May 2008 Archive
- April 2008 - June 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 March comment - Considers copyright in view of increased feed for Internet broadcasters and the possibility of their introduction for terrestrial radio in the US and suggests we would benefit from different classes of copyright.
2008-05-31: GCap Media has sold its Xfm South Wales station to local group Town and Country Broadcasting, which already owns Wales stations Radio Pembrokeshire, Radio Carmarthenshire, Scarlet FM (Llanelli), Swansea Bay Radio and Bridge FM (Bridgend) for an undisclosed sum.
The sale has already taken effect and according to the UK Guardian the new owners are to re-brand the station Nation Radio and plan to move it from its current Cardiff base - it is co-sited with GCap's Red Dragon FM - to their studios in Neath.
Town & Country Broadcasting's group managing director Martin Mumford said the purchase represented a key strategic move that would allow it to enter the Cardiff market.
Town and Country was one of the original bidders for the licence and the UK Guardian said Town and Country's chairman and chief executive Jason Bryant, a former development director at Virgin Radio and managing director of talkSPORT, said that the station would be a "younger Virgin Radio" aimed at a mainstream audience of 15 to 44-year-olds and added, "It makes us a big and real presence in the marketplace and gets us into Cardiff, which is obviously crucial for us. We are very confident about making this into a big station. This is not a marginal station - this is going to be mainstream."
Town and Country has to change the name of the station as Global Radio, which is due to take over GCap on June 6, is retaining the Xfm brand and the Xfm stations in London, Scotland and Manchester.
GCap had put all the stations except for the London one up for sale in February as part of cuts, that also included the closure or sale of its digital stations The Jazz - which closed at the end of March - and Planet Rock (Sold - see RNW May 30) - announced by its outgoing chief executive Fru Hazlitt (See RNW Feb 11).
Previous GCap Media:
UK Guardian report:
2008-05-31: Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has made an undisclosed offer to buy Clear Channel's sports-talk station WTEM-AM and two other AMs - WWRC-AM and WTNT-AM, which carry syndicated political talk shows and infomercials - according to the Washington Post citing unnamed "people familiar with the discussions."
The paper says that the deal if it went through would give Snyder's Red Zebra Broadcasting - which it describes as a "fledgling but problem-plagued" radio operation a lock on the sports radio market in the Washington area: It notes that WTEM was the Redskins' flagship station for several years in the 1990s, before Snyder purchased the team and later set up his own radio company to control the team's broadcasting and adds that the three stations Red Zebra already owns -- known as Triple X ESPN Radio -- are so weak their broadcasts can't be heard without interference in many parts of the area.
The signal problems, says the paper, led to complaints from fans and Snyder tacitly acknowledged the problem last season by striking a deal with Clear Channel to place Redskins game broadcasts on Clear Channel-owned WBIG-FM, whose signal carries across the region.
It says the current talks grew from that deal but that a purchase of WTEM would only ease, not solve, reception problems since the station's reduced night power makes it hard to hear in parts of Northern Virginia.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Red Zebra:
Washington Post report:
2008-05-30: GCap Media has sold its digital station Planet Rock to an unnamed buyer according to Queen lead guitarist Brian May who in a posting on his personal web site says that he had "just found out that GCAP, the owners of Planet Rock, have sold the station to a third party, without so much as mentioning their change of plan to us."
May adds that his side had been finalising arrangements with GCap's lawyers having agreed the principles of a deal a few weeks ago but then heard a rumour that someone else was involved.
"Planet Rock is now out of reach," he continues. "All I can say is I'm shocked and hugely disappointed. What a way for people to behave. I suppose that's what you can expect from the corporate world these days."
He then adds, "We have no idea if the people who have bought Planet Rock plan to keep it running or not. I guess we can just hope that it will still be 'saved', but without us ... It's such a shame ... we had such plans..."
When May announced earlier this month that he was involved in a rescue bid he commented to the UK Guardian that he regarded Planet Rock "as rather more than just a radio station - it is a symbol of free radio ... radio which is not run by large corporate organisations for the purpose of making tons of money, and has a free choice of what it plays."
GCap had posted no details of any sale when we last checked.
Previous GCap Media:
Brian May web site:
UK Guardian report:
2008-05-30: According to the UK Daily Telegraph, Canwest, which became the first non-European media company to be awarded a broadcast licence in the UK when it won the Solent regional licence (See RNW Sep 6 2005) and then won Bristol and Aberdeen licences with its Original brand, has put all the stations up for sale.
The paper adds that the move could also hit Channel 4 Radio's planned launch of its national digital radio network before the end of the year as Canwest has signed up to provide one of 10 stations on the 4 Digital national commercial multiplex
The paper quoted Rick Hetherington, president of European Operations at Canwest, as saying, "We have been approached about the stations, and anything is for sale at any time at the right price" but adding that Canwest was not in discussions to give up its slot on Channel 4's digital radio service, which is to be filled by an Original-branded station.
Previous Channel 4:
UK Telegraph report:
2008-05-30: Irish radio drama is set to get a boost through a new "Dramarama" initiative for radio broadcasters and independent production companies announced by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) in conjunction with Learning Waves, a network member organisation representing all of the Independent Commercial Radio Stations in Ireland.
Dramarama is a series of 3-day workshops, which will run this summer, aimed at providing participants with the tools and the creative confidence to begin producing radio drama.
They will be organized regionally by Learning Waves to introduce and address the subjects of writing and production of drama for radio and will be led by experienced script writers, directors and actors.
The programme is a joint initiative of BCI Sound & Vision and Learning Waves and participants will be encouraged during the seminars to submit final applications for production funding to the BCI Sound & Vision Special Scheme.
BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said of the initiative, "In the early rounds of Sound & Vision, it became apparent that there was a shortage of skills in the genre of radio drama. The Dramarama project, which is being funded under the Special Schemes element of Sound & Vision, is designed to address this skills gap. Through the Dramarama Special Scheme we aim to provide participants with the tools, practical guidelines and creative confidence to begin producing radio drama."
2008-05-30: UTV-owned talkSPORT has announced that Ex-Nottingham Forest and Liverpool striker, Stan Collymore is to join the station from the 7th June, the start date for the UEFA Euro 2008 soccer championships.
Collymore, who has been a soccer pundit with BBC Radio Five Live, is to get his own nightly show and a Saturday show in which he will interview top soccer personalities.
He will also be a match summariser on the station's Barclays Premier League and Champions League soccer coverage from the next season - starting in August.
At talkSPORT he will be re-united with the station's Programme Director Moz Dee, who left Radio Five Live, where he was managing editor, in November last year (See RNW Nov 13, 2007).
2008-05-30: Arbitron, which announced last week that it had signed a Seattle Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings deal with Sandusky (Bellevue Radio - See RNW May 24) has now announced a similar deal for the company's Phoenix stations.
The deals will take effect when Arbitron introduces the PPM commercially into the markets and adds five more stations - KDKB-FM, KDUS-AM, KSLX-FM, KUPD-FM and KAZG-AM.
2008-05-29: Clear Channel Communications has announced that all the funding for the reduced price buy-out deal with private equity partners led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. is now in escrow with The Bank of New York.
Under the deal Clear Channel shareholders will receive USD 36 per share rather than the USD 39.20 agreed when shareholders voted to accept the deal in September last year (See RNW Sep 26, 2007) making the total for the company USD 17.9 billion rather than USD 19.5 billion. The company had already announced that the banks involved in the transaction had fully funded the debt portion of the financing and that it was ending legal action against them (See RNW May 23)
Clear Channel has now to put the revised deal to its shareholders and says it expects the deal to close in the third quarter of this year.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-05-29: The US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has publicly supported "posting", announcing that its board has passed a resolution "enhancing Radio's accountability that includes recommended selling and schedule verification guidelines to create a stronger relationship with advertisers and accommodate the diverse and highly targeted nature of the Radio industry."
RAB says the resolution was endorsed at its semi-annual Board of Directors meeting in Los Angeles last and aims "to put to rest the debate for posting in Radio and instead focuses on delivering an outline for sound business principles and practices that will benefit Radio's standing in the media space."
Its President and CEO Jeff Haley commented in a release, "This is the beginning of a longer process around gaining greater credibility for Radio. We will work closely with the buying community and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA's) to develop and refine our proposal into a set of sound business practices that will enhance advertisers' confidence in Radio while protecting our industry."
Peter Smyth, President and Chief Executive Officer, Greater Media and Chairman of the RAB Board of Directors, added, "We put extreme effort into putting forth guidelines that are intentionally broad in scope, while providing advertisers and their agencies with accounting and verification practices of the highest integrity. We are very encouraged by the willingness of RAB member groups to engage in this discussion and institute accounting principles that will advance Radio."
In its "overview" of the proposals RAB comments, "The development of more stable measurement technology and the greater call for accountability mandate the need for an industry wide business practice. Radio advertisers have always received fair treatment from broadcasters but have not had the benefit of verification or a make good guarantee that other media have provided."
Amongst the guidelines RAB says among other things that:
*Radio Broadcasters will guarantee the GRP delivery of a schedule on a market basis, based on total audience delivered by the end of the schedule.
*Advertisers and Radio Broadcasters will agree on posting criteria before a schedule runs, including the verification of audience delivery and the accepted margin of error.
*Audience Estimates and post-buy analysis should be based on the broadest, most stable data available.
*Radio Broadcasters will be accountable proportionally for make-goods if the market delivery falls below previously agreed criteria.
2008-05-29: The Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio - C3SR, self-described as the "only consumer group in existence today solely dedicated to advocating on behalf of satellite radio subscribers, has asked the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to "commence an investigation leading to appropriate enforcement actions" against Sirius and XM Satellite Radio, saying that the call is based on "certain new information" provided to the FCC by Sirius in a April 10 submission.
The group, which filed an opposition to the merger in October last year (See RNW Nov 5, 2007) was set up shortly after the two satellite radio companies announced their plans to merge and soon afterwards Corporate Crime Reporter reported that it appeared to be run not so much by law students and consumers as its site claimed but by a founder who works full time at the lobbying arm of law firm Williams Mullen (See RNW Apr 3, 2007). Mullen represents the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in its opposition to the merger.
In its letter, which it has posted on its website, the organisation says "Highly Confidential" documents submitted by Sirius -redacted for public inspection to protect propriety information regarding its work on creating interoperable receiver requirements as required by each company's original licensing authority - "cast the proposed merger in a very negative light and call into question the truthfulness and candour of both Sirius and XM with respect to their dealings with the commission as licensees and during this proceeding."
It comments that in the absence of a merger, interoperability "would have improved the performance of the satellite market by increasing competition" but this improvement goes if the merger is approved.
RNW comment: Another case of NAB duplicity it would appear. And for any organisation that has any dealings with NAB to accuse any other organisation of lack of candour???
C3SR web site:
2008-05-29: In a revamp of its daily consumer programme "You and Yours", BBC Radio 4 has announced that former BBC Radio Five presenter Julian Worricker is to join the programme, which will become less studio based and will broadcast more frequently from outside locations.
Until September 2007 Julian Worricker presented Worricker On Sunday on BBC Radio 5 Live, after which he left to travel around the world.
He, Winifred Robinson and Peter White, will each present an edition of the programme throughout the week and veteran John Waite, who has been with Radio 4 since 1986, will no longer be a regular presenter of the programme but will still appear on it presenting the station's investigative series "Face The Facts." Current regular presenters Liz Barclay and Sheila McClennon will leave the programme although Radio 4 says they will "continue to have a presence on other parts of the network."
The programme was launched in 1970 and attracts a weekly audience of around three million:
BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer said of the changes in a release, "We're delighted to be welcoming Julian Worricker to You And Yours. It is one of the most important programmes on Radio 4, consistently broadcasting impeccably researched consumer stories. The programme's journalism often has a direct impact both on public policy and on the lives of its listeners."
The programme's editor Andrew Smith added, "You And Yours has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Julian is an excellent live, on-location broadcaster and his patient, intelligent approach to interviewing people of all kinds will be a further asset to the team."
2008-05-28: ESPN has fired Mark Madden from his Pittsburgh 1259 ESPN talk show following comments he made last week when it was announced that Senator Edward Kennedy had been diagnosed with brain cancer.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Madden, who made his reputation with "bold, outlandish attacks on famous people" commented of the news at the start of his show last Wednesday, "I'm very disappointed to hear that Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts is near death because of a brain tumour. I always hoped Senator Kennedy would live long enough to be assassinated."
It adds that at the urging of station general manager Mike Thompson, Madden apologized over the air for his remarks about two hours later but Thomson said no punishment would be imposed, commenting, "The fact is we took action right away. Frankly, it was a comment that was stupid. He admitted that. I don't think it requires any such thing as [discipline]."
The paper adds that at corporate level ESPN took a different view and his dismissal was ordered from ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.
ESPN's vice president for public relations Josh Krulewitz was quoted by the paper as saying the dismissal was within its contractual rights and added, "We had a chance to regroup and review the situation and consider it more thoroughly from all perspectives. This is the decision we have made, and we feel it is the right one."
The Post-Gazette notes that Madden had not been head on air on his 15:00 to 19:00 show since his comments appeared in it on Friday. It notes that after his replacement on Friday by Jim Colony, who usually did the sports news on Madden's show, and weekend host Ken Laird, the Monday broadcast, unlike that on Friday, dropped the "Mark Madden Show" description. It was co-hosted by Eddy Crow, co-host of the "Junker and Crow Show," heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Chris Mack, a producer who also co-hosts Pittsburgh GameNight and does hockey hotline shows.
The paper adds that Madden had been warned about his on-air manners in December after a listener sent in a tape in which he was especially rude
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report:
2008-05-28: A Federal judge has granted Clear Channel a temporary restraining order stopping its former executive Andrew Friedman from working for Tribune Co. on its broadcast operations.
Clear Channel had launched a lawsuit claiming that Tribune was involved in stealing trade secrets when it hired Friedman, who had been involved in its online business (See RNW May 23) and Crain's Chicago Business quoted Judge Joan Gottschall as saying that the company would "undoubtedly suffer irreparable harm if the (temporary restraining order) is denied and Friedman uses the knowledge of interactive content strategies for the benefit of Tribune" whereas Friedman "will suffer little to no harm, other than being unable to work in his chosen profession for a few weeks."
The parties are due to appear in court Wednesday to set a hearing date regarding Clear Channel's request for a preliminary injunction to keep Mr. Friedman away from Tribune until next year: The company claims that his contract had included a non- compete clause.
Tribune commented in a statement, "The court made no findings of wrongdoing by either LocalTV (The Tribune subsidiary for which Friedman went to work) or the Tribune, and both will continue to resist Clear Channel's attempts to interfere with their mutual business interests."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Tribune Co.
Crain's Chicago Business report:
2008-05-28: UK media regulator Ofcom has again upheld no radio complaints in its latest bulletin in which it upheld three TV standards complaint, considered another resolved through action taken by the broadcaster and posted details of four TV fairness and privacy complaints that were not upheld.
Ofcom also listed without details 216 TV complaints against 154 items and 29 radio complaints against 29 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 402 TV complaints- 127 against one programme -against 153 items and 28 radio complaints against 20 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2008-05-27: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with three articles that from different continents and points of view suggest problems for commercial radio.
The first, from the UK Media Guardian blogs, under the heading "Commercial radio: stop blaming the Beeb" began with comments from Paul Smith who after introductory remarks referred to "commercial radio's addiction; the need for someone to blame" and then continued: "A few have tried to slap the industry into sense including Fru Hazlitt, outgoing chief executive of GCap. Cast your mind back to last November when Hazlitt was appointed: The industry needs to stop distracting itself by worrying about the BBC... we have beaten the BBC for years in the past. We should focus on our core objectives and let the BBC focus on theirs."
"Nobody listened," continued Smith, "least of all Hazlitt's chairman Richard Eyre, who yesterday at the Radio 3.0 conference in London, called for the privatisation of (BBC) Radio 1 and Radio 2."
As for Eyre's suggestion that he, like us, obviously considers misbegotten, he writes, "The fact is this, in the nuttiest of shells: you can't privatise Radio 1 and Radio 2. Hand these two networks over to commercial radio, and they would instantly cease to exist. Commercial radio would never invest the money required to maintain the quality and diversity of output because there isn't a business model in existence that could generate the revenue required and profit desired."
And irrespective of the funding, he also notes that "unless there was a fundamental change in the laws of reality, commercial radio management could never preserve the character of either station; an inherent element of that character is the lack of 15 minutes of adverts every hour and breakfast sponsored by Soreen Fruity Malt Loaf. Instead of broad, deep, rich content, the UK would enjoy nationwide versions of Capital Radio and Magic 105.4. That's not a slight at either station, but only Mad Jack McMad would claim nothing had been lost."
He then concludes, "Commercial radio isn't "hamstrung" by a lack of national mainstream outlets at all; it's hamstrung by navel gazing, a lack of long-term strategy and a conscious decision to allow advertisers to determine fundamental programme decisions. Commercial radio needs to go cold turkey and stop blaming the BBC for its sorry lot in life."
Many of the comments posted agreed with one not only commenting on the adverts' presence but their nature: "Most of the youth commercial channels have adverts threatening to crush your car if you don't pay your road tax and Emily the student from London who thinks our army forces are doing a good job (I go to college in London and believe there are no Emilys in my college) and also the advert reminding us not to bring sausages in from foreign countries when coming home from holiday (add that to your holiday list suncream bathers books and yes don't bring back sausages)and then the new ones telling us how much to drink and on and on advert after advert of government propaganda threatening us 5 minutes a hour it is no wonder people are not listening - I listen to radio to be entertained not to be constantly reminded that a live in a police state."
Another was more forgiving of adverts:" I think I could suffer the necessary evil of ads on commercial radio if they tried to put out programming that was actually worth LISTENING to, rather than background aural wallpaper."
And another one dissented suggesting that there wasn't much choice from the BBC for those in their teens and early 20's or "an old geezer" who doesn't like Radio 2 but even then there was a sting in the tail: "Commercial radio needs more diversity instead of 70 odd local stations which all sound the same. This is why I think networking is a good idea. Oh, and to stop playing tracks they played only 15 minutes ago."
That last comment would seem in tune with one from Sutton Stokes in his Missoula Notebook in "New West Community Blogs". Writing on "radio on a journey", he comments about a trip he made from Missoula to Flagstaff with "with nothing but the radio to entertain you."
Noting that in such circumstances it is "important not to be too picky" he continues, "These days, as you scan up and down the radio dial, you are unlikely to find anything other than a commercial or an echoey voice explaining how the United States is "no longer" a Christian nation. So when you do find an actual song playing, it is important not to worry too much about what particular song it is and how much you think you will enjoy listening to it, and instead consider what clues this song offers as to the kind of radio station you have found. In other words, the particular song you have found may be awful; you might never normally choose to listen to such a song; but will a station that plays this song play others that you might actually like?"
"As we wound our way through narrow mountain valleys, and as large human settlements became fewer," he writes, "my choices of radio stations became even more limited. Up and down the radio dial, all I could find was preaching and static for minutes at a time. Now, stir crazy, alone with my thoughts in my king cab, I was glad whenever I found any station I could hear, never mind whether it was playing a commercial. The banal poetry of commerce lulled me into a peaceful trance. "Misses' tops, twenty nine ninety nine." "The drive-in is open during our renovations."
Which of course could be considered a recommendation to try satellite radio but enough of that and on to a school that has banned radios during classes. The school is in Rio Vista, Texas, and according to a report by Phillip Navarrette in the Cleburn Times Review a Middle School sixth grader had complained that a song being played during a PE class - rapper Lil Wayne's Lollipop song - was "inappropriate".
She said the PE teacher had given students permission to turn on the radio while they played but she was rebuffed in response to three complaints with the teacher listening a short while but saying she didn't hear anything inappropriate.
The sixth grader then complained to her mother who complained to the principal who has now banned radio music during classes on the basis that there is no control on what might be heard. Only music from sources such as CDs or tapes is now allowed in classrooms. The pupil's father - this is America after all - told the paper he had consulted an attorney but was unsure about taking legal action against the school district. The report, we regret to say, does not say what station was involved nor give any details to indicate how far the version of the song played had been toned down for airing at the time of day - the lyrics of the song (easily found online) would suggest that it would not normally be aired in the "raw" version.
Rather more offensive but unlike song lyrics constitutionally protected is talk host Michael Savage, subject of "The Most Savage Shock Jock of Them All" on AlterNet -which is producing its first ever book on "Shock Jocks: Hate Speech & Talk Radio."
The article by filmmaker and journalist Rory O'Connor and Aaron Cutler is an excerpt from the book and details various comments by the host - born Michael Alan Weiner to Russian-Jewish immigrants and possessor of two master's degrees and a Ph.D. in nutritional ethnomedicine from the University of California, Berkeley.
Apparently before he became a right-wing radio host he kept company with beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti; guarded Timothy Leary's LSD supply, and once posed naked in a photograph with Ginsberg, a well-known and very public homosexual.
The article describes the current Savage as a "homophobic, conservative" who has become so extreme that fellow conservative hosts such as Bill O'Reilly, who calls him a "smear merchant," and Neal Boortz, who refers to Savage as "the Antichrist" have attacked him whilst he in turn has attacked almost everybody - comments cited include a description of CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, an Israeli-born Jew as "probably the most despicable man in the media next to Larry King, who takes a close runner-up by the hair of a nose. The two of them together look like the type that would have pushed Jewish children into the oven to stay alive one more day to entertain the Nazis."
They also include such gems as saying the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami deserved the devastation because they were harbouring terrorists and of Arabs that the "racist, fascist bigots" should be converted to Christianity because "Christianity has been one of the great salvations on planet Earth. It's the only thing that can probably turn them into human beings."
Of his listeners the article quotes New Yorker editor Ben Greenman as saying, "People who listen to Savage say that he's a little extreme but that some of the things he says are also true. I think his show does encourage you to think for yourself, because he's so weirdly contradictory."
Finally to end on a positive note, a little luck for US National Public Radio which had a team of nine including "All Things Considered" co-hosts Melissa Block and Robert Siegel in Chengdu when the earthquake struck. They were there to prepare a series of stories for a programme on China's culture and emergence as an economic superpower but instead ended up raising the station's profile with their reports from the scene.
Block, reports Paul Farhi in the Washington Post, was "recording an interview with a clergyman in a church meeting room in Chengdu when she felt the building begin to shake. As she ran into the street, she kept her tape recorder going, narrating as she fled. ("The ground is undulating under our feet. . . . Bricks are falling from the building.") The audio of the moment was carried on NPR within two hours, making it among the first recordings of the disaster heard beyond China. It was later played on other news outlets, such as ABC's "Nightline."
On then to listening suggestions, which are primarily BBC although we will try and update later if we get time to listen to some of the podcasts we download.
First BBC Radio 3 and last Saturday's "Music Matters" in which Petroc Trelawny investigated the place of classical music in fiction and why it appeals to authors and also from Saturday "Jazz Line-Up" in which Julian Joseph presented a special concert given at the 2008 Coventry Jazz Festival by the BBC Big Band in celebration of its 10th birthday and "Between The Ears -A Map of Paradise", a feature on the notion of paradise - lost, sought and found.
Then from Sunday we suggest "Drama on 3" -" The Vertical Hour" by David Hare and the "Sunday Feature" - "Paradise or Nightmare - DH Lawrence in Cornwall" in which Lawrence biographer John Worthen looked at the writer's retreat to Cornwall following the controversy over his novel The Rainbow and the horrors of World War I
From Monday we suggest "Night Waves", a special programme on censorship plus "The Essay" - the regular Monday to Thursday 22:00 GMT programme - this week it is "New Archaeologies", a series of personal essays about the archaeology of the recent past.
Then from Friday, another of our regulars in "Jazz on 3" (22:30 GMT): This week Jez Nelson presents a special edition of the programme, exploring the rich avant-garde jazz scene of Holland
And finally from the station, next Saturday's "Feature" (11:15 GMT) -"Burney and Hawkins" in which Peter Holman explores an 18th-century tale of personal rivalry, character assassination and ruthless social climbing, bringing to life the characters of musical historians Charles Burney and Sir John Hawkins.
Later "Jazz Line-Up" (15:00 GMT) comes directly from the Inventions Studios as part of the Bath International Festival 2008 and in the evening "Opera on 3" ( 17:30 GMT) is performance given at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in April of the world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle's latest opera" The Minotaur."
Moving down a station BBC Radio 2 had a strong evening line-up on Monday with "The Record Producers" at 18:00 GMT looking at musicians who have carved out a second career; "Kaiser Chiefs Coming Home" - highlights from the Kaiser Chiefs' concert recorded at the Elland Road soccer stadium in Leeds at 19:00 GMT; A "Tribute to Humphrey Lyttelton" at 20:00 GMT; "Big Band Special" at 21:00 GMT; "Jools Holland" - a special on Chess Records - at 21:30 GMT and "Brass Britain" at 22:30 GMT.
Also from Radio 2 we'd suggest Tuesday's "Icons Revisited" on David Bowie.
Then to BBC Radio 4 and forensics to start off with in the form of this week's "Law in Action" from Tuesday (available as a podcast/MP3 or stream) and less legalistically LA Stories in which in "The Pitch" Paul Jackson talks to various insiders about persuading a US TV network to consider a new idea - including Anthony E. Zuiker's version of how he got the idea for CSI, which was turned down by two networks before CBS picked it up. The stories continue on Wednesday with a look at how producing most pilots during the same period causes logistical problems and then to Thursday with a consideration of whether the industry can continue to produce fully-blown pilots that never make it to air and extended series that are axed before broadcast.
Also from Radio 4 we suggest the afternoon 14:00 to 14:30 GMT half-hour with stories from the Hay Literary Festival followed in "Cosmic Quest" with a history of astronomy.
For music from the channel we go for the "Music Feature" from Tuesday: "Lost Albums" looks at the stories and music behind a number of albums that were never released including that of an unreleased solo album "Bambu" by Beach Boy Denis Wilson that fell victim to a lack of finance and competition from other Beach Boys' projects. It's finally due to be released this year, around a quarter of a century after Denis's death.
RNW note: We expect to update listening suggestions with non-BBC podcasts/MP3.
RNW note: We expect to update listening suggestions with non-BBC podcasts/MP3 downloads.
AlterNet - O'Connor & Cutler:
Cleburn Times Review - Navarrette:
New West Community Blogs- Stokes:
UK Media Guardian blog:
Washington Post - Farhi:
2008-05-27: According to the UK Times, Channel 4 Radio is pinning part of its hopes for its digital radio plans on a branded plug-in DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) device for iPods and mobile phones and is in talks with manufacturers to create an E4 - the first channel it plans to launch - or Channel 4-branded device that will cost no more than GBP 20 (USD 40).
Since it won the licence for the second national commercial digital multiplex last year, a number of commercial rivals, notably GCap Media whose announcement that it was to close a number of digital stations led the BBC and Channel 4 to pledge support for DAB (See RNW Feb 12) , have reduced their commitment to digital broadcasting.
Channel 4 is reported to have held talks about co-operation with Global Radio, which has nixed GCap's plans to dispose of its interest in the national Digital One commercial multiplex, about combining their transmission services (See RNW Apr 17).
The Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG) - formed with representatives from the BBC, commercial radio, Ofcom, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and equipment manufacturers - to discuss the future for DAB is, says the Times, understood to be keen for an increase in the types of DAB devices available to consumers with a particular concentration on encouraging manufacturers to make DAB receivers standard in new automobile.
Roberts Radio has already produced a DAB plug-in for iPods - the ROBi - but this sells for around GBP 45 (USD 90) and PURE has produced the Highway DAB receiver cum FM transmitter that allows existing automobile FM radios to receive a DAB signal and costs around GP 60 (USD 120).
There has also been concern in the UK about the technical quality of DAB - the system removes interference that affects an analogue signal but at the 128mbps transmission rate chosen for most stations produces a signal inferior to that of a quality well set up FM system and it also lacks coverage in many rural areas (As some of the comments made in response to the Times report indicate).
Previous Channel 4:
Previous Global Radio:
UK Times report:
2008-05-27: The US Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) in a filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concerning Equality of Employment Opportunity (EEO) says the "Commission's current EEO enforcement program is a stunning failure" and adds that the agency should require annual Employment Reports and that gathering EEO Data Will Lead to Better Commission Policy and Enforcement.
To back up its description it cites statistics from the Radio-Television News Directors Association ("RTNDA") which found that minorities comprised 21.5% of local television news staffs in 2006, down from 22.2% in 2005; that at non-Hispanic stations, RTNDA found that the minority workforce was 19.4%, down 1% from the previous year, 31 and only 3.6% of non-Hispanic television stations had minority general managers in 2006.
In radio the position was far worse it says: In 1995, the RTNDA reported that minorities were 14.7% of radio news employees, but that number actually had declined to 6.2% by 2006 and starting from this percentage, the MMTC has calculated that minority news employment at non-minority owned, English language radio stations is statistically zero - about where it was in 1950.
"How was it possible," it asks "for minority employment in radio journalism to completely collapse?
"The answer begins with the fact that most recruitment is still done by word of mouth. When the group of employees conducting word of mouth recruitment is homogeneous, the recruitment primarily reaches these employees' generally homogeneous family and social affinity groups. As a result, the homogeneity of employment rosters will increase."
It continues, "Because the Commission has chosen not to collect Form 395 data, it has blinded itself to whether word of mouth recruitment by a particular licensee is harmless or harmful. As a result, the Commission has "enforced" the EEO rule by imposing enormous fines on some of the nation's most diverse multicultural broadcasters for technical violations."
"This understandably." it adds "has bred cynicism among broadcasters, who are barred from pointing out the obvious fact that with a diverse workplace, their recruitment efforts have obviously been successful. At the same time - as shown above - the Commission has given a free pass to virtually every discriminator and serial violator. In a particularly deplorable example, the Commission botched its only large MVPD EEO case in 15 years by missing its own statute of limitations by two years."
"Thus, the Commission's current EEO enforcement program is a stunning failure. The
Commission has presided over the greatest purge of minorities in broadcasting history - a purge made even worse because it happened in radio journalism, a linchpin of program diversity. To restore the health of its EEO enforcement program, the least the Commission can do is reinitiate transparent EEO data collection."
MMTC web site - links to download of filing (10-page 205KB PDF):
2008-05-26: XM Satellite Radio, which earlier this month in its first quarter figures said that it had made a net loss of USD 129 million and had total available liquidity of nearly USD 425 million (See RNW May 13), has now warned in an 8C filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB) could reduce "the company's unrestricted cash liquidity, and could have an adverse effect on our financial position."
XM has a multi-year agreement with MLB under which it has to keep USD 120 million in escrow - or "furnish other credit support" to this amount - and says that on May 16 it provided USD 120 million for an "escrow arrangement "from current operating funds - USD 57.5 million in cash and USD 62.5 million through borrowings - to replace a surety bond that expires at the end of June. It adds that it is "continuing to have discussions with MLB about this escrow and related matters and there may be further developments" and notes: "Interest under our revolving credit facility is currently 6.00% and is based on the prime rate. All amounts drawn under the facility are due on May 5, 2009 and are secured by a lien on substantially all of our assets."
XM says that under its business plan as it has previously announced, provided it meets projections, it does not anticipate any need for additional liquidity but that the plan assumes "the refinancing or renegotiating of certain of our obligations as they become due, including the maturity of our existing credit facilities and $400 million of convertible notes in 2009 and the MLB escrow arrangement."
XM's a deal with MLB involved it in paying USD 60 million a year for programming rights starting in 2005 and running for five years with the right to extend for another three years and also keeping the USD 120 million in escrow. The MLB deal was announced in October 2004 (See RNW Oct 21, 2004).
2008-05-26: SMG-owned Virgin Radio ran without adverts on Monday, a UK Bank (Public) Holiday when its programming was sponsored by Magners Irish Cider.
Programming during its "Great British Bank Holiday Monday" that ran from 06:00 to 18:00 featured only British artists and bands.
2008-05-25: Last week was one when the regulators were more active in terms of reports and research than decisions and where in the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin, having said two months ago that the decision on the Sirius-XM merger might come in the first quarter now says it might come in the second (See RNW May 24).
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) posted no radio decisions but amongst its other activities it posted a report - "Top Six Trends in Communications and Media Technologies, Applications and Services - Possible Implications" - on the six major technology trends that it says it has identified as ones it believes will have a significant impact on regulation of the media and communications sector over the next five to ten years.
They were an accelerating pace of change; diversity in the development of physical infrastructure; the spread of distributed connectivity; enhanced content and network management capabilities; the emerging Social Web; and continuing scientific and technological innovation.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said of these, "Changes in communications technology are out-pacing our notions of what we thought was possible just five years ago, let alone what guidelines or legislative frameworks would be required" and added, "This should not be seen as a criticism of the legislature - it is the very nature of convergence that it gets away from us and leads us to unexpected places in a veritable nanosecond. Regulatory pressure created by developing technologies is starting to bite into core legislative concepts and definitions, creating strained or 'broken concepts'. Ultimately, their 'elasticity' will expire at which time they will no longer function efficiently or effectively in a converged environment."
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted a number of radio-related decisions including the following (in order of province):
*Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to replace its AM transmitter at Pukatawagan, which re-broadcasts the programming of CBWK-FM, Thompson, with a 200 watts FM transmitter.
The CRTC noted that the Mathias Colomb Cree National Chief and Council has advised the CBC that the CBDS site is contaminated and they will proceed to decontaminate it by June 2008 with the result that the FM transmitter needs to be operational by this date.
*Approval of application by International Harvesters for Christ Evangelistic Association Inc. to add a 250 watts FM transmitter at Wolfville to carry the programming of CJLU-FM, Halifax.
*Approval of application by United Christian Broadcasters Canada to add a 250 watts transmitter at Bancroft to carry the programming of CKJJ-FM, Belleville.
*Approval of application by Larche Communications Inc. to decrease the power of CICX-FM, Orillia, from 43,000 watts to 10,600 watts; relocate the transmitter and increase the antenna height. The new site would be where the company has another station and would result in considerable cost savings.
Prince Edward Island:
*Approval of application by International Harvesters for Christ Evangelistic Association Inc. for a licence for a 50 watts English-language, low-power specialty commercial FM in Charlottetown, with a 50 watts re-broadcasting transmitter in Summerside.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received three applications for a classic rock FM licence for the Dublin area (See RNW May 24) and in the UK Ofcom has received just one application for the North Wales digital multiplex - from Muxco North Wales Ltd (See RNW May 24) and earlier it awarded the Somerset digital multiplex licence to Muxco Somerset Limited (See RNW May 22).
It also announced the award to Qualcomm UK Spectrum Ltd. of L-band spectrum covering the UK that can be used for a range of services including mobile television and satellite radio or high-speed Internet on the move (See RNW May 20).
On the community radio front Ofcom announced the award of five new licences and also noted three cases in which it did not make awards.
The new licences went to:
TCR FM (Tamworth, Staffordshire) - offering a voluntary service providing education and training alongside locally focused music and speech-based programming that is aimed at younger people in the area.
Switch Radio (Castle Vale, Birmingham) - offering a community radio service which will address social isolation and deliver skills training and education locally.
Ambur Radio (Walsall) - a community station focused on the Asian communities but it will also provide some programming for the whole community, including other minority ethnic groups.
SACDA Radio (Sandwell, West Midlands) - offering a community radio service that produces and delivers programmes for African Caribbeans and other residents of the culturally diverse area of Sandwell.
Raaj FM (Sandwell, West Midlands) - a service to the Sandwell Panjabi community, with information and programmes for the varied social, cultural, educational, youth, religious, music, sports, disabled and minority activities and interests of this community.
The three bids that did not gain licences came from Okay FM (Rugeley & The Haywoods, Staffordshire); Saddlers FM (Walsall); and WCB FM (Walsall)
In another decision, Ofcom rejected a request from UTV to co-locate its Stockport station, Imagine 104.9 FM, with three other stations - Tower FM, Wish FM and Wire FM - that it already houses in Warrington. The regulator has allowed a number of similar requests for smaller stations recently and its guidelines say there is likely to be a stronger case for co-location where one of the stations has a licensed area with a population of fewer than 250,000 although it does not rule out such requests for larger stations in exceptional circumstances.
Imagine has a measured Coverage Area of 463,000 and because of this larger area Ofcom commissioned a four-week public consultation (See RNW Licence News Apr 6) which ended on 1 May and attracted 22 responses split evenly for and against the proposal.
Six responses, it says, including two from industry parties arguing that the station should be able to stand alone in its market, were confidential: The others have been posted on its website and Ofcom notes that most of the "yes" responses were from station advertisers wishing to secure the station's presence.
In refusing Ofcom said that a station for an area as large as this should, as per the spirit of the guidelines, be expected to operate studios within its own licensed area; that there is insufficient evidence of cultural affinity to warrant a challenge to that expectation; and that UTV did not convincingly demonstrate that co-location is required to ensure the financial viability of the station concerned.
Ofcom also published its "Nations & Regions Communications Market 2008" report, its third annual review of the markets for television, radio, and telecommunications.
In this it headlines the growth of broadband, noting that rural areas, which had been significantly behind urban ones, had now caught up and slightly overtaken them and that in larger cities there was a growth in homes relying on mobile phones only. Over the UK as a whole it said, 87% now have a fixed-line phone - from 92% a year ago - and of 12% that rely solely on mobile phones there is an increasing ability to access broadband through wireless technology.
In all it says a fifth of adults have now 20% of adults have accessed the internet using a mobile phone and 17% have used a mobile phone to listen to audio.
It also noted the increasing use of broadband to download video - nearly a third of UK adults it says have now taken advantage of such services; increasing take-up of digital TV -now in more than 85% of UK households, up 10% year-on-year; and of digital radio - some 20% of UK adults now report having a DAB radio.
In regional terms people in Wales listen most to radio - an average of 24.4 hours per week listening compared to 23.5 hours in England, 23.1 in Northern Ireland, 22.9 in Scotland.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), apart from stil making no announcement regarding the planned Sirius-XM merger, has denied Applications for Review related to InterMart Broadcasting's Auction 25 bids for new FM Stations in Pocatello and Twin Falls, Idaho.
Idaho Wireless Corporation and Astounding Productions, Inc. were respectively the second highest bidders for the Pocatello and Twin Falls licences and had argued against the grant of the licences on similar grounds.
In Pocatello InterMart mad a down payment on its winning bid of USD 955,000 in time but Idaho Wireless filed a petition to deny on the basis that various agreements between InterMart and Citicasters Co. raised a substantial and material question of fact as to whether Citicasters was the real party in interest behind InterMart Pocatello's application. InterMart had disclosed the existence of these agreements to allow it to obtain a loan from Citicasters and also reported that it contemplated entering into a Joint Sales Agreement with Citicasters.
In Twin Falls, where InterMart made a winning bid of USD 838,000 it had entered into similar agreements that Astounding said raised the same issues.
In refusing to allow the applications to deny the FCC said that IWC and Astounding had not raised a substantial and material question of fact that Citicasters was the real party in interest behind InterMart's auction applications or in the auction.
Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps issued a concurring statement but in so doing notes his ongoing concern about the "Commission's approach to the type of "real party in interest" allegations raised in these cases. "
"The question," wrote Copps "is whether a person other than the applicant will be in a position to actually or potentially control the operation of the applicant's station. In making that determination, the Commission historically has examined whether the applicant has retained control over the station's basic policies regarding programming, personnel, and finances."
He continued, "It is not so much the standard itself but the application of the standard that gives me pause. These cases seem to have an air of unreality about them. They involve a wide range of potentially significant relationships-from the funding of auction bids to Local Marketing Agreements to Asset Purchase Agreements. Yet short of a written statement from the applicant stating "I hereby surrender control over my station's programming, personnel and finances," one gets the feeling that almost no combination of factors would cause this Commission to bat an eye."
The FCC was also involved in a number of enforcement actions including the following (In descending order of amount of penalty proposed or levied).
*Issued USD 8,000 forfeiture to Phillips Broadcasting, LLC, licensee of WAOC-AM and WFOY-AM, St. Augustine, Florida, for failure to maintain and make available complete public inspection files.
Phillips was issued with a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount in April and did not respond.
*Issued USD 1,500 forfeiture to Central Carolina Community College, licensee of WDCC-FM, Sanford, North Carolina, for failure to file its renewal application on time. The college had responded to an NAL for this amount by saying that the failure was unintentional and resulted from a failure by an employee who prepared the submission before the deadline to push the "send button." The FCC did not accept the argument and confirmed the full penalty.
*Issued USD 800 forfeiture to Martha S. and Miguel G. Campos of San Jose, California, operating a modified CB radio station on a frequency not authorized for CB use.
The Campos's had initially been issued with an NAL for USD 10,000 but argued that they were not aware of the severity of their violations, and that they do not have the ability to pay the forfeiture.
The NAL had been issued following various warnings linked to complaints of interference and the FCC rejected the former argument but reduced the penalty on the basis of ability to pay.
*Issued USD 800 forfeiture to Southern New Mexico Radio Foundation, licensee of WPXT310 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, for failing to operate station, an aural studio-transmitter-link, from its licensed location. It had initially issued an NAL for USD 4,000 but Southern had argued for reduction on the grounds that it displays a high level of public service, which should mitigate the forfeiture, that the statutory factors requires reduction of the forfeiture, that the fine is disproportionate to the nature of the offence, and that Southern does not have the ability to pay the forfeiture. The FCC accepted only the inability to pay argument and reduced the penalty to USD 800.
*Issued USD 350 forfeiture to Richard Ross of Titusville, Florida, for operating an unauthorized CB radio transmitter. Ross had initially been issued with a USD 10,000 NAL following oral and written warnings after complaints of interference but had continued to use his equipment, which was connected to an amplifier that had the capability to boost the power of the station to several hundred times the authorized power. The penalty was reduced on grounds of demonstrated inability to pay.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-05-24: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin on Friday indicated that a decision on the Sirius-XM merger could be announced in the second quarter of this year but has refused to go into any further details.
His comment came when pressed by reporters but in March in similar circumstances he indicated a potential date of the first quarter.
In the meantime lobbying by various interests continues with the latest letters to the FCC on the topic including one earlier in the week from Missouri Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill and Maine Republican Olympia Snowe expressing concern that the merger could "possibly undermine competition and harm the consumer if certain conditions are not applied."
They are suggesting that a merged company be required to divest up to half of its spectrum and that the FCC should ensure open access to their technology so that other equipment manufacturers can develop satellite receivers and there is no block on the development of receivers that can handle both satellite signals and HD.
In another line [this does read like a National Association of Broadcasters' handout!] they want the commission to re-affirm its position that the satellite radio services are licensed as national ones and say the satellite services should be barred from using terrestrial repeaters to allow different local content in local markets.
RNW note: Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin said earlier in the month when it and XM released their results that he might call off the merger if conditions proved too onerous (See RNW May 13) and divestiture of half the spectrum would certainly ruin the business plan behind the merger. It might have been more straightforward of the Senators to simply call for rejection "in line with lobbying by the NAB."
The value of the deal was around USD 4.6 billion when it was first announced in February last year but has now fallen to around USD 3.8 billion. Sirius shares were down 1.5% on Friday to close at USD 2.59 whilst those of XM were down 0.18% to US D11.02. Under the deal Sirius is offering 4.6 of its shares for each of XM.
2008-05-24: The US has lost yet another Smooth Jazz station with the flipping of Clear Channel's Baltimore WSMJ-FM to a Rock Alternative format after a short period airing Christmas tunes.
The station's web site carries a note saying "Thank You Baltimore! for your years of loyal support" and saying "All your favourite smooth jazz artists can be found on the air at 97.1 HD2 Wash -FM" with a link to the latter's web site.
WSMJ is to change its call letters to WCHH from May 29 and will have a website www.channel1043.com - not yet up and running. The station's shows will include Elliot in the Morning, currently on Clear Channel's WWDC-FM (DC101), Washington and WRXL-FM, Richmond.
Previous Clear Channel:
WSMJ web site:
2008-05-24: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received three applications for a classic rock FM licence to serve Dublin City and County and the Commuter belt.
They are from East Coast Digital Media Limited's "Classic Rock Radio"; Classic Rock Broadcasting Limited's "Radio Nova 100" ;and Dublin Rock Radio (Classic) Limited's "Rock Radio 100.3FM."
The applications will be put online from June 6.
In the UK, Ofcom has announced yet another area where the only application for a digital multiplex licence has come from a Muxco consortium. It is from MuxCo North Wales Limited which is 70% owned by Town and Country Broadcasting Limited with Muxco Ltd holding the remaining 30%.
The application proposes a podcast service from Folder Media Limited plus six local services in addition to BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru and would launch with network of two transmitters which Muxco estimates will provide total 'outdoor' coverage of 50% of the adult (aged 15+) population of the licensed area.
The services proposed are:
Coast FM - a Classic Hits service from GCap Media.
Champion FM - A Current and Classic Hits service from GCap Media.
Wales Live - a full service offering from Town and Country Broadcasting Ltd.
UCB UK - a Religious service from United Christian Broadcasters Ltd.
Traffic Radio - English - a traffic and travel service with the provider to be confirmed.
Traffic Radio - Welsh - a traffic and travel service with the provider to be confirmed.
2008-05-24: A radio advert for Ginsters taking the line that exotic pasties are better than exotic holidays has won the top British radio advertising award, the Gold Aerial at the 13th such award ceremony held by the UK Radio Advertising Bureau, now part of the industry body The RadioCentre. The advert was also one of the India, Italy and Mexico series that won the Best Campaign award.
The advert is voiced by comedian Justin Lee Collins, produced by Sam Brock and created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty: It suggests that holiday sightseeing in India might not be that great compared to sampling exotic food at home. The script runs: "Experience India. Learn the Mysteries. Like where's the nearest English pub. Why not explore the exotic markets of New Delhi? Well, because you're scared of getting lost. Visit the incredible Taj Mahal - or just stay by the pool. After all, it's the tan that will impress your sister-in-law. Exotic India. You might as well not have bothered. Abroad - nice in theory, better in pastry. Try our delicious new Indian pasty for a vaguely Indian Experience. Ginsters: real honest food".
Other winners were Best Direction for a Bisto award from McCann Erickson; Best Sound Design for an advert for The Times from RKCR/Y&R; Tactical for a Honda advert from Wieden & Kennedy; and Multimedia for a Network Rail advert from RISE:
MP3s of the adverts together with the runners up are on the RAB web site.
RAB web site - Aerial Awards - carries MP3 of Ginsters ad and links to other winners and their MP3s:
2008-05-24: Arbitron has announced yet another deal for its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings service when this is commercialised. The latest deal is with Bellevue Radio Inc., (Sandusky Radio) which has signed a multi-year contract for PPM ratings services for its Seattle stations KIXI-AM, KQMV-FM, KKNW-AM, KWJZ-FM and KRWM-FM.
Arbitron has also re-affirmed its intention to make a decision next month regarding a change in its PPM commercialisation schedule.
2008-05-24: Hard on the heels of GCap Media's announcement that its Chief Executive Fru Hazlitt and board are to step down once the Global Radio takeover of the company is completed, another GCap executive has opted to leave the company.
Australian-born Duncan Campbell, GCap's programme director who formerly held the same role at GWR before it merged with Capital Radio to form GCap, is to become a regional programme director for Bauer Radio with responsibility for its Edinburgh stations Forth One and Forth 2.
He replaces Luke McCullough who has moved to Bauer's Northsound in Aberdeen.
Previous GCap Media:
2008-05-23: Clear Channel's buy-out is now funded according to a release from the company that says the bank syndicate providing the debt financing for its acquisition by private equity buyers led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. has fully funded the debt for the USD 17.9 billion - USD 36 per share- deal.
The deal had originally been for USD 19.5 billion - USD 39.20 per share- but at that level put the banks into an immediate paper loss of billions of dollars based on a market price that hovered around USD 29-30.
The bank syndicate involved - Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia - had a deadline of Thursday to comply with a settlement agreement agreed in connection with lawsuits filed in New York and Texas against them and have to May 28 to place financing into an escrow account, pending completion of the transaction.
The banks and buy out partners have agreed that Clear Channel Communications can specifically enforce all contracts related to the merger against any party and the legal action and appeals have been terminated.
Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays said in a release that the actions "actions significantly increase the certainty that our merger will close" and added, "Cash on the barrelhead for one of the largest LBOs in history is an enormous win for our shareholders."
In other disputes involving Clear Channel, the company has gone to court against Tribune Co. over its hiring of its former vice-president Andrew Friedman earlier this month, claiming that Tribune was involved in stealing trade secrets when it hired Friedman, who had been involved in its online business.
The federal law suit seeks to stop Tribune from employing Friedman in any Internet-related post until at least the end of the year when his employment contract with Clear Channel ends and also to restrain Clear Channel from inducing any other Clear Channel employees to break an employment contract.
Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman was quoted in its flagship the Chicago Tribune as saying the suit was worthless and adding, "We're finding that there are a lot of people who want to come work for the new Tribune, and we're going to hire the best of them, we're going to do it lawfully and we're not going to be intimidated by frivolous lawsuits."
Tribune had not publicly announced its hiring of Friedman as vice-president of its interactive division and according to the suit he "was deeply involved in the formulation and implementation of the confidential plans and strategies that Clear Channel uses to develop, market, implement, and distribute its online offerings."
Clear Channel alleges that he shared information with Tribune employees about business strategies and vendors and also deleted thousands of files and e-mails from his computer and it seeks the return of any documents including confidential information as well as damages.
Its EVP and chief legal officer Andrew Levin said in a statement, "Clear Channel will not tolerate the Tribune's interference with valuable business contracts belonging to our company and intends to pursue all legal remedies available to put a stop to it."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Tribune Co.:
Chicago Tribune report:
2008-05-23: Arbitron at its monthly Portable People Meter (PPM) update call on Thursday defended the system as making "steady and solid improvement" in opening comments from its SVP/U.S. Media Carol Hanley and also received backing from CBS Radio President and CEO Dan Mason.
Hanley said that Arbitron continued to "exceed total sample benchmarks and the 18-54 guarantees that have been put forth," adding, "We are making, meeting, or exceeding 91 percent of the 18-34 age cell benchmarks across eight markets, and there is continued progress in April with the 25-34 and 18-24 demographic. All good news."
Responding to criticism of the lack of Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation and other PPM problems from Cox Radio, Inner City Broadcasting and Spanish Broadcasting System (See RNW May 22) Mason said the MRC approval, although it was a "great Good Housekeeping seal of approval-type thing" was not "currency" which he defined as the "the consensus between a buyer and a seller."
CBS Radio he said had "taken the stand that we want better measurement, and we like electronic measurement because it's the future. It's the future of the television industry -- it's already here -- it's the future someday in the outdoor industry, it's the future in the streaming industry, and we're going to be accountable, which means posting. So we've already decided that, and we're moving that train forward."
Mason also noted past and current services that had operated without MRC approval including Media Audit - used by "at least one of the major companies here that are very much against PPM" - and also Nielsen's C3 television ratings and the comScore and Nielsen NetRatings for streaming products.
Mason also, in response to a question from Arbitron president, Sales and Marketing, Pierre Bouvard, defended radio in general against criticism that it didn't work now, noting that it still covers 95% of America, "touches people every day" and provided services that other devices could not match.
"I mean, how useful was an iPod during [Hurricane] Katrina?" he asked. Noting that Entercom's WWL/New Orleans was the "only voice in Katrina" and adding, "It's absolutely absurd for people to say that a satellite or an iPod could ever replace the role of a local radio station."
He also noted of satellite radio that last year Sirius had USD 35 million of advertising-based revenues, which was "about one good, decent radio station in New York City. So before the satellite industry takes down the whole radio industry, they have to beat one station in New York."
There was some backing, however, for the naysayers with BMP Research Director Rosemary Scott saying she was concerned that "people who question the methodology of the PPM, including some very valid research questions, are treated -- I won't say with contempt, but they're treated as though we don't want electronic measurement, or as though we are not for technology or moving the industry forward."
He motivation, she said, was getting it right and Bouvard said Arbitron appreciated the feedback, commenting, If we didn't have customers giving us good input on what to focus on, we would be adrift. So all of this focus on PPM is very important because we're getting great feedback on what we need to focus on. So we need the feedback, and that's why we're doing these calls."
Previous Media Rating Council:
2008-05-23: Broadcast magazine's Radio 3.0 conference has been told by outgoing GCap Media chairman Richard Eyre, who stressed that he was speaking in a personal capacity, that the BBC should sell off its Radio 1 and 2 and put more cash into online initiatives targeted at young people.
The UK Guardian quoted him as saying, "If GCap is worth GBP 375 million (around USD 750 million) then Radio 1 and Radio 2 must be worth a billion (USD 2 billion)" and adding, "I know this is an enormous and hideous proposal for the people who have built them. But look - BBC management does not own Radio 1 or Radio 2 any more than I own GCap."
Commenting on the financial pressures on the corporation - rivals want part of its licence fee to be used to fund public service broadcasts on commercial channels and a reduced licence fee settlement, Eyre said the BBC could no longer do everything and said he would "much rather that they established their real priorities and attended to those excellently rather than sighing deeply and knocking 10% or 15% off everything" and said the money spent on the stations should be re-directed to online activities for young people whom he said the corporation neglected.
RNW comment: One wonders about the motivation of people like Eyre in calling for a sale of BBC stations and consequent diminution of the corporation and the degree to which this, despite any protestations to the contrary is to do with reducing competition combined with the perception of a possible financial opportunity. From our point of view it is a significant benefit to listeners to have a non-commercial player as well as commercial ones and we still take the view that although it is preferable to have both the sector that is least important in the UK is the commercial one, which has much less range.
Also speaking at the conference was Channel 4 director of radio, Bob Shennan who said he believed that E4 Radio, the first of its planned digital stations, would still launch this year. The launch has been postponed from an originally scheduled July launch and Shennan did not give a new date for launch.
"We believe we are going to launch E4 Radio in 2008, but because of the negotiations and conversations going on that involve pretty much every aspect of the radio industry and Ofcom, I think it's wise for us to hold our counsel on a precise date," he said, adding, "We would all love [a launch date], but there are short-term issues that are crucial issues that have to be overcome. I think it is really important that we see this as a long game for the future of radio. We are continuing to plan for the launch [of E4 Radio] in 2008."
Shennan, who denied suggestions that the radio division was diverting funds from core TV services, said that Channel 4 was still planning on a 2009 launch for its next two stations, Channel 4 Radio and Pure4.
Previous Channel 4:
UK Guardian report:
2008-05-23: US radio revenues in the first quarter of this year were down 5% on a year ago at USD 4.498 billion according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) which notes bright spots in network and off-air revenues.
Network revenues were up 7% to USD 274 million and Off-Air revenues rose 15% to USD 388 million but their increases were overwhelmed by a 6% fall in local revenues to USD 3.186 billion and not helped by an 11% fall in national revenues to USD 649 million - combined local and national revenues were down 7% to USD 3.836 billion.
Putting a brave face forward RAB's President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Haley commented, "Radio has always served a wide variety of advertising categories. We are encouraged that 1st Quarter has brought new and returning advertisers to Radio. Aggressive pursuit of brand extension opportunities, new programming formats, and interactive on-demand experiences, maintains Radio's relevance and provides advertisers a recession-resistant outlet to engage their consumers.",
The RAB said the fall in spending reflected the US economy in general with weakness in some areas and growth in others. It noted that in the markets that report advertiser detail to Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. political advertising brought in nearly USD 20 million to boost bottom lines.
Other growth areas compared to a year ago were Insurance where companies increased their spending by 24% to USD 170.1 million; Specialty retail whose spending was up 20% to USD 57.8 million; Professional services, also up 20% - in its case to USD 129.3 million; and beverages - up 12% to USD 122.2 million.
Previous RAB & RAB figures (Apr 2008):
Previous RAB Quarterly figures (2007 and final quarter 2007):
2008-05-23: Cumulus Media has announced a new stock re-purchase programme allowing it to spend up to USD 75 million in buying back its Class A Common stock.
The company had indicated when a private equity purchase deal fell through that it would examine a stock repurchase (See RNW May 13) and its chairman, President and CEO Lew Dickey said in a release, "This new repurchase program once again demonstrates the confidence of the Board of Directors in the future of Cumulus and our belief that, based upon our assessment of the future prospects of Cumulus, our shares are currently undervalued. The Board feels strongly that further repurchases of our shares offers an excellent opportunity to enhance the long-term interests of Cumulus and our shareholders."
In another stock repurchase change, Emmis Communications has announced that its previously announced USD 50 million stock repurchase plan, authorized in August 2007 for Common Stock, has now been extended to add its Preferred stock to the plan.
2008-05-22: GCap Media has formally announced that its chief executive Fru Hazlitt is to step down when Global Radio completes its acquisition of the company, which is expected to take place on D-Day (June 6): It adds that when the acquisition is completed it intends to dissolve its current board and that Chairman Richard Eyre will step down alongside other Non-executive Directors Peter Cawdron, Tony Illsley, Sir Peter Michael, Peter Williams and Peter W Williams.
The company says that following discussions with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), it has been agreed that the assets of GCap and Global should be "held separate" while a regulatory review is completed and that Global's Chief Executive Ashley Tabor and Chairman Charles Allen will temporarily step down from those roles in order to take on the same responsibilities at GCap from June 9th.
Hazlitt commented in a GCap release, "The past year at GCap has been an extraordinary one. Despite the obvious challenge of taking on the role of Chief Executive just as we received a bid for the company, I believe we have achieved a lot and that the strategy we outlined in February has been a catalyst for change in the radio industry."
She added, "I have been impressed and humbled by the professionalism and determination of the team here and will always have the greatest of respect and admiration for what they have accomplished. This is a great business with a tremendous future and I wish the new management team every success."
Eyre commented, "The leadership Fru has provided for this company in the most testing of circumstances has been exceptional. She has exceeded the high expectations of the board. On behalf of the GCap Board, I wish the Global team success. We pass on to them some of the finest assets in UK media, a business with a refreshed and contemporary strategy, and most importantly, a world class team of people."
Global Radio announced that Richard Park will become its acting chief executive; COO Don Thomson will become acting chief operating officer and Owen McGartoll acting chairman during the "hold separate" period.
Tabor commented that Global would be in "great hands" during the period and said, "I look forward to completing the acquisition of GCap Media and starting to work with the great team there."
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
2008-05-23: North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan, who is heading Senate opposition to US media consolidation, together with Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy and Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl are asking the Government Accountability Office to conduct a "comprehensive study on the state of media in this country and the impact of increased media consolidation."
In a letter to GAO acting comptroller Gene Dodaro the Senators comment that there has been "galloping concentration" in US media and add that it is "high time we examine the real-life impact this consolidation has had on what Americans see, hear and read."
They add, "We worry that the percentage of independently produced and owned content on media outlets will continue to fall, thereby limiting the number of distinct media voices."
The senators want the GAO study to look at the sources of programming on radio and TV and subscription video services and how these have changed over the past decade, the factors affecting this including programme distribution and the impact of consolidation on independent producers and also the role the Internet plays in providing an outlet for independent programmes.
2008-05-22: Arbitron's commercial development of its Portable People Meter (PPM) radio ratings service has come under further pressure with the launch by Cox Radio and Inner City Broadcasting of an advertising campaign criticizing the system as being untrustworthy and the hiring by Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) of New York-based communications firm MirRam Group to "raise awareness regarding the potentially devastating impact of Arbitron's Portable People Meter on Spanish-language radio stations across the United States."
Cox and Inner City in their campaign compare acceptance of the PPM ratings to flying a plane that has not been certified by the Federal Aviation Authority and noted failure by Arbitron to gain Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for the system except in Houston.
The adverts say the US radio industry is ready for reliable, scientifically vetted Electronic Measurement but that Arbitron has shown - with some stations left out in Houston and sampling problems in Philadelphia - that it can't even handle two PPM markets and asks, "How can we trust them in radio's richest markets?
The PPM ratings have come under attack for their effect on ethnic stations and SBS noted "serious doubts" about the PPM in measuring Hispanic listening.
Arbitron has said that it is committed to gaining MRC accreditation for the PPM system but is continuing to agree contracts for its use without waiting to get accreditation outside the Houston market.
Previous Cox Radio:
Previous Inner City Broadcasting:
Previous Media Rating Council:
2008-05-22: UK sales of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) receivers have now topped seven million according to latest figures from Gfk released by the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) which says that at the end of April cumulative sales reached 7.05 million following a record Christmas period and growth of 28% year-on-year in quarter one, 2008.
DAB receiver sales are currently running at around two million a year and priced have fallen dramatically as new products have come to market - there now more than 300 DAB products available in the UK and the entry price has fallen to under GBP 15 (USD 30) , although the average price is considerably higher.
More than a tenth of all UK radio listening is now via DAB according to latest UK ratings.
2008-05-22: iBiquity appears to have gained some traction south of the border with an announcement of a "Terrestrial Digital Radio (TDR) Transition Policy for Audio Broadcasting Stations in the Coordination Area along Mexico's Northern Border" by Mexico's Federal Telecommunications Commission (CoFeTel) that it is authorizing radio stations within 320 kilometres (200 miles) from its border with the United States to begin transmitting with digital HD Radio technology.
CoFeTel says that stations that wish to transmit in HD must request authorizations from it and commit themselves to assist it in studying the technology and adds that as far as the border area is concerned it needs to take "decisive action" to that Mexican stations can transmit at the same "technological level" as US stations so "that they can provide the benefits of quality service to the radio listening public."
Mexico is still evaluating its options regarding digital radio but in 2004 the Mexican Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) was reported to have rejected the Eureka 147 and HD systems and to be seeking other options - in essence Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) - although this decision now appears not to have been a final one. The decision to allow HD on the border does not commit CoFeTel to ultimately accepting it as the system for the whole country.
Tests of Eureka DAB were conducted in the country in 1993 but they did not provide adequate information. The country currently has radio coverage of around 99% on some 1,600 AM and FM stations and has said that whatever terrestrial digital radio system it ultimately adopts should be able to eventually reach the whole country. It has said in allowing the use of HD along the border that this initial phase does not commit the Commission to adopting HD.
iBiquity President and CEO Bob Struble said of the decision in a news release, "We're deeply grateful to the Mexican broadcasting industry for its decision to join the HD Radio phenomenon. As the outstanding success we're seeing in the United States is mirrored elsewhere in the world, more and more countries will reap the benefits of this technology's efficient use of spectrum to bring very high-quality audio and data to consumers."
RNW comment: iBiquity in the release claims that "commercial implementation is gaining momentum in various countries, including Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines" and also notes tests and demonstrations are underway in other countries including Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, Indonesia, Jamaica, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, Thailand and Ukraine.
We think, however, that outside areas of US economic influence - a declining area it would appear at the moment - HD is unlikely to gain significant acceptance in most of the world, particularly as the non-proprietary DAB and DRM systems in various versions seem to offer more without the same licensing requirements.
China seems likely to go for a combination of DAB and DRM as does Russia and with the existing take up of these systems in Europe and elsewhere, receivers are likely to remain rather cheaper than HD ones and the HD benefit - at least as far as US commercial stations are concerned of retaining their spectrum rights are concerned through broadcasting using the analogue frequency is one shared by DRM although DAB needs separate spectrum.
2008-05-22: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the Somerset digital multiplex licence to MuxCo Somerset Limited, a consortium led by Muxco that -as with a number of recent awards - was the sole applicant.
Muxco, UKRD Group Ltd and The Local Radio Company Ltd (TLRC) each hold a third of the bidder and it is proposing seven local services plus BBC Radio Somerset and "a wide selection of speech and music podcasts provided by a range of companies" (See RNW Apr 25).
The service will reach an area with an adult population of around 480,000 and is to be launched with two transmitters and all the proposed services by September next year.
Previous Local Radio Company:
2008-05-21: UK commercial radio, which in the final quarter of last year reported revenues up 7.1% year-on-year (See RNW Mar 5) has repeated the feat in the first quarter of this year, its fourth consecutive quarter of growth.
Total revenues were up 7% to USD 158.8 million (USD 312.1 million) within which national advertising was up 9% on a year earlier to USD 95.6 million (USD 187.9 million) and sponsorship and promotion revenue was up 11% to GBP 24.6 million (USD 48.3 million) but local revenues fell 2% to GBP 38.6 million (USD 75.9 million). This took the total for the year to the end of March to GBP 608.2 million (USD 1.195 billion), up 5% year-on-year.
RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison said the figures were "great news" and showed "an increasing understanding of radio's role in the digital age - including its effectiveness when used alongside online advertising".
2008-05-21: Signs have emerged in testimony and e-mails on both sides of the Atlantic that cross-ownership of media assets may not produce many of the benefits touted for it.
In the UK, Charles Sinclair, chief executive of the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) was quoted by Journalism.co.uk as telling a House of Lords Communications Committee that a lack of 'editorial synergy' between its print and radio activities had disappointed.
DMGT owns DMG Radio Australia and also a 14.3% in G-Cap Media, a legacy of its stake in GWR before the latter merged with Capital Radio.
In the US, Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times reports that feathers have been ruffled at its rival , The Chicago Tribune, by the new team of executives brought in by new owner Sam Zell including former Clear Channel Radio chairman and CEO Randy Michaels and former XM chief programming officer Lee Abrams.
Feder comments that when "these self-styled experts and radio industry expatriates aren't pontificating about all that's wrong with newspapers or making grand pronouncements about the future of television, they're churning out more memos, public statements and press releases than I've seen in nearly three decades of covering the Chicago-based company" and then adds, "It might be nice, however, if they'd bother to get their facts straight."
He then refers to a memo from Lee Abrams, now Tribune's "chief innovation officer" that said, "In 1956, the speed of the era was Ward Cleaver, slippers and pipe in hand, reading the afternoon paper while Cronkite delivered the latest news."
Feder, who presumably has journalistic training that Abrams lacks, picks up the fact that the show in which Hugh Beaumont played Ward Cleaver, first aired on Oct. 4, 1957, and that Walter Cronkite only became anchor of "The CBS Evening News" on April 16, 1962.
He then comments, "Nitpicking? Maybe so. But I prefer to think of it as a devotion to accuracy (to coin a phrase), something most newspapers still pride themselves on. After all, if you're going to ridicule old-fashioned media as out of touch and irrelevant (as Abrams' memo does) and accuse newspapers of an "appalling" aversion to implementing new ideas (as Abrams did in an Ad Age interview this week), you might at least run your facts by a copy editor once in a while."
RNW comment: Coming from an engineering degree background and with newspaper, broadcasting, and news agency experience, we are not surprised to find this kind of what is really a culture clash emerging.
It reminds us of a Reuters (before it was taken over by Thomson) management training course that included a very valuable module on communication at a time long before the Internet when telex still reigned, but could prove unreliable from many places, and phone lines could and did go down frequently.
The exercise involved passing on various kinds of information - for assigning reporters and TV cameras less accuracy was needed than that wanted by the accountants involved, who found great problems with the skimpy information on which journalistic assignments were launched. There was less of a problem the other way - journalists did after all have to get expenses through accountants - but the exercise was very valuable in showing up essential differences in requirements.
Previous Tribune Co.:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2008-05-21: BBC national digital station 6-Music has announced a new summer schedule that includes a new 16:00 to 18:00 Saturday show hosted by Lauren Laverne; an expansion to four days a week of Marc Riley's Brain Surgery that will now air from 19:00 to 21:00 from Monday through Thursday; a change of time slot for Gideon Coe who moves to an earlier 21:00 to midnight timing, also Monday through Thursday; and a move to Friday nights (19:00 to 21:00) by Tom Robinson who also extends his BBC Introducing show to two nights a week, Saturday midnight to 2.00am on Sunday mornings and on Mondays from 1.00 to 3.00am.
Lesley Douglas, Controller, 6 Music (and Radio 2) commented that the new schedule "simplifies and strengthens 6 Music's evening programming and continues to keep music firmly at its heart" and added, "I am delighted that Lauren has agreed to join 6 Music. She combines a love of music with real wit, making her a perfect and engaging listen."
2008-05-21: Clear Channel Radio has announced that GEICO insurance has selected it to run an advertising campaign on its radio stations and their web sites to support the American War Letters Campaign that aims to preserve American wartime correspondence.
Starting on Memorial Day the campaign is a joint effort by GEICO and The Legacy Project that was founded in 1998 by author Andrew Carroll whose "War Letters" and "Behind the Lines" were best sellers.
Included in the campaign is a site AmericanWarLetters.com designed and being hosted by Clear Channel Radio's Creative Services Group that features audio/visual recordings of some the most poignant letters by media, entertainment and literary notables.
Carroll commented, "The Legacy Project's mission is to honour and remember our troops and veterans from every war in our nation's history by preserving their letters and e-mails home. These are their experiences in their own words, and no one can tell these stories better than they can."
Bob McCurdy, Regional President, Clear Channel Radio Sales commented, "With multi-platform campaigns, we can reach consumers across the country and throughout the entire day. We look forward to seeing dozens of more war letters added to AmericanWarLetters.com throughout the campaign and applaud GEICO and Legacy Project for educating Americans about the sacrifices made by U.S. service members and their families."
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-05-20: Global Radio has announced that Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, is to host a show on its LBC 97.3 London talk station.
He will begin by standing in for five afternoon shows from June 30 to July 4 whilst regular host Jeni Barnett is on holiday and is also to present his own show, details of which are to be announced.
The station says in an announcement on its web site: "Nobody is more experienced or better placed to debate the stories and issues that matter to London than the man who was Mayor for 8 years. Straight-talking, cantankerous and charming and armed with an open mic, Ken will be discussing what's important to Londoners, from transport and housing through to crime and even Boris! [Conservative Boris Johnson, who at the start of this month defeated Livingstone] "
LBC Programme Director Jonathan Richards added that Livingstone would bring "unique insight" to the station, adding, "After eight years as Mayor of London, no-one knows this city and its people better. He has seen London through the best and worst of times and is now sharing his views and knowledge by joining London's Biggest Conversation. Love him or hate him, Ken Livingstone is never boring."
LBC already employs former Labour Party and current Respect Party MP George Galloway as a host and its breakfast host Nick Ferrari - no leftist - has crossed swords with Galloway and Livingstone, who on Thursday will be a guest on his show.
At the BBC, Radio Five Live has announced that Danny Baker, who claims to have been fired thrice by the corporation, is to return to its 606 soccer phone-in, for this year's European Championships.
He was the original host of the show in the 90s and will host six editions of the show starting on Sunday June 8 following the Austria v Croatia game.
The station will feature every game of the Euro 2008 tournament live on either 5 Live or its sister digital station BBC 5 Live Sports Extra with commentary and analysis from guests including Steve McClaren, Graham Taylor, Chris Waddle, Stan Collymore, Pat Nevin and Jan Molby.
Baker commented in a BBC news release, "I don't think anyone has been fired three times from the BBC - not even Kenny Everett - so returning to 606 represents an enormous opportunity for me. Of course the problem is that latest figures suggest only 1,400 people in the UK have even a passing interest in this tournament but I really believe that, come the latter stages, Radio 5 Live can double that tally. "
"Leastways, "he added, "I've never been to Iceland before and am very much relishing getting to grips with the altitude and native songs as the competition unfolds. I'm particularly flattered the BBC have seen fit to let me host the big show after the final. That's the one I'm saving it all up for."
Baker began his radio career at the then BBC GLR in 1989 and moved to BBC Radio 5 in 1990 remaining with it until 1993 working on Sportscall, 606 and Morning Edition. He then moved to BBC Radio 1, over the weekend mid-morning show, but had only poor ratings and was cut back to Saturdays. He returned to the re-launched Radio 5 Live in 1996, combining that with Radio 1 work for a short while and, after he left Radio 1, also had a show on GLR.
He was fired from Radio Five Live in early 1997 after comments about a referee and joined the then Talk Radio, which later became talkSPORT, moving to Virgin Radio before returning to the BBC on BBC London 94.9, the successor to GLR..
Previous Global Radio:
2008-05-20: Arbitron has announced the addition of another Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings customer with a multi-year agreement with KVIB-FM, Phoenix, Arizona.
The agreement will take effect when the PPM service goes commercial in the market and KVIB General Manager Jose Rodiles commented, "We know that Hispanic listeners are among the most loyal fans of radio. We are excited about what we can learn from the new PPM data to help us provide even better service to our audience and set the standard for great Hispanic programming."
For Arbitron, Pierre Bouvard, President of Sales and Marketing, said it "is committed to providing Hispanic broadcasters with audience measurement services that give insight to the communities they serve, and added, "More granular measurement will allow stations to manage programming changes more quickly and provide their advertisers with details about the benefits of Spanish-language programming within Hispanic communities."
RNW comment: Granular changes? Does that mean sand in the PPM works?
2008-05-20: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced the award of 40 MHz of L-band spectrum (in the 1452-1492 MHz band) to Qualcomm UK Spectrum Ltd, which had bid GBP 8.344 million ( USD 16.4 million).
The licence will allow Qualcomm to use the spectrum for a range of services including mobile television and satellite radio or high-speed internet on the move and the spectrum covers the entire UK.
Qualcomm says its acquisition will allow it in collaboration with partners to "bring a variety of innovative wireless technologies to the UK market" and John Caterer, managing director, UK, Qualcomm Europe, Inc., added, "Winning this license creates an opportunity for Qualcomm to explore emerging business models and advanced mobile technologies." If we can help the market to harness this potential, we will see additional opportunities for service providers using a variety of technologies. This will ultimately benefit consumers, offering them high quality services and a range of creative applications."
2008-05-20: Kenny Chesney has taken the Entertainer of the Year award for the fourth consecutive year in this year's Academy Of Country Music Awards, the 43rd year of the awards and the first one in which the award was made by a vote of fans: Some 500,000 fans voted but Chesney - who has now equalled Garth Brooks in taking four awards consecutively in the category but is behind Alabama, who won five - expressed some dissatisfaction about making an award by "pushing people's buttons on the Internet", terming it a "sweepstake" and "complete disrespect of the artist."
Chesney's award may have been partially linked to his 2007 top-ranked country tour for which more than a million tickets were sold but he noted that "long before I had a hit record, the fans came to the shows."
Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood won the Top Male Vocalist and Top Female Vocalist respectively, both for the second consecutive year; Brooks & Dunn garnered their 25th Academy of Country Music Award by taking the Top Vocal Duo prize; and Rascal Flatts took the Top Vocal Group for the sixth year running, topping Alabama's record for the most consecutive wins in this category. He also received the 7th annual Academy Of Country Music / The Home Depot Humanitarian Award, which salutes an artist or group in the country music industry who is committed to serving others, has a generosity of spirit and a dedication to helping build the dreams of those in need. As the award's winner, Rascal Flatts will have a community playground built in a city of his choice through the efforts of The Home Depot and national non-profit organization KaBOOM!
Garth Brooks received the first-ever Crystal Milestone Award, which goes to an artist or industry leader to commemorate a specific, remarkable achievement. Brooks, with 128 million unit sales, has been certified the top-selling solo recording artist in U.S. history and is the only solo artist in Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) history to have six albums top the 10 million sales mark.
Other winners in the awards were:
Top New Male Vocalist - Jack Ingram:
Top New Female Vocalist - Taylor Swift:
Top New Duo or Vocal Group - Lady Antebellum:
Album of the Year [Award to Producer(s)/ Artist(s)/ Record Company] - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Miranda Lambert; Producers: Frank Liddell, Mike Wrucke; Columbia Records.)
Single Record of the Year [Award to Artist(S)/ Producer(S)/ Record Company] - Stay (Sugarland; Producer: Kristian Bush, Byron Gallimore, Jennifer Nettles; Mercury)
Song of the Year [Award to Composer(s)/ Publisher(s)/ Artist(s)] - Stay
(Writers: Jennifer Nettles; Jennifer Nettles Publishing (ASCAP); Sugarland).
Video of the Year [Award to Producer(s)/Director(s)/Artist(s)] - Online
(Producer: Frames Per Second; Director: Jason Alexander; Artist: Brad Paisley.)
Vocal Event of the Year [Award to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company] - Find Out Who Your Friends Are (Tracy Lawrence with Tim Mcgraw and Kenny Chesney; Producers: Julian King, Tracy Lawrence; Rocky Comfort/Co5.)
2008-05-19: This week we are devoting most of our look at print comment on radio to a combination of Clear Channel and hosts but we start in the UK with Nicholas Lezard in the Independent on Sunday and comments on the UK Radio "Oscars", the Sony Awards.
This follows up last week's edition when Paul Donovan in the Sunday Times expressed a number of reservations: Lezard is blunter and starts by saying this year's prizes were "the result of a mixture of good judgement, meaningless back-patting, and deliberate, pointed insult aimed at the discerning radio listener."
He continues, "The good news: Radio 4 was declared UK Radio Station of the Year. I have no problem with this, apart from the nagging feeling that the award should really go to 'Best UK radio station apart, obviously, from Radio 4', which would at least give poor Radio 3 a look-in. (I suspect that Radio 3's lack of Sonys this year might have something to do with the fact that Roger Wright, its controller, was one of the judges, and he is the kind of man who does not give himself prizes)."
And then: "The other good news: Jenny Abramsky, director of BBC Audio and Music, i.e. Mrs Radio, won a special award, just for being herself, really (and helping the BBC to remain more or less the nation's default radio broadcaster)."
But then comes the kick with the acerbic, "As for the other awards, one wishes all the winners nothing but congratulations. Except for the following" followed by a list that went: "Chris Moyles won the Breakfast Show Award. Russell Brand won the Entertainment Award. And George Lamb, who is possibly the worst DJ I have ever heard in my life (and the subject of numerous petitions calling for his removal from 6Music) won the Rising Star Award. I suppose this is not entirely unfair. He is, after all, such a spectacular cretin that in these debased times it is all too likely that he will achieve fame and fortune. Just like his mentor, the fat sexist Chris Moyles. (And if he feels like suing us about the word "sexist", I refer our lawyers to Ofcom's 2006 ruling against him.)
He ends by saying he then listened to Moyles show "As penance for all the sins I have ever committed in my life" and in his comments notes that Moyles, having won the award, "talked about almost nothing else for the first 21 minutes and 14 seconds of the show, by which time someone whispered into his ear and reminded him that Radio 1 was a music station, not a speech station. I had my smugometer to hand, to be scientific, but it exploded."
So after Lezard, with whom we tend to agree - Our listening t 6 Music excludes Lamb, Moyles is thrust upon us at times by offspring but usually annoys sufficiently for a command to choose something else unless completely wearied, and we turn off or re-tune at the sound of Brand - on to comment from Canada on talk hosts, courtesy of John Moore (who hosts the drivetime show on Canada's top news-talk station NewsTalk 1010 CFRB), on "Kevin James and The Sorry State of Talk Radio: Talking themselves to death" in the National Post.
Moore begins by commenting that it "hasn't been a good year for talk radio. In spite of their blustering and arm flailing right wing talk radio hosts failed in their efforts to undo John McCain's quest for the Republican nomination. Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos," a mischievous effort to drive registered Republicans to Hillary Clinton in order to wreak havoc in the Democratic campaign also didn't amount to much."
He then continues on to comment on the "Kevin James meltdown" when on Chris Mathews' "Hardball" James was asked, apropos US President George Bush's comments on appeasement (suitably excoriated in many publications, some of whom pointed out that it was Winston Churchill, hardly a left-winger and in most people's estimation - not just Britons - a somewhat greater leader than the current US President- who preferred "Jaw Jaw" to "War,War") to explain what "The Munich Agreement" was (For those who wish to check the Wikipedia entry has a link to the text online, courtesy of Yale University).
"In an instant," comments Moore, "it was clear James had no idea. Mathews persisted for three minutes, asking 22 times for James to show even a passing knowledge of the notorious historical incident finally prompting an exasperated James to shout "You're not going to trap me!"
"Trap you?" continues Moore. "By asking you to explain a seminal moment in history you are referencing in your efforts to shape opinion in the present? Has there ever been a more telling reveal of what fatuous, ignorant, self-important jackasses most talk radio hosts are then this?"
" But this is American (and to a much lesser extent Canadian) talk radio and political cable. An empty show in which right wing talking points are shouted to the conservative base. It exists like a parallel universe in which the Iraq war is going swimmingly and the economy is fine. In this bizarro world evolution and global warming are hoaxes, Hillary Clinton is a murdering lesbian and Hollywood is an insidious plot against America. The courts are run by activist social-engineering judges, the media is a liberal conspiracy and the education system is a leftist indoctrination machine. Anyone who says otherwise is part of the problem.
"This distorted and paranoid world view survives quite nicely in the bell jar of talk radio and friendly cable television shows. Debates are more like debriefings where outrageous contentions go unchallenged because everyone is on the same page."
James in Moore's view is not alone. He comments of the Conservative talkers: "almost every time one of these benighted morons is allowed into a real world debate they make a fool of themselves. Without the power of screeners who filter out intelligent adversaries and the hang up button to eliminate a caller who might be winning a point the majority of talk radio hosts are like overturned tortoises. Talk radio and cable have become a Barcalounger for the loony right causing it to grow intellectually fat and lazy. The movement exists in a hermetically sealed echo chamber where conservative truths are believed to be self evident. New information that might challenge this highly distorted world view burns up on re-entry into a self-created and sustained universe. In a fair fight these yahoos simply don't have a chance. Shouting, which most of them resort to doesn't make demonstrably wrong things true."
All US radio, of course, is in a different bind - along with other traditional print and broadcast media - from new media threats and in the Lewiston, Maine, Sun Journal, Glenn Gamboa of Newsday, reckons it "needs to tune in to new thinking" and like all traditional media and the music industry "is in serious need of new ideas."
"Broadcast radio," he writes, "faces challenges from satellite radio companies for listeners, from the Internet for advertisers and even from automakers who are making it increasingly easy for drivers to turn their car stereos into mirror images of their iPods and skip the radio altogether."
"Cutbacks," continues Gamboa, "haven't worked out so well, serving only to speed the exit of listeners and making it harder to maintain smaller and smaller profit margins. Increasingly conservative playlists have made radio less essential to even the most casual of music fans, who don't feel like they're missing anything if they don't listen every day since the same 10 or 15 songs are in heavy rotation for a month or longer."
The solution that he seems to favour is exemplified by his comments on the new rock station WRXP, "The New York Rock Experience," which replaced lite-jazz station WQCD and is "pledging to focus on New York area artists and songs about New York."
Its playlist, he comments, combines alternative rock, mainstream rock and oldies and what makes it "so interesting is its unpredictability."
He's not confident, however, that the plans will work, commenting that "After all, Long Island's famous alternative station WLIR, which used a similarly knowledgeable format, recently called it quits, in part, because its listeners had drifted over to iPods and the Internet to find their new music."
Next and moving towards items on Clear Channel we go Maureen Nevin Duffy in the Asbury Park Press: Writing under the title, "IT'S NOT JUST YOUR IMAGINATION The radio scene really has changed" she comments of the "homogenisation" of radio and continues, "In brief, we're seeing less local flavour and more one-size-fits-all. While most of us are trying to decipher the difference between terrestrial and satellite (terrestrial relies on radio towers to send the signal) the radio we grew up with is fading into the abyss."
The reason in part? "Here's the business model: Local mom-and-pop stations across the country, squeezed for advertising dollars, are being bought out by large media companies Such large media groups have the deep pockets to attract and sign a Rush Limbaugh, Don Imus or Sean Hannity for multi-million dollar salaries. The parent companies can afford to pay because they're slicing overhead by letting go of local talent - on-air personalities, news people and reporters - at stations across the country, people whose annual salaries can run in the very high six figures. In exchange for carrying the network's ads, the stations replace local staff with stars like Imus or Hannity, who attract advertising revenue and who cost the stations nothing."
Duffy says that compared to a ratio of two syndicated shows for every six to eight local shows a decade or so ago the picture has changed to one or two local shows to eight syndicated ones and quotes ABC Radio Networks news anchor George Weber as saying, "There really are only two local talk radio stations left in New York, and one in New Jersey."
The consequences? " local news has to suffer. Who is covering city hall? Where will they get the on-the-scene reports of local events? Weber says: "The local relevance is you have a decimated news department."
On then to Clear Channel proper and two columns from Randy Dotinga in the North Country Times that looked at how it changed radio in the US
Dotinga comments that "About eight years ago, the host of a local morning show told me about a new technological wonder that had appeared at his station.
"The host ---- not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, if you know what I mean ---- thought it was called the Profit System. It was actually the Prophet System, a computerized gizmo that made it easier to pre-tape radio shows and then skedaddle. Radio personalities didn't even have to be in the same hemisphere when their shows ultimately aired."
"It wasn't called the Profit System," continues Dotinga. "But it might as well have been. Clear Channel Communications, which owned the station, wanted to make more money. And if a radio host could tape his on-air bits from a four-hour show in 45 minutes, well, all the better. And if you didn't need to pay DJs to sit behind the microphone 24 hours a day, well, great!
Dotinga's column and the following week's are in large part based on the book "Right of the Dial: The Rise of Clear Channel and the Fall of Commercial Radio" by freelance journalist Alec Foege who, Dotinga notes, goes back to one executives plans to increase the revenue of the low-rated station it owned in San Antonio, Texas.
The plan: "He'd tell a news reporter to go rustle up a story about a local business and put it on the air. Then the business would get a call from the station. Perhaps it might be interested in buying some commercials? Clever!"
"We were in the business of sales; we were not in the business of programming," the executive helpfully explained.
"Of course all businesses are in business to make money," Foege said in an interview. "The difference in the radio business was that in the '70s and early '80s, a lot of radio stations were mom-and-pop operations, kind of a vicarious way for people to feel like they were in the entertainment business. Clear Channel never looked at it that way They started to regard content as not having any value, other than as what played between the commercials."
In the second of his columns Dotinga notes that the company escaped the public gaze for some years but then "began to develop a major public relations problem. And why not? Clear Channel didn't create every bad trend in radio, but it certainly capitalized on them. It saved money by dumping live and local programming, pre-taping disc jockeys. It saved money by cutting budgets for news. And it saved money by ruthlessly targeting competitors."
In San Diego, he notes, "in San Diego, the company managed to control a whopping 14 of the 30 highest-rated stations by acting as if its Mexico-based operations didn't count toward the federal eight-station-per-market limit. The feds, prompted by an annoyed competitor, eventually told Clear Channel to knock it off."
Dotinga does, however, see some silver lining in Clear Channel's practices because it "inspired rivals to do a better job."
"In San Diego," he writes, "alternative-rocker FM 94/9 was created as a direct challenge to Clear Channel's weakened 91X. FM 94/9 has turned into one of the best stations in San Diego. Another example of Clear Channel's influence is KPBS-FM's strong news department, which expertly handled the 2007 wildfires. KPBS-FM built up its local news operation partly in response to Clear Channel's local cutbacks."
In support of this contention he quotes Darrel Goodin, general manager of Lincoln Financial Media's rival stations KSON, FM 94/9 and KiFM, as saying, "Radio stations have a very personal connection with their listeners. It is a one-on-one relationship, and attempting to mass-produce the product in order to placate Wall Street only serves to water down that emotional connection and drive your listeners to other alternatives."
On then to listening solutions and first a BBC Radio 4 programme that we picked up late - through the listen-again facility - and which is only available until 10:30 GMT on Tuesday morning.
It is the first of "The Frost Collection" in which David Frost and guests look back at some of his memorable interviews. Last week included one with the British fascist leader Sir Oswald Moseley and this Tuesday's edition on "Religion and Morality" will include amongst the interviewees the US evangelist Dr. Billy Graham and the convicted Nazi war criminal Baldur von Schirach.
Then sticking with the station we would suggest this week's "Book of the Week" (08:45 GMT weekdays) - "Speaking for Myself" - in which Cherie Blair, wife of the former British Prime Minister, tells her life story. Reviews so far of the book have tended to indicate a somewhat delusional personality who may well believe what she says but sometimes does so in the face of evidence that most people would regard as to the contrary.
Then from the afternoons we suggest "The Afternoon Reading" (14:30 GMT) that this week is a series of stories about rage cum anger and the following (14:45 GMT) "Joan Armatrading's Favourite Choirs."
From Tuesday we would suggest "A Sun-parched Country" (08:30 GMT) in which Caroline Holmes considers how Australians are adapting to recent climate change and then, as already noted (10:30 GMT) "The Frost Collection" plus at 12:30 GMT "Gershwin's Horns" in which Rainer Hersch explores the musical significance of unusual instruments, including cannons, car horns, anvils, typewriters and salad bowls.
Later in the afternoon are two regular stands often worth a listen - "Word of Mouth" at 15:00 GMT in which Michael Rosen presents the series that takes a close look at the words we use, where they come from and how we play with them and "Great Lives" that this week has as its subject Joyce Grenfell.
Jumping to Thursday, "In our Time" (8:00 GMT) with an evening repeat and available as a podcast/MP3) this week looks at "The Black Death", the 14th century plague that killed nearly 40% of the English population (that would be some 120 million American translated pro-rata to today) and also "In Business" (20:30 GMT) in which Peter Day considers in the light of increasing online purchasing, the future of the traditional shopping centre.
And as a final selection from Radio 4 we suggest Friday's "News Quiz" (17:30 GMT) and from Saturday (09:30 GMT) "The Bond Correspondence" in which Lucy Fleming embarks upon a quest to discover more about her uncle Ian, creator of James Bond.
Moving to BBC Radio 3, we would go for last Sunday's "Words and Music" that in "Flowers of Evil" explored Baudelaire's "Fleurs du mal", an expression of personal torment and the conflict between Catholic morals and debauchery in 19th-Century Paris; "The Composer of The Week" (11:00 GMT with an evening repeat) - this week it is on Franz Waxman, one of Hollywood's most prolific composers; "The Essay" (22:00 GMT Monday to Thursday) which this week features writer and broadcaster Graeme Fife explores the work of the poet and novelist Robert Graves in "Robert Graves and the Poetic Myth";
Tuesday's "Night Waves" (20:45 GMT), which has a first night review of the musical "Margueritte", based on Alexander Dumas's novel "La Dame aux camellias"; Thursday's Night Waves with American writer and neo-conservative thinker Robert Kagan talking about his new book "The Return of History and the End of Dreams"; and Saturday's "Jazz Line-Up" (15:00 GMT) in which Julian Joseph presents a special concert given on Friday at the 2008 Coventry Jazz Festival by the BBC Big Band in celebration of its 10th birthday, plus the following "Jazz Record Requests", a special edition with listeners' requests saluting the late Humphrey Lyttelton; and later in the evening (22:30 GMT) "Jazz on 3" featuring the "Scorch Trio" and a Scandinavian jazz-metal gig from a concert at the London Jazz Festival 2002.
Then from BBC Radio 2 we suggest another bite at the BBC Big Band in Monday's "Big Band Special" - the first of two programmes featuring the band in concert plus the following "Brass Britain", celebration of the UK's long love affair with brass bands and the music of brass. .
From Tuesday we go for the latest "Icons Revisited", the fourth of a five-part series, this one on Elton John and from Friday "Diane Warren...on Songwriting" in which Warren discusses her working methods and the stories behind her hits.
And of course for those who like such things, the station on Saturday carries "The Eurovision Song Contest" live from 19:00 GMT.
Dipping into MP3s/podcasts we suggest a trio from "Ockham's Radio" from ABC Radio National and (available for another two weeks ) a two-part "Challenge to global warming orthodoxies" from Professor Don Aitkin, former Vice Chancellor at the University of Canberra plus a response last Sunday from Stanford University climatologist Professor Stephen Schneider.
Also from Sunday we suggest "Background Briefing" - "Peddling influence and money" that reports on a new Australian register of some of the biggest "third party" lobbyists and their clients but suggests that most lobbying and schmoozing will continue unchecked through old networks, secret meetings, and confidential discussions.
From Saturday we suggest the latest "All In The Mind" on "The science of happiness" - a conversation involving neuroscientist Richard Davidson, Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, Buddhist scholar B. Alan Wallace, psychologist Daniel Gilbert and philosopher David Chalmers.
Asbury Park Press - Duffy:
Lewiston, Maine, Sun Journal - Gamboa:
National Post - Moore:
North County Times - Dotinga - 1st column:
North County Times - Dotinga - 2nd column:
UK Independent on Sunday - Lezard:
2008-05-19: According to The Age, Australia's digital radio launch is "still on track to begin early next year, despite an unexpected decision to delay its commencement by six months.
The paper reports that an announcement to delay the official start from January 1 to July 1 next year was made as part of the federal budget and was justified as a means to "provide the commercial broadcasters with additional time needed to prepare for the introduction of digital radio."
The paper adds, however, that commercial broadcasters, who will not receive government funding to make the move, are not necessarily in agreement.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive Joan Warner said the industry had sought assurances from Government that stations would not forfeit their digital licences if, due to weather or equipment supply problems, they were not capable of starting on January 1 but commented of the announcement, "What I thought was unfortunate was the way they worded it, that there's a delay there's no delay at all from our perspective. Our planning is on track for the early 2009 switch-on."
Austereo executive chairman Peter Harvie told the paper there was "considerable merit in proceeding on January 1" for all of Austereo's metropolitan music stations and Fairfax Media's group general manager for radio, Graham Mott, said the company - which also owns The Age - saw "no reason" to delay the plan for its metropolitan radio stations to start digital broadcasting in January next year.
There had been reports earlier this year concerning a delay but Warner said at the time that these had resulted confusion about comments made about the funding of digital TV (See RNW Apr 1)
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Fairfax Media:
The Age Report:
2008-05-19: Clear Channel Radio has announced a deal with Cambridge UK-basedInternet radio technology group Reciva to stream the output of all its stations on Reciva-powered receivers, a move that the latter's CEO Ben Terrell said in a news release "vastly increases the quality programming choices available to our customers."
He added, "With 800-plus streaming stations, there's something for everyone's entertainment preference. This announcement solidifies our leadership in the field and strengthens our proposition to CE manufacturers."
Jeff Littlejohn, Executive Vice President of Distribution Development for Clear Channel Radio, added, "We continue to meet audience demand for Clear Channel Radio's great content by broadening their options for consuming it. We're working with a best-in-breed partner with Reciva, the largest Internet radio module manufacturer, allowing listeners to receive all of our streamed content via a single mobile device."
Reciva-enabled Internet radios allow the playback of online radio in most formats including MP3, Windows Media Player, RealAudio, AAC and Ogg Vorbis.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-05-19: Employees of India's state radio and TV - All India Radio (AIR) and Doordorshan - have begun a four-way work to rule with further industrial action threatened over their demand that Prasar Bharati, the body that oversees the two broadcasters, be retained within the government.
The action is led by the National Federation of Akashvani and Doordarshan Employees (NFADE), an umbrella organization with 21 smaller staff associations comprised of DD and AIR employees as its members.
It says up to 40,000 Bharati employees will take part and may affect the working of both broadcasters - some 220 AIR stations may be affected - as they are already short-staffed by around 8,000 employees following years in which there has been no recruitment: Prasar Bharati has said that a year ago it sought government permission to hire people to fill some 2,700 "critical" posts at the broadcasters..
An Indian government group of ministers (GoM) is examining a financial and capital restructuring of Prasar Bharati but NFADE says that to discuss these issues without discussing assets conflicts with assurances given to it.
Another staff association, the Akashwani and Doordarshan Administrative Staff Association (ADASA), last month staged a hunger strike demanding salaries equivalent to those of other Prasar Bharati employees and its General Secretary Sangam Thakur earlier this month said that it had been assured that it demands would be met within 15 days, adding that if this did not happen it would resume action.
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
NFADE web site:
2008-05-18: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has attacked the US Senate vote to nullify the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) new media ownership rules that were passed by the Republican majority in December (See RNW Dec 19, 2007)
In a news release it cited Executive Vice President of Media Relations Dennis Wharton as saying, "NAB strongly opposes efforts to overturn the FCC's exceedingly modest reforms made to media ownership rules. We are hopeful that policymakers ultimately come to fully appreciate the seismic changes in the media landscape over the last three decades, and stand down on this unnecessary proposal."
The Senate action had already been praised by both Democrat Commissioners (See RNW Licence News May 18)
2008-05-18: Last week the main regulator-related news came from North America where in Canada a consultation has been launched on "broadcasting in the new media environment" and the US where the Senate voted by voice vote to nullify the easing of US media cross-ownership rules that was passed by the Republican majority on the Commission in December last year: The White House has supported the easing of the regulations, saying it is in the public interest, and is threatening a veto should the House, which has yet to vote on similar nullification, also vote to kill the new rules.
In Ireland the government has now published its Broadcasting Bill, which proposes a single regulator with increased powers for broadcasters.
Elsewhere it was again fairly quiet: In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) posted only two radio decision, both relating to adverts on community stations.
In Queensland, it found that Darling Downs Broadcasting Society Inc., licensee of Toowoomba community station 4DDB, breached conditions restricting advertising to five minutes per hour when it failed to include appropriate acknowledgements of financial support ('tags') in relation to live cross-over chats with financial sponsors - such announcements are considered adverts and when tagged are limited to five minutes per hour and the ACMA said that on three occasions the station exceeded the limits.
The ACMA noted that this was the first time the station had been found in breach of the limits and that it had taken appropriate action and proposed no further action.
In Perth, Curtin University of Technology, licensee of community station 6NR, was also found to have exceeded advertising restrictions on two occasions in similar circumstances. The ACMA again proposed no further action, noting that, although the licensee had been found of similar breaches before, it had now ended live chats with financial supporters and will now pre-record these segments to allow for a calculation of accurate timing and the placement of appropriate tags. It warned that it would "have little tolerance of future breaches of this licence condition."
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) again had a fairly quiet week as regards radio decisions but more significantly it has launched a consultation on broadcasting in the new media environment for a public hearing to be held in early 2009.
It is asking for input on the scope of the proceeding and has set up a special site that lists various potential topics relating to Canadian new media broadcasting including asking what other issues should be considered.
It also posted a compilation of research and views - "Perspectives on Canadian Broadcasting in New Media" (A 500KB 75 page PDF).
So far the comment is all primarily about new media, which is currently exempt from regulations that affect broadcasters, rather than considering the effects on old media of such factors as a move of advertising to online platforms.
CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein said of the consultation that the Commission has "a responsibility to ensure that the broadcasting system is in a position to achieve the objectives of the Broadcasting Act, today as well as in the future" and added, "New digital technologies and platforms are creating opportunities for the broadcast of professionally-produced Canadian content that simply didn't exist a few years ago. Our intention is not to regulate new media, but rather to gain a better understanding of this environment and, if necessary, to propose measures that would support the continued achievement of the Broadcasting Act's objectives."
Since the original exemption decision was made in 1999, Canadian broadband has grown massively - some 60% of Canadian households have broadband and 93% potentially could have - and broadcasters and cable-TV operators complain of a loss of market share to the Internet and other new-media platforms such as cellphones.
RNW note: The issues of new media and technological development are also on the agenda of other regulators - last week the ACMA posted research indicating that effective use of digital communications and media is increasingly important for participation in Australian society, research finds and earlier this month Ofcom in the UK posted "Tomorrow's Wireless World", the third of its reports on its Technology Research Programme: This speculated on various potential uses of such technology in healthcare; transport and the scanning of food packaging.
In terms of radio related postings, the CRTC had a fairly quiet week with decisions including:
*Approval of application by Rossland Radio Cooperative to operate an English-language, low-power, developmental community FM radio programming undertaking in Rossland.
*Approval of application from Eternacom Inc. for an 865 watts English-language Christian music commercial specialty FM radio programming undertaking in Elliot Lake.
The application was opposed by the licensee of Christian music station CHIM-FM, Timmins, which has a transmitter CHIM-FM-7 in Elliot Lake and a number of its listeners but the CRTC noted that the proposed station would add a new local voice and local programming diversity to the market.
*Approval of application by Native Evangelical Fellowship of Canada for a 50 watts English- and Aboriginal-language, Specialty low-power FM commercial radio programming undertaking in Pickle Lake with an additional 50 watts FM transmitter in Thunder Bay.
The CRTC also posted a public notice adding an application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. for a 100,000 watts English-language country music commercial FM in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, to the applications to be considered at its public hearing to be held on June 3 in Winnipeg, Manitoba (See RNW Licence News Apr 6): This application had first been scheduled for a public hearing on May 13 but was withdrawn.
It also announced that it had received an application for a commercial service to serve Bracebridge and Gravenhurst, Ontario, and invited competing applications.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) posted latest radio ratings showing listening in the Republic to be stable (See RNW May 17) and also welcomed the publication of the government's Broadcasting Bill that would create a single broadcasting regulator (See RNW May 15) that would also incorporate the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of Ireland. The latter posted its latest decisions including details of 15 complaints - it withheld details of a further complaint saying nature and substance of the complaint was considered to be sensitive and there was no over-riding public interest concern.
Two complaints were upheld, one against Midlands 103 relating to the broadcast of a text message saying that while a Town Councillor from Birr, Co. Offaly was talking to the Litter Warden, the Councillor's dog fouled the footpath and both parties then walked away.
The broadcaster said the report was accurate but the BCCI ruled that given the local nature of the service, the clear identification of the complainant and the assertions made about his work, coupled with the insufficient substantiation of the facts by the broadcaster, this broadcast infringed the broadcasting regulations in relation to a person's reputation.
The other complaint was against FM 104's "Open Mic" programme and related to the telling by members of the public of jokes that the complainant considered offensive -" in particular, one about black children and another about the abduction and by implication, rape and murder of a child by a paedophile. "
The complainant said the host did nothing to prevent or discourage the callers and station responded by apologising and saying "this material which should not have been broadcast under any circumstance." It added that it has taken disciplinary proceedings against the host.
The BCCI said the content of both jokes, which it posted, was "likely to cause widespread offence" and breached Ireland's taste and decency codes.
There were no radio licensing announcements from the UK but Ofcom did post its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld no radio complaints (See RNW May 14).
In the US, the main news from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), still to issue a decision regarding the Sirius-XM Satellite Radio merger, was, as noted, one of reaction to the vote by the US Senate to overturn its latest media ownership rules, which were passed by the Republican majority in December last year (See RNW Dec 19, 2007).
Statements of support for the Senate decision came from both Democrats on the Commission with Michael J.Copps saying the vote "a huge majority of Americans last night by voting to overturn the flawed FCC decision gutting our long-standing ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership. With courageous leaders like Senator Byron Dorgan, the Senate has struck a blow for localism and diversity in a media environment crying out for more of both."
Jonathan S. Adelstein added, "Senate's complete rejection of the FCC's attempt to permit greater media concentration represents a great victory of the people over the powerful. In light of the Senate's action, any proposed transaction seeking to exploit the new rules will likely face intense scrutiny. This vote reflects a strong consensus across the ideological spectrum against further media concentration, from left to right and virtually everybody in between. The FCC veered dangerously off-course from the American mainstream, so our elected representatives are trying to steer us back. This unequivocal, bipartisan rebuke of the FCC is a wake-up call for us to serve the public rather than the media giants we oversee. Chairman Inouye, Senator Dorgan, Vice Chairman Stevens, Senator Snowe and the many other Senate leaders and public interest organizations who pushed this forward deserve our congratulations and the thanks of the American people."
In other radio related actions the Commission issued a USD 3,200 penalty to ASA Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WXYB-AM, Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, for operating the station, licensed for daytime only, after sunset.
The FCC, responding to a complaint, had fund the station operating after sunset in September, October, and December last year and in December its agents were accompanied by the President and Chief Operator of ASA who were able to reduce power but take the station off the air during the inspection. Both the President and Chief Operator, said the FCC, were unaware of this equipment malfunction or that the station was operating after sunset and the Chief Operator was unable to produce any station logs for the station.
The Commission issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture for USD 4,000 in April this year to which ASA submitted a response requesting reduction because its violation was attributable to faulty equipment of which it was unaware and which had since been repaired and also on the basis of a history of compliance.
The FCC rejected the former arguments but did reduce the penalty on the basis of a history of compliance.
Previous von Finckenstein:
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-05-17: Latest Irish radio ratings from the JNLR/TNSmrbi survey covering April 2007-March 2008 show overall listening unchanged compared to the previous ratings covering January-December 2007 with 84% of the population listening daily - down 1% on the figures for a year earlier.
The national listening figures were also unchanged compared to the previous period and a year earlier - 52% for any regional/local radio.
Station reach figures were also largely stable - 23% for RTÉ Radio 1 as in both previous periods; 17% for RTÉ 2FM - the same as the previous ratings but down 1% on a year earlier; and an unchanged 16% for Today FM, 6% for Newstalk 106-108FM and 3% for RTÉ Lyric FM compared to both periods in all three cases.
As regards market share for 07:00 to 19:00 there was a slight increase from 47.6% to 47.9% for any regional/local station -48% a year earlier; within the figures compared to the previous ratings, Today FM took its share up 0.5 to 12.1% and Newstalk took its share up 0.3 to 3.7%; RTÉ 2FM held on to a 12.8% share and there were falls of 0.2% to 21.4% for RTÉ Radio 1 and to 1.5% for RTÉ Lyric FM respectively.
In the South-East Region Beat 102-103FM's reach was up 1 to 18% and its market share was up 0.2 to 11.6%: Year ago figures were the same 18% reach and a market share of 11.7%.
Regional youth service Spin South West, whose first figures came in the previous ratings when it has a 14% reach and 8.2% share for the period from July when it went on air to the end of the year took its reach up to 15% and share up to 9.4%.
Amongst local stations, excluding Dublin and Cork, the top five stations in terms of weekday reach (compared to the previous ratings) were Highland Radio with 66% - up from 61%; Limerick's Live 95FM with 59%, down from 60%; WLR FM with an unchanged 49%; Shannonside/Northern Sound with 48%, down from 52%; and Midwest Radio/Radio Kerry each with 47% - up 2 from 45% and up 3 from 44% unchanged respectively.
In share terms the top five were Highland Radio with 62.8% (Up 0.3); Mid West Radio with 52.4% (Up 1.3); Shannonside/Northern Sound with 49.7% (Up 0.16); Tipp FM with 47.8 % (down 1.4); and Radio Kerry with 46.2 % plus 2.8).
In Dublin the leaders in terms of weekly reach wereRTÉ Radio 1 with 36%; FM 104 with 29%; 98FM with 25%; RTÉ 2FM with 22%; and Spin 1038 and Newstalk, each with 18% [RNW Note: We have omitted comparisons because the figures posted regarding changes do not agree with the previous release we have on file].
In Cork the leaders in reach were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103FM with 68% (plus 3); Cork's 96FM with 53% (Plus 2); RTÉ Radio 1 with 32% (plus1); Cork's Red FM with 31% (plus+1); and Cork's 103FM County Sound with 28% (plus1). They were followed by Today FM with an unchanged 27% (Plus 2); and RTÉ 2FM with 24% (plus 2).
RTÉ commented of the figures that they "confirm that RTÉ Radio dominates the airwaves all day seven days a week and that RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ 2fm are growing their audiences" with Adrian Moynes, Managing Director of RTÉ Radio, adding, "We are delighted that recent strategic schedule changes are delivering clear results We've grown our audience in real terms. RTÉ Radio 1 now has over 800,000 weekday listeners and RTÉ 2fm has over 600,000. This is very significant because since the last book the overall population is unchanged."
Previous Irish Ratings:
2008-05-17: CBS Radio has fired Philadelphia WYSP-FM morning host Kidd Chris and program director John Cook over a racist song performed by a studio guest in March.
The Philadelphia Daily News reporting the dismissal said that the song involved, sung to the tune of Blondie's "Call Me," was called "Schwoogies," and was performed March 21 in studio by guest Lady Gash, who posted a version on YouTube: this was later removed by YouTube which carries a line on the page saying "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by CBS Broadcasting, Inc."
The paper carries a transcription by a reader of the lyrics: "Coloreds steal your wallets and coloreds have pink feet. Coloreds are loud and obnoxious, when they watch movies. Sticky fingers, what they are, Always try to jack my car, Schwoogies! Or shines, you can call them anything you like. Schwoogies! Watch out, jigs will rob you, day or night. Schwoogies. Mookie doesn't like to work, Just rolls blunts all day long. But there's one job he can do, hold a lantern on my lawn. If someone else has your watch on, you can bet its a moolignon. Shwoogies! All Around, there's Sambos, monkeys, knuckle draggers, So much brown Mandingo, Go Mr. Bojangles (unintelligible). I have no problem singing about the Negroes."
The paper quoted CBS spokeswoman Karen Mateo saying of the song, which was aired several times by the station over the next few days, "When senior management of the station learned that it had been played, they took immediate steps to prevent it from ever appearing on the station again. At the same time, we launched an extensive internal investigation into the situation including a thorough review of the editorial controls and systems we have in place to prevent this type of content from airing. We instituted additional educational training for the station, and have taken appropriate disciplinary action, including termination of the individuals involved."
Mateo, it says, declined to comment on whether Kidd Chris would be paid out the life of his contract, which was to last another three years.
Philadelphia Daily News report:
2008-05-16: US radio revenues in April were down 1% on a year ago with non-spot revenue again the only bright spot according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
Local revenues were down 1%; National revenues down 5%; and combined local and national revenues were down 2%. The overall total was pulled back to a 1% fall by an 8% rise in non-spot revenues.
Previous RAB (March revenues):
2008-05-16: UTV in an interim statement in advance of its AGM has reported revenues in the first four months of this year up 7% on a year ago - compared to an industry growth of around 4% - driven by its radio division. UTV's like-for-like revenues were up 4%.
It adds that it expects the growth to be maintained for the first half of the year and notes that "talkSPORT performed extremely well with revenue growth of 19%, demonstrating the continued strong demand for the product," adding that they expect this growth to be maintained for the half-year.
Revenues in its independent local radio stations it says was down by 3% against a local radio market which was broadly flat and adds that this performance is also expected to continue for the remainder of the first half of this year.
Regarding its new Edinburgh speech station talk107, has performed poorly in the latest ratings (See RNW May 2) and had previously seen a number of departures (See RNW Mar 17) it says this is "performing in line with budget expectations" while the launch date for talkRADIO, its second national speech station due to launch on the second national multiplex, is likely to be delayed to allow for completion of the transmission infrastructure. "As a result of this delay," I comments, "losses associated with this investment in 2008 are likely to be relatively modest."
UTV says its Radio Ireland division recorded revenues up 32% with exchange rate gains accounting for 15% and acquisitions for 9% of this. Like-for-like growth was 8%. Underpinned, it says, by strong national agency revenues, adding that it expects this level of like for like growth to be maintained for the six-month period. Its Belfast start up station U105 was it said performing in line with budget expectations.
UTV's TV division performed roughly in line with the ITV network overall with a 3% revenue fall, the same as the ITV1 network and its New Media division revenues, boosted by an acquisition, were up 12% although like-for-like revenues were down 4%.
2008-05-16: Univision has reported first quarter net revenues up 5.8% to USD 458.8 million within which radio revenues were up 2.9% to USD 85.8 million; TV revenues were up 7.1% to USD 365.2 million; but Internet revenues fell Internet fell 17% to USD 7.8 million.
OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) was up 2.8% to USD 150.9 million with radio OIBDA down 16.7% to USD 22 million; TV up 8.5% to USD 129.6 million and Internet going from USD 1 million to a negative USD 700,000 although Univision warns that the 2007 figures are on a previous accounting base.
Its operating income went from a USD 55.3 million loss to a positive USD 77 million but overall its loss - including a USD 99.2 million loss from continuing operations (up from USD 68.2 million) and of USD 67 million from discontinued operations (from a positive USD 1.2 million in 2007) - went from USD 67 million to USD 166.2 million.
Univision noted that its radio revenue growth was against a background of an average industry decline of 4.8% in its markets.
CEO Joe Uva said of the performance, "I am pleased that Univision achieved another period of positive results with both our Television and Radio businesses substantially outperforming the broadcast industry."
COO Ray Rodriguez speaking at the company's conference call highlighted a strong New York radio performance - its share was up 14% for the 18-34 demographic and 28% for those 25-54 - and also noted radio's revenues out-performance of competitors and "very strong ratings numbers in markets across the country."
2008-05-16: Kansas host Jim Cates, who has been with Cumulus Media's KMAJ-1440 AM, Topeka, since 2001 and at the start of the week announced that he was planning to retire at the end of the year wasn't given the chance but was dropped by the station.
According to the Capital-Journal Cates, who is 62, said his early termination seemed to be linked to his resistance to programming changes the station wanted to make and had been discouraged to devoting an hour of his morning show to open lines and also asked "not to get into" certain topics.
"It became uncomfortable," he said of the situation resulting from the direction he was given from management. "It became more difficult for me to do what I felt was a quality talk show. There were so many changes that were uncomfortable for me I felt it was best for me to announce my retirement."
Cumulus Media senior vice president Spike Santee told the paper he wouldn't be making any statements about Cates' termination but as far as the slot was concerned "We will be trying out a number of different hosts. We're going to take our time because, to us, that's a marquee position."
2008-05-16: GCap Media has announced that its GBP 375 million (USD 730 million) takeover by Global Radio is expected to complete on D-Day, June 6, giving Global control of an empire that will control nearly half the UK radio advertising market.
Global, which bought Chrysalis's radio operations last year (See RNW Aug 1, 2007), controlled the Heart and Galaxy networks and LBC stations through that deal and with the acquisition will add Classic FM, Capital Radio, Xfm, and various local stations including those in the Gold quasi-national network,
GCap's board accepted the bid on March 31 and Brand Republic says that once Global acquires control the Office of Fair Trading will have to assess whether there are any competition issues and if it thinks there are will refer the matter to the Competition Commission, which could then take up to a year to decide on any potential remedies.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
Brand Republic report:
2008-05-16: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that Corus-owned CKAC-AM, Montreal, host Doc Mailloux in a number of broadcasts of his show in October 2006 breached Canadian codes relating to sexually explicit dialogue on radio at times of day when children could be listening; both the Human Rights Clause of the CAB Code of Ethics and the article of the CAB Sex-Role Portrayal Code prohibiting degrading comments made on the basis of gender; and Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics, which prohibits abusive or unduly discriminatory comments on the basis of race, colour, and national or ethnic origin.
The CBSC noted that these were recurring problems with the show and that CKAC's parent company Corus Entertainment had implemented strong measures to prevent such problems in future and that Doc Mailloux was no longer on the air.
In its decision the CBSC said Mailloux regularly made generalizations about both women and men. He often labelled women as "gonzesses", "greluches", "tartes" "folles" and "nouilles" [approximate English translations: "broads", "wenches", "tarts", "crazies" and "simpletons"]. He also made comments about the proclivity of "feminine malice", and blamed any number of societal problems on females and their "castrating" behaviour. He also, it said, made negative comments about men. Any man who was described as kind or attentive or demonstrated any sort of willingness to care for children was accused of being "un bitte molle", "un homme féminisé", "un homme mou" or "un homme maternant" [approximate English translations: "a limp dick", "a feminized man", "a spineless man" or "a maternal man"]. Again, Mailloux identified as the root of numerous social and interpersonal problems on this tendency of men to take on more child-rearing responsibilities.
Regarding sexual content the decision noted that "In the matter at hand, there were explicit discussions dealing with copulation, the sexual experiences of a number of the callers, sexual abuse suffered by other callers (such as the conversation with Isabelle cited above), sexual compulsions and preferences, masturbation, and sexual relations between an adult woman and a 13-year-old boy. In the view of the Panel, these matters exceeded by a considerable extent the subjects which ought to be broadcast during the afternoon (or at other times when children are likely to be listening)."
It also noted that Mailloux frequently used words that are generally considered coarse language, in both French and English. Words uttered on the dates in question included the English word "fuck" and the francized variations "fucké" and "fuckailler", as well as the French words "calice", "chrisse", "faire chier", "hostie", "sacrement", "ciboire" and "tabarnac'". The words were used in a variety of contexts; sometimes Mailloux used them as interjections to emphasize his surprise or disgust, while on other occasions they were directed in a more insulting manner towards a caller.
In April last year Corus changed the station from a news-talk format to sports and it the CBSC noted that on the level of broadcaster responsiveness, a matter treated in every CBSC decision, the CBSC considers that the broadcaster has replied thoughtfully and in sufficient detail to the expressed concerns of the complainants.
2008-05-16: Italy's top court, the Court of Cassation, has re-opened a case against top officials of Vatican Radio that had been dismissed by the Rome Appellate Court last year when it overturned a 2005 conviction of Cardinal Roberto Tucci, former president of Vatican Radio's management committee, and Jesuit Father Pasquale Borgomeo, formerly the general director, who had been given suspended prison sentences (See RNW Jun 9, 2007).
The case arose out of damage to the health of local residents alleged to have resulted from emissions from Vatican Radio's transmission complex at Santa Maria di Galeria near Rome and in 2001 local authorities laid charges. Although they could not prove that the emissions caused an increased incidence of leukaemia in the area prosecutors charged that Vatican Radio was exceeding Italy's limits on emissions although Vatican Radio pointed out in their defence that they adhered to looser European limits.
Reporting the decision by the Court of Cassation, Catholic World says it has not set any date for trial or explained the reasoning for reviving the case.
Previous Vatican Radio:
Catholic World News report:
2008-05-15: Ireland's Communications Minister Eamon Ryan has published his country's new Broadcasting Bill that would create a single broadcasting regulator, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) whose remit would take in the work of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCCI) and also gain some additional powers including the ability to levy penalties of up to Euros 250,000 (USD 388,000). It would also create a "right of reply" for individuals who considered their reputations had been damages; provide for existing broadcasters RTÉ and TG4 to establish Audience Councils to represent the vies of listeners and viewers; and sets up the framework for two new public service broadcasters an Irish Film Channel and Oireachtas channel.
Ryan said the Bill represents a consolidation of almost 50 years of Irish broadcasting legislation and repeals key Acts that date from 1960, adding, "This is a modernising Bill designed to meet the needs of Irish broadcasting as we enter a new era of media and regulation. In essence, the Bill aims to level the playing field of the broadcasting market in Ireland and place greater emphasis on the needs of viewers and listeners."
The move was welcomed by the BCI whose chairman Conor Maguire commented, "From the Commission's perspective, this is a significant development with regard to the regulation of broadcasting services in Ireland. The concept of a single content regulator has been mooted since the publication of the findings of the Forum on Broadcasting in 2002, so it is to be particularly welcomed that the Bill published today holds true to that idea, following extensive consultation in the intervening years."
Broadcasting Bill (180 page 1.78 MB PDF):
2008-05-15: US country music star Dolly Parton has attacked Howard Stern's show on Sirius Satellite Radio over the broadcast last week of one of its regular "audio book" segments which splice together segments from a personality's comments that in this case make Parton seem to make racist and sexually graphic comments The broadcast by Stern included Parton talking about "Johnny Carson's big black cock"; and saying "Goddamn, I love nigger cock"; "Linda Rondstadt is a really fat tub of shit"; and "Johnny Carson had a dark-black cock that hung down to his knees." (Audio is on YouTube).
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Parton said, "I have never been so shocked, hurt and humiliated in all my life. I cannot believe what Howard Stern has done to me. In a blue million years, I would never have such vulgar things come out of my mouth. They have done editing or some sort of trickery to make this horrible, horrible thing. Please accept my apology for them and certainly know I had nothing to do with this."
She added by suggesting legal action, saying, "If there was ever going to be a lawsuit, it's going to be over this. Just wanted you to know that I am completely devastated by this."
RNW comment: Stern's victims in the audio book segment have included Opah Winfrey, William Shatner and, fairly regularly, another Star Trek actor, George Takei but to our knowledge nobody has successfully sued him and he would proclaim First Amendment protection if a lawsuit were launched: US courts have ruled that parody is protected speech and it seems unlikely to us that Parton would win a case.
2008-05-15: In an update on its call for proposals for a new ratings system for US smaller markets - the deadline for submissions was Wednesday - Cumulus has said more than a dozen companies have put forward proposals and added, "The range of ideas and the passion of their proponents is extremely encouraging. This range includes everything from significant enhancements of traditional approaches to innovative applications of new technology and hybrid solutions. Many of the best minds in both consumer and audience research have weighed in and reaffirmed our belief that accurate, stable, and value?enhancing audience measurement is clearly within reach."
Cumulus says that the next stage will be to "carefully review all of our proposals and then work with select vendors to fine?tune the solutions that have the greatest potential."
It adds, "We anticipate having a number of proposals to work through in this second phase and we are committed to investing the time needed to underwrite a solution that works for all stakeholders in our markets."
All those who submitted proposals, it says, will be told of its plans within two weeks.
Cumulus ratings proposal web site:
2008-05-15: An advert for RACV Financial Services called "Disclaimer", written by Paul Reardon and Julian Schreiber from Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne, has won Australian radio's 2008 Gold Siren award for best radio ad of the year, as well as a Silver Siren for winner of the single advertisement category: The awards are organized by industry body Commercial Radio Australia,
The advert - for car loans plays humorously on the need for disclaimers in ads, with the majority of the 60 second ad being taken up with an argument between the man doing the disclaimer and the voiceover man. It will be automatically entered into the Cannes Radio Lions to be held next month at the Cannes Advertising Festival
The awards were judged by the Siren Council, comprising creative directors and producers from advertising agencies and studios from throughout Australia and Judge Rem Bruijn from agency Make in Brisbane said: "The RACV ad was awarded the overall Gold Siren, not only because it turned radio advertising's biggest negative into a positive, but also because it was thoroughly engaging and enjoyable to listen to. Beautifully written, cast, directed and performed."
Paul Reardon said: "It was purely circumstance, to do an ad for an RACV car loan, which unfortunately required almost 30 seconds of legal disclaimers, so it made sense for us to make such an overwhelming element of the ad the idea. Also disclaimers are a challenge every creative who writes radio has to face. How do we make them fit in and not sound like they're undoing all the impact the ad had before all the legal jargon kicks in? It was great to write an ad where the ad and disclaimer literally had a fight."
ASilver Siren award went to a series of ads , called "Children See Children Do - Alcoholic/Football/Husband/Racist/Traffic"for the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN), which aims to prevent child abuse.
The series, written by Justin Carew, Charlie Cook, Ed James and Simon Johnson from DDB in Sydney, also won the campaign category.
A further Silver Award - for the 2008 Craft Category -went an advert called "Police Radio" from to Sound Reservoir in Sydney, for an ad for Work Against Culpable Driving (WACD), a Melbourne-based support group which aims to help prevent road trauma,.
Joan Warner, CRA Chief executive officer said the standard of entries in the Siren Awards continues to rise each year and added, "The Siren Awards provide a fantastic opportunity for excellent Australian radio creative to be recognised both at home and again at Cannes, alongside the world's best. Each year the Siren Awards continue to raise the bar in terms of creativity and originality and this year, the Awards received a record number of entries - over 570 - up nearly 90% on last year."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2008-05-14: Update- Clear Channel Communications has formally announced the settlement of its litigation against the banks funding the company's buyout by private equity partners led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.
IClear Channel's board is unanimously recommending acceptance of a revised offer of USD 36 per share - USD 17.9 billion in all - down from the USD 39.2 originally agreed - and is to call a new special meeting of shareholders to consider the offer.
Shareholders will, as before, retain a limited option - capped at up to 30% of the new Corporation in total - to invest in the new entity formed to acquire Clear Channel. The banks involved have as part of the settlement entered into fully-negotiated and documented definitive agreements to provide long-term financing to Clear Channel.
Commenting on the deal, Clear Channel CEO Mark P Mays noted that the price was a significant premium over the company's stock market price over recent months and said the deal was a "win" for shareholders that gave them "substantial value and certainty while avoiding the delay and inherent risks associated with complex litigation."
He added that the agreement greatly increased the "certainty that the merger will close because all debt and equity funds will be deposited in escrow until the transaction closes[RNW comment: If it's a "certainty" not a "probability" then it can't be increased, but then who expects accurate use of language from most US radio executives!].
He continued, "Clear Channel's business prospects will be enhanced further through an improved capital structure that includes a lower debt load. We appreciate greatly the support of our shareholders as well as the loyalty and hard work of our dedicated employees over these many months. We are eager to begin working with THL and Bain Capital, the stellar team that will help us to fulfil our considerable promise."
Bain Capital managing director John P. Connaughton said they believed the "agreement, and the definitive long-term financing package the banks have agreed to provide, offers clarity and confidence to Clear Channel's customers, employees and partners. We look forward to supporting the continued global market leadership, growth and success of the most innovative company in the radio broadcasting and out-of-home media space" and THL Co-President Scott M. Sperling added, "We are pleased to arrive at this resolution which enables us to complete the acquisition of Clear Channel. We appreciate that the banks have provided the company with the robust, long-term financing that will allow Clear Channel to achieve its outstanding operational and growth potential. We would like to thank all of the stakeholders who worked to achieve this positive outcome, and we are looking forward to working closely with our investment partners and with the entire Clear Channel leadership team to execute on our plans to grow the company to its full potential."
For the banks, Chad Leat, Chairman of the Alternative Asset Group at Citi, said: "The Banks are very pleased to have reached a constructive resolution of the matter. We look forward to an expeditious closing of the revised transaction and want to express our appreciation to all those who contributed to the solution. We look forward to participating with our partners in Clear Channel's continued success."
Highfields Capital Management LP., which manages funds that own 7.7% of Clear Channel and was earlier reported to have been behind the push for a settlement, has agreed to vote in favour of the transaction and to retain up to USD 400 million in equity of CC Media Holdings.
Its Senior Managing Director Jonathon S. Jacobson said: "As the largest shareholder in Clear Channel, we saw an opportunity to bring all parties together to remove the risk and uncertainty of litigation and we are glad that a constructive and mutually beneficial business solution could be reached. We fully support this revised transaction" and another Highfields Senior Managing Director Richard L. Grubman added: "Clear Channel can now accelerate the initiatives it has underway to capitalize on the strength of its assets and drive profitability. We look forward to continuing to play a meaningful role in ensuring the company is positioned to create substantial long-term value."
Clear Channel shares closed Wednesday up 1.5% at USD 34.82
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2008-05-14: LBI Media has announced first quarter net revenues up 5% to USD 26.4 million , primarily put down to improved advertising revenues it its radio division where revenues were up 13.5%, to USD 13.7 million. It noted strong growth at its Dallas stations and at KRQB-FM, the company's new radio station in the Riverside/San Bernardino area, which was acquired in September 2007.
Television net revenues by contrast fell just under 3% to USD 12.7 million from USD 13.1 million a year earlier and it noted that the decline included lost revenues at its San Diego TV station, which was burned down in the October 2007 wild fires.
LBI operating expenses were up 17% - largely because of start-up costs related to the acquisition of KRQB and KPNZ TV in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Overall LBI made a net loss of USD 5.9 million, down from USD 46.5 a year earlier when the results included a tax provision of USD 46.9 million as the result of converting from an S corporation to a C corporation.
Executive Vice President and Secretary Lenard Liberman commented, "Despite the impact of a softening economy both locally and nationally, LBI Media continues to grow its top line revenue through aggressive sales management, ratings performance and targeted acquisitions. For the first time since 2004, Univision's Piolin morning show dropped to #2 in the market and was beaten by LBI's Don Cheto morning show in Los Angeles continued ratings success in both radio and television underscores the value of LBI's franchise and sets the stage for continued investment and growth through the increase of our distribution platform. Our ratings success continues to distinguish LBI in the Spanish language media industry and points to the importance and value of our programming content."
He continued, "With the continued growth of the underlying Hispanic population and its associated buying power, LBI's programming content and ratings success along with its strategy to increase its distribution foot print, will allow LBI to monetize its significant franchise value and outperform its competitors in the Spanish language media market. These factors will allow us to continue to grow and I remain optimistic about our potential in 2008."
Previous LBI Media:
Previous Lenard Liberman:
2008-05-14: According to Reuters, quoting two sources "familiar with the situation" the parties involved in financing the buyout of Clear Channel by private equity partners Bain Capital and TH Lee have reached agreement in principle in settling at a price of USD 36 per share compared to the USD 39.20 agreed when shareholders voted to accept the deal in September last year (See RNW Sep 26, 2007) - Clear Channel had originally recommended acceptance of an offer of USD 37.60 in November 2006 (See RNW Nov 17, 2006 ) but the bid was increased and existing shareholders were given options to exchange some shares for a share in the new company subject to aggregate and individual caps.
A deal on the new terms would value Clear Channel at around USD 18 billion rather than USD 19.5 billion and will have to be put to another shareholder vote.
Since then changes in credit markets have made the costs of financing leveraged buyouts much higher and the availability of credit has become more restricted leaving the banks who agreed to finance the deal with a large immediate paper loss of some USD 2.7 billion if it went ahead.
The private equity buyers had gone to the courts - in New York on their own - and in conjunction with Clear Channel in Texas to try and force the banks to complete the deal on the original basis.
They argued that the banks, which were to provide financing of USD 22.1 billion and would have collected fees of USD 400 million, had tried to renegotiate the terms of the agreement, making the finance short rather than long-term amongst other things, with the result that the purchase would have been unworkable.
The banks argued that the two sides were in talks when the buyers went to court.
On Tuesday afternoon the New York lawsuit, hearing of which had been delayed from Monday and then adjourned until the afternoon, opened with Bain's managing director John Connaughton facing questions.
He said that in 19 years working for Bain he had never faced a situation where financing had failed to come through following the provision of a commitment letter by the banks nor had such circumstances arisen in the deals for the 300 companies Bain had bought over the last 25 years. He went on to explain the arrangements that his company had negotiated with the banks.
The trial was adjourned just before 17:00 New York time by Judge Helen Freedman' and is to resume at 09:30 today.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-05-14: UK media regulator Ofcom has upheld no radio complaints in its latest bulletin in which it upheld one TV standards complaint, considered another two resolved through action taken by the broadcaster and posted details of a TV standards case not upheld.
It also posted details of two TV fairness and privacy complaints that were not upheld.
Ofcom also listed without details 402 TV complaints against 153 items (127 against one programme) and 28 radio complaints against 20 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 340 TV complaints- 79 against one programme -against 143 items and 18 radio complaints against 16 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2008-05-14: Clear Channel Radio has announced the launch of Totalradius.com, a business-to-business web site to link advertisers with what it terms "Multi-Platform Marketing Opportunities" that will let "Advertisers, Brand Managers, Media Buyers and Local Businesses Utilize the Power and Flexibility of Radio in New Ways."
Clear Channel Radio President and CEO John Hogan said of the site that it is "a first stop for advertisers exploring the multi-faceted landscape of radio At the push of a button, advertisers can hear successful audio branding, get examples of integrated marketing best practices, and get in contact with stations in their markets."
Visitors to the site says Clear Channel can learn how to create a commercial, find out what a blink is and hear radio advertising success stories from prominent media personalities and experts in interviews exclusive to the site.
The site also carries an "exclusive" interview with Glenn Beck in which he comments, "I do TV, I write books, I publish a magazine and I do radio. Of all the mediums that I participate in, the most effective tool for advertisers is radio."
RNW comment: As so often when we read comments from people like Beck we wonder about the combination of lack of sincerity and subtlety. For what purpose we would ask, is any medium the most effective tool for advertisers? We can think of examples where it might well be and ones where it certainly isn't and the same goes for print, TV, online and magazines.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-05-13: UK commercial radio fared comparatively well in this year's Sony Awards - the UK "Radio Oscars - They took four of the five "Station of the Year" awards and in all 12 of the 35 Gold Awards including six to Bauer Radio and three to GCap Media.
The "Station of the Year" was BBC Radio 4, which had a strong showing - it also took Gold in three more categories - "The Speech Programme Award" for "Saturday Live"; "The Drama Award" for "Q&A" from Goldhawk Essential; and "The Comedy Award" for "Down The Line" (series 2, episode 2) from Down The Line Productions [RNW note - it also took the Silver and Bronze comedy awards];
Other "Station of the Year" awards were:
Digital Station of the Year - GCap Media's Planet Rock, which is currently on life support and has until the end of the month to find a buyer or be closed. Programme director Trevor White said of the award, "This is a great day for everyone involved with Planet Rock and everyone who loves rock music. We waited over 30 years to get a national radio station dedicated to classic rock; it's become one of the most popular digital stations with almost 600,000 rock fans making it their station of choice."
Station of the year (1 million plus listeners) - Bauer Radio's Key 103, Manchester.
Station of the year (300,000 to 1 million listeners) - GCap Media's GWR, Bristol.
Station of the year (under 300,000 listeners) - The Local Radio Company's Macclesfield-based Silk FM.
Individual Gold Awards were:
The Special Award - To Outgoing BBC Director of Radio and Music Jenny Abramsky in recognition of the forty years across which she "has stamped her very distinctive imprint on our industry. Beyond the BBC, she's been a mighty champion working with and respected by her colleagues in commercial radio and beyond."
The Gold Award - Brian Matthew. The judges commented that this was to celebrate "an impressive record of more than 50 years of national and international radio broadcasting. For that lifetime career and in recognition of a truly outstanding contribution to UK Radio."
Local and regional lifetime achievement - Eamonn Mallie, Newtownards, County Down-based Northern Ireland station Downtown Radio.
Music broadcaster of the year - Andi Durrant - Distorted Productions & Galaxy Network Programming for Global Media's Galaxy Network.
Music radio personality of the year - Jonathan Ross - BBC Radio 2 and Off The Kerb for Radio 2
News journalist of the year - Owen Bennett-Jones - BBC World Service News Programmes for BBC World Service.
Rising star - George Lamb - BBC 6 Music,
Speech broadcaster of the year - Simon Mayo - BBC News Programmes for BBC Radio 5 Live.
Station programmer of the year - Mary Kalemkerian - BBC7.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Sony Awards (2007):
Sony 2008 Nominations:
Sony Awards site:
2008-05-13: Clear Channel shares ended Monday up 9.57% at USD 32.87 having reached USD 35.30 shortly after noon following reports that private equity buyers Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners were close to a settlement with the banks funding the deal under which the price would be cut from USD 39.20 to USD 36 per share. They rose further today and by late afternoon were up by another 2.8% to USD 33.78
The New York Times, citing a "person briefed on the negotiations" reported that negotiations were continuing and no settlement has been finalized: It also noted that other proposals talked about include an increase in the interest rate that the newly private Clear Channel would pay, cutting into the profits that Bain and Lee would reap from the business.
Clear Channel later posted a statement confirming that talks were underway and that court proceedings in connection with a suit it and CC Media Holdings, Inc. , the vehicle being used for the purchase, had launched against the banks had been postponed until today to allow the parties to continue discussions. It added that there could be no assurance of a settlement and said it would not "comment on any potential settlement terms or the likelihood that a settlement agreement will be reached."
Reports say the talks had been going on over the weekend with the Times saying they began last Wednesday as both Highfields Capital Management, one of Clear Channel's largest shareholders, and Morgan Stanley, one of the six banks, urged a settlement to avoid the uncertainties of a jury trial.
In both the suits against the banks - Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia - it is contended that they were refusing to honour their commitments to finance the deal whilst the banks argued that the case should be held in New York - only the two private equity groups are involved in that lawsuit - not in Texas, where Clear Channel and the groups are involved and that the two private equity firms had refused to negotiate in good faith. The banks also argue that until the June 12 deadline by when the deal has to be consummated, they are not breaching any agreements.
The talks appeared to have broken down again today when Justice Helen Freedman of the New York State Supreme Court announced that hearings in that suit were to start at 14:00 New York Time.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
2008-05-13: In more first quarter results both satellite radio companies have reported subscriber gains and increased revenues with Sirius losses down whilst those of XM, albeit much lower, were up. Both companies are, of course, still awaiting a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling on their planned merger and both CEOs commented on the plans and delays with Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin saying he might call off the deal if the conditions imposed were not in shareholders' interests.
Shares in both were up on Monday - those of Sirius, which only reported after markets closed, went from USD 2.77 to USD 2.87 and those of XM from USD 11.90 to USD 12.30.
Sirius reported revenues up 33% year-on-year to USD 270.4 million with total subscribers up 31% to 8,644,319 within which retail subscriptions were up 10% to 4,643,215 and automotive OEM subscriptions were up 72% to 3,986,818. Sirius added that during the first quarter it added 322,534 net subscribers and achieved a 52% share of satellite radio net subscriber additions.
Sirius also noted that Average monthly revenue per subscriber ("ARPU") was down from USD 10.46 a year ago to USD 10.42 in the first quarter; churn was 2.7% and subscriber acquisition costs (SAC) per gross subscriber addition was down USD 10 to USD 91.
Overall it had a net loss of UD 104.1 million, down 28% on a year earlier (From ten cents to seven cents per share) and that its adjusted loss from operations for first quarter 2008 improved 55% to a loss of USD 39.5 million.
At the end of March, Sirius had some USD 253 million available in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities.
The company provided no 2008 guidance because of the impending merger and CEO Mel Karmazin, whilst noting that the company "continues to demonstrate robust subscriber and revenue growth, along with strong cost discipline and significant improvement in our bottom line" cited the subscriber numbers as "a reflection of our strong content, consumer acceptance of our brand, and exceptional execution by all of our partners."
He adding that Sirius awaited "the FCC decision on our pending merger with XM, and we are eager to deliver the strong benefits of the combined company to our subscribers and stockholders" but expressed frustration with the delays - the application was submitted 400 days ago and has been with the FCC for nearly twice the 180 days in which the agency normally tries to rule on such applications - commenting, "We share the reasonable frustration that many of our investors feel with the time it has taken."
He also criticized calls for the FCC to insist that some of a merged company's spectrum be leased to a third party saying that they shared "the outrage that some have expressed to me regarding press reports of opportunistic parties trying to take advantage of the process and extract value for themselves that properly belongs to Sirius subscribers and shareholders. I can assure you we will work with the regulators on any conditions they feel should be attached to an approval. I can also assure that we will not do anything that is not in our subscribers', future subscribers', or shareholders' best interest."
Karmazin also warned that if conditions were attached to the merger by the FCC that were "so egregious that they're not in shareholders' or subscribers' best interest, then we won't do it" although he confirmed his commitment to the plan saying, "We believe there is nothing that is more in the public interest than committing to offer the American consumer more choices and lower prices."
At XM, revenues were up nearly 17% year-on-year to USD 308 million with subscription numbers up 18% to 9.33 million, driven by OEM additions of 802,000 in the quarter: Gross additions in the quarter totalled 1.034 million with net additions 303,000.
XM reported a first quarter adjusted operating loss of USD 30.7 million, including USD 3.5 million of merger-related expenses - up from USD 27 million a year earlier with net loss up from USD 122 million a year ago to USD 129 million (from 40 to 42 cents per basic and diluted share).
SAC was up from USD 65 to USD 73 but cost per gross addition (CPGA) fell from USD 103 a year earlier to USD 99. Churn was 1.77% compared to 1.78% a year earlier and conversion was 53.3%, up from 51.5%.
XM noted that at the end of March it had total available liquidity of nearly USD 425 million comprised of approximately USD 212 million in cash and cash equivalents, USD 62.5 million remaining on its USD 250 million secured credit facility and a USD 150 million credit facility with General Motors.
President and CEO Nate Davis said that in the quarter XM "delivered the largest number of new customers from the automotive channel in XM's history, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of record OEM gross additions" and added, "XM's ongoing investment in the OEM channel is paying dividends in the form of record customer additions and continued revenue growth as our OEM partners further expand XM's reach to millions of consumers."
Davis said of the merger plan that this was "clearly in the public interest A combined XM-Sirius will offer consumers more choice in audio entertainment, particularly in radio programming, with the tiered pricing, a la carte, and family-friendly programming packages that we filed with the FCC nearly a year ago."
Asked about tiered pricing he said that this involved potential gain of subscribers to be balanced with the risk that some existing customers might moved to a lower-price deal but that the synergies in a merger were large enough to permit them to take the risk although they could not quantify the risk.
He added, "It's probably not a risk we could take without being a merged company because we wouldn't have the synergies to back us up."
2008-05-13: Emmis has reported revenues for its fiscal fourth quarter to the end of February up 9% to USD 85.8 million, pro-forma revenues up 7%; and radio revenues up 8% to USD 62.1 million - pro-forma radio revenues were also up 8% and international radio revenues rose 31%: For the year revenues were up marginally - from USD 359.5 million to USD 361.2 million; pro-forma net revenues were up 5% to USD 97.9 million; and radio pro-forma net revenues were down 3% to USD 266.7 million
Emmis made a fourth quarter loss before income taxes, minority interest and discontinued operations of USD 21.6 million - including an impairment charge of UD 21.2 million - compared to USD 8.3 million a year earlier and overall it recorded a net loss available to common shareholders of USD 18.1 million - up from USD 12.1 million (from 35 cents to 51 cents per share). Its operating loss for the quarter was USD 13 million compared to operating income of USD 3.9 million a year earlier.
For the full year its loss before income taxes, minority interest and discontinued operations was 17.3 million compared to net income a year earlier of USD 3.1 million with a net loss available to common shareholders of USD 10.3 million - including a USD 104 million loss on disposal of assets - compared to net income a year earlier of USD 104.6 million (from net income of USD 2.81 per share to a loss of 28 cents).
In terms of continuing operations the figures went from a loss of 33 cents per share a year ago to a loss of 77 cents whilst for the final quarter the loss rose from 23 cents to 53 cents.
Commenting on the results, Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said "Our Emmis team delivered great results during our fiscal fourth quarter under very difficult operating conditions. Each of our businesses showed remarkable progress. Pro forma net revenues were up 3% in domestic radio, 4% in publishing, 9% at our discontinued operation WVUE-TV in New Orleans [agreement to sell WVUE for USD 41 million was announced after the end of the quarter], and an astounding 31% in international radio.
At the Emmis conference call Smulyan was upbeat about radio saying the industry was "fighting back" and had bottomed out whilst of Emmis he referred back to third quarter comments that it had reached the bottom and said, "I feel more strongly about that now, a few months later. It's not only true for the company, but I'm seeing some signs in our industry that are very encouraging."
Of Emmis's domestic radio he said it had lagged behind its markets last year but now "We have caught our markets, and we expect that this year, we will actually exceed market revenues in our markets."
In other Emmis news, Emmis Interactive has announced an agreement with Apple that will allow it to market the iTunes storefronts it created for company station websites to other companies, a move Smulyan described as "another example of the innovation of Emmis Interactive, which has been renowned by broadcasters for being on the cutting edge of redefining how radio is conducted, not only in the United States, but now, elsewhere in the world."
2008-05-13: Cumulus has announced that it has terminated the merger agreement entered into with an investor group led by its President and CEO Lew Dickey and an affiliate of Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity.
It said that members of the investor group were "unable to agree on terms on which they could proceed with the transaction" and added that the group had agreed to promptly pay the Company a termination fee of USD 15 million.
Dickey said, "Our business remains fundamentally sound and we intend to continue to operate it aggressively and explore opportunities to create and deliver value for our shareholders."
In addition Emmis announced that its board now intends to explore the possible implementation of a new stock repurchase plan that would provide liquidity opportunities to stockholders.
2008-05-12: This week we start off our look at print comment on radio with a preview of the UK Sony Awards - the event takes place on Monday but before then formed the topic for Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the Sunday Times.
Noting their description as the Radio Oscars Donovan comments that ". Acceptance speeches at the Academy Awards may be tearful and gushing, but at least they are not peppered with the sort of four-letter words that, in recent years, have helped make the Sonys an increasingly downmarket affair, more gaudy than glitzy."
He comments that when "Chris Moyles won the entertainment prize in 2006 after a 16-year wait, he responded with a churlish 'About f***ing time', and others I have heard over the years, unwilling to restrain themselves in front of 1,200 guests, include Jonathan Ross, Christian O'Connell, Lucio and Bobby Friction. How ironic it is that, even in radioland, people moderate their behaviour only when the cameras are on them and they know they are on the air.
As well as disparaging the behaviour of some of the winners, Donovan is also not over enthusiastic about the quality of the awards made, commenting, "Although the actual event has grown coarser, the stated object of the Sonys remains the same: to reward excellence across an ever-changing range of categories (I was a Sony judge for best children's show and best news coverage, both now gone). And it is true that the neat Perspex slabs are still the most coveted prizes in British radio. But it is clearly absurd, if quality is the main criterion, that Radio 3 has never won station of the year and has only once been nominated - with no explanation ever being offered for this. It is absurd, too, that Radio 2's Ken Bruce, a man of dry wit, impeccable timing and considerable musical knowledge, has never won a Sony, and that John Tusa's millennial series, 20/20: A View of the Century, was not even short listed."
Donovan presumably would have some points of agreement with Charles Passy who in the Palm Beach Post summed up some aspects of US talk radio succinctly with the headline, "Talk radio is big business for big mouths."
He starts by referring to the response to former Air America host Randi Rhodes' departure from the network and return with a different syndicated deal then moves on to comment about the format itself: "A format that barely existed until the late 1980s is now, literally, the talk of the nation, second only to country music in the number of stations that carry it. Its total audience: a passionate (and, important to advertisers, relatively affluent) 48 million listeners, according to the Arbitron ratings service. Some industry sources put the figure at 100 million-plus when factoring in satellite and public radio."
Other hosts he mentions areconservatives Rush Limbaugh, a Palm Beach resident, and Glenn Beck before going on to comment generally on a format that owes "its existence to the 1987 repeal of the FCC 'fairness doctrine,' which meant opinions could now run wild without a need for a response." "In an instant," adds Passy, "the big-mouth era was born."
He then goes on to quote Beck as saying that the format is driven by the need to entertain, not necessarily to inform and adding, "It's got to be bigger than politics" whilst Rhodes comments, "People listen to me even if they disagree with me. ... It has to do with the question of can you evoke emotion?"
Finally a tendency that, much like the devotion to entertainment at the expense of information that Passy cites in connection with talk radio, deserves in our view a little greater attention than is often given to it.
Like a preference for entertainment that seems likely to produce a more ignorant - and probably more bigoted - America, a lack of attention span, the subject of one of Jerry Del Colliano's Inside Music Media blogs last week, can hardly help.
Del Colliano's column starts, "When public radio has to consider making its programs shorter because young listeners won't listen, we officially have a documented attention span problem."
He then continues, "Of course, it doesn't take any more than a few minutes in the company of the next generation before you realize that the number one problem going forward isn't too many commercials or too little new music or stupid djs or lack of social networking. That, too.
"But the inability or unwillingness of young listeners to extend their listening is problem number one. It deserves discussion, understanding and then innovation."
Del Colliano isn't of course even considering the idea - Heavens forfend - of an America that might consider people outside its frontiers who have rather more devotion to attention and worry about what this portends for the future but rather how radio should just accept this as a given.
His solutions include:
1. Break the programming down into smaller chunks. That is, one hour of music is fine if you're in the mood to listen for an hour. You'll rarely find a young person doing that...
2: Play to multitaskers. Everyone seems to be a multitasker today even older demographics. So content should be created with that in mind. Broadcast to them and ask them to do something else -- pick up a Blackberry and text in to win a mortgage payment. This cooperates with the inevitable. Too frequently radio programming is created under the misguided belief that the station has the full attention of their listeners. They don't. They won't.
3: On commercials on radio he comments of a study that the students concerned that their limit "when pressed in this unscientific but revealing setting, was one commercial in a row. And no, they didn't care if it was a minute, a 30 or a so-called 'blink'".
4: Billboarding what's ahead doesn't necessarily help with short attention span listeners. How often do radio stations tell you four or five artists that will be played next and how often do listeners tune out anyway? I've concluded that today's listener is more concerned about what they might miss than what you say is upcoming. That's a big difference. If a station gains the reputation for being live and unpredictable, it will teach even older listeners -- don't touch that dial.
5: Eliminating fluff and clutter is more in the stations' interest than ever before -- and it was always in the station's best interest. Too much chatter. Promos that are repetitious and long. Features that, in the end, don't matter. Endless commercials. Traffic (in some formats). Just about any feature that can be sold to an advertiser is probably suspect here. Clutter is an open invitation to go elsewhere.
As to solutions he says "Adapting to shorter attention spans is easier than ramming HD technology down the throats of listeners. My programming friends will have a field day with this challenge because that's what radio programmers do -- adapt and change."
RNW comment: Some of the above seems to us putting down the obvious and we have always taken the view that most of the time most people do not -and never have - given their full attention to a broadcast of radio or TV. They are, of course, always hearing, which makes poor sound on TV something they will pick up on even if at a subconscious level yet is low on many programme makers' priorities.
We don't necessarily accept however that the "multi-tasking" is at the root of this in many cases since so often what is happening is the inability to concentrate. We're aware of both, from the need when getting an engineering degree to concentrate so as to ensure detail was correct (without which there would be many more transport disasters, chemical plant explosions, structure collapses and so on, and also from working in news of the need to take in and process information from many sources speedily whilst always being alert to other thing: Single tasking is hardly possible then.
We also wonder how far some of the comments are affected by the faculties del Colliano deals with - we do come across American youngsters who can concentrate but the proportion is much lower in many of the arts faculty ones than those in science and technology.
Del Colliano's thoughts however do seem to us to highlight one of the reasons that, coming from an older generation and tradition, we find ourselves listening to and recommending comparatively little American radio as we find it more like a junk food snack than a satisfying meal with very little content that actually engages the intellect: And if you just want the familiar you find entertaining, you don't particularly want suggestions of other listening anyway.
On then to listening suggestions starting with two programmes the second of which could be said to fit Colliano's prescription but the first certainly doesn't: It's BBC Radio 3 tonight (18:00 GMT) and the "Young Musician of the Year" competition (See below) plus from BBC Radio 4 Sunday's "A Point of View" in which Clive James commented on issues of "mistakes", content and style in politicians' speeches; and also Sunday's "Food Programme", which came from New Orleans and "In Business - Adventure Capitalist" in which Peter Day talked to Welsh-born Michael Moritz, a partner in Sequoia Capital who successfully invested in start-ups such as Yahoo, Google and YouTube .
Also from Radio 4 we suggest Saturday's "Archive Hour - The Terrible Truth" in which Tom Robinson took a nostalgic look back at the public service programmes and publications of the 1950s, 60s and 70s that were put out to educate parents and warn the young about the perils of drugs, alcohol and the opposite sex.
Then sticking with the BBC we go for one of our regular BBC Radio 3 suggestions with this week's "The Essay" (22:00 GMT Monday through Thursday). This week it is comprised of four essays -under the heading "A Beep Heard Around the World" - marking the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1.
Also from Radio 3 we suggest Thursday's "Night Waves" (20:45 GMT), which includes international lawyer Philippe Sands interviewed about his new book Torture Team, in which he questions his profession's role, asking if it is right that lawyers should just obey orders or whether they have a responsibility to uphold justice in democratic societies.
We'd also note the current Radio 3 "Chopin Experience" - he is the "Composer of the Week" this week (Weekday's at 11:00 GMT with an evening repeat) and the "Experience" also forming most of the weekend programming on the station.
From Radio 2 we go for two Tuesday programmes - the second of five "Icons Revisited " programmes - featuring Dusty Springfield - and the fourth and final part of the "The Cowboy's Last Ride."
Then for more BBC Radio 4 we suggest "The Saturday Play" from last weekend - Anthony Minghella's "Two Planks and a Passion"; the "Book of the Week" (08:45 GMT weekdays with an evening repeat) - this week its Robyn Scott's "Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: The Story of an African Childhood"; "The Afternoon Reading" (14:45 GMT Weekdays) which this week features readings from Anthony Buckeridge's classic Jennings school stories; and the following "Letters Home" series in which five immigrants offer their impressions of Britain; the "Music Feature" from Monday - "The Blues Dance" telling the story of the Blues Dance or Jamaican private club in Britain and also from Monday "Great Lives" - this one was on artist and writer Edward Lear, remembered for The Owl and the Pussycat, The Jumblies and other nonsense verse for children.; Wednesday's "Unreliable Evidence", which looks at plea bargaining- accepted in the US courts but only informally used in the UK; Thursday's "In our Time" on The Library at Nineveh; and on a lighter note "The News Quiz" on Friday (17:30 GMT and also a podcast).
Whilst on podcasts we'd suggest a dip into the BBC Documentary archive - the current list includes the second and third parts of "How Crime Took on the World" and also into Radio Netherlands' "Radio Books" and from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation "The Media Report" - May's programmes include a look at "The digital future for community radio" and "Perceptions, preconceptions and visibility" - a look at how media cover and preconceptions and stereotyping that tag some people as less than desirable and see others ignored altogether. We'd also suggest a dip into "Science Report" and "Ockham's Razor" for those interested in science and technology.
Inside Music Media - Del Colliano:
Palm Beach Post - Passy :
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2008-05-12: Australian Radio Network (ARN) whose Mix FM breakfast show was amongst the winners in the latest Australian ratings (See RNW May 7) has run into stormy waters with the show whose host Sonia Kruger is reported to have threatened to walk out unless the programme's executive producer Brenden Wood, suspended over a stunt, is re-instated whilst her co-host is in court this week on drugs charges.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph says that Kruger's co-host Todd McKenney, who is also a judge on Channel 7 TV's "Dancing With The Stars" that Kruger co-hosts, poked fun repeatedly at Channel 9 TV newsreader Mark Ferguson and that Wood was suspended when Channel 9 withdrew advertising worth around AUD 1 million (USD 940,000) from the station.
Channel 9 CEO David Gyngell pointed out that McKenney had been poking fun at Ferguson's visits to schools that Channel 9 aided and commented, "Here's Todd McKenney, with a few much-publicized problems of his own, going out of his way to bag Nine repeatedly. What's to criticize - whether masqueraded as humour or not - about a dedicated program designed to assist kids at an unfashionable outer western suburbs primary school?''
"It's a worthwhile and decent thing we're doing and it's way beyond petty criticism from Todd McKenney. You really have to wonder about his motives,'' Gyngell added. "We'll place our money with a radio station who can discern between what's obviously fair game - and what's not.''
The Telegraph said that Kruger would attend a meeting that would decide Wood's future after he show on Monday and quoted her manager Mark Klemens as saying, "It's not for Sonia to tell management what to do but she has found Brenden to be a terrific producer and doesn't want this to affect the team's success."
McKenney is due in court on Friday after being arrested on ANZAC Day (April 25) and found to have had a glass vial containing around 20 ml of the illegal drug GHB, known as a date rape and party drug, on him. McKenney, who was found unconscious and covered in blood from facial lacerations, has said his drink had been spiked.
Sydney Telegraph report:
2008-05-12: 12-year-old trombonist Peter Moore has become the youngest ever winner pf the BBC's Young Musician of the Year contest.
Moore from Stalybridge in Manchester, who was playing with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, was competing against four other finalists at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and is the 30th winner of the competition.
He is currently principal trombone of the National Children's Band of Great Britain, a post he has held for three years, and is also a student at Chetham's School of Music, in Manchester.
The BBC quoted Chetham's head of brass and percussion David Chatterton as saying, "The competition has emphasized his ability to add an extra level of performance when it counts. Peter's maturity and dedication are fantastic, and it is great to see the freshness of his approach shine out in his playing when the chips are down."
The other finalists were all older - 18-year-olds guitarist Jadran Duncumb; flautist David Smith; and pianist Erdem Misirlioglu plus 17-years old percussionist Jim Molyneux.
Both of Moore's parents are music teachers and his brother plays the flugelhorn and his sister the tenor horn.
His mother told the UK Daily Telegraph the family were "proud and delighted" and his sister said, "Peter really deserves this. He was fantastic. He just loves playing, and wants to do it in as many places as possible. He's been so bubbly and excited about the contest all week."
Peter himself told the BBC, "I want to be a soloist, so this is a fantastic platform to start from."
The event was broadcast on BBC 2 TV and full concerto performances from each of the five finalists are to be broadcast tonight on BBC Radio 3 at 18:00 GMT.
BBC News report:
UK Daily Telegraph report.
2008-05-12: Both Sirius and XM are to report their earnings today with uncertainty still continuing on their merger, which awaits Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval.
XM will report first - in the morning ET - and estimates are expected to be of revenues around USD 310-15 million and a per share loss around 38 cents whilst Sirius is to report after markets close and have revenues around USD 270-5 million with a loss of around seven cents a share.
2008-05-11: Yet again the clock ticks but there is no word from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in relation to a ruling on the Sirius-XM merger and things were fairly quiet on other fronts last week when it came to the regulators decisions on radio although in the UK a record GBP 5.68 million (USD 11.1 million fine was levied on commercial TV broadcaster ITV.
There were no radio releases from Australia or Ireland and from Canada only a few radio postings from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
These included the following:
*Approval of application by Pineridge Broadcasting Inc. for a licence for a new 13,000 watts Mainstream Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM in Peterborough. Pineridge was one of ten applicants for licences - all mutually technically exclusive - in Peterborough (eight applications) and Kawartha Lakes (two applications) and the CRTC said that its application, which proposed 120 hours of local programming and 18 hours and 22 minutes of spoken word programming per week, best meets the needs of the market.
*Approval, subject to a suitable alternative frequency to that applied for, of application by a Corus subsidiary for a licence to allow it to convert its existing CRKU-AM, Peterborough to FM. The new station would retain CRKU's Oldies format.
The remaining eight applications were all denied. They were from:
*Acadia Broadcasting Ltd for a licence for a Soft Rock / Pop English-language commercial FM.
*Evanov Communications Inc. for an Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM.
*Frank Torres, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a Jazz and Blues English-language commercial FM.
*K-Rock 1057 Inc. for an Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM.
*Larche Communications Inc. for a Classic Hits English-language commercial FM.
*Newcap Inc. for a soft AC/Classics Hits English-language commercial FM.
Kawartha Lakes applications:
*Anderson Parish Media Inc. for a Middle of the Road contemporary music English-language commercial FM.
*Andy McNabb, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a Christian talk specialty FM.
In announcing its decision the CRTC noted that the last two applications were not made in response to the call for applications for a Peterborough licence but were technically mutually exclusive and hence were considered along with the Peterborough applications.
It noted that there is currently one commercial station CKLY-FM, in Kawartha Lakes and that in 2004 and 2005 it had denied applications by the McNabb and Anderson respectively for a licence on the basis of CKLY-FM's below average profitability and the potential negative impact of a new entrant on that station. It commented that CKLY-FM's financial situation has not significantly changed since then and again denied both applications.
In Peterborough, where there are currently four commercial radio stations, as well as one Christian music station and one campus radio station, it considered that the market could sustain one additional station but not more as a second station might cause undue pressure on the overall profitability of the market.
However it said that the conversion of an existing AM would have minimal impact and noted that approval of the conversion would be consistent with past decisions.
As already noted there were no radio announcements in Ireland and in the UK Ofcom only posted two radio announcements.
One was an invitation of declarations of intent to apply for the FM local commercial radio licence for Wolverhampton, currently held by Wolverhampton Area Radio Limited, broadcasting as 107.7 The Wolf. The licence expires in October next year and the closing date for declarations of intent is June 5 this year.
The second related to the Canterbury and Dover/Folkestone FM licences, currently held by KMFM Canterbury Limited and KMFM Folkestone Limited. No other declarations of intent were received by the closing date so the incumbents are being invited to reapply for the licences under the agency's 'fast-track' procedure.
In the US there is still no word as noted from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in relation to a ruling on the Sirius-XM merger and things were fairly quiet on other fronts although a number of radio enforcement decisions were posted and the agency posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to collect USD 312,000,000 in regulatory fees for Fiscal Year 2008 and sought comment on several regulatory fee issues for the year.
Included in the latter was a request for comment on the most efficient methods of assessing a regulatory fee on expanded band AM licenses. These stations, in the 1610-1700 kHz range, are currently exempt from payment of regulatory fees as a matter of policy whereas standard band AM stations, in the 540-1600 kHz range, are subject to regulatory fees but the exemption was not permanent.
The agency is also asking for comment on the administrative and operational processes used to collect annual section 9 regulatory fees. The agency notes that for media services it has been sending fee assessment notifications on a per-facility basis including the assessed fee amount for the facility in question, as well as the data attributes that determined the fee amount.
It also notes that a staff review of the BIA Publications, Inc., Master Access Radio Analyzer Database, as of May 16, 2003, showed some 10,427 of the 10,945 commercial radio stations in the United States to have revenue of USD 6 million or less, which would qualify them as a small business, although this overstates the numbers because of the many stations affiliated with much larger organizations.
In enforcement actions as well as issuing penalties of USD 17,000 and USD 10,000 to two pirate operators (See RNW May 8 - neither had replied to a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) but we expect them now to appeal against the penalties) other penalties proposed included the following ( In descending order of amount):
*USD 8,000 NAL to Centennial Licensing II, LLC, for violation of commission rules relating to control of a station when it sought and received an injunction restricting the format that 3 Daughters Media , Inc., licensee of WBLT-AM, Bedford, Virginia, in the Roanoke-Lynchburg Arbitron Metro area could use.
The finding arose from a previous assignment by Gary E. Burns of the licence of WLNI-FM, Lynchburg, to Centennial Broadcasting, L.L.C., which has an attributable interest in Centennial Licensing II, as part of which Burns entered into a non-compete agreement for which he received an extra USD 25,000 and which prohibited him, directly or through a business entity, from operating a radio station in the Metro Area for a period of five years if the station utilizes a "format substantially similar" to that used by WLNI on its consummation date. .
3 Daughters subsequently acquired WBLT-AM, and changed its programming to a format which Centennial believed was in violation of the Non-Compete Agreement in response to which Centennial went to court and gained a permanent injunction preventing Burns from participating in or being in any manner connected with the ownership, operation, management or control of any commercial AM or FM broadcast business at any broadcasting station that is included in the Roanoke-Lynchburg Arbitron Metro radio market for a period of five years if that business station uses the following programming formats - All Talk, News/Talk, Full Service Talk or Specialized Talk with a focus on current events and/or politics. 3 Daughters, Inc. is also subject to the same injunction so long as Burns is directly or indirectly its licensee, principal, agent, consultant, employee, proprietor, partner, lender, shareholder, director, or officer.
Burns and 3 Daughters had objected to the assignment to Centennial by Mid Atlantic Network, Inc of the licences of six stations in Virginia - WINC-AM and WINC-FM, Winchester; WFVA-AM and WBQB-FM, Fredericksburg; WWRE-FM, Berryville ; and WWRT-FM, Strasburg - claiming that Centennial violated FCC regulations when it sought to enforce the con-compete agreements format restrictions and that it lacks the requisite character to be a Commission licensee because it obtained unauthorized control over Station WBLT-AM when the District Court granted Centennial's motion to enforce the parties' Non-Compete Agreement. They also requested that Centennial be cited for the maximum allowable forfeiture amount of USD 325,000 and be ordered to move to dissolve the District Court's injunction or alternatively that a Commission hearing be ordered to determine, among other things, whether Centennial possesses the requisite character qualifications to be a Commission licensee.
Centennial had argued that the objection should be dismissed because it is not a party to the applications although it concedes that Centennial Broadcasting and Centennial Broadcasting II, the parent of the assignee, are "affiliated" and that the District Court has previously considered and rejected the Objectors' argument that Centennial violated Section 310(d) of the Act by enforcing the Non-Compete Agreement.
The FCC said the violation of the Act was a separate issue from the enforceability of the non-compete agreement under state law and held that Centennial violated the act when it sought and gained the injunction restricting the programming formats of WBLT-AM, thus gaining unauthorized control over the station. It did not uphold the contention that Centennial was unfit to be a licensee and granted the assignment on the condition that Centennial comply with the Act by taking all necessary actions to dissolve the Permanent Injunction against 3 Daughters and Gary Burns and refraining from further attempts to enforce the format restriction covenant in the Non-Compete Agreement.
It also imposed the base level forfeiture of USD 8,000 and noted that Burns shares culpability with Centennial for the violation because he was separately compensated USD 25,000 for agreeing to the format restriction and actively negotiated the unlawful provision adding that Burns had also previously certified to the Commission that the Non-Compete agreement complied with the Act and Commission rules and policies.
It added, "As a going forward matter, we caution all applicants that they will be held strictly accountable for disclosing any contract terms that may not fully comply with this Commission policy.
*Issued USD 7,000 NAL to Snow College, licensee of non-commercial educational station KAGJ-FM, Ephraim, Utah for late filing of renewal application and unauthorized operation after its licence expired. It also renewed the licence. The amount is made up of a USD 3,000 base forfeiture for late filing plus USD 4,000 for the unauthorized operation for which the base forfeiture is USD 10,000.
*Issued USD 7,000 NAL to Sunflower Communications, Inc., licensee of KINO-AM, Winslow, Arizona, for late filing of renewal application and unauthorized operation after its licence expired. It also renewed the licence. The amount is made up of a USD 3,000 base forfeiture for late filing plus USD 4,000 for the unauthorized operation for which the base forfeiture is USD 10,000.
*Issued USD 2,000 NAL to Northeast Gospel Broadcasting, Inc. for late failure of renewal applications for, and unauthorized operation of, four FM Translator Stations in Bennington, Vermont and Buskirk and Troy, New York.
The Commission also renewed the licence of Crystal Coast Communications, Inc.'s WRIV-AM, Riverhead, New York, but imposed a 25 percent late-fee penalty charge. Crystal Coast had filed its application on time but failed to include the required filing fee.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-05-11: In another sign of the growth of online audiences, the BBC says that its Embedded Media Player, which was rolled out only four weeks ago on its news and sports websites, has helped increase the plays and daily users of the sites by more than half.
With the new player video and audio clips are embedded within story pages on the sites, making it more easy for users to play the content and also send it on to their friends and the BBC says that on it s news site the average number of daily unique users of audio and video has risen from 528,000 to 762,000, while average daily plays of content have increased from 636,000 to 978,000.
Click-throughs - when a user chooses to access audio or video from a text story page - are up from an average of 2.5% to 20%, with some stories as high as 90%.
The corporation does not give separate figures for video and audio accesses although it highlights video, specifically Burma cyclone cover with 248,000 views on 6 May.
Its Head of Editorial Development, Multi-Media Journalism, Pete Clifton said the "The embedded player really does justice to all our fantastic video and audio clips and we are delighted it has been so well received by the users of our News and Sport sites. Our mission is to make our content easier to find, play and share, and the embedded player hits all those aims perfectly."
2008-05-10: Clear Channel Communications has announced first quarter revenues up 4. % on a year earlier to USD 1.6 billion but notes that this includes a USD 48.1 million increase due to movements in foreign exchange, excluding revenue growth would have been 1%.
Expenses were up 8% to USD 1.1 billion, including a USD 41.9 million increase due to currency exchange movements, without which the increase would have been 4%, and also USD 9.6 million of non-cash compensation expense, up from USD 8.2 million a year earlier.
Income before discontinued operations increased 70% to USD 161.4 million (from 19 cents to 32 cents per diluted share) , but the increase was mainly due to an approximate USD 67.2 million non-taxable gain on the divestiture of its 50% interest in Clear Channel Independent, a South African outdoor advertising company. Excluding this gain, income before discontinued operations would have been down slightly - from USD 95.1 million to USD 94.2 million (19 cents per diluted share.
Within the figures, radio revenues were down 4% to USD 769.6 million whilst Outdoor was up 12% to USD 775.6 million. The company completed the disposal of its TV group to Providence Equity Partners Inc. for USD 1 billion in March and its results are classified as discontinued operations.
Regarding radio disposals, Clear Channel noted that of the 448 stations it put up for sale in November 2006, 173 are no longer being marketed but will be retained and 275 were left up for sale: It adds that up to the end of march it had sold 223 non-core radio stations, that 52 more were classified as discontinued operations with 32 of these under definitive asset purchase agreements and 20 still being marketed for sale, with 17 of these under definitive assert purchase agreements subsequent to the end of March.
CEO Mark P. Mays said the company "continued to execute on our strategic plan during first quarter in the face of a challenging macro-economic climate" and added, "While our results were affected by the soft advertising market, we continued to out-deliver the majority of our media industry peers. Our Outdoor results benefited from the global diversification of our footprint, as well as our ongoing efforts to expand our digital presence. We are solidly on track in rolling out our digital installation plan, which continues to strengthen our long-term growth potential. Our radio operations out-performed the majority of our markets in the quarter and we continued to invest in our content and online assets in an effort to strengthen our value proposition to both our listeners and advertisers. We believe our concerted investment strategy will position our businesses for growth over the long-term."
Regarding the buyout by private equity partners, Clear Channel noted that it had sued the banks who had committed to financing the debt connected to the merger for tortious interference but warned that it is unable to estimate a closing date and is not certain that a closing will occur.
The buyout values Clear Channel shares at USD 39.20 and they remain well below this although they were up 0.54% on Friday to end the week at USD 30.00
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2008-05-10: Bauer-owned Kerrang! radio has fired breakfast host Tim Shaw following an investigation into a competition on the station that found that he had breached its rules.
He had been suspended on April 22 after an anonymous letter that had been sent to the Birmingham Mail was passed on to the station, which launched an internal investigation.
At the time he told the paper he had "explanation, but my priority is making sure things are OK at work": The station said the competition concerned did not involve premium rate phone lines which have been at the heart of a number of complaints about British radio and TV competitions that lead to a record GBP 5.68 million (USD 11.1 million) fine on ITV earlier this week and Ofcom simply said it had received a complaint that it was investigating.
The following day his co-host Kate Lawler said Shaw was off air "celebrating St George's Day on his own" and the next day simply that he was away.
Following Shaw's dismissal Kerrang! programme director Gordon Davidson said "We have a very open and honest relationship with our listeners and no matter who breaks that trust we have to act. After a full investigation, we have decided to terminate Tim Shaw's contract."
The station has broadcast an on air apology and put Sony winning duo Simon James and Hill into the "Morning After show" slot from next week, moving Lawler to drivetime until it announces a new schedule.
In other UK radio moves, Global Radio-owned LBC 97.3 has signed Tre Azam, a former contestant on the TV show "Apprentice", to host a Saturday afternoon show. Azam had already made regular appearances on the station commenting on the current series of the TV show and as a guest host.
Another former contestant on the show, James Max, who was also signed up by the station, is to move from his Saturday early breakfast show to the 10:00 mid-morning show as part of weekend changes at the station that also include a breakfast show hosted by Katie Breathwick and Richard Mackney, and a Saturday afternoon sports show, "Summer Scores", hosted by Alex Jensen, son of David "Kid" Jensen.
Previous Global Radio:
2008-05-10: Former KGO-AM, San Francisco, talk host Bernie Ward has admitted to distribution of child pornography by e-mail in a plea deal that will send him face at least five years federal prison: He had been charged with two counts of distributing and one count of receiving Internet images of child pornography, although specific details of the allegations were sealed, and was initially suspended by the Citadel station (See RNW Dec 8, 2007) and then fired at the end of December.
Ward's attorney Doron Weinberg said that as part of the deal federal prosecutors agreed to drop two additional child pornography charges and ask for a sentence of no more than nine years: The maximum is 20 years and Ward had initially pleaded not guilty, saying he had downloaded pornographic images over a few weeks as research for a book on hypocrisy among Americans who preach morality in public.
The San Francisco Chronicle notes in its report that federal law flatly prohibits possessing, receiving or distributing child pornography - regardless of intent - and requires at least five years in prison for each conviction and adds that his defence appeared o be wakened when Oakdale police in February released transcripts in of a series of online sex chats between Ward and a dominatrix, who went under the name of 'Sexfairy', in December 2004 and January 2005. She had alerted the police, they said, that Ward had sent her an image of child pornography and let them have a copy of the image and messages.
These it says quote Ward as fantasizing about naked children with no apparent reference to any subject he was researching and Assistant U.S. Attorney General Alice Fisher said in a written statement that the 15 to 150 images Ward admitted sending "involved prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, some with sadistic, masochistic or violent conduct."
Weinberg said outside court that his client had been "playing roles" in the message exchange and that he would argue for a five-year sentence for Ward rather than the nine years that prosecutors are seeking.
Since his indictment was unsealed last December Ward, a former Roman Catholic priest who is married with four children, has been confined to his San Francisco home, with electronic monitoring, as a condition of USD 250,000 bail and has been allowed to leave only to work, to drive his children to and from school, and to go to church.
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker granted Weinberg's request to delay accepting the plea until a sentencing hearing Aug. 28.
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2008-05-09: The latest round of US radio results have in general produced another set of falling revenues and profits down or turning into losses although Salem was a notable exception to the last and Citadel Broadcasting to the former as its revenues were boosted by its ABC Radio acquisition, albeit same station revenues were down.
Overall Citadel revenues were up from USD 92.9 million to USD 205.8 million with operating income up from USD 35.4 million a year earlier to USD 62.1 million but the increase was due to the acquisition of ABC Radio and pro-forma net revenues fell by 4.8% to USD 202.8 million, a decline the company put down mainly to a fall of USD 11.7 million in radio market revenues partially offset by an increase at its Radio Network.
Overall operating income for the quarter was down 31.3% to USD 17.6 million, a fall Citadel put down to a non-cash charge related to its move from Interep to Katz and the inclusion of ABC Radio results, without which the total would have been around USD 39.9 million. The figures also included a 354% increase in net interest charges primarily linked to the financing of the merger with ABC Radio and a special distribution of USD 276.5 million to pre-merger shareholders: Citadel also noted that in the first quarter of this year it prepaid approximately USD 113.3 million of its senior debt resulting in a gain on extinguishment of debt, net of costs, of approximately USD 19.9 million.
Overall Citadel recorded a net loss for the quarter of USD 8.3 million (three cents per basic share) compared to net income a year earlier of USD 6.8 million (six cents per basic share).
Chairman and CEO Farid Suleman said this year was a "transition year for ABC Radio" and added, "The Company is making significant changes at its major market radio stations in order to position the group for growth in the second half of 2008 and 2009. The Company completed a major restructuring of these stations late in the first quarter, including format changes in three markets, and expects a reduction in expenses in the second quarter and throughout the remainder of 2008 and 2009. The ABC Network had a positive quarter with both an increase in revenue and reduction in expenses when compared to the prior year quarter. The Company will continue to utilize its considerable free cash flow to pay down debt during 2008."
At the company's conference call Suleman noted that Citadel's revenues in major markets where it acquired ABC stations were down 12% overall with national revenues down 35% and local ones down 5% but said he expected national revenues to pick up following the switch of all its rep business to Katz: Interep had represented ABC stations nationally.
On the positive side, Suleman said he saw Hispanic radio and interactive revenues as growth areas and was also positive on potentials for cost savings at the ABC stations it had acquired but he was less optimistic about its Urban stations. He also commented on rumours that host Sean Hannity was intending to leave the network, saying they were in negotiations but would only do profitable deals, adding, "The era of doing stupid deals is over; we're not going to do that."
At Radio One Inc. net revenues were down 2% to USD 72.5 million; station operating income was down 15% to USD 28.9 million; operating income was down 16% to USD 18.5 million and a net income of USD 744,000 last year went to a net loss of USD 18.3 million (19 cents per share).
For continuing operations, the figures went from net income of USD 1.3 million a year ago to a loss of USD 10.5 million (11 cents a share): Radio One noted that figures for KRBV-FM, Los Angeles, which is being sold to Bonneville for USD 137.5 million (See RNW Mar 25) and whose sale is on track to close during the second quarter, are classified as a discontinued operation.
President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III, said of the performance, "While our radio stations outperformed their markets by almost 600 basis points, driven mainly by local advertising, the significant decline in national advertising held our overall core radio station revenue growth to 0.9%. Under the current market conditions, I believe this performance demonstrates that our management changes and leadership are having a favourable impact."
At the company's conference call Liggins said he was now focussed on online activities and that in the past he had held back spending in the area because he didn't want just "good radio websites" but something that could be "extraordinarily formidable and ultimately win the entire African-American space."
The company he said has now invested USD 30 million in Interactive One and also social networking site Community Connect Inc. to create a "full-fledged online company. Not just great radio sites, but a full-fledged online company that can actually compete for online dollars."
He added that he thought current radio digital revenue, although growing healthily, is just re-purposed radio dollars "In fact, I know that they're just re-purposed radio dollars because I've had enough conversations with media buyers."
Liggins said he had high hopes that Radio One's online activities could complete with the likes of AOL, Google and MySpace for online revenues, adding that they were "becoming an African-American-targeted media company. We're creating Univision for black America."
CFO Peter Thompson said radio revenue for the markets in which Radio One operates was down 5% percent in the quarter, and that for Radio One on a same-station basis excluding Reach Media, the company's revenue was down 2.3 percent. If the Gospel Cruise NTR event, which generated over USD 2.5 million of revenue, is included, Thomson said radio revenues are up 0.9 percent year-over-year.
Also brought up in the call was Liggins' pay - his base salary was increased to USD 980,000 plus stock and stock options, and a "make whole" bonus of USD 4.8 million after the company's compensation committee concluded he had been underpaid for the last three years. The committee, said Thomson, concluded that Liggins was a "unique asset and uniquely situated to lead Radio One into the future."
Liggins was also asked about his package and said he would "absolutely defend it, because I have answers for everything."
Saga reported net operating revenues down marginally - by USD 351,000 - to USD 31.53 million but operating expenses were down by USD 574,000 to USD 25.4 million and net income was up 23% to USD 910,000 (From four cents to five cents per diluted share).
The company also reported spending a further USD 1.4 million buying back just under 240,000 shares during the quarter - as of this week it had bought back a total of more than 2.25 million shares.
At its conference call, CEO Ed Christian was cautious about the prospects for radio, saying, "Radio is recession-resistant, it's not recession-proof." He pointed to the general economic climate saying the industry had to be watch "when there are cracks in a consumer's ability to keep up with their auto and credit card debt" and noted the price of gasoline, unemployment levels and house price falls plus auto sales at ten-year lows, concluding, "Put all of those things together, and it's not great."
Salem, like Saga, reported an increase in net income and revenue fall although the income gain was from one off factors: It rose from USD 3 million to USD 5 million (from 12 to 21 cents per share) including a USD 6 million gain from the sale of KTEK-FM, Houston, a USD 1.4 million gain from discontinued operations and a USD 700,000 non-cash compensation charge.
Revenues were down by 1,3% to USD 54.4 million and net broadcasting revenue was down 3.2% to USD 48.4 million with station operating income down by 9.1 percent, to USD 16.2 million.
Same station broadcasting revenues were down 3.9% to USD 46.5 million with same station operating income down 7.5 percent, to USD 16.2 million
For the second quarter of 2008, Salem is projecting total revenue to decrease in the low-single digit range over second quarter 2007 total revenue of USD 59.2 million with operating expenses before gain or loss on disposal of assets to increase in the low-single digit range over second quarter of 2007 operating expenses of USD 47.7 million. It adds that this increase is impacted by our continued investment in our non-broadcast business and says broadcasting operating expenses are projected to be flat as compared to second quarter 2007 broadcasting operating expenses of USD 33.2 million.
Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) revenues were down by 6% to USD 36.4 million, put down primarily to a 10% fall in radio revenues to USD 33 million offset by a 62% rise in TV revenues to USD 3.4 million. It's made an operating loss of USD 2.8 million compared an operating profit of USD 6.0 million a year earlier and overall net income of USD 1.4 million a year ago turned into a loss of USD 5.9 million (from a positive two cents to a loss of 12 cents per common share basic and diluted).
Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón Jr. said the results reflected "substantial growth momentum at MegaTV, offset by decreased revenues at our radio group due to the effects of a sluggish advertising environment. "
He added, "Consumer interest across our media assets has never been stronger and we are increasingly benefiting from our ability to provide a wide range of blue-chip clients with targeted advertising opportunities spanning TV, radio and online. "
"We believe the growth opportunity at MegaTV is substantial as we execute our TV strategy and build awareness of our brand and differentiated content. Although the radio advertising market remains difficult primarily due to the impact of the economic downturn, we are successfully building on our loyal listener base in the nation's top markets and continue to operate the leading Spanish-language radio outlets in the country, including the #1 Spanish-language station in America. Looking ahead, we remain focused on capitalizing on our solid content and expanded distribution platform to further build our audience and improve our financial results."
Looking ahead SBS says it expects second quarter revenue to be down in the mid-single digit range.
During the company's conference call Alarcón commented on pressure from investor Discovery Group, which owns around a tenth of the company, for it to go private, sell out, or change direction, saying that "after studied deliberation, including the analysis and advice of a major Wall Street investment bank, our board has decided to ratify the company's existing strategic agenda and operating philosophy, and has determined that no further action or comment is warranted with He also expressed optimism about the company's interactive potential and noted online advertising from the likes of Disney World, Volkswagen, and the Hallmark Movie Channel.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2008-05-09: James Whale the former talkSPORT late-night host who was sacked by the UTV station earlier this week (See RNW May 6) for calling on his listeners to vote for Boris Johnson as Mayor of London - a contravention of UK impartiality rules - has resurfaced at Virgin Media's shopping channel Bid TV.
An announcement on his site says he "will be starting on BidTV Channel later in the month in an evening slot" and he commented that he had worked as a trainee buyer at Harrods so his career had now "come full circle" and added, "I'm up for a new challenge and it won't be long before I know more about diamond jewellery, toasters and kettles than anyone could ever imagine."
Bid TV said talkSPORT's loss was their gain.
Kelvin MacKenzie, Whale's former boss at talkSPORT before it was sold to UTV, has described the decision to sack the host as "ridiculous" and "cowardly."
In his column in The Sun tabloid newspaper on Thursday Mackenzie said the station should not have pre-empted an Ofcom report into the incident, writing, "Whale was quite wrong to say 'I back Boris' during his show. There are strict rules on neutrality even though in an online world you must wonder whether there is any point to them."
He added, "But the regulator Ofcom had not even decided the outcome of the complaints before the brave Mr Dee [talkSport programme director, Moz Dee] picked up the phone and fired Whale without compensation. I am told by insiders at Ofcom that they were quite shocked by this precipitant action. This guy had done 13 years on the late-night slot, had good numbers and had been the company's broadcaster of the year last year."
MacKenzie also called on talkSport to sack another of its presenters, the Respect MP George Galloway.
James Whale web site:
2008-05-09: A New York judge has thrown out three of the claims being made by private equity buyers Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners against the banks involved in their USD 39.20 a share buyout of Clear Channel but decided a fourth claim should go to trial according to Reuters.
The agency quoting a court filing said Justice Helen Freedman had decided a breach of contract claim should go forward but threw out the other claims including those of fraud and civil conspiracy. No date was set for the trial but the two buyers and Clear Channel are also suing the banks in Texas where they claim "tortious interference" with the deal and seek damages exceeding USD 26 billion.
Since the deal was first agreed Clear Channel's shares have fallen - they closed Thursday at USD 29.84 - and the banks stand to make a paper loss of billions if the deal goes through. They have argued that as the deadline for the deal if June 12 they have not breached their agreement and also say that New York courts hold that, except in cases involving real property, a party may not secure specific performance of a contract to lend money.
The potential buyers say they seek an order forcing the banks to stick to a commitment letter detailing plans to fund the deal and Reuters quoted a spokesman for them as saying of the latest ruling "We are especially pleased that the court has confirmed that the banks may be forced under New York law to live up to the commitments they made to finance the Clear Channel transaction. The evidence we have presented thus far is just the tip of the iceberg of extensive documentation and days of testimony we will present at trial>"
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-05-09: BBC Radio 2 has launched its 2008 "Young Choristers Of The Year" competition with a closing date for entries of July 31 after which a shortlist of preliminary finalists will be considered by a panel of judges in September, who will then select the four finalists for each section.
The competition is open to choir boys and girls aged between 11 and 16 and the final takes place at St Paul's Cathedral in London on Friday 31 October 2008: The winners - a boy and a girl - receive a trophy and advice from some of the country's finest voice coaches and their winning performances will be broadcast by the station on the station on Sunday 2 November 2008.
This year's judging panel will be chaired by Andrew Carwood, Director of Music at St Paul's Cathedral who said the event was "a wonderful celebration of the contribution young voices make to church music in all its glory and variety."
He added, "Many a professional singer has begun their musical career singing with their local church choir. Several winners of this competition over the years have gone on to star in West End shows or classical careers, but it's the distinctive sound of the voice of a choir boy or choir girl that makes this competition unique."
2008-05-08: Tribune Company has appointed Randy Michaels, who had been serving as executive vice president and chief executive officer of its interactive and broadcast divisions since December last year, as chief operating officer with responsibility for all aspects of the company's publishing, broadcasting and interactive divisions.
He was described by Sam Zell, Tribune's chairman and CEO, as "one of the most creative human beings I've ever known." Zell added that he was "exactly what Tribune needs to keep moving forward-smart, decisive, relentless, irreverent, fun and cutting edge."
Michaels was Jacor Communications' President and CEO when Zell was its chairman and remained in radio when Clear Channel bought Jacor, eventually becoming Chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Radio.
He said following the appointment, "The advertising environment is tough, the real estate crisis is affecting our classifieds something awful, and people are saying 'newspapers are dead.' So, naturally, I want to take on even more responsibility for our print business."
"Despite the problems, " he added, "We have world-class brands with unlimited potential. We're in the biggest markets, and print still grabs a bigger share of advertising revenue than any other medium. On the broadcasting side, our TV stations are leading the industry in growth. By using the resources and support of these amazing brands, we can also build tremendously strong interactive businesses. There is a lot of upside here."
Previous Tribune Co.:
2008-05-08: Cox Radio has reported first quarter revenues down 2.9% on a year ago to USD 97.8 million within which national revenues were down 3.6% and local ones 4.3%, partially offset by a 12.5% increase in Internet and other non-traditional revenues.
Station operating income was down 4.4% to USD 25.1 million and net income went down by 5.3% to USD 12.8 million (an unchanged 14 cents per diluted share).
Cox noted that revenues grew strongly at its stations in Houston, Birmingham, Long Island and Tulsa but this was more than offer by revenue falls in Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, Tampa and Richmond.
At the company's conference call President and CEO Bob Neil noted a tough advertising climate all round but said he was pleased with Cox's performance compared to its peers. He also expressed scepticism regarding the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM). Speaking of an "unending stream of sampling problems in Philadelphia" where the Media Rating Council has denied it accreditation: It is accredited in Houston but under a different system.
Neil said the accreditation refusal meant the system did not "hold up to scrutiny" and noted that Beasley Broadcast Group President and COO Bruce Beasley had harshly criticized the PPM in Philadelphia at its first quarter conference call earlier this month. He also suggested self-interest could have something to do with Arbitron's commitment to the system, since "senior manager have millions of dollars on the line in bonuses if the rollout continues, and zero dollars on the line if the data is wrong."
In essence, commented Neil, "they're being paid to roll out the PPM system, whether it's right or not, whether it causes millions of dollars in revenue losses and thousands of job losses in radio and advertising or not. Personally, I don't think it's good business to pay people to put their ethics aside in favour of dollars, and I know it's not good business for radio."
At Westwood One revenues were down 6.5% to USD 106.6 million, put down primarily to "lower audience and inventory levels, a reduction in the size of our sales force and increased competition."
Within the revenues, national revenues were down 2.5% - put down largely to a reduction in RADAR rated network inventory - and local/regional revenues were down 11.2%.
Westwood One's bottom line was affected by first quarter special charges of USD 8 million compared to USD 400,00 a year earlier: They included a USD 5.0 million payment made to CBS Radio in conjunction with the closing of the new long-term arrangement with CBS Radio as well as additional fees payable to outside advisors as a result of closing that arrangement.
As a result operating loss in the first quarter of 2008 was USD 3.0 million compared to operating income of USD 7.3 million in the first quarter of 2007 and overall net income a year earlier of USD 700,000 went to a loss of USD 5.3 million (from 1 cent per diluted common share to a loss of six cents per diluted common share).
Westwood One's President and CEO Tom Beusse said of the results, "We have just begun to make the necessary adjustments to and investments in our business to position us for growth. With the recent addition to our management ranks of Andrew Hersam, Chief Revenue Officer, we expect to significantly improve our sales efforts as well as rebuild and reorganize our sales staff throughout this year."
He added, "The radio network marketplace continues to show growth in the current year to date period despite the weakness in the local and national marketplace. While we are still trailing the market growth, our bookings continue to show low to mid single digit improvement over last year. In addition, as a result of the consummation of the new CBS arrangement, we expect to see growth in the national audience that we sell to advertisers."
Looking ahead Westwood One said it expects 2008 revenues to increase by low single digits with "Adjusted EBITDA to decrease 15% - 20% as a result of making strategic investments in our core business. "
"These investments," it said, "will focus on increasing the audience we deliver to our advertisers and expanding our program offerings. We will also improve and expand our sales force. While improving these core elements of our business, we will increase our focus on developing content for use across all media platforms."
Previous Cox Radio:
Previous Media Rating Council:
Previous Westwood One:
2008-05-08: NME Radio, a spin-off from NME TV that was launched in November last year, is to start test transmissions on June 2 with a menu that will include a two-hour special presented by Rick Gervais that will be broadcast from June 9 and will then be repeated daily until the full launch, which is scheduled for June 24.
The station will be available on the Sky and Virgin Media digital TV platforms, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) in southeast England, and online. It will also be available from October on a number of FM stations through restricted service licences.
The special will reunite Gervais with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington, who previously worked with him on the Ricky Gervais Show podcasts and Gervais' Xfm show.
NME Radio managing director Sammy Jacob, who worked with Gervais and Merchant on their Saturday show at London Xfm said that hearing the trio in action again "will no-doubt keep me on my toes."
He added, "I used to bury myself hearing Ricky and Steve on air in 1997 fearing we would lose our licence each time they went on. Having Karl on board has only made matters worse. I look forward to some compelling radio."
The Ricky Gervais Show was listed in the 2007 Guinness World Records as the most downloaded podcast ever: It began as a free download via the Guardian website before turning into a paid-for podcast that regularly topped the iTunes chart.
2008-05-08: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined a Boston pirate station operator USD 17,000 for operating an unlicensed FM transmitter and failing to permit a station inspection.
It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for this amount to Charles Clemons of Boston in February this year but he failed to respond and the forfeiture was confirmed.
In another enforcement action the agency fined a Brooklyn man USD 10,000 for providing services and facilities incidental to the unlicensed transmission of communications by radio.
Trevor W. Whitely was also issued with a notice of apparent violation for this amount in February but again had failed to respond.
2008-05-08: Arbitron Inc. has announced a multi-year contract with the Radio Research Consortium (RRC) for syndicated radio ratings services in all radio markets that Arbitron measures in the United States.
It covers both diary and Portable People Meter (PPM) services in the top 50 US markets as and when the PPM service is commercialized in a market.
The Radio Research Council will sublicense Arbitron radio ratings data to non-commercial radio stations and their supporting organizations and its President Joanne Church said it was "pleased to continue its history of providing Arbitron estimates to non-commercial radio stations nationwide" and added," We are excited about exploring the potential of the PPM methodology, especially its utility in measuring the public service component of non-commercial media programming."
2008-05-07: Latest Australian ratings, covering the period March 23 to April 26, whilst not seeing movement amongst the leaders showed more change below thanks in part to strong performance from the Australian Radio Network (ARN) whose Classic Hits and Mix stations did well - in Sydney WSFM took its share up from 6.8 to 8.5 making it the second-ranked FM behind Austereo's 2-DAY and fourth overall - Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB retained top rank but fell back from 12.7 to 11.7 and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's ABC 702 in third place was down from 9,8 to 8.9. The ARN station is now within striking distance of third rank overall.
ARN also had success from Mix's breakfast team of Sonia Kruger and Todd McKenney as they took their share up from 4.7 to 5.7 and were up a rank to eighth.
Elsewhere Mix held onto top FM rank in Adelaide although its share was down to 12.3 from 12.7 whilst leader 5AA was up from 15.4 to 16.7; in Brisbane 97.3 FM increased its share from 10.0 to 11.9 and was up a rank to third - leader DMG's Nova was down from 14.1 to 13.9 and second-placed FM 104 was up from 12.0 to 12.4; in Melbourne Fairfax Media's 3AW held onto its lead with 15.2, down from 15.3 whilst Austereo's FOXFM in second place was up from 12.9 to 13.3 ; and in Perth Mix held onto its lead although share slipped from 17.6 to 17.5 whilst second-placed 92.9 took its share up from 11.9 to 12.7.
ARN chief executive Bob Longwell said he was pleased with "another strong result for our stations and breakfast teams in Sydney and Brisbane, and in particular WSFM, Mix 106.5 and 97.3FM."
He added that the "breakfast teams across all stations have performed solidly and we are very pleased with the results of this survey" and said "We continue to focus our efforts on consolidating the position of Mix and Classic Hits as the stations of choice in all of our key markets."
Austereo chief executive Michael Anderson highlighted the performances of FOX in Melbourne - "the clear FM market leader in Melbourne with excellent results from Matt and Jo at breakfast, across the workday and Hamish and Andy in drive" ; 2-DAY in Sydney which "remains well ahead of its nearest competition with strong results throughout the day" ; and the Today national network - "Hamish and Andy continue to rule most of the drive markets while the Hot30 Countdown at nights has seen great increases in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth."
Of Triple M he noted gains in Adelaide and Brisbane and commented, "We've got a new team on-air for breakfast at Triple M Adelaide and we're thrilled with their result today which proves Kym, Ali and Dzelde are connecting well with listeners. The Cage in Brisbane is continuing to improve and showing strength in the breakfast market."
City by city, the top stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA with 16.5 (15.4) - same rank; Mix with 12.3 (12.7) up from third; Nova with 11.5 (13.1) - down from second; *SAFM with 11.2 (12.0) remained fourth and ABC 891 with 11.2 (12.0) remained fifth.
*Brisbane - Nova with 13.9 (14.1) - same rank; Triple M with 12.4 (12.0) - same rank; 97.3 FM with 11.9 (10.0) - Up from fourth
*B105 with 9.7 (11.3) was down from this to fourth ahead of ABC 612 with 8.4 (8.3) - up from sixth and pushing 4BC with 8.0 (8.6) down a rank.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 15.2 (15.3) - same rank; Fox FM with 13.3 (12.9) - same rank; ABC 774 with 11.6 (11.6) - same rank;
* Gold FM with 8.4 (8.6) pulled up a rank to fourth, overtaking Nova 100 which, with 7.9 (9.9) was down a rank to fifth whilst Triple M with 5.8 (6.0) remained in sixth rank.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 17.5 (17.6) - same rank; 92.9 with 12.7 (11.9) - up from third; ABC 720 with 11.6 (13.2) - down from second;
*96FM pulled up to fourth from sixth with 10.0 (10.4) ahead of 6PR which fell from fourth to fifth with 10.0 (10.4) whilst Nova with 9.9 (9.6) was down from fifth to sixth.
*Sydney: 2GB 11.7 (12.7) - same rank; 2-DAY with 10.7 (11.0) - (same rank); ABC 702 with 8.9 (9.8) - same rank;
*Nova with 8.2 (7.9) fell to fifth behind WSM which was up to fourth from sixth with 8.5 (6.8),whilst Triple M went down from fifth to eighth with 6.0 (6.9) ; 2UE was up from eighth to sixth with 7.5 (6.2).and Mix 106.5 went down from seventh to ninth with 5.9 (6.4).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2008-05-07: Cumulus has reported first quarter net revenues up 0.7% to USD 72.90 million for the first quarter within which its cash revenues were up 1.3% to USD 69.67 million and barter revenues were down 10.9% to USD 3.23 million.
Station operating expenses were down 1% to USD 51.15 million and station operating income was up 4.8% to USD 21.75 million but overall Cumulus's net loss was up from USD 1.81 million to USD 4.24 million (from four to ten cents per diluted share) largely because of a USD 6 million rise in interest expenses to USD 20.5 million.
Cumulus noted that because of its pending merger with an investment group led by its Chairman, President and CEO Lewis W. Dickey, Jr. and an affiliate of Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity it did not hold a conference to discuss the results.
Cumulus shares ended Tuesday marginally down - by 0.18% at USD 5.68.
2008-05-07: GMG Radio has axed its two daily news shows on all but one of its thirteen stations.
The 15-minute programmes were aired at lunchtime and drivetime on GMGs Real, Century, Smooth and Rock Radio stations and GMG said the resources freed up by dropping them would be "put into providing exclusive material for its news bulletins throughout the day, and a new campaigning strand called The Big Story."
According to the UK Guardian, which is owned by the same parent. no job losses are planned as a result of the changes, which came into effect on Monday and it quoted GMG Radio group head of news, James Rea, as saying, "By refocusing our news resource we will be able to provide more compelling and original news content for our stations with a focus on the key day parts of breakfast and drivetime."
In a statement the group said the intention was "to give its stations a more original and campaigning news feel" with a "focus on providing exclusive material for key bulletins as well as news specials on the issues most relevant to our audiences"
UK Guardian report:
2008-05-07: Entercom Communications has revised its first quarter net income down from the figures announced last month (See RNW April 25), reducing the total by USD 500,000 to USD 5.2 million ( 14 cents per share as opposed to the 15 cents it first announced).
In a release it said that the figures have been "updated to reflect a court ruling in a pending litigation matter which occurred subsequent to the Company's previous earnings announcement."
It was told on April 30 it said that the California Superior Court had ruled in connection with the distribution of funds held in escrow since 2003 in connection with its acquisition of KWOD-FM in Sacramento.
The ruling has meant that it has had to increase reported interest expenses in the first quarter by USD 900,000 - USD 500,000 net of tax.
2008-05-06: UTV-owned talkSPORT has fired its long-time late night presenter James Whale, who had been with the station for 13 years since its launch as Talk Radio in 1995, for breaching of UK broadcasting regulations on impartiality by urging his listeners in March to vote for then Conservative candidate and now London Mayor Boris Johnson.
UTV took the action before regulator Ofcom had completed its inquiry into the breach on his show on March 20 that led to a number of complaints: talkSPORT said in a statement after conducting an internal inquiry, "It's very unfortunate. We have investigated the matter and after serious consideration, the station reached the decision that there was a clear breach of the rules and that we had no choice but to terminate his contract. James Whale is guilty of a gross error of judgment which we found to be totally unacceptable."
It continued, "Ofcom received a number of complaints following Whale's broadcast on March 20. Talk Sport has acknowledge the seriousness of the complaints received, does not excuse the content of the broadcast and has told Ofcom that it has taken steps to prevent this happening again. The matter is still under investigation by Ofcom so it would be inappropriate to comment any further on the details of the complaints."
It took the station a while before it removed references to Whale's Show from its website a profile was there late on Tuesday morning - but by Tuesday evening the station was listing James Rushden, who has taken over the show until a replacement is found, in Whales former midnight to 01:00 time slot and he had disappeared from its list of presenters.
The profile described him as an "outspoken and self-righteous late night king" and added that he had "developed a cult following over the years with his confrontational style that would have Attila the Hun running for the hills."
"James" it said, "loves nothing more than verbally assaulting callers on his late night phone-ins and it seems people on the other end of the line can't get enough as we've gone through eight switchboards in the last two years."
On Whales' own site he says he is no longer working for talkSPORT "broadcasting online for a while and is "looking to moving to another station."
In the news section of the site he says (Spelling as posted by him), "Due to a comment alledegaly breaking ofcoms rules James Whale no longer works for talkSPORT. However he is still going to continue with his succesful radio career either on another radio station or online. James would like to thank everyone for the hundreds of emails he has had in support of him." And then carries an e-mail link for complaints to talkSPORT.
In an earlier statement on the site he said the events had been "somewhat unplanned, to say the least and continued, "As you may be aware, I have been off air for a couple of weeks now. Contrary to rumour, this is not in any way due to ill health, and I'm feeling absolutely fine! I can't say too much right now, but as soon as I can I will let you know what is going on."
Whale, born Michael Whale in Surrey , began his career on Radio Metro in Newcastle, later moving to Radio Aire in Leeds before joining the then Talk Radio. He has won three Sony Awards. Politically he is a sceptic about global warming and is to the right: After interviewing United Kingdom Independence Part lead Nigel Farage on his show he said he hoped to run as a UKIP candidate in the Mayoral election, eliciting comment from Ofcom that he could not continue his radio show if he did.
talkSPORT web site:
James Whale web site:
2008-05-06: The banks who are involved in a legal dispute with Clear Channel and private equity groups led by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners have filed a new motion asking a Texas Court to dismiss Clear Channel's lawsuit against them according to Reuters.
The agency reports that in a new motion they argue that the suit is based on events that may not occur as the deal is subject to a June 12 deadline and argue that the lawsuit is "not ripe or justiciable and should be dismissed".
Last month Bexar County State District Judge Joe F. Brown Jr refused a request by the banks to dismiss the Texas lawsuit and set a June 2 trial date: Subsequently another judge in Bexar County rejected a banks request to delay that trial (See RNW Apr 30).
As well as the Clear Channel lawsuit in Texas in which it together with Bain and THL seeks a court order to force the banks to go through with the buyout at USD 39.20 per share- around USD 10 per share more than the current market (They opened today a USD 30) - the two private equity groups has also launched a lawsuit in New York.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-05-06: GMG's Manchester classic rock station, RockRadio was launched at 18:00 on Monday accompanied by a five-hour live music festival in the city's Festival Gardens that amongst other groups featured Queen tribute band Mercury; Led Zeppelin tribute band Let's Zep; Bad Company; Gun; and the Salford Jets who were fronted by Mike Sweeney, who is the station's drive time DJ.
The festival was intended to give a flavour of the station's output and Sweeney told the Manchester Evening News - owned by the same parent - of the audience, "We thought when we put this together it would be nice to get 1,000 people to come and watch, but to get crowds of 2-4,000 like we have is just stunning. I am absolutely gob smacked Initially we thought the target audience would be males of 35 and upwards, but looking at the crowds here today there are lots of woman and girls and boys. I think we might have underestimated our target audience."
Station director Joe Radcliffe said: "The festival seemed the perfect way to kick off a station which is going to be all about the music."
Manchester Evening News report:
2008-05-05: With a rather strange feeling, we open this week's look at print comment on radio with a UK view praising not only US radio but US radio drama.
The comment came from Paul Donovan in the UK Sunday Times and referred particularly to the introduction broadcast to a Los Angeles production of David Mamet's play "The Shawl", to be broadcast on the BBC World Service next weekend.
Donovan prefaces his comment on this with noting criticism by Peter Hall of the BBC for neglecting dramatists such as Chekhov, Ibsen and Shakespeare, and for calling plays "films" to which his rejoinder was that Hall should have been asked, " "Aren't you referring only to television?"
He then noted the BBC Radio 3 broadcast last Sunday of the Donmar Warehouse production of Othello about which he was complimentary but then added, "Majestic as it is, it would have benefited from a short introduction - to the Venetian setting, the themes of betrayal, jealousy and malevolence, and to the language of 1604 (which in this play includes lovely but obscure words such as antres, sequent, carack, mountebanks and coloquintida, all of which I had to go and look up)."
Donovan then continued on by commenting, "Why is British radio so lazy about this and American radio so good, not just with drama, but with opera, too? Anyone unconvinced that it can help the listener should tune in to the Los Angeles production of David Mamet's play The Shawl, about a strange séance, this coming Saturday on the BBC World Service. Susan Lowenberg's five- minute introduction to the author, his work, his distinctive dialogue and the cast is a model of its type. Radio 3 should hire her at once. Or revert to Richard Eyre, who also provided pithy, informative prefaces to Radio 3's 17 Shakespeare productions in 1999."
Donovan then detailed further UK radio drama aired recently but noted that "Though it is protected on Radios 3 and 4, drama is threatened beyond those networks", lamenting in particular the BBC Radio 2 decision to commission new Friday-night drama readings only for seasons or anniversaries.
After radio drama, drama of a different kind in the US, that concerned with comments by right and left-wing hosts Rush Limbaugh and Roseanne Barr that appear to relish the idea of riots in Denver during the Democratic National Convention.
We reported some of the comment about Limbaugh last week and this week in the Rocky Mountain News Dave Kopel contrasted his remarks with those made by Roseanne Barr, Air America's replacement for Randi Rhodes who quit the network after she got in hot water for comments made about Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro.
Kopel comments, "Rarely does a radio listener hear convergence between the views on Rush Limbaugh's right-wing Excellence in Broadcasting network, and the left-wing Air America network. Unfortunately, they did achieve consensus recently - in favour of riots at this summer's Democratic National Convention in Denver."
Barr, he reports, told her listeners, "we should a bunch of us go there and repeat the Democratic Convention from Chicago. Like, let's just cause a bunch of trouble." She volunteered to use her own money to rent a bus to take troublemakers to Denver."
Of Limbaugh, who backed off his original remarks somewhat, he comments, "There's a big difference between dreaming and desiring a terrible event (which is what Limbaugh was doing on April 23-24) and merely being ready to take political advantage of such an event (Limbaugh's April 25 version)."
And of the reaction of local hosts to the change, he comments, "The best local coverage of Limbaugh's remarks was on KHOW's afternoon Caplis and Silverman Show. The pair had been sparring for weeks about whether some earlier remarks of Limbaugh's had been pro-riot. But the April 23-24 remarks were so unambiguous that Caplis joined Silverman in declaring Limbaugh's words inappropriate."
" After Limbaugh's restatement on April 25, Silverman kept up the criticism, while Caplis, unduly credulous, said that he took Limbaugh at his word about the intent of the April 23-24 comments."
Finally hope for radio in the US from broadcast consultant Valerie Geller as detailed in his Radio Waves column in the San Francisco Chronicle by Ben Fong-Torres.
Geller, who is the author of "Creating Powerful Radio," was in the city to moderate a panel as part of a joint conference of the Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association and Fong-Torres reports that her topic" "Can Radio Survive? The Answer: The Powerful Personality," quickly ended up concentrating on the survival part with doubts expressed by audience members, many of them radio pros and professors."
He quoted Lynn Jimenez, business editor at KGO, as saying, "Radio's future could be great - as long as the corporate owners allow it," Jimenez but then adding that "even stations with good profit margins and cash flow are being stripped" - not only of personalities but also of basic personnel" and adding that with corporate radio it's like sausage: "We're taking the stuffing out and leaving the casing."
When one audience member brought up the issue of adverts having "gotten abusive to the point where it's not worth it" Geller commented that adverts were "paying the freight" and noted that a "good commercial can be as good as anything on the air" although the consensus was that the good ones are rare.
Robert Unmacht, a consultant with Radio-Info.com, said of this, "The amount of attention given to creativity in commercials is pretty slight Agencies don't care. On the local level, they used to have a production director who probably dealt with one station, maybe two. Today he's got eight, so the amount of attention each client gets is going to be minimal."
And on the issue of young listeners, Dave Sholin, co-host of KFRC's morning show, said all was not lost despite pessimism about their interest, commenting, "In New York, Z100 can sell out five Giants Stadium shows with kids. Hannah Montana is huge, and radio had a lot to do with it."
Geller suggested that part of the reason for disenchantment by younger listeners was that radio "fell in love with" the 25-5 demographic that advertisers wanted and ignored the 12 plus so that "we didn't serve the younger people, and there wasn't anything on for them. They went from age 9 to 11 or 12 to 15 to 18, with nothing on the radio for them. So when they're 20, why should they turn it on?"
On then to listening suggestions and first to this year's WorldPlay Season: The broadcasters taking part are ABC Australia; BBC World Service; CBC Canada; L.A. TheatreWorks; Radio New Zealand; and RTÉ Ireland and, as far as BBC World Service is concerned it began last Saturday with its production of "The Black Cat Murder Mystery" - or "Nostrovia Fitzrovia" by Marcy Kahan and next Saturday features LA TheatreWorks production of David Mamet's "The Shawl" as noted by Donovan.
The other plays in the season include a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation production of Gail Bowen's "The World According to Charlie D: First-time Caller, Long-time Listener; RTÉ's production of Julie Parsons' "The Sweet Smell of Cigarette Smoke"; and Radio New Zealand's production of Gary Henderson's "The Moehau".
Also with drama, the is last week's "Drama on 3" from BBC Radio 3 - the production of "Othello" mentioned by Donovan that we suggested last week: Next Sunday the "Drama on 3" is Michal Hasting's adaptation for radio of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's "The Leopard."
And sticking with BBC Radio 3, this weeks "The Essay" (22:00 GMT Monday through Thursday) is on "Emotional Landscapes" with four writers giving personal insights into different emotional states - "Tenderness"; "Patience"; "Guilt"; and "Courage" in that order.
Then for some podcasts from the BBC documentary archive which currently includes for a little while the April 22 first part of "The My Lai Tapes", which we have already suggested, and the second part from April 29 plus parts One and Two of "How Crime Took on the World", a look at global crime by Misha Glenny
In Part One, broadcast on April 28, he looked at marijuana production in Canada for export to the US and in the Second programme, broadcast on May , at cigarette smuggling in the Balkans.
RNW Note: We hope to be able to flesh out listening suggestions later but at the moment a busy schedule has somewhat limited listening.
Rocky Mountain News - Kopel:
San Francisco Chronicle - Fong-Torres:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2008-05-05: Lynne "Angel" Harvey, producer and wife of veteran US broadcaster Paul Harvey, who in late 2000 signed a 10-year, USD 100 million contract with ABC Radio Networks has died from leukemia in the couple's Chicago home. Her age was not given in a release from the "Paul Harvey News" office but she was reported by ABC News to be 92: It quoted the host as saying just before he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House in November 2005, "This is the highest honour I have received since 60-some years ago, when Angel said 'I do,'"
The then Lynne Cooper, was working as an education reporter at KXOK-AM in St. Louis, her hometown, when she met Paul Harvey, who was a special-events director at the station. They married in 1940 later moving to Chicago where they remained based. Their son Paul Jr. worked on their broadcasts with his parents.
She was credited with developing some of her husband's best-known broadcast features, including "The Rest of the Story" and in 1997 was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame, the first producer to be so honoured.
She was also a founding member of the board of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, home of the Hall of Fame: Its founder and president Bruce duMont described her as warm, smart and generous and said she was "one of the most remarkable behind-the-scenes talents in the history of American broadcasting, both radio and television", adding that she "was to Paul Harvey what Col. Parker was to Elvis Presley."
ABC Radio Networks President Jim Robinson said in a statement, "Angel Harvey's passing is a loss for all of us in radio. For decades she served as a producer, writer and the inspiring force behind Paul Harvey News and Comment. Angel was frequently referred to as "The First Lady of Radio," and countless charities benefited from her devotion to philanthropic efforts. She was a friend to all who knew her and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Paul, Paul Jr. and the entire Harvey family.
In California, veteran Los Angeles broadcaster Brian Clewer who was the host of "Cynic's Choice," a program of British comedy and music that aired in Los Angeles for more than 40 years, has died aged 79.
London-born Clewer began his show in 1962 and it ran until 20005, mainly on the now-defunct KFAC-AM, which switched from a classical format to Spanish-language KWKW in September 1989.
The show was comprised of interview and excerpts from skits by British comics including Spike Milligan, The Two Ronnies" (Barker and Corbett) and others plus British music.
ABC News report:
Los Angeles Times obituary:
2008-05-05: Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. has reported first quarter 2008 revenues down 4.6% on a year ago at USD 29.4 million with station operating income down 5.7% to USD 8.1 million but net income up 6.3% to USD 1.2 million (an unchanged 5% per diluted share).
Beasley said the revenue decrease was primarily down to a USD 1.00 fall in revenues at its Ft. Myers-Naples cluster and a USD 500.000 fall at its Las Vegas market cluster.
Commenting on the results, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George G. Beasley said, "The radio industry and Beasley Broadcast Group continued to face a challenging economic climate in the first quarter of 2008."
He added, "Our first quarter revenue performance was mixed reflecting the generally soft performance of the industry, specific challenges facing our Ft. Myers and Las Vegas market clusters and our success in driving revenue growth in Miami, Philadelphia, Greenville-New Bern and Augusta, though growth in Miami was slightly less than forecasted. In addition, during the first quarter we continued to achieve revenue growth from our interactive initiatives. First quarter interactive revenues accounted for approximately 4.3% of the Company's total revenue compared with a contribution of approximately 2.7% in the year-ago period."
Beasley continued, "Our station personnel did a great job of operating in a difficult environment and during the quarter our station portfolio exceeded the revenue performance of the overall industry. With over four decades in the radio broadcasting industry, Beasley has weathered uncertain times before and we believe radio's ability to reach targeted demographic audiences while offering listeners localism and portability without subscription fees will prove to be advantages in overcoming the weak environment."
He added that the company had made important progress in markets such as Miami and Philadelphia and taken actions to address Ft. Myers and Las Vegas, and said, "While we continue to invest in ongoing development of interactive support services for our radio stations, we have also taken steps to cut costs not vital to our sales and programming efforts. These actions are positioning Beasley with the right combination of resources to recapture momentum when radio advertising demand returns to more robust levels."
Beasley also noted that it had continued its share repurchase programme, buying 102,350 shares of its common stock for USD 600,000 (an average of USD 5.51 per share -Beasley shares opened Monday at USD 4.91 but then slipped back to end 6% down on Monday at USD 4.61 ).
In all Beasley has now repurchased approximately 16.8% of its Class A common shares for a total USD 12.5 million (an average USD 8.72 per share) since it began the scheme in 2004 and it has approximately USD 17.4 million left to spend under its existing share repurchase authorization.
Regent Communications reported revenues down 3.1% to USD 20.8 million with a net loss of some USD 3 million compared to a net loss of USD 1.2 million a year ago (Up from three cents to eight cents a share).
On a same-station basis, revenues were down 2.6% to USD 20.1 million with same station operating income down 6.7% to approximately USD 6 million.
Regent President and CEO Bill Stakelin said the company had, during the quarter, "continued to execute on our operating plan in the face of a challenging advertising market."
He continued, "We continued to drive large local audiences across our clusters and gained traction in strengthening and expanding our integrated online platform. Our revenue decrease, which was in line with our guidance and substantially less than the industry decline, primarily reflects the impact of the economic downturn on selected markets and weakness in certain advertising categories. However, we continued to control our costs and we posted cash flow gains ahead of expectations. In the months ahead, we will continue to focus on building on our leadership position in the nation's mid-sized markets by growing our audiences and monetizing our footprint through our cross-platform strategy."
Regent's shares fell by 17.4% on Monday to USD 0.95.
Previous George Beasley:
2008-05-05: South Florida WQAM -AM host Neil Rogers has had to accept a 50% cut to keep his deal with the Beasley Broadcast Group station according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, which notes that the host and his agent thought that after dominating the market for three decades he would be in great demand.
However it says, "ownership consolidation has done to broadcast talent what NAFTA has done to factory workers. A few companies, such as Clear Channel, control so many stations that talent has to take what it can get on the employer's terms".
The paper quotes Rogers, who was on some USD 1.5 million a year, as saying, "There are no choices. There is nothing out there. It was take it or leave it I'm not happy about it. But I don't expect people to feel sorry for me. I'm still doing pretty well" and adding that, although Clear Channel expressed some interest, "They were all talk. They never put a dime on the table."
He also noted that satellite radio was not a financially rewarding option, commenting, "Howard Stern makes all the money. Everyone else works for peanuts."
Of his experience he termed it being "Hanked" in reference to a similar offer, later raised to 60% to Hank Goldberg who, with ESPN to fall back on, left the station in December.
On the plus side, reports the paper, Rogers will continue to do the show from his apartment in Toronto and work only two days a week in summer, although he maintains a house Plantation and will come back to town from time to time for promotional appearances.
"It's not a bad situation," he said. "I get up in the morning and only have to go into the next room to do the program."
South Florida Sun-Sentinel report:
2008-05-04: Last week was yet another of waiting for a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announcement regarding the Sirius-XM merger and fairly quiet elsewhere although in Australia issues of spectrum radio policy were under discussion at the RadComms08 conference in Melbourne and in the UK Ofcom in its latest monthly update noted a considerable number of format changes, primarily cutting local programming and increasing networked contributions.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) as noted held its RadComms08 conference on the management of the radiofrequency spectrum.
The three-day event was opened by Australia's Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, who has come under criticism for focussing on communications infrastructure to the detriment of making media sector decisions.
The ACMA has posted two consultation papers as we reported a fortnight ago (See RNW Licence News Apr 20).
In radio regulatory actions, the authority found that New South Wales community services 2CCR Parramatta and Radio BFM Bankstown both breached licence conditions on advertising.
In the case of 2CCR licensee Cumberland Community Radio Inc. the ACMA found that the station had failed to broadcast a sponsorship tag but accepted that this had happened when the tag on a pre-recorded announcement was inadvertently faded out.
It said that as the licensee had already taken appropriate measures to minimize the potential for this type of human error it was proposing no further action.
In the case of Radio BFM, the programme involved -'Dosti' - had failed to carry tags but was is no longer being broadcast and the ACMA accepted that licensee Bankstown City Radio Co-operative Ltd. had taken adequate measures to ensure no further breaches. It again proposed no further action.
Also in New South Wales, the ACMA has varied the technical specifications of Lithgow commercial radio services 2LT and 2ICE to improve reception in the Blue Mountains area, particularly for listeners in Katoomba.
Under the plans it provides an FM frequency for 2LT at Katoomba, as the licensee has been unable to find a suitable site for a planned AM translator service and also allows 2ICE to increase the antenna height and effective radiated power (ERP) of its Katoomba translator.
In addition it makes channel capacity available in Lithgow on 88.5 MHz, 91.3 MHz and 104.7 MHz at a maximum ERP of 100 W (omni-directional) for national radio services, including ABC NewsRadio.
In Canada, radio-related postings by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included the following:
*Renewal of licence of English-language, low-power FM tourist information service VF2521 Surrey, from 1 June 20081 to 31 August 2014. The CRTC noted that the licensee has resolved the technical impediments mentioned in prior administrative renewals.
* Renewal of licence of English-language, low-power FM tourist information service VF2522 Chilliwack, from 1 June 20081 to 31 August 2014. The CRTC noted that the licensee has resolved the technical impediments mentioned in prior administrative renewals.
*Denial of application by Manitoulin Radio Communication Inc., licensee of CFRM-FM, Little Current, to add a 50 watts low-power FM transmitter at Sudbury to carry its Hot New Country music format programming. The station argued that the service would allow the many Sudbury residents who own property on Manitoulin Island to remain aware of important information relating to Manitoulin Island while they are in Sudbury.
The application was opposed by Big J Music and Larche Communications, both of whom argued that the Sudbury market could not support another country music station with the latter saying the station would compete directly with a new country music station, which it plans to launch in late spring 2008.
Although the applicant argued that its station would not so compete, the CRTC denied the application.
*Approval of application by Groupe Radio Antenne 6 inc. to add a 46 watts low-power FM transmitter in Alma to solve a signal reception problem for CKYK-FM, Alma.
*Approval of application by 9015-2018 Québec inc., licensee of commercial ethnic station CHOU-AM, Montréal, to increase the daytime and night-time transmitter power from 1,000 watts to 2,000 watts to improve the reception of its signal in downtown Montréal as well as on the south shore where the signal is almost non-existent.
*Approval of application to use frequency 100.1 MHz for a new 550 watts French-language commercial FM radio programming undertaking in Vaudreuil-Dorion that was approved last year on the basis that a suitable alternative frequency to that originally suggested was found.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), licensee of CBFX-FM Montréal, which broadcasts on a third adjacent frequency had opposed the application because of potential interference problems but the applicant noted that the frequency was technically acceptable and said it doubted that its signal would interfere with the 100,000 watt CBS signal.
*Denial of application to use the frequency 105.5 MHz for a new 30,600 watts commercial FM radio station in Saguenay (zone La Baie), which the CRTC had approved in 2005 subject to a suitable alternative frequency to that originally applied for being found. Two applications for extensions to the normal three-month deadline had already been granted, the second of which expired in December last year.
The commission noted that the latest proposal would extend cover to many localities that are already served by four commercial radio stations: CFIX-FM Saguenay and CJAB-FM Saguenay (Astral Media Radio Inc.), CKRS-FM Saguenay (591991 B.C. Ltd.) and CKYK-FM Alma (Groupe Antenne 6 - which had opposed the application). It added that these stations recorded a profit before interest and tax (PBIT) margin of 7.3% in 20061 and average annual growth of 3.7% of total revenue over the 2002-06 period whilst in comparison, all French-language commercial radio stations in Quebec combined recorded a PBIT margin of 11.8% in 2006 and average annual growth of 5% of total revenue over the same period.
In refusing the application the CRTC commented that since the Saguenay radio market is not very dynamic at this time, it considers that increased competition could destabilize the market and is concerned that adding a new station to the Saguenay market would have a negative impact on listenership and on the advertising revenues of the commercial stations currently serving all or part of the Saguenay market.
*Revocation at the request of Roger Moskaluke who has confirmed his eligibility for exemption of the licence of low power station VF2426, Wynyard, Saskatchewan.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland but in the UK, where Ofcom has eased local programming requirements, the agency's monthly update carried details of a number of format changes.
Ofcom also announced the receipt of two applications for the Plymouth local commercial licence that was won in March 2006 amidst local objections by Macquarie Bank with a Diamond FM service offering local news and information plus mainstream classic rock in the day and alternative rock in the evenings (See RNW Mar 10, 2006): The licence was re-advertised in November last year after Macquarie opted not to take it up (See RNW Nov 30, 2007).
The two current applications came from UKRD, licensee of Pirate FM in Cornwall, which is proposing "Plymouth's Pirate FM" offering a broad variety of music plus relevant news and talk and Radio Plymouth, a local full service offering made in conjunction with London Media Company, which is a subsidiary of Sunrise Radio Ltd that operates Palm FM (Torbay) and Exeter FM, Exeter.
Ofcom also upheld one radio complaint in its latest Broadcast Bulletin (See RNW May 1).
The format changes allowed more networked programming on GCap Media's Xfm stations (See RNW May 3) and also on a number of other stations.
As well as Xfm the following stations were allowed to increase networked programming or co-locate or both:
The Local Radio Company- see below. All stations would run separate breakfast shows:
*Co-location and programme sharing for six hours during daytime for 3TR fm, Warminster) MCA 18,400), and Spire fm, Salisbury. 3TR would move into Spire's Salisbury studios but news and travel would be locally made for each service during shared programming. The six hours would count as part of the required 10 hours of local programming.
*Co-location and programme sharing for six hours during daytime for Vale FM, Blandford (MCA 53,710), and Wessex FM, Dorchester. Vale would move into Wessex's Dorchester studios but news and travel would be locally made for each service during shared programming. The six hours would count as part of the required 10 hours of local programming.
*Co-location and programme sharing for six hours during daytime for Arrow fm, Hastings (MCA 86,353), and Sovereign Radio, Eastbourne. Arrow would move into Sovereign's Hasting studios but news and travel would be locally made for each service during shared programming. In addition the company notes that it already airs a four hour 'East Sussex Today' programme across both services and would wish to retain this. The six hours would count as part of the required 10 hours of local programming.
*Co-location and programme sharing of a four-hours weekday 'Bucks Today' programme for Mix 96,Aylesbury (TLRC did not list an MCA but described both licences as serving commuter towns) , and Mix 107, Aylesbury. Mix 96 would move into Mix 107's High Wycombe studios but news and travel would be locally made for each service during shared programming. The hours of the new programme would count as part of the required 10 hours of local programming.
*Co-location and programme sharing for four hours during daytime for Alpha fm, Darlington (MCA 108,262), and Durham fm, Durham. Alpha would move into Durham fm's Durham City studios but news would be locally made for each service during shared programming.
Global Radio: Request to reduce local programming on its Galaxy Network a -We have already reported this (See RNW Apr 9).
*Request to share programming between Telford fm and The Wyre, Kidderminster, after 10am weekdays and at weekends save for 4 hours during daytime. Ofcom notes that it has already allowed a partial co-location of these stations.
* Co-location of Lincs FM Group's Ridings FM (Wakefield area) and Dearne FM (Barnsley Area) - We have already reported this -See RNW Apr 13.
* Co-location of Oak FM stations at Hinckley and Loughborough in new joint premises in Coalville - We have already reported this -See RNW Apr 13.
*Co-location of Northallerton FM and Alpha 103.2, Darlington - We have already reported this -See RNW Apr 13.
*Co-location of kmfm Group's West Kent and Maidstone studios to its Medway station and programme sharing between stations in a West Kent network and also in an East Kent Network of Ashford , Canterbury, Thanet and Dover/Folkstone - We have already reported this -See RNW Apr 13.
* Co-location request for Bright 106.4, (Brighton, and Splash FM, Worthing - We have already reported this -See RNW Apr 13.
*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 -- We have already reported this -See RNW Apr 13.
Ofcom also posted its reasons for the awards of community licences last month to Amber Sound FM (Ripley, Amber Valley, Derbyshire); Erewash Sound (Ilkeston, Derbyshire); Tulip Radio (Spalding, South Holland, Lincolnshire); and Takeover Radio (Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire (See RNW Apr 25).
It noted that Amber Sound FM, Erewash Sound and Tulip Radio can seek up to 50% of their respective annual income from the sale of advertising or programme/station sponsorship but Takeover Radio is prohibited from income from the sale of advertising or programme or station sponsorship because the coverage of the service falls within the coverage area of a local commercial radio service which has between 50,000 and 150,000, adults living in its measured coverage area (Mansfield 103.2).
In making the awards it noted that the first three were already established through restricted service licences and Internet activities and that Takeover, which is to provide a service to young people, will draw on the experience of Takeover Radio in Leicester.
In the US, the wait continues for a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the Sirius-XM merger but otherwise things were fairly quiet as far as radio was concerned.
The agency was, however, involved in a number of enforcement actions and rulings on disputed licences including the following:
*Issued USD 7,000 forfeiture to Richard Mann d/b/a The Antique Radio Collector, Toledo, Ohio, for marketing uncertified AM radio transmitters.
The FCC had issued an NALF for this amount and Mann had responded by arguing that Antique Radio Collector did not possess or offer "fully assembled transmitters for sale" but offered only a service to assemble AM transmitter kits made available by the manufacturer, and therefore, had not violated the Rules or the Act.
This argument was dismissed and a forfeiture order made to which there was a response repeating the arguments and also arguing that the penalty was excessive.
The FCC disagreed, re-affirmed the penalty and also noted that that Antique Radio Collector is apparently continuing to assemble uncertified equipment and market this equipment on its website. The FCC warned that this could attract further penalties and direct Antique Radio Collector to submit a report within 30 days of the release of this Order confirming that it has ceased all marketing of the kit concerned.
*Issued Notice of Apparent liability for Forfeiture (NALF) of USD 4,000 to Saga Communications of Arkansas, for violation rules restricting lottery advertising - its KEGI-FM, Jonesboro, Arkansas, was said in an objection by American Heritage Media, Inc. to renewal of its licence to have broadcast adverts relating to a Missouri lottery and also to have broadcast indecent material.
Under the FCC rules stations licensees in states that do not conduct state lotteries, such as Arkansas, are forbidden to broadcast advertisements or promotions for lotteries in other states and a transcript and tape supplied by the American Heritage included the announcement " tobacco products at Missouri state minimum prices, a whole Lotto luck and a whole lot more, if you know what I mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink "
The FCC ruled that its lottery rules had been broken but did not uphold the indecent broadcasts complaints and renewed the licence along with issuing the NALF.
*Issued USD 1,500 forfeiture order to Frank Rackley, Jr., licensee of WNBN-AM, Meridian, Mississippi, for operation of the station from an unauthorized location and with excess power.
The breaches were observed following a complaint about the station operating at night above its power. Rackley, who had admitted operating the station at full power after dark until it signed off and also that he knew it was transmitting from an unauthorized location as the deal for the location, from where he had originally planned to operate, fell through. He was initially issued with a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) for USD 8,000 and responded by asking for a reduction on the basis of that the violations had now been corrected and financial hardship.
The agency, following normal practice, did not make any change on the first ground but cut the penalty on the basis of financial hardship.
Licence decisions included the following:
*Louisiana: Granted application to assign KNOE-FM, Monroe, to Radio Monroe.
Opus Broadcasting Monroe, LLC, licensee of Louisiana stations KMYY-FM, Rayville, Louisiana; KQLQ-FM, Columbia; KXRR-FM, Monroe; and KZRZ-FM, West Monroe, Louisiana, had filed a Petition to Deny and argued that the assignment would violate the Commission's multiple ownership rule on the basis that the brother of Clay E. Holladay, who owns 99% of Radio Monroe, is the principal member of Holladay Broadcasting of Louisiana, LLC, which owns the maximum number of stations allowed in the Monroe market.
Radio Monroe disagreed and argued that that Clay Holladay and Monroe Broadcasting are independent of his brother Robert Holladay and Holladay Broadcasting and the FCC found no evidence to the contrary and granted the application.
*New York: Renewed the licence of WIN Radio Broadcasting Corporation's WNYH-AM, Huntington. Objections had been filed by two people, one of whom had also filed an application to deny the renewal.
The objections were on the basis in one case that the station had been off the air on a regular basis during the previous eight years; served the needs of Flushing not Huntington to which it is licensed; had operated at full power at night in violation of its conditions of licence and did not participate in the EAS system and in the other that the licensee does not maintain a place of business or principal studio, that he had been denied access to the station's public file because he could not access the main office; that the licensee violated EAS requirement; that the station had abandoned its English language music-based format to play "solely Korean language religious service for the entire Sunday broadcast day"; that the public has been denied use of the Station's air time to broadcast public service announcements; that the station does not offer any public service programming; that the Licensee has "repeatedly ignored requests for a 'traffic log' or 'as played' log from his automation system"; that the Licensee "illegally re-tuned the transmitter to power it up causing more damage and interference"; and that the required license renewal announcements were "not in clear understandable English."
The licensee argued that its main studio complies with Commission rules and it has always kept its public inspection file there; that it uses an automated EAS system; that there is no rule against foreign language broadcasts; that there is no public right of access to its facilities; that its public inspection file contains a quarterly list of programs broadcast by the Station, which the Licensee believes addresses important problems faced by members of the public residing in the Station's community of license; that the Commission has not required licensees to maintain programming or traffic logs in many years, and at the time such logs were required, they were not subject to public inspection; that since the time that the Licensee returned the Station to the air, the Station has operated at reduced power under Special Temporary Authority issued by the Commission; and - regarding the renewal announcements - that the Commission "does not regulate elocution." It also notes that the station has been inspected twice by Commission field agents since 2006 and those inspections did not reveal any violations of the Commission's Rules or policies.
The FCC agreed with the licensee and renewed the licence.
*North Carolina: Denied assignment of Low Power FM WGNW-LP, Candler, North Carolina, from Montmorenci United Methodist Church to WGNW Radio Ministries, Inc. The transfer was opposed by Mount Pisgah Adventist Educational Media and the FCC noted that under its revised rules that went into effect in March this year, such licences cannot be transferred within three years from the issue of the licence and that Montmorenci did not satisfy this condition.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-05-03: Continuing its campaign against proposed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations to mandate for "localism", the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has posted a letter by Nevada Republican to FCC chairman Sen. John Ensign to Kevin J. Martin opposing the proposals.
In the letter, Ensign says the "proposals all represent a step backward toward the government re-regulation of our nation's airwaves" and adds that they would "add a bureaucratic layer separating broadcasters from their customers and replace the determinations of the free market with government mandates."
Ensign comments that "Broadcasters today often focus on local programming in order to distinguish themselves from their numerous competitors" and adds, "Failure to provide worthwhile local content would result in a loss of audience for many broadcasters. These market pressures do more to ensure broadcasters are meeting the needs of their communities than re-regulating the industry ever will."
The letter also notes other points raised in previous letters that the NAB has posted such as the establishment of community advisory boards; imposing requirements on the type and amount of local programming that has to be aired and re-introducing main studio location requirements.
RNW comment: What none of the letters mention is the effect on a broadcaster's balance sheet and we do not think we are being over cynical to say that this dictates pretty well all of NAB's lobbying.
2008-05-03: GCap Media's Xfm stations have joined the ranks of UK networks cutting back on local programming and increasing networked hours.
British media regulator Ofcom has given its approval to a GCap request that will see local shows on the Xfm stations in London, Manchester and central Scotland trimmed back to seven hours a day with an extra three hours of networked programming being slotted in as replacements.
Xfm's audience fared badly in the latest ratings particularly in London where its audience was down from 630,000 a year ago to 379,000, a drop of 40% compared to 11% for the network as a whole.
Ofcom in giving its approval noted that approval had been given to a similar request from "Emap (now Bauer) last year with regard to the Kiss network and Global with regard to the Galaxy network of stations" and said the request was "not unexpected".
In its request GCap had said that "Listeners come to the XFM brand for the music - this is what it is recognised for, and locality is not nearly as important as it is on some other stations. As such, in order to provide the most entertaining and compelling listen for the core XFM audience, a stronger proposition can be found by utilizing the overall power of the brand to bring bigger talent to local markets than these stations otherwise have had on the schedule."
It added that the "requested change will also help ensure the long term financial viability of the XFM stations."
Previous GCap Media:
2008-05-03: Lincoln Financial has failed in its attempt to force Cox Radio's AC WSB-FM, Atlanta, from airing TV adverts featuring Steve McCoy and Vikki Locke -"Steve and Vicki" - whose morning show is set to launch on July 1.
The pair had been with Lincoln's Star 94 (a Jefferson Pilot station until Jefferson was taken over by Lincoln_ for nearly two decades: They left the station in November last year but were subject to a non-compete agreement and Lincoln tried to obtain a court order to stop the commercials as a breath of that agreement but were turned down by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Alfred Dempsey.
When the adverts began airing earlier this month in advance of the duo's debut on WSB (B-95) on July 1, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that in a letter Lincoln's general council Leon Porter said the adverts violated contracts and "have caused and will continue to cause irreparable harm and damage to Lincoln Financial."
At the time the paper, which is owned by Cox Enterprises, the station's parent, quoted Star 94 general manager Mark Kanov as saying of the replacement morning show "The Morning Mess" that is was "certainly a change" and adding " the reality is, Steve and Vikki just aged out of what Star 94 is about. They ended up attracting a 45-plus [age] audience; In order to be successful we have to reach women ages 25 to 44. The new team is right in that wheel house."
RNW comment: Another case of left and right hands out of contact never mind over-egging to the point where the normal person would use justifiably contemptuous adjectives about the lawyers involved.
We await the imminent close-down of B94 should they for once have been honest!
Previous Cox Radio:
Previous Lincoln Financial:
Atlanta Journal Constitution report:
2008-05-03: BBC Radio 4 has announced a "Bond Season" to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of James Bond creator Ian Fleming: it will start with a repeat on May 18 of "Amis, Amis and Bond", in which Martin Amis explores his father's obsessive interest with Fleming and Bond with fellow enthusiast Charlie Higson and also include the first full-length radio adaptation of Dr No, starring Toby Stephens and David Suchet that will air on May 24.
Other programmes in the season are a documentary, The Bond Correspondence, following Fleming's niece Lucy on a journey to find out more about her uncle; James Bond and "The Last Englishman" (May 26), an exploration by Professor David Cannadine of what Bond tells us about post-imperial Britain.
2008-05-02: Latest UK radio ratings just released by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) show listening via DAB up 10% on the previous quarter - ownership of DAB receivers was up 22% quarter-on-quarter and 40% year-on year - with overall listening up one point to 90% of the UK adult population quarter-on-quarter and slightly year-on-year for which it rose by 366,000 from 45,031,000 to 45,397,000. Within the listening the BBC again performed strongly with reach and share hitting record levels helped by increased digital listening.
The Corporation had a record 34.2 million listeners a week and a record audience share of 56.8% whilst commercial radio was down to a record low share of 41.1%.
In all more than ten million people listen to the BBC via a digital platform each week, 6.4 million of them through DAB receivers - of more than 100 million hours a week of digital listening some 71 million hours is via DAB: Jenny Abramsky, Director, BBC Audio & Music, commented of this, "This is a remarkable performance for DAB, which is so important for the whole industry. I am extremely pleased to see all our digital-only services are doing so well."
In the commercial sector GCap Media fared badly, losing audiences at its indie Xfm network, golden oldies Gold network and national station Classic FM - the BBC Radio 3 classical station also lost audience - and in London its flagship Capital FM with 1.56 million listeners a week was down to fourth - placed commercial station in weekly reach, behind leader Bauer's Magic FM with 1.92 million listeners; Global Radio's Heart with 1.85 million; and Bauer's Kiss FM with 1.58 million and overtaking Capital for the first time although it was still behind it in share - 4.3% to Capital's 4.6%.
Amongst individuals there was marked success for Terry Wogan with the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show - up to a record 8.10 million listeners a week from 7.73 million in the previous quarter and 7.88 million a year ago - and Chris Moyles' breakfast show on BBC Radio 1 - up to a record 7.72 million from 7.31 million in the previous quarter and 7.06 million a year ago.
Their stations also fared well - BBC Radio 1 was up nearly 400,000 to reach 11.07 million listeners per week whilst BBC Radio was up to a record 13.63 million.
Of the big commercial players, Global Radio, which in the process of taking over GCap Media saw its Heart network increase its audience to 3.4 million a week - up 1.5% quarter-on-quarter and 10% year-on-year whilst its Galaxy dance network was up 3% for the quarter and year to 2.6 million.
For Bauer, although Heart and Galaxy fared well there were more mixed fortunes in other areas with its Kiss network up 0.1% quarter-on-quarter (6.6% year on year) to 2.989 million whilst Kerrang! slipped back 1.8% quarter-on-quarter and 5.7% year-on-year to 1.289 million and in Scotland its Radio Clyde was down 11% year-on-year to 616,000; Forth2 in Edinburgh was down 12.6% to 90,000 and Kingdom FM in Fife was down 28% to 56,000.
Also doing badly in Scotland was UTV's Talk 107 in Edinburgh, which lost 23% year-on-year to drop to 33,000 whilst in contrast BBC Radio Scotland took its weekly reach up 7.6% quarter-on-quarter to 1.008 million albeit it was down 4.5% year-on-year and GMG's Smooth Radio in Glasgow was up 6.5% quarter-on-quarter and 14.6% year-on-year to 212,000 offsetting falls of 9.8% quarter-on-quarter and 7.0% year-on-year to 712,000 for its Real Radio.
Amongst the London commercial breakfast shows, Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott topped the ranking between 06:00 and 09:00 with 893,000 listeners a week compared to Neil Fox at Magic with 831,000 and 829,000 for Johnny Vaughan and Denise Van Outen at Capital albeit the Capital show runs on to 10:00 and with the extra hour included its audience rises to 943,000.
Reacting to the figures, the commercial radio body The RadioCentre seemed oblivious to the sector's performance compared to that of the BBC terming overall reach for the medium "buoyant"; commercial radio's reach "healthy" and saying the "3 national Commercial Radio stations, Classic FM, talkSPORT and SMG-owned Virgin Radio all performed well and contributed to this rise in listeners. (See the figures below and do your own calculations).
Its chief executive Andrew Harrison was more balanced, commenting I a release, "It is encouraging to see that radio continues to play such a major role in people's busy lives and is demonstrating long term growth. We are delighted with very strong reach figures which show Commercial Radio continues its appeal to a wide range of audiences. Our market share figures are disappointing, reflecting the real challenge for over regulated Local Commercial Radio formats to compete against strong national talent. 2008 will be a defining year for Commercial Radio with Channel 4 coming into the market, new investment for the sector and we also await a positive outcome from the Digital Radio Working Group."
GCap for once seemed at a loss for words. In its release on the results it just quoted a summary of the ratings results without its usual "positive" comments.
Regarding comparisons to the previous quarter (and year) we note that RAJAR changed its survey specifications for the figures for the second quarter of last year so year-on-year comparisons are in some cases not exact:
*BBC Radio 1 gained 374,000.00 listeners and had a weekly audience of 11.067 million with listening share up from 10.3% to 10.6 % (10.1% a year ago when it had 10.549 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 2 gained 808,000 listeners to reach a record weekly audience of 13.252 million with listening share up from 15.7% to 16.5% (15.8% a year ago, when it had 13.253 million listeners)
*BBC Radio 3 lost 155,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 1.795 million and a 1.2% listening share down from 1.2% to 0.9% (1.2% a year ago, when it had 1.902 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 4 gained 272,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.561 million and listening share up from 11.8% to 12.2% (12.2% a year ago when it had 9.637 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, lost 58,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.022 million, and an unchanged listening share of 4.6% (4.2% a year ago when it had 5.873 million listeners).
(Including Sports Extra it lost 86,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 6.022 million and a listening share down from 4.7% to 4.4% (4.5% a year ago when it had 5.973 million listeners).
*BBC World Service gained 162,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.345 million and an unchanged listening share of 0.6% (0.7% a year ago when it had 1.389 million listeners).
*BBC Asian Network gained 94,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 535,000 and an unchanged listening share of 0.3% (0.2% a year ago when it had 452,000 listeners).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*G-Cap's Classic FM gained 31,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.622 million and listening share down from 4.2% to 3.7% (4.2% a year ago when it had 6.031 million listeners).
*UTV's talkSPORT gained 18,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.470 million and a listening share down from 2.0% to 1.9% (2.0% a year ago when it had 2.431 million listeners.). The increase took the station's reach above Virgin for the first time: It was already ahead on share (See Virgin figures below).
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) lost 5,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.466 million and listening share down from 1.5% to 1.4% (1.4% a year ago when it had an audience of 2.449 million listeners).
Digital listening as already noted continued to increase and the two GCap stations whose closure was announced - theJazz, which has already closed, and Planet Rock which is still up for sale, both increased their reach. Various other commercial digital stations fared less well with audiences down quarter-on-quarter at Global Radio's The Arrow (from 143,000 to 121,000); GCap's Chill (from 197,000 to 156,000) and Bauer's Q (From 298,000 to 282,000).
Among digital stations - excluding Bauer's Kerrang! which has a substantial analogue and digital listenership and a total weekly reach of 1,297 million including its analogue stations (down from 1.321 million quarter on quarter and from 1.366 million a year ago) but including BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra and Asian Network - the top five stations in the survey had a weekly audience as below (previous quarter in brackets):
1 The Hits (Bauer) -1.571 million (up from 1.364 million and up from 1.168 million a year ago).
2 Smash Hits Radio (Bauer) -973,000 (down from 996,000 and up from 759,000 a year ago).
3 BBC 7 -813,000 (down from 853,000 and up from 808,000 a year ago).
4 BBC Five Live Sports Extra -648,000 (up from 630,000 and down from 682,000 a year ago).
5 BBC 1Xtra - 595,000 (up from 520,000 and up from 465,000 a year ago). Up from eighth.
6 Planet Rock (GCap) -563,000 (same as before and up from 498,000 a year ago). Down from fifth.
7 BBC Asian Network -535,000 (up from 476,000 and from 452,000 a year ago). Up from seventh.
8 BBC 6 Music -520,000 (up from 493,000 and 477,000 a year ago.). Down from sixth.
9 Heat (Bauer) -446,000 (up from 386,000 and up from 224,000 a year ago).
10 The Jazz (GCap) 407,000, up from 386,000 (Only rated since third quarter and now closed down).
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
Previous GMG Radio:
Previous RAJAR ratings (Q4, 2007):
2008-05-02: Entravision has reported first quarter revenues down 2% on a year ago to USD 55.65 million and its net loss up applicable to common shareholders more than doubled - from USD 3.29 million to USD 7.70 million (From three cents to eight cents per share, net and diluted, with net loss from continuing operations up from one cent to seven cents per share).
The company said that of the revenue reduction USD 700,000 came from its TV division, primarily because of a decrease in national advertising revenues, and USD 500,000 from radio, primarily put down to a decrease in local advertising.
Entravision also announced that it had repurchased 3.4 million shares for some USD 22.4 million during the first quarter plus 1.3 million for USD 8.4 million in the second quarter and has now completed its first USD 100 million repurchase plan that was authorized in November 2006. The repurchase of a further USD 100 million was authorized last month.
Commenting on the Company's earnings results Chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa said, "During the first quarter we continued to execute on our strategic plan and strengthen the position of our television and radio stations in a challenging advertising environment due to general economic conditions. We also faced difficult comparisons in our operational results compared to the year ago period, when we outperformed the industry with robust results from both our television and radio divisions."
He added, "We remain well positioned to capitalize on the expanding purchasing power of the Hispanic consumer. We are prudently investing in our broadcasting assets to build audience share, penetrating new business and maintaining our disciplined cost approach. We have a strong balance sheet and the pending sale of our outdoor advertising assets for USD 100 million will provide us with substantial financial flexibility to execute on our growth initiatives and build value for our shareholders."
Entravision shares ended Thursday down 0.57% at USD 6.95.
2008-05-02: Clear Channel has agreed the sale of its 17 stations in Maine as part of its continuing disposal of smaller market stations, this time for to newcomer Blueberry Broadcasting LLC headed by Maine radio veterans Louis Vitali, its president and CEO and Bruce Biette, its VP/COO.
The deal is a second time for the stations sold - the 17 were part of a 400-station deal between Clear Channel and GoodRadio-TV that collapsed.
The Portland Press-Herald quoted Biette as saying they had agreed to pay USD 17 million got the stations and expected to take them over in September. The stations involved are in Augusta - WABK-FM, WCME-FM, WFAU-AM, WIGY-FM, WKCG-FM, WMCM-FM, WQSS-FM, WRKD-AM and WTOS-FM and Bangor - WABI-AM, WBFB-FM, WFZX-FM, WGUY-FM, WKSQ-FM, WLKE-FM, WVOM-FM and WWBX-FM
In New York State, Entercom has agreed the sale of three stations that it moved into the divestiture vehicle, the Rochester Trust, to comply with FCC conditions for approval of its USD 262 million purchase of purchase of 15 stations in four markets from CBS Radio (See RNW Aug 22, 2007).
That deal would have given Entercom eight stations in the market, three above the FCC limit and it moved AC WRMM-FM, Rochester; adult hits WFKL-FM, Fairport and alternative WZNE-FM, Brighton into a trust whilst retaining WCMF-FM and WPXY-FM plus WBEE-FM; WBZA-FM; and WROC-AM.
No price was given for the stations sold to Stephens Family Limited Partnership, which is already controlling them under an LMA.
The Rochester Democrat-Chronicle reports that the sale will mean the break-up of the long-time WRMM morning team "Tony and Dee" as the buyers have declined to include Dee Alexander's contract in the deal although it is keeping on Tony Infantino.
It quoted Entercom regional vice-president Michael Doyle as saying, "She's technically an Entercom employee" but adding, "We don't have a radio station to put her on."
It added that Stephens Media Group said in a release that dropping Dee and Bob Kirk, one of three morning hosts on WFKL, was down to "budgetary considerations."
Previous Clear Channel:
Portland Press-Herald report:
Rochester Democrat-Chronicle report:
2008-05-02: John Gallagher has resigned as president and general manager of Citadel's Chicago News/talk WLSM-AM with Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times citing "sources close to Gallagher" as saying he had been feeling increasing frustration since Citadel took over the station last year from Walt Disney Co.'s ABC Radio.
Gallagher had cut more than a dozen posts in February, virtually gutting the newsroom according to Feder who notes that the station has also faced disappointing ratings. Feder adds that Mike Fowler, president and general manager of Citadel's "True Oldies" WZZN-FM has taken over management of WLS: Gallagher had been overseeing both stations until Fowler was hired.
Also in Chicago, the Chicago Blackhawks are moving to ratings leader, Tribune Co's WGN-AM, from CBS Radio's WSCR-AM (The Score), which had been their radio home for eight years.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2008-05-02: Westwood One has announced the appointment of another EVP - Los Angeles based entertainment attorney Jonathan S. Marshall, who becomes Executive Vice President - Business Affairs and Strategic Development.
The company says he will oversee the business side of Westwood One's expansion into a broader content arena while continuing to work on the Company's core broadcast, traffic and archive assets.
President and CEO Tom Beusse said of the appointment, "Marshall's deal knowledge of the entertainment and intellectual property space provides us with expertise in areas where the Company expects rapid growth in the coming months. His appointment is consistent with our goals to move Westwood One into the broader content space."
Marshall commented, "Westwood One is one of the great under utilized entertainment brands with tremendous content offerings," and added, "The opportunity to work at Westwood One during this dynamic time as it expands its content offerings is truly exciting."
Previous Westwood One:
2008-05-01: Both Sirius and XM Satellite radio have postponed their annual stockholders meetings because of the delays in obtaining regulatory approval for their merger: They have also agreed not to exercise their rights to terminate the merger agreement until May 15 with agreement for further rolling two-week extensions unless either side notifies the other of an intention not to extend.
Their stockholders of both companies approved the merger in November last year (See RNW Nov 14, 2007) and the Department of Justice gave the go-ahead in March (See RNW Mar 25) but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has yet to issue its ruling.
Both companies have filed 10K amendments to their annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission to include required information on their directors and executive compensation.
In its 10K filing of an amended annual report Sirius says that CEO Mel Karmazin, who agreed a five-year deal in November 2004, received a total package of USD 32.2 million last year, up from USD 31.2 million in 2006, including a fixed annual salary of USD 1.25 million.
Other executives at the company did less well: Scott Greenstein, President, Entertainment and Sports, saw his total package fall from USD 7.9 million to USD 5.0 million including basic pay up from USD 700,000 to USD 791,000; James Meyer, President, Sales and Operations, saw his package fall from USD 5.6 million too USD 3.7 million including base salary up from USD 7778,000 to USD 892,000; and
The two Vice-presidents - Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Patrick L. Donnelly and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer David Frear both ended up with higher pay - up from USD 1.38 million to USD 1.85 million for Donnelly and from USD 2.46 million to USD 3.72 million for Frear.
XM Satellite Radio's 10 K filing shows former CEO Hugh Panero, who stepped down in August last year, received a total of USD 12.13 million last year compared to USD 6.66 million in 2006; Chairman Gary Parsons' package was down from USD 6.75 million to USD 5.94 million; EVP and CFO Joseph J. Euteneuer saw his package up from USD 1.87 to USD 2.35 million; EVP Programming Erik Toppenberg saw his package go up from USD 1.98 million to USD 2.86 million; whilst EVP and Chief Marketing Officer Vernon Irvin was paid USD 2.48 million and new President and CEO Nathaniel (Nate) Davis was paid a total of USD 4.14 million.
XM had been due to hold its annual meeting on Friday and that of Sirius was scheduled for May 20.
2008-05-01: BBC Radio 4 is to broadcast a Humphrey Lyttleton tribute programme on June 15 to mark the achievements of the broadcaster and jazzman who died last Friday (See RNW Apr 26).
The day will also see a repeat of the "Desert Island Discs" programme in which he was the guest; a repeat of his Jazz programme "The King of the Swingers" and a specially-commissioned programme on "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue", the Radio 4 panel show he haired from its launch in 1972.
This will be presented by Stephen Fry and will include best-of extracts from the show.
No announcement has yet been made whether the I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue is to continue under a enw chairman..
2008-05-01: Buckley Broadcasting has announced that John R. Gambling, who was dropped by Citadel in cuts at WABC-AM, New York, earlier this year, is to return to its WOR-AM where he was a staff announcer and then a host for some 30-years before he moved to WABC as host of the "John Gambling Show" in 2001.
Making the announcement, WOR's Vice President and General Manager Jerry Crowley said, "The John Gambling Show is New York's only local News/Talk in the mornings, offering a content-driven, entertaining and informative show steered by John's experience, his deep understanding of the tri-state area and its residents, and his legendary pragmatic approach to the day's headlines."
Before the John Gambling show, John R. Gambling, the third generation of the family to host the show, had co-hosted "Rambling with Gambling" with his father John A. Gambling at WOR from 1985-1990 and continued with the show from 1990-2000. His grandfather John B. Gambling was the first radio host in the family.
He said of his return to WOR; "Thomas Wolfe said 'you can't go home again.' Well, not only can you go home again, but it can be better than ever. I couldn't be more excited about returning to WOR. The yesterdays were great, but the tomorrows will be even more exciting than ever. The morning radio landscape has changed dramatically in the last eight years and The John Gambling Show will be the only locally-focused News/Talk morning drive show in the New York market. Gambling and WOR are back together - the way it's supposed to be."
Buckley also announced that current WOR morning host Joe Bartlett will host an expanded newscast weekdays from 5am-5:30am and will be news anchor of the John Gambling Show.
Donna Hanover, who currently co-hosts the morning show with Bartlett, will remain with the station movie critic on The WOR Saturday Morning Show with Joe Bartlett and as a substitute host.
Previous John R. Gambling:
2008-05-01: According to the Washington Post, US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin J. Martin may be called to defend his leadership of the agency after a congressional enquiry revealed complaints about the way he has conducted himself including FCC staff criticism of tactics such as suppressing agency reports that do not support his agenda in such matters as pushing proposals to loosen media ownership rules and requiring a la carte pricing of cable TV.
The paper says that it obtained a memo in which Commerce and Energy Committee staff members wrote that the "bottom line is that the FCC process appears broken and most of the blame appears to rest with Chairman Martin."
The memo was addressed to Michigan Democrats Rep. John D. Dingell, the committee's chairman and Rep. Bart Stupak, chairman of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations and the paper says it said the investigation, which was launched in December last year, is continuing and proposed holding hearings on the findings in June.
The Post adds that a committee spokesman would not give further details but said no hearings had been scheduled and the FCC also refused comment.
Washington Post report:
2008-05-01: Fisher Communications has announced first quarter revenues up 10% on a year ago to USD 37.7 million with its TV figures being boosted by the acquisition of two California stations that raised the increase from 2.5% without them to 14%.
It did not give figures for its radio division - it is now down to eight stations - but did note in connection with a net loss from continuing operations of USD 1.07 million - down from USD 1.25 million a year earlier (reduced from 14 cents to 12 cents loss per share) - that the loss was comprised of continuing and discontinued operations with the latter reflecting the after-tax operating results attributable to the Company's small-market radio stations sold or held for sale.
President and CEO Colleen B. Brown said of the results, "In the current environment, we are pleased with the first quarter of 2008 continuing our trend of revenue growth and margin improvement in our core TV business. We recognize we have further room for improvement and have initiatives in place to get us there."
2008-05-01: UK media regulator Ofcom has upheld one radio complaint in its latest bulletin in which it revoked the licence of one TV service; upheld a TV standards complaint and considered three more resolved through action taken by the broadcaster and posted details of three TV Fairness and Privacy Complaints not upheld. The numbers compare with no radio complaints upheld; and details given of a TV Standards and TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint not upheld.
The radio complaint upheld involved Skyline FM, a locally run community radio station serving listeners in Eastleigh, near Southampton.
Ofcom received a complaint from a listener who claimed that an interview with his daughter broadcast live by the broadcaster was in breach of the fairness and privacy Rules in the Code but the station was unable to provide a recording of the programme, a failure that breached its licence conditions. Ofcom is to keep the breach on record.
Ofcom also listed without details 340 TV complaints against 143 items (79 against one programme) and 18 radio complaints against 16 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 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 in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
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