday to Thursday 22:00 GMT): This week it's "Raising My Voice" in which four artists consider the impact of mental health problems on their creativity. Those featured are songwriter and artist Rachel Studley; Christopher Danes, writer and manic depressive; Monika Dutta, a filmmaker and multimedia artist who talks on living with obsessive-compulsive disorder; and painter Tracey Britton, who resists the label mentally ill.
Also from Radio 3 we suggest "Night Waves" (20:45 GMT) on Tuesday in which former editor of The Economist Bill Emmott argues that three great regional powers in Asia - China, India and Japan - present great dangers, as well as opportunities, for the world economy; and on Thursday when Rana Mitter and guests discuss the British fashion for 'Chinese Style' in the 17th and 18th centuries, as displayed in a new exhibition in Brighton.
Finally from the station we suggest Friday - starting with "The Verb" (20:45 GMT) with novelist Kazuo Ishiguro and best-selling jazz singer Stacey Kent discussing their musical collaboration. It's followed by "Jazz Library" (21:30 GMT) which highlights selections from jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery and "Jazz on 3" featuring a New York gig by Dave Douglas with his electronic sextet Keystone - and Sunday's "Drama on 3" (19:00 GMT) , a new version of Arthur Schnitzler's "Professor Bernhardi" plus the "Sunday Feature" (20:30 GMT) - "The Splintered City: The Halifax Harbour Explosion, 1917", the story of the largest man made explosion before the atomic bomb. It killed more than 2,000 people when a refugee relief vessel and a munitions ship collided.
After that BBC Radio 4 and we go for this week's "Book of the Week" ( 08:45 GMT) - "Isabella de' Medici" taken from Caroline P Murphy's biography and read by Fenella Woolgar; "The Afternoon Reading" - 14:30 GMT weekdays and this week featuring specially commissioned stories exploring the ways in which we interact with technology and machines and the following (14:45 GMT) "Hunting the Beagle" in which Dr Robert Prescott searches for the final resting place of the ship aboard which Charles Darwin began to formulate the ideas which would eventually become his theory of evolution.
Also from Radio 4 we suggest Monday's "Beyond Belief" in which Ernie Rea presents a special edition of the programme, looking at the theological debates across faith traditions on whether it is ever right to create hybrid embryos and "The Chemistry of Addiction" in which Dr Graham Easton explores how the brain deals with drugs and who might become an addict.
Later in the week we suggest a run on Tuesday - "A Sunparched Country. Water Is Precious" (08:30 GMT) which looks at how drought has made Australian take water usage more seriously and also on Tuesday "Turned out Nice Again!" in which Allan Beswick tells the remarkable story of two George Formbys, father and son and also "The Music Feature" - "Tales from the Stave: Pulcinella" in which Frances Fyfield tracks down the stories behind the scores of the ballet score and at 15:30 GMT "Great Lives" in which Stirling Moss nominates fellow racing driver Juan Manuel Fangio. Finally on Tuesday we go for "Could I Stop Being a Muslim?" featuring former Muslim radical Shiraz Maher
Then from Thursday we go for another run - all available as podcast cum downloads -with "In our Time" ( 08:00 GMT), which this week looks at "Materialism"; "Material World (15:30 GMT), which this week looks at stealth technology's use by the military with stealth warships seemingly on the horizon (or not on it as the case might be); and "Analysis " (19:30 GMT), which this week queries the idea of the independent self-regulated professional.
From Friday we suggest "The Now Show" (17:30 GMT and also a podcast/download) and from Saturday the continuing "Fish Tales" series (04:45 GMT) which after the Trout last week looks at The Perch plus an oddball programme later with "Telly Savalas and Quota Quickies" in which Laurie Taylor recalls a series of 1970s B-Movies, created by the late Harold Baim, in which Hollywood star Telly Savalas waxes lyrical about the charms of certain British cities, including Birmingham, Portsmouth and Aberdeen plus in the evening "The Archive Hour" (19:00 GMT and also a podcast/download) - this week in "Kington's Last Tapes", Tony Staveacre presents highlights from conversations with his friend Miles Kington, recorded shortly before the latter's death.
Finally from the BBC we go for the World Service Documentary Archive and "The My Lai Tapes" which airs Wednesday and will then be available as a download.
RNW note: We may also update later with further suggestions from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Radio Netherlands: In the meantime a dip into their podcasts is worth the time.
John Gorman blog:
Hear 2.0 - Ramsey:
Insidemusicmedia- Del Colliano:
2008-04-20: Last week saw the main regulatory activity in Australia where the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced what it terms a "new approach" to its dealings with the community radio sector starting with the setting up of a new ACMA team, the Community Broadcasting Group (CBG): Elsewhere there was a steady but not high flow of activity.
The ACMA notes that Australia at the end of last June had 358 community radio broadcasting services, compared to 274 commercial radio broadcasting services, and ACMA chairman Chris Chapman commented, "This is a large number of community radio broadcasting services. As they obtain access to valuable free-to-air spectrum at little cost, it is important for ACMA to administer the legislative provisions in accordance with the public interest and in the manner intended by Parliament."
Of the introduction of the CBG, whose work will include all licence allocations and renewals, complaints and investigations, compliance and enforcement, and the monitoring and review of the codes of practice that govern community radio and community television broadcasting services, Chapman commented, "This sector is incredibly diverse and its several hundred members vary widely in their size and resources and the quality of their governance arrangements. We have gone back to first principles and are looking for better ways to do business with the sector. The aim is to ensure sector members continue to serve the community while at the same time making the regulator more accessible and more accountable."
The emphasis in the past said the ACMA had been on licence renewals and investigations arising from specific complaints, processes that will be kept but that it considers a "blunt instrument" although it notes that between 1 July 2004 and 29 February 2008, ACMA assessed 276 community radio renewal applications of which only five licences were not renewed due to serious problems with their services, suggesting, it says that the system is operating reasonably effectively.
It says however that it considers that the community broadcasting sector and the majority of community stations are likely to benefit from an increased emphasis on information and education throughout the life of their licences, which since December 2002 have to be considered for renewal every five years.
As part of its initiative, the ACMA has established a single community broadcasting portal on the ACMA homepage, providing a single point of access to a broad array of information and resources for, and about, community broadcasting services. It has also developed draft Sponsorship Guidelines for Community Broadcasting Services 2008, to assist community broadcasting licensees to comply with the licence conditions that prohibit the broadcast of advertisements and that limit the amount of sponsorship announcements per hour. It is expected that the guidelines will be finalised over the coming months.
As regards wider issues of spectrum the ACMA is seeking feedback on two documents - "Spectrum Management Principles" and "Five-year Spectrum Outlook" - that it has released ahead of its RadComms08 spectrum management conference to be held in Melbourne from April 30 to May 2.
Chapman noted that the Authority's analysis indicates that demand for spectrum will continue to grow across the board and said it was "vital that we have a good framework in place to help us to meet this challenge."
The ACMA says it will adopt a "total welfare" standard in assessing individual spectrum management issues and that where a decision will have a "significant economic impact" it may "draw on qualitative or qualitative analysis to assess the impact of alternative allocations on total welfare."
On radio licensing matters the ACMA is proposing to make spectrum available for the ABC NewsRadio national service in the Riverland area of South Australia. Because it would find no unused frequencies a high-power service in Renmark/Loxton it is proposing to allocate the 93.9 MHz frequency, currently used by Riverland Christian Radio Inc under a temporary community broadcasting licence for the ABC service and make frequency 100.7 MHz available for community broadcasting, thus allowing the current temporary community radio service to continue broadcasting with similar coverage of the Renmark/Loxton area.
Giles Tanner, General Manager, Inputs to Industry Division, said that its initial view was that "using the radio frequency spectrum in this way will promote diversity of services for audiences in the Riverland area" and added, "However, ACMA is very keen to hear the views of the Riverland community before making a decision about varying the licence area plan."
Regarding community radio, the agency has found that -Green Valley Community Radio Cooperative Ltd's 2GLF, which provides a service to the Liverpool and Fairfield areas of south west Sydney, has breached its licence conditions by failing to encourage members of the community it serves to participate in the operations of the service and in the selection and provision of programmes.
It noted, following a complaint made in October 2007 and subsequent investigation, that although the station provided details of the procedure for becoming a member of the station, no evidence was provided to substantiate how it encouraged the community to participate in the operations of the service and in addition, no details were given to substantiate how the station encouraged community participation in the selection and provision of programs.
It added that its investigation had found some improvements had been made including the introduction of an automation system to record and time-shift some daytime programs to the overnight shift; additional ethnic programming; and two more hours of sports programming but said these were insufficient and has asked the licensee to provide a report in July on measures it has taken since the investigation was finalised to meet its licence obligations.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a very quiet week regarding radio, posting just one decision, the approval of application by My Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) to relocate the transmitter of CHMY-FM, Renfrew, Ontario; increase its antenna height; and reduce the power from 1,000 watts to 790 watts.
The Commission noted that the Town of Arnprior has indicated that future use of the current site for the station's antenna system is uncertain, and suggested that a new site be found and that MBC said it had found a suitable existing tower structure, of a height that would provide proper coverage to the community, on Mount Packenham.
The CRTC also posted a public notice with a deadline for comment or interventions of May 22 relating to an application received requesting deletion from the licence of CIGR-FM, Sherbrooke, Quebec, its current condition requiring a basic annual contribution to Canadian Talent Development of CAD 9,429 (around USD 9.390) to the promotion and development of Canadian content with at least 20% of this going to FACTOR or MUSICACTION.
The request is designed to correct a situation that arose when a takeover by Corus of the station was approved subject to a condition of approval under which Corus was required to submit, within 30 days of this decision, a tangible benefits package that amounts to a minimum of CAD 66,000 (USD 65,750).
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the award of Euros 1.13 million ( USD 1.8 million) for radio programming in the sixth round of its Sound & Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme (See RNW Apr 17) and in the UK Ofcom posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin, upholding no radio complaints (See RNW Apr 15).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to face calls to approve and disallow the Sirius-XM merger but so far there is still no decision. Otherwise the FCC had a quiet week as regards radio matters - its attention was turned more towards broadband last week - but it did post one radio decision.
This was the approval of the renewal of the licence of South Seas Broadcasting, Inc.'s WVUV-AM, Leone, American Samoa, a renewal that had been opposed in a petition from the Council of the Assemblies of God in American Samoa.
It did however issue a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture for USD 18,000 on the basis that the station had operated at an unauthorized site and had been left silent without proper authorization. The FCC noted that the licensee acquired the station on March 13, 2000, at which time it was silent following a fire almost a year earlier. It was returned to the air using a temporary antenna but no approval was sought for the temporary operation and the station went off the air again at the end of April 2,000 because of transmitter problems. The FCC says it apparently requested Special Temporary Authority (STA) to remain silent because of the problems and then subsequently resumed broadcasts on June 23, 2000.
Later following a letter indicating that the station might have been off the air since 1999, the licensee admitted in March 2004that the station had gone silent from May 4, 1999 to April 27, 2000 and that in December 2003 it had gone off the air following a lightning strike on its tower and was still off the air and requested STA to remain silent for 30 days, subsequently resuming operations in March 2004 at a new location in Pago Pago and then want off air again in August, 2004 before in November requesting STA to continue operations from the temporary facilities.
The saga continued when in January 2005 the FCC informed the licensee that the licence had expired and its call sign had been deleted, to which the licensee responded detailing problems it had faces and asking for reconsideration of the action and reinstatement of its licence.
In May 2006
The FCC staff granted the petition and reinstated the licence but admonished the station for its failure to request authorization for emergency facilities in 2000.
The Council's petition calling for revocation of the licence contended that the station had been silent since June 1998 and said it is the current lessee of South Seas former licensed transmission site which is now used as the tower site for KJAL-AM.
The FCC in making its decision to renew the licence but impose penalties said the facts presented a close case and it was clear the Licensee's conduct "has fallen far short of the service commitment which most licensees provide to their communities of license on a daily basis" but not so short as to call a revocation hearing but sufficient to issue a short-term renewal of two years so as to ensure future compliance.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-04-19: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has announced the finalists for its 2008 ABC Local Radio Awards - in all there are awards in 18 categories covering individual and station awards.
The winners are to be announced at a ceremony in Sydney on May 1 that is complemented by a two-day Forum for finalists & ABC Local Radio delegates to discuss a range of topics including future directions of the ABC over the next five years.
Director of ABC Radio & Regional Content Sue Howard, who is on the Awards judging panel, said she was impressed with both the quality and commitment evident in the entries this year, commenting, "Each year the Awards highlight the energy and creativity of the Local Radio network across the country, and our continuing commitment to audiences. And pleasingly, the list includes both seasoned nominees and an encouraging number of new names and activities."
The ABC has also, in the lead up to this weekend's Australia 2020 Summit, unveiled its vision for public broadcasting in 2020
ABC Managing Director Mark Scott, who will be attending the Summit, along with a number of ABC personalities, said the ideas paper "The ABC in the Digital Age - Towards 2020" was aimed at prompting debate and discussion around the vital role of public broadcasting in the digital media age and added that the Corporation was uniquely placed to deliver more content on more platforms in the digital age.
"As audiences fragment, and choices multiply, Australians will be looking towards the trusted ABC brand to continue to deliver reliable, quality Australian content," he said, describing the paper as "very much an ideas paper, designed to stimulate discussion, not a funding pitch."
In 2020 says the document, the ABC will be delivering six TV channels plus a suite of at least 15 radio services, supported by broadband sites providing additional content, information and audience participation.
The radio services will include the existing ABC national networks - Radio National, triple j, Newsradio and Classic FM plus ABC local radio services from at least 60 stations and digital radio services including music genre channels including country, swing, jazz, metal, hip hop; a children's radio service; a sports channel, and a Health and Well Being service.
In addition the corporation plans to extend the Radio Australia service into India.
Previous ABC, Australia:
The ABC in the Digital Age (PDF):
ABC Local Radio Awards finalists (PDF):
2008-04-19: Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. (CME) has announced the RON 47.2 million (USD 20.6 million) acquisition of Compania de Radio Pro s.r.l. ("Radio Pro") which owns the two leading radio channels in Romania, Pro FM - a pop music channel with an average all day share of about 7% in the 15-35 year old national demographic and Info Pro - a national infotainment channel launched in 2004.
Radio Pro is a member of the Media Pro group of companies, in which CME has an 8.7% interest with its COO Adrian Sarbu holding the remaining interest and CME says the price was set on the basis of an independent valuation.
Pro FM had 2007 revenues of Euros 3.3 million ( USD 5.3 million with an EBIDA of 42% whilst Info Pro revenues were Euros 600,000 ( USD 960,000) and an EBITDA loss of EUR 1.0 million (USD 1.6 million).
Radio Pro collaborates closely with MTV in Romania and CME CEO Michael Garin commented: "We are thrilled to be able to acquire the profitable Radio Pro channels to further develop our expansion into the youth market in Romania. The combination of MTV Romania, our leading websites and the Radio Pro channels will further enhance our multi-channel strategy and allow us to offer a broader range of audience to our advertisers."
Sarbu added, "Media Pro has been building the Radio Pro business since 1993 and established radio brands that can now successfully support the growth of CME's new channel, MTV Romania. We also look to expand our multi-channel strategy through radio into other CME territories in the future. With an established channel like Pro FM operating at a similar EBITDA margin to CME's most successful TV channels, we view this form of media as a strong addition to our current business model."
2008-04-19: Regent Communications has appointed former Entravision CFO John F. DeLorenzo to its board to fill the vacancy left when Patrick Hannan tendered his resignation following a change in his principal occupation.
Regent says that it expects DeLorenzo to serve on the Board's Audit and Compensation Committees and its chairman William Sutter said he would bring "a wealth of experience and expertise to Regent Communications" and added, "He will play a key role as we continue to review all strategies to maximize the value of the company to the benefit of our shareholders."
2008-04-18: Channel 4 has hired another of BBC Radio Five Live's executives in the first of planned senior appointments to be announced by its Director of Radio Bob Shennan, the former controller of Radio Five Live who was appointed to his post last year (See RNW Dec 4, 2007) and started in his new post earlier this month.
Michael Hill, Managing Editor at BBC Radio Five Live, will be General Manager of 4 Radio and will report directly to Shennan with a remit to manage the creative starting with E4 Radio and to establish and oversee the group's commissioning system and manage the logistics and personnel infrastructure across the 4 Radio group.
Shennan commented of him, "Mike is a widely respected operator within the radio industry who has done a terrific job in a number of areas at the BBC. I have no doubt he will be a huge asset to our expanding team."
Hill, who joined the BBC 1989 as a Studio Manager in BBC News later worked on the Radio 1 Newsbeat programme as a journalist before moving to Radio Give Live where his roles have included Network Manager, Interactive Editor and most recently Managing Editor.
He said his new post was "a dream job for me" and added, ". It's a huge wrench to leave 5 Live but you don't get opportunities like this every day. If we can set up 4 Radio right, at a time of enormous change in the industry, we'll end up helping radio to reinvent itself."
Previous Channel 4:
2008-04-18: SMG has revealed in its Annual Report that former acting chief executive Donald Emslie, who had previously headed its TV business, received a GBP 535,000 (USD 1.07 million) pay-off as "compensation for loss of office" from the company.
He had stood in as chief executive after Andrew Flanagan left in July 2006 (See RNW Jul 19, 2006) and a shareholder coup led by Hanover Investors Management after SMG failed in an attempt to agree a merger with UTV (See RNW Mar 1, 2007).
Emslie stayed on as an executive director after new Chief Executive Rob Woodward was appointed (See RNW Mar 1 2007) but resigned in April last year (See RNW Apr 12, 2007).
As well as his pay-off, Emslie also received a salary of GBP 119,000 (USD 237,000) for three and a half months of work plus GBP 30,000 (USD 60,000) in benefits, taking his total remuneration to GBP 684,000 (USD 1.36 million).
Woodward received GBP 375,000 ( USD 747,000) for his first ten months - made up of GBP 318,000 ( USD 633,000) in salary and GBP 57,000 ( USD 114,000) in benefits whilst Finance Director George Watt was paid GBP 250,000 (USD 499,000) made up of GBP 214,000 (USD 427,000) in salary and GBP 36,000 (USD 72,000) in benefits.
The report also said that neither Watts or Woodward qualified for a performance-rated bonus in 2007 and that neither would receive any increase in basic pay - of GBP 214,000 ( USD 427,000) and GBP 380,000 ( USD 757,00) respectively this year.
2008-04-18: US radio revenues in March were down 8% on a year ago with non-spot revenue the only bright spot according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
It says that local revenues were down 8%; National revenues down 17%; and combined local and national revenues were down 10%. The overall total was pulled back to an 8% fall by an 18% rise in non-spot revenues.
The decline was the worst reported by RAB since November 2001.
2008-04-18: Tribune Co has announced amongst a list of executive appointments - in a release that notes "Amazingly, Only One is Connected to Clear Channel Communications!"- the appointment of Jerry Kersting, formerly CFO of Clear Channel Radio, as its executive vice president, responsible for helping to identify opportunities and efficiencies for the company's businesses.
Announcing the appointment
Gerry Spector, Tribune's chief administrative officer, said of Kersting, "Jerry is respected across the media industry for his strategic vision, depth of knowledge, and ability to see opportunities and potential where others don't. He's the perfect fit for this role, even though he spells his first name incorrectly."
2008-04-17: The Texas Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Antonio where Clear Channel is headquartered has rejected a call by the banks involved in financing the private equity buy-out of the company by Bain Capital and Thomas H Lee Partners (THL) to dismiss a law suit against it by Clear Channel and the buyers.
The banks - Citigroup Inc; Credit Suisse Group; Deutsche Bank AG; Morgan Stanley; Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Wachovia Corp - are facing a lawsuit in Texas from Clear Channel and the buyers and in New York from the buyers.
They face a book loss of some USD 3 billion if the deal goes through on the current terms whilst the buyers could walk away on payment of a penalty of USD 600 million but the buyers say they want to go ahead and in the Texas lawsuit they and Clear Channel accuse the banks of "tortuous interference" with the deal and said that if this is "allowed to continue and succeed, could result in immeasurable damages" exceeding USD 26 billion.
The banks wanted the case held in New York and have asked a New York Court to include Clear Channel in the suit there and also to limit damages to USD 600 million, the sum the buyers would have to pay if they walked away.
Clear Channel went to the New York Court to argue that the case should be heard in Texas and that Texas should be the legal venue for any disputes that involve it.
The New York suit from Bain and THL seeks "specific performance" by the bank of a letter that details the plan to fund the deal whilst the banks argue that they have not broken any agreement as they are still negotiating over a number of issues concerning the financing.
New York State Supreme Court Judge Helen Freedman has reserved a decision on the matter although she says she hopes to reach one speedily.
Clear Channel has also delayed yet again - by a further week to April 25 -the deadlines relating to its previously announced tender offer for its outstanding 7.65% Senior Notes due 2010 and subsidiary AMFM Operating Inc.'s tender offer for its outstanding 8% Senior Notes due 2008.
The completion of the tender offers and consent solicitations for the Notes depends on completion of the merger and Clear Channel has warned that it may be delayed again although it says so far approximately 87 percent of the AMFM Notes have been validly tendered and not withdrawn and approximately 98 percent of the CCU Notes have been validly tendered and not withdrawn.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-04-17: According to the Financial Times, Channel 4 is exploring with Global Radio ways of combining their services on the two national digital multiplexes they control.
Global, which is in the process of taking of GCap Media, which controls the Digital One multiplex, has space available on the multiplex after a number of stations pulled out, whilst Channel 4 has so far not signed a contract to build its transmission network and would be able to get on air sooner with stations such as its Channel 4 radio it the two co-operate.
The paper quoted an unnamed "person familiar with the situation" as saying, "Putting the two [networks] together makes perfect sense, but there are a lot of details that would need to be worked out" and adds so far there have been no formal talks between the two. It also says that senior radio industry figures say that the BBC might also become involved and notes that talks between the BBC and Channel 4 on digital radio have taken place at very senior level in the past few weeks.
Channel 4 says the paper would be unlikely to return the Digital 2 licence and it cites an unnamed radio industry executive as saying he did not think they would want to be simply a tenant on Digital One.
Previous Channel 4:
Previous Digital One:
Previous Global Radio:
Financial Times report:
2008-04-17: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the award of Euros 1.13 million ( USD 1.8 million ) for radio programming in the sixth round of its Sound & Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme, taking the total awarded since the scheme's launch in October 2005 to Euros 4.3 million ( USD 6.9 million).
In all in the latest round it made grants in the case of 91 of the 209 radio applications received, 91 more than in the previous round. Of the awards made documentaries received 74% of the funding - other genres that will get funds include factual, sport, drama, education, and children - and 42% of the programmes funded will be broadcast on community radio; 33% on commercial stations; 23% on public service stations and 2% on special interest radio.
The awards made vary in amount from Euros 1,300 (USD 2,070) to Gerard Counihan for a documentary "Leisure and Evolution of the Pub in Ireland" to be aired by Dublin City FM to Euros 40,000 (USD 63,800) to Magpie Productions for a drama "Wigs on the Green" to be broadcast by RTÉ Lyric FM.
Of the 90 awards below the top award, three are for between Euros 30,000 and 40,000; 12 are between Euros 20,000 and 30,000; 32 between Euros 10,000 and 20,000 and the remaining 43 below Euros 10,000
BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said of the awards, "This investment of over Euros 1.1m to radio programming underscores the importance of providing financial support for the production of high quality radio programmes, which would not have been made without the support of the Sound & Vision Scheme. The key themes of the scheme are being creatively addressed by applicants and the audience for Sound & Vision funded programming continues to grow at a fast rate."
2008-04-16: Guardian Media Group (GMG) Radio has won four of the nine awards in this year's annual IRN (Independent Radio news) awards with Bauer taking three and G-Cap Media and the Lincs FM Group each taking a single award.
Three of GMG's awards went to Century FM in Manchester for coverage related to the shooting dead of Liverpool schoolboy Rhys Jones. They were the "Scoop of the Year" award for interviews conducted after the 11-years-old was shot; "News Reporter of the Year" to Sean Woods; and "Best News Programme" for its "Gun Crime Special".
The other GMG award went to Real Radio Scotland, which took the "ITN Contribution Award", which goes to the station that has contributed the most stories to IRN. It's the second-year running the station has taken this award.
The Bauer wins were "The Best News Coverage" award for Radio Clyde's cover of the winning bid by Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games; and "The Best Sports Coverage" award for Liverpool station Radio City's report, "All the Tickets are in the Wrong Hands", relating to the ticket scandal surrounding Liverpool FC's Champions league final against AC Milan; and "The Best Funny Story" award for a pie eating championship report by Dave Easson of Preston-based Magic 999.
The final awards were the "Newsreader of the Year" award, which went to Matthew Scofield of Capital FM, and "Young Journalist of the Year", which went to Alice Griffin of Linc's FM's Doncaster station Trax FM.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous GMG Radio:
2008-04-16: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and the HD Digital Radio Alliance have kicked off their "Radio Heard Here" initiative that, as they put it, "Keeps Americans in Tune with Radio's Advances" and they hope will reinvigorate the medium.
NAB President and CEO David K Rehr commented of the initiative, "The sleeping giant has awakened. For close to a century, radio has had a ubiquitous and integral presence in our nation's life, and today more than 235 million Americans turn to radio each week to be informed and entertained. Despite its universal presence, or perhaps because of it, radio's abiding impact has been overlooked and underappreciated. The medium, however, has a bright future, and Radio Heard Here will help showcase radio's robust advances, particularly in harnessing new technology and expanding and enhancing the diversity of its content."
RAB president and CEO Jeff Haley added, "We are seeing a renaissance in radio with respect to programming - programming that has become more versatile, more experimental and of a higher quality than ever before. This is an industry that is being bold, taking risks and engaging audiences in a variety of creative ways. And listeners are taking note. More than 90% of Americans say that radio continues to play an important role in their lives."
For the HD Digital Radio Alliance, CEO Peter Ferrara commented, "Radio is not standing still, nor resting on our laurels. The radio industry has invested millions of dollars in recent years on new technologies designed to expand and improve the delivery of radio programming. Our investment in HD technology, the embrace of online streaming content, the convergence of radio with such modern devices as mobile phones and MP3 players - these and other efforts demonstrate our broad commitment to keeping radio a current and relevant part of the nation's cultural landscape."
RNW comment: Robert Aitken's comment that " such fine words butter no parsnips" come to mind on reading this release with a touch of scepticism but to mix metaphors, were the words more solid, the trio could probably go into mushroom farming as a productive use of their talents.
Previous HD Radio Alliance:
2008-04-16: The UK Digital Radio Development Bureau has announced the appointment of Tony Moretta, who for the past five years has been the General Manager of Broadcast at National Grid Wireless, as its chief executive.
DRDB Chairman, Simon Cole said of Moretta, "Tony is a passionate advocate of DAB digital radio, a passion that has been born out of a close involvement in the development of the technology over the last few years at NGW. He knows well the challenges ahead as we take digital to the next stage of its development and I am impressed with the excitement that those challenges generate within him."
Moretta, who will take up his post in June until when Paul Brown will remain acting DRDB chief executive, commented, "I am pleased to be taking on this role at a time when the DRDB has never been better supported - by broadcasters, manufacturers and retailers. There are a lot of exciting developments ahead for DAB, and I look forward to getting that message across to consumers and seeing them buy even more digital radios for their homes, pockets and cars."
2008-04-15: This week in our look at print comment on radio we concentrate on UK hosts rather than American ones starting off with Paul Donovan's comments in the UK Sunday Times about two hosts who have been in the news because of personal problems.
One of the two, Nigel Wrench, was cleared of rape but admitted giving cocaine to his alleged victim and taking itself, leading Donovan on the basis of the latter to suggest that Wrench may be back on BBC Radio 4's PM programme soon but will only have a marginal future.
Donovan has mote to say about the second host, Andy Kershaw, who was jailed on the Isle of Man after a saga involving his former partner and breaches of court restraining orders. Kershaw has not been on air since July and Donovan notes that Radio 3 says it has not dropped him although he is now no longer on its official list of presenters and his former Monday night slot has been renamed "World on 3", erasing his name.
Donovan pays tribute to Kershaw in writing, "If Kershaw never broadcasts again, he should be remembered for introducing countless listeners to music from as far afield as Haiti and Zimbabwe, both on Radio 3 since 2001 and before that on Radio 1" and continuing on to note that "Kershaw would doubtless be delighted to see that it is taking three people to replace him on Radio 3."
After BBC Radio 3 we move on a channel to BBC Radio 2 and the UK Daily Mail, which carried a report from James Tapper that allowed the paper's bias to shine through the headline, "Radio 2 listeners who attack Sarah Kennedy on BBC website are censored."
Its subject was a breakfast host who has been involved in a number of controversies including a comment last year about a black pedestrian she had seen in the dark only because "he opened his mouth" (See RNW Nov 1, 2007) and who has attracted a number of attacks on the station's notice boards.
The BBC, which moderates its notice boards, posted a message in response to one complaint - that accused Kennedy of talking over vocals, interrupting a tune half-way through to give information which many of us would prefer not to hear, frequently gives her own beliefs much more prominence than she should as a presenter on a major government funded station, seems to have little interest in, or knowledge of music, deliberately mispronounces words or uses annoying malapropisms " - from a moderator called Peta saying " We're now having a little hiatus on the 'Sarah knocking' because it's seen to be a form on online harassment."
It then continued, "I'm sorry to learn that you can't bear the SK programme and don't listen to it; perhaps you'd like to comment on some of the programmes that you do like. I'm closing this thread now, as it's at risk of attracting those that just wish to post nasty personal comments."
Later Peta added, "It's boring, it's repetitive and some people posting have been - literally - doing it for years. Enough. If you want to be rude about Sarah and just post the same old negative comments time and time again, then please find another board, outside of the BBC, to do it on."
After that sticking in the UK but on to praise from Neil Fisher in the "Radiohead " column in sister paper The Times for the BBC Radio 3 programme "Homer's Landscapes", a three-part "Sunday Feature" series that ended last Sunday ( the most recent is on the site until next Sunday).
Fisher comments, "If you'd asked me two years ago what it was about radio that used to frustrate me the most, I probably would have referred you to a programme much like Adam Nicolson's Homer's Landscapes. And, at first, Nicolson's paean to the mysterious author of the Iliad and Odyssey seemed as floaty and aimless as so much budget documentary. It's just one man and his fave books: where's the tension?
Having listened, he changed his mind, writing, "And yet following the arc of Nicolson's three programmes has turned out to be completely absorbing: so absorbing, in fact, that any accompanying images would have been a needless distraction. Instead, Nicolson's infectious urgency and literally breathless style has lulled me into a world that's entirely Homer's: dangerous, provocative - and dizzyingly multishaded What I've admired most is how lightly Nicolson wears his years of Homeric contemplation: analysis is so gently applied that it simply seems like casual observation. The Iliad, last week's subject matter, was called a "dark arcadia", and, though it might be Western literature's first poem, Nicolson reminded us how it "idolises the past, whereas the present is muddled and chaotic". Literature started as it meant to go on: already in thrall to a bygone world."
He ends with one quotation worth a repeat: "Homer says that nothing is sweeter to a man than his own country. In fact, nothing is more troubled than a man's own country, and nowhere is the desire for sweetness stronger."
Finally we could not resist ending with yet more comment on the Clear Channel buyout - or not - as the case may yet be.
The comment comes from John Gorman in his blog last Friday and the heading "Clear Channel hops to it" and his following sentences put his marker down clearly: "Kangaroos are not indigenous to San Antonio. But Kangaroo Courts are. And Mark Mays has his troop of kangaroos all lined up."
Gorman is of course referring to the rulings by a Bexar County judge in favour of Clear Channel (See RNW Apr 4 and 12) but then gave an intriguing bit of etymology: "Betcha didn't you know that the kangaroo court was invented in Texas. The term was first used in the mid 1800's in the Lone Star state to reference courts that sided with local claim jumpers."
Gorman then lists some details of the filings with his "translations".
"The banks argue that they had not reached agreement on a number of financing issues when Clear Channel and Bain/Lee filed suit, which "exemplifies the reason why New York courts will not specifically enforce a contract to lend money," the filing read."
*New York translation: How can you have a deal if there is no deal?
Bain/Lee seeks "specific performance" of a commitment letter that details the plans to fund the deal.
Specific performance means one party gets a judge to order the other party to stick to a contract.
* Bexar translation: You have a deal even if you don't have a deal.
And on the other side, arguments for Clear Channel from Robert Kronenberg in seekingalpha: He argues that the banks are employing Catch-22 arguments, and he leaps right in with the comment, "As suspected, the banks have no legitimate excuse or defence on the merits. They do not claim that they have complied with their commitment agreement. Production of precedent agreements containing the loan terms offered by the banks would create a very strong motion for summary judgment. The banks have not produced such documents."
To him the nub of the argument by the banks is that "under the law, a breach of contract does not exist until the final date for performance has been reached. In this case that date is June 12. The banks argue that the terms presented to the borrowers to this point are a mere negotiating ploy, and that attempting to renegotiate a contract is not a breach of that contract unless and until the banks specifically state that they do not intend to go ahead with the deal. Of course, the banks will never state that. Basically, the banks are arguing that they can continue to offer unacceptable terms for negotiating purposes up until 11:59 P.M. on June 12, and only if they fail to comply with their commitment when the clock strikes midnight on that date will they be in breach."
"Since, however, the commitment expires at midnight on June 12, the first point at which there is a breach entitling the borrowers to specific performance is the same as the point at which there is no agreement left to perform. "Catch-22 The banks further argue that New York law makes an order to perform obligations under a contract - called legally an order for specific performance -- available only when money damages are not adequate or are speculative and are not subject to calculation."
"...the banks next assert that the borrowers cannot get monetary damages either. It is alleged by the banks that, to establish damages, the borrowers must go out in the market and make a good faith effort to get another loan on the same terms. If the banks cannot find another loan, then the only damages available would be for loss of the deal. Such damages are defined as 'special' damages, and, the banks allege, the commitment agreement specifically forbids the borrowers from obtaining "special" damages."
He then concludes, "As for the banks' attempt to limit the damages obtainable by the Texas plaintiffs - Clear Channel and CC Holdings -- by pretending that the Texas plaintiffs are also plaintiffs in New York, and then trying to limit their non-existent claim by filing a supposed counterclaim constitutes Theater of the Absurd. It is not sufficiently serious to warrant further discussion, except to state that it cannot possibly succeed. It is important only as evidence of the fear and desperation in the banks' camp.
"Once the New York court allows any of the causes of action to go to the jury and refuses to limit damages, the banks are goners. The banks only remedy will be to delay the inevitable with appeals and further motions. That tactic should be circumscribed by the progress of the Texas case. The banks won't be able to avoid a jury forever. A settlement is out there somewhere. It's just a question of timing."
RNW comment: From the above it would seem quite reasonable that the case should be heard in New York - nothing in Kronenberg's argument makes any strong case for Texas jurisdiction - but things are left wide open on other matters. The lawyers will do well if nobody else does.
On then to listening suggestions starting with BBC Radio 3 and last week's "Sunday Feature" - "The Odyssey": On next Sunday is "An American Legend: James Agee" in which Blake Morrison visits Agee's hometown in Tennessee and then traces the author's life with contributions from his children and biographers.
Also from Radio 3 this week we suggest last Saturday's "Music Matters" that included journalist Simon Heffer commenting 50 years after the death of Ralph Vaughan Williams on the profound influence of war on the composer's music and how it modernised his style of writing, especially in his Sixth Symphony.
Also on weekday afternoons (13:00 GMT) we suggest the "British Symphony Series" featuring Vaughan Williams' works and from the Monday through Thursday (22:00GMT) "The Essay" slot more "Greek and Latin Voices": This week the focus is on the Roman satirist Juvenal.
And finally from Radio 3 we go for Wednesday's "Night Waves" (20:45 GMT) - a full programme of Salman Rushdie talking to Philip Dodd about his new novel The Enchantress of Florence, which juxtaposes the barbarism of Renaissance Florence with the tolerance of Mughal India- plus World Music, Jazz, and Opera - Monday's night's "World on 3" presented by Lopa Kothari; Friday Night's "Jazz on 3" (22:30 GMT) with Jez Nelson presenting a gig recorded at Seven Arts Club in Leeds in February, featuring Japanese quartet Gato Libre and Saturday's "Opera on 3" (17:30 GMT)- Glass's Satyagraha live from the New York Metropolitan Opera.
Then BBC Radio 2 and we suggest the continuing "Icons Revisited" five-part series on Saturday's (18:00 GMT): Last Saturday was on Joni Mitchell and next Saturday the penultimate programme is on Bruce Springsteen.
Also from Radio 2 we suggest Jac Holzman's Elektra Story from Monday - the second of a six part series - and from Tuesday "When Rockabilly Ruled... OK?" and "Faith in an Elevator", the third and final part of the station's series on Canadian arranger Percy Faith
After that we move to BBC Radio 4 and the weekday "Afternoon Reading" (14:30 GMT) - "An Audience with Dan Leno" telling the story of the life and times of the great Victorian comedian Dan Leno; this week's Woman's Hour Drama -"Love My Rifle More than You" - Kayla Williams's memoirs of a young female American soldier in Iraq (At 09:45 GMT with an 18:45 GMT repeat) and "The Book at Bedtime" (22:45 GMT) - with Toby Stephens reading Ford Madox Ford's "The Good Soldier"
Also from the station we suggest Monday's "The Chemistry of Addiction" in which Dr Graham Easton explores how the brain deals with drugs and who might become an addict;
Tuesday's "Team Spirit" in which Claudia Hammond finds out what goes on behind the scenes at a West End musical. Dirty Dancing and how group performance is affected by the audience, the size of the team and other factors;
Wednesday's "Document" - (10:00GMT) "Broadcasts from the Bunker" in which Mike Thomson looked at the programme schedule devised by the BBC at the height of the Cold War for transmission after a nuclear attack - and "Bringing up Britain" in which Mariella Frostrup hosted a debate about parenting with families, experts and policy-makers;
Thursday's "In our Time (08:00 GMT and also a download) on "WB Yeats and Irish Politics" plus "Crossing Continents" (10:00 GMT) on the proposals from Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman to legalize prostitution in the city as well as the state of Nevada;
Friday's comedy slot (17:30 GMT) and "The Now Show";
and Saturday and "The Embryo Wars" (10:00GMT) in which Mark D'Arcy investigates the clash between scientific and religious lobbies over the future of fertility treatments and experiments using human embryos plus "The Archive Hour" (19:00 GMT) -" A Rage in Dalston" in which Alan Dein uncovers the story of the 43 Group of Jewish ex-servicemen who attempted to drive fascism from the streets and silence its message forever.
John Gorman blog:
Seekingalpha - Kronenberg:
UK Daily Mail - Tapper:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times - Fisher:
2008-04-15: Whilst US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO David K. Rehr was delivering an upbeat view of US radio at NAB 2008 in Las Vegas, (see below), actor Tim Robbins attacked both the media and US politics in an expletive-laden speech.
Robbins, who noted that he had been labelled a traitor for earlier comments about the pre-emptive attack on Iraq told delegates, "We are at an abyss as an industry and as a country" and attacked the radio industry, which he accused of being on the road to a single "national playlist" before satellite radio came along.
Robbins had been asked to give a keynote speech but then said that he was told that what he had written might be too negative for his audience. In the end he did deliver it, evoking comparisons with Edward R. Murrow's 1958speech that spoke of the potential of TV but that needed commitment to use it without which the medium was just "wires and lights in a box" and FCC Commissioner Newton Minow's 1961 "vast wasteland" address.
He went on to comment on his comments about the war when he called t for the inspectors to be given to find more time for WMD and the attacks made on him, commenting at one stage that he stood "chastened in the face of the wisdom of the talk radio geniuses, and I apologize for standing in the way of freedom."
Broadcasting and Cable blog (This contains link to audio of Robbins speech):
Robbins Audio link (from above - to 12.2 MB PDF):
2008-04-15: US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO David K. Rehr has told the 2008 NAB Show in Las Vegas in his opening keynote address that technological and cultural change - he began his address by commenting on YouTube and asking, "Because of YouTube, because of the internet, because of cell phones and iPods is our model broken?" - has not made broadcasting irrelevant.
After noting that YouTube uses the phrase "YouTube-Broadcast Yourself" as indicating that "They obviously don't think the word is outdated or tired or irrelevant", Rehr notes that broadcasters were "being buffeted by forces larger than our industry" and that some "in the business are a bit disoriented" and some are not optimistic about the future for broadcasting.
He then went on to quote from a Business Week report headed "Requiem for Old-Time Radio" in which an analyst said the model was broken before quoting its writer Jon Fine's reminiscences of radio as it was, before describing the comments as "romance" and "longing."
"Listeners," said Rehr, "still want what they've always wanted. Technology hasn't changed that- it has just changed the devices of delivery. This is not to diminish the challenges or uncertainty of the radio business. In fact, I think one thing that's changed is that many in the industry have been so worn down by the battles and buffeting, that they themselves have forgotten the magic of radio."
He then cited research from an NAB- commissioned branding studio on radio that showed it remained relevant with "nearly everyone" saying "they rely heavily on radio for the information and entertainment they want or need every day."
NAB, he said, had stressed "local, local, local" for years but had learned from these "consumers that being local, in and of itself, is not what defines radio's value. It's the accessibility and the connection with radio personalities. And it's being everywhere and available to everyone. A radio is not a jukebox."
"If you're listening to radio," said Rehr, "you want to hear a human voice sharing that same moment in time that you are. There is power in that personal bond. A CD doesn't have that connection. An iPod doesn't have it. No, our model is not broken.
He then cited Arbitron figures as showing that the US radio audience had grown by an estimated 3 million to some 235 million in the year up to March before going on to promote NAB's Radio 2020 initiative and saying "NAB, working with our industry partners, intends to reposition radio in the public's mind" both by ensuring that "radio is incorporated on every new gadget, everywhere-especially mobile, hand-held devices."
The survey also found said Rehr that people wanted new, unique content, "niche channels" and then said went on to refer to HD radio concerning which he noted announcements by automakers about offering HD in their vehicles and stations offering new programming on HD multicast channels as proof that the industry was headed in the right direction.
In other comments Rehr referred to campaigns to stop the use of white spaces in broadcast signals by unlicensed devices and to NAB's work "to make sure that the Commission does not place unnecessary requirements on broadcasters that would actually hamper stations' efforts to serve their local communities."
RNW comment: Whenever we read Rehr's comments in print, the usual terms that come to mind include bull, and stating the obvious and frequently irrelevant, but rarely do they include the concept of rigorous analysis or accurate use of language.
This speech is no exception -it makes, for example, no reference to what is probably the most crucial aspect of technological change, namely the ability of advertisers and traders to move business away from traditional patterns and for an advertising-funded broadcaster whose costs are largely fixed, it doesn't need that large a move of advertising away from broadcasters to dramatically affect profits.
We can only hope for the sake of US radio that behind his back a fair number of people in the industry regard him as a pompous windbag and smother his comments in salt.
2008-04-15: UK radio stations including SMG's Virgin, UTV's talkSPORT, and GCap Media's 's Planet Rock and Classic FM are to provide on air promotion worth some GBP 250,000 (USD 500) for the PureE Highway plug and play in-car DAB radio, the world's first such device that allows people to listen to digital audio broadcasts on their existing FM audio system.
The Highway, which costs around GBP 70 (USD 140) is normally powered from the cigarette lighter socket and attached to the windscreen with a supplied flexible mount with a DAB aerial also fixed to the windscreen to pick up the broadcast signal. The device then transmits the audio on an FM frequency to the existing audio system.
The Highway can also be used to connect or portable music player - MP3 or i-POD - to the existing audio system and as a portable DAB receiver if removed from its holder. It has a stereo output for headphones and will give up to six hours of listening using to AA batteries when used as a portable device.
UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) acting chief executive, Paul Brown, said of the equipment,"Almost all sport on radio in the UK used to be broadcast only on AM; Highway enables listening to sport in superior sound quality on DAB only stations such as Five Live Sports Extra and talkSPORT. We believe Highway, with its in-car and personal audio capability will be a big driver towards better sports listening this summer."
Pure says that it believes the Highway is kick-starting the in-car DAB market and its marketing director Colin Crawford commented that the promotion "will be the next step in raising consumer awareness that DAB is here for cars now."
Glyn Jones, operations director of the Digital One national multiplex, added, "The stations are keen to support Highway since it allows listeners to access DAB in the car in the most easy and affordable way. The airtime campaign will go out nationally, emphasising the benefits of in-car DAB listening such as a wider choice of stations and access to DAB versions of stations previously only available in low quality, mono AM."
2008-04-15: According to the Wall Street Journal, a Bain Capital affiliate, Sankaty Advisors, is considering buying some of the USD 20 billion in debt that Deutsche Bank is selling off, a move that the journal suggests could ease the USD 19.4 billion buy-out of Clear Channel, currently the subject of legal action between the radio giant, private equity partners Bain Capital and Thomas Lee Partners, and the banks involved including Deutsche Bank.
It says the deal is probably enlightened self-interest because debt is currently cheap but also because if Bain helps Deutsche Bank to Clear its books it will aid the buyout: It notes that the banks have dug in their heels because of the backlog of debt they already have - some USD 55 billion of leveraged loans for Deutsche Bank and SD 43 billion for Citigroup, one of the other banks involved.
Previous Clear Channel:
Wall Street Journal report:
2008-04-15: UK media regulator Ofcom has upheld no radio complaints in its latest bulletin in which it gave details of one TV standards complaint not upheld and two TV fairness and privacy claims, one of which was partly upheld and the other not upheld: The numbers compare with one radio and one TV standards complaint upheld, another TV standards complaint considered resolved and a third not upheld plus two TV fairness and privacy complaints partly upheld and three not upheld in its previous bulletin.
Ofcom also listed without details 316 TV complaints against 200 items and 53 radio complaints against 30 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 286 TV complaints against 107 items and 23 radio complaints against 22 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2008-04-14: Cumulus Media has invited proposals for ratings services in smaller US radio markets - those below the top hundred - noting that from the start of next year it will no longer subscribe to the Arbitron Radio Market Reports currently published in 50 of these markets.
Announcing the move Cumulus co-COO John Dickey said they had "reached the point where Cumulus recognizes that there is only one way to close the growing gap between needs of its stations/advertisers in these markets and the state of audience measurement- and that is to initiate a fundamentally new approach."
"As the underwriter of this effort," he added, "we will take the leadership role in solution design and vendor selection.
Cumulus says the news service will have to be a stand-alone, turn-key service and although Cumulus will be its first customer any service will have to "function as an independent, objective entity that is accountable to and can provide on-going support for the larger broadcast and advertising communities."
The company says it will work closely with leading researchers, other broadcasters, and advertisers to "design a system that is credible, accurate, and comprehensive - both today and in the future" and says its talks with others have been very encouraging.
It has posted details of its RFP on its website together with a schedule that sets a week for questions to be submitted with a revised FRP to be issued a week on Wednesday if significant clarification is needed. After that it wants submissions by May 14 from which it will choose those vendors to be invited to make presentations in the week of May 26.
This would be followed by a selection of final contenders at the start of June, testing of the system by July 18, with first measurements to start on August 15 with date to be published a month later.
Amongst other things it says vendors will need proven credentials in qualitative and quantitative media research; the capability to handle such a project both initially and as demands grow; and a system that will accord with Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation standards.
Dickey commented of the requirements, "The most important requirement is that the solution credibly provide the broadcast and advertising industries with a demonstrably stronger audience measurement system than we have in markets today. This includes greater accuracy and stability, data types that help both Agency and Direct customers make sound decisions, and metrics that help advertisers make more direct comparisons of radio to other local media. Ultimately, we want to help advertisers more accurately understand both the size and quality of our brands' user communities so they can value them accordingly."
He also commented on its relations with Arbitron in larger markets, saying that Cumulus was a "strong supporter of Arbitron's efforts to develop and implement the new PPM technology in our larger markets" but added, "In all likelihood, PPM will not be available to these smaller markets, so we need a credible alternative solution. We have told Arbitron that we welcome their participation in this RFP process and look forward to any proposal that they might offer."
Arbitron, which saw off a similar challenge from a group led by Clear Channel to its PPM ratings system, has publicly welcomed the initiative with its President/Sales & Marketing Pierre Bouvard saying that it had been working on the issues of smaller markets with Small Market Owners and Operators Caucus, the Radio Advisory Council Diary Market Subcommittee, and former RAB President and small-market veteran Gary Fries.
The Cumulus RFP, he said, confirmed that they had already heard from small market broadcasters and noted that it has already taken steps to improve its diary ratings in these markets to meet demands.
RNW comment: The timescale set out for this project seems to us unreasonably short unless some Eastlan Ratings or some of those who had submitted proposals when the Clear Channel RFP was still current have already indicated that they have a product on the stocks.
If they do and it is satisfactory in smaller markets and scaleable - as is required - we cannot but see any commitment to the PPM will be very much weakened. The issue then will be whether broadcasters want a competitor to Arbitron in the ratings market for the long-term to ensure that they do not have monopoly-provider problems or will just use the threat to try and get more from Arbitron.
Previous John Dickey:
Previous Media Rating Council:
2008-04-14: BBC Radio 3, building on its previous experience with broadcasts of the entire works of Beethoven, Bach and Tchaikovsky, is to broadcast all the works of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin in "The Chopin Experience" during the weekend of 17 and 18 May.
The Chopin broadcasts will differ in style from the previous broadcasts by building the broadcasts primarily through existing programmes - the earlier programming cleared the schedule for special broadcasts which in the case of the first, the Beethoven Experience that was broadcast in June 2005 and included performances and free MP3 downloads of all his nine symphonies performed by BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.
During the Chopin Experience weekend:
"CD Review" focuses on interpretations of Chopin, with a survey of the available recordings of the Second Piano Sonata in "Building A Library".
"Discovering Music" explores in depth his four ballades.
"The Early Music Show" features the actual pianos played and owned by Chopin.
"Music Matters" goes to Warsaw to discover Chopin's legacy in his homeland.
Iain Burnside's Sunday morning show focuses on Paris, the scene of Chopin's greatest triumphs.
Although there are some special programmes, including Rob Cowan's "Chopin Salon" on the Saturday evening, non classical programmes are not dropped completely but some change focus with "World Routes" showcasing modern Polish musicians who are keeping alive the folk traditions that Chopin found so inspirational, and "Jazz Line-Up" inviting eminent jazz artists to improvise on Chopin.
During the previous week Chopin is "The Composer of the Week" and during the weekend two groups of Chopin's works are to be broadcast as unbroken sequences - his 24 Preludes will run the gamut of 100 years of Chopin on record, while the set of 24 Etudes features 24 different pianists, all leading interpreters of Chopin. Chopin's songs for voice and piano are introduced by Polish voices from the UK - paralleling Chopin's own experience of life in exile - and Sarah Walker presents Chopin's complete nocturnes late on Saturday evening.
Tied to the broadcasts will be a dedicated website that will feature video piano lessons by top pianist and teacher David Owen Norris for those who want to try their hand at some of Chopin's more approachable pieces and well as information on the composer and an interactive quiz about him.
2008-04-14: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) sponsors the US National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC) has adopted an updated version of its in-band/on-channel (IBOC) digital radio broadcasting standard - the iBiquity HD system - including it says a revised FM IBOC RF mask from iBiquity.
The standard - the NRSC-5-B, In-band/on-channel Digital Radio Broadcasting Standard - says NAB also includes some editorial updates - but will not be posted on the NRSC web site until a final procedural review has been conducted, a process that will take around a month.
Details posted by the NAB, which quotes Milford Smith, vice president, Radio Engineering with Greater Media and NRSC chairman, as saying the adoption "is an exciting indication of just how quickly digital radio is evolving in the U.S. and a further indication of how the NRSC is attempting to keep this standard current and pertinent" are promotional rather than informative.
The NAB has also announced what it terms the "results of an unprecedented partnership with iBiquity Digital Corporation and four broadcast equipment manufacturers - BE, Continental, Harris and Nautel - to accelerate the commercial development of products based on next-generation HD Radio "Exporter" technology."
The products involved, which NAB says significantly reduce the cost of introducing HD, are being introduced during this year's NAB show, which has just opened in Las Vegas and NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr said of them, "NAB is playing a critical role in the creation of new technologies to benefit our members and promote the future of broadcasting. This is just one example of how we're fulfilling our advocacy promise to broadcasters."
The project began in 2006, and Beasley Broadcast Group Executive Vice President and CFO Caroline Beasley who chaired the NAB HD Radio Technology Advancement Task Force that oversaw the project commented, "NAB is putting its money where its mouth is when encouraging stations to broadcast in digital. This new technology will give a big boost to the advancement of HD Radio, which ultimately means more choices and better sound quality for our listeners."
2008-04-13: Last week was yet another quiet one for the regulators with no word yet from the US concerning the planned satellite radio merger and very few radio decisions elsewhere although in the UK Ofcom has issued a new simplified Format Change form and allowed a number of changes that reduce local programming and also in some cases co-location of stations.
There were no radio announcements from Australia but in Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted a number of radio-related decisions including the following:
*Amendment of earlier authority for Newcap Radio to increase the power of CHNK-FM, Winnipeg, from 1,300 watts to an average ERP of 60,200 watts by relocating the transmitter and increasing the effective antenna height,. A technical evaluation showed the average ERP authorized in the TA is 60,900 watts and the licence has been amended to reflect this.
Denial of application by Trust Communications Ministries to be allowed to carry up to eight minutes of commercials per hour on non-classical Christian music specialty sation CJLF-FM, Barrie.
Currently the station is allowed to carry up to six minutes per hour of commercials between 06:00 and 09:00 and 16:00 to 18:00 and four minutes per hour for the rest of the broadcast day and the commission noted that monitoring had shown the station to be broadcasting in excess of this: it also noted that in its original business plan the licensee had indicated that it expected sponsorships to be the main source of revenue and did not refer to adverts although it had done so in later submissions.
It denied the application and pointed out that its longstanding practice has been to deny applications for licence amendments where licensees are in non-compliance with their conditions of licences.
*Approval of application by Harvard Broadcasting Inc. to change the frequency of CFWD-FM, Saskatoon, from 92.3 MHz to 96.3 MHz and decrease the effective radiated power from 100,000 watts to 96,000 watts. The applicant said the change would serve as a pre-emptive action to avoid potential third adjacency interference in Saskatoon as it anticipated its current site might not meet new rules that would require stations using third adjacent frequencies to be co-sited or near co-sited.
The CRTC also posted a number of public notices that included the following radio-related matters:
*Call for applications for a commercial service for Orilla, for which it has received one application.
With a deadline for submission of interventions/comments of May 2:
*Application by CTV Limited to convert CKKW-M, Kitchener from AM to FM band: The proposed new station would have a power of 5,000 watts and the applicant wishes to simulcast on AM and FM for three months after the new station commences broadcasts.
With a deadline for comment or interventions of May 13:
*Application to increase the power of French-language CJRC-FM, Gatineau, from 2,900 watts to 36,000 watts, by decreasing the effective antenna height and by relocating the antenna.
The licensee says it wishes to ensure the same coverage as that of CJC-AM.
With a deadline for comment or interventions of May 15:
*Application to increase the power of the transmitter CKAJ-FM-1 at La Baie, which carries the programming of French-language community type B station CKAJ-FM, Saguenay, from 2,693 watts to 14,164 watts, by increasing the effective antenna height and by relocating the antenna.
The commission has extended until 26 May the deadline for comments it is asking for concerning the definition of emerging Canadian artists on commercial radio with a June 13 deadline for response comments to interventions made during the first phase. Comments received during the second phase that have been filed by parties which did not participate in the first will not be accepted.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has posted no radio licensing decisions but it did launches its 2008 Community Radio Support Scheme (See RNW Apr 12)
In the UK, Ofcom has, as noted, issued a new simplified Format Change form (See below): It also updated its planned timetable for the re-advertisement of local analogue commercial radio licences.
The timetable for licences to be pre-advertised (from this month) and advertised (in brackets) should there be competitive applications are respectively as follows.
Canterbury - KMFM licence expiring 20 September 2009 - April 2008 (May 2008):
East Midlands - Heart 106 licence expiring 22 September 2009 April 2008 (May 2008)
Dover/Folkestone -KMFM licence expiring 28 September 2009 - April 2008 (May 2008).
Wolverhampton - The Wolf licence expiring 6 October 2009 - May 2008 (June 2008).
Southport - Dune FM licence expiring 11 October 2009 - June 2008 (July 2008).
Eastbourne - Sovereign Radio licence expiring 16 November 2009 -July 2008 (August 2008)
East of England - Kiss 105-108 licence expiring 22 November 2009 -July 2008 (August 2008_
Peterhead -Waves Radio licence expiring5 December 2009 - August 2008 (September 2008)
Thanet - KMFM licence expiring 16 January 2010 - August 2008 (September 2008).
Huddersfield -Home FM licence expiring 28 February 2010 - September 2008 (October 2008).
Western Isles - Isles FM licence expiring 6 March 2010 - October 2008 (November 2008).
Cambridge - STAR Radio licence expiring 22 March 2010 -November 2008 (December 2008).
Liverpool - Juice FM licence expiring 26 March 2010 - November 2008 (December 2008)
Hastings - Arrow FM licence expiring 9 April 2010 - December 2008 (January 2009)
In the US as noted, there is still no word regarding Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision on the Sirius - XM Satellite Radio merger and most of the attention on its activities went to penalties levied totalling around USD 6 million for marketing TV receivers that will not be able to handle digital signals plus some USD 3.4 million in penalties for marketing receivers without V-Chips that can handle changes in content descriptions.
In radio terms the Commission advised that two more Construction Permits for the 288 FM licences issued in its Auction 37 are now ready for grant: They are for FMs in Carmel Valley, California and Tularosa, New Mexico.
In Florida, the FCC denied a petition opposing the sale by Radio One Inc. of WMCU-AM, Coral Gables, to Caron Broadcasting, Inc. The licence transfer was opposed on the basis that the applicants failed to give proper public notice of the proposed transfer and that a change in call signs from WTPS-AM, the sign at the time of the application, to WMCU was "deliberately done to mislead the public."
Radio One had responded that it advertised the proposal as required in the local newspaper but admitted it did not begin broadcasting the public notice until a week after it should but said it had aired the notice twice the number of times that is normally required and that the announcements included both call signs. The Commission granted the assignment.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-04-13: UK Media Regulator Ofcom has now formally posted its new simplified formats that form part of commercial analogue licences, noting that following its "Future of Radio" project it has streamlined formats to provide licensees with greater flexibility whilst retaining the overall character of a station.
It also noted that although it considers a "regime based on Formats" to be "simple and transparent, there will always be occasions on which Formats need to change."
"Radio," it adds, "is a dynamic industry and Ofcom would want to see station Formats evolve in parallel with listeners' changing preferences and interests, so long as the overall character of the service was not compromised."
It also says that it will also consider more fundamental changes, which may be needed when a format fails to deliver a commercial return.
The 2-page format change request form lists four criteria upon which requests will be decided -
(a) that the departure would not substantially alter the character of the service;
(b) that the departure would not narrow the range of programmes available by way of relevant independent radio services to persons living the area or locality for which the service is licensed to be provided;
(c) that the departure would be conducive to the maintenance or promotion of fair and effective competition; or
(d) that there is evidence that, amongst persons living in that area or locality, there is a significant demand for, or significant support for, the change that would result from the departure.
Only one of the criteria has to be satisfied, although Ofcom will not necessarily allow the change, and if the change is one that if considered to substantially alter the character of the service the applicant will have to give consent for public comment before the application can proceed.
Ofcom also posted details of format changes that it has allowed, some of which have been reported already.
They include the following:
*Request by Global Radio to increase the amount of networked programming on its Galaxy stations - Galaxy 102 (Manchester), Galaxy 102.2 (Birmingham), Galaxy 105 (Yorkshire) and Galaxy 105/106 (North East).
This was approved (See RNW Apr 9) and Ofcom noted that the stations are "in the main, stations for communities of interest - bonded by dance music - and, therefore, it is not unreasonable to expect dance music per se to comprise the bulk of programming, with less reference to local touchstones than would be expected from more mainstream stations" and accepts a similarity with the Kiss stations for which it approved format changes in 2006 when the stations were owned by Emap - they were subsequently bought by Bauer.
It adds in relation to the Birmingham station that this station has always, even before it became a Galaxy station, "carried a strong remit to reflect the black culture of the area" and it adds that "Notwithstanding the points made within the letter of support from Global (Global says that the audience of appeal to black listeners is of appeal to listeners of all ethnic backgrounds and the reach percentage of each station amongst 15-34 black listeners is virtually identical to that for the 15-34 audience as a whole) we do not agree with the implication that this remit can be carried out solely through the station's music - and, therefore, will be expecting the Galaxy station in Birmingham to be reflecting this part of their coverage in output other than simply dance music during locally made hours."
*Co-location request for Bright 106.4 (Brighton - MCA 108,000) and Splash FM (Worthing - MCA 113,000) at the latter's studios although Bright will retain a shop-front presence in the local shopping centre from where it will continue to operate its news service via an ISDN link (leaving open the possibility of expanding to allow additional live programming to come from the town as appropriate). Bright area sales staff would also remain at this location.
In approving this change, Ofcom noted the financial performance of the stations - the most significant factor - and also the commitment to maintain the Brighton shop-front presence for Bright. The two stations are 17 miles apart and Ofcom noted that the towns cannot be regarded as twins but it did not consider the character of the service would be changed.
*Reduction in the minimum locally made daytime programming requirement to four hours daily for CN Group's Touchradio in Coventry, Stratford, and Staffs (Tamworth) plus Rugby FM. All have an MCA below 250,000 and CN noted that recent programme sharing between the Coventry and Rugby stations had improved ratings, indicating audience acceptance.
The request would allow the stations to share six of the ten daytime hours of programming required under the stations' formats and Ofcom noted of the request, the first received following its consultation, that the "cluster of stations is a good example of where relevant regional programming should bolster the targeted local output of each station" and that the limited sharing allowed so far appears to have "benefited both station and listener."
It also noted that a new Touch station, which goes on air in Warwick this month, would not be able to take regional programming for its first two years although it can contribute to such programming so long as the content fulfils the Warwick format requirements.
*Co-location of kmfm Group's West Kent (MCA 206,277) and Maidstone (MCA 90,329) studios to its Medway station (MCA 168,629) and programme sharing between stations in a West Kent network and also in an East Kent Network of Ashford (MCA 66,810),Canterbury (MCA 65,624), Thanet (MCA 93,169) and Dover/Folkstone (MCA 107,209).
It also requested a reduction to four hours daily of locally made programmes (the breakfast show) and share programming between these stations. The West Kent and Maidstone news and sales teams will remain within their TSA's but the group says co-location will allow it to share the superior facilities available at Medway and save on the considerable location costs and the change would not affect station output.
The group says that expiration of leases means both stations will have to re-locate next year and allowing the co-location would save it approximately GBP 70, 0000 (USD 140,000) a year. It also notes losses of GBP 1.5 million (USD 3 million) in the last two years and that this year it is already GBP 105,000 (USD 210,000) behind budget.
Ofcom in approving the application said the proposals were a logical progression for the station and noted that there had been no significant adverse reaction to the limited programme sharing that had already been allowed.
*Co-location request from Minster Radio to allow Northallerton FM to be sited with Alpha 103.2 in Darlington. The applicant says Minster Northallerton will maintain its strong local identity and, outside the established hours of local origination, continue to share some programmes with the North Yorkshire service of Minster FM. It notes that the move is only 14 miles and that there a great synergy and a shared identity between the towns of Northallerton and Darlington.
*Co-location of Oak FMs, Hinckley (MCA 59,809) and Loughborough (MCA 80,499) to studios in the Coalville area - 8 miles from Loughborough and 13 from Hinckley -and share programming other than a weekday 08:00 to 10:00 breakfast show.
* Co-location of Lincs FM Group's Ridings FM (In the Wakefield area with an MCA of 347,000 but part of this is in the Leeds are making the TSA 293,000) and Dearne FM (Barnsley area. MCA 173,000). The move is a distance of nine miles and the applicant notes that the station has not made a profit since its launch.
2008-04-12: Bexar County State District Judge Joe F. Brown Jr. has rejected a request by banks financing the private equity buyout of Clear Channel to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the company and Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners to force the banks to continue to finance the deal and has set a June 2 date to hear the case.
The buyers can walk away from the deal from June 12 and Clear Channel's attorney Ricardo Cedillo had argued for a speedy trial: Reuters quoted him as saying, "We need relief. We have 6,000 employees whose employment cannot be guaranteed. We have contracts around the world which have been thrown into uncertainty."
The buyers and Clear Channel had filed a claim in Texas claiming "tortuous interference" with the deal that it said "if allowed to continue and succeed, could result in immeasurable damages" exceeding USD 26 billion."
The buyers also launched a suit in New York to which Clear Channel was not party and the banks have argued that the Texas case should be dismissed and folded into the New York litigation.
Their attorney Lamont Jefferson argued that since the commitment letter did not expire until June 12, they have until then to make the finance available but Cedillo argued that because all parties had agreed to complete by the end of March the banks were violating their commitments.
Reuters quoted a banks' spokesman as saying, We continue to believe the litigation brought by Clear Channel and the sponsors is without merit and we look forward to arguing our case in court " with Clear Channel's spokeswoman commenting, "We are grateful the court saw through the banks' latest attempt to escape responsibility for the enormous damage they have caused our company. We look forward to taking this case to a Texas jury on June 2."
Bain and Lee said in a statement, "We are very pleased with the outcome of today's proceedings in the Texas case. We want to complete the deal to buy Clear Channel, and look forward to urgently pressing our case that the banks must not be allowed to interfere with the completion of the Clear Channel merger agreement."
RNW comment: As much of interest to us as what happens in this case are the potential consequences for others. The banks say that their agreement said that any disputes were to be settled according to New York law - Clear Channel with a virtuoso display of chutzpah has accused the banks of shopping for a favourable venue because they want the case heard in New York - and a logical response to the decision to hear the case in Texas could well be to refuse funding to other Texas companies in which case the decision might be friendly to the Mays family but against the interests of Texans.
Equally, the "get out" payment of USD 600 million is so far below the immediate book loss the banks would have to take in going ahead that if the banks sustain their argument that any damages they have to pay should be limited to this amount- plus of course the loss of some USD 400 million in fees, their logical conclusion would be to kill the deal immediately and forestall any action by the equity partners to drop them by pulling all the financing they can from Bain and Lee: in the current circumstances that might leave Bain and Lee with problems.
As for the statement from Clear Channel that implies that the future of their employees will be made more secure through the buyout, it invites derision since there is no way that a buyout group whose purchase is in a market seen as declining is going to offer more jobs.
Overall we rather suspect that the best long-term result for the US economy in general, that of Texas, and that of Clear Channel employees could well be a collapse of the deal and station sales at low prices leaving the Mays out of pocket but putting the stations in the hands of buyers who have less pressure on them to sustain Wall Street demands for results based on values that were excessive.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-04-12: GCap Media, whose board has recommended acceptance of a takeover bid from Global Radio, has dropped plans to sell two of its three Xfm stations outside London although the South Wales station, which only launched on November 29 last year, is still up for sale.
GCap Chief Executive Fru Hazlitt had announced in February that the group would also sell the Xfm stations in Scotland and Manchester or hand their licences back as part of cost-cutting that also included the disposal of its share in the Digital One national multiplex - also looking likely to be reversed - and the closure of digital stations The Jazz, which has now closed, and Planet Rock, which has been given an extra lease of life until the end of this month in the hope of finding a buyer.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
2008-04-12: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has launched its 2008 Community Radio Support Scheme: In all Euros 45,000 (USD 71.000) is available from the Scheme, which provides funding support for community and community of interest radio stations to undertake evaluations to help overall performance and build capacity.
BCI chief executive Michael O'Keeffe said of the launch, "The BCI is very pleased to continue its support of the community radio sector through the Community Radio Support Scheme. The scheme has made a significant contribution to the development of individual community stations and the community radio sector as a whole. We believe that the increased level of funds being provided in the current year will enhance the development of the sector even further.
2008-04-11: The BBC has announced that after nearly four decades with the corporation its Director of Audio and Music Jenny Abramsky is to leave at the end of September to become Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The news was broken to staff in an e-mail from Director General Mark Thompson who said she was stepping down after 39 years with the BBC and continued, "It is a remarkable career - she edited the World At One, PM and the Today programme before becoming Editor of Radio News and Current Affairs. She set up a continuous news service (Gulf FM) during the first Gulf War which was the forerunner to Radio 5 Live, where she was launch controller.
"As Director of the BBC Continuous News department she launched News 24 and BBC News online. As Director of Radio she launched the five digital radio services. More recently, as Director of Audio & Music she has been responsible for all BBC Music output and commissioned the Electric Proms."
Thompson added, "Her contribution to the BBC has been immense and she will leave a precious and lasting legacy. Everything she has done has been characterised by her legendary passion for the medium of radio and the BBC as a public service broadcaster, as well as her devotion to BBC audiences. She leaves BBC Radio in remarkable health with record audience figures and an exciting digital future already in place."
Abramsky in her e-mail to staff said that while her new role is "a wonderful opportunity, it will be a great wrench for me to leave the BBC. I have spent my working life here, the vast majority of it in Radio, and I am as passionate about it now as when I joined as a Programme Operations Assistant 39 years ago. I have always believed that the BBC is the most important cultural institution in the UK. Its willingness to take risks, its ambition that permeates through its programmes and schedules, and the unsurpassed quality of its news output demonstrates every day that it can and does make a difference. I feel privileged to have been involved for so many years, and it's been amazing fun."
Speculation is that Abramsky's successor is most likely to be an internal candidate - one name suggested was that of the Controller of BBC Radio 2 and Six Music Lesley Douglas and another was that of BBC 2 TV controller Roly Keating.
However there are a number of prominent figures from commercial radio who could also be interested. They include former GCap chief executive Ralph Bernard; the former head of radio at Chrysalis, Phil Riley; Virgin Radio Chairman and former Chrysalis Group chief executive Richard Huntingford; current GCap chief executive Fru Hazlitt who is expected to leave the company if it is taken over by Global Radio; and possibly the Channel 4 Head of Radio Nathalie Schwarz.
2008-04-11: A hearing is scheduled for today on the call by the six banks financing the Clear Channel buyout for a lawsuit against them to be dismissed and a temporary restraining order granted by a Texas c Court lifted.
The order followed a filing by Clear Channel and Bain Capital and Thomas H Lee Partners, the private equity groups backing the buyout, that claimed that the six banks involved - Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia - were trying to thwart the deal in breach of the financing they had agreed (See RNW Mar 28)
The New York Times reports that the banks claim that the financing agreement at the heart of the dispute mandates that legal matters be handled in New York, where Bain and Lee have filed a separate suit to force the banks to go through with the financing. The banks also argue that the restraining order unfairly benefits Clear Channel and the buyers rather than preserving the status quo as such orders are meant to: They argue that the status quo before the lawsuits was a series of negotiations over the deal rather than its completion.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
2008-04-11: Air America Radio host Randi Rhodes, who was suspended indefinitely after video appeared on the Internet of her attacking Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro at a function organized by affiliate Clear Channel's KKGN-AM, San Francisco (See RNW Apr 4) has now resigned from Air America but will be back on the station from Monday with syndication by Nova M Radio.
The station has posted a report which announces the addition of "The Randi Rhodes Show" to Nova M's offerings and quotes its CEO John Manzo as saying, "I just can't stop smiling - Randi is simply the biggest and the best. Randi Rhodes and Mike Malloy under one roof - talk about TALENT!"
Rhodes adds of Manzo that she is "truly going to work for the best of the best" and says, "He is radio elite and I am too. I'm home, I'm home, I'm home!"
KKGN-AM (Green96) Program Director John Scott said, "We have been very frustrated the past few days in our efforts to rectify the Randi Rhodes Situation (her suspension by her network, Air America Radio). It is our understanding that (as of April 9th) she is no longer an employee of Air America. So we are bringing her back."
He then goes on to say she will be back on the station next Monday from 16:00.
Air America Radio posted a statement from Chairman Charlie Kireker and President Mark Green in which they say it "suspended Randi Rhodes for abusive, obscene language at a recent public appearance in San Francisco which was sponsored by an Air America affiliate station" and continues on to say she informed them she had "chosen to terminate her employment."
"We wish her well and thank her for past services to Air America," they add. "We will soon announce exciting new talent and programming that will accelerate Air America's growth in the future.
Comments that follow are a mixture of "Goodbye and good riddance" and defence of the host including a number that defend her - one of which comments "WITHOUT RANDI THIS NETWORK IS NOTHING BUT DEAD AIR" and goes on to say that the writer is cancelling his subscription to the network.
Previous Air America Radio:
Previous Clear Channel:
Air America Web site:
2008-04-11: The BBC is guaranteed a number of the top awards in this years UK radio Oscars, The Sony Awards, with all the prime station of the year nominations to BBC stations. The winners will be named on May 12.
Also doing well is GCap Media's digital station Planet Rock, which was to have been closed down- its sister station "theJazz" has closed - but has been given an extra period of grace during negotiations over a possible sale: It gained nominations for nominated for digital radio station of the year; Music programme of the year for Fish on Friday which is hosted by former Marillion frontman Fish; and multiplatform award - for its Planet Rock month specials.
The BBC is guaranteed to win the UK Station of the Year Award for which nominations go to BBC Radios 2, 4, and Five Live and shows aired on the BBC are the only nominees in the Comedy; Drama; Feature; Music special; and Speech broadcaster of the Year categories.
The full list of nominations is:
Breakfast show award:
Five Live Breakfast - BBC Five Live
Bowie@Breakfast - Radio Clyde
Capital Breakfast with Johnny Vaughan - Capital 95.8
Jo & Twiggy Breakfast Show - Trent FM
The Chris Moyles Show - BBC Radio 1
Music programme award:
Marc Riley's Brain Surgery - BBC 6 Music
Mellow Magic - Magic 105.4
The Dermot O'Leary Show - BBC Radio 2
The Johnnie Walker Show - BBC Radio 2
Zane Lowe - BBC Radio 1
Specialist music programme award:
Charles Hazelwood - BBC Radio 2
Friday Night Floorfillers with Krystle - 97.3 Forth One
Global Echoes - BBC Radio Oxford
Jazz on 3 - BBC Radio 3
Zane Lowe - BBC Radio 1
News and current affairs programme award:
Century Tonight - Century Radio
File on 4 - BBC Radio 4
Newshour - BBC World Service
Talk Back - BBC Radio Ulster
The LBC Nightly News - LBC 97.3FM and LBC News 1152AM
Sports programme award:
Five Live Sport - BBC Five Live
All The Tickets Are In The Wrong Hands - Radio City
Fighting Talk - BBC Radio Five Live
Football Weekly - Guardian.co.uk
The Back Page - BBC Radio Wales
Speech programme award:
Girls Talk - Oxford's FM107.9
Jeremy Vine Show - BBC Radio 2
Music Matters - BBC Radio 3
Saturday Live - BBC Radio 4
The Interview - BBC World Service
Listener participation award:
Saturday Live - BBC Radio 4
Stephen Nolan - BBC Radio Five Live
The Pete Price Show - Radio City
Victoria Derbyshire - BBC Five Live
World Have Your Say - BBC World Service
Capital Breakfast with Johnny Vaughan - Capital 95.8
Jo & Twiggy Breakfast Show - Trent FM
Scott Mills - BBC Radio 1
The Russell Brand Show - BBC Radio 2
Toolan in the Morning - Key 103
Music broadcaster of the year:
Andi Durrant - The Galaxy Network
Fish on Friday - Planet Rock
Paul Gambaccini - Classic FM BBC Radios 2 & 4
Sean Rafferty - BBC Radio 3
Steve Lamacq - BBC 6 Music
Music radio personality of the year:
Adam @ Breakfast - 97.4 Rock FM
Geoff Lloyd - Virgin Radio
Jamie Theakston - Heart 106.2
Jonathan Ross - BBC Radio 2
Zane Lowe - BBC Radio 1
News journalist of the year:
Angus Crawford - BBC Radio 4 and Five Live
Century Radio 105.4 News Team - Century Radio
Karen Allen - BBC Radio 4
Owen Bennett-Jones - BBC World Service
Robert Peston - BBC Radio 4, Five Live & the World Service
Speech broadcaster of the year:
Edi Stark - BBC Radio Scotland
James Naughtie - BBC Radio 4
John Humphrys - BBC Radio 4
Owen Bennett-Jones - BBC World Service
Simon Mayo - BBC Five Live
Station programmer of the year:
Darren Henley - Classic FM
Lorna Clarke - 1Xtra
Mary Kalemkerian - BBC7
Blood Wedding - BBC Radio 3
Memorials To The Missing - BBC Radio 4
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf - BBC7
Q & A - BBC Radio 4
The Veldt - BBC Radio 4
A Series of Psychotic Episodes - BBC7
Down The Line - BBC Radio 4
Fags, Mags & Bags - BBC Radio 4
Mark Thomas: My Life in Serious Organised Crime - BBC Radio 4
That Mitchell and Webb Sound - BBC Radio 4
Archive Hour: Strangers In The Night - BBC Radio 4
Jon Ronson On... The Internet Date From Hell - BBC Radio 4
Limbo Babies - BBC Radio Ulster for Radio 4
Malcolm McLaren's Life and Times In LA: BBC Radio 2
The Brixmis Story - BBC Bristol for Radio 4
Music special award:
Enter the Garden: A Portrait of Toru Takemitsu - BBC Radio 3
The Day John Met Paul - BBC Radio 2
The Feelgood Factor - BBC Radio 2
The Song Doctor - BBC Radio 4
Two Platforms - BBC Radio 3
News feature award:
Benazir Bhutto: The Investigation - BBC World Service
Britain's Missing Girls - BBC Asian Network
Gun Crime - Century Radio
The Sheffield Floods 2007 - BBC Radio Sheffield
Through The K-hole - BBC Radio 1
Breaking news award:
Glasgow Airport Attack - BBC Five Live
John Darwin: The Back from the Dead Canoeist - Century Radio
Omagh Fire Tragedy - BBC Radio Ulster
The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto - BBC World Service News
The South Yorkshire Floods - Hallam FM & Magic AM
Live event coverage award:
Gosnold 400 - BBC Radio Suffolk
Jane Tomlinson's Funeral - BBC Radio Leeds
Kiss Does Summer - the Kiss Network
The World Today: Chinese Congress - BBC World Service
Womad 2007 - BBC Radio 3
Asian Nation - BBC Asian Network
BBC Radio Sheffield Good Neighbour Appeal - BBC Radio Sheffield
Give me a Voice - BBC Radio Scotland
Lights Out London - Capital 95.8
Peace on the Streets - Choice FM
96.3 Radio Aire's Green Project - Radio Aire
DAB Christmas Campaign 2007 - BBC Radios 1, 2, 4 and Five Live
India Rising - BBC World Service
Kiss Does Summer - the Kiss Network
Where In The World - Real Radio Yorkshire
Are you the CK One? - the Kiss and Galaxy networks
Sell Me The Answer - Key 103
The BH Honey Spoon - BBC Radio 4
The Chain Gang: Picture This - BBC7
The Generation Gap - Heart 106.2
Station imaging award:
106 JACK FM
96.3 Radio Aire
BBC Radio Five Live and Five Live Sports Extra
Internet programme award:
Firin' Squad Unsigned Podcast - firinsquadunsigned.com
Islamophonic - guardian.co.uk
Secret Confessions - Unique the production company for Channel 4 Radio
Sounds: Mark Ronson - Unique the production company for Times Online
The Book Slam Podcast - Karen P Productions/Patrick Neate for the Book Slam Website
Multiplatform radio award:
Bedtime Stories - BBC Radio York
Opera on 3: Carmen - BBC Radio 3
Planet Rock Month Specials - Planet Rock
Radio 1's Big Weekend - BBC Radio 1
The Bangladesh Boat Project - BBC World Service
Station of the year: coverage area under 300,000 adults:
BBC Radio Foyle
Station of the year: coverage area 300,000 to a million adults:
BBC Radio Nottingham
Station of the year: coverage area more than a million adults:
Key 103 Manchester
Radio City 96.7
Real Radio Scotland
Digital station of the year:
BBC Asian Network
UK station of the year:
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio Five Live
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Sony Awards:
Sony Awards web site:
2008-04-11: Howard Stern sidekick, comedian Artie Lange, has quit the show following an altercation with his personal assistant that ended up on air according to the Chicago Sun Times, which says Lange said he could offer no assurances there wouldn't be a recurrence and told the host "I'm not a good person ... I gotta leave ... I love you" before offering his resignation, which was accepted.
The paper adds that Lange's battle with drugs and alcohol has been well-chronicled on the show and colleagues have been concerned for his health both on the air and behind the scenes.
It also notes that last year Lange said he would leave the show for a 6-month sabbatical to "dry out," only to return along with the rest of crew after the show's week-long summer break and suggests he may yet return.
Also in the Sun-Times, Robert Feder reports that Clear Channel Radio has pulled the plug on its gay dance music channel Pride Radio" that had been airing online and on the HD2 channel of Clear Channel's Top 40 WKSC-FM since 2006.
The format targeted gay and lesbian listeners with upbeat, dance-oriented music and Feder notes that soon after its Chicago launch it had spread to web sites and HD channels over the US. It was dropped in Chicago following a lack of interest as measured by online hits and Feder says no complaints have been reported. The HD2 channel has been airing all-new Top 40 music compatible with the format of Kiss FM since late last month.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times _ Feder:
Chicago Sun-Times - Lange report:
2008-04-11: International satellite radio operator WorldSpace has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, WorldSpace Europe, received approval from Germany's Federal Network Agency, the Bundesnetzagentur, to use 12.5 MHz of L-band spectrum for the operation of a terrestrial repeater network in Germany in conjunction with its existing satellite network.
WorldSpace already has approval for its service in Italy, where it is due to launch next year, and Switzerland and says it expects to receive authorization for services in other European countries by the end of this year.
Chairman and CEO Noah A. Samara said the development was significant for it and added, "This achievement confirms the remarkable recent trajectory of our business in Europe, and supports our current discussions with potential partners who have large commitments in these markets. The German market is a critical market for us. Not only is Germany the largest country in Western Europe with the largest economy, it is home to a number of the world's leading automobile manufacturers who are very familiar with satellite radio, having already integrated satellite receivers into their vehicle lines for the American market. We are working to extend that experience to their home base."
WorldSpace notes that Germany has the largest automobile market in Western Europe, with an average of 3.4 million cars sold every year over the past 16 years on top of which annual commercial vehicle sales exceed 200,000 units. It says it expects to launch the German satellite radio service shortly after the Italian service is launched and says the funding needed will be kept down because it can use its existing satellites to serve all three markets.
The company, whose auditors have warned that it could have to cease operations unless it gains new funding (See RNW Apr 7) adds that it is currently in discussions with a number of potential strategic partners who have a strong interest in the German market.
2008-04-10: The latest "Infinite Dial" research from Arbitron and Edison Media Research into radio listening on digital platforms shows Internet listening capability from any location down slightly - from 83% a year earlier to 82%, having risen steadily from 50% since 1999; Broadband access us now 76% compared to 20% for dial-up, a reversal of the situation of 2002 when 21% were on broadband and 78% on dial-up.
Extrapolating from the survey conducted in January this year, the report says some 54 million (21% of the 12+ population) said they had listened to internet radio in the last month and 13% that they had listened in the last week with the audience dividing into 52% male and 48% female. The greatest audience demographic was those 35-44 (27%) followed by those 45-54 (18%) and 25-34 (15%) and 12% each for those 18-24 and 12-17. The share fell amongst higher age groups (9% for those 55-64 and 7% for those 65 plus).
Regarding other digital listening, the report says awareness of satellite radio - 59% for XM and 60% for Sirius was mostly flat for the third year in a row but offered hope of continuing subscriber growth with 14% of non-subscribers saying that are somewhat likely to subscribe in the next 12 months and 2% that they were very likely to. The news was not so good for HD radio with awareness down from 26% a year ago to 24% with only 6% saying they were very interested although 23% said they were somewhat interested.
There was a continuing growth in the percentage of people owning a portable player - up to 37% from 30% a year earlier with the I-Pod continuing to hold on to share - 13% I-Pod only plus 5% owning an I-pod and MP3 player a year ago, figures that were up to 17% and 8% this year.
The distribution of ownership was not good news for radio - 73% of those 12-17 (up from 54% a year earlier) and 51% of those 18-24 (Up from 39%) and listening to radio was down, specifically because of time spent with a portable player) amongst 10% of the overall audience but 22% of those 12-17 and 17% of those 18-24: Of the overall total 21% said they had purchased audio online 0 up from 16% a year earlier - and unsurprisingly online radio and podcast listeners were more likely to have bought audio online.
More Americans are not trying audio podcasts said the report with some 9% saying they had listened in the past month and 37% that they had heard of podcasts
In terms of learning about new music, radio retained its lead -- 49% said they turned to radio first for this, down from 64% in 2002 - but fell back compared to the Internet where the figures rose from 9% to 25% and the report said that amongst teens the Internet now leads radio.
In terms of listening intentions 77% of those 12 plus said they expected to listen as much as they did not to AM/FM radio but the figure was lowest (71%) amongst satellite subscribers.
Previous Edison Media:
2008-04-10: The BBC has announced plans to add yet another platform for its iPlayer - the Nintendo Wii.
The plan was revealed in a keynote speech at the annual MipTV-Milia conference in Cannes by Erik Huggers, the BBC's Group Controller for Future Media and Technology: It came as the Corporation announced that in the three months since the Christmas Day marketing launch of the player, more than 42 million programmes have been accessed on-demand, a 25% month-on-month growth rate.
The BBC said that average weekly users of BBC iPlayer reached 1.1 million in March, up from January's average of 750,000 users and the average daily number of requests to download or stream programmes via BBC iPlayer easily broke through the half a million barrier in March, registering 550,000+ daily requests to stream or download, up from an average of 360,000+ requests in January.
Ashley Highfield, BBC Director of Future Media and Technology, said the performance proved "the case not only for BBC iPlayer, but for all video-on-demand services over the internet, and benefits both our audiences and the industry as a whole."
Huggers said of the move to add the Wii, "Working with Nintendo marks another exciting milestone for BBC iPlayer. It underlines our commitment to reaching new audiences by making BBC iPlayer available on as many platforms as possible. The BBC's catch-up TV service can now be accessed on an increasing number of different platforms - from the web and portable devices to gaming consoles."
2008-04-10: A Florida Federal judge has allowed Pompano Helicopters' USD 362 million lawsuit against Westwood One to go to trial, raising the possibility that the company could end up with a judgement against it greater than its market value - Westwood One shares were down 16.7% to USD 1.90 on Wednesday, valuing it at just above USD 160 million.
U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch denied Westwood One's motion to dismiss Pompano Helicopters' lawsuit, which alleges that Westwood used unfair, slanderous and deceptive trade practices to drive Pompano out of business - Pompano says the radio company's executives spread false allegations of poor maintenance, bankruptcy and ongoing problems with the Federal Aviation Administration, all of which were untrue and slanderous and that a former engineer stole its business plan for establishing a nationwide and eventually a global electronic newsgathering service and passed it to Westwood and Metro Networks.
Pompano says that Westwood and its Metro Networks Communications Inc. subsidiary conspired to drive it out of business and take over its contracts for providing broadcast stations with helicopters for news and traffic reporting. It also alleges that the two wanted to prevent a merger Pompano was planning that would have created one of the largest helicopter news and traffic providers in the US, a company that would have been a formidable competitor to them.
According to former Pompano Helicopters President and CEO, Jim Howard Jr., who founded Pompano Helicopters in 1991 with his wife Darlene and built it into second-largest news-helicopter subcontractor in the United States, its lawsuit led to him being told by Bruce Preece, the owner of bankrupt Helicopter Flight Inc., that his company was subjected to the same tactics. His company went bankrupt in 2002 after Metro terminated its contracts. He said of what had occurred, "I was doing a good job for them (Metro), loyal and dedicated, but they wanted my business in house, so they made up a lot of lies, ruined my reputation, put me out of business and wound up with my pilots and mechanics as well as the aircraft".
Westwood One had asked that the lawsuit be dismissed and last month the judge agreed in relation to three counts - one relating to interference in a non-compete agreement; a second a tortuous interference with contracts claim; and a third relating to another non-compete agreement. All these fell under a four-year statute of limitations in Florida.
Regarding a further four counts that did not fall under the stature of limitations, Judge Zloch ruled that they could go ahead to a discovery stage.
Westwood one responded by noting that the judge had invited a future motion for summary judgment to determine whether the remaining counts are also barred by the statute of limitations, after discovery has clarified when the conduct at issue in those counts occurred and also said that in the asset-sale claim that has now been ruled out of time Pompano sought less than USD 6 million in damaged and for the remaining counts there were no claims for actual damages although they had sought in "excess of" USD60,000 in compensatory damages."
Westwood one added that it believes the remaining claims to be without merit and is "evaluating its legal options with respect to the false statements" from Pompano in its news release.
Westwood One is currently involved in an agreement under which Gores Radio Holdings has started a series of investments in the company (See RNW Feb 25) and Gores has not commented on any possible impact on its investment plans.
Previous Westwood One:
2008-04-10: Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (CSR), the operator of XM Canada, has announced that its revenues for the second quarter to the end of February were up 89% year-on-year to CAD 9.2 million (USD 9 million) and that its net loss fell from CAD 27 million (USD 26.6 million) to CAD 17.8 million (USD 17.5 million- from CAD 0.57 to 0.37 per share).
Quarter-on-quarter revenues were up 13%, an increase put down as directly attributable to subscriber growth - self-paying subscribers were up 84% to 251,400 - with adjusted operating loss falling by 14.3% to CAD 9.0 million ( USD 8.85 million) - a year earlier it was CAD 15.8 million ( Currently USD 15.5 million).
Michael Moskowitz, President and Chief Executive Officer of XM Canada, commented of the results," "Subscriber growth, which is the true barometer of the health of our business, continues to increase significantly as we benefit from our many competitive advantages, including our agreements with 60 per cent of the Canadian automotive market, extensive retail network with more than 5,500 outlets, unique strategic partnerships and exceptional programming."
"The number of self-paying subscribers," he added, "continues to increase and represent a majority of total subscriber growth. As our self-paying subscriber base grows, our financial and cash positions improve. With our current momentum, we are on our way to approaching cash flow breakeven as early as the third quarter of 2008. Given the strength of our business and our competitive position in the marketplace, we believe we are strategically well positioned for the future."
Previous XM Canada/CSR:
2008-04-10: Clear Channel has extended yet again the deadline for its previous announced tender offer for its outstanding 7.65% Senior Notes due 2010 and subsidiary AMFM Operating Inc.'s outstanding 8% Senior Notes due 2008, The new deadline, which may be extended again, is 08:00 EDT on April 18 for the Offer Expiration Date and Consent Payment Deadline, each extended by a week.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-04-09: US radio revenues in 2007 were down 2.3% according to BIA Financial Network (BIAfn), which notes that this was the fourth consecutive year of disappointing revenue performance and says that it expects a similar result this year with some improvement in 2009.
BIAfn's first edition of the quarterly "Investing In Radio Market Report" shows that the year closed with $17.9 billion in income, slightly lower than the $18.1 billion consecutively recorded in 2006, 2005, and 2004 and it predicts radio revenues will be down as much as 3.1 percent in 2008 due in large part to the economy, but will begin its rebound in 2009 as the marketplace improves and the industry starts to see increased income from digital opportunities online and through the airwaves.
Mark R. Fratrik, Ph.D., Vice President, BIAfn, commented of the figures, "While it has been a rough several years for radio the efforts it is making to engage its listeners online and through the digital airwaves will hopefully come to fruition in the next few years. If slow and steady wins the race, then the radio industry will prove its continued value as it begins rolling out new programming and offerings to its vast listenership."
The report also looks at stations sales - more than 316 radio stations were sold in markets ranked 201 and above and nearly 500 radio stations in unranked markets were sold last year, a significant increase on the previous two years and Fratrik commented that the transactions "demonstrated continued strategic repositioning in the market by stations and ownership groups", adding, "Most recognize the potentials for future growth and are positioning themselves now in markets and regions where they see long-term station values."
In revenue terms according to BIAfn, Los Angeles was well ahead in top place with USD 1.1 billion in revenues followed by New York with USD 755 million; Chicago with USD 555 million; Dallas-Ft. Worth with USD 416 million; and Atlanta with USD 398.5 million.
2008-04-09: Global Radio is increasing network programming at the expense of local output on its Heart and Galaxy networks from April 28 under plans announced on Tuesday that will see around a dozen redundancies.
The Heart stations will retain local breakfast, mid-morning and drivetime shows and Galaxy will keep local breakfast and drivetime shows but other output will be networked from London (for Heart) and Leeds (for Galaxy) in the changes that Global's chief executive Ashley Tabor said are intended to offer a "national proposition" to advertisers.
He told the UK Guardian of the two networks, "These are strong radio brands but they are not uniform on a national basis. When we started here what you heard on Heart in London was not very similar to what you heard on Heart in the east or west midlands. They were really quite different radio stations. They were the same name and the same jingles but that's where the similarities ended. It's about offering advertisers a national proposition."
Regarding the new mix he said the stations would be local at times when people wanted local programming and added that networking was "about quality presenters. If you take 50 different radio stations there cannot possibly be 50 good presenters at every station in a particular slot. Why not take the two or three quality class players and put them across the network."
Asked about whether the syndication strategy would also be implemented in the stations Global is acquiring through its takeover of GCap Media, Tabor said no final decisions had been made and added, "In the same way as we did here [on the former Chrysalis Radio stations] we have got to go into the new company and look at what they are doing today. Until we have done that we are not going to make any final decisions. We are not going to prejudge anything."
Under the new plans Nick Snaith's afternoon show on London Heart 106.2 will networked across the other Heart stations in the east and west midlands, and on digital and the station's Matt Wilkinson will host a new networked early evening show. In addition the London late evening Heartbreakers show will be networked over the other Heart stations.
At Galaxy, the mid-morning show from Birmingham, which is hosted by Sacha Brooks, will be syndicated to other stations in the network; Galaxy north-east host Matt Spokes will host a new early afternoon network show; and Adele Roberts, will host a new late show.
Previous Global Radio:
UK Guardian report:
2008-04-09: Bonneville International returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday when it switched KRBV-FM, which it has acquired from Radio One Inc., to a triple A format "The Sound" after a night as "Bruce Radio".
The new station's web site describes it as providing World Class Rock for Southern California and says "The Sound is about simply one thing, it's about the best 'rock' music made to date "and continues, "On The Sound you'll hear everything from the geniuses that gave birth to the seminal rock of the '60s and '70s to the ever evolving offspring of that music, including great stuff that came out last year...or even last week. "
"If we do it right," it says, "you'll find us surprising you every once in a while; sometimes with a great song that you haven't heard in a long time, or a new song you haven't heard elsewhere, maybe even sometimes with a song you didn't think of as "rock". Our goal is to provide music that's comfortably hip. To be familiar without being stale, new without being obscure. "
The Sound web site:
2008-04-09: The 2008 University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication Annual Internet Survey by the Center for the Digital Future shows the Internet as continuing to gain ground on other media as a source for information and is now perceived as more important than radio, TV, newspapers and books.
Time spent online is also increasing - up by more than an hour a week to an average 15.3 hours a week with access through wireless means - with on a computer or through a cell phone also continuing to increase.
At the same time there are concerns about the reliability and accuracy of information found using search engines - some 51% of all users polled in 2007 said that most or all of the information produced by search engines is reliable and accurate, a fall from 62% in 2006 - but a rather more positive response about information from established media where 80% considered most or all the information posted on their web sites was reliable and accurate - up from 77% in 2006.
Center for the Digital Future web site:
2008-04-09: The US Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) group reports that women made slight progress in their representation in managing US radio stations last year with 15.9% of the country's 10,625 AM and FM radio stations across the country managed by women, up from 15.3% a year earlier.
The group adds that woman manage a slightly higher percentage - 16.7% - of the 2,222 stations in the top hundred markets and also do better than the national average in larger companies: Clear Channel with 1,017 stations had 21.7% women GMs according to MIW whilst Citadel has 25% and Entercom - CBS, Citadel, Cumulus and Entercom collectively average 18.2%.
The position worsened in the ten groups owning between 50 and 99 stations with the average going down to 16.8% compared to more than 20% over each of the past five years. In this group Univision had 27.8% women GMs; Nassau Broadcasting had 27.3%; Radio One had 26.3%; and Gap had 25%.
Four groups had more than 30% women GMs - Bi-Coastal Media (50%), ABC (35%), Pamal (33.3%) and Beasley (31.6%).
2008-04-08: Radio One Inc. has announced that industry veteran Kathy S. Stinehour has joined the company as Vice President and General Manager of Radio One Detroit, overseeing the company's three stations in the city - WHTD-FM, WDMK-FM and WCHB-AM.
Stinehour, who has 25 years in radio management, began her career in Detroit and in a release commented, "I can see the huge potential that the Radio One stations have in Detroit; I look forward to working with our experienced team on the ground in Detroit to realize that potential. After the wonderful tour of duty that I have had across the country, I am so happy to be coming home."
Stinehour was most recently President and CEO of Atlanta based Archway Broadcasting Group before which she was EVP of Clear Channel Communications in Chicago.
On her new role she will report to Radio One's Atlanta-based regional VP Bruce Demps who commented of her appointment that it was "just another example of how Radio One will continue to attract and hire the best and brightest talent at the highest levels to give us a competitive advantage in this ever-changing business."
Last month Radio One's Detroit general manager Carol Lawrence and director of sales Nancy Dymond both left the company.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2008-04-08: Entravision shares were up 2% to USD 6.65 following an announcement that the company's board has approved a further USD 100 million repurchase programme.: It had previous authorized a similar USD 100 programme in November 2006 since when it has purchased approximately USD 93.3 million of common stock
Chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa said the new programme underscored "the financial strength of Entravision and our commitment to returning value to our shareholders" and added, "Our strong cash flows have enabled us to fund this significant capital program, which we believe is a prudent avenue to deploy our cash."
2008-04-07: This week we concentrate our look at print comment on radio in the US and more specifically Tribune Company's hiring of former senior Clear Channel executives in what some see as presaging a large-scale move into radio although others think motivation may include an element of getting his own back for Randy Michaels, the former Clear Channel Radio Chairman and CEO who now heads Tribune's broadcasting and Internet operations. Michaels was sidelined by the Mays family, which controls Clear Channel, after being a major part of building up the company.
For the Wall Street Journal, Sam Schechner and Sarah Mcbride opined that Tribune was turning to radio to revive its media empire and noted the influx of radio veterans including Michaels and also of Lee Abrams who left XM Satellite Radio to become Tribune's Chief Innovation Officer.
The Journal quoted Abrams as saying that radio experience is helpful for media facing new competition as it was written off as dead" as TV became more popular in the 1940s and '50s but "it reinvented itself then and it continues to reinvent itself and prosper."
Abrams, says the report, is planning to import some of his techniques to Tribune, including a "cliché buzzer" to ring when colleagues offer tired ideas and it quotes him as saying, "We know how to have a good time. But we also know how to change and reinvent things, or at least motivate people to do that."
It also notes the higher profit margins that Tribune generates from its broadcasting and entertainment operations than the newspapers, producing nearly half of Tribune's operating profit from just under a quarter of its revenues with broadcasting slated to become more important as Tribune begins to sell major assets to trim its USD 12.8 billion of debt - it suggests that Tribune is exploring a potential sale of Newsday, the company's third-largest newspaper by revenue after the L.A. Times and the Chicago Tribune.
The New York Times in a report by Richard Pérez-Peña focussed on mogul Sam Zell, who took control of Tribune in December, and who it says has been forced to consider the sale of Newsday because there is a "very real risk of credit default in the next year or so."
It notes that Zell said from the start that he would sell the Chicago Cubs baseball team, a deal has been delayed and that now according to analysts means "Tribune probably needs to sell both the Cubs and another major asset like Newsday, and relatively soon, to remain solvent."
The Times notes that almost USD 8 billion of Tribune's debt came from the highly leveraged deal, which he engineered, that took the company private and it quoted Mike Simonton, senior director at Fitch Ratings as saying "There's very little margin of safety. The company needs to execute asset sales and cost cuts in order to make its debt service payments and offset the significant revenue declines."
Others were gloomier in their prognostications with Ken Doctor, lead analyst with Outsell commenting, "This thing looked shaky from the start. It looked worse by the time the deal closed in December, and it's gotten worse since then."
The Times notes that Zell himself is not taking that great a risk - he put up USD 315 million and the rest of the USD 8.2 billion in the takeover was borrowed by the company: It gives details of various figures involved noting crucially that last year Tribune had earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) of about USD 1.2 billion and needs around USD 1.1 billion under its bond covenants or it risks being declared in default, suggesting that 2008 is expected to be a tougher year and citing the fact that the company's long-term, unsecured debt can be bought for less than 50 cents on the dollar as signalling a high risk of default.
Both the above reports to us indicate that Zell might well have difficulty if the US economy worsens, as many fear it will, in being able to finance radio takeovers and without those the radio stable it has built up will not achieve that much.
So what of Randy Michaels and his motives? According to Jerry Del Colliano in his Insidemusicmedia blog the team that has been built up is the "best radio team that doesn't have any radio stations (except WGN)."
His subsequent comments on a move into the radio business beg the issue of how the move will be financed although he does comment of Zell "He's smart as can be and he doesn't pay full price. He's wacky and he's worked with Michaels before where Randy built Jacor and made Zell a lot of money. That's all you need to know."
And of Michaels: "A very complex and talented guy. I know him from a number of different angles -- most good, some bad. If radio could be saved, he'd be the guy to save it. But I think he's also motivated by revenge -- that's my opinion for what it's worth.
"Revenge for what Clear Channel did to him. Cut his wings, removed him from power (about the time I sold Inside Radio to Clear Channel) and sent him to an office where he picked up a check and remained quiet."
Del Colliano thinks that Clear Channel's woes with its sale "slowed down a possible sale of some Clear Channel stations by Lee and Bain to Zell" but he takes the view that the Mays family "want out. Their worst nightmare, in my opinion, is having to run a radio group now. Their employees' worst nightmare is having to work for people whose worst nightmare is running a radio group."
He concludes that "The next big media conglomerate is a gleam in the eyes of Randy Michaels and Sam Zell right now -- and using pieces of the old Clear Channel they will build the next Clear Channel" and adds, "The Clear Channel debacle is not about the banks screwing Clear Channel. It's about the screwing Clear Channel is about to get from an ex-employee who has forgotten more about radio than the entire Mays family ever knew."
So after a possible new major radio empire in the US on to listening suggestions and this week we concentrate on BBC radio output - a range that -aside from local content and regurgitating the record industry's product - certainly outstrips that of US radio.
We start with a range of music - not charts for which there are plenty of outlets- but including classical, jazz, and various documentaries and angelic voices
For classical and jazz we suggest BBC Radio 3 - its weekly output gives a fairly comprehensive range of the former but this week we single out "Composer of the Week" (Noon GMT with an evening repeat) in which Donald Macleod explores the music and musicians of the Court of James I/VI through five key moments- including the Gunpowder plot.
For Jazz we suggest Friday's "Jazz on 3" (23:30 GMT) in which Jez Nelson presents a gig by the John Scofield Trio plus horns, performed at the end of March at London's Jazz Cafe.
Then we move to BBC Radio 4 for last Saturday's Music Feature- "Angelic Voices" in which Jeremy Summerly takes a look at the history of the boy choristers who have sung the daily liturgy in English cathedrals and collegiate churches for fourteen hundred years. It is on the site until Tuesday when this week's feature (13:30 GMT) is "Hip Hop China-Style".
After that we move to BBC Radio 2 and from last Saturday the second of a five-part "Icons Revisited" series hosted by Johnnie Walker. Last Saturday's programme looked at the 1968 American television special that re-launched the career of Elvis Presley and next Saturday the subject is Joni Mitchell.
Also from Radio 2 we suggest from today "Jac Holzman's Elektra Story", a look at the history of Elektra Records, from when it was founded by Jac Holzman in 1950 until he sold his company in 1973 and from Tuesday the second of the two-part "Let Freedom Ring......Music, Race and the Soul of America" in which actor Morgan Freeman looks at the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King's message in terms of Afro American music, from 1968 to the present day.
Moving on to drama, we suggest last Saturday's "Saturday Play" from BBC Radio 4 - "Shell Shocked" and then essays and documentary starting with the Greeks and Romans on BBC Radio 3.
Last week's "Sunday Feature" on "The Iliad" was the second of a three-part "Homer's Landscapes" series in which Adam Nicolson travels along the eastern Mediterranean, from the Ionian Sea to the western coast of Turkey to trace the origins of Homer's poems and next Sunday the poem is "The Odyssey."
Also from Radio 3 in its Monday through Thursday 23:00 GMT slot we suggest "The Essay -Greek and Latin Voices". This week Prof Christopher Pelling explores the work of the great Greek historian Herodotus.
And sticking with Radio 3 we suggest Monday's Night Waves for Misha Glenny talking about his new book on international crime networks "McMafia: Crime Without Frontiers" and next Saturday's "Pre-Hear. The Death of Balder" (22:05 GMT) - a choral re-telling of the 12th-century saga in which a beautiful young Norse god is killed by trickery and a mistletoe dart.
On then to speech and BBC Radio 4 with "Fish Tales" - a series in the 05:45 Saturday slot looking at some of Britain's coarse fish: Last week the fish was the Carp, next Saturday it's the Pike.
In different mode we suggest Sunday's "The Reunion" - of a group of five Bletchley Park code-breakers whose work in decrypting German messages created by the complex Enigma machine is said to have shortened the Second World War by two years; Thursday and "In our Time- The Norman Yoke" looking at Norman Rule after the Battle of Hastings put England under foreign occupation (09:00 GMT and an MP3./podcast); and next Saturday's "Archive Hour- Not Like That, Like This" (20:00 GMT) in which Julian Worricker looks back at 60 years of BBC masterclasses revealing how great musicians approach their craft.
And finally from last Saturday "Fred's Archive" - a look at the recordings of various great poets made by Fred Hunter including Tom Raworth, Lee Harwood, Robert Duncan, Edward Dorn, Anselm Hollo, Stuart Montgomery and Basil Bunting.
Insidemusicmedia - Del Colliano:
New York Times - Pérez-Peña:
Wall Street Journal - Schechner and Mcbride:
2008-04-07: Clear Channel Radio has announced that more than 340 of its stations are now broadcasting with the HD Radio iTunes tagging feature, enable the listener to transfer a song heard on the radio to an Apple iPod.
Clear Channel Radio is using its own technology to allow purchasing and downloading of music from the stations and president CEO John Hogan commented in a news release, "Radio continues to be the number one way that people discover new music, and the HD Radio iTunes tagging capability lets listeners add songs to their iPod playlists with just a push of the button. With the vast majority of our HD primary stations now offering this exciting feature, we're demonstrating how radio's collaboration with the iPod benefits consumers."
RNW comment: We may be wrong but we can't get particularly excited about the ability to purchase a tune via an HD radio - of which very few have been sold compared to the number of analogue receivers in use: The technology may yet prove a useful income generator for radio but it's going to take quite a while to be a significant one and we rather suspect that more purchases will be made via mobile phones than by radio.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-04-07: International satellite radio operator WorldSpace, which warned when it released its 2007 results (See RNW Mar 31) that it needs additional capital to keep operating has now announced that its independent registered public accounting firm, Grant Thornton LLP, included an explanatory paragraph in their audit opinion for the year that expresses doubt about the Company's ability to continue as a going concern based on its current financial resources.
WorldSpace noted that at the end of 2007 it had cash and cash equivalents and short term investments of approximately USD 3.6 million and confirmed its need to secure additional capital to fund operations before the end of the second quarter of 2008.
2008-04-06: Last week was again a week of waiting for a decision on the US satellite radio companies' merger and a quiet time elsewhere although in the UK Ofcom has published its annual plan, which offers comment about the way in which it sees convergence changing media.
There were no radio postings from Australia and only a few from Canada where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is amongst other things to consider revocation of the licence of Harmony Broadcasting Corporation's instructional campus radio station CJWV-FM, Winnipeg: It notes that the station has been off air since October 15 last year.
News of that hearing came in one of two public notices about public hearings to be held in Winnipeg on June 3 to consider various applications and on June 4 concerning Harmony, which the CRTC says has failed to comply with a number of elements of the Campus Radio Policy and apparently failed to comply with various conditions of its licence and with Canada's Radio Regulations. Comments or interventions for both hearings have to be sent to the Commission by May 8.
The CRTC has issued mandatory orders directing the licensee to comply with regulations regarding the broadcast of Canadian music, the submission of logger tapes and other information and to comply with the conditions of CJWV-FM's licence concerning the broadcast of news, music drawn from Category 3, and formal educational programming and also required the licensee to file reports related to future compliance and to file other documentation on an annual basis.
It commented that it was "gravely concerned that Harmony has again failed to comply with very basic and fundamental requirements of the Regulations and the consequent uncertainty concerning its adherence to Broadcasting Mandatory Orders CRTC 2007-2 through 2007-6 and its conditions of licence" and noted failure to provide information and logger tapes requested last year for the week of 23 to 29 September 2007 (tapes were provided but ere of the week) and for the 7 to 13 October 2007.
The Commission noted that Harmony Broadcasting Corporation was dissolved in May last year and was revived on 18 January this year and that the former board of directors has since resigned to be replaced by an entirely new board under terms of a letter of offer between 5560731 Manitoba Inc. and Mr. Franc Capozzolo, dated 10 January 2008, that included stipulation that Mr. Franc Capozzolo resign as Sole Member of Harmony and that the new Board of Directors grant a favourable vote to Mr. David Asper to become the new Sole Member. The CRTC notes that this could have resulted in a change of control requiring prior approval.
At the previous days hearing the agency will consider a number of applications including the following radio ones:
*Application by Chase and District Community Radio Society for a licence for a 19.7 watts English-language Type B low-power community FM in Chase.
*Applications for an FM licence serving Winnipeg from:
Newcap Inc. for 100,000 watts English-language Alternative Rock commercial FM and YO Radio Management Inc. for 100,000 watts English-language Pop Alternative commercial FM: These two applications each propose use of 106.3 MHz and are mutually exclusive.
*From Evanov Communications Inc. for a 6,500 watts English-language Contemporary Easy Listening commercial FM and from Native Communication Inc. (NCI) for a 3,000 watts English and Aboriginal-languages native Type B FM: These two applications each propose use of 104.7 MHz and are mutually exclusive.
*Application by Arctic Radio (1982) Limited to renew the licence of CFAR-AM, Flin flon. The CRTC notes that the licensee may have failed to comply with the Radio Regulations, 1986 relating to the broadcast of Canadian content for category 2 music and its condition of licence to broadcast a minimum of two hours of Cree-language programming during the broadcast week of 5 to 11 November 2006 and says it intends inquire into these matters at the hearing. It also notes that that in 2004 the station was given a four-year short term renewal based on its failure to comply with the same regulations and licence conditions.
*Application by My Broadcasting Corporation for a licence to operate a 1,330 watts blended adult contemporary and middle of the road music English-language commercial FM in Exeter.
*Application by Club Social la Grande for a broadcasting licence to operate a radiocommunication distribution undertaking to serve Camp Rupert, located 60 km east of Nemiscau in north-western Quebec: The applicant is proposing to distribute, in non-encrypted mode, the programming services of CFQR-FM, CBF-FM, CKOI-FM and CITE-FM Montréal.
The CRTC also approved an application by Northern Native Broadcasting to add a 16.7 watts transmitter in Smithers to carry the programming of CFNR-FM, Terrace and an application by MZ Media Inc. to acquire CHWO-AM, Toronto, from Primetime Radio Inc. in a deal valued at CAD 7.3 million ( USD 7.3 million) for the purpose of calculating the benefits.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed a new contract running until 2017, with Today FM (See RNW Apr 3) and in the UK, Ofcom has posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld one radio complaints (See RNW Apr 4).
Ofcom also posted its March update in which it noted one DAB change - the removal of Smash Hits from the London III multiplex - and one sampling report - for Gold (Plymouth), formerly known as Classic Gold 1152. The station was found to be operating within format.
In other DAB-related postings it gave its reasons for the award last month of the new Mid and West Wales multiplex to MuxCo Wales Ltd., the sole applicant (See RNW Mar 19), finding that MuxCo's business plan demonstrated the group's ability to operate the multiplex over the term of the licence, and announced that only one applications - from MuxCo Surrey & Northern Sussex Limited- had been received for the Surrey and Northern Sussex DAB multiplex.
The bidder is owned equally by UKRD Group Ltd and MuxCo Ltd and is proposing seven services in addition to BBC Southern Counties Radio.
Eagle Radio - a full service offering from UKRD Group.
County Sound - a Classic Hits offering from UKRD Group.
Mercury FM - a Contemporary Hits service from GCap Media.
Easy Radio - an Easy Listening Service from Easy Radio Ltd.
NMW Radio - a Modern Rock service from DX Media Ltd.
Shuffle - A youth service from Muxco S&S Ltd.
Traffic Radio - a Traffic and Travel Service from the Highways Agency.
On the analogue front it posted its reasons for the award last month of six community licences (See RNW Licence News Mar 30). In all case it noted the experience of those involved.
It also launched a consultation regarding UTV's request to co-locate its Stockport area station Imagine FM with three stations it has located in Warrington - Wish FM covering Wigan and St Helens; Wire FM covering Warrington and Widnes; and Tower FM covering the Bolton area.
Ofcom notes that its guidelines indicate that it is more likely to allow co-location for stations in a licence area with a population of fewer than 250,000 but that it will consider requests to co-locate larger stations - Imagine FM covers a population of 463,000 - in exceptional circumstances.
Responses have to be submitted to Ofcom by May 1 and UTV is arguing that the station's character of service as a locally focussed music and information station for Stockport will not be changed and that it will "remain totally committed to delivering the required level of locally relevant programming." It adds that the move is essential to secure the financial viability of the station which is loss-making - it submitted a financial performance table dating back to 1990 during which the station made a maximum profit of GBP 56,000 (USD 112,000) in 1996 but had been in loss since 1998 with a 2007 loss of GBP 198,000 ( USD 396,000)- as a standalone operation and notes that the move is only for a distance of 24 miles.
On the administrative front Ofcom published it tariff tables and Annual Plan for 2008-09: It notes that its like-for-like budget will decrease by 1.5% over the previous year in "real terms" to GBP 133.7 million (USD 277 million) and that this reflects anticipated RPI (Retain Price Index ) increases.
Radio regulatory fees, it says will on average be down 6.3% compared to a 2.3% decrease for TV and a 4.1 % increase for network and service operators.
Radio application fees will be GBP 100,,000 ( USD 200,000) for national licence applications with local licence application fees of GBP 50,000 (USD 100,000) for an FM licence and GBP 14,500 (USD 29,000) for a local licence in an area with a population above 4.5 million of GBP 25,000 (USD 50,000) and GBP 8,000 (USD, 16,000) respectively for coverage areas with a population of 1 million to 4.5 million; GBP 10,000 ( USD 20,000) and GBP 3,500 (USD 7,000) for a population from 400,000 to a million; and GBP 5,000 ( USD 10,000) and GBP 1,000 ( USD 2,000) for a population up to 400,000.
Renewal fees will be GBP 100,000 ( USD 200,000) for national licences; GBP 21,200 and GBP 14,500 ( USD 41,4000 and 20,000) respectively for FM and AM licences in areas with a 15 plus population of more than 4.5 million; GBP 11,800 and GBP 8,000 ( USD 23,600 and 16,000) for licences with a 1 million to 4.5 million population; GBP 5,000 and GBP 3,500 ( USD 10,000 and 7,000) for licences with a 400,000 to 1 million population; and GBP 1,500 and GBP 1,000 ( USD 3,000 and 2,000) where the population is up to 400,000.
In addition to the application fees there will be an annual licence fee tariff of 0.212% for relevant turnover up to GBP 1million (USD 2 million) ; of 0.318% between GBP 1million and 5 million ( USD 2 million to 10 million) of relevant turnover; and 0.476% of relevant turnover above GBP 5 million ( USD 10 million).
For digital multiplex licences application fees on the same population basis will be GBP 50,000 ( USD 100,000) for national licences then GBP 25,000 ( USD 50,000); GBP 15,000 ( USD 30,000); GBP 5,000 ( USD 10,000) and GBP 1,000 ( USD 2,000) respectively.
In addition there are annual digital multiplex fees of GBP 10,000 (USD 20,000) for a national multiplex licence and GBP 500 ( USD 1,000) for a local multiplex licence.
Community stations have to pay a GBP 600 (USD 1,200) application fee and an annual fee of the same amount in addition to which they have to pay the same percentage tariff as commercial stations on any commercial revenues.
Restricted Service Licences carry an application fee of GBP 400 ( USD 800) on top of which there is a daily licence fee of GBP 10 (USD 20) for all AM services and FM services up to 1 watt and of GBP 30 ( USD 60) for services above 1 watt up to the 25 watts maximum allowed.
In the case of such licences operating over a period of non-consecutive dates exceeding 28 days the rate will be GBP 675 ( USD 1,350) for 29 to 140 days and GBP 1,250 ( USD 2,500) for more than 140 days for AMs with FM stations paying a corresponding GBP 1,000 ( USD 2,000) and GBP 1,550 ( USD 3,100) respectively.
In addition in all cases where an RSL licence that has been approved is amended there is a GBP 200 ( USD 400) amendment fee.
There are also tariffs for long-term RSLs; audio distribution systems (ADS) RSLs; Radio Licensable Content Services; Digital Sound Programmes Licences; and Additional Services Licences on National FM licences.
In the annual plan (a 66 page PDF), Ofcom emphasises the effects of convergence - something that is says has "long been anticipated" by many that seems to be "fast becoming a reality".
On this basis it notes that it has said it will seek to regulate for convergence and has developed a three-year strategic framework focussing on five main areas: Driving forward a market-based approach to spectrum; promoting competition and innovation; ensuring the delivery of public interest objectives; improving empowerment, protection and enforcement for citizens and consumers; and considering the legal and economic frameworks for communications regulation.
"As consumers continue to adopt digital media," says Ofcom, "they increasingly access communications services over different platforms and devices" and continues in relation to radio, "Thirty-three per cent of UK adults have listened to radio via digital TV sets, nearly a quarter via the internet, and 17% own a DAB device. A significant minority of UK adults now use mobiles to go online (13%) and to download music (11%).
It notes "growing evidence that people are using different media simultaneously, rather than wholly replacing their consumption of traditional media with content delivered over new platforms" and says that "UK adults spent an average of 36 minutes per day using the internet in 2006, compared to 14 minutes in 2002. But the time they spent using television and radio declined only slightly, with a fall from 224 to 216 minutes per day for TV and 173 to 170 minutes per day for radio between 2002 and 2006. The usage patterns of younger generations suggest that this might be the case in the future: 59% of 5-15 year olds use the internet at the same time as performing some other media activity, according to our research."
Of radio it adds, "Radio is another example of a traditional media platform that is facing rapid change. The platform continues to be universally valued, reaching 92% of the UK population on a weekly basis. The oldest traditional media platform, radio continues to be at the forefront of developments in convergence. Consumers increasingly access radio via digital platforms - in Q1 2007, 33% said they listened via digital television, 22% accessed digital radio stations on the internet, 17% owned a DAB set, 12% listened to radio via mobile phones. In addition, 18% of MP3 owners downloaded podcasts."
"At the same time, " it notes , "the share of listening to local commercial radio has been in decline since 2004. Commercial radio revenue has also declined from its peak of GBP 560 million ( USD 1.12 billion at current exchange rates) in 2004, to GBP 512 million (USD 1.02 billion) in 2006- although there have been signs of recovery during 2007, with a 7.1% year-on-year increase in Q4 2007, according to data published by the Radio Centre."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) still has to rule on the Sirius-XM merger: It was also involved in a number of enforcement actions, proposing or levying a number of penalties including the following (In descending amount order):
*Issued USD 13,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to James Rouse, licensee of WTOW-AM, Washington, for late filing of renewal application and operation after licence had expired. The licence was renewed, the call sign was re-instated and the licensee admonished.
An application for renewal of the licence should have been filed by August 1, 2003 but was not and it expired on December 1, 2003 but the station continued on air without authorization until April 2004 when, after being told that the call letters had been deleted and all authority to operate the Station was terminated the licensee applied for Special Temporary Authority to continue operating. The STA was granted but expired on October 2, 2004 after which the Licensee continued to operate the until it ceased operations on September 13, 2007, subsequent to a visit from the Enforcement Bureau's Norfolk Office. It sought no further authority to operate until it filed the renewal application and a second request for STA - which was granted and ran to March 27 this year - on September 25, 2007. A further application for an STA is still pending but overtaken by the decision.
*Issued USD 13,000 NAL to The Minority Voice, Inc., licensee of W00W-AM, Greenville, for late filing of renewal application and operation after licence had expired. In this case the chain of events was similar although the total period operating without a licence was less. Again the licence was renewed, the call sign was re-instated and the licensee admonished.
The licensee also admitted in its renewal application that the station's public inspection file has contained no biennial ownership reports since 1999 but regarding this the FCC opted for an admonishment rather than a financial penalty, noting that no ownership information has changed since it filed the 1999 ownership report
Issued USD 4,000 forfeiture to JMK Communications, Inc., licensee of KREA-AM, Honolulu, for failure to ensure that emissions removed by more than 75 kHz from the KREA fundamental frequency of 1540 kHz were attenuated 80 dB below the unmodulated carrier level.
The FCC had issued an NAL for this amount following complaints of interference but JMK argued that the interference was not due a failure of the filtering it had installed but some other unrelated source. The FCC after further tests concluded that in fact the interference did originate with the station, saying it was apparently a "mixing product" caused by KREA's second harmonic (3080 kHz) and operations by KNDI on 1270 kHz and that it only went away when KREA's transmitter was not contributing to the problem. It rejected an argument that the forfeiture should be cancelled because of efforts taken to remedy the problem and confirmed the full penalty.
Issued USD 1,500 forfeiture to Roubens Maignan of Port St. Lucie for operation of a pirate transmitter. The FCC had initially issued an NAL for USD 10,000 but reduced this on financial hardship grounds.
Cancelled a USD 8,000 forfeiture on Broadcast Entertainment Corporation, former licensee of KICA-AM and KKYC-FM, Clovis, for failure to maintain a complete public inspection file at each station.
BEC had argued in response to an NAL that the proposed forfeiture amount should be cancelled because it is no longer the licensee and the violation a mistake due to a change in management of the stations, adding that it rectified the violation after its inspection by the FCC's Denver Office.
The argument was initially rejected on the basis that BEC was an ongoing concern but in its petition for reconsideration it pointed out that it has no ability to pay, no assets, no money, no bank accounts, no shareholders, no officers, and no address and had requested dissolution from the Texas State Comptroller in August, 2007. The FCC on this basis cancelled the forfeiture and substituted an admonishment.
Cancelled a USD 8,000 forfeiture on Action Radio, LLC, former licensee of KZZR-AM and KQHC-FM, Burns, for failure to ensure the operational readiness of the station's Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment. Action did not dispute the failure but argued for cancellation on the basis of its history of compliance and its inability to pay the forfeiture because of its financial situation.
The FCC said that after reviewing the Response, the financial documentation submitted, and the assignment of license application for the stations it concluded that payment of the proposed $8,000 forfeiture would impose financial hardship on Action Radio. It also noted that Action Radio is no longer the licensee, holds no other broadcast licenses, and appears to have no assets. It cancelled the penalty and substituted an admonishment.
The FCC also posted decisions related to a number of contested licence applications including the following:
Denied petition to reconsider dismissal of application to transfer control of Capitol Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of - WWHK-FM, Concord, - from Concord Broadcasting, LLC - to Nassau Broadcasting.
The application was dismissed in 2006 on the basis of ownership rules capping the number of stations that an entity can control in a market but was contested by Nassau on the basis that the staff's dismissal by public notice did not provide adequate discussion of the reasons for rejection and also that the staff unreasonably applied FCC policy related to the changes in Arbitron metro markers.
The FCC in rejecting the application comments that it appeared that the parties involved anticipated a metro change relating to the definition of the Concord metro that rendered Nassau's current attributable interests in the market in breach of its rules and that the parties were attempting to secure the takeover of the station before FCC implementation of the Concord Metro designation, which renders Nassau's current attributable interests in the market non-compliant with our rules and prevents Nassau from acquiring any additional attributable radio interest in that market. It added, "Although the Parties did file the Application prior to the listing of WWHK-FM- as home to the Concord Metro, we believe that Nassau's equity argument is meritless."
Ordered mutually exclusive applications from IHR Educational Broadcasting for a new AM station at Bend and from RAMS I for a new AM station at Deschutes River Woods, to proceed to auction.
Also in connection with these applications it dismissed a petition from Elizabeth H. Erickson to reconsider its rejection of her application for a new AM station at Madras.
Erickson had filed a defective application after the deadline expired and sought reconsideration. The FCC pointed out that public notice of the dismissal of her application was issued nine months before the petition for reconsideration was filed and said no extraordinary circumstances had been shown to justify it making a reconsideration, something only allowed if the failure to file in time resulted from "extraordinary circumstances."
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
Ofcom Annual Plan (66 Page 590 Kb PDF)
2008-04-05: Top rated Sydney breakfast host Alan Jones and his station, Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB, have been ordered to pay Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates AUD 360,000 (USD 356,000) in damages for attacks he made on Coates with whom he had been in conflict since 1998 when Coates left the board of the Australian Sports Commission. Jones was later appointed to the board and became its deputy chairman.
When costs are taken into account, the cost to Jones and 2GB will be approaching AUD 1 million (USD 997,000).
In his broadcasts Jones had attacked Coates during comments about the Athens Olympics' women's eight rowing final in which Australian crew member Sally Robbins stopped rowing before the finish line and a jury found that the broadcasts contained defamatory meanings that Justice Michael Adams, in the New South Wales Supreme Court said fell into the categories of bullying, a cover-up and incompetence: He awarded damages of AUD 130,000 (USD 129,000) each for the first two and AUD 100,000 (USD 99,700) for the last and commented that the attack had "real potential for inflicting particular injury".
Jones and 2GB licensee Harbour Radio Pty Ltd. part of the |Macquarie Radio Network, had defended themselves on the basis that the host's comments had been truthful.
After the verdict, AOC spokesman Mike Tancred said Mr Coates' reputation has been restored, commenting that the comments were "very disappointing and hurtful for John Coates for a number of reasons" and adding, "As the court has found, there was no bullying of anyone on our team for Athens. There was certainly no cover-up. John Coates' leadership as the chief of the mission of the 2004 team was outstanding. It was one of our most successful teams ever."
"The judge," said Tancred, made it very clear that the comments by Alan Jones were false. It's a pity that John Coates had to come all the way to the Supreme Court to be vindicated but we've very pleased with the result."
Coates, who is in Europe, said in a statement he was pleased with the decision and vindicated by the court: "The allegations made by Alan Jones were false. They were a blatant attack on me and the Australian Olympic Committee."
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
ABC, Australia/AAP report:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2008-04-05: Tribune Broadcasting, which at the start of last week, appointed Clear Channel programming head Sean Compton as its SVP/Programming & Entertainment (See RNW Apr 3) has now hired another three Clear Channel radio executives.
Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan has told company executives that CFO Jerry Kersting, SVP/Programming Marc Chase, and VP/Information Technology Steve Gable are all leaving the company with Clear Channel Radio VP/Finance Jeff Rice being promoted to SVP/Finance & Accounting, a role in which he will take over Kersting's responsibilities except for his role in overseeing mergers and acquisitions, responsibilities that will now be handled by Clear Channel Communications President/CFO Randall Mays and overseeing the company's Viero and RCS divisions, which will be moved under Premiere Radio Networks CEO Charlie Rahilly.
Gable's responsibilities will be shared out amongst other staff but a search is to be launched for a replacement for Chase.
RNW Comment: The most important question here is whether Randy Michaels, the former Clear Channel Radio Chairman and CEO who is now chief executive of interactive and broadcasting for Tribune Co. has enticed people through personal relations as a prime reason for them to jump or whether anticipation of future cuts by Clear Channel is leading much of its talent to look for another post as a sensible precaution. If the latter is a major factor then Clear Channel is potentially facing more problems since the more talent that leaves the more it may have to pay or guarantee those remaining - not a good situation to be in when a buyout may well collapse.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Randall Mays:
Previous Premiere Networks:
2008-04-05: BBC Radio 3 has announced its spring "Drama on 3" schedule that will include as the penultimate broadcast the critically acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of Shakespeare's Othello starring Ewan McGregor and Chiwetel Ejiofor, who won an Olivier Award for his performance in the title role, and also new adaptation of William Wycherley's Restoration comedy The Country Wife, with Ben Miller as Horner, the restoration rake who gains access to society women by spreading the false rumour that he is impotent, and Celia Imrie.
The season begins tomorrow with Rudolpho's Zest by Tanika Gupta followed by The Country Wife by William Wycherley; Yesterday An Incident Occurred by Mark Ravenhill (a repeat); Professor Bernhardi by Arthur Schnitzler (another repeat); Othello; The Leopard by Giuseppe de Lampedusa, adapted by Michael Hastings; and The Vertical Hour by David Hare (May 25).
The last analyses the British and American attitudes to the war in Iraq and made its premiere on Broadway in 2006 before a successful run at the Royal Court Theatre in London earlier this year.
2008-04-04: Air America Radio has suspended host Randi Rhodes indefinitely after she made what it termed "inappropriate remarks" at a March 22 San Francisco appearance sponsored by affiliate Clear Channel's KKGN-AM.
At the event she called Senator Hillary Clinton a "big fucking whore" (video is on You Tube) |after earlier saying of former Democrat Vice-Presidential candidate and Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro that she "turned out to be the David Duke in drag. Who knew what a whore Geraldine Ferraro is, she's such a f*****g whore."
In a statement posted on the network's web site on Thursday, Air America chairman Charlie Kireker said, "Air America encourages strong opinions about public affairs but does not condone such abusive, ad hominem language by our Hosts."
The event took place two weeks ago but only gained prominence after the appearance of the video and Air America decision to suspend her, a decision that Jeff Norman in The Huffington Post says she termed a "breach of her contract" that had "damaged my hard won excellent reputation in the broadcast industry."
Norman says that she had received thank you letters from representatives of Air America, the San Francisco affiliate and sponsors praising her for the comedic rant in which the language was used, a rant that he says was well received.
He notes that Ferraro, who had come under attack for comments she made about Barack Obama that were said to be racist, had called for Rhodes' dismissal, telling Fox News "What did they do with Don Imus when he went after the young black team who was playing basketball with kind of the same language? Treat them both the same She's coming at me and Hillary in a sexist way"
Blog comments on the Air America site and the Norman column were mixed with a fair amount of support for the host, some on the basis of free speech also attacking the nature of the comments - one comment (on The Huffington Post), which did not accept this defence, said, "She represents the worst of a genre which has grown like a cancer in the broadcast industry. Yes, she is no better than Coulter, Rush, Imus or any of the other hate mongers who pollute the airwaves. She is the one who has destroyed her "hard one excellent reputation". She should be fired immediately."
Others thought the action was political and related to Air America support for Clinton's presidential bid and on the Air America sit (So far nearly 600 comments so the page takes a long while to load) commented, "Randi Rhodes spoke the truth to power. Looks like her bosses caved to the power."
Previous Air America Radio:
Air America statement and responses:
Huffington Post - Norman:
2008-04-04: Clear Channel has won another round in its battle to force the banks, which had backed its private equity buyers - Thomas Lee Partners and Bain Capital, to continue financing for the USD 19.5 billion deal. The banks had asked that Clear Channel's lawsuit, which had been filed in Texas, should be moved to a federal court because the banks and buyers are incorporated in New York and Delaware but District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that the suit should remain in the Texas State courts where a Bexar Country judge had issued a temporary restraining order preventing the banks from pulling out of the deal.
The buyers have also filed suit in New York and the banks say the latest decision is a procedural one with no relation to the merits of the case. A hearing has been scheduled in the Texas suit for April 8 whilst the New York suit is to go to trial on May 5 or as soon as it can be scheduled after then according to New York Supreme Court Justice Helen Freedman on Thursday.
Clear Channel and the buyers are both involved in the Texas lawsuit (See RNW Mar 28) but Clear Channel is not a named plaintiff in the New York case although the banks said in the New York court on Thursday that they wanted the company to be brought into it: They are planning to file an answer to the New York lawsuit and counter claims today that would add Clear Channel according to a Reuters report citing a lawyer for the banks.
Reuters also quoted a statesman from a banks' spokesman following the Thursday hearing that said, "We are pleased with today's outcome and hope through the claims that we will be filing tomorrow (Friday April 4) and our request for an expedited hearing in New York, which includes all relevant parties we can bring this matter to a rapid resolution. The bank group remains willing to discuss a funding agreement consistent with the terms of the Commitment Letter."
RNW comment: The lawyers will do well out of this dispute but it is not clear if anyone else will. From the perspective of the Clear Channel shareholders, they stand to get paid billions more for the company than the market valuation - the buyout partners agreed to pay USD 39.20 a share, nearly USD 11 more than Clear Channel's closing price on Thursday (USD 28.37) but we suspect the price is likely to fall considerably further should the deal collapse.
From the banks point of view, they immediately significant funds at risk if they have to finance the deal and if the equity partners subsequently have problems could easily end up losing more than the penalty due to be paid by the buyout partners if the deal collapses.
From the buyout partners' perspective two issues arise. Do they really want to go through with the purchase or do they merely wish to display ostentatiously that they have done their best before the June 12 deadline at which they can choose to voluntarily end the deal.
From the perspective of all but the Clear channel shareholders, the current price being offered would seem to be far too high and we would not be surprised to see further Clear Channel lawsuits being launched on June 13 following a pullout by the buyers.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-04-04: SMG said on Thursday as it reported Virgin Radio profits for 2007 up 87% year on year to GBP 4.3 million (USD 8.6 million) that it was not in a rush to sell the radio operation because it had reduced its debt by GBP 110 million (USD 220 million) over the past year aided by the sale of its outdoor division and a share issue.
Chief Executive Rob Woodward declined comment on reports that it has selected Absolute Radio as a preferred bidder for Virgin Radio for GBP 60 million ( USD 120 million).
Overall in what it termed a "Transformational Year", SMG said its revenues from continuing operations had fallen 5.6% to GBP 119 million (USD 238 million) whilst that for discontinued operations was an unchanged GBP 65 million (USD 130 million) whilst operating profit from continuing operations fell 31.3% to GBP 11 million (USD 22 million) and that for discontinued operations was up from GBP 2 million (USD 4 million) to GBP 5 million)
Profit before tax was down from GBP 10 million (USD 20 million) in 2006 to GBP 4.4 million (USD 8.8 million - from 3.0 to 1.2 pence per share) but net debt was cut from GBP 157 million (USD 314 million) to GBP 47 million (USD 94 million).
In divisional terms, TV revenues were down 5.6% to GBP 119 million ( USD 238 million) with operating profit down 29.7% to GBP 11.1 million ( USD 22.1 million); radio revenues were up 9.1% to GBP 24 million (USD 48 million - radio is treated as a discontinued operation) with operating profit up from GBP 2.3 million ( USD 4.6 million) to GBP 4.3 million ( USD 8.6 million); Cinema revenues were up 10% to 22 million ( USD 44 million - this Pearl and Dean operation is up for sale and is treated as a discontinued operation) with operating losses down from GBP 4.2 million (USD 8.4 million ) to GBP 700,000 ( USD 1.4 million); and Outdoor revenues to October, when it was sold, were down from a full-year GBP 23 million (USD 46 million) to GBP 19 million ( USD 38 million) with operating profit down form GBP 4.5 million ( USD 9.0 million) to GBP 1.7 million ( USD 3.4 million).
Total 2007 revenues were down 3.7% to GBP 184 million (USD 368 million) with operating profit down 10.9% to GBP 16.4 million (USD 32.8 million).
SMG said trading in 2007 "2007 has "met Board expectations and the business is on track to meet 2008 targets" and Chairman Richard Findlay commented: "2007 was a challenging year, but the result has been a substantial transformation of the Company. The TV business has been restructured and is outperforming the market. Virgin Radio's profit has nearly doubled. The Primesight sale was a success in a difficult market and our debt burden has been reduced by two thirds. Although the economic outlook is challenging, the business is now robustly positioned for profitable growth."
Woodward added, "In addition to the financial and operating changes we executed, 2007 was also a successful year of commercial and creative restructuring. Our viewer and advertising share in Scotland continues to strengthen, our Content business has had its biggest-ever commission and we are about to re-launch our Online business. Our turnaround plan is firmly on track, and for 2008, we are focused on delivering the financial benefits of restructuring and growth."
Regarding the Pearl & Dean cinama advterising and Virgin Radio disposals SMG commented, "Due to our position of financial stability, we are not in a forced-seller position and the Board will only dispose of these businesses at the right price for our shareholders. Whilst they are non-core, we do have the option of retaining them until the market conditions are more favourable."
SMG shares ended the day down 2.1% at 11.50 pence, valuing SMG at GBP 109.4 million (USD 218.4 million).
Previous Absolute Radio:
2008-04-04: UK media regulator Ofcom has upheld one radio and one TV standards complaint in its latest bulletin in which it also gave details of a TV standards complaint considered resolved through action taken by the broadcaster and also one that was not upheld. It also partly upheld two TV fairness and privacy complaints and gave details of three that were not upheld.
The radio complaint upheld was against the Jon Gaunt Show on UTV's talkSPORT in which Gaunt promoted a website that allows computer users to access their office computers remotely, including the offer of a 30-way free trial.
Ofcom queried the station about the promotion in light of rules saying that advertising and programme elements should be separated and that products and services must not be promoted in programmes.
In response talkSPORT confirmed that the output was a presenter-read advertisement and provided a copy of the script, the content of which had been approved for broadcast by the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC).
It said that the soft issues of the promotion did not relate to the editorial nature of the show and claimed that there was" significant separation from editorial due to the clarity and nature of [the] advertising message within the environment that it was placed."
Ofcom disagreed and noted that to ensure that that programming was clearly separated by advertising radio advertisements that have a similar style to the programming in which they are placed should generally be separated by other material, such as a jingle or station ident. or alternatively can be placed in the middle of an advertising break.
In this case, it said that presenter continued to speak in his relaxed, conversational style, the promotion contained a clear reference to the station brand and a clear and pre-recorded advertising break took place around only 90 seconds later, all of which created the impression that the advertisement was in fact editorial. It rules that its rules had been breached.
Ofcom also listed without details 286 TV complaints against 107 items - 146 of them were against one programme and 23 radio complaints against 22 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 333 TV complaints against 121 items - 132 of them were against one programme and 34 radio complaints against 29 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2008-04-03: CTVglobemedia has appointed industry veteran Chris Gordon, who has been with CHUM Radio for ten years, as President of its radio division. Before joining CHUM, he spent some 15 years in radio including senior posts in London, Ontario, and Calgary.
He was most recently vice-president and general manager of the CTVglobemedia's Ottawa-based CFRA operations, including the A-Channel TV station and replaces former radio personality Duff Roman, who has served as the Acting Head of the CHUM Radio group since it was acquired by CTVglobemedia, then Bell Globemedia, in a deal last year (See RNW Jun 23, 2007). Roman is to remain with the company but nothing was said of his role.
CTVglobemedia president and CEO Ivan Fecan, announcing the appointment, commented, "Chris brings a unique mix of skills as a successful operator of a combined radio-TV station group and as a strategist with well developed insights into the future of the fiercely competitive Canadian radio industry. He is a proven team builder and we're proud to have Chris in this role as we look forward to growing this important part of our business."
In the US, Sean Compton, who resigned as vice president of programming for Clear Channel Communications on Tuesday, has been appointed Tribune Broadcasting's new senior vice president of programming and entertainment. He succeeds Marc Schacher, who is leaving the company after 29 years and will report to Tribune Broadcasting President Ed Wilson.
Compton is a former colleague of Randy Michaels, the former Clear Channel Radio Chairman and CEO who is now chief executive of interactive and broadcasting for Tribune Co. The two worked together at Jacor Broadcasting when it was acquired by current Tribune Chairman and CEO Sam Zell who later sold Jacor to Clear Channel.
Previous Tribune Company:
2008-04-03: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has now signed a new contract running until March 16, 2017, with Today FM, the country's national music-oriented service targeted at a 20-44 years-old demographic.
Commenting on the signing, BCI chairperson Conor Maguire, Chairperson of the BCI said, "I would like to congratulate Today FM on today's contract signing and to wish them continued success in the years ahead. Today FM has made an indelible mark on the Irish broadcasting landscape and has contributed significantly to programme diversity since it commenced broadcasting in 1997. I have every confidence that this contribution will continue to be felt."
Today FM is currently in the process of being acquired from Emap - whose radio operations were acquired by Bauer - by Communicorp in a deal that would give the latter control of it, 98FM, FM104 and Highland Radio. The deal has been approved by the BCI but has yet to be given the go ahead by Ireland's Competition Authority.
2008-04-03: LBI Media has reported final quarter 2007 revenues up by 0.5% to USD 27.7 million compared to a full year 7.1% increase to USD 115.7 million with the increase in both sets of figures attributed primarily to a strong performance by its radio stations in Los Angeles and Dallas.
Overall LBI recorded a net loss of USD 4.9 million in the final quarter, primarily attributable to a USD 5.1 million increase in broadcast license impairment charges, a USD 1.6 million increase in income tax expense and a USD 0.8 million increase in interest expense: A year earlier the net loss was USD 1.3 million. For the full year it had a net loss of USD 53.9 million compared to 2006 net income of USD 11.0 million: This change was put down primarily to a one-time non-cash charge of USD 46.8 million to adjust the company's deferred tax accounts following termination of its S Corporation status in March 2007; an USD 8.8 million one-time loss on the redemption of the company's 101/8% senior subordinated notes in August 2007; a USD 5.3 million increase in broadcast license impairment charges primarily related to the company's Dallas radio properties and a USD 5.0 million increase in interest and swap rate expenses.
In divisional terms, radio revenues for the final quarter were up 12.5% to USD 15.6 million but operating expenses were up 57.4%, to USD 14.8 million, primarily attributable to an increase in broadcast license impairment charges relating to the company's Dallas radio stations and higher programming and selling, general and administrative expenses related to these stations, as well as start up costs for the company's newly acquired station in the Riverside/San Bernardino region of the Los Angeles market.
For the full year radio revenues were up to 19.1%, to USD 61.2 million with operating expenses up 32.2%, to USD 39.0 million for the same reasons as in the quarter.
TV revenues in contrast were down 11.7%, to USD 12.1 million for the quarter and down 3.7%, to USD 54.5 million for the year primarily because of lower advertising revenue in the company's California markets, which were partially offset by increased advertising revenue in its Texas markets.
Executive Vice President Lenard Liberman said of the results, "While 2007 was a difficult year for our industry, we managed to grow our revenues and Adjusted EBITDA across our group of stations.
Our business model continues to display healthy operating leverage, as reflected in our Adjusted EBITDA margins which improved to 46%, after adjusting for the USD 7.6 million early redemption penalty we paid on our former 10 1/8% senior subordinated notes. We enter 2008 with higher ratings and market share on our television and radio stations and with the belief and hope that we will continue converting these improved ratings into additional revenues."
He added, "We were fortunate to refinance our high yield notes in July 2007 and to restructure our bank revolver before the credit markets shut down. Thankfully, we have a financial structure in place that is flexible and will allow us to prosper during these otherwise difficult times."
Previous LBI Media:
2008-04-02: CBS Radio and Last.fm have announced a partnership under which CBS Radio will provide streams of all its stations to Last.fm's US audience.
Last.fm will use the new CBS Radio online player, which is to be launched in the spring, and its deal follows a recent agreement with AOL, which dropped its deal with XM, which had been providing advert-free music streams (See RNW Mar 8). The deal is described as similar to Last.fm's recent partnership with the BBC's digital radio stations.
Dan Mason, President and CEO, CBS Radio, said of the arrangement, "This is an inventive way for CBS Radio to expand its streaming campaign by adding another tremendous distribution platform. Streaming our stations on Last.fm exposes our incredible portfolio of brands, talent and content to a large, growing audience, while at the same time providing additional value to all our advertisers. We're very pleased to work with Felix and our friends at Last.fm on this new partnership."
Last.fm CEO and co-founder Felix Miller said it was "the first of what we hope to be many collaborations" between the two and added, "The content and distribution power between these brands is incredible, and we're tapping into that strength to greatly expand our digital footprints while significantly improving the user experience on all our platforms. It's a win-win situation for everyone, most importantly the user who now has more ways to listen to their favourite music and stations."
2008-04-02: The UK has entered April with two fewer national stations - GCap's theJazz and Capital Life, both of which went off the air permanently at the end of last month - whilst a third is off air but possibly only temporarily.
The latter is BFBS radio, the forces radio service that has just ended a three month's trial on the Digital One national multiplex. The broadcaster is evaluating feedback, which indicated a significant audience, and may opt to return to a UK digital signal in future.
On its website it says that it "made the decision, in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence, that making the service permanent is not an option at this point" but adds that it considered the trial "a huge success" with research showing that not only forces families but also a wider general audience.
During the trial it said, its DAB service was listened to by 863,000 people per week with 62% of the core audience saying they were extremely or very likely to listen in the future; 64% of the serving Core target that they would be more likely to buy a DAB set if BFBS Radio is made permanent on DAB Digital Radio; 69% that they thought there should be a radio station in the UK that increases public awareness of and appreciation for the work of the British Forces; and 89% of all respondents that they were interested in BFBS Radio being available in the UK.
BFBS web site (carries links to online streams):
2008-04-01: Australian radio industry body Commercial Radio Australia has responded to reports that there could be a lengthy delay in launching digital radio in Australia by saying they were erroneous and resulted from a news agency report concerning funding for digital TV.
Commercial Radio Australia Chief Executive Joan Warner said the story had then been "carried by several newspapers, without clarification" and added, "In actual fact, barring unforeseen circumstances or bad weather delays to the transmission infrastructure build, it's all systems go for the arrival of digital radio in early 2009 - with listeners set to enjoy a whole new multi-media experience."
Warner has also announced new trials for various digital radio features - Australia is adopting the DAB+ format - including real time traffic solutions for listeners wanting to find the best way to their destination to which it says it would be possible to add extra information on parking, fuel pricing and transit lane restrictions.
"The format Australia has adopted, (DAB+), allows us to do so much more with the technology and we're keen to provide the types of things that listeners, advertisers and broadcasters have only dreamt about in the past," commented Warner.
In the US, the HD Digital Radio Alliance says it is now to concentrate its efforts on persuading people to buy receivers following a survey by Critical Mass Media that said 77% of radio listeners surveyed were aware of HD radio.
The Alliance has rolled out a new tagline "HD Radio -It's Time to Upgrade" together with a new logo and is promoting this in new national radio adverts.
Its EVP Diane Warren commented of its previous campaign, "Clearly our tagline and theme of 'HD Radio. Discover it!' worked extremely well" and added, "The next step in our marketing will speak to the reasons to 'upgrade' to an HD radio and with 70 million radios sold a year, there is an enormous opportunity here."
The Alliance's President and CEO Peter Ferrara commented, "We closed 2007 with consumer awareness at unprecedented levels. This year will see unparalleled numbers of receivers in cars and at retail, with totally new data applications and new investments in HD2 and HD3 programming from broadcasters. Now is the time to convert awareness into purchasing action."
RNW comment: Ferrara would apparently have problems with English for bright five year olds - or is that the effective mental age of the potential buyers he is appealing to with such jargon-ridden drivel. If consumer awareness has not been at unprecedented levels at the end of last year, it would have had to have fallen from a previous high. And what does the phrase "Unparalleled numbers" mean? Are we talking about tens of millions of sales? Millions? Hundreds of thousands? As Dr Johnson of dictionary commented in a different context this is mere wind.
In the meantime iBiquity's milestones in company history on its website end in 2005, which maybe says something!
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous HD Radio Alliance:
2008-04-01: GCap Media's shares rose by 10.6% to 217 pence on Tuesday in the wake of a recommendation by its board that shareholders accept a 225 pence a share bid from Global Radio.
The bid was generally welcomed by UK radio executives who see it as having two strengths - a company size that will generate economies of scale and enhance its ability to compete with the BBC and also the potential in private hands to plan on a longer term basis than when it was answerable to institutional shareholders.
The new owners are seen as likely to reverse GCap's decision to sell its majority stake in the Digital One national digital multiplex and probably also the decision to sell the Xfm stations outside London, although this could be affected by any regulatory requirement to divest itself of a London station - the combined group would own Capital Radio, Heart FM, Choice FM, Xfm and LBC in the capital.
GCap has already closed down its digital Jazz station but the other station whose closure was announced was given an extra month's grace as several potential buyers were rumoured to have made approaches.
Outside London, divestitures are likely in the east and west Midland where the group will own Heart, Ram, Leicester Sound, Trent FM and Gold in the east and Heart, Galaxy, BRMB, Beacon, Mercia and Gold in the west.
Commenting on the prospects of the new group, Richard Menzies-Gow, a media analyst at Dresdner, told the UK Guardian - whose parent owns GMG Radio, "We are getting there in terms of the need to get consolidation of power, extracting synergies, and controlling audiences so you can have more leverage with agencies and drive the value of radio and have a critical mass to compete with the BBC."
He added regarding possible further consolidation, "It would still make sense to see UTV, Virgin and GMG come together, and maybe in time with Emap too, to give you two really strong groups."
Of these Virgin has been put up for sale by SMG with UTV seen as the most likely buyer and the former Emap stations are now owned by German group Bauer, which also bought Emap's consumer magazines business and may not be fully committed to radio operations.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
Previous GMG Radio:
UK Guardian report:
2008-04-01: RNW note: We regret our weekly look at print comment on radio has yet again been delayed. We will post as soon as we can.
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