June 2008 Personalities:
Jenny Abramsky - BBC Director of Radio and Music (To step down Sep 2008); Jonathan S. Adelstein - (2) - Democrat US Federal Communications Commissioner; Raúl Alarcón Jr. - (2) -Chairman & CEO, Spanish Broadcasting System (US); Thomas Beusse - President and CEO, Westwood One; Tony Blackburn - veteran British DJ who launched BBC Radio 1; Sen Sam Brownback --Kansas Republican Senator; Chris Chapman - Chairman, Australian Communications and Media Authority; Nigel Chapman - Director of BBC World Service; Simon Cole - chief executive, UBC Media, UK and chairman UK Digital Radio Development Bureau; Michael J. Copps -(2) - Democrat US Federal Communications Commissioner; Lord David Currie - chairman British media regulator, Ofcom(to step down after Easter 2009); Tim Davie - Director-designate of BBC Audio & Music (To take up post Sept 2008); Paul Donovan - (3) - U.K. Sunday Times radio columnist; Randy Dotinga - US writer on radio and radio columnist, North County Times (California); Robert Feder - Chicago Sun-Times media columnist; Nick Ferrari - UK talk host; Mark Fratrik - SVP, BIA Advisory Services; Mike Gould - President & CEO, Eastlan Ratings; Ray Hadley -2GB, Sydney, morning host; Dan Halyburton -Senior Vice President/Market Manager for Emmis New York; Andrew Harrison - chief executive (took up post Oct 2006) UK RadioCentre; John Hogan - President and CEO, Clear Channel Radio, US; Quentin Howard - Chief executive Digital One, UK & President, WorldDMB; Richard Huntingford - Executive chairman- Virgin Radio Holdings- to step down after its sale; Don Imus - (2) - US host -hired by Citadel Nov 2007 (Fired by CBS April 2007); Alan Jones - Sydney 2GB breakfast host; Tarsha Nicole Jones - Emmis Hot 97, New York, "Miss Jones in the Morning" host - moving to Radio One's WPHI-FM, Philadelphia (From July 7, 2008); Mel Karmazin - CEO Sirius Satellite Radio; Charlie Kireker - chairman, Air America Radio; Jeffery A. Liberman - President, Entravision Radio Group (US); Michael O'Keeffe - (2) - chief executive Broadcasting Commission of Ireland; presenter; Rafe Mair - veteran former Vancouver talk-host; Kevin J. Martin - (4) - Chairman US Federal Communications Commission; Mark Mays - CEO, Clear Channel Communications; Randall Mays -president and chief financial officer, Clear Channel Communications; John McCann - Group Chief Executive, UTV Media; Robert M. McDowell -Republican Federal Communications Commissioner; Randy Michaels - COO Tribune Co, formerly with Clear Channel; Tony Moretta- Chief Executive UK Digital Radio Development Bureau; Stephen B. Morris - (2) - Chairman, President and Chief Executive Office, Arbitron, US; Richard Park - Acting chief executive Global Radio; Gary Parsons - chairman, XM Satellite Radio (US); Ed Richards - Chief Executive, British media regulator Ofcom; Peter Smyth - President and CEO,Greater Media, US; Marc Steiner - former WYPR talk host -moving to WEAA-FM; Gary Stone - President and COO, Univision Radio; Scott Taunton - UTV Radio Chief Executive; Deborah Taylor Tate -- Republican FCC commissioner; Jamie Theakston - UK Heart FM, London, breakfast co-host; Mark Thompson - BBC Director General; Ben Fong-Torres - (2) -San Francisco Chronicle radio columnist; Dennis Wharton - (6) - Executive Vice President, US National Association of Broadcasters; Rob Woodward - (2) - chief executive SMG;
Numbers in brackets indicate the number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once

June 2008 Archive

Prime Radio Stations
Streams are
Real Audio in
most cases: Some have Windows Media as well.

Radiofeeds UK -for comprehensive list of UK broadcast radio stations on the Internet

ABC, Australia
Streams list:
Radio Australia
News stream

ABC, Anerica
(Links to audio)

World Service:
(Links to audio services)
UK -Radio 1:
UK -Radio 2 :
UK Radio 3:
UK--Radio 4:
UK Radio Five Live:

BBC Where I Live (for local stations):
Radio 1 stream:
Radio 2 Stream:
Radio 3 stream:
Radio 4 stream (FM)
Radio 4 stream (AM):
Radio 5 stream:

Links to audio streams:

Hourly newscast:

US National Public RNW commenRadio

Voice of America
Audio News reports:

WORLD RADIO NETWORK (listeners area has on-demand audio reports from various broadcasters from round the world)

Music Streams
King (US)
RTE Lyric FM (Ireland):

E-Mail us
Note- In view of the numbers of viruses, worms etc now proliferating, we automatically delete messages with attachments unless these have been sent by prior agreement.
We never send out replies with attachments except by prior agreement.
We also tend to automatically delete e-mails from unknown sources without a title that specifically ties in to a subject we can recognize.

- May 2008 - July 2008 -
Links- internally where there are follow-up stories we try, at the end of each story, to put a pertinent link to the top of the previous relevant story. Regarding external links see note at end of page.

RNW Note: Technical problems meant we lost our April and May 2008 comments and subsequent pressures meant we were unable to catch up on the backlog. If we can find the missing files those comments will be re-posted and we hope to be able to also post comments for missing months in due course.

2008-06-30: Last week saw some -welcome to us - scepticism about a conversion of UK radio to digital as opposed to allowing the marketplace to decide as regards commercial radio and overall public interest when it comes to the BBC.
Under the headline "Must FM die to save digital radio?" Claudine Beaumont in the UK Daily Telegraph expressed doubt about the push for an "analogue switch-off" for radio, commenting that "Most radio listeners see little reason to replace old sets that work perfectly well " and referred to the digital-only future for radio mooted by the Digital Radio Working Group as "slightly scary."
She notes that unlike TV where a firm date has been set there was no recommendation of a definite switch-off date and argues that there is a major flaw in correlating a radio switch-off and that for TV, commenting, "Innovation in the radio market progresses at a far slower pace than in television; whereas new televisions are launched every year promising sharper pictures and compelling new features, radios do pretty much the same thing they've always done. And there's no halfway house - whereas most televisions, even old-fashioned black-and-white sets, can be fairly easily "upgraded" to handle a digital signal by plugging in a Freeview set-top box, the same doesn't hold true for radios - they are digital or they are not."
The Working Group report she says illustrates this perfectly - "while about 20 per cent of all radio listening happens in cars, very few vehicles have digital radios - and even when new cars do offer DAB radios as an optional extra, take-up is low. According to the committee, of the 34 million registered vehicles in the UK, at best just 150,000 are equipped to receive digital radio."
Beaumont does see the argument from both sides - the pressures on investment for the industry for whom broadcasting in digital and analogue is much more expensive and the pressures on the purse for consumers as well as the problems of signal coverage and robustness for digital.
After commenting on the pressures and suggestions of subsidies to encourage the purchase of digital receivers she concludes, "Whether all this is enough to revive the fortunes of a largely stagnant and unloved technology remains to be seen. By the time the industry and the Government swing into action, the entire idea of digital radio on a dedicated, single-purpose device could be laughably outdated. So, while we await the working group's final conclusions, and for the broadcasting industry to get its house in order, I will be sticking to good old FM radio on my tried and trusted tranny."
After UK digital to the US and content, courtesy of Ben Fong-Torres in the San Francisco Chronicle: In an earlier column (See RNW Columnists June 3), he had commented on the frequency with which stations played popular songs, particularly noting that "data from Mediabase, an airplay-tracking service, showed that most stations don't repeat songs as often as listeners think they do."
This prompted a number of responses that were illuminating about the behaviour and preference of listeners. James Sethian after commenting on his over-estimation of plays, wrote, "Finally, I realized that there is an ever-growing list of songs in my head that I once really liked but now resent hearing. Part of the reason is that the association of those songs with events is disappearing: hearing them over and over again becomes annoying."
"Two years ago, I got Sirius," he added, "and it was heaven - an all-Springsteen station, an all Stones. I am a big Who fan - and even that band reached overload. I remember thinking, 'I used to love it, but now I don't want to hear 'Armenia" again,' which is just absurd."
Another letter indicated a clear problem with logic -except maybe for that of the marketplace: In it Bruce Bjorkman, who has a radio show in Oregon commented, "Perception is reality! If that's what listeners believe they are hearing, then guess what? That's what they're hearing!"
He was on firmer ground when he commented, "There is so much great music that is not being played that it sickens me! I long for the days when DJs could devise their own song sets and segues ... when personalities were just that, real personalities! John Mack Flanagan, Chuck Buell, Dr. Don Rose, Bobby Ocean, etc. ...Don't defend homogenized corporate radio! Don't!"
To that latter Fong-Torres responded reasonably enough, "Hey, Bruce, I don't. But you must know that, while DJs on free-form stations like KMPX and KSAN chose their own music, Ocean and company, on Top 40, followed strict playlists, just like radio today."
Then to a combination of the US and UK courtesy of Paul Donovan's "Radio Waves" column in the UK Sunday Times.
He pegged the column on the "resurrection" of Alistair Cooke through the use of five editions of his long-running "Letter from America" series as BBC Radio 4's "Book of the Week" under the title "Cooke's Elections."
The elections involved start with the 1948 Dewey-Truman election and go on to consider Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and G.W.Bush, the last President Cooke covered before his death.
"The key person in this process<" writes Donovan, "is Justin Webb, the BBC's North America editor, who introduces all the Cooke letters this week. Though smooth, even slightly oily, in manner, Webb has guts: when he was Washington correspondent in 2006, he told an internal BBC meeting that the corporation failed to ask serious questions about why the USA is "as successful as it is, why the system it invented works. And, in the tone of what we say about America, we have a tendency to scorn and deride. We don't give America any kind of moral weight in our broadcasts". (All this is in a BBC report on impartiality, From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel, published last June.) "
Donovan also notes that amongst other programmes due on the BBC is "American Dreams is a four-part trek across the USA by James Naughtie, and his series promises a balance between America's deep problems - economic, political and military - and its "unquenchable optimism" and continues, "Which is how Cooke himself might have approached the subject: he loved his adopted country, but he never forgot its complexity."
They start with "Book of the Week" just mentioned (Radio 4 08:45 GMT) and sticking with Radio 4 go on to the "Afternoon Reading " (14:30 GMT) that this week is "SOS - Save Our Souls", a series of short stories to mark the 100th anniversary of the international distress call. The reading is followed (at 14:45 GMT) by the continuing history of astronomy "Cosmic Quest".
Next from BBC World Service we suggest last Saturday's BBC World Service "Interview" (Available as a stream or download).
This was with Juma Mohammed Al Dossary, who was held for five-and-a-half years in Guantanamo before being released without charge a year ago. Interviewed in Saudi Arabia, where he was born, he is remarkably positive about moving on to a new life rather than looking back.
Then BBC Radio 2 for Monday's "Charles Hazlewood Show" in which the classical conductor takes 'songs of innocence and experience' as his theme and the following "Marc Riley's Time Machine" which this week dipped into the BBC Archives and features The Ramones, arguably the first punk rock band, talking to Radio 1's Bob Kilbey in 1977.
Tomorrow the station begins a three-part series "The Greatest Dance Music... Records of All Time" (22:30 GMT) and on Friday it has "Hey! Bo Diddley!" the start of another three-parter, in this case presented by Roger Daltrey.
Moving to BBC Radio 3 we suggest last Sunday's "Private Passions" that featured Michael Berkeley talking to the BBC's Washington Correspondent Matt Frei and also from Sunday last week's "Drama on 3", a production of Ibsen's "The Wild Duck" and "The Sunday Feature" - "Ideas - The British Version", the first of a three part series on the origins of British intellectual traditions and their subsequent influence here and abroad.
The first programme looked at John Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration, written in 1689 at a time of Protestant persecution, and followed its influence across history and the world.
Finally from Radio 3 on Sunday we suggest "Words and Music" that last week looked at the theme of "Birth and Rebirth".
During the week we suggest a dip into "Afternoon on 3" that includes "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea"-an exploration of music inspired by the seafaring and the satanic, and also "The Essay" series (Monday through Thursday 22:00 GMT) that this week looks at the beliefs at the heart of Britain's National Health Service.
And finally from BBC Radio 3 next Saturday we suggest "The Real Karajan" (in the 11:15 GMT Saturday Feature slot), a look at the Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan who was born 100 years ago this year.
RNW note: Yet again pressures have prohibited us from listening to some of the podcasts and downloads we try to pick up but fortunately some stations keep these more than a week ( A month for most of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Radio Netherlands downloads) so we hope to catch up on some of these for our next week's columnists.
Previous Columnists:
Previous Donovan:
Previous Fong-Torres:
San Francisco Chronicle - Fong-Torres:
UK Daily Telegraph - Beaumont:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:

2008-06-30: Clear Channel Radio Chief Executive John Hogan has signed a new five-year contract after a year in which he was working on a day-to-day basis.
The agreement was signed on Sunday according to Reuters which says it had obtained an internal memo it in which Clear Channel Communications CEO Mark Mays said, "This management team will be on point to compete successfully against newspapers, cable, television and all of our other competitors," referring radio's ability to capture share of the advertising market.
Hogan, who was promoted from Clear Channel Radio COO to CEO in August 2002 (See RNW Aug 21, 2002) replaced Randy Michaels, who is currently Tribune Co's COO, but actually took over from Mark Mays, who had been acting CEO after Michaels was moved sideways to a post heading Clear Channel's New Technologies division (See RNW July 24, 2002).
Reuters adds that retaining Hogan is seen as a key step to shoring up company leadership after its $17.9 billion takeover by private equity funds led by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Hogan:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Michaels:
Reuters report:

2008-06-30: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled in relation to two decisions that there is nothing inherently problematic with a municipal politician having a radio programmes, noting that the only formal rule in effect is that radio personalities who are candidates in an election cannot appear on-air during the campaign period.
It made its comments in relation to complaints concerning Ontario hosts Bob Bratina of "The Bob Bratina Morning Show" broadcast on CHML-AM, Hamilton, and Jack Miller's participation on the CIGL-FM, Belleville, morning show.
The two complainants felt that politicians who maintained their positions as on-air hosts while holding municipal office put them in a conflict of interest whereby they could use their positions in the media to promote their own political points of view but the CRCT Ontario Panel noted that the issue appears to relate to the unfair advantage that may accrue to an on-air individual in the midst of an election contest.
In relation to both cases the Panel concluded that the hosts had responded to issues that had already come before City Council and there was no question in either case of advocacy regarding matters "about to come before City Council."
In Miller's case complainant asserted that Miller, as a sportscaster, should not be reporting on a matter, municipal affairs, that was not his primary on-air responsibility: The panel disagreed and noted that he had a expertise on municipal matters and was as entitled to speak of that subject as he would have been to deal with stamp collecting, had that been an expertise of his.
Previous CBSC:

2008-06-30: Emmis has announced that it is dropping the current morning show line-up at its Hot 97 in New York to replace it with a new line-up that features nationally syndicated (by ABC Radio Networks) "Big Boy in the Morning": The show is to be preceded by an early edition 5am-7am local show featuring the eclectic combo of HOT 97 rising stars Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg, who have previously been on the station from 08:00 to 10:00 on Saturday and Sunday.
Emmis says Tarsha Nicole Jones who hosts the "Miss Jones in the Morning" show will exit next week after some airtime to bid farewell to her listeners: She is then due to start on Radio One's WPHI-FM (The Beat), Philadelphia, from July 7, returning to a station she left after an 18-month spell that included two suspensions and a slander lawsuit that was settled out of court.
HOT 97 Program Director Ebro Darden said of her in a news release, "Miss Jones is one of the hardest working radio people I have ever seen and she made history with HOT 97. Miss Jones will have the mic in mornings all of next week so that she is given her proper respect to tell her listeners how much she appreciates them and reminisce about how great this program has been."
Of the replacements he said, "Great talent is recognized by listeners coast to coast, and Big Boy is well known to be one of the funniest and hardest working entertainers in radio today. "Big Boy has an unmatched reputation for being entertaining...he also has great relationships with artists… Putting Big Boy on HOT 97 in New York City helps keep the high standard of radio happening for us."
Previous Emmis:
Previous Miss Jones:

2008-06-29: The main regulatory news this week was the imposition of a record GBP 1.11 million (USD 2.21 million) fine on GCap Media for offences related to a premium rate phone service competition. Another topic of interest that we noted from the regulators last week related to adverts with both the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posting notices related to them: Elsewhere interest again centred on community stations in Australia with a steady flow of radio-related decisions from Canada.
In Australia, there was just one radio-related posting by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), a ruling that Macarthur Community Radio Association Inc, the licensee of community radio service 2MCR Campbelltown, New South Wales, breached the Community Broadcasting Codes of Practice 2002 in the way it handled a complaint made in December 2007. It also found that the station breached codes because it did not include a copy of the code with its response to the complaint and did not advise the complainant that he had the right to refer his complaint to ACMA if he was dissatisfied with the response.
The Authority took no further action, noting that the licensee had acknowledged the breaches and had not again breached the relevant code provisions.
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 acquisition by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. of the assets of CFEQ-FM, Winnipeg, from Kesitah Inc.
New Brunswick:
*Approval of application to add frequencies 7310 kHz, 7325 kHz and 7345 kHz to the licence of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CKCX, Sackville, for its short-wave operations. The short-wave transmitter complex at Sackville rebroadcasts the programming of Radio-Canada International and CBC North Quebec and the CBC says the frequencies would be used a few hours a day and only during certain months of the year.
*Conditional approval of acquisition from a Corus subsidiary by 9183-9084 Québec inc., which is controlled by the Hockey Club, Les Remparts de Québec inc., of the assets of French-language station CHRC-AM, Québec.
Corus had owned the station less than three years and the Commission noted that overall AM stations in Quebec had not been profitable in the previous five years and that in this situation the difficult and deteriorating circumstances facing this station were adversely affecting its operations, the communities it was licensed to serve, its employees and the development of the AM radio industry in Quebec. At the same time it agreed with the majority of interventions made that the proposal as submitted could not be approved and said it was "was particularly concerned that little local programming was proposed for the AM station in question, and by the lack of reflection of the community it served" - the applicant is proposing to broadcast sports and cultural programming plus news-based information programming including open-line programmes and had said at a hearing that announcers would discuss local news, primarily through comments by announcers on news in local newspapers and on other stations, during some programmes but would not offer newscasts.
It therefore decided to issue a new short-term licence running to August next year for the station together with a requirement that the new owners place on record the Canadian content development (CCD) it intends to make and also to require filing within 30 days "a new local programming proposal that is acceptable to the Commission and that includes maintaining the station's information service so as to ensure that the station offers a newscast." The buyer also has to file a "report detailing how it intends to incorporate, into its local programming, spoken word programming of direct and particular relevance to the community being served" and also a "a report describing the action that has been taken in order to find an acceptable solution with the Syndicat des employés de CHRC and thus avoid the loss of journalism at the station. "
It noted that Corus had tried unsuccessfully to turn the station around financially and had cumulative pre-tax losses of more than CAD 1.9 million (USD 1.9 million) since the end of May 2005 and that the value of the transaction was estimated at CAD 282,000 made up of station net assets of CAD 257,000 and land valued at CAD 25,000.
*Approval of acquisition by Radio communautaire de Windsor et region inc. of the assets of community station CIAX-FM, Windsor, from Carrefour jeunesse-emploi comté Johnson. The CRTC noted that the transaction will formalize CIAX-FM's situation by transferring the undertaking's licence to the organization that controls it. Both parties involved have agreed that the transaction would have no financial implications.
*Approval of acquisition by the Coopérative des travailleurs CHNC of assets of CHNC-AM, New Carlisle, and its transmitter CHGM-AM, Gaspé: The CRTC notes that this transaction will not affect the effective control of CHGM Gaspé, which will continue to be exercised by la Coopérative's board of directors.
The CRTC also posted a public notice with a deadline for the submission of interventions or comments that included the following radio-related matters:
*Application by Coopérative de travail de la radio de Granby to increase the power of French-language commercial station CFXM-FM, Granby, from 200 watts to 1,184 watts, change channels, relocate its transmitter and increase the effective antenna height
*Application by Carl Gilbert, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (OBCI), to use 103.3 MHz with an effective radiated power of 6,000 watts for a new French-language commercial FM approved for Saguenay (zone La Baie) in March last year subject to finding a suitable alternative frequency to that originally applied for.
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to add a 5,460 watts FM transmitter at Saint-Donat to broadcast La Première Chaîne programming originating from CBF-FM, Montréal.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) did not post any radio decisions as such although it congratulated Clare FM on winning the 2008 "Gradam Gaeilge an Chláir" award under a scheme, now in its fourth year, that is specifically directed at companies and organisations in the commercial sector who do the most to promote the use of Irish both internally and externally.
The award was presented to Clare FM Managing Director Liam O'Shea at an awards ceremony organised by An Clár as Gaeilge Teo, the language promotion group.
BCI chief executive Michael O'Keeffe commented, "We wish to congratulate Clare FM on winning this award which was presented to the station in recognition of the way it integrated the use of Irish throughout its daily programming. It is wonderful to see a local radio station promoting the Irish language and developing the use of Irish in its schedule in this manner."
The BCI also announced details of the seventh funding round of its Sound & Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme for radio and is inviting applications from programme makers for funding for new radio programmes dealing with the themes of Irish culture, heritage and experience, and such programmes in the Irish language.
In addition it was involved as already noted in issues of advertising and posted its new General Advertising Code Information Resource and E-Learning Tool. This is says offers an "E-learning Course, ideal for induction, refresher and training purposes, as well as a Code Information Resource for an easy to access, interactive version of the code with guidance Interactive Code notes and case studies."
In the UK, Ofcom has imposed its largest-ever fine on a radio broadcaster with a GBP 1.1 million (USD 2.2 million) penalty on GCap Media in connection with a premium-line phone competition (See RNW Jun 26) and also posted its latest broadcast bulletin in which it upheld two radio standards complaints (Also RNW Jun 26).
In Wales, it awarded the new digital multiplex licence for North Wales to MuxCo North Wales Limited, the sole applicant, whose shareholders are Town and Country Broadcasting Limited (70%)
MuxCo Ltd (30%). Being proposed are six services in addition to BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru (See RNW May 24): Muxco Wales had previously been awarded the Mid Wales digital multiplex (See RNW Mar 19)
Ofcom also announced that David (Lord) Currie is to step down as its chairman after next Easter: His post is to be advertised in September this year (See RNW Jun 26) and posted its 2007-08 Annual Report.
This 99 page-report shows the agency to have carried out 55 consultations in the year - most -22- related to spectrum; 19 to telecoms and 12 relating to broadcasting - and to have closed a total of 12,726 cases relating to broadcasting complaints and to have reached decisions on a total of 67,742 programme complaints, of which 67,548 were complaints about programme standards.
Within the total 135 cases were found to be partially in breach/in breach either of the Broadcasting Code or of licence conditions (accounting for 45,228 complaints including those about Celebrity Big Brother) and of these, 11 cases resulted in sanctions against nine broadcasters.
Ofcom noted that it did not meet its performance targets in this area, due principally to the handling of an unprecedented number of sanctions and complex cases (in particular, relating to the use of premium rate services (PRS) in programmes).
In terms of Broadcasting - Fairness And Privacy complaints it closed 194 cases, 27 of these going consideration of its Fairness Committee with 14 being upheld, 13 of them partially.
Ofcom also reported an increase in its total operating expenditure for the year of GBP 8.8 million (USD 17.6 million), which it put down amongst other things to an increase in average employee numbers, pay increases in line with inflation and also an accrual for sabbaticals compensated by a release of National Insurance accrual from previous year that led to a net increase of GBP 5 million (USD 10 million) in staff costs.
On an adjusted cash basis it said its actual operating expenditure in the year was GBP 130 million (USD 259.3 million), up from GBP 129.4 million (USD 258.1 million) in 2006-7, a total GBP 200,000 (USD 399,000) below budget.
Regarding broadcast radio plans, chief executive Ed Richards comments in his annual report that Ofcom would "implement a new regime for the regulation of analogue commercial radio stations'
Formats" and added, "We will also contribute fully to the cross-industry Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG), which is examining the future digital options for radio broadcasters."
Ofcom also commented of broadcast radio that it "faces significant challenges, including competition from other technologies such as the internet, as well as increased listening
on digital platforms that puts greater pressure on local analogue stations" and noted reforms that it had made: It also noted that its research showed that "when it comes to key local information
such as travel, weather and news, listeners use radio as the default medium. They were also concerned that quality would suffer if this content were not made and delivered locally" and added, "We therefore proposed that all FM local radio stations should provide at least ten hours of locally made programming each weekday, and four hours on weekends. But to assist flexibility, smaller stations would be able to share a large proportion of this programming (outside breakfast)
with other nearby stations."
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a call for comment on what it terms "the relationship between the Commission's sponsorship identification rules and increasing industry reliance on embedded advertising techniques" noting that, partly because of "technological changes that allow consumers to more readily bypass commercial content, content providers may be turning to more subtle and sophisticated means of incorporating commercial messages into traditional programming."
The call is made mainly in relation to TV but the FCC comments in terms of all broadcasts, saying, "As these techniques become increasingly prevalent, it is important that the sponsorship identification rules protect the public's right to know who is paying to air commercials or other program matter on broadcast television and radio and cable."
FCC chairman Kevin J Martin commented of the proposal, "I believe it is important for consumers to know when someone is trying to sell them something. That is why, at our media ownership hearing in September of 2007, I called on my colleagues to adopt this Notice, which seeks comment on the relationship between the Commission's sponsorship identification rules and increasing industry reliance on embedded advertising techniques."
Comments were also issued by the two Democrat Commissioners with Michael J. Copps commenting specifically on TV where "is difficult to watch television and not be struck by the amount of product placement" and adding "the NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) section tees up certain key issues on which we can move directly to rules-such as whether and how to make sponsorship identification more obvious to consumers, and rules regarding embedded advertising in children's programming. "
His colleague Jonathan S. Adelstein added that the NPRM "addresses concerns at the heart of my Agenda to Protect American Children and Families, specifically whether our current rules governing commercials in children's programming need to be updated to adequately protect children from embedded advertising" and also commented, "The true reality is that news and entertainment alike are practically being turned into undisclosed commercials."
He also commented, "Many current practices make a mockery of our regulatory requirement that consumers have a right to "full and fair" disclosure" and said, "Such inadequate disclosure is bad for content, democracy, and our children's health. When viewers cannot distinguish content from advertising, the market check on content quality fails, and we see a race to the bottom where television shows become program-length infomercials. "
RNW note: We regret other demands mean we will have to update later other Federal Communications Commission (FCC) postings - including a number of enforcement actions and decisions on disputed licences.
Previous ACMA:
Previous Adelstein:
Previous BCI:
Previous Copps:
Previous CRTC:
Previous DRWG:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous Martin:
Previous Muxco:
Previous Ofcom:
Previous O'Keeffe:
Previous Richards:
ACMA web site:

BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:

Ofcom Annual Report (2.05 Mb 99 Page PDF):
2008-06-28: Canada's Supreme Court has cleared former Vancouver talk host Rafe Mair of libel in relation to comments he made in relation to the 1997 Surrey School same sex book controversy in which a teacher in a British Columbia school was refused permission to use three books in which families were of the same sex.
The ban itself was eventually overturned by Canada's Supreme Court in a 2002 ruling which held that a local school board could not impose religious values by refusing to allow use of books that sought to promote tolerance of same-sex relationships and Mair in a commentary on CKNW-AM had referred in comments about Kari Simpson, the then executive director of the Citizens Research Institute, to the Klu Klux Klan, the Nazis , and Adolf Hitler, leading Simpson, one of the leading lights in the fight to ban the books, to sue for libel in 1999.
At a first court hearing the judge ruled that Mair's comments could be taken as implying that Simpson condoned violence but awarded no damages against Mair because the host held an honest belief in the views he expressed.
This decision was overturned by the British Columbia Court of Appeal, which ruled that Mair and WIC Radio, the then owner of the station (Corus purchased it in 2000), had not produced an adequate defence.
The station appealed to Canada's Supreme Court, which has held in a 9-0 judgement that Mair was making fair comment.
The Canadian Press quoted Justice Ian Binnie as saying in his comments, "In my view, with respect, the court of appeal unduly favoured protection of Kari Simpson's reputation in a rancorous public debate in which she had involved herself as a major protagonist " and adding that there was no proof that Mair's comment was motivated by personal malice so that his "expression of opinion, however, exaggerated, was protected by the law… We live in a free country where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones."
It also quoted Mair as saying he was glad the station appealed the case and adding, "This could be an enormous benefit to the journalism industry and therefore, to the people that read and watch it… I've always felt that I was doing a work-for-life job, and not showing malice to any."
Previous Mair:
Canadian Press report:

2008-06-27: The BBC has appointed Tim Davie , currently director of the its Marketing, Communications and Audiences division, as Director of BBC Audio & Music to take over from Jenny Abramsky who is leaving the corporation after 39 years at the end of September and will chair the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
In his new role Davie will oversee BBC Radios 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Live and the BBC digital radio stations 1Xtra, 6 Music, BBC 7, 5 Live Sports Extra and the Asian Network and will also take charge of Radio Drama, Television Music Entertainment and will be strategically responsible for all audio across the BBC.
Davie moved to the BBC to take up his current role in April 2005 before which he had been Vice President, Marketing and Franchise of PepsiCo Europe. His appointment to the new role is the first time someone with a marketing background has been appointed by the BBC to so key a role with programming responsibilities and he will have control of a budget of some GBP 200 million ( USD 400 million). In the current role he has been heavily involved in the development of the BBC iPlayer broadband service for both radio and TV and he is also a director of Freeview, the UK terrestrial digital platform; of Digital UK, the body set up to oversee the switch of TV to digital; and is one of a four-strong board for Freesat, the free-to-air digital satellite joint venture with ITV.
He commented of his appointment, "It is a great privilege to build on the outstanding legacy of Jenny Abramsky and take on the leadership of a very talented team. This is a special role because of the unique cultural contribution of the BBC's audio and music output, which is highly valued by millions of people. As a passionate advocate of radio, I am excited by the challenge of continuing to deliver not only distinctive BBC services but also to support the growth of the medium as a whole across traditional and digital platforms."
Abramsky said, "Radio is at the very heart of the BBC's public service offering and music stands at the pinnacle of its contribution to the UK's cultural life. I have no doubt, having worked alongside Tim on the executive board for the last three years, that he will lead Audio & Music with passion and understanding and that radio and music will be in very safe hands."
BBC Director General Mark Thompson added of the appointment, "Radio is at the heart of the BBC's public service mission and millions of listeners rely on its quality, range and integrity every day. Tim's drive, knowledge and sheer love of the medium will ensure that BBC radio remains creatively strong and vibrant in the years to come. His insight into audiences and their expectations of the BBC will be particularly valuable."
Previous Abramsky:
Previous BBC:

Previous Thompson:
2008-06-27: XM Satellite Radio in a move related to delays in approving its merger with Sirius has borrowed USD 100 million and also extended its contract with chairman Gary Parsons from its scheduled ending next Monday (June 30) to November 18 next year.
Parsons base salary last year was USD 495,593 out of total remuneration of USD 5.94 million.
In an 8K filing disclosing the moves, XM said that is to use a "portion" of the new loan from USB AG towards repaying its USD 150 million credit facility from GM Corporation and notes that the new loan as did the previous one "contains a financial covenant that requires XM to maintain a level of cash and cash equivalents from time to time of either USD 50 million or USD 75 million."
Previous Parsons:
Previous XM:

2008-06-27: The US House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property has passed The Performance Rights Act that would introduce performance royalties for music aired by US terrestrial radio stations prompting a response by US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) EVP Dennis Wharton that it was a "complete non-surprise, given the House IP Subcommittee's history of support for the RIAA-backed tax on local radio stations."
Wharton added, "Despite today's action, there remains broad bipartisan resistance to the RIAA tax from members of Congress who question whether a punitive fee on America's hometown radio stations should be used to bail out the failing business model of foreign-owned record labels."
The NAB has backed the Local Radio Freedom Act, a non-binding resolution saying Congress should not impose "any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings" on broadcast radio, that it said earlier this week now has the support of a majority of the House (See RNW Jun ).
It was introduced last year by Texas Republican Mike Conaway and Texan Democrat Gene Green who have circulated a letter asking for more support for its resolution. The letter, which adopts the NAB's propaganda mangling of language by using the term "tax" for the charge, was posted by NAB as a PDF: It says in part, "Local radio and artists have a symbiotic relationship that benefits both parties. A 'performance tax' that would require local radio stations to pay a fee to the recording industry every time a song is played would destroy this relationship and inhibit upcoming artists."
The NAB has also again run advertisements urging Congress to reject the introduction of performance royalties featuring a duck, this time with a suitcase under its wing on which are stickers saying "Universal -France", "EMI - England" and "Sony - Japan" below which is the headline, "First the record labels said it wasn't a tax ... Now they aren't telling you the money migrates overseas."
The ad continues, "The recording industry is asking members of Congress to force local radio stations in their district to subsidize the outdated business model of giant international conglomerates. While three of the four major record labels are located outside the U.S., free, local radio stations are the lifeblood of towns and communities right here in our country -- delivering vital local news, weather and emergency information to your constituents."
"Local radio stations," it adds have been the driving force behind music sales in this country for years. In fact economists estimate radio provides anywhere from USD 1.5 to USD 2.4 billion dollars each year in free promotion for artists and their labels.
"Don't let the recording industry hurt local radio stations just to put money in the hands of big international companies."
Previous NAB:
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2008-06-27: Entravision has announced the promotion of Russell Sakamoto, most recently its Corporate Controller, to Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer.
Sakamoto jointed Entravision in 1988 prior to which he had been with Nestle USA and McGladrey & Pullen, LLP.
At Triton Media Networks, which has just bought Jones Media Networks (See RNW Jun 20) veteran programmer Beau Phillips has joined its Dial Global subsidiary as executive VP of programming: Following the purchase Jones Media America is being combined with Dial Global and Phillips will oversee Dial Global's 24-hour formats, programs and services.
Dial Global Programming president Kirk Stirland commented in a release, "With Dial Global's acquisition of Jones Radio Networks last week, our depth of programming is greatly expanded. Beau will focus on making our programs and services best-of-breed and set them up so both our affiliates and our sponsors can benefit."
Dial Global has also appointed Jones Media America veteran Marty Damin, who has been with Jones for 15 years the last three as director of its sports sales, as its VP of Sports sales.
Previous Entravision:
Previous Triton Media/Dial Global:

2008-06-26: UK Media regulator Ofcom has fined GCap Media a record radio fine total of GBP 1.11 million (USD 2. 21 million) for breach of its rules relating to unfair conduct of competitions. The ruling involved 30 GCap stations - a penalty of GBP 37,000 (USD 74,000) a station - and an Ofcom investigation found that on a number of occasions programme makers deliberately put to air text entrants with incorrect answers in order to prevent the prize from being won too soon, thus meaning listeners who had paid to enter the competition on these occasions had no chance of winning.
The problem with premium rate lines had already led Ofcom in May this year to fine commercial broadcaster ITV GBP 5.68 million ( USD 11.19 million) for its abuse of premium rate phone lines in a number of programmes.
The investigation into the Secret Sound four-week premium rate service listener competition was launched after a whistleblower complained to PhonepayPlus alleging that GCap had deliberately selected entrants with wrong answers to participate in the competition on air. In all according to Ofcom a total of 297,215 entries were made to Secret Sound, generating total revenue of GBP 104,536 (USD 206,000) - the cost to the participants was higher because of operator charges - of which GCap received 41%.
PhonepayPlus in July last year recorded a breach of its Code of Practice against GCap for misleading its listeners and fined it GBP 17,500 (USD 35,000) and gave it a formal reprimand. PhonepayPlus then referred the case to Ofcom.
Ofcom in the ruling said the breaches were "extremely serious" noted that "this practice had been agreed in advance at a programme team meeting by a "Director" [GCap described the person as a "mid-ranking employee" and not a member of its senior management], who had operational responsibility for the content and production of network syndicated programmes. "
It also commented that "At the time that GCap became aware of the unfair conduct, its own investigation into the matter did not appear to Ofcom to have been either thorough or extensive" and said of a statement posted on the company's web site some four months later that it was "extremely concerned about the manner in which GCap had announced the compliance failures in this corporate statement."
"For GCap to describe this deliberate and repeated unfair conduct as 'an isolated
Incident' and a 'system error'," said Ofcom, "was fundamentally misleading and inaccurate and represented, in Ofcom's view, an inept attempt at 'news management' on GCap's part. The fact that GCap's Board had authorised the wording of this statement, and its publication on GCap's corporate website, was a matter of serious concern … The same statement had included an offer of refunds to any listeners who had entered the Secret Sound competition. The decision not to broadcast details of this refund offer on the participating stations, or even to publish these details on the stations' websites where listeners would have been more likely to see them, but instead to publish the statement only on GCap's corporate website was, in Ofcom's view, wholly inadequate, as evidenced by the single refund to a listener of GBP 2 (USD 3)"
It also noted that "It was a matter of serious concern to the Committee that this was the first case of its kind in which the behaviour of the licensee (or as in this case, the parent company acting on behalf of the licensees) had effectively hindered Ofcom's investigation. The Committee considered that GCap did not co-operate with Ofcom's investigation in a manner that it would expect from its licensees. In light of this, the Committee was firmly of the view that this conduct should be considered as a factor tending to increase, rather than decrease, the level of penalty."
In its comments to the Sanctions hearing, GCap said it considered the unfair conduct of Secret Sound to have been "totally unacceptable" and added that it was committed to ensuring that it was not repeated.
It also said it had compliance measures in place at the time of the conduct, although these had proved to be inadequate and that it had, at the time, considered that its compliance procedures were well understood by its staff: The unfair conduct, it said, was a serious error of judgement on the part of those involved, but also admitted that GCap's senior management had not supervised sufficiently well on the matter."
GCap was taken over by Global Radio in a GBP 375 million (USD 730 million) that closed on June 6: It said in a statement that since the competition ran it had been involved in two senior management changes as well as the change of ownership but that it took the ruling "extremely seriously."
It added: "The new management and owners look forward to building a strong future for the commercial radio industry where the trust of its listeners and of its regulator is of the highest importance. "To that end the new management are already putting in place new measures to build on the already improved controls implemented at GCap and the company has not run premium rate competitions of this kind for the last 12 months."
Ofcom has also posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld two radio standards complaints and considered another resolved through action taken by the broadcaster: It also upheld six TV standards complaints and posted details of two TV Fairness and Privacy complaints not upheld.
The numbers compare with a finding in its last bulletin that GCap Media's Ocean FM was operating outside its format and the upholding of two TV standards complaints plus a TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint with another TV standards complaint partly upheld and the posting of four fairness and privacy complaints - two each for radio and TV - that were not upheld.
The radio complaints upheld involved "The Bush and Troy Show" on GWR 96.3 FM (Bristol and Bath) and "Thunder Crew link" on Mercia FM (Coventry & Warwickshire): In the first case two listeners had complained to Ofcom that attempts to mask out the words "fucking" and "motherfucker" in a promotion with the line "Easter bunny here. If you laugh at my big teeth again, I'll knock yours out. Happy f (*) cking Easter, you fat motherf (*) cker"." But that this was only partial making it obvious what the words being masked were.
GCap Media had apologized for inclusion of the promotion in the breakfast show and said that the incident occurred because the presenters believed 'bleeping out' the expletives would be sufficient to comply with the Code.
It added that the material was not checked by the programme's producer or the production team before it went on air because GWR's editorial resources were "considerably stretched" by a marketing promotion it was involved in and that as soon as the station became aware of the material it was immediately taken off air.
Ofcom in its decision commented "The masking of the words in fact resulted in the unwelcome effect of drawing listeners' attention to the terms" and termed the broadcast of the expletives a "clear misjudgement and failure of compliance."
Regarding Mercia FM, a listener had complained about what he considered "continuous plugs" in programming. GCap had responded by saying that "…this case arose from an overly zealous Thunder Co-ordinator who was relatively new and naively thought he was being creative in how he set up the audio link" and apologized for the broadcast, adding that it had taken appropriate steps to explain the code to all the "Thunder Co-ordinators employed by Mercia FM".
Ofcom ruled that mentions of a car in the programme were promotions that were not editorially justified.
In an Xfm case that was considered resolved a listener had complained about the use of the words "shit" and "motherfucker" in a song played in early evening. GCap, who owned the station, said that human error had resulted in the wrong version of the song being aired and that when the matter came to light the edited version was loaded into its system to prevent recurrence. It also noted that Xfm itself had received no complaints about the incident.
In considering the matter resolved Ofcom said it took into account measures taken by the broadcaster and the fact that the language was broadcast as a result of human error. It also noted that Xfm was a "niche station aimed at a predominantly adult audience and at a time when RAJAR figures typically indicate no children are listening to this show."
Ofcom also listed without details 283 TV complaints against 128 items - 53 against one programme - and 28 radio complaints against 19 items - that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 2929 TV complaints against 128 items - 2731 against one programme - and 52 radio complaints against 21 items - 27 against one Radio Scotland programme that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit in the previous bulletin.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
Previous Ofcom:
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
Ofcom ruling (177kb 29 page PDF):

2008-06-26: BBC World Service is to close down its Romanian-language service, the last non-English language service it provides for EU member states, on August 1 with a loss of 46 jobs - 30 in Bucharest in Romania; four in Chisinau in Moldova and 12 in London: The closure will produce an annual saving of GBP 1.3 million (USD 2.56 million) a year and will also end Romanian-language services to the Republic of Moldova that rely on the Romanian service's infrastructure.
The BBC notes that the closure has been endorsed by the BBC Trust and the FCO and that the decision was made in the context of a review of language services after overall funding levels were agreed with the UK government in October last year: These increased resources for new projects such as TV services for BBC Arabic and Persian but also imposed a savings target of around 3% a year.
The change in emphasis had already led to a number of language service closures - in October 2005 it announced the closure of ten language services - Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Kazakh, Polish, Slovak, Slovene and Thai - under wide ranging changes that included the launch of an Arabic TV channel (See RNW Oct 26, 2005), then retaining Albanian, Macedonian, Romanian and Serbian services. The BBC says the Romanian service closure will be the only one during the current funding period.
The BBC notes that mergers had meant that several FM partners that had carried the Romanian service had dropped it with the result that the audience fell to below 3% of the radio audience in Romania and that its limited number of FM relays could not counter the loss. The service says that it plans to retain its four local FM relays in Romania and one in Moldova, which currently carry English and Romanian services, to carry English services - plus Russian and Ukrainian in Moldova, subject to approval by local regulators.
The service was launched in September 1939 and BBC World Service Director Nigel Chapman said in a release, "Like the other European services we closed three years ago, BBC Romanian had its roots in the Second World War. It has served its audiences with distinction through the Communist era to the present day."
He added, "The contribution of all BBC Romanian staff has been immense: serving Romanians with innovation and commitment for 68 years. The quality of the current output is of the highest standard. But Europe has changed, fundamentally, since the early nineties; and with the rapidly declining audiences in Romania we can no longer justify continuing the service."
Previous BBC:
Previous Chapman:

2008-06-26: Arbitron in response to a letter sent by a group of six broadcasters expressing their concerns about its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings service (See RNW Jun 24) has defended itself in terms of the sample targets for the 18-34 and 18-54 demographics, a matter on which it says it has "made substantial progress since November, building on what was already a statistically sound base," and adding that it is "consistently delivering in excess of our benchmarks and targets in a number of markets and demos."
The response in an e-mail from CEO Steve Morris also notes of complaints about a perceived reluctance by Arbitron to re-allocate meters from children 6-11 to those above 12 that it had "already agreed with our Advisory Council to present additional proposals regarding higher benchmarks and options for re-allocating children 6-11 samples at the upcoming July meeting" and added, "We look forward to that discussion and trust that your Council member will represent your company's point of view.
Morris says Arbitron remains committed to obtaining Media Rating Council accreditation and thanks those who wrote for their "continued attention to the quality of our radio rating services."
"I would very much like to hear from you directly on these issues, so I will be calling to follow up this note," he says. "While much progress has been made, we welcome a continuing and important dialogue as we move ahead with electronic measurement."
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Previous Media Rating Council:
Previous Morris:

2008-06-26: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced that David (Lord) Currie is to step down as its chairman after next Easter: His post is to be advertised in September this year.
Currie, who has been chairman of the organization since it was formed from a merger of predecessor organizations in 2003, said he looked forward to "working with Ofcom well into 2009 on such crucial matters as the development of policy on public service broadcasting, [next generation broadband access] and consumer protection.
Before he joined Ofcom Currie, who sits in the House of Lords as Lord Currie of Marylebone, was professor of economics and deputy dean at the London Business School and he has also been dean of Cass Business School at City University, chairman of Trillium Investment Partners, and on the board of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ofcom also announced that Philip Graf has been re-appointed deputy chairman of Ofcom and chairman of the Ofcom content board for a further three years to December 31 2011 and that competition partner Stuart McIntosh and strategy and market developments partner Peter Phillips will become executive board members from July 1.
Previous Currie:
Previous Ofcom:

2008-06-25: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is now claiming the support of a majority of the US House of Representatives to proposals to for a bill to bar the introduction of a performance royalty charge - NAB terms it a "tax" - for music aired on US terrestrial radio stations.
Announcing that a further four members of the 435-member House had expressed support for The Local Radio Freedom Act - taking the total to 219, NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said in a release that the announcement "sends a powerful message to foreign-owned record labels that Congress is not falling for their bogus campaign to blame local radio stations for their financial woes."
He added, "NAB thanks those members of Congress who appreciate the fact that free radio airplay of music generates untold millions into the wallets of performers and record labels. We will continue to educate policymakers on the devastating impact this RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) tax would have on America's hometown radio stations."
RNW comment: Yet again we feel impelled to comment on the despicable way in which the NAB is organising lobbying on this matter and contempt for those members of Congress who have supported the Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposes the introduction of royalties, without adding some caveats about the NAB's language.
The issue as a matter of accurate use of language is not one of a tax; we doubt that the NAB would approve charges were the labels, as most of them used to be, American-owned which makes use of the "foreign-owned" tag contemptible; and the impact would only be devastating if royalties were set at a high level, a matter concerning which NAB could legitimately voice opposition.
We wonder, did US law not forbid foreign ownership of broadcasters (unlike that of many other countries that allow foreign ownership), whether many broadcasters would also be foreign-owned and if so if NAB would stick to its petty-American labels.

Previous NAB:
Previous Wharton:

2008-06-25: Following criticism of remarks he made about Dallas Cowboys player Adam "Pacman" Jones (See RNW Jun 24), Citadel syndicated host Don Imus defended himself on his show on Tuesday, saying that what he was actually doing was making a point about the unfair effect of racial profiling on African Americans.
Imus said that when he asked about Jones' colour, "Obviously I already knew what colour he was. The point was to make a sarcastic point."
He continued, "What people should be outraged about is they arrest blacks for no reason. There's no reason to arrest this kid six times, maybe he did something once, but I mean everybody does something once."
In a statement posted on his National Action Network lobby group web site civil rights campaigner the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement, "It has been reported to me that statements were made by Mr. Imus this morning and National Action Network has monitored his show since his return. I find the inference of his remark disturbing because it plays into stereotypes. Any use of stereotypes is always counterproductive. We will determine in the next day or so whether or not his remark warrants direct action on our part as we did in April of last year."
Previous Citadel:
Previous Imus:
National Action Network web site:

2008-06-25: Triton Media including its newly acquired Jones Media Networks (See RNW Jun 20) was the prime winner in the RADAR 97 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience rankings just released by Arbitron covering the period April 5, 2007 to April 2, 2008.
Its Jones MAI Adult Power retained number one network ranking and it had four other networks in the top ten including the Dial-Global Contemporary Network that moved up to second, overtaking the ABC Daytime network, plus the Dial-Global Complete FM Network (4th), Dial Global News & Information Network (7th), and Jones MAI Female Perspective (9th).
The top five networks in the survey were:
1 - Jones MAI Adult Power which gained 29,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 6.710 million and an average rating unchanged at 2.6%
2- Dial-Global Contemporary Network, which gained 629,000 listeners and moved up from third with an average audience of 6.438 million and an average rating up from 2.3% to 2.5%
3 -Citadel-owned ABC Daytime Direction Network, which lost 296,000 listeners and fell from second to third with an average audience of 6.163 million and an average rating down from 2.5% to 2.4%
4 - Dial Global Complete FM Network, which gained 186,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.764 million and an average rating up from 2.2% to 2.3%
5- Westwood WON I Network, which lost 43,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.452 million and an average rating unchanged at 2.2%
*Premiere Networks highest ranked offering is the Premiere Morning Drive Network in tenth rank with an average audience of 4.015 million and an average rating of 1.6%
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Previous Citadel (Formerly Disney)/ABC, America:
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Previous RADAR & RADAR ratings (RADAR 96):
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2008-06-25: As forecast (See RNW Jun 23), Clear Channel's Q102, which dropped local host Chris Booker a month ago has replaced his morning show with the syndicated "Elvis Duran & the Morning Show".
Duran, who was previously on-air at on-air at WIOQ-FM in Philadelphia and its program director from May 1989 until just before he was fired in February 1990, will be joined by 102 mainstay Diego, who will remain based in Philadelphia whilst Elvis remains in New York.
His show on Z100 is already syndicated to WHYI (Y100) in Miami/Ft Lauderdale, and WHCY ("Max 106.3") whose signal covers in northern New Jersey and north-eastern Pennsylvania.
Previous Clear Channel:

2008-06-25: SMG has announced plans to change its name to stv Group plc following the sale of its outdoor and Virgin Radio operations and also a new "digital strategy" based around its website -, saying it is "building a world class platform featuring top quality network and regional programming, which will be promoted to an available audience of 4 million viewers via the stv television channel."
The plans were outlined at an analysts' event in Glasgow by stv's Head of New Media Alistair Brown, who said the company is "preparing the business for the future by building a first rate digital team in sales, editorial and web development, with the aim of becoming Scotland's essential online source of information and entertainment."
The site will offer a video service to launch later this summer that stv says "will deliver a high quality flash based user experience and chief executive Rob Woodward commented, "In the same way that stv delivers broadcast services to the people of Scotland, will deliver digital services to the people of Scotland. "
SMG also said that its trading continues in line with its AGM guidance last month but that in addition, as a result of our tax planning, the Board believes that the Group will gain a cash benefit of GBP 10 million (USD 19.7 million) across the period 2008 to 2011.
Previous SMG:
Previous Woodward:

2008-06-24: This week, for fairly obvious reasons in view of comments by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin that he was now in favour of it, the Sirius-XM merger attracted considerable US print comment with much of it, now that approval is more likely, in opposition.
Amongst these was an article by Paul Farhi in the Washington Post, which ended by asking, "Is it really in the public interest for the FCC to foster yet another media flight from quality and diversity? "and answering,, "The right move -- both to protect consumers and to position the satellite companies for the intense competition in the next phase of the great media shakeout -- is to force XM and Sirius to enter the new world not fat and happy but lean and hungry."
Before that Farhi had gone through the by-now well disseminated pros and cons in terms of whether satellite radio competes in its own market or against a multitude of other sources of audio from terrestrial radio to Internet offerings.
Farhi separates out in his argument programming and technology - he terms satellite radio "an interim technology, hardly likely to survive far into the next decade" and asks, "Once Internet radio is available simply and cheaply in Americans' cars, offering an infinite universe of audio programming, why would consumers want to buy a separate radio, antenna and wiring to pull in XM-Sirius?".
The latter he suggests would be moved onto the web to fight it out with material offered by such other organizations as "Clear Channel, Pandora, CBS, NPR, BBC, local radio stations and news organizations around the globe" and in this context he asks why they are so special "that the government should grant them a competitive advantage in that marketplace" by providing them for the battle ahead.
He also went back "to the original promises XM and Sirius made and found fabulous lists of programs in many languages, with half a dozen genres of classical music, pop sounds from every corner of the planet, live radio dramas, high-end scientific and academic debate, and all manner of other esoteric and minority fare" and reflected what reality did to this vision - "Millions of Americans proved to be dissatisfied enough with AM and FM radio to pay $13 a month for 150 channels of music, news and talk. But what did they listen to on their new toy? The top pop hits, country, oldies, hip-hop, Howard Stern, baseball, news headlines, and traffic and weather reports."
And in that context he has a somewhat gloomy message for minority interests in the future competition against the giants- "The history of media teaches us that big businesses in that position reach for mass-appeal content."
Also opposing the merger, this time from the perspective of a terrestrial broadcaster purportedly also arguing for artists was Bayard H. "Bud" Walters, president of Cromwell Group Inc. who responded in the Tennessean to a previous op-ed in favour from Tim DuBois and Butch Spyridon (See last week's Columnists).
Walters makes his argument on various grounds - that "losing money" as both Sirius and XM are is not a reason to allow a merger - he comments of this "All it does is bail out Wall Street and reduce competition. If we want one satellite company nationwide, let one of them fail. The Federal Communications Commission can then recover the spectrum and make it available to others."
He then argues that part of the reason for the loss is that the two companies have had to compete for talent and programming asking, "How did Howard Stern get such a high price from Sirius? Sirius did not want XM to have him. If they were one company, would Howard or any other talent have any leverage in negotiating?"
Regarding artists and writers he says they "know too well the power of big music companies - and what mergers have done to or for them" and asks, "How does it follow that an XM-Sirius merger would be good for them?"
As for competition he argues that terrestrial stations compete for listeners on a local level but satellite on a national level and comments of a post-merger situation, "It is wishful thinking to believe that in an XM-Sirius monopoly will be altruistic or even fair. That has not been the history of their past performance and can be expected to be less so if allowed to merge."
Amongst the reactions, one subscriber Rickyc summed up fairly concisely his fears when he wrote: "…. I view this issue only in one context; as an XM subscriber, what happens to me when Sirius merges and is no longer an option. Probably, the XM price goes up and choice goes down…"
In another commentary in the Indianapolis Star, Jeffrey M. McCall, professor of communications at DePauw University, did not think approval was a done deal and does not favour it, commenting, "A merger amounts to a government bailout. XM and Sirius spent big money on high-priced celebrities and got little subscriber growth for the effort. Oprah is in the midst of a three-year, $55 million deal with XM. Howard Stern gets $100 million a year from Sirius."
He concludes, "It is sad to see the once-promising satellite radio industry in such a state. The industry provides great content for music lovers, sports fans and others, but a merger of two under-performing companies won't necessarily help from the engineering or business side of things, and will create an anti-competitive environment that makes consumers vulnerable to price hikes."
Finally comment from a different perspective, from the Wall Street Journal in the form of a blog by Heidi N. Moore headed with some élan, "XM and Sirius Get Downgraded. Yippee!"
The comment is made on the basis of a downgrading of the companies by Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Wienkes, who "painted a dire picture of the competitive landscape for the two broadcasters. He said put the value of Sirius shares at only USD 1 each if the merger doesn't occur", something Moore sees as potentially likely to improve the changes of approval.
The responses to the blog were generally positive about satellite radio with a number of people praising the service and attacking the analyst.
Finally some signs of US-style consolidation in British radio as reported by James Ashton in the UK Sunday Times. He starts by citing the experience of DJ Keri Jones who has "visited the Welsh town of Llanelli only six times in his life" but for two years "presented a marathon, seven-hour breakfast show for Scarlet FM, Llanelli's commercial radio station."
Jones at the time was 50 miles (80 km) away and gave his show a veneer of localness by "employing a local resident to be his eyes and ears." AT the time he was simultaneously hosting the breakfast shows on Scarlet, Radio Pembrokeshire and Radio Carmarthenshire, all currently owned by Town and Country Broadcasting.
"I would rather link a show together from 1,000 miles away and have somebody in-market providing unique local content," Jones said. "That is better than having a bunch of DJs just sitting in the town reading stuff out of the national newspapers that has no relevance whatsoever."
Ashton notes that research by UK media regulator Ofcom last year found that stations covering a population of fewer than 100,000 people each make an average annual loss of GBP 14,000 (USD 27,600) and that things are getting tougher for radio with income falling in real terms, a situation that has led Ofcom to relax rules on sharing studios and networking shows for smaller stations.
The radio groups adds Ashton are lobbying for more and he notes that major players are also involved in networking shows citing as an example the planned networking across 42 of its local stations by GCap Media of a three-hour morning show to be hosted by one of its London DJs Philippa Collins.
Expansion of this he says could put hundreds of local DJs out of a job and in addition when Global's takeover of GCap is completed there is likely to be further loss of localness through the replacement of "dozens of station names" by a "national brand, probably Heart."
The changes save money although some groups deny that this is the reason to make them he says, quoting Travis Baxter, managing director of Bauer's Big City stations, as saying in relation to its "In Demand" evening music show that airs across eight stations in north England and saved some 10%, "We believed we could make a better programme. We did not do it because we were trying to have fewer presenters." The show, says Ashton is able to secure bigger showbiz guests because of its larger audience.
Of the plans, which Ashton notes are modelled on the Clear Channel "hub and spoke" set-up, the article quotes former Capital Radio and GCap executive David Mansfield, as saying, "The trend towards networking shows seems sensible, delivering higher quality 'national' presentation than each station could achieve on a stand-alone basis, while cutting the cost of paying many local presenters. "
Mansfield adds a note of caution, however, saying, "On paper it looks good and should work. However, some would argue this is the road to ruin pioneered by Clear Channel in that the whole point of local radio is that it is local. Listeners neither expect nor want national celebrities on their local station. They can get those elsewhere."
Ashton also quotes Grant Goddard at Enders Analysis as saying, "Consolidation alone will do nothing to improve the industry's performance in ratings or revenues in the long run. What commercial radio still desperately requires is a forward-looking strategy."
We regret other pressures have curtailed out listening over the past week so listening suggestions are from a rather limited UK base. They include three shows from BBC Radio 2 on Monday "Marc Riley's Time Machine" that looked back a 1983 interview of "The Police" by Kid Jensen; It was followed by "Acid House - The Next Generation" presented by veteran DJ and producer Chris Coco and "Paul Morley's Guide to... Musical Genres" that this week was on "Pop".
Then from BBC Radio 3 we suggest dipping into the afternoons at 13:00 GMT when the music reflects the station's current "China Focus" and also in relation to that Monday's "Performance on 3", which was a concert last month from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra's tour of China; this week's "The Essay" slot (22:00 GMT) which is on "Nature in China" ; Wednesday's "Night Waves" (20:45 GMT) which is on the future of Chinese identity and culture; and Friday's "The Verb" (20:45 GMT), which concentrates on Chinese literature.
Also with China on mind we suggest from BBC Radio 4 on Saturday, "The Ping Pong Diplomats", a look at the 1971 table tennis players' visit to China that presaged the new era of diplomacy between the US and China that was launched by Chairman Mao and President Nixon.
Then one close to our personal interest , also from Saturday, the latest "Archive Hour", "Like Blackpool Went Through Rock", in which Sean Street recalls the Radio Ballads, a series which heralded a completely new form of radio feature making which began in 1958 through a collaboration between producer Charles Parker and folk singers Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger.
Also from Radio 4 we suggest the current "Classic Serial" -"The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" - whose final episode aired at the weekend and this week's "Book of the Week" (08:45 GMT weekdays" - "Casanova", readings by Benedict Cumberbatch from Ian Kelly's biography of the world's most famous lover and libertine and also "Book at Bedtime" (21;45GMT| ) which features Richard Roxburgh reading from "Breath", Tim Winton's tale of adolescence on the edge, set on the Western fringe of Australia.
And to end with comedy in the form of The Now Show (in the Friday 17:30 GMT comedy slot and also available as an MP3).
Previous Columnists:
Indianapolis Star - McCall:
Tennessean - Walters:
UK Sunday Times - Ashton:
Wall Street Journal - Moore:
Washington Post- Farhi:

2008-06-24: Don Imus, fired by CBS Radio last year for his "nappy headed ho's" comments about the Rutgers University Women's Basketball team (See RNW Apr 13, 2007) and now with Citadel may be in hot water over other racially insensitive comments, this time about suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones.
During his show, now aired by Citadel's WABC-AM, the subject turned to a story about Jones wish to drop his nickname and it was mentioned that Jones had been arrested six times since "since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005."
Imus than asked of Jones, "What colour is he?" and on being told by Charles Warner Wolf that Jones was African-American commented, "Well, there you go. Now we know."
The comments have aroused mixed comments with responses to a critical report on ranging from suggestions that he should be fired through one that comments that unlike the Rutger's comments he didn't "utter 'The N-word' or anything else objectionable…" to yet another that suggested Imus asked about Jones' colour then "said what he said to highlight the MEDIA'S constant negative {and deservedly so} reporting about Jones...that THE MEDIA'S highlighted each legal or financial problem because Jones is black....isn't that a possibility? "
There was a similar range of comments in reaction to Michael Calderone's report on Politico, which also posted audio of the exchange, thus allowing people to make their own judgement.
Previous Citadel:
Previous Imus: report: -Calderone report:

2008-06-24: Six US radio companies including Clear Channel have written to Arbitron expressing concerns about particular areas where they think its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings has fallen short of their expectations and outlining what they think could be done about it - the others are Cox Radio, which has been amongst the most vociferous in expressing doubts about the PPM, Cumulus, Inner City Broadcasting, Radio One inc. and Saga.
The letter to Arbitron CEO Stephen Morris, its President/Sales & Marketing Pierre Bouvard, and President Operations, Technology, Research and Development Owen Charlebois expresses particular disappointment relating to sample sizes in the 18-34 and 18-54 demographic groups and says the companies consider the money-back guarantees offered by Arbitron to be inadequate when what they need if full ratings data.
The letter says the companies "expected full sample size delivery when we signed up for PPM", adding they had a right to expect this and continuing, "Failure to fully meet these targets makes it difficult if not impossible to evaluate a station's success or use the data to transact business."
They also say that they are already concerned about the 80% sample target - effective in the third month after PPM ratings become currency - for the 18-54 age group
Other issues raised are a perceived reluctance by Arbitron to re-allocate meters from children 6-11 to those above 12 - they term the younger group a hangover from Arbitron's proposed joint venture with Nielsen that the "vast majority of the radio industry never asked for, never wanted, and still has no need for..." and also their expectation that Arbitron gain Media Rating Council accreditation for its Radio First PPM methodology by the end of this month.
Arbitron has not commented on the issues raised but both CBS Radio, which has been supportive of the move to PPM ratings and Emmis have distanced themselves from the letter.
Emmis declined to sign the letter, saying that although it agreed with much of it did not think that a further postponement of the introduction of PPM ratings was in radio's best interests and CBS Radio said in a statement that it does not believe that "delaying commercialization of PPM data is in the best interest of the industry," and added, "We support the new methodology and have every confidence in Arbitron that they will continue to improve the service and deliver us information that will help elevate our accountability with our clients."
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Previous CBS:
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Previous Media Rating Council:

2008-06-24: The Digital Radio Working Group that was set up by the British Government last November has recommended in an interim report that the UK stick with Eureka DAB, which it says should become the primary platform for all national, regional and large local services: It adds that the "aspiration" should be to see migration completed by 2020 although it adds: "In the case of community radio and smaller local services we recognise that for now analogue still remains the most effective, and cheapest, way of delivering radio to small geographic areas."
It then continues, "For this reason we recommend that until an appropriate migration path to digital can be achieved for these services, they should be carried on FM. However, there should be continued work on a plan to assist smaller commercial and community stations to migrate to digital without adding significantly to their transmission costs."
4.8. Whilst the intention must be to deliver DAB coverage to
The group notes that there are "encouraging signs that other European countries are now adopting digital radio" but that some are adopting different variants of the Eureka 147 family - France has decided to license digital radio in DMB-A and Germany is proposing to re-launch digital radio on DAB+ or DMB-A.
It expresses concern that the needs for economies of scale mean that a need to build different receivers for individual markets "would do little to encourage the major manufacturers to produce new receivers or to plan their product ranges effectively" whereas "a common profile for radio receivers would drive innovation and help create economies of scale, which could ultimately bring down the cost of sets."
In the UK, says the group, "…it is not sensible, at this stage, to switch to technologies which are not compatible with the more than 7 million DAB sets already sold" although in the longer term variants such as DAB+ "may help solve some of the problems of migrating to a totally digital future."
The group also says that "in the context of falling advertising revenues", and "a tight licence fee settlement for the BBC", increased transmission costs are challenging the traditional radio business models and that "the industry cannot indefinitely support the increased transmission costs of broadcasting on analogue and multiple digital platforms."
The report was welcomed by the UK Digital Radio Development Board, which said it believed the group's report "sets out a clear route for increased growth of DAB listening in the UK."
DRDB Chief executive, Tony Moretta, said, "It is important that any existing barriers to growth are addressed by the industry as a whole with a cohesive strategy that allows us to build on the success DAB has enjoyed over the past few years. This report goes a long way to setting out an agreed vision for the future of digital radio in the UK. We look forward to reading the full report later in the year."
There was also a welcome from industry body the RadioCentre whose chief executive Andrew Harrison said the group had done a lot of good work and added that the report "outlines a clear route map and timing aspiration for digital switchover."
RNW comment: As might be expected the bodies involved who stand to save costs whilst consumers have to spend extra money have welcomed this report although we rather doubt they would take the same view if part of the deal was that they had to provide for free an equivalent digital receiver for every analogue one rendered unusable by the migration.
We also note an assumption, albeit unspoken, that consumers will have to fork out again should there be a future agreement on a more advanced system for Europe as a whole. We still have our doubts over the wisdom of an enforced switch although should commercial companies wish to turn off their analogue signals - which are unlikely to have the same geographical reach as current analogue signals - that should be left to them as a business decision. The BBC, as a national broadcaster, should in our view have different priorities and maintain analogue for longer.
As regards receivers, maybe part of the discussion should be on a standard module interface so that future receivers can be upgraded with a simple plug-in change rather than equipment change.

Previous DRDB:

Previous Harrison:
Previous Moretta:
Previous RadioCentre:
Working Group report (Links to PDF -90 kb -and rich text - 272kb versions):

2008-06-24: Air America Radio has named Clear Channel veteran Bill Hess as its Senior Vice President of Programming: he is to take up the post on July 14.
Hess was a regional VP of Capstar Communications, which was taken over by Chancellor Media in 1998 and later renamed AMFM before it was bought by Clear Channel in 2000. He subsequently became Director/Programming for three Clear Channel stations - WHJJ-AM, WSNE-FM and WWBB-FM - in Providence and was more recently PD of its adult contemporary music station WASH-FM (from 2003), adding in 2006 Operations Manager duties at progressive talk 1260 WWRC-AM, Sports Talk 980 WTEM-AM, and conservative talk 570 WTNT-AM, which were sold to Red Zebra Broadcasting earlier this month (See RNW Jun 5).
Air America Radio chairman Charlie Kireker said in a news release, "With more than 30 years in the radio industry, Hess brings his expertise in programming, content creation, promotions, marketing, and sales. We are confident that he will help Air America achieve stronger ratings and revenue success, as we continue to provide listeners with entertaining and thought-provoking programming throughout this critical election year."
Hess commented, "I strongly believe that the future success of our business will spring from the audiences we cultivate, stimulated by the talent we nurture and attract. I am excited by the vision and commitment of Charlie and his team to build on the foundation that's already in place at Air America Media -- both on-air and online. I can't wait to get started!"
Previous Air America:
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2008-06-24: Fisher Communications says that it has rejected an unsolicited bid of between USD 43 and USD 45 per share for the company that it received in April.
It has not disclosed details of the bidder but says its board, in "consultation with outside financial and legal advisors" unanimously concluded that the offer was not in the best interests of shareholders.
The offer values Fisher at some USD 390 million compared to a market valuation of around USD 305 million: Its shares were up 9.6% on Monday to close at USD 34.90: During the past year they have reached a high of just under USD 52 with the low just above USD 28.
Previous Fisher:

2008-06-23: Comedian George Carlin, best known for his "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television", routine (The words were Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker and Tits and when they were aired on WBAI-FM, New York, led to a 1978 Supreme Court 504 ruling in F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation that upheld the agency's authority to impose penalties for indecent or obscene broadcasts at times children might be listening) has died of heart failure aged 71 in Los Angeles.
An Associated Press report in the Los Angeles Times said Carlin went into St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening according to his publicist, Jeff Abraham.
His web site when we last checked had not posted news of his death - the latest postings related to Internet postings attributed to him whose authorship he denied.
Carlin, who had been on stage in Las Vegas the previous weekend, teamed up with Jack Burns in the early 60's and Burns commented to the AP, "He was a genius and I will miss him dearly."
Carlin, who was born and brought up in New York City, began his career as a DJ at KJOE in Shreveport whilst in stationed nearby in the US Air Force at Barksdale AFB in Bossier City, Louisiana.
After his discharge from the air force - he was labelled" unproductive" - he teamed up with Jack Burns in 1959 when both were working for KXOL in Forth Worth, Texas: the two moved to California in 1960 and remained together before going their owns ways.
As recently as 2003 his name came up in proposed legislation when Republican California U.S. Representative Doug Ose introduced a bill (H.R. 3687) to outlaw the broadcast of Carlin's seven "dirty words", including "compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words". This bill omitted "tits" but added other words including "ass" and "asshole" that were not in the Carlin routine.
Carlin web site:
Los Angeles Times/AP report:

2008-06-23: According to Newsday, CBS Radio's WFAN may suffer another blow with the loss of the "Mike and the Mad Dog" show, which it terms "the most successful, influential show in sports talk radio history." could soon be ending thus dealing a further blow to CBS Radio's WFAN-AM, New York.
Last year WFAN dismissed Don Imus following his "nappy-headed hos" comments about the Rutgers University Women's Basketball Team (See RNW Apr 13, 2007) and he is now on Citadel's WABC-AM (See RNW Dec 3, 2007).
Citing "industry sources with knowledge of the situation" the paper says the show is not expected to survive until its 19th anniversary in September and adds that the duo of Mike Francesa and Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo might already have done their final show together - the pair are currently on vacation with the next show due on July 11.
The paper quoted Francesca as giving a "no comment" comment whilst Russo denied knowledge of a potential break up, although he did confirm strains in his relationship with Francesca.
Russo has a contract until October next year but the paper says that Francesca's status is unclear: It had reported earlier this year that he had agreed to terms on a new deal beyond this calendar year, but there never was confirmation it was signed.
Previous CBS:
Previous Citadel:
Previous Imus:
Newsday report:

2008-06-23: Clear Channel's Q102 is to announce its new morning show today according to a notice circulated at the top 40 station last week according to the Philadelphia Inquirer which says the decision to drop Chris Booker from the slot on May 23 is being put down to the station's need to "lock in a cheaper, syndicated show."
Booker is being paid to stay at home for the final year of the contract: He had joined Q102 two years ago and in the April Arbitron ratings had the largest cumulative audience among both women ages 18 to 34 and men-women ages 18 to 34 - his show was fourth in audience share in the 18-34 demographic. Also dropped with him were producer Blaire Galaton and sidekick Angi Taylor.
Columnist Michael Klein speculates that the new show will be "The Elvis Duran Morning Show" that is currently simulcast on Z-100 in New York, WHYI (Y100) in Miami/Ft Lauderdale, and WHCY ("Max 106.3") whose signal covers in northern New Jersey and north-eastern Pennsylvania.
Also in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh All News station KVQ-AM afternoon anchor Steve Lohle has died of an apparent heart attack aged 58 according to thepittsburghchannel.
Lohle, who is still listed on the KVQ web site, joined the station in 1974: He had begun his broadcasting career at WQRC-FM in Hyannis, Massachusetts where he covered the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident involving Senator Edward Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne, a passenger in his car who died when Kennedy drove off Dike Bridge, and was later program director at WHVY-FM and WMAS-AM in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Previous Clear Channel: - Klein:
Pittsburgh Channel report:

2008-06-22: The Sirius-XM merger was the main regulator-related story in the news last week following comments from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin saying that he would recommend approval, an announcement that aroused the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to strong objection: Elsewhere it was more a matter of routine decision.
In Australia, radio-related postings by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) were again related only to community stations, including the posting of new community broadcasting sponsorship guidelines. These replace previous guidelines issued in 2003 and ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said they would "assist community broadcasting licensees to understand their obligations in relation to the restrictions on advertising and the requirements for sponsorship announcements."
The ACMA has recently been involved in a number of rulings concerning advertising and sponsorship rules breaches by community stations - broadly -speaking they cannot carry advertisements but may broadcast sponsorship announcements as long as they meet requirements for 'tagging' and hourly sponsorship limits (five minutes for radio and seven minutes for television) - the latest of which was a ruling that SWRFM Community Media Association, the licensee of 2SWR, Blacktown, New South Wales, had broadcast an advertisement during its Punjabi Show.
It noted that the breach was failing to broadcast an appropriate "tag" that meant the material had to be considered as an advertisement, not sponsorship.
The ACMA also noted that that 2SWR has already made improvements to its policies and procedures, including prohibiting presenters from interviewing sponsors on air and advising all current presenters of the new policies and procedures. Accordingly it is to take no further action.
Also in New South Wales, the ACMA has varied the Nowra area radio licence plan to allow MVH FM Inc.'s community radio service 92.5FM in Moss Vale to re-locate its transmission site from Moss Vale to a new site on Mount Gibraltar and increase its power from an effective 10watts to a new maximum of 200 watts, thus allowing the youth-focused community radio service to cover the entire Wingecarribee region.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a quiet week with only two public notices involving radio posted.
One, with a deadline for interventions or comments of July 23, related to two applications - by Fairchild Radio (Vancouver FM) Ltd. to renew the licence of commercial ethnic station CHKG-FM expiring 31 August 2008 with a proposed deletion of the condition of licence forbidding it from directed to the Chinese community during the 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. period on weekdays with one prohibiting only such broadcasts in Cantonese. The CRTC notes that CHKG-FM, which has to broadcast to a minimum of 20 cultural groups in a minimum of 15 different languages each week and which uses a subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) channel to broadcast a predominantly Korean-language service, is proposing Mandarin broadcasts.
The second was from Bethany Pentecostal Tabernacle to renew the licence of its low-power English-language specialty station CIAY-FM, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, which expires on August 31.
The second notice, with a July 22 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments, related to the renewals of licences of 20 Native Type B radio stations that are due to expire in August this year.
These were):
British Columbia:
Northern Native Broadcasting's CFNR-FM, Terrace, and its transmitters Fort St. James, Dease Lake, Kispiox, Lower Post, Masset, Good Hope Lake, Moberly Lake, Quesnel, Blueberry River, Burns Lake, Doig River, Fort Ware, Iskut, Kincolith, Kitimat, Kitkatla, Gitanyow, Metlakatla, Prince Rupert, Atlin, Canim Lake, Gitseguecla, and Telegraph Creek.
Kispiox First Nation Community Radio's VF2065, Kispiox.
Native Communications Inc.'s CINC-FM, Thompson, and its transmitters in Berens River, Bloodvein, Brandon, Brochet, Camperville, Churchill, Cormorant, Cranberry Portage (CICP-FM), Cross Lake, Dauphin River, Duck Bay, Easterville, Fisher River, Flin Flon (CIFF-FM), Fox Lake, Garden Hill, Gillam, God's Lake Narrows, God's River, Grand Rapids, Hollow Water, Ilford, Jackhead, Brochet, Manitoba, Leaf Rapids, Little Grand Rapids, Long Plain, Lynn Lake, Moose Lake, Nelson House, Norway House (CINR-FM), Oxford House, Paint Lake, Pauingassi, Pikwitonei, Poplar River, Pukatawagan, Red Sucker Lake, Shamattawa, Sherridon, Griswold, Snow Lake, South Indian Lake (CISI-FM), Split Lake, St. Theresa Point(CIST-FM), Swan Lake (CISF-FM), Swan River (CISV-FM), Tadoule Lake, The Pas (CITP-FM), Thicket Portage, Wabowden, Waterhen (CIWR-FM), Split Lake, and Kenora, Ontario (CIKN-FM).
Northwest Territories:
Native Communications Society of the N.W.T.'s CKLB-FM, Yellowknife, and its transmitters at Deline Fort Franklin, Fort Good Hope, Rae-Edzo, Fort McPherson, Fort Resolution, Inuvik, Aklavik, and Fort Simpson.
Nova Scotia:
Greg Johnson's CICU-FM, Eskasoni - this applicant is said to have been in apparent failure to meet rules concerning provision of annual reports in 2001 to 2004 and 2007.
Membertou Radio Association Inc.'s CJIJ-FM, Membertou.
Southern Onkwehon:we Nishinabec Indigenous Communications Society's CKRZ-FM, Ohsweken.
Corporation Médiatique Teuehikan's CHUK-FM, Mashteuiatch - this applicant is said to have been in apparent failure to meet rules concerning provision of annual reports in 2001 and 2003.
Société de Communication Ikito Pikogan Ltée's CKAG-FM, Pikogan - this applicant is said to have been in apparent failure to meet rules concerning provision of annual reports in 2001 and 2004.
Radio Essipit Haute-Côte-Nord Inc.'s CHME-FM, Les Escoumins, and its transmitters at Tadoussac, Sacré-Cœur, and Forestville.
CKRK-K103 FM Kahnawake Mohawk Radio Association's CKRK-FM, Kahnawake.
Gespegewag Communications Society's CHRQ-FM, Restigouche.
Radio communautaire MF Lac Simon Inc.'s CHUT-FM, Lac Simon, and its transmitter CHUT-FM-1 at Val D'Or.
Comité de la Radio communautaire huronne Wyandot inc.'s CIHW-FM, Village-des-Hurons.
Corporation de Radio Kushapetsheken Apetuamiss Uashat's CKAU-FM, Maliotenam, and its transmitter CKAU-FM-1 Sept-Îles - this applicant is said to have been in apparent failure to meet rules concerning provision of annual reports in 2005 and 2007.
Radio Ntetemuk inc.'s CIMB-FM, Betsiamites - - this applicant is said to have been in apparent failure to meet rules concerning provision of annual reports in 2001, 2005 and 2007.
Natotawin Broadcasting Inc.'s CJLR-FM, Laronge, and its transmitters in James Smith Reserve, Fond du Lac, Shoal Lake, North Battleford, Beardy's F.N. Res. (Duck Lake), Meadow Lake, Denare Beach, Montreal Lake, Prince Albert (CIRN-FM), Saskatoon, and Saskatoon; White Bear Children's Charity Inc.'s CIDD-FM, White Bear Lake Resort; and FDB Broadcasting Inc.'s CFDM-FM, Meadow Lake - this applicant is said to have been in apparent failure to meet rules concerning provision of annual reports in 2002, 2003 and 2007.
Northern Native Broadcasting's CHON-FM, Whitehorse, and its transmitters in Dawson City, Atlin, Watson Lake, Upper Liard, Lower Post, Aklavik, Good Hope Lake, Pelly Crossing, Carmacks (CHCK-FM), Mayo, Ross River, Carcross, Beaver Creek, Keno City, Stewart Crossing, Tagish, Destruction Bay, Haines Junction (CHHJ-FM), Whitehorse (Mayo Road Subdivision), Burwash Landing, Old Crow (CHOL-FM), Teslin (CHTE-FM), and Tsiigehtchic (Arctic Red River), Northern Territories.
There were no radio announcements from the UK and Ireland but in the US as already noted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appears to be moving towards approval of the Sirius-XM merger - a move that led to a foreseeable strong negative reaction from the National Association of Broadcasters (See RNW Jun 16) but otherwise it was a matter of routine radio-related postings including issuing a few penalties and decisions on contested applications.
The penalties both concerned late filing of renewal applications that led to the commission issuing USD 1,500 forfeitures each to Alderson-Broaddus College, Inc., licensee of WQAB-FM, Philippi, West Virginia, and WUAW-88.3 FM, licensee of WUAW-FM, Erwin, North Carolina. Each had appealed against the penalty on the grounds that the late filings had been due to problems with electronic filing but in both cases the full penalty was confirmed.
In California, the FCC granted applications by Results Radio of Chico Licensee, LLC, licensee of KMJE-FM, to move the community of licence from Gridley to Woodland and change channels and by Deer Creek Broadcasting, LLC, licensee of KHHZ-FM, Oroville, to change its community of licence and re-allot a channel from Oroville to Gridley.
To accommodate the latter change, Maverick Media of Santa Rosa License, LLC, licensee of KXFX-FM, Santa Rosa, proposes to change its reference coordinates. An objection to the changes had been filed by Davis Community Television, licensee of Low Power FM KDRT-LP, Davis, on the grounds that it would be affected by "destructive interference and would be forced to either change channels or terminate operations, which is contrary to the public interest" and also by several individuals who argued that it would be a "clear public detriment" to remove service from the larger community of Oroville (with a population of 13,004 persons) to the smaller community of Gridley (with a population of 5,382 persons) merely to provide a second local service to "heavily served" Woodland.
The FCC in its ruling recognised the strong support of KDRT-LP but noted that its decision was "legally independent" of the outcome of the LPFM "displacement application" process but added that it would "simultaneously with the release of this order an STA to Davis Community to permit continued KDRT-LP operations."
Regarding the other objections it ruled that the changes would "result in a preferential arrangement of allotments as required by Community of License" and added that this "would result in a competitive local service to the larger community of Woodland (with a population of 49,151 persons) and a net gain in service to 197,726 persons. " It also noted that all of the three communities involved would continue to receive five or more radio services.
The FCC has also extended the deadlines for comments and reply comments to its Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making - released on March 5 - that established new rules and sought comment on other rule proposals to increase participation in the broadcasting industry by new entrants and small businesses, including minority- and women-owned businesses (See RNW Jun 17).
It is also being asked in a filing from iBiquity, equipment manufacturers and 18 broadcasters to raise FM IBOC (in-band on-Channel - the HD radio system) digital operating power by up to ten-fold (See RNW Jun 16)
Previous ACMA:
Previous Chapman:
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous Martin:
ACMA web site:

CRTC web site:
FCC web site:

2008-06-21: Community radio station, 103.7 FM TGR Sound, which claims to be the most listened to local radio station across Bexley, Dartford, Thamesmead and Woolwich, is to become the first London area community station to go off the air: A notice on its web site says that it will cease broadcasts with a special "Goodbye Show" from 10:00 to noon GMT on Sunday, June 22, citing the reason for closure as financial.
A notice on the station web site notes that it that it has says it was "provided over 300 community groups with support and free publicity for their events and services, trained in excess of 5,000 people and forged partnerships with 200 organisations " and adds that it "was well regarded by OFCOM and had become as one of the foremost community radio stations and possibly one of the only stations that would have been in a position to offer 'Live' broadcasting from 6.00am to Midnight, seven days a week had it been able to continue."
It then goes on to say, "However despite the efforts of our members to bring in advertising and sponsorship from the local councils and both local and national companies, it has proved an impossible task in an increasingly difficult and competitive environment."
The station adds that its regular revenue from training and hosting festivals was insufficient to cover costs and it had become dependent on grants and funding and that a "succession of rejected applications" had left it with no major source of income for the remainder of this year.
TGR Sound web site:

2008-06-21: The two Grand Awards from the 2008 New York Festivals Radio Broadcasting Awards have gone to entries from Australia and the UK: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Melbourne, took the Health/Medical Grand for "The Brain Under Siege" whilst Brook Lapping Productions of London took the Culture & The Arts Grand Award for its two-part documentary "I Should Be Proud" made for BBC Radio 4.
Brooks Lapping is a subsidiary of Ten Alps whose companies took six awards at the festival including the Gold World Medal in the `Culture and the Arts' category and Grand Award for "I Should be Proud" plus a Gold World Medal in the `Best Music Special' category for Ten Alps Radio's `Sgt Pepper's 40th Anniversary'
UK digital station Planet Rock, which has just been sold off by GCap Media (See RNW Jun 5) also picked up two Gold Awards - for Best Regularly Scheduled Music Programmes: These went to the 'Fish On Friday' and 'Gary Moore - Bluespower' programmes.
New owner new owner Malcolm Bluemel commented of the wins, "That's why I came on board! Rock legends want to work here, rock fans want to listen to us and now the world is getting tuned in to what we are doing. Part of the plan is to put a lot of emphasis in to our on-line offering giving us a truly global platform for Planet Rock. This double award is a major milestone for the development of the station. Maybe some advertising execs need to take another look at us - and realise what's happening here."
Overall UK entries took a total of ten gold awards including seven from England - the above-mentioned four plus a Music Special Award for GCap Media's Classic FM and Ford "Galaxy of Stories - Rumplestiltskin"; a Social Issues/Current Events Gold for London-based Premiere Media Group's "The Unborn Child"; and a Human Relations Gold to Unique for "Jon Ronson on...the internet date from Hell" for BBC Radio 4.
In addition to these BBC Northern Ireland took a Music Special Gold for "Louie And The G-Men" made for BBC Radio 2 and in Scotland Bauer's "Forth" stations took an Ongoing News Story (Longform) Gold for their "2007 Scottish Parliamentary Election Coverage" and Radio Clyde took a Sports Commentary/Analysis Gold for "SuperScoreboard Live!".
In addition two gold went to Irish Republic stations - an Ongoing News Story (Longform) to Clare FM, Ennis for "Justice for Mary Shannon" and to RTÉ; Dublin - a Social Issues/Current Events gold for "The Diary of Leanne Wolfe"
The US took nine golds - two to Ben Manilla Productions, Inc. of San Francisco: A Music Special Gold for "Jimi Hendrix Live at Monterey: American Landing" and a Culture & The Arts Gold for "The Sounds of American Culture"; a Human Interest Story; Human Relations to Lu Olkowski of Brooklyn for WNYC's Radio Lab "Grandpa"; a Station Promotion Gold to Minnesota Public Radio for "Classical Music: It's Alive!"; an Ongoing News Story (Longform) gold to Radio Free Asia for "Burma's Saffron Revolution"; a Culture & The Arts Gold to The Kitchen Sisters for KUT Austin "Hidden Kitchens Texas"; a Talk Show Host Gold to The Story, WUNC, Chapel Hill for "Left Behind"; and a Profiles/Community Portraits to WNYC Radio Rookies for "Out On My Own".
Other gold wards went to CBC Radio Toronto - a Drama Special award for "Afghanada: Remembrance Day Special"and to Newstalk 1010 CFRB; Toronto - a Breaking News Story (Longform) gold for "The Jordan Manners Murder"; to Radio France, Paris - a Social Issues/Current Events gold for "Avoir 18 Ans avec le VIH"; to Deutsche Welle Radio; Bonn - Social Issues/Current Events for "Bangladesh - Living on Insecure Ground" and to Deutschlandradio Kultur; Berlin - a Drama Special gold for "POPOL VUH - Das Buch vom Ursprung der Maya";
As well as the New York Festival awards the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) gold award went to XM Satellite Radio for "The Invisible: Children Without Homes", a programme on homeless American youth that was aired on the Bob Edwards Show..
The UNDP Silver Award went to SBS Radio, Australia, for "The Stolen Generation", a youth-produced programme that examined how multicultural generations of Australians reacted to their Government's recent apology to the Aborigines for the former state practice of removing indigenous children from their families.
Previous Planet Rock:
New York Festivals web site:

2008-06-21: SMG shareholders have approved my a massive majority (793 million for and 400,000 against plus 190,000 abstentions) to approve the GBP 53.2 million (USD 104.6 million) cash sale of Virgin Radio to TIML Golden Square Ltd (TIML) - a subsidiary of the Times of India (See RNW Jun 2), which in turn is owned by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
The deal, which does not include the Virgin name, is due to be completed at the end of the month after which the station will be re-named, thus freeing it from branding restrictions imposed by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group.
SMG says it expects net proceeds of around GBP 48.7 million of which approaching a third will go to reduce its debt, some to the Scottish and Grampian Pensions Scheme, some as working capital with the remainder of around GBP 17 million (USD 33.4 million) going back to shareholders.
Once the deal is completed, SMG will concentrate on its Scottish TV interests.
Previous SMG:

Previous Virgin Group:
2008-06-20: Jones International Ltd. has sold its Jones Media Group, which includes Jones Media America, Jones Radio Networks, American Comedy Network, and JonesTM, to New-York based Triton Media Group subsidiary Triton Radio Networks for an undisclosed amount in what the Denver Business Journal says is another step in Denver investor Glenn R. Jones' effort to shift his businesses toward education and corporate training.
Jones sold its Jones Intercable Ltd. unit to Comcast Corp in 1999 and its Great American Country cable network to the E.W. Scripps Co. in 2004: It currently retains education and technology subsidiaries including Jones Knowledge Group that includes Jones International University and Jones/NCTI.
In a release Triton said the acquisition expanded its "product and service offering to include industry-leading positions in national advertising sales representation, digital 24/7 formats, prep services, web content and services, music libraries, imaging and jingles."
Under the deal Jones Media America will combine withTriton's Dial Global subsidiary under the leadership of David Landau and Ken Williams, Dial Global's co-Presidents/CEOs, who said the transaction "dramatically increases the scale and scope of the combined companies' programming and sales options, which will provide our advertising clients with significant and immediate benefits" and added, "We are committed to utilizing the company's expanded platform and resources to enhance the services and value we offer our current and future clients."
Jones Radio Networks will merge with Dial Global Programming to form a unit that will offer "enhanced syndication, long-form programming, prep services and comedy services."
Jones' 24/7 format business will operate alongside Dial Global's existing 24/7 business, which it acquired from Westwood One in 2006 while JonesTM, a leading provider of music libraries, imaging products and jingles, will remain a separate reporting unit.
Previous Jones Media:
Denver Business Journal report:
Triton Media Networks web site:

2008-06-20: Westwood One has announced the closing of the sale of USD 75 million of newly created 7.50% Series A Convertible Preferred Stock, to Gores Radio Holdings, LLC, an entity managed by The Gores Group, LLC: The stock has an initial conversion price of USD 3.00 per share, which represents a 140% premium to the closing price of USD 1.25 for the Company's stock price as of June 18, 2008.
Westwood had already benefited from a USD 25 million investment by Gores earlier this year (See RNW Mar 20).
Westwood One President and CEO Thomas Beusse said of the investment, "This financing is key to unlocking the future of Westwood One. It will enable us to de-lever our balance sheet and invest in the growth opportunities we have identified."
As part of the closing, Westwood One has increased the size of its Board of Directors to eleven directors and three Gores' designees were elected to the Board- Scott Honour, Senior Managing Director of The Gores Group; Mark Stone, Senior Managing Director of The Gores Group and President, Gores Operations Group; and Ian Weingarten, Managing Director of The Gores Group. In addition, Emanuel Nunez, Senior Agent at Creative Artists Agency, a Gores' nominee, was elected as an independent director to the Board.
Beusse said of these appointments, "In addition to the capital Gores provides, these new board members provide us with the additional operational resources and technical sophistication that will help drive our turnaround. Also, the arrival of Manny Nunez signifies Westwood One's commitment to being a home for top talent."
Westwood One has also announced the appointment of Stephen Chessare to Senior Vice President of Sales, effective June 30, 2008. It says that in his newly created position, Chessare will work closely with Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Hersam in managing advertising and sponsorship sales across all Westwood One divisions -- radio, television, events and digital -- on both the local and national levels.
Chessare joins Westwood One from Clear Channel, where he was General Manager of WLTW-FM (Lite FM) before which he was Vice President/General Manager for CBS Radio Sales.
Previous Beusse:
Previous Westwood One:

2008-06-20: Record producer and DJ Paul Oakenfold will return to his radio roots at the end of this month with shows for Bauer's Kiss dance network: He was one of the original line-up for Kiss 100 in 1985 and is to host a series on the history of dance music over the past two decades, starting with a Kiss Ibiza Classics broadcast on June 27th.
Kiss has signed Oakenfold as its second "ambassador" for its "Music of live" policy: The first signing was of Richard Branson's son Sam who joined the station as its "green" ambassador earlier this year in which role he reported for the station from his 1,400-mile dog sled expedition across the Canadian Arctic to highlight global warming
Kiss managing director Steve Parkinson said the Oakenfold signing was part of the station's return to its "iconic 'Music is Life' roots" and added, "If there was a professor of dance music, it would be Paul, so it is fantastic to have him back with the station."
Previous Bauer:

2008-06-20: Australian commercial radio is seeking entrants for this year's New Artist to Radio (NA2R) event, to be held at the Gold Coast on October 10 with entries accepted until July 18.
The initiative, organised by industry body Commercial Radio Australia, is now in its seventh year and is open to unsigned Australian artists who have not been in the top 100 Australian National airplay chart: Three winners are chosen - for rock, pop, and adult contemporary music - with each of them performing at the event, attending a workshop by leading radio program directors and music marketing experts about how to maximize radio airplay and exposure, and sharing some AUD 150,000 of advertising airtime on the Australian Radio Network, Austereo, DMG Radio and Macquarie Southern Cross Media. The networks will also choose a genre winner to add to their network play list for early 2009.
This year's event includes two new elements - distribution by MGM Distribution for each winner including digital online sales via iTunes and the submission of each single for inclusion in the ARIA single chart survey and design of the single cover and CD art by VGM Media and Marketing, which will also provide the winners in each genre with advice regarding media and direction in relation to tracking each song at radio to ensure maximum exposure.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:

2008-06-19: Latest Australian radio ratings covering the period from May 4 - June 7 show a strong performance round the country from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Macquarie Radio Network's Sydney 2GB maintaining its top rank but slipping back; Fairfax Media's 3AW increasing its lead at the top in Melbourne; DMG Radio Australia's Adelaide talk station 5AA retaining its lead and its Nova pop station retaining the Brisbane top rank; and Austereo's Mix 94.5 keeping its lead in Perth.
In the Sydney breakfast stakes Alan Jones held his lead but the ABC's Adam Spencer cut into it as Jones' share fell from 15.2 to 13.8 and ABC702 went up from 10.1 to 12.2 to take the second place, swapping places with Austereo's 2DAY, which retained top FM spot but fell back from 11.1 to 10.3 whilst DMG's Nova held on to fourth and took its share up from 8.2 to 8.7.
2GB's talk rival, Fairfax Media's 2UE remained fifth but its share was down from 7.6 to 6.9.
Jones slippage from his dominance in Sydney led Crikey-com to head its report rather unkindly, "Alan Jones -- yesterday's parrot?" with Glenn Dyer commenting that he is "the major victim (if we have to have one) of the change in Government and the apparent changes in the Australian community that Rudd (Australian PM Kevin Rudd) and Labor were able to successfully tap."
In the morning slot 2GB- which runs Jones into the slot before Ray Hadley takes over, also held onto its lead with share slightly down - from 13.2 to 13.0 ahead of Australian Radio Network (ARN) classic hits WSF, which held on to second place with share down from 10.6 to 10.0 whilst Deborah Cameron at ABC 702 moved up from fifth to third with 9.4, up from 7.7. 2UE was up a rank to seventh with 6.1 (6.2).
There was also good news for ABC 702 at drive time where Richard Glover took its second-ranked share up from 10.2 to 1.8 whilst leader 2-Day was down from 14.2to 12.8: Third ranked Nova lost a point from 10.1 to 10.9 whilst 2GB in fourth rank was up fro 7.8 to 8.3.
City by city, the top stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA with 16.6 (16.5) - same rank; ABC 891 with 11.3 (11.2) - up from fifth; SAFM with 11.2 (11.2) -up from fourth
**Nova with 10.9 (11.5) fell from third to fifth, ahead of Mix 102.30 which with 10.8(12.3) was down from second to sixth.
*Brisbane - Nova with 15.1 (13.9) - same rank; Triple M with 11.9 (12.4) - same rank; 97.3 FM with 11.5 (11.9) - Same rank.
* ABC 612 with 9.8 (8.4) was up a rank to fourth, swapping places with B105 with 9.0 (9.7).
*Melbourne - 3AW with 16.8 (15.2) - same rank; Fox FM with 14.1 (13.3) - same rank; ABC 774 with 11.5 (11.6) - same rank;
* Gold FM with 7.8 (8.4) remained fourth, ahead of Nova 100 which, with 7.2 (7.9) was fifth and Triple M with 6.1 (5.8) remained in sixth rank.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 17.5 (17.6) - same rank; 92.9 with 14.1 (12.7) - same rank; ABC 720 with 11.6 (11.6) - same rank;
* Nova with 10.5 (9.9) was up from sixth to fourth ahead of 6PR which remained fifth with 10.3 (10.0) and 96FM fell from fourth to sixth with 10.2 (10.7).
*Sydney: 2GB 11.6 (11.7) - same rank; ABC 702 with 10.6 (8.98) - up from third; 2-DAY with 9.5 (10.7) -down from second.
*Nova with 8.1 (8.2) was up to fourth from fifth, swapping places with WSM - it had 7.5 (8.5), and lower down Triple M went down from eighth to ninth with 5.5 (6.09) ; 2UE was down from sixth to seventh with 7.1 (7.5).and Mix 106.5 was up from ninth to eighth with 5.95 (5.9) behind 1170-2CH which was up from seventh to sixth with 7.3 (6.7)
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous ARN:
Previous Australian Ratings:
Previous Austereo:
Previous DMG:
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Hadley:
Previous Jones:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network: report:

2008-06-18: US radio advertising revenues fell by 8% over a year ago in May, the greatest fall so far this year when every month has been down, according to figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
Within the figures, non-spot revenues remained the only bright spot - up 12% - whilst national revenues were down 13% and local ones down 9%.The combined local and national figure showed a fall of 10%.
For the first quarter the figures were down 5% on a year ago at USD 4.498 billion (See RNW May 23).
Previous RAB:
Previous RAB monthly figures (April):

2008-06-18: According to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times more than a dozen community radio veterans - he names eight of them,- have now bailed out of WLUW-FM in advance of the July 1 date when Loyola University is to take back control of the station and turn it over to its new School of Communication, which will use the station for instructional purposes.
Feder quotes the latest to go, Monday morning host Mary Nisi who has been with the station for seven years, as saying she plans to take her show to a new Web-based station that the Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) is developing. CHIRP is also looking for a new over-the-air outlet.
"After so many years with WLUW, I'm looking forward to making a fresh start," she told Feder. "When I started my show, WLUW was the only independent radio station in Chicago. Now CHIRP will be the city's real home for independent music and voice."
CHIRP on its website is looking for support for the web station which it says it hopes to launch in summer and says it had always assumed would be crucial whilst it "continued with our efforts to make sure we'll eventually be able to bring a brand new low power FM signal to Chicago.
The web station it says will be "dedicated to great under-appreciated music across genres and eras, and will have a true commitment to Chicago's diverse music and arts scenes."
The university said in July last year (See RNW Jul 14, 2007) that it intended to take back control of the station whose day to day operations were turned over to Chicago Public Radio's WBEZ-FM in December 2002 as a cost-saving move (See RNW Dec 7, 2002)
Previous Feder:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
CHIRP web site:

2008-06-18: Paragon Media Strategies has posted some possibly good news (we are a little chary of drawings conclusions from small sample sizes) for US radio as regards younger listeners with a report showing that they say time spent listening to radio has increased in contrast to a decrease reported in its first "Youth Radio and New Media" report last year.
This year's survey of 409 respondents aged 14-24, almost evenly split between male and female and those up to 19 and above it, showed a fall in those listened more than ten hours - down from 9% to 7% of the sample then increases or no change in those listening 7-10 hours (up from 8% to 12%); 4-6 hours (Unchanged at 21%); and 1-3 hours (up from 28% to 37%). There was then a fall for those reporting listening less than an hour (from 23% to 9%) and never listening (down from 8% to 2%).
In terms of comparisons with one to three years ago 35% said they were now listening less to over=the-air radio (13% a lot less) and 54% that they were listening more (24%).
Paragon asked those who said they never listened (the whole nine of them compared to 39 in the 2007 sample) when they stopped listening coming up with statistics that 27% now said they didn't know compared to 13% previously (That's 1.98 people -alright two - compared to 1.17 people a year earlier); 33% saying that they had never listened to over-the air radio compared to 15% (three people compared to 5.85 - does that mean six?); and 11% between a year and a two years ago compared to 21% in the previous survey (0.99 of a person compared to 8.19).
RNW comment: There are other figures that we have omitted but the numbers do illustrate the nonsense of presenting percentages -seen by most people as "scientific" or "accurate" with such small samples.
The figures for those amongst this sample who say they are likely to start listening in the next year are real nonsense - 5% saying "very likely" this year, a figure that amounts to less than half a person.

Amongst other figures the survey shows for those who did listen to radio in a typical week a decrease from 73% (of 435) to 59% (of 400) amongst those who said they listened to other music sources (including online, portable players and satellite radio) than FM and corresponding increase from 27% to 41% in those who said they listened more to FM.
As to the degree to which these people valued radio, an unchanged 7% said they would not miss it at all if it disappeared and at the other end of the chart 14% -down from 16%- said they would miss it a lot.
When it came to what radio stations could do to attract more listening the spread of reasons varied only between a low of 5.9% saying "Broadcast a new station with a variety of formats or genres" to a high of 7.3% saying "Play songs you and friends like that a not currently played." Between these (ascending order) were "Play Music Styles not currently heard on the radio"; "Have audio content we can download/store/re-mix": "Play more familiar music"; Provide "info about songs being played"; "Have comedy/humour that makes me laugh"; and "More New Music".
All factors in the percentages chart of changes that could lead them to listen more - the highest programming reason was "More music/More uninterrupted music/More Music Oriented" at 8% - was the desire for less commercials - 17% of the total gave this reason.
The survey also showed far less music being kept as CDs than stored on hard drives - the question how many songs/CDs do you have produced a mean of 95 CDS, 1385 on an i-Pod and 2710 on a computer: The figures showed a move away from CDs, also little change in the i-Pod figure and a large fall in the number of songs stored on a computer - 2007 figures 137 CDs; 1373 i-Pod; and 3734 computer.
RNW comment: Perhaps most significant was the continuing dominance of radio for in-automobile listening - the percentage who say they listen to radio most in a vehicle went up from 48% to 56%; the i-Pod figure rose from 18% to 23%; satellite radio was up from 3% to 4%; and the CDs figure fell from 27% to 18%. The question here, of course, is how far as manufacturers make it easier to feed downloads and audio from portable players into automobile radios this will affect listening: We suspect that if this ability were standard, such listening would increase other listening at the expense of radio as would Internet listening if automobile equipment could widely receive an Internet wireless signal.
It was also significant that the figures for those who said they would purchase HD radio rose dramatically were the price to fall - of a 2008 sample of 132 people who were aware of HD, 34 said they would be likely to buy a receiver that cost USD 200 or more and 85 if the price were USD 40.
In the end the size of this survey leaves us chary of drawing too many conclusions, particularly in view of Arbitron's reports (from much larger samples) of a decline in overall listening of around 13% over the past decade and the divergence of views about what would encourage a younger demographic to listen more - the only really clear factor was a dislike of too many commercials, which is good news for satellite radio and other listening sources but not that much help to radio's business.

Previous Paragon Media Strategies:
Paragon Media Strategies web site:

2008-06-17: It's with a sense of surprise if not shock that we find that we can start this week's look at comment on radio with praise for commercial radio in the UK - from Paul Donovan in his column in the UK Sunday Times.
Unfortunately the praise is for programming that is nowadays very much the exception rather than the rule but Donovan's heading "Will private dynasties make British radio more creative" suggests the future could hold some welcome news.
Donovan starts by commenting, "You don't have to be that old to remember when commercial radio was different. It had plays, music, drama festivals, a young playwrights' contest and investigative journalism. That was when there was money: when it went, so did they."
He then goes on to note that most UK commercial radio is "now reduced to DJs playing records" whilst the BBC has "forged ahead, hiring talent with huge salaries that its rivals could never match, winning bigger audiences and offering richer, better, more creative content."
He then goes on to suggest that the changes that have put most of UK commercial radio into private hands - notably the presence of Global Radio which has bought GCap Media, previously Britain's largest commercial radio group, to add to Chrysalis Radio that it bought last year - could allow commercial radio - "no longer at the mercy of the stock market" - to take programming risks.
The examples he chooses of it doing so are however from Guardian Media Group's "Smooth Radio" in the shape of two programmes - "Grease at 30", which Donovan terms a "polished analysis of an extraordinarily popular show and film" (hosted by Sue Perkins) and "Rolling River of Rock", a "wonderfully evocative seven-part series, presented by Mark Cohn of Walking in Memphis fame, and not to be missed."
The shows are benefiting because of GBP 1 million ( USD 2 million) from The Scott Trust, that owns GMG Radio plus the Guardian and Observer Newspapers, and the funding is being used in the words of GMG programme Director John Simons "to add depth and substance to our output."
He adds," We are trying to attract new audiences and to present a serious challenge to (BBC) Radio 2. Some of my commercial colleagues get Radio 2 wrong. It is not just a music machine with high-end presenters that, admittedly, it can afford. It is a rich tapestry."
RNW note: Just as remarkable as the fact that GMG has commissioned these programmes as well others yet to come is the fact that Smooth has posted them as good quality downloads (192 kbps MP3s) or streams on the Smooth web site (To find them go to "Shows" link on the Smooth web sites and then follow the "more about" link for the relevant show. Grease is in four parts and the first two parts of "Rolling River of Rock" from last Sunday are on its site.
After that start it unfortunately has to be a downhill journey, starting with an op-ed by Tim DuBois and Butch Spyridon in The Tennessean in which they argue that "music City would benefit from the merger of Sirius and XM".
Their argument is in our view fallacious in terms of the merger - it does not address issues of why if two companies competing both for audience and artists become one there should be a benefit to both as opposed to the company, which now no longer has to offer good terms to attract an artist or programming - watch out sports rights holders and Howard Stern?
It is on firmer ground however with its opening comments on the benefits that satellite radio has offered thus far - "In an era of shrinking radio playlists, it's harder and harder for new artists and smaller labels to get played on AM and FM radio, and there is far less airplay for the many different genres of country music, whether outlaw, Americana, bluegrass or traditional. This makes satellite radio, with its remarkable programming diversity, vitally important for country music; it creates countless opportunities for Nashville musicians to reach fans from coast to coast."
DuBois and Spyridon accurately note that satellite radio "has also put money directly into the hands of Nashville-based musicians and labels", adding, "While traditional AM and FM don't pay a dime in performance royalties, satellite radio is the largest single contributor of performance royalties to artists and record labels, having created an entirely new revenue source for the music industry."
The duo then present their case in terms of the merger being necessary" if satellite radio is to continue as a vital outlet for the discovery, enjoyment and promotion of all the music made in Nashville" on the basis of the losses incurred by the satellite companies and the current economics of the industry.
RNW note: In our February 2007 Comment (2007-02Comment.html) we came out on balance against the merger - attracting some excoriating comment - very much on the basis that if the satellite companies were being truthful in their accounts both could survive and that competition would serve subscribers better than a single company.
We still take this view but are cognisant of the likely effects of changed economic times so the balance is swinging to a degree although we still have our doubts about the long-term benefits for all but shareholders of lessened competition if both companies can survive and do reasonably well on their own. If however, hard times mean that this is no longer the case there may well be reason to change views on practical grounds.

Moving away from the satellite merger but not from issues of musical variety of choice, we would as a sidebar suggest Jerry del Colliano's InsideMusicMedia blog "Wal-Mart - The Fifth Major Record Label" is worth a look at.
For ourselves however, we end on a potentially hopeful note that come from a report on the benefits that could come from increased "penetration of FM radio receivers in cell phone handsets." Under the heading "Mel Phillips Now & Then - Comments about today with a look back at yesterday…", Phillips in his blog notes brief details of a report released by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and also notes that the "new AOL-CBS alliance featuring content and streaming will now include Apple's iPhone which will give users immediate, free access to over 200 stations."
He adds, "This new alliance between Apple and AOL will provide a broad spectrum of formats for users and you have to wonder if radio will siphon away some iPod and MP3 listenership…"
Well we rather hope so if only because choosing what you want tends to lead most people to sticking broadly with the things they know and are comfortable with whereas serendipitous discovery of other views and new experiences are rather more rewarding in the longer term as well as being an area in which radio - at least until the advent of much more freely available Internet services while on the move - has a current lead over all other mediums.
Next listening suggestions and we first fo for a dip into Smooth Radio as noted and also some BBC Radio 2 documentaries that would complement its programming.
Amongst these this week are Monday night's "Marc Riley's Time Machine" that in the first part of a six-part series looked at 1977 and "The Sex Pistols"; Tuesday's "Che Lives!", marking what would have been Che Guevara's eightieth birthday; and Saturday's "Don't Start Me Talking...about The Beatles", the second and final part of this look at the story of The Beatles in the words of their fans.
Moving on to some podcasts cum downloads we first go to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "All in the Mind" and last Saturday's programme "Brave New Mind- Smart drugs and the ethics of neuro-enhancement" that looked at the issues arising from the use of drugs such as Ritalin (for ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Modafinil (for sleeping disorders).
The topic of ADHD also featured in the BBC Radio 4 programme of the same name on Wednesday, this time with children having their say on the problems of having ADHD and drug treatment for it, something it would appear they are rarely given the chance to do even as the drugs are fed to them.
Also whilst considering issues of drugs, we'd suggest Tuesday's "File on 4" in which Gerry Northam investigated claims that tens of thousands of elderly dementia sufferers are being given powerful psychiatric drugs which are not only unnecessary but also have potentially lethal side effects.
Back to the ABC and the previous edition of "All in the Mind", on "Courage: Guts, grit, spine, heart, and verve." It featured a discussion on brave minds including Polish-born Sabina Wolanski, now 80, who was a teenager when her entire family was killed by Nazis, and Russian-born Maria Tumarkin who went to Australia as a teenager in 1980s. Her new book looks courage in everyday life, and she's defiantly not interested in heroes.
Also from the ABC we'd suggest two of this month's "Background Briefing "programmes - the June 1 edition on the use of private intelligence organizations and last Sunday's programme that looked at the meaning of the term "slavery", something Australia's High Court is set to clarify against a background of women kept as "sex slaves" and illegal immigrants forced into underground labour.
Then for a final suggestion from the ABC some different issues of law from this week's "Law Report", which had features on a case where the judge had to abort the hearing because the jury had been too busy playing Sudoku puzzles to pay attention to the evidence and on the powers of police Australia to enter and remain on private property.
Changing tack and returning to the BBC we suggest from BBC Radio 3 Monday's "Performance on 3" - a concert performed by the China Philharmonic Orchestra in the run-up to the start of the Olympic Games in Beijing. Worth a listen if only to find out what an "er hu" or an "erguxian" sound like - they were featured in Zhao Jiping's Symphonic Suite "Courtyard of Family Qiau".
The programme was part of the station's "Focus on China season" that also includes this week's "Essays" ( Monday through Thursday at 22:00 GMT) on the topic "English Takeaway", a series of British perspectives on China and Tuesday's "Late Junction"; Wednesday's "Night Waves" on "The Chinese Media"; and Saturday's "Music Matters (11:15 GMT), "World Routes" (14:00 GMT), and "Hear and Now" (21:30 GMT|) on "New Music in China."
Finally from Radio 3 we suggest Saturday's "Opera on 3" (187:30 GMT), an English National Opera production of Harrison Birtwistle's controversial modernist opera "Punch and Judy."
Then to BBC Radio 4 and first "Book of the Week" - "The Pain and the Privilege, readings by Ffion Hague from her new book, which explores the role of women in David Lloyd George's life; "The Afternoon Reading" - stories from a new collection by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri that explore the dark secrets of family life, all linked by the Bengali immigrant experience; and "Woman's Hour Drama" - "The Way We Live Right Now", an updating by Jonathan Myerson of Anthony Trollope's satirical novel about money, greed and dishonesty.
After that more modern politics in The Reith Lecture "American Dreams", recorded at The Asian Society in New York, in which Jonathan Spence looks at how the United States gradually moved from its position as a dominant beacon of freedom and democracy for China, to becoming a more demanding global rival during and since World War II.
Then back to music and Monday's "Music Feature" Tuning Into the Enemy" that tells the story of Afrikaner Paul Erasmus who as a member of the police force wrecked Roger Lucey's musical career but in 1995 sought reconciliation. The two are now friends.
We then suggest Thursday's "In our Time" - "The Music of the Spheres" in which Melvyn Bragg and guests Peter Forshaw and Angela Voss discuss the idea that the revolution of the planets generates a celestial harmony of profound and transcendent beauty.
And finally two anniversaries -also from Thursday - "Round Britain Quiz Is 60", (10:30 GMT) in which Tom Sutcliffe examines the enduring popularity of the world's longest-running radio quiz; and this week's "Material Word" (15:30 GMT) which celebrates the 60th anniversary of Manchester University's Baby, the world's first stored-program electronic digital computer, and looks at its legacy.
Previous Columnists:
Previous Donovan:
Insidemusicmedia- del Colliano:
Mel Phillips Now and Then:
Tennessean -DuBois and Spyridon:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:

2008-06-17: Eastlan has announced a ratings deal with 36-station New Northwest Broadcasters that its CEO Mike Gould says is the "first of several significant deals we expect to announce in the coming months."
New Northwest is moving all its audience measurement business to Eastlan in the deal that includes stations in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Montana and its President and CEO Pete Benedetti commented in a release, "After doing our research, we became increasingly frustrated with the challenges of getting the adequate sample sizes necessary to accurately survey listening habits in smaller markets. We feel Eastlan gives us the best chance to do that."
Gould said Eastlan really appreciates the confidence shown in it, adding, "Frustrations like Pete's are beginning to reverberate through radio's small and medium markets. It just doesn't make any sense to spend huge money chasing a shrinking pool of regional and national dollars. Main Street remains the best source of revenue growth in small & medium markets. In this environment, Eastlan's more cost-effective approach makes a ton of sense."
He was also optimistic about the prospects for US radio, commenting, "This is a very exciting time to be in radio. While broadcasters look for ways to reduce costs in a tough economy, one client told us that Eastlan addresses two of their most significant operational problems by offering the opportunity to convert the tremendous reduction in audience measurement costs to save jobs while at the same time, helping maintain regional and national business.
Previous Eastlan:
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2008-06-17: Frontier Silicon has announced that it is to introduce a digital radio receiver module that will work with all existing Band 3 and L-Band digital radio standards for Europe and Asia including reception of all Eureka-147 based standards, including DAB and DAB+ and DMB-Audio.
The company's CEO, Anthony Sethill is to outline details of the plans in today's "Radio Renaissance" session at the Broadcast Asia conference in Singapore and he commented, "Globally, the market has now entered a phase where flexibility is required to address the diverse standards requirements of each country - for example, the UK is driven by enhanced audio content delivered through DAB, whereas rich media content based on DMB is a priority for France, and Australia requires bandwidth optimization using DAB+. With a unified receiver solution available to enable these Eureka-147 implementations in their products, manufacturers will be strongly placed to address broadcasters' needs in each country, regardless of any variant chosen, with a single low-cost module from Frontier Silicon."
WorldDMB President Quentin Howard said of the plans, "WorldDMB is working with the EBU, EICTA, and with the industry in Germany, France and the UK to create a consensus for standardized receivers. Frontier Silicon's announcement of a receiver module supporting all the audio standards within Eureka 147 DAB, DAB+ and DMB is a positive step towards enabling a pan-European digital radio market."
The Frontier Silicon module is to be based on the Venice 5.1 receiver unveiled earlier this year in Australia and will need only a power supply, display, keypad, audio amplifier and speakers to complete a receiver. It will be available for volume production by the end of this year.
RNW: Welcome though this development is we still await the development of mass-production modules that will handle all standards to allow a true "world" receiver that can handle analogue signals plus Eureka DAB, Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) and HD signals. We would also welcome the development of a standard interface and plug-in module that would allow any receiver now sold to be upgraded in future by the easy replacement of a reception module.
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2008-06-17: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended to June 30 and July 14 respectively the deadlines for comments and reply comments to its Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making - released on March 5 - that established new rules and sought comment on other rule proposals to increase participation in the broadcasting industry by new entrants and small businesses, including minority- and women-owned businesses.
It was responding to a June 5 request from the Diversity and Competition Supporters (DCS), which had filed for extensions to July 30 and August 29 respectively on the basis of the broad range of the proposals at issue in the proceeding and to allow DCS to work with various stakeholders to explain the proposals, hear their concerns, and seek their support.
DCS in another filing, submitted on Monday by Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Executive Director David Honig, has praised the commission for the initiatives in the March order but says the agency committed "two very substantial errors" in that order."
These were the failure to adopt a "workable" definition of "eligible entities" who can benefit from minority ownership initiatives, and the rejection of reform of the foreign-ownership rules -- a change that, the filing says, was "more likely than any other to help minorities obtain access to a great deal of capital."
The FCC in the order retained its small-business definition of "eligible entity," and the DCS filing says that three of the proposed initiatives will "contribute nothing to advancing minority and women ownership" unless the commission improves that definition.
It adds that in regard to this the FCC began working on a constitutionally sustainable definition of an eligible entity in 1996, and in 2000 released five studies that justified a race-conscious definition but then "dropped the ball," and did not define a "socially and economically disadvantaged business" in its 2002 biennial review, choosing instead to go with a small-business definition.
It adds "The impact of permanent adoption of this deeply flawed eligible entity definition would be considerable" and says that it "gave considerable thought" to seeking a stay of the portions of the diversity order that rely on the "flawed definition," but notes that a stay "would impose its own inequities" as many small-business owners are already working on transactions based on the presumption that the new rules will be effective on July 15.
It also says that the FCC also rejected deregulation of foreign ownership -- a broadcast licensee may now have no more than 25 percent of its capital stock owned or voted by foreigners -- without "giving a specific substantive reason."
Previous FCC:

2008-06-17: Emmis has announced that rock programming veteran Leslie Fram has been appointed program director of its New York rock/triple A hybrid station WRXP (The New York Rock Experience - 101.9), New York: She replaces Blake Lawrence who left shortly after the station was reformatted from smooth jazz WQCD (See RNW Feb 6)
Emmis New York Market Manager Dan Halyburton commented of the appointment, "We're excited to bring a true rock innovator and radio brand builder into the programming seat of 101.9 RXP. RXP is breaking new ground in the radio industry and she is the perfect person to lead this unique brand to success."
Fram began her career in progressive rock radio at WABB in Mobile, Alabama and has spent the last 17 years at one of Alternative radio's premiere stations, 99X/Atlanta as Program Director and Co-Host of "The Morning X."
RXP afternoon personality and Music Director Bryan Schock, who was interim PD after Lawrence left, commented, "Speaking for morning host Matt Pinfield and the rest of our air staff, our on-air team is stoked to have a visionary and experienced leader in Leslie" and added that the appointment "speaks volumes about our progressive mission at RXP and the incredible opportunity the station has in front of us." "Our great team just got greater!" he concluded.
Fram commented, "RXP truly reflects New York's vast musical heritage, while at the same time embracing new music and the evolving New York rock scene. I can't think of a better place to take my experience and passion than this great rock brand and amazing city."
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2008-06-16: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio (C3SR), that is widely considered a front organization for the NAB's attacks on the proposed Sirius-XM merger, have both reacted negatively to reports that US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin is now prepared to support the merger.
For the NAB, its Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton issued a statement saying, "Given their systematic breaking of virtually every rule set forth by the FCC in their 11 years of existence, it would be curious if the Commission now rewards XM and Sirius with a monopoly" whilst the NAB drew attention to a letter from Kansas Republican relating to the what the NAB calls "XM and Sirius's failed promise to the FCC to develop an interoperable radio receiver"
(RNW Note: The satellite companies in a somewhat weasel-like response have said that they were required only to develop such a receiver, which they have done, but not to put it on the market - See RNW Jun 11).
The NAB also highlighted disclosures by Sirius in a 10-K filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that some of its staff had requested manufacturers to produce receivers that failed to meet FCC rules and also a study it sponsored that showed devices used to transmit audio signals from satellite radio receivers and portable players to automobile radios exceeded permitted field strength limits.
C3SR on Monday filed a further submission to the FCC calling for an urgent hearing on various merger issues: It claims that the satellite companies misled the FCC in regard to interoperable receivers and that documents it has included in its filings "reveal serious violations of the antitrust laws", adding, "If Sirius and XM disagree, they should come forward with evidence and make public the highly confidential documents."
In its release C3SR said Martin's "untimely announcement follows the discovery of serious legal issues raised by certain highly confidential documents that Sirius submitted to the FCC on April 10, 2008, which remain unresolved. Sirius produced these materials subject to an FCC protective order to prevent public disclosure of the documents' contents."
It quoted Julian L. Shepard of Williams Mullen, counsel to C3SR, "The entire FCC process is now unreasonably shrouded in secrecy. Sirius and XM are trading on the secrecy of the highly confidential documents in the court of public opinion. They have refused to come forth with the facts. In public, Sirius and XM are denying the facts in the highly confidential documents, but they have not submitted any evidence to support their denial. Meanwhile, Sirius and XM are saying what they wish in private ex parte meetings with the FCC."
C3SR continued, "Under the FCC's rules, these private ex parte meetings are permitted but must be followed by a public written disclosure of the substance of the meetings. C3SR believes that Sirius and XM have failed to make the requisite substantive public written disclosures for meetings that took place on May 30th, June 4th, 6th, and 9th. Such failures violate the due process rights of the many opponents of this merger in the FCC's merger proceeding."
Martin in his statement said he was "recommending that with the voluntary commitments [that Sirius and XM] have offered, on balance, this transaction would be in the public interest."
The conditions that the satellite companies have agreed include a pledge not to increase prices for a minimum three years after the merger; offers of À la carte packages enabling consumers to pick and choose the channels to which they subscribe; An open standard allowing any manufacturer to develop and market satellite radio receivers; and the rollout within a year after the merger of an interoperable receiver that can handle both services; and provision of public interest channels - 4% of the merged entities channels would be made available to provide non-commercial programming and 4% would be available for, as Martin put it, "broadcasters "who have not been traditionally represented."
In addition Sirius would expand its service to Puerto Rico following the merger.
The satellite companies have not agreed to proposals that they make all satellite receivers capable of receiving HD radio or that their programming should be covered by the FCC's terrestrial radio indecency rules (RNW comment: These proposals were in our view unreasonable since in one case manufacturers who wish to do so are to be allowed to develop satellite receivers under the open standards proposals and can then add HD is they so wish and in the other because these are subscription services and thus require a conscious decision to pay for a service, particularly if à la carte packages are on offer.)
To get the merger approved Martin needs the support of two other Commissioners and in this he faces potential opposition from two sides - from Democrat Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps who have expressed continuing concern about media consolidation in general and this merger in particular and from Republican Commissioners Robert McDowell and Deborah Taylor Tate who may consider that too many conditions are being imposed.
Martin is expected to get enough support but approval is now unlikely before next month, a year-and -a- half after the two companies announced their merger plans. The plans gained Department of Justice approval in March (See RNW Mar 25).
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2008-06-16: iBiquity has allied with 18 broadcasters and various equipment manufacturers including Broadcast Electronics and Harris Corporation to request permission to increase FM IBOC (in-band on-Channel - the HD radio system) digital operating power by up to ten-fold from the current -20 dB to -10 dB, equivalent to an increase from 1% to 10% of an FM's stations authorized analogue power.
The request to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) followed tests carried out in September last year by CBS Radio, Clear Channel Radio and Greater Media - who are amongst the broadcasters involved along with American Public Media, Beasley Broadcast Group, Emmis, Entercom, and Radio One Inc. : These involved tests of digital coverage at 20 dB below analogue power and 10 dB below analogue power level in Detroit; New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island; and Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara, thus involving a wide variety of different terrains.
They also included grandfathered short-spaced stations - down to some 40-miles (64 km) apart rather than the currently required 100 miles (161 kilometres).
The tests, as expected, showed significant improvements in digital coverage - up by around a quarter in Connecticut and a third in Detroit - and were also said not to produce unacceptable interference in most circumstances. This is seen as of particular importance when it comes to the use of portable receivers that usually have small antennas and inside buildings where tests typically show a digital signal reduction of around 10db in a steel and concrete building and where signals are more likely to be affected by noise from sources like computers and lighting.
iBiquity says the increased digital power greatly improves digital reception but do not meaningfully increase interference and the filing says that the original 2002 standards set by the FCC were "very conservative" and that subsequent experience has shown that these levels mean many stations' digital coverage areas are smaller than their analogue coverage areas.
RNW comment: The results have not been released publicly as far as we are aware and, bearing in mind that the main broadcasters involved generally have high power stations and are much less likely to suffer from interference as well as gaining more from the change, our initial response is to treat any filing from them much like one from the National Association of Broadcasters (NA), of which they are members - namely to be treated as propaganda rather than an honest warts-and- all presentation of a case.
It may well be that the extra interference caused would be negligible to lower power stations and our feeling is that before the FCC accedes to this request it should require extended testing for at least a month - by the implementing broadcaster of interference on all stations in any and all markets involved with an automatic reversion to the old levels if there is significant interference to any station, high or low-power, commercial or non-commercial.
We would also institute a policy of automatic reversion with a prohibition of at least a year and a requirement for even more thorough testing for at least six months where an implementing broadcaster produces inadequate test results that purport to show absence of interference. If the results are found to be manipulated then obviously the broadcaster concerned should be held unfit to hold a licence in the markets involved and all licences it does hold should be revoked - which would ensure that there would not be any fiddling - Oh dear. Are NAB releases getting to us too much?

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Next column:

2008-06-16: The SaveWCAL pressure group is calling for sale of WCAL-FM, the St Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, public radio station to be voided following a ruling by a Rice County Judge that it was held in a legal trust. The order severely criticized Mike Hatch, the state's Attorney General at the time, and his office for failing to obey a statutory obligation to intervene when the college put the station up for sale.
The ruling has also led to an apparent conflict between the judge and the State Attorney General's office whose spokesman Ben Wogsland was reported by the St Paul Pioneer-Press as contending that as the monies were never put in a separate trust the sale was one of assets, which under state law can be transferred from one non-profit organization to another without approval by the attorney general.
SaveWCAL has written to current State Attorney General Lori Swanson, who was elected in 2006 and took office at the start of last year, saying Wogland's statement "is the direct opposite of the official position you expressed to Judge Wolf in your Memorandum of Law of June 20, 2007" and quotes from this including the following "St. Olaf erroneously argues that because the Minnesota Attorney General's Office did not require WCAL to separately register as a charitable trust, that St. Olaf did not hold those funds in charitable trust. . . . It is undisputed that St. Olaf has been registered with the Attorney General as a charitable trust since the Charitable Trust Act's enactment in 1989 and that St. Olaf's trust registration encompasses all of its assets reported in its financial statements, which presumably includes restricted outright charitable gifts. St. Olaf's inclusion of such gifts in its trust registration reporting to this Office contravenes its position that such gifts are not subject to the Charitable Trust Act. In fact, St. Olaf's filing for the year ending May 31, 2003 specifically discusses WCAL and identifies funds that were raised by WCAL memberships and donated services and materials."
The classical music station was bought by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR- See RNW Nov 21, 2004), which has since converted it to "89.3 The Current" airing what MPR termed "diverse mix of music for listeners who have grown up in the digital generation (See RNW Dec 19, 2004).
The SaveWCAL group fought the sale, arguing that the station existed in part because of listener donations and that the College did not have the right to sell. As well as going to the courts it had filed a petition opposing the sale to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) but that was rejected (See RNW Nov 17, 2004).
In his ruling Judge Gerald Wolf said the station was a charitable trust and commented, "The Minnesota Attorney General is the watchdog of all trusts throughout the state of Minnesota. Deplorably, when St. Olaf made the decision to sell WCAL, no one from the Attorney General's Office intervened to safeguard the trust. The Attorney General's Office was notified by SaveWCAL of the pending sale yet they failed to do anything. The undersigned is absolutely mystified as to why the State Attorney General did not become involved in a sale of trust assets valued at USD 12 million when it is its statutory obligation to do so."
Judge Wolf also noted that there was now a new State Attorney General but added, "However, the office is painted with the same brush. Her office is tainted with this lapse of duty even though she did not hold her present position at the time. Regardless of who was serving as Minnesota Attorney General at the time of the sale, the office as an institution has a duty to the people of Minnesota to serve as guardian of all trusts created and operated in this state. The Minnesota Attorney General's Office failed in its duty in this case."
He said the "only watchdog looking out for the interests of the trust in this case was the Respondent, the non-profit organization SaveWCAL. SaveWCAL raised the alarm when they first learned of the sale of WCAL by St. Olaf, but neither St. Olaf nor the Minnesota Attorney General's Office paid any heed to SaveWCAL's warning."
Judge Wolf commented that the court "is faced with a plethora of issues to unravel in the aftermath of St. Olaf's unapproved sale of WCAL and the Minnesota Attorney General's Office's breach of its duties in this case" and SaveWCAL has written to current attorney general Lori R. Swanson calling on her to enforce state law and void the sale.
In its letter is says in part that " … the Attorney General has a legal responsibility to the 80,000 listeners-beneficiaries of the WCAL trust to commence a proceeding requesting the Court to declare that the sale of the assets of the charitable trust to Minnesota Public Radio is void" and adds, "The doctrine of unclean hands prevents St. Olaf College from asserting the equitable defence of laches (timeliness) due to its breach of its fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the trust and due to its failure to seek the approval of the District Court to terminate the charitable trust… The doctrine of collateral estoppel prevents St. Olaf from attempting to re-litigate the judicial finding of a charitable trust… The same legal principles apply to Minnesota Public Radio. MPR induced St. Olaf's breach of trust with its multi-million dollar offer"
In its report on the matter, MPR plays down any chances of it being affected by the ruling, leading its report by saying that the judge has "lifted some, but not all, of the restrictions on donations given originally to fund St. Olaf College's radio station WCAL, which the college sold to Minnesota Public Radio in 2004" and noting that under the order "according to St. Olaf's Steve Blodgett, the school can still use many of the funds for similar programming on the Web, including live Web broadcasts of daily chapel and worship services and recording and producing the "Sing for Joy" program."
It quotes Blodgett, St. Olaf's Director of Marketing and Communications, as saying the school wants to move on and adding, "His discussion of that was not, as the judge himself pointed out, pertinent to the petition at hand. So in that sense we choose to focus on his actual ruling, which was to go ahead and begin to allow St. Olaf to apply the funds for a very productive purpose."
MPR concludes its report by saying it "was not a party to the case, and some legal sources say it is highly unlikely that a court would consider reversing a good faith sale that occurred four years ago."
RNW comment: This whole sale stinks of Minnesota establishment collaboration. The purchase was to have been funded through tax-efficient bonds to be issued by St Paul City Council fell through last year (See RNW Dec 10, 2004). It later arranged financing through the St. Paul Port Authority (See RNW Oct 1, 2005).
The practical problem now, it seems to us, is whether there is any way of issuing sanctions against those involved that would not do more harm than good. We also cannot see the sale being voided and little purpose being served in that case by prolonged legal action affecting the college and MPR since this would probably simply divert to lawyers funding that could be put to better use.
At the same time we note that most reports seem to be taking the same line as MPR (The best report that didn't that we saw was in Citypages) and the matter does seem to deserve a firm ruling on the clarity of the law.
It is clear then Mike Hatch, the attorney general at the time of the sale, all those involved in the inaction by his office, and the individuals at St Olaf's and MPR - who could not have been unaware of the situation - should all be forced to justify their decisions.
As for Wogsland, if he is contradicting Swanson, his position might well be untenable and as regards Hatch, it would seem to us that the issue is one of how clear the laws are. If it appears that Swanson's letter is an accurate summation of the position, he would appear to be incompetent as a lawyer - he announced before his term ended that he would be returning to private practice - and should face some form of Bar hearing on his conduct over this matter.
Regrettably that will not return the prior status quo but it could at least clear away some cobwebs and justifiably expose various individuals to scrutiny that might make them think twice over actions they take in future.

Previous MPR:
CityPages blog re WCAL:
MPR report:
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St Paul Pioneer Press report:

2008-06-15: Last week was a very quiet one for the regulators with no major issues and few radio postings: There were no radio announcements from Australia or Ireland and only a few in Canada where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted the following decisions:
Allowed deletion of a licence condition relating to the development of Canadian content for Corus's CIGR-FM, Sherbrooke: Corus had acquired the station in December last year and approval of its purchase was subject to submission of a tangible benefits package. In relation to this Corus inadvertently allocated the amounts it had agreed as tangible benefits to Canadian content development to Canadian content development (CCD) in the form of surplus contributions and according asked for the condition relating to tangible benefits to be deleted.
*Approval of request to re-locate the transmitter, decrease the antenna height ad increase the power of CJRC-FM, Gatineau, from 2,900 to 36,000 watts.
The CRTC also posted a public notice related to decisions made from March 1 to April 30 under its streamlined procedures. The list included the following radio-related decisions:
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Extended until November 9 the time limit for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to start operation of new FM transmitter at Baie Verte, which will carry the programming of CBN-FM, St. John's.
Nova Scotia:
*Extended until October 26 the time limit for start of operations for low-power religious FM radio station in Bedford that was approved in July 2006.
*Approval of extension to February 28, 2009, of the time limit under which CHLT-AM, Sherbrooke, Ontario, and its replacement CHLT-FM, can simulcast their signals.
*Authorized contour change for new English-language commercial station CKHK-FM, Hawkesbury, Ontario, that was authorized in June last year.
Approved contour change for French-language community radio programming undertaking CIBO-FM, Senneterre.
It was also quiet in the UK where Ofcom posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it ruled that GCap Media's South Hampshire station Ocean FM, which it issued with a "Yellow Card" in November last year, has again been operating outside its format (See RNW Jun 10).
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was involved in a number of enforcement actions involving radio and also made rulings relating to various contested licence applications and transfers.
The penalties included the following:
*USD 8,000 penalty on Omni Communications, Inc., licensee of KWOX-AM, Woodward, Oklahoma, for failure to ensure that Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment was installed so that the monitoring and transmitting functions were available during the times the station was in operation. Omni had requested reduction or cancellation of a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount on the grounds that despite the fact that the station's EAS encoder/decoder was missing audio inputs and had a date/time malfunction, the station sent and received all required EAS tests.
The FCC did not accept Omni's arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
*USD 5,000 penalty on FM 92 Broadcasters, Inc., licensee of KMZE-AM, Woodward, Oklahoma, for failure to install the required Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment.
FM92 had initially been issued with an NAL for USD 8,000 but responded by saying it thought that the sharing of an EAS unit with KMZE-AM, also of Woodward, was allowable under FCC rules although they were not co-owned. It added that following receipt of a letter of enquiry it had purchased a separate EAS encoder for KMZE and argued for a reduction on the basis of a history of compliance and inability to pay. The FCC accepted the arguments and reduced the penalty to USD 5,000.
*Imposed USD 5,000 penalty on WNYC Radio, licensee of WNYC-AM and FM, New York, as part of a consent decree related to possible violations of rules on underwriting acknowledgements. In addition WNYC is to file a number of reports relating to compliance with the rules.
*USD 500 penalty against Praise Communications, Inc. , licensee of WKDL-AM, Warrenton, Virginia, for late filing of renewal application. It had originally proposed a USD 1,500 penalty to which Praise responded by arguing for reduction on the basis of a past history of compliance and also because the late filing arose after it had put in an application on time but neglected to include a Form 159 and that when it was informed of this had re-filed immediately - at this stage the application was four days late - including Form 159.It had then been told that its application had been filed on an outdated form 303S and that, after an initial failure to file electronically by the station's general manager its legal counsel had filed the application. The FCC accepted the history of compliance and "good faith" attempts to file and reduced the penalty.
In various licensing decisions the agency:
*Gave the go-ahead for Cox Radio to acquire six stations in Georgia, to which opposition had been filed. (See RNW Jun 11).
*Denied a petition for reconsideration of its refusal to allow a change of the community of license for a new AM station at Ellisville, Mississippi, that Rainey Broadcasting, Inc. had bid successfully for in its AM Auction 84.
Rainey wished to change the community of licence to Laurel, Mississippi, basing its amendment on new rules adopted by the Commission. This change had been refused because its rules say that that any such change must be mutually exclusive with Rainey's existing or authorized daytime facilities, and Rainey had no existing or authorized daytime facilities with which its proposed amendment could be mutually exclusive.
*Rejected a petition to deny the application by Union Valley Baptist Church, Inc. for a new non-commercial educational FM station in Kirby, Wyoming. The petition was filed by Western Inspirational Broadcasters, Inc., which said Union lacks reasonable assurance of site availability because Western is the "party of record holding Antenna Structure Registration Number ("ASR") 1226816" - the ASR number specified in the application. Western said it had not given Union permission to use the structure associated with that ASR number. Union claimed that specifying "ASR 1226816" was a clerical error, based on its misreading of an illegible document and that the correct ASR is "ASR 1211839." Union also noted that the Application disclosed that the proposed station would be collocated with KUWT-FM, Thermopolis, Wyoming, and specified the KUWT-FM site coordinates in the application. The FCC accepted Union's version and granted its application.
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2008-06-15: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) says that it is now just three votes short of gaining pledges from a majority of members of the House for the Local Radio Freedom Act which "denounces the notion of a performance tax benefiting the foreign-owned record labels."
As well as 215 representatives, 13 Senators are supporting the Act.
NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton commented in a news release, "The chorus of lawmakers recognizing the immense promotional value provided by local radio airplay grows louder with each passing day. RIAA may prefer to dismiss growing Congressional opposition to their performance tax effort, but to do so would be as foolish as disregarding the ISD2 billion dollars in music sales revenue generated annually through local radio airplay."
RNW comment: What a despicable, small-minded release this is. The recording companies are "foreign-owned" because major US-owned recording companies were sold to overseas interests - quite legally - and by any reasonable use of language a performance royalty is not a tax.
Perhaps the rules should be also changed so that foreign-owned organisations can own US licences when they come from countries that allow ownership of their broadcasters by US companies. If nothing else new owners might suggest that Wharton and his cohorts put a sock in it: As it is the NAB shames both the politicians and broadcasters who associate themselves with it.

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2008-06-14: NBC Washington bureau chief and 'Meet the Press' moderator Tim Russert has died aged 58 after collapsing in the bureau where he was preparing to tape inserts for this Sunday's programme.
Earlier in the day he had ended his regular Friday spot on Bonneville's WTOP-AM in Washington by wishing everyone a "Happy Father's Day, guys!"
The station posted a number of tributes to him including comments from Secretary of State Colin Powell who said, "Every time I went on his show, I knew I had to be on top of my game, because he would be on top of his game. And frankly, I looked forward to it. I could always count on a good, fair, tough, honest interview with Tim" and friend and CBS rival Bob Schieffer who commented, Even though we were friends, nothing pleased either of us more, than to scoop the other. When you got one past ol' Russert, you felt like you hit a home run off the best pitcher in the league,"
He added, "Everyone -especially me- learned a lot from him.... What I am going to miss most is a friend. I feel like I've lost part of my life because Tim Russert is gone. He was a big part of my life."
MSNBC in its report included a tribute from President Bush who said in a statement, "Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it."
Russert had returned from Italy, where his family was celebrating the graduation of his son, Luke, from Boston College. Luke and his mother, Maureen Orth, a writer for Vanity Fair magazine, were still in Italy when he died.
MSNBC report:
WTOP report:

2008-06-14: UTV, which last month was refused permission to co-locate its Stockport station Imagine FM with three other stations it currently houses in Warrington - Tower FM, Wish FM and Wire FM - to save costs (See RNW Licence News May 25) has now said it will close the station by the end of this month if it cannot find a buyer or alternative broadcasting facility.
The Stockport Express quoted UTV Radio managing director Scott Taunton as saying his first consideration was for the staff and adding, "They work hard to produce a quality service for the people of Stockport and south Manchester. If that regretful decision is taken, alternative employment for Imagine FM staff will be offered elsewhere in the UTV Group where possible. Every possible alternative for the future of the station is currently being investigated including the possibility of a sale or by finding alternative broadcast facilities in the area."
The paper quoted councillor Tom McGee who was involved in trying to keep the station in Stockport, as saying "This is sad news. It will be a big loss for the town and will have far reaching implications. I am surprised by the decision; it has come about so quickly. They are not giving people much time to organise themselves and put a bid together to buy the station."
Stockport Council leader Coun. Dave Goddard said the council was exploring the possibilities of keeping Imagine FM in the town.
Previous Taunton:
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2008-06-14: Arbitron has announced that it is to resume the commercialisation of its Portable People Meter (PPM) radio ratings service in eight markets - New York, Nassau-Suffolk, Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Jose - starting with the release of the September PPM survey report for each market on October 8, 2008. At the same time it will end its diary-based ratings from the markets.
Arbitron has released PPM pre-currency reports for New York, Nassau-Suffolk and Middlesex-Somerset-Union since October last year and says it will deliver "pre-currency" PPM survey reports for Los Angeles, Riverside-San Bernardino and Chicago with a special release of the June PPM survey report in mid-July, and with the regular release of the July PPM survey report on August 13 and the August PPM survey report on September 10.
For San Francisco and San Jose it will deliver "pre-currency" PPM survey reports with the release of the July PPM survey report on August 13 and the August PPM survey report on September 10.
Elsewhere Arbitron says it is sticking to an expected commercialisation of PPM ratings in Atlanta, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Detroit and Washington DC in December 2008 as already listed in a schedule released in November last year.
Arbitron president and chief executive officer Steve Morris commented in a release, "It's time to move forward with electronic measurement for radio. Radio broadcasters and advertisers are taking bold steps in an effort to enhance the accountability of the medium. The Radio Advertising Bureau recently published guidelines for 'posting' and ad schedule guarantees and the American Association of Advertising Agencies continues to advance its e-business effort: 'Project Reinvention.' The Arbitron PPMTM is uniquely capable of delivering the granularity, precision and speed of reporting that can help radio make these and other accountability initiatives a success."
Of past problems with the service he added, "We have improved our PPM samples in the four key areas we outlined last November. We have enhanced our ability to deliver PPM sample targets. We've improved the composition of our PPM panels, especially among the 18-34 demographic. We've raised the day-to-day cooperation rate of our PPM respondents. We've also put in place a number of programs designed to have a positive impact on response rates. Our commitment to continuous improvement means that we will keep working on these metrics as we go forward.
"In the past weeks, we have been meeting with our clients to review the progress that we've made since November and to hear their priorities for enhancements to our PPM services. Our conclusion from these meetings is that our PPM ratings are valid and the time is right for electronic measurement. Another outcome from these meetings is that we have established working groups across a number of constituencies within the radio industry to facilitate the exchange of ideas and the implementation of our continuous improvement programs for the PPM. At the same time, we are working diligently with the Media Rating Council in order to achieve MRC accreditation for all our PPM markets."
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2008-06-13: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has announced that Commonwealth Broadcasting president & CEO Steve Newberry has been elected as its Radio Board chairman to succeed current chairman Russ Withers of the Withers Broadcasting Companies, who had been standing for a second consecutive term.
On Wednesday Newberry along with ICBC Broadcast Holdings' Charles Warfield represented NAB at House hearings on proposals to introduce performance royalties - which NAB is trying to dub a "tax" - for US terrestrial radio (See RNW Jun 12).
The NAB also announced that its Executive Board is opposing a plan put forward to the FCC by six radio groups and Mullaney Engineering to move LPFM radio stations from the FM band to current TV analogue spectrum used by television channels 6 between 82-88 MHz when the transition to digital TV leaves this vacant.
The groups had suggested the move in a filing to the FCC in April. Citing as their reason interference caused to FM stations by some LPFM licences who they noted were not usually professional broadcasters and "typically do not hire professional consultants for technical and legal advice and assistance."
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2008-06-13: Spanish Broadcasting System founder Pablo Raúl Alarcón Sr. , who was chairman of its board until November 1999, has died in Miami aged 82. He had remained on the board and was company's president emeritus until his death.
He founded his first station in in Camagüey in Cuba 1951 and built up a network of 14 stations 1951 but fled to the US after Fidel Castro in 1959 overthrew Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista who had first seized power in a 1934 military revolt.
Alarcón became a newscaster and DJ in New York, then established a recording studio and an advertising agency before he founded SBS in New Jersey in 1983: He was awarded the US Hispanic radio industry's most prestigious award, the Medallas de Cortez Lifetime Achievement Award, at the Radio Ink Magazine Hispanic Radio Conference last month.
It was accepted on his behalf by his son Raúl Alarcón, Jr., the current Chairman, President and CEO of the company- and owner of around 80% of its votes.
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2008-06-13: BBC Radio 2 has announced that Hollywood star Antonio Banderas, who played Ernesto "Che" Guevara in the movie Evita, is to present a documentary programme "Che Lives!" on the guerrilla leader next week.
Guevara, who would have been 80 this year, was killed in 1967, and after his death the slogan "Che Lives" became popular in many parts of the world and the famous image of a bearded, long-haired Che, looking defiant and determined, taken by photographer Alberto Korda in 1960 has become one of the most reproduced ever.
Contributors to the documentary, which was made by Ten Alps Radio and will air at 21:30 GMT next Tuesday, include Robert Redford, Steven Soderbergh, Benicio del Toro, Gael Garcia Bernal, Alan Parker, Tim Rice, Wayne Hemingway, Germaine Greer, Carlos Acosta, George Galloway, and Ricky Gervais.
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2008-06-13: Clear Channel has now set July 24 for a special shareholders meeting to approve its buy-out by private equity partners led by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners L.P.
Those eligible to vote will be holders of stock as of 17:00 New York time on June 17.
The deal was originally agreed at USD 39.20 a share but the banks financing it balked at the amount after the stock fell to around USD 1`0 lower than this and after legal action was started the bid was reduced to USD 36 with the banks agreeing to cast-iron guarantees of financing that they have now provided with all funding being in place last month (See RNW May 29). Closing is expected on July 30.
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2008-06-12: The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property heard on Wednesday from both sides over the potential introduction of performance royalties for recorded music aired by US terrestrial radio stations: The US is one of the few countries in the world where such charges are not paid and Department of Commerce in a letter to the committee chairman, California Democrat Howard Berman supported the introduction of the charges.
Berman is the co-author of the Performance Rights Act (H.R. 4789) that would bring in the charges and the Commerce Department, which supported the efforts of the subcommittee when it set a performance right for digital transmissions of sound recordings in 1995, said the proposed charges are "justified as a matter of fairness and equity" although it expressed concern about the Act's plans to set fixed fees rather than allowing rates to be negotiated by the parties involved or established by Copyright Royalty Judges as is the case for music streamed on the Internet.
Amongst those supporting the introduction of royalties was Frank Sinatra's daughter Nancy who testified on behalf of the musicFIRST Coalition.
She queried why the radio business should be the sole exception to such charges and asked, "Why is the broadcaster exemption allowed to rob us? To disadvantage every other radio platform that does, correctly, pay us?" continuing, "In no other business is the promise of promotion justification for the taking of someone's product."
Speaking on behalf of the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) - which has lobbied vigorously against the charges and had placed adverts on the morning of the hearing in Capitol Hill publications Roll Call, Politico, The Hill, Congress Daily, and CQ in which it applauded - and named - the 209 representatives and nine senators who have supported the "Local Radio Freedom Act" that would prohibit the introduction of the charges - Commonwealth Broadcasting President & CEO Steve Newberry said that "all broadcasters -- urban, rural, religious, public, community, ethnic, large, and small broadcasters like me -- all oppose H.R. 4789."
He argued against the introduct8on on the ground that NAB promotes of the value of its airplay in promoting recording sales, saying "Local radio provides to the recording industry what no other music platform can: Pure music promotion. Radio is free, radio is pervasive, and no one is harming record label sales by stealing music from over-the-air radio."
Newberry also commented on the weak state of the US radio industry, saying, "I want this subcommittee to understand what it means to local radio should H.R. 4789 become law. Most local radio stations are struggling to be profitable since most of our operating costs are fixed and our advertising revenues are flat, and they are projected to remain flat. I know the intent was to protect smaller radio broadcasters, but as an owner of local stations in rural markets, I fear it does not."
Asked about whether musicFIRST's proposal of a USD 5,000 flat fee for smaller and non-commercial stations addressed his concerns, Newberry said it was a "lot of money" for many small stations.
Berman compared the proposals with stations paying for sports rights and asked why radio regarded it as acceptable to pay for such rights that promoted teams and their sales of tickets and merchandise when it didn't want to pay for music to which Newberry responded by saying that when lesser teams had asked to be paid for the rights stations had simply stopped airing the games.
"If we turn this into strictly a financial, monetary exchange, we're going to find ourselves in exactly the same situation," he said. " We're only going to be playing the songs that give us the biggest return on investment." An unintended consequence of the bill, he said, is that successful artists will make more money, while those who are struggling will have even less access to the airwaves."
[RNW comment: Which is why we suggested in our February Comment on this matter that what is needed is a range of performance fees from a nil band up to a maximum, to allow the marketplace to work by providing an incentive for those who wanted airplay rather than fees to go for the lower or nil rates. AT least this would be a justifiable market approach as opposed to NAB's proposals for continued unprincipled reliance on government regulation.]
Also speaking for the NAB was ICBS Broadcast Holdings President & COO Charles Warfield who said the act should be opposed because it "is not fair." He also took a swing at the recording companies, asking why the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was not represented and asking if it was fair that they should take 50% of any royalties collected, commenting ," Unfortunately, RIAA is not here to explain why it needs half of a new performance fee that is designed for artist compensation."
Warfield added ," "The current symbiotic relationship that has existed for years between the radio and recording industries is the very essence of fairness. But H.R. 4789 takes this balanced system and places the heavy thumb of government on one side of the scale."
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2008-06-12: More pressure has been put on Arbitron in relation to its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings service by the announcement that leading Spanish-language radio broadcasters in the US - including Border Media Partners, Entravision, Spanish Broadcasting System, and Univision - have formed a coalition to, as they put in a release "to voice concerns about Arbitron's proposed rollout of the flawed Portable People Meter (PPM) and the potentially harmful impact it could have in the industry as it relates to measuring Spanish-language media."
The new Spanish Radio Association (SRA) says it met Arbitron to discuss their concerns on June 6 and "advocated the importance of properly evaluating the Hispanic audience measurement capabilities and effectiveness of Arbitron's PPM before its full-scale implementation."
The group was represented by Raúl Alarcón, Jr., chief executive officer and president of Spanish Broadcasting Systems (SBS); Gary Stone, president and chief operating officer of Univision Radio; Jeffery Liberman, president of Entravision's radio division; and Jeff Hinson, president and chief executive officer of Border Media Partners and New Jersey Democrat Senator Robert Menendez also attended the meeting, noting that the PPM issues will affect all Hispanics in the US.
Alarcón commented," Ensuring that the next generation of audience measurement is accurately developed, tested, accredited, and ultimately accepted by the entire radio industry, is of critical importance. The Hispanic population in the U.S. is growing rapidly and becoming more influential, while Spanish-language radio is becoming one of the most popular formats in the country. With that in mind, Arbitron must take the necessary steps towards understanding the impact this audience measurement tool will have on one of the industry's most important constituencies."
The group says it intends to hold regular meetings with Arbitron in an effort to ensure any sample includes accurate measurement of Hispanic audiences in all markets that will be launching PPM as currency.
Arbitron itself responded by saying that it would work with the group but added that it though Hispanic listeners were "well represented" in the PPM panels "by age, by geography, and by language preference."
It added that it appreciated the time put into the dialogue by the broadcasters and said it looked forward "to the further exchange of ideas and to adding the insights of Spanish-language broadcasters into our continuous improvement programs for the PPM."
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2008-06-12: Two GCap Media stations - Classic FM and Xfm, Manchester - and Bauer's Magic FM have been nominated for the UK Commercial Station of the Year prize in this year's Arqiva Awards, now in their 13th year and which attracted a record number of entries.
The awards are to be presented in London on July 7 at a ceremony hosted by current Virgin Radio breakfast host Christian O'Connell, who was previously with London Xfm.
There are two new awards this year -the schools radio network prize and the most played artist on commercial radio - taking the total number of awards to 17.
The list of nominees is:
Commercial radio station of the year (total survey area (TSA) more than 1 million) - Classic FM; Magic 105.4; Xfm Manchester;
Commercial radio station of the year (TSA between 300,000 and 1 million) - Beacon Radio (West Midlands); GWR Bristol; and Lincs FM.
Commercial radio station of the year (TSA less than 300,000) - Northsound 1; Star Radio Cambridge; and 97.2 Stray FM.
Commercial radio digital station of the year - GaydarRadio; Heat Radio; and The Hits.
Commercial radio programmer of the year - Paul Andrew - GWR Bristol; Andy Roberts - Kiss 100; and Matt Whyatt - Xfm Manchester.
Commercial radio presenter(s) of the year - Boogie & Jill - 97.3 Forth One; Emma B - Heart 106.2; and Jo & Twiggy - Trent FM.
Commercial radio presentation newcomer(s) of the year - Chris Wise - 107.4 The Quay; Hywel Evans & Jamie Atherton - 97.4 Rock FM; and Rhys & Eggsy - Xfm South Wales.
Commercial radio station sound award - James Stodd, Arden Hanley and Dan Riedo - Capital 95.8; Matt Robinson & GMG Group Imaging Team; and talkSPORT Creative.
Commercial radio news award - Nomia Iqbal & Katie Collins - 107.6 Juice FM; 97.4 Rock FM News Team; and Virgin Radio News Team.
Commercial radio programme or feature of the year - 'Gun Crime'- Century Radio 105.4; 'The Rehab' - Kiss Network; and 'V Festival 2007' - Virgin Radio.
Commercial radio marketing award - Stuart Robinson - Citybeat; Julie Halford, Melanie Wills & Riah Matthews - Heart 106; and Gavin Bruce & Jay Crawford - Real Radio Scotland.
National sales team of the year - Bauer Advertising; talkSPORT; and Virgin Radio.
Local sales team of the year - Central FM; GWR Wiltshire; and Orchard FM.
Commercial radio station creative award - Andrew Fraser, Jessica Smith & Mark Aldred - Kiss 105-108; Tom Turner & Sharon Dennis - Metro Radio; and Andy Griffiths & Mike Doyle - 102.1 Swansea Bay Radio.
Commercial radio technical innovation award - myclassicfm - Classic FM; 100.7 Heart fm Multimedia - 100.7 Heart fm; Juicetube - 107.6 Juice FM.
Commercial radio social action initiative award - Bauer Radio - For the Kids Day; CFM - Robbie's Runners; and Severn Sound - The Floods 2007.
Schools radio award (in association with Vision Charity) - Maxine Bradley - King Edward VI School, Morpeth; Ringwood School in Hampshire; and Becky Hardesty - Royal National College for the Blind.
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2008-06-12: Clear Channel has yet again extended the offer expiration date and consent payment deadline for its previously announced tender offer for its outstanding 7.65% Senior Notes due 2010 and Clear Channel's subsidiary AMFM Operating Inc.'s previously announced tender offer for its outstanding 8% Senior Notes due 2008.
The deadline, formerly 08:00 New York time on June 11 is now 0800 New York time on June 27. The Notes were first priced on March 27 (See RNW Mar 27) and their offer, which was linked to the buyout, was announced in December last year (See RNW Dec 20, 2007).
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2008-06-11: According to the New York Post, Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback has accused Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin of providing misleading testimony to Congress about the planned merger of his company with XM Satellite Radio.
The paper says Brownback's concerns relate to his comments about radios that can receive both services and adds that in a letter to Vermont Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he asked that redacted portions of a May 27 letter from Competition in Satellite Radio (C3SR) - which it describes as being funded by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to lobby against the deal - to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
It quotes the letter as saying, "I am very troubled by the notion that Congress may have been misled in its prior hearings on this merger."
The paper said both Sirius and XM denied violating the interoperability requirements and quoted a spokesman as saying, "There is no contradiction, and Sirius' testimony was completely accurate. [This] is another example of our broadcast competitors' willingness to say and do anything to try to stop this merger."
In connection with the requirement attorneys for the satellite radio companies have said in a letter - signed by Wiley Rein attorney Robert Pettit for Sirius and by Gary Epstein of Latham & Watkins for XM - that what it terms the "NAB coalition" rather than C3SR has ignored the "inconvenient truth" that the FCC required the two companies only to design such a receiver and certify that they had done so.
The "NAB Coalition," according to the letter claims "the applicable rules required XM and Sirius to produce and market an interoperable radio, when in fact the rules required only that the companies develop designs for such a radio -- a requirement they fully met."
It adds that the FCC "left the decision to manufacture, import, distribute, deploy, market, and sell interoperable receivers to the private sector."
In fact say the attorneys XM and Sirius went beyond the requirements and made prototypes but did not put them on the market as it did not make economic sense for them to do so.
RNW comment: Following its May letter C3SR has gone further and called for the satellite companies to disgorge "ill-gotten gains" and fire officers, directors, and employees who knew of alleged wrongdoing. It would appear that if the satellite companies' attorneys are correct there was no legal wrongdoing, thus making the rest of the call redundant.
At the same time it would seem to us that if the FCC did indeed require a design to be produced for an interoperable receiver but then opted out of any timetable for production, leaving this to the marketplace, the people involved are either very bigoted (in favour of the free market at the expense of common sense), corrupt (maybe they hope for future benefits?) or plain stupid. They certainly weren't protecting the public interest as a first priority.

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2008-06-11: UBC Media has closed the loss-making mobile phone version of its Cliq music downloading service take-up of which has been slower than expected since its launch in December last year (See RNW Dec 5, 2007) and which it has spent some GBP 2 million (USD 3.9 million) developing. It estimates that in the financial year to the end of March next year it will save some GBP 1.2 million (USD 2.35 million) after closure costs of around GBP 1.1 million (USD 2.15 million) are taken into account.
It will spend no more on developing Cliq and it says it will "concentrate on providing a business-to-business solution to manufacturers of connected devices, including Wi-Fi digital radios like Imagination Technologies, with whom it has an existing relationship."
UBC noted that there is still limited availability of mobile phones with built-in DAB receivers and also greater than expected technical difficulties with the interim solution of a JAVA application on UK handsets and networks although Chief Executive Simon Cole said he remained "convinced that transactional revenues will be an important part of the radio industry in the future. "
"For a variety of reasons, including the delay by manufacturers in bringing DAB connected devices to market, we have tried to lead this process in the interim on the JAVA mobile phone platform and have not succeeded," added Cole. "However, the technology, intellectual property and pending patents that we have developed during this process remain within the business. We believe we can exploit these without the need for the high risk, high cost exposure to a consumer service "
UBC also announced that an agreement announced last month under which US comapny Global Traffic Network agreed, subject to contract and UBC shareholder approval, to acquire the Commercial Division of UBC for GBP 15 million (USD 29.4 million) is proceeding satisfactorily with the transaction expected to close on or before 31st July 2008.
At the time of the announcement UBC said its board was intending to conduct a strategic review of the business following this transaction adding that the Company is reviewing the timetable for the preliminary announcement of its final results in the light of this transaction.
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2008-06-11: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected objections to the deal and given the go-ahead for Cox Radio to acquire six Georgia stations - WRFC-AM, and WPUP-FM, Royston, which it is buying from Southern Broadcasting of Athens, Inc.; WXKT-FM, Washington, which it is buying from Southern Broadcasting Companies, Inc.; WGMG-FM, Crawford, which it is buying from New Broadcast Investment Properties, Inc.; and WGAU-AM, Athens, and WNGC-FM, Toccoa, which it buying from Southern Broadcasting of Pensacola, Inc.
The deal had been opposed in a letter from Dr Preston Coleman together with 17 other local residents, and Coosa Valley News, Inc. which earlier had claimed that Paul C. Stone, who owns all the stations, had been the undisclosed backed in a winning bid in its FM Broadcast Auction No. 70 for a new FM construction permit at Plainville, Georgia.
It had opposed the granting of the CP to Stone but its objection was rejected after which it filed a petition, which remains pending, for reconsideration of this decision. CVN says that as a result character issues were raised because there had been a failure to declare these pending proceedings.
Coleman and his co-signers objected on the basis of a desire for local station ownership and concern about the programming standards and practices that could be reflected on [their] local airwaves," based on incidents occurring on Cox's station WSB-AM, Atlanta, Georgia, on the Neal Boortz program. The added that they were concerned Cox may introduce similar programming to their communities, which they assert have markedly different standards regarding appropriate programming than does the Atlanta metropolitan area.
The FCC concluded that neither CVN nor Coleman had raised "a substantial and material question of fact warranting further inquiry" and granted the licence assignments.
The deal was originally announced in January when Cox said it was to exercise its option to buy three companies controlled by Stone for USD 60 million.
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2008-06-11: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with a political bias, both in the UK and the US. In the former, Paul Donovan in his Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times pegs the column to the debut of the former UK Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott as a radio actor - in the BBC Radio 4 production of "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists", the station's current "Classic Serial"
Prescott played an Edwardian policeman outside a jeweller's shop and according to Donovan, "Far from throwing up his lines, Prescott delivers all 12 of them with aplomb, and returns in the final episode. "
After comments on why Prescott may have agreed to take the role and on the work, Donovan digresses into a wider consideration, commenting, "It's generally accepted that actors want to keep acting for themselves, and resist the intrusion of the untrained. Broadcasters try to do the same in broadcasting and journalists in journalism. We know best! Except that we don't always, and I cannot be alone in occasionally enjoying someone who is different, whose values, life experiences and route to the airwaves contrast sharply with so much of their other output."
He then goes on to give other examples - "On Friday, for example, Superintendent John Sutherland, who is in charge of operational police duties in Islington, north London, presents his first ever programme, about prayer, on the BBC World Service (Heart and Soul, 14:30 GMT). For years he has interviewed criminals: now he questions the religious - from Quakers to Muslims. His approach may not be to everyone's taste, but at least it's not predictable. When did we last hear a full-time Metropolitan Police officer present a radio programme?"
He also notes the broadcasting activities of left-wing MP George Galloway who "uses his eclectic background to good effect on his weekend shows on talkSport (for which, he reveals in the Register of Members' Interests, he last year accepted a healthy capitalist wage of between GBP 100,001 and GBP 105,000 - around USD 200,000)" and to come of former London Mayor Ken Livingston.
In the US we went for a report on the "National Conference on Media Reform" held in Minneapolis or as reported by Diane Farsetta of the Center for Media and Democracy what Paul Schmelzer on the Minnesota Independent website, said were " two National Conferences on Media Reform in Minneapolis over the weekend: the one I attended and the one Bill O'Reilly, Juan Williams and Fox News talking head Mary Catherine Ham didn't."
Speaking at the conference Democrat Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein pushed for investigations of the Pentagon's military analyst program - in which the Pentagon as Adelstein put it, "recruited, organized and sometimes paid more than 75 retired military analysts to echo the Administration's themes and messages on the Iraq war and foreign policy. Many of these so-called analysts also worked for military contractors or owned their own military consulting firms. They were granted valuable special access to senior civilian and military leaders, in exchange for their participation in this covert, propaganda operation."
Adelstein said it was necessary to determine if the Defence Department violated payola laws - which "prohibit anyone involved with preparing broadcast or cable programs from accepting anything of value without disclosing it to the public" and also "another law that may have been broken here. Congress has specifically outlawed the use of federal funds for covert propaganda. "
Farsetta comments that the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, judging by its past decisions on government-funded video news releases "will likely be vigorous, rooted in historical and legal precedent ... and ignored by the Bush Administration."
She's more sceptical about another investigation by the Pentagon's Inspector General and notes that the conference addressed many important issues "discussed media justice, net neutrality, community involvement with local broadcast outlets, international human rights, and the power and limitations of new media platforms."
Fox News did cover the event - providing what Farsetta terms a "distorted, issue-free look at the event. The day after the conference ended, Bill O'Reilly, Juan Williams and Mary Catherine Ham -- none of whom attended the event -- derided attendees as 'stridently anti-American,' 'fascists,' and the 'lunatic left.'"
After the politics on to song lyrics, courtesy of Randy Dotinga's column in the North County Times under the heading "52 reasons to forget the lyrics"
He begins: "Stalking. Abortion. Incest. Death. What do these things have in common? No, they aren't part of the platform of any political party, no matter what you may have heard from certain right-wing talk-show hosts.
"Instead, these are among the themes of the most nausea-inducing love songs of all time, according to a new book that explains what exactly is going on in those lyrics you never listen to.
The book is "Touch Me, I'm Sick: The 52 Creepiest Love Songs You've Ever Heard" and author Tom Reynolds comments, "In almost every case, the songwriter was not trying to be creepy or depressing," Reynolds said. "They were trying to be cathartic, emotional and stimulating, trying as hard as they could to reach the listener and move them."
And of one song, the Police's "Every Breath You Take," Dotinga says the lyrics - to the ultimate stalking song, are entirely clear.
"It's a very angry bitter song about a guy who's been dumped who's stalking his former lover," Reynolds said.
To which Dotinga notes, "Still, it's one of the most requested songs at weddings and funerals. Go figure."
He also notes that the book nearly didn't get published in the UK because of libel laws - laws that Dotinga comments led to Reynolds "being peppered with inane comments and questions from his British publisher's lawyers."
He details some - such as comments that Lou Reed was once a heroin addict, comments about Marianne Faithfull's voice being shot - that in this regard at least suggest benefits from the US system albeit they were probably sensible questions in view of the tendency of some of the rich and famous to select countries for actions on the basis of a strict reading of local law without relevance to the circulation of the publication concerned in the country. Another good reason to keep government hands off the Internet?
Before listening suggestions we also note that the Washington Post has now dropped its "The Listener" radio column - the last was on June 1st and featured Paul Farhi looking at the column he had been "writing on and off since 1995".
Anyway on to listening suggestions starting with BBC Radio 4 and "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists", whose three-part adaptation began last Sunday in the "Classic Serial" slot.
Also from Radio 4 we'd suggest last Saturday's "Archive Hour" - "The Dream Time of Jazz" in which Marybeth Hamilton recalls a ten-hour interview conducted in 1938 by then 23-years-old folklorist Alan Lomax with jazz composer Jelly Roll Morton.
From during the week we suggest the "Book of the Week" (08:45 GMT weekdays) - "The Black Death", John Hatcher's account of how the people of a typical English village lived and died in the worst epidemic in history and "The Afternoon Reading" (14:30 GMT) that this week is a series of short stories exploring the phenomenon of personal broadcasting under the heading, "Wireless Connections."
It's followed at 14:45 GMT by the continuing "Cosmic Quest" narrative history of astronomy - there's also an omnibus edition on Friday evening at 20:00 GMT.
Changing stations and topics we next move to BBC Radio 2 and its Liverpool Season with suggestions of "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Tuesday - an exploration by Sue Johnston of the appeal of the song, originally written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for their 1945 musical Carousel but then embraced by Liverpool FC fans.
Later in the week the season includes the first of a two part story of the Beatles - "Don't Start Me Talking... ...about The Beatles" (18:00 GMT on Friday) and "The Day John Met Paul" (18:00 GMT on Saturday).
Moving to BBC Radio 3 we again suggest the Monday through Thursday Essay slot (22:00 GMT) that this week in more of its "Greek and Latin Voices" looks at the work of Cicero.
And from Friday for Jazz fans we suggest "Jazz Library" (22:30 GMT) that this week features veteran jazz drummer Roy Haynes guiding Alyn Shipton through his essential recordings and the following "Jazz on 3" that this week features a gig at the Vortex jazz club in London by Australian trio The Necks. On Saturday Jazz Line-Up (15:00 GMT) features a session from the Glasgow Jazz Festival with pianist Brian Kellock playing with drummer Kenny Ellis and Portuguese bassist Mario Caribe and also a session with drummer Dave Smith and his Outhouse project in which Dave merged Gambian drummers with straight-ahead jazz.
Also on Saturday from we suggest from its "Focus on China" series, "World Routes" on Saturday (14:00 GMT) with the first of two programmes recorded on location in China by Lucy Duran and "Hear And Now - New Music in China" (22:00 GMT), the first of two reports from China by Robert Worby. This programme includes electronic music by Zhang Xiaofu, who runs Beijing's electronic music festival, and a concert specially devised by the Beijing New Music Ensemble, playing music by three generations of Chinese composers. We also suggest from Sunday in "Words and Music" (21:25 GMT) " A Chinese Anthology" with Wendy Kweh and David Yip reading from two millennia of Chinese poetry
And finally from Radio 2 we go for Sunday's "Private Passions" with music chosen by British journalist Robert Fisk and whose choice, fittingly for someone who has covered so many conflicts, is heavy on war music.
Then back to Radio 4 and we go for Tuesday's "Law in Action" that considered how far changes might be needed to take account of unreliable human recollection of events.
Then from Wednesday we suggest "All in the Mind" that amongst other things has a discussion concerning data from drug trials with an industry spokesman coming under attack - it appears that a drug is five more times likely to gain approval when negative results from trials are kept back by the companies that have conducted them. Room for some serious through on how far the marketplace is appropriate as a means of determining best use of resources when governments leave regulation to the industries making a profit from its weakness (Ask tomato eaters in the US?). It was preceded in "Thinking Allowed" with a programme "Gentrification in Harlem" that considered the effects on local residents from economic revival.
And finally to round off the week from the BBC we suggest Radio 4 on Sunday with "Chairman Humph: A Tribute" - a special tribute hosted by Stephen Fry to the late Humphrey Lyttleton plus at 13:30 a programme by Lyttleton - "The King of the Swingers" in which he profiled Louis Prima.
RNW note: Thanks to more overnight work coming up we have tfallen behind in listening to some of the podcasts we record but hope to check some of them out and update listening suggestions again later .
Previous Columnists:
Previous Donovan:
Previous Dotinga:
North County Times - Dotinga:
PR Watch - Farsetta:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
Washington Post - Farhi last "Listener" column:

2008-06-10: XM Satellite Radio has announced the resolution of the lawsuit brought by EMI against it over the Pioneer Inno portable satellite radio with advanced recording features but has released no details of the agreement.
The EMI suit was the last outstanding from the major record companies: XM settled with Universal Music Group (See RNW Dec 8, 2007) and Warner Music (See RNW Dec 22, 2007) last year and with Sony BMG earlier his year (See RNW Feb 2).
Previous XM:

2008-06-10: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin has ruled that GCap Media's South Hampshire station Ocean FM, which it issued with a "Yellow Card" in November last year, has again been operating outside its format, although it did not impose any penalty. On the TV front it fined MTV GBP 255,000 (USD 500,000) for breaches on four of its channels; upheld another TV standards complaint and also a TV fairness and Privacy complaint with a further TV Fairness and Privacy complaint upheld in part.
It also listed details of four fairness and privacy complaints - two TV and two radio, the latter against BBC Radio 4 and talkSPORT - that it did not uphold.
In the case of Ocean FM, Ofcom noted that under its format it is to air a "locally oriented, mainly current adult contemporary music and information" service with its remit before a new simplified format was introduced saying that it should air "predominantly (up to 70%) current Adult Contemporary tracks … from the previous twelve months".
The check that led to its previous "Yellow Card" (See RNW Licence News, Dec 2, 2007)showed it had only aired 9.5% of music drawn from the past 12 months, and it noted that other stations in the area provide older and rock music, meaning that Ocean's move away from its format diminished listener choice.
Ofcom carried out a second three-day monitoring of the stations output from January 14-16 this year and found it still operating outside its format commenting that "its music output was still too old in its choice of tracks, and too rock-oriented to fulfil the spirit of a station licensed as an Adult Contemporary service." Tracks from the previous 12 months, it said, accounted for less than half its music output and it also noted that Ocean FM was continuing to play a significant number of rock tracks that could not be considered Adult Contemporary.
Ocean said the failure to deliver a satisfactory proportion of songs from the past 12 months was the result of the station's automation system, and some presenters, dropping a number of songs which had been scheduled to play out and added that it had reconfigured the automation software so that the issues should not arise again.
Ofcom noted that under the new system all songs have been classified by genre to ensure that the mix does not compromise the overall Adult Contemporary flavour of the station. It said the Yellow Card should remain in place and added that it would monitor the station again within the next months and either lift the Yellow Card if the relevant issues have been addressed or if not consider further action including a fine.
Of the radio complaints detailed but not upheld one was a complaint about an interview on talkSPORT with a man about his attempt to launch a private prosecution for child neglect against the parents of Madeleine McCann: He complained that he had been treated unfairly in the programme in that the programme makers had failed to honour assurances given to him about the content of the programme; and that host James Whale's conduct of the interview had been unfair.
The second was against the BBC Radio 4 "You and Yours" programme over an a report on Professor John Bridle, who it introduced with the words: "the man behind Asbestos Watchdog who claims to have saved people millions of pounds, but the claims about himself are littered with lies".
The programme also stated that Professor Bridle, an asbestos surveyor, portrayed himself as "the world's foremost authority on asbestos science" and claimed that Professor Bridle's views on the safety of one type of asbestos were contrary to those held by the British Government, the Health and Safety Executive and the World Health Organisation, among others. The programme also questioned Professor Bridle's credentials and expertise in testing for the presence of asbestos.
Professor Bridle complained to Ofcom that he was treated unfairly in the programme as broadcast in that he was unfairly portrayed as a liar and charlatan; his expertise and qualifications were questioned along with his business credentials; it alleged, wrongly, that he carried out unauthorised white asbestos "testing" and that he had claimed that asbestos posed no measurable risk to health; and, it failed to include "evidence" provided by him that offset the criticisms made in the programme.
Ofcom after three rounds of responses - taking up 18 pages of the bulletin - concluded that "programme makers took reasonable care to satisfy themselves that the information presented in the programme relating to Professor Bridle's expertise, qualifications, business practices and his claims about testing asbestos had not been presented in a way that was unfair to Professor Bridle. Nor had relevant information been omitted or ignored. Professor Bridle had been offered an opportunity to contribute. Ofcom therefore found no unfairness to Professor Bridle in the programme as broadcast."
Ofcom also listed without details 2929 TV complaints against 128 items - 2731 against one programme - and 52 radio complaints against 21 items - 27 against one Radio Scotland programme -that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 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 in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom:
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:

2008-06-10: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) in two rulings has held that stations breached Canadian Codes, one relating to the airing of the "f-word" and the other to clear identification of sponsorship.
In the former case, which related to the airing by CJDJ-FM (Rock 102), Saskatoon, of an unedited version of "Load Me Up" by Matthew Good Band, although it said the broadcast violated its Codes it commended the station for the measures it had taken to resolve the issue.
The station had explained to the complainant that the unedited version of the song containing the line "…Me fucking this up…"had been loaded in error, had agreed to broadcast an on-air apology six times, and also said it would be instituting safeguards to ensure that all songs, whether new or old, would be properly previewed to ensure that only edited versions of potentially problematic songs would be added to their playlist.
This did not satisfy the complainant, who had then complained to the CBSC. The watchdog did not agree that further action needed to be taken and in its decision commented that the "the broadcaster proposed extraordinary measures in order to acknowledge its error and to put the matter right. It exceeded by a considerable measure the customary CBSC membership responsibility of any broadcaster to be responsive to a complainant" and also on the "the station's good faith in going the extra mile to acknowledge its error and its intention to put matters right for both the present and the future."
It added that "It applauds those steps and considers that CJDJ-FM's obligation of responsiveness was met and surpassed on this occasion" and said that in view of the apologies broadcast it would require the station to make the customary on-air announcement of the CBSC decision because of the apologies already aired.
In the second case involving a broadcast on CHWO-AM, Oakville, Ontario, of the "Sunday Showcase with Murray Segal" that a complainant said had not revealed that the show had been paid by the company when it broadcast discussions with a guest who owned a local home renovations company and also included the host commenting favourably on the company and giving details of its phone number and website.
The complainant, displaying a rather better use of language than the station, which had misrepresented the complaint in its response as well as attempting to patronise the listener commented, "I don't know what part of the word "endorse" they don't understand. According to Webster's Dictionary, "endorse" means "to give one's name or support to; sanction; to aid by approval; to approve as, to 'endorse' an opinion." And that is clearly what Murray Segal is doing whenever he has Paul Napolitano on his Sunday morning show.
The station had admitted that the segment was paid for and effectively constituted an advertisement, but said it did not announce this fact because "to do so would be stating the obvious".
In ruling that the programme breached its codes, the CBSC Panel commented that in its view "audience members could be expected to recognize 15- or 30-second commercial spots, but they would not know, without advice, that the challenged Sunday Showcase was nothing more or less than paid flattery. The failure to inform them is misleading and unfair."
It added that "in addition to the non-disclosure of the paid sponsorship of the program, the host insinuated himself to an undue extent in the "selling" of the product..."
Previous CBSC:

2008-06-09: Continuing its attack on the idea of US radio having to pay performance royalties for music recordings, the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has circulated to members of Congress a study -"Sales & Spins " - that demonstrates that recording sales increase when an artist's music is aired on radio.
The study is based on data from Nielsen and Pollstar and looked at the work of 17 artists, concluding that there was a direct relationship between the sales of albums or singles with the number of times the artist's music was aired.
It adds, "It is this promotion -- free advertising -- that drives record sales and represents just one of the many ways local radio provides value to artists and contributes to their financial and commercial success."
The House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property is to meet on Wednesday and will consider the Performance Rights Act, introduced in December last year by California representatives. Howard Berman (Democrat) and Darrell Issa (Republican). It and a similar bill introduced into the Senate would require performance royalty payments.
In opposition to this is the Local Radio Freedom Act that says no performance royalties should be introduced: According to the NAB's latest release on the topic, this bill has support from 208 House members and of nine Senators for the identical Senate Bill.
RNW comment: Quite what the NAB proves by this support, apart from the fact that it does not support a free market, we are not sure. Even if we assume NAB has incontrovertible evidence of massive benefits in sales we can see no overwhelming reason for legislation to prevent the recording companies from having the right to levy a performance fee on material to which they own the copyright as happens in almost every country in the world.
To us, the main issue legislators should be considering is the overall public interest in this matter and the degree to which this might suffer were charges to be imposed, something that would depend totally on the level of fees to be charged.
As regards that, in a commercial environment, we think the best solution is a range of copyright fees (
See RNW Feb Comment) thus allowing the market to operate and giving performers the freedom to choose whether to push for higher royalty payments at the cost of airplay or accept lower, or no payments, to gain increased promotion through airplay.

Previous NAB:

2008-06-09: Global Radio has signed new three-year deals with Jamie Theakston, co-host with Harriet Scott of the top rated London commercial station, Heart FM, and with Nick Ferrari, the breakfast host on its talk station LBC 97.3.
Commenting on the signings, Global Radio's acting chief executive Richard Park, who began his radio career as a pirate DJ on offshore station Radio Scotland in 1966 and subsequently worked at the BBC and for various commercial stations including Capital Radio, where he was programme controller, told the UK Guardian, "Quality talent is the lifeblood of our business, and we are pleased to have signed long-term contracts with two of the most consistent and popular presenters in the commercial radio industry."
In an interview in Media Guardian, Park attacked the BBC and other commercial radio executives, commenting, "We've talked ourselves into a horrible position and some very smart people at the BBC have taken advantage" and, after naming various big names who began in commercial radio such as Scott Mills, Chris Moyles, Steve Wright, Chris Evans, and Jonathan Ross, continued, "They have painted commercial radio into a very tight corner where they have to pay more money than there is in the marketplace. Would Chris Evans come back to commercial radio? Not in a million years. Something has to be done. We can't keep dispensing public money to make TV commercials for Radio 1. The marketing is out of all proportion. If there is anyone who doesn't know when Wogan or Moyles is on, I haven't met them....This is not the way for the BBC to be behaving. There are things they should be putting money into that they are not. They are overtly commercial, which is not what they were set up for."
After leaving Capital, Park had a spell on Fame Academy, was a radio consultant to Emap (whose radio business was sold to Bauer in a deal that was completed in January this year - See RNW Jan 26), and founded Wildstar Records, uniting Capital and Telstar Records and later Park Records, a joint venture with Universal Music.
He commented of this experience that it had led him to believe there were people to discover, saying, "It led me to refresh my own memory about how many good broadcasters there are outside London who never get the chance. All I was ever reading from people in publications like yours was that there is no one out there, nothing doing, we can't find any talent. Well excuse me, you're not looking…There are people broadcasting right now in Newcastle, in Scotland, in Manchester, in Birmingham that could be very good."
Previous Ferrari:
Previous Global Radio:
Previous Park:
Previous Theakston:
UK Media Guardian - Park interview:

2008-06-09: Corus has announced that its Montreal News/Talk station 940Montreal (CINW) is to change to a music format from 20:00 local time on June 13 with a loss of 18 jobs. It will remain an English-language station and take the name AM 940 - Montreal's Greatest Hits.
Employees were told of the changes late on Friday by Mario Cecchini, the vice-president of Corus Quebec, who said the change was needed because ratings never met expectations although the quality of the programming was never in doubt.
The 50,000 watt station began as XWA with experimental transmissions on December 1, 1919 with regular programming starting on May 20, 1920, giving it a claim to being the world first commercial radio station - KDKA- AM of Pittsburgh was the first station to be granted a commercial licence and started licensed broadcasts on Nov 2, 1920, with the results of the U.S. presidential election although it did not air commercials until a few years later.
XWA became CFCF on November 4, 1920 and retained those letters, although with numerous frequency changes until September 1991 when it was sold to Mount Royal Broadcasting (later Métromédia) and became CIQC. On December 14, 1999, when it moved to the current 940 AM frequency and an all news format, changing its call letters to match the format.
Reporting on the change, the Montreal Gazette says the station is reported to be intending to retain some of its news team to meet regulatory requirements.
It adds that amongst those who have been dropped is veteran broadcaster Dennis Trudeau, who's been hosting a show on the station since September last year. Trudeau, who had been with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1979 to 2005 - and anchor of the supper hour local news show on CBMT TV, Montreal, form 1987 until he left, told the paper, "I went into private radio with my eyes open. I was having a great time but knew somebody could walk up to me one day and say, 'Thank you.'"
Previous Corus:
940 AM web site:
Montreal Gazette report:

2008-06-08: Last week was yet another where there was no word on a decision concerning the Sirius-XM merger and a low but steady level of radio-related work elsewhere.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that two community stations breached licence conditions relating to advertising and sponsorship.
In Victoria it held that Ballarat Community FM Radio Co-operative Limited, licensee of 99.9 Voice FM, breached the conditions because promotional material played during an issue of its 'Lifestyle Program' did not include a 'tag' acknowledging financial support and in New South Wales it found that Lambing Flats Community Broadcasting Inc, licensee of TWOYYY FM 92.3 Young, breached a condition of its licence by exceeding the hourly sponsorship limit of five minutes.
In each case it accepted that the licensees had put into effect appropriate measures to prevent repetition and proposed no further action.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in only a few radio licensing decisions including the following in British Columbia:
*Renewal of the licence of CKCR-AM, Revelstoke, from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2010. It noted that the short-term renewal would allow it to review the licensee's compliance with regulations relating to the broadcast of Canadian musical selections and that the station may have breached these in January last year when it was owned by Standard Radio, which was subsequently taken over by Astral, which has said it has now undertaken measures to address these compliance concerns.
*Renewal of licence of English-language Type B community radio programming undertaking CFRO-FM, Vancouver, from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2010. The CRTC noted, as with CKCR-AM, a breach of regulations relating to Canadian musical selections that led it to issue only a short-term renewal and the licensee's explanation of how this had come about and actions taken to prevent recurrence.
The CRTC also noted that there had been interventions concerning the station's broadcast of the programme "Voice of Palestine" that the interveners said contained unbalanced programming, in particular with respect to the conflict in Israel/Palestine. In response to these interventions, the licensee provided examples illustrating how CFRO-FM provides balanced programming throughout the broadcast week and explained that Voice of Palestine "makes deliberate efforts to provide a wide range of perspectives on the issues pertaining to the situation in Israel/Palestine."
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with a July 8 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments that included the following radio-related matters:
*Application by Bear Creek Broadcasting Ltd. to amend the licence of the English-language community Type B radio programming undertaking CFEP-FM, Eastern Passage, by changing the conditions relating to the annual development and promotion of Canadian talent. The amounts are unchanged but there have been changes in the bodies to which the funds went.
Nova Scotia:
*Application by Seaside Broadcasting Organization change the frequency of its English-language community Type B radio programming undertaking CFEP-FM Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia; to reduce the power from 1,400 watts to 1,360 watts; and to increase the effective antenna height from 27 metres to 49.2 metres.
There were no radio postings in Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has pre-advertised the Southport FM licence currently held by The Local Radio Company plc's "Dune FM", which is due to expire on 11 October 2009.
Should there be no competing declarations of intent to apply - each of which involves a non-refundable fee of GBP 5,000 (USD 9,850) - the licensee will be invited to apply for renewal under the regulator's fast-track procedure.
Ofcom also updated its planned timetable for re-advertisement of local analogue licences. The current timetable now includes the following:
July pre-advertisement: Sovereign Radio, Eastbourne and Kiss's East of England regional licence. The latter currently qualifies for automatic renewal because the licensee provides a service on the local digital multiplex and may not be re-advertised.
August pre-advertisement: Waves Radio, Peterhead (this also currently qualifies for automatic renewal); and KMFM, Thanet.
September pre-advertisement: Home FM, Huddersfield.
October pre-advertisement: Isles FM, Western Isles.
November pre-advertisement: STAR Radio, Cambridge; Juice FM, Liverpool (This currently qualifies for automatic renewal).
December pre-advertisement: Arrow FM, Hastings.
January 2009 pre-advertisement: Kestrel FM, Basingstoke.
February 2009 pre-advertisement: Time 107.5, Havering.
March 2009 pre-advertisement: Silk FM, Macclesfield.
April 2009 pre-advertisement: Touch FM, South-East Staffordshire.
May 2009 pre-advertisement: Wave 105, Solent (This currently qualifies for automatic renewal); QuayWest, West Somerset.
June 2009 pre-advertisement: Wire FM, Warrington; Star Radio, Cheltenham.
July 2009 pre-advertisement: Century FM, North-West England; Ridings FM, Wakefield; Kingdom FM, Fife (The first two currently qualify for automatic renewal).
August 2009 pre-advertisement: Peak FM, Chesterfield; Dream 107.7, Chelmsford.
September 2009 pre-advertisement: Oak FM, Hinckley; RNA FM, Arbroath; Trax FM, Bassetlaw (This currently qualifies for automatic renewal).
October 2009 pre-advertisement: Champion FM, Caernarfon.
November 2009 pre-advertisement: Rutland Radio, Rutland.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) still has to rule on the Sirius-XM merger but in other actions it has issued a number of penalties or proposed penalties including the following:
*Issued USD 3,000 penalty to Towson University, licensee of WTMD-FM, Towson, Maryland, for failure to properly maintain the Station's public inspection file. The FCC had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount in October 2003 and Towson had challenged this on the basis of an admonishment issued in another case and because it is "a public, non-profit radio station that operates entirely on public funding and listener support." The FCC having examined financial documentation supplied rejected the arguments and confirmed the penalty.
*Issued USD 1,500 penalty to Michael H. Glass, licensee of WMER-AM, Meridian, Mississippi, for failure to maintain an operational Emergency Alert System, failure to operate within authorized power limitations and failure to have a license for the station's Studio to Transmitter Link.
The FCC had issued an NAL totalling USD 16,000 in March to which Glass responded requesting cancellation or reduction based on a history of compliance and financial hardship. After examining documentation provided the FCC reduced the penalty to USD 1,500.
*Issued USD 1,000 penalty to Appalshop, Inc. for late filing of renewal applications for W201AI, Coeburn, VA, W255BT (formerly W202AL), Norton; W201AJ, Big Stone Gap; and W216BO, Hansonville, all in Virginia.
*Issued USD 500 forfeiture to Bible Broadcasting Network, Inc. for late filing of renewal applications for Translator Stations W209AX, Fairmont, and W244BB, Princeton, both in West Virginia.
*Issued USD 610 forfeiture to L. P. Ryan, Low Power Radio of St. Louis, Missouri, for marketing uncertified AM radio transmitters. It had issued an NAL for USD 7,000 in November last year but Ryan sought cancellation or reduction on the basis of inability to pay and on the basis of documentation provided the Commission reduced the penalty.
*Issued USD 250 forfeiture to Valley Baptist Church and Christian School, licensee of Translator Station W234AH, Harrisonburg, Virginia, for late filing of renewal application.
In other licensing actions the agency refused an application from Royce International Broadcasting Company, permittee of new, unbuilt station KIEV-AM, Culver City, California, to review its decision to deny additional time to construct the station. The permit had been issued in October 1984 for a station in Burbank and the original October 1985 construction deadline was extended ten times under the FCC's former rules after Royce lost its original site and had problems obtaining approval for other sites.
In 1988 to address the warehousing of radio spectrum by permittees unable or unwilling to build, the Commission revised the broadcast construction period rules to require construction within a period of three unencumbered years and Royce, as an existing permittee was allowed to benefit from various adjustments with the result that the deadline was extended to December 2001: Royce had in 2000 filed an application to specify a new tower site in the City of Montebello but the construction deadline remained but two weeks before the permit expired Royce filed a waiver request on the basis that it now expected zoning proceedings for the construction to take at least five months. The FCC denied this waiver, commenting that the primary cause of Royce's construction delays was its own failure to initiate zoning proceedings prior to specifying the site but it did adjust the deadline to April 2002 for other reasons.
Subsequently in 2004 the FCC opened its AM Auction 84 filing window and Royce and three others filed mutually exclusive applications to construct new California radio stations, all specifying channels and transmitter locations that could not co-exist with the KIEV-AM permit which had, on its face, expired.
One of those mutually exclusive applicants, Levine/Schwab Partnership, has filed comments in the present proceeding expressing its position that Royce warehoused spectrum for 22 years and has been preventing others from using the spectrum to serve the public and additionally in November 2004, Ontario Broadcasting LLC, licensee of KSPA-AM, Ontario, California, filed a minor change application proposing improvements without protecting the proposed first-adjacent channel facilities of KIEV-AM.
The Bureau noted that it has been holding these applications in queue because none could be granted absent confirmation of the Bureau's conclusion that the KIEV-AM permit had expired.
In refusing Royce's application the FCC said that Royce's selection of the site and acceptance of terms were matters within Royce's control and also that it properly denied Royce's motion for additional time to file its Application for Review which was filed after the Application for Review deadline.
In Iowa it denied objections to the assignment of the licences of KBUR-AM, Burlington, and KBKB-FM, Fort Madison, from Citicasters Licenses L.P. to Pritchard Broadcasting Corporation and of KGRS-FM, Burlington, and KBKB-FM, Fort Madison, to Titan Broadcasting, LLC.
The objector said that the assignment of two stations to Pritchard Broadcasting, which is wholly owned by John T. Pritchard and of two others to Titan, which is owned by Pritchard and his son, seemed to be a way of bypassing multiple ownership rules.
The purchasers said that Pritchard's involvement in the latter purchase was limited to characterizing his son's possible purchase of the stations as a "good opportunity" and that the two businesses will not be subject to common influence or control and the FCC gave the go-ahead.
In Illinois it ruled in relation to joint applications for changes to Joyner Radio, Inc.'s WCZQ-FM, Monticello and Regent Broadcasting of Peoria, Inc.'s WIXO-FM, Peoria, that the former had to pursue unilaterally its request to increase facilities, which would potentially cause interference to WIXO. Regent's proposed changes however are not predicted to cause interference to WCQZ.
In Pennsylvania, the FCC reversed a decision made in March last year refusing an application by WIOO Radio, Inc. to change the frequency and increase the power of WIOO-AM, Carlisle, because it failed to provide daytime protection to co-channel stations WCST-AM, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, and WOLB-AM, Baltimore, Maryland.
In a petition for reconsideration WIOO says that Radio One has now abandoned WOLB-AM's licensed site and sold it to a developer who has constructed various buildings on it and that its proposal now meets all Commission protection requirements with respect to WOLB-AM's new site and, therefore, the Commission should reconsider its prior action.
It also submitted WCST-AM signal strength measurements that it contends show that its proposal fully meets the Commission's Rules with respect to WCST.
Radio One argued that the petition should be dismissed because relies on facts not previously presented that do not involve circumstances that have changed since Licensee's last opportunity to present such matters and it does not rely on facts that were unknown earlier in the proceeding and could not reasonably have been learned by Licensee through the exercise of ordinary diligence. It adds that the application would result in construction of a facility that would receive significant prohibited interference from and cause interference to WOLB's "currently" licensed facility
The FCC noted that it has now granted Radio One's application for a licence to cover its modified WOLB facility and that an engineering review shows that the application satisfies Commission rules and granted the WIOO modification application.
Previous ACMA:
Previous CRTC:
Previous FCC:
Previous Licence News:
Previous Ofcom:
ACMA web site:

CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:

2008-06-08: New World Radio chairman Edwin Tornberg, best known for his founding of Washington DC multicultural broadcasting station WUST-AM in 1992, has died aged 82.
His company also owned WBIS-AM, Annapolis; WAGE-AM, Leesburg; and WNWR-AM, Philadelphia, and he had also owned radio stations in Virginia, California, Kentucky, Oregon and Indiana and cable television systems throughout the Western United States that he sold to Telecommunications Inc.
The Washington Post quotes his business partner, James Weitzman as saying Tornberg "went against conventional wisdom in 1992 by founding Washington's first and only exclusively multicultural broadcast station, WUST."
Tornberg bought 50,000-watt WNWR three years after launching WUST and converted it to multilingual broadcasting. He was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, and in 1954 started in business brokerage and consulting. Five years later he formed Tornberg and Co., which specialized in brokerage, consulting and appraisal work for the banking, broadcasting and cable television industries.
Washington Post obituary:

2008-06-07: The spat between the musicFirst coalition that wants performance royalties for music aired on US terrestrial radio stations and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which is vehemently opposed and in a continuing propaganda campaign is trying to label such a charge a "performance tax" has heated up in advance of next Wednesday's planned hearings on the Performance Rights Act by the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property.
musicFirst got up NAB's nose earlier in the week with a "Gift of Music" - including songs such as "Take The Money And Run" leading NAB to respond that its action was a "silly gesture" (See RNW Jun 4) and has now done so again with a claim that "When you look at the musicFIRST-backed bills and corporate radio's non-binding resolution, there's not too much we disagree on."
The one thing musicFirst executive director Doyle Bartlett does admit they disagree on is that musicFirst thinks "corporate radio should pay the artists and musicians who bring music to life and listeners ears to the radio dial. They don't."
Bartlett argues that his organization is concerned about small stations and adds, "That is why the bills musicFIRST supports include accommodations for small, public and religious broadcasters. Most radio stations would only pay a flat, affordable annual fee set by Congress to clear the performance rights for all the music they use. We love mom and pop radio stations and want to make sure that they survive and thrive. But giant conglomerate radio groups are doing quite well. One company alone is up for sale for USD 20 billion. That's more than the entire music industry. These big companies can't hide behind the mom and pops."
He continued, "Music and radio go hand-in-hand. They support each other. We are entering a new era in radio. Artists and musicians sound even better in high definition, and more handheld devices like mp3 players and cell phones will have radio receivers. Radio's future is bright but only if radio supports the artists and musicians who bring music to life. In corporate radio speak, music monetizes the airwaves, which corporate radio uses for free, too."
NAB responded with an accusation by EVP Dennis Wharton that "musicFIRST's latest missive fundamentally distorts today's radio market and misleads policymakers on the devastating consequences of a potential $7 billion tax benefiting RIAA and the foreign-owned record labels" allied with a call for an investigation of the recording industry's exploitation of musicians.
Make no mistake," added Wharton. "America's hometown radio stations expose musical artists new and old to 235 million listeners every week, generating untold millions in record sales for the music industry. Indeed, it is the unparalleled promotional value of free, local radio that has made America's music industry the most successful in the world. NAB welcomes this debate, and we encourage Congress to call record label executives to the table and answer to their well-documented decades-long abuse and exploitation of musicians."
Previous musicFirst:
Previous NAB:
Previous Wharton:

2008-06-07: Clear Channel executives have been told to cut costs before the company's buyout closes partly to ensure that the top shareholders including the Mays family can ensure that they get cash for their shares rather than having to take up shares in the new company according to the Wall Street Journal.
The report, "The Clear Channel Memo: Cash and Consequences" says that if enough of the current shareholders demand cash - and speculation is that nearly all of them will - rather than taking up the option to convert their shares into a holding in the new company that will own Clear Channel the deal won't be as lucrative for the large shareholders because they won't be able to cash in their shares.
It prints a memo from President and CFO Randall Mays in which he says, I think as most of you also know by now, there are certain provisions in the Merger Agreement that make it extremely important for us to be as judicious with cash as we possibly can between now and closing. First, as part of the deal, Clear Channel shareholders will potentially be forced to roll a portion of their shares into the new transaction. It is the preference of our board that no one be forced to roll (everyone has the option to roll and the board would prefer that this remain an option rather than a requirement). There is a certain level of cash which we will need to have at closing in order to insure that no one has to do anything that is not of their choosing."
He also notes that "…the debt provided by the banks to fund the transaction was fixed at the time of signing the amendment to the merger agreement. Thus, any additional cash outlays between now and the deal closing, have to be funded 100% with equity. For those of you that have run levered return models, it is very difficult to make deals attractive when you have to fund them with 100% equity. Post closing this will not be the case and we will go back to our normal procedures so don't infer anything in this other than there are timing issues with respect to capital before closing.
In an earlier report the Journal noted that if no shareholders chose to take up the stock option it would leave a shortfall of up to USD 1.1 billion to the company and that Highfields had agreed to underwrite USD 400 million of this in such circumstances, Boston-based Abrams Capital agreed to underwrite another USD 100 million and insiders at the company, including the Mays, would take another USD 100 million.
The remaining USD 500 million would have to come out of Clear Channel's surplus cash and if it didn't have that amount shareholders, instead of receiving USD 36 cash under the new deal would have to accept USD 35 in cash and take the remaining USD 1 in the form of shares in the new company.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Randall Mays:
Wall Street Journal report:

2008-06-07: Marc Steiner, the former WYPR-FM host dumped by the station in February (See RNW Feb 3) is to return to the Baltimore airwaves on Morgan State University's WEAA-FM according to the Baltimore Sun.
The paper says initially the "Marc Steiner Show" will air from 09:00 to 10:00 on Wednesdays but the host added that plans are for it to air daily, possibly starting as early as September.
The show will be produced by Steiner's "
Center for Emerging Media" and the Sun adds that Steiner, reflecting the move from a station with a predominantly white audience to one where most listeners are African-American, promised a show that will be "a little different" and said, "I think America is ready for a show that crosses racial and generational lines both in terms of staff and appeal."
Steiner said that guests for the inaugural show were still being lined up but would include Ta-Nehisi Coates and his father, Paul, who was one of the founding members of the Black Panther Party in Baltimore.
Previous Steiner:
Baltimore Sun report:

2008-06-06: BIA Financial Network is forecasting a faster rebound in radio advertising revenues in small and mid--size markets than in large markets with the former taking up to 2011 to get back to 2007 revenues and the latter another two to three years.
BIAfn names a number of markets in which it expects to see revenue increases this year including McAllen-Brownsville, Texas (2.8 percent), El Paso, Texas (3.8 percent), Madison, Wisconsin (1 percent), and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (3 percent) and says it expects the trend to continue.
Its Vice-President Mark R. Fratrik, Ph.D. commented in a release, "The trend towards revenue increases in the small and mid-sized radio markets are significant because they indicate that advertisers in these smaller regions continue to find radio to be an effective medium to reach consumers. Listeners are also beginning to respond favourably to the digital innovations their favourite stations are making through multicasting and live audio streaming, enhanced websites, and HD Radio."
He added, "We don't foresee radio operators returning to the double-digit growth they experienced in the earlier part of this decade but it is evident that a resumption of slightly stronger revenue growth will bolster their financial futures as they continue to capitalize on their digital assets and, simply, their positions in their local markets."
Previous BIAfn:

2008-06-06: In an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box" US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin has said that the question of the Sirius-XM merger was "difficult" for the agency and that the companies were asking "for something extraordinary" when they requested permission to merge when this was prohibited by the licences.
Asked about where the merger stood, Martin replied, "It's a difficult issue for the Commission. We had a rule in place that would say the two companies couldn't merge when we auctioned off that spectrum. They have come in and asked for us to change that rule and put forth different several public interest commitments they would be willing to make and consumers can pick and choose channels they would want to help lower their prices. We're looking at that. I think the commission will do something on it soon."
He was then pushed by David Faber, who noted a delay of a year and a half, about an obligation to make a decision and asked, "Aren't you under an obligation to answer these guys if not today, tomorrow, or very soon?"
To this Martin responded, "I think we are under an obligation but this is an unusual circumstance. We have a rule that prohibits this merger. This was unlike any other merger that's come in front of us. We have a rule that would prohibit it from going forward. I think that they're asking for something extraordinary and the commission is taking a look at it. We'll get back to them soon."
RNW comment: To this outsider, political manoeuvring and lobbying apart, the issue rather than extraordinarily difficult is little different from any other decision. First a decision needed to be made whether circumstances had changed sufficiently to justify negating the rule - if not than the rest of the considerations are irrelevant.
The decision concerning circumstances was effectively made by the Department of Justice when it opted to allow the deal through and it took them long enough. One wonders whether there was a degree of each agency wanting the other to take any flak involved.
Once the DOJ had ruled it seems to us the FCC was left with no ground to stand on concerning the rule but was left with a decision to make on any conditions that should be imposed - and probably should also sensibly have set penalties for breaches, if only to shut up the NAB and others who are bound to complain if a condition is breached.
If the decision were being made by a logical process of setting the criteria that needed to be met and then assessing all submissions in this light we cannot see how the process could reasonably have taken more then nine months. The delay in our view deserves the strongest possible condemnation and Martin ought to find great problems once dumped from his post in getting employment at a much higher level than street sweeper. What's the odds he'll turn up somewhere inside the industries he's been concerned in regulating?

Previous FCC:
Previous Martin:
Previous Sirius:
Previous XM:
RNW Note: Video of the Martin interview, which also covered such topics as Verizon-Alltel deal; Free Internet; the switch to digital TV, Media Ownership and Broadband, is currently here on the CNBC site.

2008-06-06: The Indian Government has accepted most of the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) concerning its Satellite Radio Policy including a recommendation that should there be more applicants than licences on offer an auction should be held to allocate licences.
TRAI also recommended, in a move seen as primarily related to the current activities of WorldSpace, the sole existing satellite radio provider for India, that foreign ownership be capped at 74% rather than the 49% it had recommended for non-news FM stations and 26% for News and Current Affairs FMs.
The difference was noted by the Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI), which broadly welcomed the proposals with its Vice-President Ashok Narayan saying:"To create a level playing field, we strongly feel it should be on par with private FM sector, that is, 49 per cent, and no special consideration whatsoever be given to satellite radio."
WorldSpace, which does not produce any news or current affairs channels of its own but carries channels already available in India on other platforms, has supported TRAI's recommendations that private FM stations, which are currently barred from carrying such services, should be allowed to carry news and current affairs and says this rationale is even more applicable to satellite radio with its ability to provide niche channels.
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous TRAI:
Previous WorldSpace:

2008-06-06: American teenagers now listen more to portable players than to radio according to research from Coleman Insights.
It cites a study for a CHR-formatted radio station in a top 20 US market in which 84% of 14- to 17-year-olds reported listening to music on a computer, iPod or MP3 player every day whilst the figure for listening to AM or FM radio was 78%.
In another study says Coleman when asked "Where is the first place you go to hear music?" 41% of 15- to 17-year-olds said iPods or other MP3 players, 27% said their computers and 22% said FM radio.
Jon Coleman, president of Coleman Insights commented of the results, "The fact that kids are using alternatives to radio obviously isn't news to anyone, but this is the first time in all our studies that we've seen the numbers support new technologies over radio. This shift, however, should convince radio stations that they have to determine how radio can fit into the lifestyles of younger listeners if they are not already attempting to do so."

2008-06-06: UTV has announced plans to raise approximately GBP 49.9 million ( USD 97.7 million) in a rights issue that it says will be part of "an overall refinancing which will reduce the group's gearing, strengthen the balance sheet and enable the continuation of its strategy of developing a diversified multimedia business."
The issue will be on the basis of 2 Rights Issue Shares for every 3 Existing Ordinary Shares held on 17 June at the Rights Issue Price of 130 pence per Rights Issue Share and is subject to shareholder approval.
UTV has also put in place new five year finance facilities and says its board had originally intended to commence the refinancing of its existing debt facilities during summer 2008 but has now decided to accelerate the refinancing process given the prevailing and potentially worsening financial market conditions.
Chief Executive John McCann commented in a release, "I am pleased that we are able to maintain our cautiously optimistic outlook for this year and have completed the refinancing of the Group in the context of very challenging credit markets. We believe it is important to put in place a balance sheet structure and refinancing package of debt and equity that is both robust and cost effective."
Previous McCann:
Previous UTV:

2008-06-06: Patty Wente, the long-time general manager of the University of Missouri-St. Louis station KMWU-FM who was fired at the start of the week, has denied doing anything wrong and was quoted by the St Louis Business Journal as saying she is "considering all my legal options."
The University had released a statement by its chancellor Thomas George when she was fired saying that "some issues have been raised concerning KWMU that need to be explored, and I have taken steps to initiate a review of those issues" and adding "KWMU is a St. Louis treasure. This action is being taken to protect that treasure for the university and the community."
The action followed a review of "financial and management issues raised by current and past employees and outside auditors." The auditors had said there needed to be more oversight of the station and noted practices such as employees using a credit charge for personal purchases and then paying back the money.
The Journal quoted Wente as telling it, "I have done nothing improper. There has been no financial mismanagement at KWMU, and the university knows everything that has transpired."
Wente told the St Louis Post-Dispatch there had been no financial wrongdoing and that the auditors' recommendations had been put in place. She had been with the station for nearly two decades and said that she left it "in good order", adding that she had been asked to resign without a severance package and had been dismissed when she refused, again with no severance package.
The Business Journal also quoted Wente's lawyer Barbara Maille as saying no decisions had been made about legal action.
"She was disheartened to be summarily discharged without any severance package or any opportunity to appeal," said Maille. "We thought there would be more of a sense of loyalty and fair play after 20 years,"
The Journal adds that in 2007 Wente was paid USD 106,000 plus a USD 12,000 bonus in 2007.
Mike Dunn, General Manager for 22 years of KBIA-FM, the public radio station on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus, has been asked to stand in as interim manager.
St Louis Business Journal report:
St Louis Post-Dispatch report:

2008-06-05: GCap Media has reached agreement to sell its national digital station Planet Rock to a new company run by entrepreneur and rock fan Malcolm Bluemel, who runs TLCS Global Visa Services: An announcement on the station site and official Planet Rock Newsletter says "We're pleased to bring you the news we have all been waiting for...At long last we're delighted to be able to announce that Planet Rock's future is now secure. We have been purchased by life long rock and radio fan Malcolm Bluemel and his consortium supported by our very own Tony Iommi, Ian Anderson, Gary Moore, and Fish, saving Planet Rock from certain closure."
It adds, "In a deal finalised today Malcolm takes control of the station with immediate effect, there will be no break in transmission or changes in programming."
Amongst other bidders for the station had been a consortium led by Queen Guitarist Brian May that went out of the running last week (See RNW May 30).
No price details were given but the deal is thought to have gone through for a nominal amount. Initially broadcasts are to continue from GCap's studios in Leicester Square.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Planet Rock:
Planet Rock announcement:

2008-06-05: Red Zebra Broadcasting, which is controlled by Washington Redskins owner Dan Synder, has now announced agreement with Clear Channel to buy its Sportstalk WTEM-AM and talk stations WTNT-AM and WWRC-AM for an undisclosed sum.
Red Zebra says the stations will retain their current format in the short term but it will begin, under a separate agreement, to provide programming for them from the start of July. Once the deal is completed Red Zebra will own nine stations -it already has the "Triple X ESPN Radio" - "Redskins Radio" stations WWXX-FM, WWXT-FM and WXTR-AM; ESPN Radio affiliate WXGI-FM, Richmond; and Fox Sports Radio affiliate WXTG-FM, Norfolk, all of which air Redskins games.
Fans have complained about the weak signal from the existing stations and the purchase will ameliorate the problems.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Red Zebra:

2008-06-05: The BBC in its 2007-8 Statements of Programme Policy is setting priorities of developing interactive content for its Radio 1 popular music service; further developments of its Radio 2 music club, which offers a platform for new British and international artists to showcase their talent, and comedy shows on Radio 2; the strengthening of cover of the "international music scene" and a new programme mixing poetry and music without presenters on BBC Radio 3, which carries its classical music output as well as speech and drama; an enhancement of drama output on BBC Radio 4; and a continuing emphasis on migrating listeners from Medium Wave (AM) to digital listening and an expanded use of user-generated content on its news and sports BBC Radio Five Live service.
For the digital Five Live Sports Extra service it emphasises its cricket Test Match Special cover and an emphasis on nurturing new sports broadcasting talent whilst amongst other digital channels it says its 1Xtra contemporary black music channel should be refreshed with an emphasis on developing talent together with a comprehensive review and reformat of how 1Xtra delivers its weekday news and discussion programming; its 6 Music popular music service should develop further The Hub as a focus for live music, particularly from new and unsigned bands and also develop its music news service by improving newsgathering in this country and abroad and by making it available to audiences across a range of digital platforms; the BBC 7 speech-based service should attract new audiences by using the sound archive creatively and commissioning new comedy, drama and readings and also provide new children's programming.
Of the BBC Asian Network, which is available on analogue services in some parts of the country and nationally on the BBC digital platform, it says the service should broaden the range of music available; increase the impact of journalism on the network, by commissioning more output from BBC News and independents; and also increase the number of original programme hours commissioned from the independent sector.
The BBC World Service is financed by a grant from the government and is not covered in the statements.
In other comments the statement says that Radio 4 will in the year broadcast at least 2,500 hours of news and current affairs programmes; at least 180 hours of original comedy; at least 730 hours of original drama and readings; at least 200 hours of original documentaries; and least 200 hours of original religious programming.
Previous BBC:
BBC Statement of Programme Policies 2007-8 (430 Kb 105 page PDF):

2008-06-04: Reacting to a "Gift of Music" - a package of four songs including "Take The Money And Run" and "Pay Me My Money Down" - from the musicFIRST Coalition, which is lobbying for performance royalties from US radio, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has termed the action a "silly gesture" that "obscures the fact that most musicians become successful through free airplay from America's hometown radio stations."
NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton making the comment in a release added tartly, "NAB suggests that RIAA instead donate these tunes to the college kids and grandmothers that they keep trying to have arrested."
The NAB then posted a list of quotations from artists and radio executives about the promotional value of radio airplay, the reason that US radio stations gained an exemption from performance royalties that apply in most other countries.
musicFIRST in its release said the songs highlighted the need for a fair performance right and listed the message they said each of the four songs - to be sent one a day starting with "Take the Money and run" on Tuesday" via I-Tunes to NAB's President and CEO David Rehr, and Executive Vice President of Radio John David - should give to corporate radio.
Today's record is Bruce Springsteen's "Pay Me My Money Down" - the story of a fisherman who is not fairly compensated by the captain for his hard work- whilst tomorrow the song is "Back in the U.S.S.R." to remind the NAB that performance rates apply in most of the world whilst the final song on Friday is "A Change Will Do You Good" that the coalition says points out that a fair "right will help ensure that artists and musicians and radio have a great future together as old and new music fills the airwaves and is heard on a wide range of consumer gadgets."
Previous NAB:
Previous Wharton:

2008-06-04: The agreed sale of Virgin Radio - without the brand name - by SMG will mean the second time in a year that Richard Huntingford is set to step down as a senior radio executive.
He was formerly chief executive of Chrysalis until it sold its radio division to Global Radio and he was amongst five executives dropped by the new owners (See RNW Sep 14 2007).
Later that month he was hired by SMG as Virgin Radio executive chairman (See RNW Sep 28, 2007) with a one year contract and he is to remain with SMG to ensure a smooth transition during the handover of Virgin to its new owners Times Infotainment Media Limited.
Previous Huntingford:
Previous SMG:

2008-06-04: Air America Radio has hired Ron Kuby, who was dropped by Citadel's WABC-AM, New York, in changes made to accommodate Don Imus (See RNW Dec 3, 2007) to host its afternoon slot.
Kuby has been one of a number of guest hosts in the slot, which became vacant when Randi Rhodes quit the network after she had been suspended for comments made about Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro (See RNW Apr 11) and the station site has links to audio of some of his shows.
Previous Air America Radio:

2008-06-04: Radio One Inc and Spanish Broadcasting System have each signed up to use Media Monitors' data research services, the first for its operations in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, Richmond, St. Louis, and Washington and SBS for New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Miami.
Radio One Radio Division President Barry Mayo said of the agreement, "As the nation's largest broadcast company for urban listeners, we see the value in targeting specific markets and advertisers. The tools Media Monitors provides open the floodgate to listener retention and advertising revenue like I have never seen before. Programmers can see in near real-time the results of their decisions. Our account reps know dollar for dollar what is being spent and where -- and, most importantly, how to get that dollar in our door. The research data mined from the service places us on target for financial success."
SBS will use Media Monitors radio service for information on advertising trends and to confirm spots played and its VP/National Sales Joe Mackay said, "SBS reaches more than half the U.S. Hispanic population and is always looking for ways to increase our audience and revenue base. The zero share report alone is an account rep's dream. No other company compares in accuracy of data and the understanding of radio broadcasters."
Radio One has also announced completion of its USD 137.5 million cash sale of its Los Angeles station KSWD-FM (formerly KRBV-FM) to Bonneville International.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
Previous SBS:

2008-06-03: Last week saw rather more variety than usual in print comments on radio, ranging from the effects on Tribune Co. of the influx of radio people through concern in the industry about proposed localism rules to listener dissatisfaction and general concern about the likely effects of economic woes and technological change.
For the first we go to an article by Ann Saphir in Chicago Business. She starts off by commenting that "Randy Michaels, the former shock jock charged with jolting Tribune Co. back to life, is grabbing the media giant by its Brooks Bros. lapels and shaking hard. He yanked the salaries of his ad sales reps and put them on commission. He poked public fun at Trib Tower execs who, he said, would rather call the rotund Mr. Michaels "tall and good-looking" than speak the truth. [RNW comment: We wonder how he would have reacted had they called him an overweight bully? If he would have taken any action, maybe they were being sensible whilst he would be proving their point.].
Saphir notes other actions such as moving employees of Tribune's WSFL-TV in Miami into the Fort Lauderdale offices of the company's South Florida Sun-Sentinel and making them report to the paper's publisher and upbraiding the publisher of the Allentown, Pennsylvania, Morning Call in front of employees, accusing him of not providing an "honest budget."
She suggests that this is him "hewing to the script that worked for him during his long career in radio: a brash style that holds nothing sacred."
Saphir lists some of Michael's exploits and contrasts his style with that of the former "Tribune regime, where corporate protocol could require a dozen signatures for a routine decision" , quoting Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan, who knows Michaels and Tribune's former CEO as saying, "The Tribune has done things the Tribune way for a long time. Somebody like Randy comes in and says, 'These people are great people, but nothing has stopped the decline. How do we reinvent it?' That requires off-the-wall solutions, and the first thing is challenging the culture."
She also quotes Jay Meyers, who worked with. Michaels at both Jacor and Clear Channel, on his success at the former before it was taken over by Clear Channel: "When Randy was Jacor CEO, he had 25% growth in an industry that was doing 15%" and adding of his approach, "It's like, get on the speeding bus or get out of the way," he says.
Michaels, born Benjamin Homel in upstate New York, took the name Randy Michaels when working as a DJ and was described by Tribune's new chairman and CEO Sam Zell, whose Chillmark fund owned Jacor from 1992-99, to Tribune staff as "weird and different".
Zell, it would appear also shares a taste for blunt (to be polite) language: His takeover of Tribune also put the Los Angeles Times into his fiefdom and LA Observed in February posted an internal memo it had obtained reading, "Last week you may have encountered some colourful uses of the lexicon from Sam Zell that we are not used to hearing at the Times. As Sam pointed out in his 'mea culpa' note to us today, he does this to make a point and in an attempt to change culture quickly. But of course we still have the same expectations at the Times of what is correct in the workplace. It's not good judgment to use profane or hostile language and we can't tolerate that. Looking at pornography on the job, unless in pursuit of a story, also is not good judgment. We need to maintain an open workplace where everyone feels free to contribute without fear of discrimination or threat of harassment. In short, nothing changes; the fundamental rules of decorum and decency apply. As Russ Newton, the Senior VP of Operations, observed in a note to his managers, Sam is a force of a nature; the rest of us are bound by the normal conventions of society.
Zell has, of course, taken on a lot of debt in the Tribune deal and media consultant John Gorman, who noted Michael's promotion of voice-tracking with the result in one case of a mispronunciation by the DJ of the Cleveland suburb from where he purported to be broadcasting, said, "If Randy repeats what he's done in radio, we'll see a lot of newsrooms eliminated" and predicted such delights to come as video-tracking of local TV newscasts from distant studios to cut costs and allowing adverts to over-run content.
Amongst the brash acts of the new team put together by Michaels were adverts in the Los Angeles Times and Newsday - whose USD 650 million sale to Cablevision Systems Corp. was announced last month - ran promotional ads claiming the newspapers were "more popular" than the leading local radio stations.
On then to issues of localism - from the point of view of Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth in his regular "From the Corner Office" posting - a view clearly indicated by the heading, "The Law of Unintended Consequences."
Smyth defines the law as, "when the implementation of something that seems at first glance to be a good idea actually ends up working in exactly the opposite fashion and causes unexpected and undesired outcomes" and goes on to describe the Federal Communications Commission plans to introduce broadcast localism rules a an example of the law.
As so often the subsequent argument has elements of self-contradiction but his argument is far better put than the usual NAB comment.
"The vast majority of broadcasters," writes Smyth, "understand that, in order to be successful, they must be closely involved with and truly serve the listeners and businesses in their local communities." He then goes on to comment, "Like many of you, I was taken aback by the retrogressive nature of several of the items, which would re-enact policies and regulations that were discredited decades ago after thoughtful, comprehensive analysis. Other items would impose a mountain of new paperwork on our stations without any obvious benefit."
Smyth does not detail the "thoughtful, comprehensive analysis" that went into changing the rules - with the resulting growth of major owners, voice-tracking, and other practices seen by many as leading to the reverse of true local service - but goes on to focus on one particular requirement, that a station's main studio be "located physically within the station's city of license."
"At first glance (for those who don't own radio stations), not a big deal, right? But when you stop to consider the numbers of radio stations that are licensed to small towns or suburbs just outside the borders of their commercial market, and the numbers of stations that are located just over the line from their city of license for any variety of reasons, and the number of stations that have been co-located with sister stations in their local clusters, it quickly becomes a HUGE deal. A license originally granted to a suburban community that is now part of a major metropolitan area would have to be located within that specific suburban area, period. No matter how far it is from the business community, or whether the traffic pattern passed the city of license by, the studio has to be right there."
Of the plan Smyth then comments, "This rule assumes that, in order to best serve our local listeners, it is a better use of capital resources to disassemble the millions of dollars that have been poured into cost-efficient cluster facilities nationwide, and require broadcasters to relocate their operations to a geographical area that may or may not have meaning to the bulk of the station's listeners - instead of focusing on delivering programming and community events that address the issues our listeners care about."
He then goes on to note that if enacted four of Greater Media's Philadelphia stations would have to "move approximately 300 yards to be officially within the City Line" whilst its Boston stations would have to be in four different locations.
He rubs in the point by adding, "The amount of resources, both human and financial, that would have to be devoted to this effort would completely overwhelm our programming and promotions budgets, not to mention distracting everyone's attention from the more critical task of serving the real needs of our listeners and advertisers. Not only do our stations share broadcasting facilities, but they also share staff members, including managers, engineers, traffic directors, producers, on-air talent, and creative talent. Are these individuals supposed to drive between various locations in order to do their work? Am I supposed to hire completely redundant staff at each facility and reduce many of these employees to part-time as a result? The unworkable nature of this proposal is just overpowering."
Smyth then ends with a plea for broadcasters to "speak up, and explain to the FCC and their elected representatives why these proposals are so unrealistic and unnecessary" and also to "tell all the untold stories about what we're doing in our communities, from blood drives and pet adoptions, to Fourth of July celebrations and Earth festivals, to election coverage and disaster relief."
RNW comment: Smyth in our view makes his points quite well but does not address the core issue of how the public interest might be best served if it is taken as a given that the market is not perfect in this regard and that not all broadcasters have very much devotion to the public service element of using leased public airwaves if it conflicts with maximisation of profit - or servicing debt due to purchases made at what turned out to be excessive prices.
The very fact that these proposals have come forward, we would suggest, indicates that the original analysis was probably not as thoughtful and complete as it could have been and paid no attention to the possibility of the worse driving out the better when it came to local service.
In the UK, where the system is different, Ofcom is now easing its regulations for small markets where the easing can be justified but this is not automatic and Ofcom did not just drop masses of regulation as happened in the US helped along by lobbying of politicians (which were it a matter of presenting arguments is fine but if it's a matter of pouring money into the politicians' campaigns allied with threats of adverse publicity to those who don't toe the line comes rather too close to bribery and corruption for comfort.).

On next to the human cost of some of the consolidation courtesy of Randy Wright, writing in the Colombia Tribune: Wright details how as a 14-years old schoolboy he volunteered at local station KFMZ-FM - "cleaning carts and taking out the trash" - so as to "spend a couple of hours soaking up as much as I possibly could in the hope that someday I might be able to go on the air as a disc jockey - another out-of-date term!"
"I finally got that chance to go on the air," he says, "after passing the FCC Third Class Radiotelephone Operators test (no longer given) in Kansas City. It was a big deal in my life because it fulfilled a dream."
He moved into TV, accepted his first general manager position at the ABC station in Springfield, but never made the move because the company that hired him backed out and he spent three years plus in a situation that "really took the wind out of our sails, drained us financially and woke me to the reality of big business."
That comment leads him to note corporate cuts, at Barrington Broadcasting Group 's KRCG-TV and Cumulus , that he suggests might not have happened had in one case "someone in an office in Chicago" had had "the good sense to listen to those in Central Missouri who know what's best for their television station and viewers."
There is, he comments, "a tough reality to corporate America" and "large corporate ownership and aggressive goals make for some unfortunate and challenging family stories."
Finally from the San Francisco Chronicle and Ben Fong-Torres' "Radio Waves" column, criticism of the predictability of US music radio together with a defence of the station concerned.
A listener wrote: "As a commuter who listens to my car radio two hours every day, it's getting so that I prefer silence rather than listening to 'Stray Cat Strut' for the 30th time that day. ... I used to be a big fan of KFOG because of its eclectic style. Now, I can pretty much set my watch to its oh-so-predictable line-up ('Sunday I'm in Love' ... must be 6 a.m.). I still listen to KFOG, but now only because of its class-act DJs. How many times can they play 'Under Pressure' or 'Listen to the Music' without making our ears bleed?..."
She then added, "Unfortunately, they're not the only ones guilty of repetition; otherwise I'd just switch stations. ... I can't be the only one ready to pull her hair out. I'd love to hear your take on this."
Fong Torres in his response noted that she was not alone and that "music repetition is right in there with 'too many commercials' and 'no personality' as major reasons for listeners' growing disenchantment with commercial radio."
In the case of KFOG, however, he corrected her by noting that according to Mediabase the station only played Stray Cat Strut" three times in one recent week and "As for 'Sunday I'm in Love' being a 6 a.m. staple, it's 'Friday I'm in Love' by The Cure, and, according to Dave Benson, KFOG's program director, it has aired between 6 and 7 a.m. only five times this year. 'Listen to the Music'? KFOG hasn't listened to or played it in more than three months. In short, you're hearing things."
Her "unfounded allegations" says Fong-Torres annoyed Benson but, he says, he knows where she's coming from and commented, "I often try to point out to listeners that everybody has an artist or two, or a song or two, that just get stuck in their craw. If it comes up, it's an irritant, and every time you hear it is too many times."
A similar view was expressed by Mike Preston, VP of programming for CBS Radio's Live 105, KLLC and KFRC who commented, "Listeners tend to say a station repeats songs too much when they are playing the wrong songs. You can never play their favourite song too much, but if it's something they don't like, then only one play is too many."
The complaints, adds former Alice PD Chris Mays, also come from the most loyal listeners: He said, "And it's from your most loyal listeners, who listen the most, and they hear the repetition. It's a really tough line, because the people who get the most tired of the repetition are your best customers. But if you were to solely serve them, your library would need to be vast, and you'd be playing relatively unfamiliar music for people who listen on a more casual basis."
Fong-Torres defends KFOG, saying that of Bay Area stations "it actually has one of the largest active music libraries and repeats songs less often than most of the competition" and goes on to detail the repetition at a number of stations in the area.
Next on to listening suggestions and - with ne'er a repetition - we start with some podcast suggestions from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation including "Background Briefing" from last weekend on "Private Spooks", the private intelligence companies working closely with governments.
We'd also suggest the previous week's programme - a stream only for copyright reasons - on "The Khan Network", an investigation by American RadioWorks in conjunction with the Center for Independent Reporting of the race to go nuclear round the world.
Still roughly in the same area, we'd also suggest from BBC World Service "Taxi to the Dark Side" in which American film-maker Alex Gibney reports on the use of torture by American soldiers in Afghanistan and asks if it was down to a few rogue soldiers, or was officially approved by the Pentagon?
We'd also suggest from Radio Netherlands Tuesday's edition of "The State We're In" that in "Who defends the defenders?" considers the charge by Amnesty International that many of those targeted for human rights abuse are people trying to bring about change in their communities against the wishes of the ruling governments and looks at the stories of a gay Egyptian man arrested and imprisoned for "debauchery or offences against public morality and sensitivities", contrasting his experiences with that of two other gay Moslems. It also carried a profile of Malalai Joya, who was one of Afghanistan's few female MPs until her outspoken accusation that parliament was full of warlords and drug barons got her removed.
Then changing tack a little but also from the ABC we suggest the last two weeks of "All in the Mind" - the first - "Museums Week: A magical mystery tour through the scientific psyche" is as the title suggests a look into the interests of scientists through their interests, in this case as represented by objects and oddities from Harvard's Natural History Museum.
Last Saturday's programme was "When Words and Science Meet - All in the Mind at the Sydney Writer's Festival", looking at a number of writers and their works during the 2008 Sydney Writer's Festival
Finally back to Radio Netherlands and we'd suggest a dip into "Radio Books", which earlier this year invited entries for a short story competition and over the next few weeks is broadcasting the five winning entries.
After that to the BBC, our main listening for obvious location reasons, and this week we start off with a suggestion from BBC Radio 2 and Monday's "Jools Holland" for memories of the late Kirsty MacColl from Billy Bragg and her mother Jean.
It was followed by "Brass Britain", a look at how brass bands have permeated popular culture from film and TV scores to pop. Although focussed on Britain some of the music ranges further afield.
Then from the station as part of its "Liverpool Season" we'd suggest Tuesday's "Out of Liverpool" in which Phil Redmond, creative director of the Liverpool Culture Company, celebrates his home city's cultural achievements, and also next Saturday (18:00 GMT) and "Paul McCartney at Liverpool Sound."
Moving up or over a channel we note that BBC Radio 3 this week at 13:00 GMT is running a week of recordings focussed on Venice and also the return in "The Essay" (22:00 GMT Monday through Thursday) of "Greek and Latin Voices" - this week a look at the work of the Greek lyric poet Sappho.
And on Saturday for opera fans there's Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette" - an Opera North performance directed by John Fulljames and on Sunday Ian Burnside (09:00 GMT) looks at "The Science of Music" and the ancient concept of music as science rather than arts as it is now considered.
Finally BBC Radio 4 and first the "Book of the Week" (08:45 GMT) with an evening repeat: It's "Clean" - Katherine Ashenburg's history of washing, read by Tamsin Greig.
Also running through the week we suggest the "Afternoon Reading"(14:30 GMT) that this week features a number of classic spy stories and is followed by "Cosmic Quest", Heather Couper's presentation of a narrative history of astronomy.
We'd also note that this year's "Reith Lectures" start on Thursday (08:00 GMT) with Jonathan Spence reflecting in "Chinese Vistas: Confucian Ways" on Confucius.
And to end wit a tale of bad science, effective politics, and disastrous consequences in "In our Time" (08:00 GMT and also a podcast): This week the topic is "Lysenkoism", a consideration of the work of geneticist Trofim Lysenko who promised Stalin that he would revolutionise Soviet agriculture in the 1940s.
He eliminated his enemies but also had a disastrous effect on Soviet agriculture with the result that the USSR had to import grain from the USA in vast quantities.
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Greater Media - Smyth:
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2008-06-03: GMG-owned Smooth Radio is to network Tony Blackburn's weekend breakfast show on its London station and four other stations in the network in a move that will mean the departure from the group of Andy Marriott, host of the Saturday breakfast show on the network's west Midlands station.
Smooth will retain the other breakfast hosts affected - east Midlands host Ian Chilvers, who is also head of production at the station; Dave Croft from the north-west station and Alastair Alford from the Glasgow station. The latter two will cover for other DJs.
The show will not be networked on the north-east Smooth station, the group's latest addition, because of local programming requirements in its licence.
The UK Guardian, which is owned by the same group, quoted GMG Radio's group programme director John Simons as saying of the Blackburn show that it was a "real appointment to listen" and adding, "Tony is a legend and will be an asset to our weekend schedules on other stations in the Smooth Radio network. His show will provide our stations with a strong start to the weekend."
Blackburn joined the station in February (See RNW Feb 5) after leaving GCap Media's Classic Gold network last year and his newly-networked show is to be sponsored by Sky.
In other UK host moves, Danny Kelly is to co-host talkSPORT's weekday evening slot with Stan Collymore whose signing by the UTV-owned station was announced at the end of last month (See RNW May 30). He will also host a Sunday evening show from this weekend during the run of Euro 2008 soccer.
Kelly, a former editor of NME and Q-magazine, previously co-hosted a BBC Radio 5 Live phone- in show with Danny Baker.
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2008-06-02: SMG has now formally announced its proposed sale of Virgin Radio Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries (Virgin Radio) to TIML Golden Square Ltd (TIML).
TIML,- a subsidiary of the Times of India which is itself owned by Bennett,Colemn and Co Ltd, is paying GBP 53.2 million (USD 104.6 million) in cash. The deal has to be approved by shareholders at a General Meeting, details of which are to be announced shortly.
SMG describes the price as representing "a successful outcome from the sale process" and says that net proceeds are expected to be around GBP 48.7 million. SMG says that from the proceeds it will repay GBP 15.0 million (USD 29.5 million) to the Bank of Scotland to reduce its debt; GBP 4.0 million (USD 7.9 million) to the Scottish and Grampian Pensions Scheme; will retain GBP 1.7 million (USD 3.3 million) to provide additional headroom and flexibility; and return the remaining GBP 17 million (USD 33.4 million) to shareholders. Details of this return, which amounts to approximately 3.15 pence per share, will be announced later.
The deal as set out does not include use of the Virgin name but were the buyer to licence the name within two years of closing, an additional payment of GBP 8 million (USD 15.7 million) will become due.
SMG Chief Executive Rob Woodward said of the agreement, "I believe that GBP 53.2 million represents a sound price for Virgin Radio and a good deal for SMG shareholders. The disposal of Virgin Radio is consistent with our overall strategy and the proceeds of the sale will allow us to return cash to shareholders, as well as further strengthen an already healthy balance sheet."
He continued, "In the last fourteen months we have refocused SMG by disposing of non-core businesses, significantly reducing debt, delivering on KPIs and providing SMG with a strong platform for growth. Having successfully achieved our corporate turnaround, we are fully focused on our Scottish based broadcasting businesses, where we continue to see positive momentum."
The new owners will run the station in conjunction with Absolute Radio and propose to spend some GBP 15 million re-branding the station and dropping the Virgin name, which is controlled by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, thus avoiding restrictions that go with the brand (See RNW June 1 ).
TIML CEO A.P. Parigi commented in a release, "TIML is part of the largest media and entertainment organisation in India with a proven track record of building powerhouse brands. Now is a great period to be entering the UK market and the opportunity to acquire a valuable radio asset couldn't have come at a better time. We are pleased to once again be working with a great team of UK-based radio experts, Absolute Radio, which not only has a wealth of radio management experience but also, importantly, shares our passion for developing a new kind of music and entertainment offering for the modern radio consumer. By harnessing local creative brand building talent and the skills of the award-winning Golden Square team, we are excited about taking the business to the next level, expanding the diversity, variety and number of consumer touchpoints and revenue opportunities for all of our stakeholders."
Times of India is part of the Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. media group that is owned by the Sahu Jain family. As well as newspaper publishing - including the Times of India and Economic Times titles- it owns the Radio Mirchi Group through Entertainment Network India Ltd. (ENIL).
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2008-06-01: Last week was yet another when the US awaited a ruling on the Sirius-XM merger and elsewhere the regulators were involve din a steady but low level of radio-related activity: In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that community station 3RIM Melton, near Melbourne, breached a condition of its licence by failing to encourage members of the community it serves to participate in the operations of the service and in the selection and provision of programs.
The agency had investigated following complaints, which included one that was not upheld that the service was failing to represent its community interest in line with its licence conditions, and found that while 3RIM did have procedures in place to encourage members of the community to become members and to raise the profile of the service, it did not have appropriate strategies to encourage community participation.
It noted that the station has already made improvements, including posting information on its website and formalised links with local government initiatives and asked the licensee to provide a report in August 2008 on the measures it has taken since the investigation was finalised to meet its licence obligations.
Also in Victoria, it has made a number of changes in the licence area plan for Bendigo that include making capacity available for a new community radio service in Maryborough where Strengthening Goldfields Community Radio (SGCR), which has been operating under a temporary licence, has expressed interest in a permanent one.
It is also allowing Kyneton community radio service 3CH to relocate its transmission site from Kangaroo Hill to Mount Macedon, enabling it to extend its coverage to the entire Macedon Ranges Shire, including the townships of Gisborne, Macedon, Romsey and Woodend.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced the award of a new FM licence to serve Chilliwack, British Columbia, to Radio CJVR Ltd., denying four competing and mutually exclusive applications from Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. - for a 380 watts AC FM; Newcap Inc. - for a 380 watts Classic Hits FM; Vista Radio Ltd. - for a 1,260 watts Classic Hits FM; and Frank Torres, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated - for a 2,892 watts Mainstream blues, rock and rhythm and blues music FM.
The agency notes that the market currently has two local FM stations owned by Rogers Broadcasting Limited - Soft AC CKCL-FM Chilliwack1 and Lite Rock CKSR-FM but that nearly three quarters of listening is to out-of-market stations including Vancouver stations offering a Top 40 / Contemporary Hit Radio format (CFBT-FM), a Classic Rock format (CFMI-FM), a Modern Rock format (CFOX-FM), a Country Music format (CJJR-FM) and a Variety format (CKLG-FM).
It said the market could sustain an additional station and considered CJVR's bid for a 380 watts Diversified Rock format would contribute to the musical diversity of the Chilliwack radio market and also noted that the proposal included 14 hours and 40 minutes a week of spoken word programming, including two hours and 22 minutes devoted to news.
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with a deadline of July 2008 for submission of interventions or comments, relating to renewals of various licences due to expire on August 31 this year. The licensees in all cases have been involved in breaches of licence conditions.
Stations involved are:
VOWR-AM, St. John's.
CFRT-FM, Iqaluit.
CFNO-FM, Marathon and its transmitters CFNO-FM-1,Nipigon/Red Rock; CFNO-FM-2, Hornepayne; CFNO-FM-4, Geraldton; CFNO-FM-5, Longlac; CFNO-FM-7, Nakina; and CFNO-FM-8, White River
CIHT-FM, Ottawa.
CKWR-FM, Kitchener.
CFWC-FM, Brantford.
CJEC-FM Québec,
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced a boost for radio drama through a new "Dramarama" initiative for radio broadcasters and independent production (See RNW May 30) and has also started a consultation about a grant-aid scheme for the archiving of programme material.
Commenting on this Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said Ireland currently had significant archiving by broadcasters but that this was "uneven" and added that "The desired outcome from the current consultation process is the development of a grant-aid scheme for the archiving of programme material, which will promote good practice and facilitate a change in archiving practice, where required."
In the UK, Ofcom has again upheld no radio complaints in its latest bulletin (See RNW May 28). It also posted reasons for its award of the Somerset digital multiplex to MuxCo Somerset Limited, which is offering 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).
It noted that noted that MuxCo Somerset brought together UKRD Group and The Local Radio Company (TLRC): UKRD operates ten local analogue services including Star Radio within the multiplex area, and is an investor and service provider for the Gloucestershire and Surrey and northern Sussex multiplexes and TLRC operates 26 local analogue services, including Ivel FM within the multiplex area.
"MuxCo's executives," it added, "have considerable experience in the management of local DAB multiplexes and the operation of digital radio services. The Committee felt that MuxCo's business plan demonstrated the group's ability to operate the multiplex over the term of the licence."
It also posted the reasons for the award of five community radio licences in May (See Licence News May 25): They went to TCR FM (Tamworth, Staffordshire); Switch Radio (Castle Vale, Birmingham) Ambur Radio (Walsall); SACDA Radio (Sandwell, West Midlands) ; and Raaj FM (Sandwell, West Midlands). In all case the reasons related to experience and community links.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has still issued no decision regarding the Sirius-XM merger but it has been involved in a few enforcement decisions.
These included issuing the following forfeitures:
*USD 3,200 to Boulder Community Broadcast Association, Inc. (BCBA), licensee of KGNU-AM, in Boulder, Colorado, for failing to operate in accordance with the station's authorized.
BCBA had been issued with a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for USD 4,000 after measurements made in response to a complaint showed that it had not reduced its power from the licensed daytime 5,000 watts to 139 watts at nighttime.
The station engineer had put this down to a software upgrade that meant the system was unable to make the switch or dial out to the pre-programmed numbers to indicate that it had failed to reduce power at sunset.
BCBA responded by saying it took steps to remedy the violation as soon as it was made aware of it; that it had a history of compliance; and that it was unable to pay. It provided no suitable documentation regarding the last and the FCC rejected its first argument but trimmed the penalty by USD 800 to USD 3,200 on the basis of a history of compliance.
*USD 1,000 forfeiture to Dick Broadcasting Company, Inc. of Tennessee, licensee of WKZL-FM, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for failure properly to maintain the Station's public inspection file.
In April 2004, the FCC had issued an NAL for USD 9,000 for this violation. Dick in response argued for a reduction on the basis that in cases of more serious violates lesser penalties had been applied and that it was confident that reports had been compiled for the relevant period but they were inadvertently purged. The FCC accepted that this had occurred and cut the penalty to USD 1,000.
In other actions it denied objections to an application by Gaffney Broadcasting, Inc. to allow its WNOW-FM, Gaffney, South Carolina, to relocate to Bessemer City, North Carolina.
Gaffney had already been granted permission in May 2006 to re-locate the transmitter and reduce its status to Class C0 but subsequently filed its current application to relocate WNOW-FM's transmission facilities to the existing tower used by WBTV-TV, Charlotte, North Carolina, and specified Class C1 facilities.
A number of WNOW listeners had objected to the relocation including Charlotte resident William B. Clay, who objected to the original re-location of a small-town radio station into the much larger Charlotte market and also saying the relocation to Bessemer City as a first local service was unjustified.
He argued that Clay argues that Gaffney intends to serve the Charlotte and Gastonia Urbanized Areas and not provide a local service to Bessemer City but the FCC said it could not deny the re-allotment on the basis of speculation that the WNOW will not provide a local service to Bessemer as would be required by its licence.
The Commission also rejected an objection on the basis of short-spacing with the first-adjacent channel Class C1 license of WDCG-FM, Durham, North Carolina: WNOW has a pre-1964 grandfathered short-spaced license and the FCC said the change does not create a new short-spacing, exacerbate any existing short-spacings, or increase the potential for interference between the short-spaced stations.
In Washington State it rejected objections and granted an application by S-R Broadcasting Co., Inc., licensee of KRKO-AM, Everett, to relocate its facilities to a new site and also to increase its power from 5kw to a daytime power of 34 kW and a nighttime power of 50 kW. There were numerous objections from local residents on environmental grounds and the possible effect on migratory birds, endangered species and bald eagles and in two cases that the construction of the required towers would lower their real estate values.
Because the construction was proposed in a flood plain SR had carried out at the FCC's request an environmental assessment that produced a "Finding of No Significant Impact."
In the light of this and other findings it allowed the application.
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2008-06-01: The UK Times, which earlier in the week reported that Absolute Radio was prepared to buy Virgin Radio but not keep the name, says SMG has confirmed that it plans to sell Virgin Radio to Absolute Radio for GBP 53.2 million (USD 105.3 million), as the new owner has said that it will undertake a GBP15 million (USD 29.7 million) re-branding exercise.
The sale of Virgin had been expected to go through last month but complications arose because Virgin Group has the right not to allow the brand to fall into the hands of those that compete with Virgin businesses anywhere in the world and Absolute's is backed by TIML, which is owned by Bennett, Coleman, which also owns radio stations in India: In India, Virgin Group has a joint radio venture with the Hindustan Times, using the Virgin Radio brand and the times says that Virgin had been concerned that it was confusing for two Indian businesses to have a relationship with Virgin Radio.
The paper adds that "sources close to Absolute and Bennett, Coleman" said they did not want to use the Virgin name because of concerns about restrictions on their expansion plans. It does not have a name for the new station but says it will be re-launched by Albion, the marketing group that launched the Innocent Smoothie drink brand.
SMG, which paid GBP 225 million ( then USD 371 million ) in 2000 for Chris Evans' Ginger Productions, which included Virgin Radio and Ginger TV (See RNW Jan 13, 2000), also overpaid for a 30% holding in rival Scottish Radio Holdings and ran into debt problems. It has already sold off its print and publishing and outdoor divisions and had put Virgin Radio up for sale as part of a plan to concentrate on its core TV holdings.
In February this year there were reported to be four bidders for Virgin - Absolute, Global Radio, UTV, and Malaysian media company Astro All Asia Networks. At that time SMG listed SMG Virgin at GBP 85 million (USD 166 million) in its books but bids were thought to between GBP 60 million and GBP 70 million (USD 117-137 million - See RNW Feb 18).
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