July 2008 Archive
- June 2008 - August 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.
2008-07-31: CBS Corporation, which has reported second quarter revenues up 1% to USD 3.4 billion (Up from 55 to 61 cents per diluted share) with net earnings up by 1% to USD 408 million, has announced that it is to divest itself of a further 50 radio stations in mid-sized markets: It had already sold 39 stations in ten of its smaller markets.
Within the results its radio revenues had been down 10% - down 9% on a same station basis - reflecting both "weakness in the radio advertising market and the impact of radio station divestitures."
Commenting on the results President and CEO Leslie Moonves noted the acquisition of CNET Network and of IOA, the largest outdoor business in the South American market, describing these as exemplifying "our strategy to increase our presence in the areas of highest potential."
"At the same time, "he added, "we have taken this opportunity to change our portfolio by initiating a plan to divest 50 mid-size market radio stations. By selling selected stations in these markets we can focus on the larger market stations, many of which are showing growth."
Moonves also said that the company, facing "more difficult economic environment, with our local businesses affected by an advertising slowdown" had "taken aggressive cost reduction actions to manage expenses."
He noted that since the start of the year the company had "been working to rationalize the cost structure in our Television, Radio and Outdoor businesses" and continued, "When the marketplace comes back, we will be well prepared to capitalize on that upturn."
Executive chairman Sumner Redstone commented, "The media business is changing and CBS Corporation is changing along with it, to enable us to expand the reach of our world-class content to fast-growing areas such as the interactive marketplace. I am very confident that Leslie and his team are effectively operating our Company to prevail in the current market environment, while positioning CBS to thrive over the long term."
In divisional terms, CBS's strongest performance came from Outdoor whose revenues were up 8% on a year ago to USD 598.1 million followed by TV with revenues up 2% to USD 2.201 billion whilst Publishing was down 7% to USD 186 million and radio down 10%, as already noted, to USD 416.6 million.
Respective operating income figures were all negative with outdoor down 20% to USD 92.4 million; TV down 12% to USD 446.8 million; publishing down 19% to USD 14.6 million and radio down 16% to USD 150.7 million.
Of the radio performance, the company noted in its release that the reductions doe to lower advertising sales and divestitures were partially "offset by lower employee-related expenses and marketing and promotion costs as a result of restructuring and cost-saving initiatives."
During the company's conference call Moonves noted that its top stations had down well in the quarter and said the planned radio divestitures would allow CBS Radio to "focus on the larger markets that are showing some real growth, thanks to the successful reformatting and programming changes we've undertaken."
The proceeds of the sale he said would be used for a stock buyback.
Also with CBS, Chicago WBBM-AM morning co-anchor Pat Cassidy has left the CBS Radio news station and is reported to be on his way to join Citadel Broadcasting's WLS-AM: He joined WBBM in 2000 after spending 25 years at WMAQ-AM, which he left when it dropped its all-news format.
CBS had offered Cassidy an extension to his contract but it was rejected, although he told the Chicago Tribune that he would miss his former station, commenting, "'BBM is probably the most impressive and best radio news operation in the Midwest, if not the country," Cassidy said. "It's a very serious news shop. People take things very seriously there, and it's really at a very high level. I came in there with 25 years of news experience from 'MAQ. I certainly wasn't anything close to a rookie. But, for me, it was kicking it up a notch to go to 'BBM, even then. There are some very, very solid people there."
CBS has named John Hultman, who hosted mornings on WBBM-AM for 18 years before he retired in 1998 after 30 years with the station, as an interim replacement.
Chicago Tribune report:
2008-07-31: California lawyer and radio host James Walker - he hosts a Sunday show "Assets and Aging" - has agreed to pay a civil penalty of up to USD 275,000; change his business practices and clearly separate his legal and consulting services following a four-year investigation by state attorney general's office according to the Sacramento Bee.
The paper notes that Walker has made a living advising California senior citizens on how to shift the cost of their nursing home care to taxpayers and insisted that he was helping older people by showing them how to qualify for Medi-Cal, the state's insurance program for the poor: State officials however argued that Walker abused the system by, among other things, helping relatively wealthy seniors file false claims for Medi-Cal benefits.
The paper quoted a number of "elder advocates" on the issue of financial advisers who focus on seniors including Carole Herman, founder and director of Foundation for Aiding the Elderly in Sacramento. WHO said she has had five complaints related to Walker's business, Prescott Cole, an attorney for California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said Walker's "celebrity" status as a syndicated talk show radio host in Northern California gives him undeserved credibility.
He charges up to USD 20,000 for "something that is available at a fraction of the cost" from other lawyers and agencies, Cole said.
Walker, says the paper, admitted to no wrongdoing but said he agreed to the settlement to prevent further legal action
Sacramento Bee report:
2008-07-30: Clear Channel Communications has announced the completion of its buyout by private equity groups led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P, in a transaction valued at a total USD 24 billion and its subsequent delisting from the New York Stock Exchange as of close of business today.
The deal was approved at a special shareholders meeting on July 24 and under it stockholders with either receive USD 36 in cash for each share they hold or a share of CC Media Class A common stock for each share of Clear Channel common stock held: CC Media Holdings, Inc., is the corporation formed by Bain and Lee for the deal.
In a release Clear Channel Communications, Inc. CEO Mark Mays said it was "great day for our loyal and patient shareholders and, importantly, puts our company in the financial and operational position to continue to lead beneficial change in both of our core businesses."
He added, "We are deeply grateful to our loyal employees who have remained focused and generated terrific results through their hard work and dedication."
Scott Sperling, Co-President of Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. said they were pleased to have closed the acquisition and added, "Clear Channel's strong leadership position in the radio and outdoor advertising business provides advertisers with an unparalleled platform from which to cost effectively reach their target audiences locally and nationwide. We look forward to working with our management partners to continue building this great company."
John Connaughton, a Managing Director at Bain Capital, added, "We are very happy to have completed the purchase of Clear Channel: We continue to be impressed with the company's strong management team and its leadership position across its markets and media formats."
In a separate announcement, Clear Channel has announced the expiration and final results of its previously announced tender offer for its subsidiary AMFM Operating Inc.'s outstanding 8% Senior Notes due 2008.
The tender offer and consent payment deadline expired at 8:00 a.m. New York City time today and the aggregate principal amount of the Notes validly tendered (and not validly withdrawn) was USD 639 million, representing approximately 99.12% of outstanding Notes.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2008-07-30: UK media regulator Ofcom has fined the BBC a total of GBP 400,000 (USD 792,000) - a record penalty on the Corporation - for breaches of its code concerning fair conduct of competitions: The Corporation was found to have faked winners and misled its audience in relation to four TV programmes and four radio shows.
Of the total GBP 175,000 (USD 347,000) was for the TV breaches and the remaining GBP 225,000 (USD445,000) for the radio breaches including the two largest penalties of GBP 115,000 (USD 228,000) for breaches on the Liz Kershaw Show on BBC 6 Music over the period from July 25, 2005 to Jan 6, 2006 and GBP 75,000 (USD 149,000) for breaches on the Jo Whiley Show on BBC Radio 1 between April 20 and May 12, 2006. The other two radio penalties, each of GBP 17,500 (USD 34,700) were for breaches on two BBC 6 Music shows - The Russell Brand Show on April 9, 2006, and on The Clare McDonnell Show from September 2006.
Ofcom said its investigations found that in some cases, the production team had taken pre-mediated decisions to broadcast competitions and encourage listeners to enter in the full knowledge that the audience stood no chance of winning. In other cases, programmes faced with technical problems, made up the names of winners.
It added that it "considered that these breaches of the Code were very serious In each of these cases the BBC deceived its audience by faking winners of competitions and deliberately conducting competitions unfairly."
The BBC had already disciplined a number of staff members on the Jo Whiley Show (See RNW Oct 3, 2007) and earlier fired 6-Music producer Leona McCambridge, for gross misconduct following revelations that BBC staff regularly posed as winners on the Liz Kershaw show. McCambridge was the first person to be dismissed following the revelations about faking competition winners and the broadcast as if they were live of programmes that had been recorded and the station's head of programmes Ric Blaxill subsequently resigned (See RNW Sep 21, 2007).
The fines bring the total penalties levied on broadcasters by Ofcom and the UK's Premium-rate phone line watchdog Icstis (now PayphonePlus)f or various deceptions over the past year to more than GBP 11 million ( USD 22 million) with the largest being of GBP 5.675 million ( USD 11.24 million) in May on ITV for premium-rate phone line "abuse" on a number of shows and of GBP 1.11 million ( USD 2.2 million) - the highest penalty ever imposed on a UK commercial radio operator - on GCap Media in June this year for running a competition that listeners had no chance of winning (See RNW Jun 26).
In the BBC case, unlike that of the commercial companies, there was no issue of gain, a point noted by Ofcom, which also welcomed the action the BBC had taken. In its ruling on the Kershaw show it said it "welcomed the steps taken by the BBC to investigate, seek to address the breaches and prevent recurrence of the same or similar failures" and said "In setting the level of the financial penalty to be imposed in this case, Ofcom specifically took into account the fact that BBC 6 Music is a free-to-air digital radio service established relatively recently and that audience expectations in relation to its output are, perhaps, not as high as those for mainstream, long established BBC radio channels."
It added, "This is by far the most serious case in relation to the BBC that Ofcom has considered to date" and it imposed a GBP 115,00 penalty - the maximum it could have imposed is GBP 250,000 ( Just under USD 500,000).
BBC management in a statement said it accepted the ruling and continued, "We have taken these issues extremely seriously from the outset, apologising to our audiences and putting in place an unprecedented action plan to tackle the issues raised. This includes a comprehensive programme of training for over 19,000 staff, rigorous new technical protections, new guidance to programme-makers on the running of competitions and a strict new Code of Conduct. "
It then continued, "Ofcom has recognised that neither the BBC nor any member of staff made any money from these serious editorial lapses. Whilst we must never be complacent and must remain constantly vigilant, audience research suggests the comprehensive action we have taken is rebuilding the trust of viewers and listeners."
The BBC Trust in its statement said that it "regrets that these serious breaches by the BBC have led to a financial penalty being applied by Ofcom and the loss of licence fee payers' money as a result" and added, "Ofcom requires compliance with its Broadcasting Code and can impose sanctions when a broadcaster breaches that code. We recognise that the penalty in these cases reflects that the breaches were serious, deliberate and in some cases repeated."
Ofcom adjudications (Page leads to PDFs of each adjudication):
2008-07-30: Cox Radio has announced second quarter revenues down 8.3% on a year ago to USD 108.2 million with station operating income (SOI) down 13.6% to USD 41.3 million; operating income moving from a positive USD 38.2 million to an operating loss of USD 109.1 million and net income of USD 20.25 million going to a loss of USD 75.36 million ( From a positive 21 cents to a loss of 88 cents per diluted share.).
Within the figures Cos said its local revenues were down 6.1% and national ones down 17.5% on a year earlier and other revenues including Internet and other non-traditional revenues, were down 4%. Geographically it reported revenue growth in Long Island, Birmingham and Tulsa but this was more than offset by falls in Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Houston and Jacksonville.
For the first six months revenues are down 5.8% to USD 206 million ; SOI was down 9.5% to USD 77.45 million; an operating profit of USD 66.3 million went to a loss of USD 84 million and net income of USD 33.8 million went to a loss of USD 62.5 million ( from a positive 35 cents to a negative 72 cents per diluted share).
Commenting on the figures, President and CEO Robert F. Neil said, "During the second quarter we continued to execute our strategy in the face of a difficult advertising market and slowing economy. Our radio stations are performing well from an audience perspective, our sales teams are working aggressively to attract advertisers and we are making considerable progress in strengthening and expanding our digital media presence. Given the current environment, we are focused on more aggressively controlling our costs, but continue to make strategic investments in programming and marketing where appropriate. Further, our balance sheet remains exceptionally strong; and during the quarter, we continued to execute on our share repurchase program."
Cox noted that as of the end of June it had implemented three share repurchase programmes and had bought a total of approximately 16.2 million shares for a total of around USD 210 million of which 1.6 million shares were bought during the second quarter for around USD 18.6 million. Around USD 90 million remains authorized for repurchases.
Previous Cox Radio:
2008-07-30: Jonathan Arendt and Richard Johnson , the owners of Seven Broadcast, which owned 5% of CanWest's Original 106.5 in Bristol has bought the remaining 95% in a similar move to their purchase of Original 106 FM in Aberdeen earlier this month where they had also held 5%.
As in Aberdeen the station will continue to operate using the Original brand name under a licence agreement and will retain its format.
The takeover, which was completed on Tuesday, leaves CanWest with just one UK station, the Original Solent regional station whose licence was the first to be awarded to a foreign company.
Seven Broadcasting, had a launch consultancy contract for the Solent station for which Johnson was the managing director when it was launched. No comment has so far been made as to whether the duo is also to bid for the this station.
2008-07-30: Both Sirius and XM's Canadian satellite partners say that they are evaluating the implications of the merger of their US counterparts but that for the moment they will continue operations as normal.
Sirius Canada says there will be no disruption to services or changes to subscription plans for now and its President and CEO Mark Redmond said there would be no immediate impact on its business.
Sirius Canada leads in the Canadian market with some 750,000 subscribers and claims to have taken an 82% retail market share in May and June.
Canadian Satellite Radio, the XM Canada operator, said it was reviewing all its options and XM Canada President and CEO Michael Moskowitz "said it was in "strong strategic position to maximize any opportunities that arise for the enhanced benefit of our shareholders and customers."
Both companies say they will provide further comment if and when there are any new developments.
In other Canadian radio news, Newfoundland Capital Corporation has announced that its Newcap subsidiary has agreed a CAD 18.95 million (USD 18.51 million) purchase of 12 FM stations in Ontario from Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc...
President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Steele said in a news release, "This group of licences is the most significant geographical expansion for Newcap since 2002, and considerably expands our reach in Ontario. It meets all of our investment criteria and gives us a presence in growing markets. There is potential for growth and we expect the licences to be cash accretive in the short term."
Previous Sirius Canada:
Previous XM Canada/Canadian Satellite Radio:
2008-07-30: In another development of multi-purpose Internet audio and Digital Audio Broadcasting equipment, Revo Technologies has launched what it says is the world's first "first one-box DAB/DAB+ and internet radio to include full iPod docking functionality."
The iBLIK RadioStation is the firm's first receiver in the made for iPod market and combines the abilities to receive FM and DAB and DAB+ broadcast radio plus WI-Fi Internet radio, to take MP3 audio from PCs or Macs and an iPod docking facility.
The receiver uses Frontier Silicon's new multi-standard Venice 6 module and retails at around GBP 180 (USD 360) compared to GBP 130 for its iBLIK Wi-Fi sister than does not have the ability to received DAB or DAB+.
In another development, Roberts has launched solarDAB, which it says is the world's first solar-powered digital radio.
Previous Frontier Silicon:
2008-07-29: Sirius and XM Satellite Radio have announced completion of their merger and added that the new combined company is to be named SIRIUS XM Radio Inc. with the symbol SIRI - the current Sirius symbol and corporate headquarters in New York although the rump wholly-owned subsidiary XM Satellite Radio will remain headquartered in Washington, DC.
The new company currently has more than 18.5 million subscribers and by revenues is the second largest US radio company. Based on subscriber numbers it is the second largest US subscription service and it notes that with penetration of less than 10% "the opportunity for continued growth is significant."
Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin said in a release, "I am delighted to announce the completion of this exciting merger between Sirius and XM. We have worked diligently to close this transaction and we look forward to integrating our best-in-class management teams and operations so we can begin delivering on our promise of more choices and lower prices for subscribers."
He then went on to say that "Every one of our constituencies is a winner" and continued, "Combined, SIRIUS XM Radio will deliver superior value to our shareholders. By offering more compelling packages and the best content in audio entertainment, we are well positioned for increased subscriber growth. Our laser focus on subscribers will continue and listeners can be assured that there will be no disruption in service. We also believe that the completion of the merger will eliminate any confusion that has been lingering in the marketplace."
Regarding services to be offered by the new combined company, Karmazin stressed the ability to offer a "Best of Both" service, adding, "Given the respective popularity of exclusive programming on both SIRIUS and XM, we expect many subscribers will upgrade their current subscription. The upside potential for both consumers and shareholders is huge. Consumers have the ease of adding premier programming without purchasing a new device. For shareholders, this kind of organic growth is a key part of the company's future and the success we expect to see."
The combined company also re-iterated its financial guidance saying that in 2009 it expects to gain some USD 400 million in synergies, net of costs to achieve them; to post adjusted EBITDA exceeding $300 million in 2009; and to achieve positive free cash flow, before satellite capital expenditures, for the full year 2009. It adds that it expects synergies and adjusted EBITDA to continue to grow beyond 2009 and Karmazin commented, "In addition to realizing significant potential revenue growth, the management team will move quickly to capitalize on the synergies that many analysts have predicted for this combination. We expect to begin achieving those synergies without sacrificing any of the world-class programming and marketing we are known for.
We have all the tools necessary to begin executing as a combined company with high aspirations for subscriber growth and greater financial performance in part from the significant synergies that we begin realizing literally today -- on Day One."
Sirius and XM stock fell today - just after noon Sirius was down 8.5% to USD 1.52 whilst XM's last trade on Monday was at USD 8.71: it had opened the week at USD 9.74 whilst Sirius opened at USD 2.29. XM shareholders are to receive 4.6 shares of Sirius common stock for each XM share they hold, making the USD 1.52 equivalent to USD 6.99.
RNW comment: We can't see a compelling reason, apart from competition - now absent - prohibiting the predecessor separate companies from putting together a best of package had they wanted to albeit it would have cut the number of competing channels they had available (as will any plan to offer this now), nor could we see any legal reason why they could not have created a joint company to handle subscriptions as we rather doubt that many people made personal contact with either company to allow selling to individuals. Indeed, apart from advertising - and in our view the less of that the combined company carries the better it will be for subscribers.
The prime benefit seems to be that the companies will be able to cut programming, programming staff, and also offer lower rates to the staff they have.
Time will tell the degree to which the service is improved as claimed but we remain sceptical and our final regret is that the FCC couldn't impose a condition fining all Sirius XM board members half their salary for the year every time they are heard extolling the virtues of competition with two-thirds off for Karmazin and Gary Parsons (The XM chairman who is to chair the combined company and whose name was notably absent from the news release.)..
2008-07-29: QSoft Consulting Ltd, owners of a world-leading portfolio of gay and lesbian brands including Gaydar and GaydarNation, has announced that it is to launch GaydarRadio.com in Australia in conjunction with Australian online and mobile media company GoConnect.
GoConnect already represents Gaydar in the online advertising market in Australia and the two companies are also in partnership developing a gay and lesbian online business directory called GaydarDirect.com and a partnership to launch GaydarNation for the Chinese market.
GaydarRadio is a UK based pop/dance based station that is available online and in the UK on the Sky digital platform and digital radio in London and on the Sussex Coast: It claims a monthly reach on all platforms of just fewer than 540,000 and the station won the Arqiva Commercial Radio Digital Station of the Year Award this year and last as well as taking the Sony Digital Radio Station of the Year award last year.
GaydarRadio.com will officially be launched in Australia on Sep 1 and QSoft says that based on UK experience where its mainstream advertisers include such companies as Motorola, Ford, Swissair, and Johnson & Johnson it expects to attract blue chip advertising there.
The UK radio station earlier this month launched a new schedule in which it expanded its live programming by seven hours a day including a new Sunday morning show and a new Sunday night show that will showcase new and breaking artists.
2008-07-29: This week unsurprisingly the Sirius-XM merger, which finally gained FCC approval, also aroused much print cover with a number of angles covered and we start this week's look at print comment on radio with a comment from Mark Ramsey, the president of hear2.0, who headed his post with "
"Sirius XM Radio, Inc." - What's in a name?
Or, more to the point, what's not in a name.
Ramsey then went on to make some points in terms of audio generally, arguing that the form of distribution is irrelevant and continuing, "What matters is the breadth of distribution no matter what channel does the distributing. And what matters is the value of the content being distributed.
Good (and by that I mean unique and distinctive) content, widely distributed, will carry the day."
He concluded by asking a question that seems relevant to all in the radio business - "How much do you have?"
Which takes us on to another report, this time from Jeff Bercovici in Seekingalpha under the headline, "A Satellite Radio Giant's Surprising Small Audience."
Bercovici played down the impact of the merger noting that Sirius had reported slower growth in subscribers in the second quarter and adding, "Nearly 90 percent of those subscribers it did acquire got their subscriptions as part of a new car purchase. In other words, they're Sirius customers in the same sense that they're anti-lock brakes customers."
He then went on to comment about their listening, writing, "There's reason to think those subscribers aren't using their Sirius tuners as much as you might think -- not to listen to some of its putatively more high-profile programming, at any rate. The company doesn't release public ratings figures for its channels or shows, and I was somewhat shocked to learn, from a Sirius insider, that it didn't even have internal audience data until quite recently -- just a few months ago."
The data he continued showed some rather low audiences for some shows with some potential consequences for the personalities involved: he commented: "Sirius Stars -- the talk channel featuring Barbara Walters, Deepak Chopra, Candace Bushnell and other well-known hosts -- attracted fewer than 30,000 listeners in a week. Assuming that number wasn't an absolute fluke, it seems likely Sirius will see fit to re-evaluate its talent roster in the near future with an eye toward who is -- and isn't -- paying the bills."
Responses were generally hostile and pro-satellite with a number rather abusive and a number were to put it mildly rather sceptical about his unnamed source but one actually did some maths: "18 million subscribers divided by roughly 300 channels today equals 60,000 listeners per channel. That is assuming all the channels get equal listenership which of course they don't" and another some comparisons with one noting that "18 million subscribers places them 2nd in the World for media provider subscriptions.... The only company with more subscribers is Comcast."
RNW note - Others did take the point in terms of what talent is paid and the ratings it gains albeit none we saw made the point that to a degree the availability of many choices, even if some are only going to be listened to very occasionally if at all, may be an important factor in a decision to subscribe: A little we suggest like having an opera house in a city - even if the only times someone goes is when they have visitors from outside, there is a perceived value in having the option available.
In the Motley Fool, Rick Aristotle Munarriz - who subscribes to both services - looked at the merger in terms of the relative strengths of the two companies noting: "Lost in this morning's preliminary earnings report out of Sirius Satellite Radio and this weekend's regulatory approval to merge with XM Satellite Radio is that XM is no longer the slacker in this marriage."
Munarriz then adds that for the first time since Howard Stern arrived at Sirius, XM had gained more subscribers in a quarter - 322,000 new net subscribers compared to 279,820 for Sirius - and then went on, "One can argue that handicapping the race is pointless, now that the two companies are set to merge. I don't see it that way. These two companies will need to make sure that each company's strengths are emphasized, and for now, that means conceding that XM is on a roll."
He also suggested a strong reason for the difference - "XM's healthier automaker relationships explain the widening subscriber gap during the quarter that ended in June. XM suffered a dip on the retail side, whereas Sirius was fortunate enough to squeeze out a small gain."
Also affecting the figures, he suggested was the way the two companies had counted their numbers - XM only tallies them when car buyers activate a subscription whilst Sirius does so when a vehicle goes to a dealer.
Munarriz also suggests that in business turns the united company should focus attention on each company's premium services once interoperable receivers are on the market, suggesting as examples Sirius's "Backseat TV" service that provides - for USD 6.99 a month extra - the Cartoon Network, Viacom's Nickelodeon, and Disney's Disney Channel into the growing number of cars with backseat video entertainment monitors - and XM's NavTraffic service for which the charge is an extra USD 3.99 a month.
Munarriz ends by saying he thinks, despite many doubters, that things are starting to come together for satellite radio.
For the final comment on the merger we go to Jerry Del Colliano's insidemusicmedia blog and a blunt assessment of the process that was involved, saying "The entire process was a joke -- and a not very funny one at that. In a world where the Justice Department allows almost any two companies to merge, for some reason this merger was held to another standard. It was pure hypocrisy at best."
He then hit out at a wide range of those involved, commenting, "It's as if federal regulators, lawyers, lobby groups and traditional media executives fail to understand that it's over for all of them if they don't change. The next generation is calling the shots now -- like it or not. They have control of the delivery system -- the Internet -- so displays of public outrage like we saw in the extended ramp up to "D" day at the FCC were non-productive."
Amongst points del Colliano made were conditions requiring that 8% of the channels be made available for educational and minority-owned channels, something he saw as taking away from customers their choice of programming; the absence of any condition requiring HD receivers to be built into satellite receivers on which his take was summed up by the comment, "If the satellite industry wanted to commit suicide, HD would be the best way. Remember, consumers are paying for satellite radio -- not what iBiquity wants them to have"; and also the reaction of the National Association of Broadcasters on which he comments, "I don't know about you but I could rattle off (and often do, right here) ten or 12 real problems facing the radio business. Satellite radio is not one of them. Satellite radio has its own problems. It's a small business. The merger is only worth $3 billion and change -- a lot less than, say -- the Clear Channel buyout. The NAB continues to embarrass itself and the industry it represents by strategic decisions to waste time, money and goodwill on Capitol Hill when they ought to be focused on preventing repeal of radio's performance exemption and fighting for fair copyright rates for streaming broadcasters."
As for the FCC he comments that it has hit a new low and notes of the requirement that they provide interoperable receivers..." The FCC required this of the satellite industry when it gave the green light way back when, but they -- the FCC -- didn't see fit to enforce the provision that would provide consumers with radios that could hear the only two satellite radio services. Now, on the backs of the merger, this impotent body has decided to make one of the conditions of merger the exact thing it couldn't or wouldn't enforce in the first place."
As for the markets the new company will operate in he goes along with the arguments about competition from other audio providers that Sirius and XM made when pushing for the merger, commenting, "The DOJ recognized these two satellite companies had greater competition from other traditional and new media -- and boy, will they find out how true it is as the one remaining satellite entity must compete with new technology, a new generation and new marketing rules.
Just a decade ago satellite radio was hailed as new media. Today, satellite radio is in the same boat as terrestrial radio -- maybe worse."
On then to listening suggestions starting with BBC Radio 3 and a note that this year's Prom concerts continue all week with next Saturday being "Stockhausen Day".
Also from the station we note that regular "The Essay" slot) 22:00 GMT Monday through Thursday) this week has comments from four commentators on "Elgar and Religion."
As well as the Proms the station is also carrying programming from this year's WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) Festival being held at Charlton Park, near Malmesbury in Wiltshire from last Friday until next Sunday and has carried highlights from the BBC Jazz Awards 2008 (Last Saturday. The programme is available on the site until this coming Saturday).
As regards drama we note that the "Drama on 3" last Sunday was "Two Men from Delft" by Stephen Wakelam - the story of the discovery by Antony Van Leeuwenhoek of bacteria, tied in the drama to the 1675 death of painter Johannes Vermeer for whom Van Leeuwenhoek was an executor. It was followed by a "Words and Music" programme "Dancing on the Wind" on the theme of childhood.
Moving on to BBC Radio 2 we opt for Monday night's "Charles Hazlewood Show" that this week featured the conductor with British singer Adem, playing selections from his reinventions of songs from the 90s and including music from The Who, Moondog and Shostakovitch: Next Monday in the sixth and final programme in the current series Hazlewood is with jazz pianist Gwilym Simcock and musical selections include work from Bob Marley, Goldfrapp and Zoltan Kodaly.
The programme was followed by the first of a six-part "Suzi Quatro's Heroes of...Rock 'n' Roll" that on Monday profiled Bobby Vee and next week features Jackie DeShannon.
We'd also note the Friday evening "The Novel That Changed My Life" series that began last week with Cherie Blair, wife of the former British Prime Minister, choosing and discussing Khaled Hosseini's portrait of female suffering under the Taliban in "A Thousand Splendid Suns." This Friday the novel, chosen by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, is Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.
Finally from BBC Radio 2 we suggest next Saturday and "Who Breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel" (18:00 GMT), a look back in the station's 60's season at the summer of 1967 when two members of the Rolling Stones - Mick Jagger and Keith Richards - were jailed following a drug bust at a party.
On then to a look at BBC Radio 4 starting with last Sunday's "Archive Hour" - an examination 50 years after the first "Carry on" film was made on what the series of films says about British society over the decades -the low-budget comedy films were made between 1958 and 1978 (albeit, an unsuccessful attempt was made to revive the series was made with Carry On Columbus in 1992). We also suggest next Saturday's edition of the programme (19:00 GMT) - "The Man Who Invented Stereo" in which Martin Shankleman profiles inventor Alan Blumlein who devised the world's first stereo recording system and many of the key features of television and went on to pioneer radar systems that played a major role in Allied victory in the Second World War.
Then from Sunday we opt for "Analysis" on "Bad elections" in which Zareer Masani considers the relationship between voting and other democratic rights and asks if we are too obsessed with elections as the key to democracy.
During the week we opt for the "Book of the Week" (08:45 GMT weekdays) - "Crap at the Environment" in which comedian Mark Watson reads from his account of his efforts to reduce his carbon footprint; "The Afternoon Reading" (14:30 GMT) - "Further Adventures of the First King of Mars" by Nick Walker and from Monday and Tuesday evening "The Pain of Laughter. The Last Days of Kenneth Williams" in which Rob Brydon explores the complex character of the comedian Kenneth Williams, who died in 1988.
We'd also suggest Monday and "Petrov's Dilemma", the story of lieutenant colonel Stanislav Petrov who in September 1983 was manning an installation where the Soviet Union monitored its early-warning satellites over the United States: He was confronted by an alarm from a satellite signalling an American nuclear missile attack but took the decision that the report was false and triggered by a malfunction, thus preventing a potential nuclear disaster.
From Tuesday we suggest "NHS at 60:The Cost of Health", a look at the future of Britain's health service against a backdrop of continually rising expectations of it and costs of providing services plus this week's "Music Feature" - "Page to Performance: Delius's Cuckoo" and in the evening "How Crime Took on the World" in which Misha Glenny investigates cigarette smuggling.
Finally an appropriate title to end suggestions form the station - Thursday evening's "Bowing out Gracefully- Down and Out"(19.45 GMT) in which Gyles Brandreth examines how political careers end and how to step down while maintaining one's dignity. The programme features former British Members of Parliament but some of the points made have a wider application.
Hear 2.0 - Ramsey:
Insidemusicmedia - Del Colliano:
Motley Fool - Munarriz:
Seekingalpha - Bercovici:
2008-07-28: Formally announcing its 3:2 vote, with the Democrat Commissioners dissenting, to approve the Sirius-XM merger, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says it finds the move to be "in the public interest" and adds that it will "benefit consumers by making available to them a wider array of programming choices at various price points and by affording them greater choice and control over the programming to which they subscribe." It has accordingly lifted the prohibition on merger in the companies' original licences and it also noted the separate approval of consent decrees under which it will terminate enquiries into the two companies.
In relation to this the commission said that XM would pay approximately USD 17.4 million and Sirius approximately USD 2.2 million (slightly less than the USD 17.5 million XM payment initially reported) and take remedial measures.
It added that as there was "insufficient evidence in the record to predict the likelihood of anti-competitive harms" it evaluated the companies' application on the basis that the marker was limited to them rather than taking into account arguments that they were in fact competing with other forms of audio distribution.
The approach it said allowed it to "protect consumers from potential adverse effects of the transaction while also allowing the Commission to balance potential harms against potential public interest benefits" and it added that without the voluntary commitments made by the companies - which must remain in effect for at least three years after the merger takes place- the transaction would "result in potential harms" but with them it was in the public interest.
The commitments made are a 36-month price cap after which the FCC will seek public comment on whether it remains necessary in the public interest and decide whether to extend, modify, or remove the cap; to offer new programming packages including a la carte packages within three months of merger completion, best-of packages that can be received on existing equipment at USD 16.99 a month, a "family-friendly" package at USD 11.95 a month, and "Mostly music" or "news, sport, and talk" programming for USD 9.99 a month; to make 4% of its capacity available for use by "Qualified Entities" - - and another 4% for non-commercial educational or informational programming; to offer interoperable receivers in the "retail after-market" within nine months of completion; to refrain from any agreements that would grant a manufacturer exclusive rights to manufacture, market, and sell satellite receivers, to refrain from barring any manufacturer including in any receiver it makes "non-interfering hybrid digital terrestrial radio functionality ( HD radio), iPod compatibility, or other audio technology; and to file within three months the applications needed to provide Sirius satellite service to Puerto Rico via terrestrial repeaters.
In relation to calls for a condition requiring HD radio capability to be built into satellite receivers, the FCC said it found this unnecessary but "recognized that important questions have been raised about hybrid digital radio that warrant further examination in a separate proceeding. The Commission therefore committed to initiating a notice of inquiry within 30 days after adoption of the merger order to gather additional information on the issues. "
It also re-iterated the prohibition on the companies using terrestrial repeaters to distribute local content - programming or advertising - and prohibited the merged entity from entering into agreements that would bar any terrestrial radio station from broadcasting live local sporting events.
Statements were issued by all the Commissioners with chairman Kevin J. Martin saying he thought the companies had with their voluntary commitments met the high hurdle needed to approve the merger and expressing pleasure at their offering consumers more choice, offering part of their spectrum for diverse programming, and committing themselves to open technical standards. He also supported the issuing of a Note of Inquiry (NOI) in relation to whether HD chips or any other audio technology should be included in all satellite radio receivers.
Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell in his supporting statement seemed to distance himself from the view that only satellite audio distribution was considered in the vote, commenting that "Competition in the audio market has grown substantially in the past few years. Barely one generation removed from AM and FM radio and vinyl albums, we now have a still vibrant AM/FM dial, full of music, news and talk radio of all stripes, HD radio with its multicast streams of content, mp3 players, Internet radio and much more. When discussing this merger, it is important to keep in mind that satellite radio - both XM and Sirius combined - comprises only five percent of that audio marketplace."
He continued, "Despite these highly-competitive market realities, this merger order is one of the most heavily-conditioned in FCC history. With the obligations we have imposed, and those that the companies have voluntarily undertaken, the combined company, post-merger, will offer several new, attractively priced programming packages for consumers, will open up opportunities for non-commercial educational programmers and minority-owned programmers to gain carriage on the satellite radio platform, and will create opportunities for competition in the satellite radio equipment market, so that consumers can enjoy more choices."
The strongest comments came from Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps who in his dissent said the majority's "own findings provide a compelling case for rejecting this merger" and said they had to assume that it was "a merger to monopoly"; that "The merged company will possess the incentive and ability to impose monopoly price hikes on consumer"; and that "Consumers will need protection for the foreseeable future because (a) the merged company's incentive and ability to impose monopoly price hikes will only grow over time, and (b) the emergence of another satellite radio competitor is unlikely
He also noted that the price caps expire in three years and added, "The inescapable logic of the majority's findings is that by 2011 satellite radio subscribers will face monopoly price hikes by a company with the incentive and ability to impose them. No one has been able to explain to me how this could possibly serve the public interest. "
"In essence," said Copps, "the majority asserts that satellite radio consumers will be better served by a regulated monopoly than by marketplace competition" and he also tool up the issue of competition from other audio services, noting that this was not the position of the majority voting for the merger.
"The majority finds," said Copps, "that no one has proved that the relevant product market includes anything other than satellite radio and that competitive entry is unlikely for the foreseeable future. So the majority itself takes the argument away."
He concluded, "In the end, after cutting through all the heat and noise and lobbying this proceeding has generated, we are left with the unshakable reality of a merger-to-monopoly in a market that could sustain competition. I can find no precedent or public interest justification for that outcome. I dissent."
Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein, who had been attempting to get additional commitments on issues such as spectrum reserved for other companies, highlighted in his comment the consent decrees and commented regarding the violations that their "brazen nature of these violations indeed warrants this substantial monetary contribution and rigorous oversight and reporting obligations" and added, "It is my hope that the Commission will vigorously enforce all elements of today's Order and Consent Decree, but history suggests otherwise."
He also expressed concern that the Commission had not resolved interference issues between the satellite radio companies and Wireless Communications Service ("WCS") in the 2.3 GHz band, saying that it was "completely unacceptable" that these issues had been before the commission for a decade and adding, "The longer we delay implementing rules governing the coexistence of SDARS and WCS, the longer we delay WCS rollout of critical wireless broadband services to rural, unserved and underserved areas."
Regarding the merger itself he said it was inconceivable to him that the commission would "even consider approving such a merger with such a large and serious number of outstanding violations unresolved" and commended Commissioner Tate "for insisting that we conclude enforcement action prior to concluding the merger transaction."
The FCC when we last checked had not posted Deborah Taylor Tate's statement but she had been reported as insisting as a precondition of approval that the companies settle issues relating to their breaches of commission rules on terrestrial repeaters and equipment, the one matter on which all the commissioners were agreed.
RNW comment: Copps logic seems to us unassailable and McDowell's comment shows him to be either rather stupid or at variance with the formally stated position that this judgment was made on the basis of the competition only being from other satellite radio providers.
Ironically it is Copps who is making the market and competition argument rather than the Republicans who have gone for a regulatory approach and appear to us to be putting considerable faith in future fair dealing without having adequate sanctions: After all a fine of USD 200 million never mind USD 20 million would have been a relatively modest price to pay for the benefits to shareholders of this merger.
We'll never see it but the ideal law in our view would mandate for personal responsibility for senior executives and directors where companies breach regulations or leads so that fines on companies also include a percentage of the remuneration of all senior executives and directors - had in additions to the company penalty had Mel Karmazin and Gary Parsons (who will become CEO and chair of the combined entity) personally to pay 10% of the boost to their stockholdings that the merger produced (set by the average price for the month before approval and the month after consummation) we suspect that the incentive to stick to agreements would be very much increased. Indeed we think it would be overwhelming if subsequent breaches could lead to penalties up to the whole of their remuneration for a year!
2008-07-28: Sirius Satellite Radio in preliminary second quarter results says that its subscriber total was 8.924 million on June 30, up 27% on the 7.143 of a year earlier with retail subscriptions up 7% to 4.677 million and OEM subscriptions were up 53% to 4.247 million.
Total gross subscriber additions for the quarter it says were 1.029 million, compared to 1.002 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2007 and 1.003 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2008 with a total of 279,820 new net subscribers added during the quarter, 246,221 from the OEM channel and 33,599 from the retail channel.
The figures compare with a subscriber total of 9.653 million reported last week by XM (See RNW Jul 21) , which said it had added 322,000 new net subscribers in the second quarter and take the total for the two companies combined to just below 18.58 million.
Churn for Sirius self-paying customers was 1.6%, down from 2.1% in first quarter 2008 and the second quarter 2008 conversion rate is estimated to be approximately 48%, up from the first quarter 2008 conversion rate of approximately 47%.
Revenue for the quarter, says Sirius, is expected to be some USD 283 million, up 25% from the year-earlier total of USD 226 million with Operating expenses, excluding depreciation and stock based compensation, are expected to remain approximately flat. It adds that Second quarter 2008 adjusted loss from operations is expected to be approximately USD 24 million, an improvement of 70% from the adjusted loss from operations of USD 79 million in the second quarter 2007.
Both Sirius and XM have also been tidying up their financing with Sirius announcing an offering of shares of its common stock: The stock concerned is made up of Sirius shares that Sirius will be lending to affiliates of Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated and UBS Investment Bank, the share borrowers, pursuant to share lending agreements between Sirius and each of the share borrowers. Sirius estimates that based on current market values, approximately USD 375 million of stock will be sold in a fixed-price public offering being conducted concurrently with a private offering by XM Satellite Radio Inc. of USD 550 million aggregate principal amount of Exchangeable Senior Subordinated Notes due 2014, which will be exchangeable into shares of Sirius common stock.
In addition up to some USD 65 million of Sirius stock will be sold below from time to time at prevailing market or negotiated prices.
Sirius says the offering mechanism will involve a share lending agreement with each of the share borrowers, who will sell a portion of the borrowed shares in a fixed-price offering to close concurrently with the notes offering and after this has closed the borrowers will sell the remaining borrowed shares in one or more registered public offerings at prevailing market or negotiated prices.
In addition over the same period the borrowers or their affiliates expect to buy an equal number of Sirius shares - or enter into derivative transactions providing a synthetic long position equal to such number of shares as the remaining borrowed shares sold: Sirius will not receive any proceeds from the sales apart from a nominal loan fee equal to USD USD 0.001 per share issued and the borrowers will be required to return the borrowed shares pursuant to the share lending agreements following the maturity date of the Notes or their earlier retirement.
The mechanism means that although the borrowed shares will be considered issued and outstanding for corporate law purposes but Sirius adds that it believes that under current US accounting rules they will not be considered for calculating per share earnings or losses since they are to be returned to the company
XM had already announced last week before the merger was approved that it had priced an offering of USD 778.5 million of new senior notes bearing 13% interest with a price to investors of 89.93% of the principal amount of the notes giving an effective yield of 16%. This offering it said would provide it with gross proceeds of USD 700,105,050 from the sale of the notes before deducting the initial purchasers' discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses.
It also announced last week as part of a series of transactions to refinance certain debt of XM in connection with the pending merger that it had executed a previously disclosed amendment of the indenture for its USD 400 million aggregate principal amount of 1.75% Convertible Senior Notes due 2009 under which, subject to the merger going ahead, the interest rate on the convertible notes will be increased to 10% per annum, retroactive to July 2, 2008 (Also RNW Jul 21).
On Monday it launched an offering of USD 550 million aggregate principal amount of exchangeable senior subordinated notes due 2014 that, as noted above, are exchangeable into Sirius common stock.
2008-07-28: Clear Channel and its Katz Media Group subsidiary have launched the "Katz Online Network ", a new online radio network with what they say is "the broadest reach and most diverse content of any online audio network, as measured by Ando Media's Webcast Metrics."
The network they say "outpaces its nearest competitor by some 300%" [RNW comment: Whatever that means. Is it reach? Is it diversity? Is it both? Or just the usual PR guff that means it looks good and sounds good but is devoid of much meaning albeit indicating an inability or refusal to use clear language?]; will immediately deliver 79 million sessions per month and a unique audience of nearly five million listeners per week; and is also the first "to incorporate independent Internet radio stations with the online and mobile streams of leading AM, FM stations and popular syndicated content."
Amongst radio groups providing streams to the network are Air America Radio, Bonneville, Clear Channel, Cox Radio, Cumulus, Emmis, Entercom, Greater Media, Journal Broadcast Group, Nassau Broadcasting, Salem and Saga with additional streams from internet audio groups such as Accuradio and Radioio.
Jordan Mendell, founder and Chief Technology Officer of Ando Media, said that the network "represents the largest and most diverse group of rich media properties in existence today" and added, " This, combined with the ability for advertisers and agencies to 'cherry pick' their target demo and deliver their message directly to those people, is a truly unique and exceptional formula for success."
Sales for the network will be handled by a dedicated group within Katz's Katz 360 Sales unit, Clear Channel Online Music & Radio and Premiere Radio Networks and Katz 360 Sales president Brian Benedik commented, "Major advertisers and agencies now have a simple way to plan, purchase and optimize the best of the growing online digital audio audience - spanning AM, FM, syndicated and independent Internet radio. Whether it's a national platform, a regional plan or a specific geo-targeted campaign, the Katz Online Network can be customized to any advertiser's audio needs."
Evan Harrison, executive vice president of Clear Channel Radio and head of the company's Online Music & Radio unit, added, "For the last four years, we have enabled local and national advertisers across recruitment, retail, education, beverages, travel, auto and other categories to reach the highly sought-after at-work audience. The need for an efficient national solution to reach a wider audience has been clear. With the Katz Online Network, combined with the diagnostics Ando offers, we will deliver just that."
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-07-27: Last week the main regulator news was the approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the Sirius- XM merger by a 3-2 Republican-Democrat vote (See RNW Jul 26): Elsewhere there were no major decisions and only a few radio-related postings.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) posted only one radio-related notice and that was more in the nature of a correction of media reports that it had decided not to renew the temporary community broadcasting licence of Cobar Community Radio Inc (CCR), because it "does not meet the minimum requirements for local programming" than a licensing decision as such.
The ACMA noted that CCR- 2HOT FM- held a temporary community broadcasting licence to provide a service to Cobar, New South Wales, for the period 22 January 2008 to 21 July 2008 and that when in June it called for applications for temporary use of the 102.9 MHz frequency in the Cobar RA2 licence area from 22 July 2008 onwards it had written to CCR to invite it to apply for a further temporary licence.
CCR had told the ACMA it did not intend to do so and no other applications were received, so the ACMA announced that use of the frequency would lapse after the 2HOT temporary community broadcasting licence expired.
CCR had previously operated under a long-term licence that expired on Jan 21 this year but this was not renewed after the ACMA found that the licensee had not adequately identified the needs of the community and that its service did not adequately meet the needs of the Cobar licence area.
The ACMA also noted the current status of community broadcasting in the country where at the end of June there were 353 long-term community radio broadcasting licences, of which 78 were remote Indigenous broadcasting services (RIBS) and 52 temporary community broadcasting licences. It noted that 18 community radio licences had been renewed with remedial actions, 1 where additional conditions were imposed and 17 with agreed measures and that 11 licences not renewed, of which 6 were RIBS services that had not provided licence renewal applications and whose licences had therefore lapsed.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as well as licensing decisions posted its latest report on the state of the country's commercial radio industry, noting a 6.2% revenue growth in 2007 compared to 2006 (See RNW Jul 24).
The main licensing decision from the commission was the revocation of the licence of Harmony Broadcasting Corporation's CJWV-FM, Winnipeg, following a history of rule breaches that led it to impose six mandatory orders last year: Even after this the licensee failed to provide logger tapes that were requested from it on two occasions, breaching one mandatory order and hindering the ability to verify if it was complying with others.
Harmony Broadcasting Corporation was dissolved in May last year and the station closed down in October but the Corporation was subsequently revived and an agreement struck between. Franc Capozzolo and the Corporation that would result in him being replaced as the sole member of the Corporation by David Asper, who would appoint a new Board of Directors.
Harmony was then was called to a public hearing on June 4 to show cause why additional mandatory orders requiring the licensee to comply with the Regulations and its conditions of licence should not be issued, why the Commission should not suspend or revoke Harmony's licence under sections 9 and 24 of the Broadcasting Act, and why prior Commission approval for what would appear to be a change in effective control of the licensee is not required.
At this hearing another group argued that they were the true directors of Harmony and should properly be the respondents at the Public Hearing but the commission ruled that they should be treated as interveners and the group including Capozzolo, Asper, and the new board as the respondents since Capozzolo appeared to be the sole member of Harmony from the time that the licence for CJWV-FM was last renewed and was responsible for operating the station at the September 2006 Winnipeg public hearing that resulted in the mandatory orders.
The CRTC noted breach of the mandatory order concerning logger tapes on two occasions music lists and a self-assessment report in response to one request; failure to file annual returns on time or to provide ; inability to provide logger tapes to allow assessment of compliance with more; breach of Campus Radio Policy because it did had operated after cancellation by Robertson College following the September 2006 Winnipeg public hearing of an agreement with Harmony but the station had continued broadcasting but not operating as a campus/instructional station and that, although Harmony had presented new agreement with Robertson College, the Commission took the view that the result would be quite different from the model for campus/instructional stations envisaged in the Campus Radio Policy.
Capozzolo, it additionally noted would remain morning announcer under the plan and had stated that a course he had helped to develop was "designed to appease or satiate the requirements of a campus radio licence." This statement, it said, plus those made at the hearing regarding Harmony's plans for operating the station in the future as well as the business plan filed after the hearing, suggest efforts to adapt a station with a commercial orientation to the regulatory framework for a campus/instructional station and it concluded that "Given the long and wilful history of non-compliance by this licensee, its misunderstanding of the Campus Radio Policy and the nature of its licence and the fact that the station has been off the air for a considerable time, the Commission is of the view that revocation is the only appropriate measure in this case."
The CRTC also posted a public notice with an August 11 deadline for interventions or comments concerning an application by Melvin Augustine, to renew the licence of Native Community Type-B CFTI-FM, Big Cove, New Brunswick, noting that the licensee may have failed to comply with regulations on annual returns and had not responded to its requests for additional information or returned telephone calls from Commission staff. In view of this it says it may consider a one-year short term renewal of the licence, which expires on August 31.
Another public notice with an August 12 deadline for interventions or comments involved an application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a temporary 50 watts low power FM mono transmitter at Lac-Mégantic to broadcast the Radio One programming of CBVE-FM, Quebec, because the low power AM transmitter, CBMO, had to be turned off due to renovations to the site made by the municipality of Lac-Mégantic.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom has now re-awarded - to Radio Plymouth Ltd. - the Plymouth FM licence that was originally won by a Macquarie Bank backed bid but not taken up (See RNW Jul 23) and also posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it upheld no radio complaints (Also Jul 23).
Ofcom has also announced an extension of the coverage area for Star Radio (Cambridge) to include Ely, which will be served by a relay transmitter.
On the community licence front it awarded four new community radio licences in the English Midlands. They went to:
Hermitage FM (Coalville, Ibstock and Ashby-de-la-Zouch), which is offering to "use radio to engage, inform, entertain and unite" the communities it will serve.
Cross Rhythms Coventry, which is offering a service to the Christian population of the city.
The Hillz Radio (Coventry), which is offering a service to the culturally diverse population within the Hillfields district of the city and will broadcast in English and various minority languages.
Inspiration FM (Northampton), which says it will be a community led and managed radio service that will "encourage and promote a voice for those who are under-represented or socially excluded to provide an outlet for creativity, shared vision and expression."
Ofcom also noted that it had opted not to award a licence to Ashby Radio (Ashby-de-la-Zouch).
The agency also invited applications for short-term restricted service licences (S-RSLs) for Ramadan and Eid in 2009. This year it plans to accept applications over a four week period from Friday 22 August and Thursday 18 September rather than on a first-come first-served basis and will draw lots to decide between competing applications as it has done on previous years. Applications made after the window will only be considered if it is for an area where no application has already been received. All applications have to be accompanied by a GBP 400 (USD 800) fee and will be considered alongside any other S-RSL applications made with overlapping dates for other purposes and the agency also notes that because of a shortage of FMm frequencies applications in the same region may be in competition with others whose areas do not overlap, in which case they will be put into a draw to decide the winning applications.
When applications are to be put into a draw, the applicants will be advised and can withdraw with a full fee refund before the draw but there will be no refund for applications entered into a draw and are unsuccessful.
In other activities it announced the appointment of Maurice Mulvenna, a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science in the School of Computing and Mathematics at the University of Ulster, to its Advisory Committee on Older and Disabled People and the re-appointment for a second and final term of Simon Cramp, a freelance consultant in advocacy and social justice issues for people with learning disabilities.
In addition it posted research on "People with visual impairments and communications services" (A 46 page 395 KB PDF). This highlighted amongst other things the degree to which people were reliant on memory and found changes such as the order of channels on a digital platform an irritation. They had low expectations of service providers, found specialist services and devices to be too expensive and used word of mouth as a key source of information.
Welcomed were such features as audio description on TV services and easy navigation to radio services through digital TV platforms and channel name announcements on digital radio although there was annoyance at inconsistency in this regard as some channels were not announced.
In the US, the main regulatory news as already noted was the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 3-2 vote - with the Republican commissioners for and Democrat ones against - to allow the Sirius-XM merger.
The FCC was also involved in a number of enforcement actions, levying or proposing penalties including the following (in descending order of amount):
*Agreed USD 19.7 million consent decree with Sirius (which pays USD 2.2 million) and XM (USD 17.5 million) over various breaches of rules relating to radio receivers and terrestrial repeater stations.
*Issued USD 9,000 penalty to Sudbury Services, Inc., licensee of KLCN-AM, Blytheville, Arkansas, for failing to properly maintain a public file for the Station. The FCC has issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount after the station admitted that a total of eleven issues/programs lists were missing from the Stations' public inspection files between 1999 and 2003. The station argued for cancellation on the basis that it made an "honest mistake" and also on the basis of its voluntary disclosure of the violations. The FCC noted that it had already cut the penalty by USD 1, 00 on this basis and rejected the arguments, confirming the penalty.
*Issued USD 5,000 NAL to Cox Radio, Inc., licensee of WKHK-FM, Colonial Heights, Virginia, failure to protect the switch used to initiate the generation of the Emergency Alert System ("EAS") two-tone Attention Signal ("tone"), resulting in the activation and broadcast of the EAS tone.
The FCC had received a complaint concerning an alleged interruption to a regular programme on the station with an EAS tone that was followed by regular programming rather than an EAS message or test and that this was a recurring problem. Cox responded saying that an employee was listening to an EAS weekly test on studio backup equipment and was unaware that "a data connection links the backup machine to certain live studio equipment, including EAS equipment." It said that when the employee heard the EAS tone being broadcast the station engineering department was immediately notified and the event logged: It said this was an "isolated" occurrence not "part of a larger pattern" and that it is retrained studio operators to prevent recurrence. The FCC noted that there was no base amount established for such breaches but said it considered the offence less serious than failure to have EAS equipment installed or operational for which the base penalty is USD 8,000 and it proposed a USD 5,000 penalty.
*Issued USD 4,800 penalty to Tol-Tol Communications, Inc., licensee of WILA-AM, Danville, Virginia, for late filing of licence renewal and operation after the station's licence had expired.
It had originally issued an NAL for USD 6,000 to which Tol-Tol responded requesting cancellation or reduction on the basis of its record of compliance and inability to pay. The FCC rejected the last argument but reduced the penalty on the basis of a history of compliance.
*Issued USD 4,000 forfeiture to Friendship Communications, Inc., licensee of non-commercial station KWOF-FM, Hiawatha, Iowa, for failure to maintain and make available a complete public inspection file. The FCC had inspected the station following a complaint and it was unable to locate or make available any Issues-Programs lists leading the commission to issue an NAL for this amount.
Friendship had requested cancellation on the basis that the texts of public service announcements in the public inspection file complied with Commission rules: The FCC rejected the argument and confirmed the penalty.
* Issued USD 250 forfeiture to Muskegon Training & Educational Center, licensee of Low Power FM WMMT-LP, Muskegon, Michigan, for late filing of licence renewal. The Center had requested reduction of an NAL for USD 1,500 on the basis that it thought it had completed the application but found when it visited the FCC web site that the status was still pending a month later and was told when it called the commission that it had failed to "click to file." The FCC followed precedent for LPFMs and reduced the penalty for USD 250.
In addition to the above, in a ruling related to modifications to a Construction Permit for a new AM in Bend, Oregon, the FCC granted the application by Hill & Glover Broadcasting, LLC, which had originally been refused permission to construct three 199-foot (60 metre) towers on the basis that this would cause night-time interference. H& G amended the application to comply with the rules but the new proposal was opposed by Ms. Julia A. Follansbee, who argued that the proposed towers would pose significant safety hazards to pilots using Juniper Airpark, a nearby, private-use airport. H&G had obtained a "Determination of No Hazard to Air Navigation" obtained by H & G from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) but the FCC noted that in this case H&G had fully complied with FAA requirements and dismissed the objections, granting the application.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-07-27: In more signs of financing problems, International satellite operator WorldSpace in an 8K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed details of a Third Forbearance Agreement and Amendment under which four holders of bridge loans and convertible notes - it terms them "investors" - are to be paid a total of USD 18.5 million in interest and an additional amount of approximately USD 15.2 million of the principal outstanding.
The "investors" on their part, as well as insisting on security for their action, agreed to extend the maturity date of the remaining amounts due to them until September 15 and also to move maturity date for Convertible Notes held from the current September 30 to December 31 provided that WorldSpace has paid by September 15 all the amounts due on the bridge loan notes.
In all just before the filing WorldSpace owed the bridge notes holders some USD 35 million as well as a further USD 53.6 million of Convertible Notes and it has agreed to pledge to them by August 5 at least two-thirds and up to all of the equity interests of WorldSpace Europe Holdings ApS ("WorldSpace Europe") and to cause WorldSpace Europe to become a Guarantor of the loans and notes and also to pledge to the extent legally permissible its 65% equity interest in WorldSpace Italia SpA.
WorldSpace last week paid USD 250,000 in the investors' legal and other fees and has agreed to pay up to another USD 100,000 for similar costs.
WorldSpace, warned in March that it needed additional capital to keep operating (See RNW Mar 31) and also noted that it had secured a facility for up to USD 40 million of subordinated financing, from Yenura Pte. Ltd., a company controlled by its chairman and CEO Noah Samara and that about half of this had already been drawn by the Company, leaving around USD 20 million available. On July 24 it said it had entered an agreement with Yenura under which the latter would make available up to USD 20 million for which it would issue subordinated convertible notes to Yenura. It also noted that the notes, which would mature on the fifth anniversary of the issue of the first note, would carry 8% annual interest with the first payment due on Aug 1 next year with the rate increasing to 10%.
The current filing seems to indicate that this facility has now been exhausted - it indicates that the company may use up to USD 1.5 million of the USD 20 million Yenura facility to make payments owed.
WorldSpace is to call a stockholders' meeting not later than September 12 to approve various board recommendations relating to the exercise of various warrants and conversion of the convertible notes held by the Investors. It is not clear what the moves imply for WorldSpace's European plans or for its Italian partner but the company's stock, which had opened at USD 2.61 plummeted by 29.3% on Friday to end at USD 1.74 and at one time was as low as USD 1.69 - over the past year it has varied between 88 cents and USD 5.47.
2008-07-27: Following the shareholders' vote in favour of private equity buyout of the company, Clear Channel's chief executive Mark Mays has specifically ruled out a sale of its international assets and dismissed speculation that the new owners might opt to focus on US operations.
The company had already sold or pulled out of a number of its overseas operations including radio operations in China, Europe (See RNW Jul 18, 2003), and Singapore but retains holdings in Australia and New Zealand, where it is partnered with APN News and Media and Mexico, where its partner is the Ibarra family's Grupo Acir.
APN News and Media had said earlier this year that it would be interested in buying Clear Channels half-stake in their joint-venture Australian Radio Network (See RNW Feb 20).
Previous APN News and Media:
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2008-07-26: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now approved the Sirius-XM merger by a party-line 3-2 vote with the two Democrats opposing. The FCC is expected to post details of the approval on Monday but currently the time-clock it has on its site regarding the deal, for which approval was sought 17 months ago, is still running.
Word that Republican Deborah Taylor Tate had opted to support the decision came around 21:00 ET ( 01:00 GMT), prompting a speedy statement from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which had been lobbying strenuously against the approval: Its Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said in this, "Today's vote certainly comes as a disappointment to NAB. We continue to believe that consumers are best served by competition rather than monopolies."
The approval was preceded by agreement by the satellite companies to pay USD 19.7 million in a consent decree to settle various breaches of FCC regulations related to terrestrial repeater stations and radio receivers (See RNW Jul 24) - the figures were a little higher than previously touted with XM to pay USD 17.5 million and Sirius USD 2.2 million: Tate had insisted the charges had to be settled before she would vote in favour.
The Associated Press quoted FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin, who with fellow Republican Robert McDowell, had already voted in favour, as saying, "I think it's going to be, in the end, a good thing for consumers and be in the public interest. Consumers will enjoy a variety of programming at reduced prices and more diversified programming choices."
The agreement does not include a condition that the NAB, iBiquity and a number of other organizations had called for that would have required satellite receivers to be made capable of also receiving iBiquity's HD radio signals, a condition that had been opposed by a number of equipment makers.
Tate said regarding this that she "could not in good conscience support a government-mandated requirement on the backs of American consumers at this time."
Other conditions that the companies had voluntarily agreed include a three-year price cap; adopting an open technical standard that will allow any manufacturer to make satellite receivers; to make available receivers that allow subscribers to choose la carte channel selections and also receivers that can handle both XM and Sirius channels and setting aside 8% of its spectrum or 24 audio channels to carry public interest and minority programming.
They will also
The last condition sparked protest from the conservative public-interest law firm the Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) that said the setting aside of the channels violated the US Constitution's equal protection guarantee: it cited in support of this view a 1995 ruling on a case that it had brought.
On the other hand, Public Knowledge, the D.C.-based public interest group, indicated that it would have preferred tighter conditions. Its president and co-founder Gigi B. Sohn said in a statement, "It appears as if the Commission has adopted in some form all four of the conditions we have been seeking for the XM-Sirius merger. We had originally said that there should be some form of a la carte choice in programming, a three-year price freeze, a set-aside for non-commercial and minority programming and an open-device requirement so that any manufacturer could build a device to receive programming from the combined company" and then added, Consumers will be better off than had the merger been granted without any conditions. At the same time, we eagerly await the details of the Commission's order to see more closely the degree to which the conditions will serve the public interest."
So far neither Sirius nor XM have posted any reactions to the approval.
Houston Chronicle-AP report:
2008-07-25: Clear Channel says that a preliminary count shows that its shareholders have approved the buyout of the company by private equity partners led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. with more than 74% of the total shares outstanding and entitled to vote at the meeting called to approve the deal being cast in favour: Around 97% of the votes cast, it said, were in favour.
Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays said they were "pleased" with the outcome of the vote. The parties intend to close the deal, under which shareholders get USD 36 per share, or can exchange shares for an equal number of Class A Common shares in CC Media Holdings, Inc., the new corporation formed by the private equity group to acquire Clear Channel, on July 30.
The share option is subject to individual and aggregate caps and the cash amount paid was reduced from the price of USD 39.20 agreed in September last year when shareholders voted to accept the original deal (See RNW Sep 26, 2007) following lawsuits launched by the parties against the banks involved in financing the deals (See RNW May 29).
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2008-07-25: Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter Peter Lloyd is now facing three extra charges after he appeared in a Singapore court, which added charges of consuming methamphetamine ("ice",) and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia to the original charges of charges of use and trafficking of the drug (See RNW Jul 20).
The original trafficking charge carried a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in jail and 15 lashes of the cane and a minimum of five years and five strokes of the cane under Singapore's tough anti-drug laws but the court lowered the amount that he was alleged to have possessed to 0.41 gram and the amount that he is alleged to have supplied to a Singapore man to 0.15 gram,
On top of this the consumption charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' jail and a fine of SGD 20,000 (USD 14,700) and the paraphernalia charges each carry a sentence of up to three years and a fine of SGD 10,00 (USD 7,400).
Lloyd is free on SGD 60,000 (USD 43,600 bail) posted by a Singaporean friend and is now scheduled to appear in court again on August 1.
Previous ABC, Australia:
2008-07-24: The Sirius-XM merger seems to be moving closer with the Wall Street Journal reporting that according to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin agreement has been reached in principle on a vote in favour - so far there has been no formal announcement from Republican commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate that she has opted to vote in favour as expected, a vote that would confirm approval on a partisan 3:2 vote as the two Democrats have voted against.
In addition the two satellite companies have said they are in negotiations with the FCC about a consent decree to settle outstanding enforcement issues.
The agreement would involve a payment of around USD 17 million from XM and USD 2 million from Sirius and in addition as part of a decree the companies say they would among other things agree to:
* -adopt comprehensive compliance plans, and take steps to address any potentially non-compliant radios remaining in the hands of consumers;
*- in the case of XM, within 60 days of the order adopting the Consent Decree, shut down 50 variant terrestrial repeaters, and shut down or bring into compliance an additional 50 variant terrestrial repeaters;
-- in the case of Sirius, bring into compliance or shut down up to 11 variant terrestrial repeaters within 60 days of the order adopting the Consent Decree. These terrestrial repeaters were shut off by Sirius in October 2006.
The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which has been lobbying strenuously against the deal, has again issued a strong statement of opposition from its Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton.
Wharton commented, "This sweetheart deal for Wall Street speculators is premised on a promise that a monopoly will provide consumers with lower prices, better service and more programming formats. Only members of the Flat Earth Society would buy into such specious nonsense."
He then went on to criticise the FCC commissioners involved, commenting, "Just six years ago, the FCC denied a monopoly to the nation's only two satellite TV companies in a 5-0 vote. Yet today, the Commission is apparently preparing to grant a monopoly to the nation's only two satellite radio companies that in their 11 years of existence have had more luck flaunting the FCC's own rules than creating a successful business model" and concluded, "Historians will view this satellite radio giveaway as an irrational departure from 118 years of antitrust law wisely founded on the unassailable reality that competition serves consumers better than monopolies. NAB thanks Commissioners Copps and Adelstein -- along with consumer groups, 80 bipartisan members of Congress, and scores of labour, minority and antitrust organizations -- who stood against this wrongheaded monopoly. Given such overwhelming opposition, we're not convinced the final chapter of this book has been written."
2008-07-24: Latest UK radio ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) show commercial stations retaking a little lost ground from the BBC as the corporation fell back from a record first quarter and its listening share fell from 56.8% to 55.5% whilst that for its commercial rivals went up from 41.1% to 42.4%. In terms of reach the BBC slipped back from 45.397 million listeners a week to 45.117 million whilst commercial companies saw their figures rise from 30.984 million to 31.019 million.
The BBC figures were affected by falls in the breakfast audience for Chris Moyles of BBC Radio 1 - his weekly audience was down by 515,000 - and Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2, whose figures were down by 357,000 but there was good news for BBC Radio 3 as it took its listening numbers up 6.4% over the first quarter to 1.91 million from 1.795 million5.47 million: In contrast rival commercial classical service, GCap's Classic FM saw a drop of 2.7% on the previous quarter to
Overall radio listening was down slightly - to 45.1 million a week from 45.4 million in the first quarter with within which listening through a digital platform was steady quarter-on-quarter but up year-on-year - from 12.8% of all listening in the second quarter of last year to 17.9% this year.
Industry body The RadioCentre highlighted the performance of local stations, noting that whilst national stations took their listening share up half a point to 11.2%, local stations took their share up from 30.3% to 31.2% and added 145,000 listeners a week to reach a total of nearly 25 million ( 24.992 million to be precise).
It also noted that nearly a fifth of listening is on digital platforms, broken up into 10% on DAB, 6.8% through a digital TV platform and 2.7% via the Internet of which only DTV increased it share from the record figures for the pervious quarter.
In demographic terms, commercial radio saw increases across all age groups in the quarter and the RadioCentre highlighted success amongst the "heartland audience of 15-44's" where almost 70% listened to a commercial radio service each week and in the 15-24 group where it was 73%.
In London commercial radio continued to outperform the BBC, reaching 67% of the potential audience weekly compared to 57% for the BBC.
RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison commented of the figures that they were "very encouraging for our sector" and added, " it is good to see that we have pulled back some of our market share. Our local stations have had a particularly good quarter with increases in reach and share, reaping the benefits of relaxed regulation - our share of local listening is now 77%, up from 75% last quarter."
For the BBC, outgoing Director of Radio and Music Jenny Abramsky, who is to retire in September before the next ratings come out in October, highlighted the success of BBC Radio 3, saying in a statement, "I'm delighted to see Radio 3 recovering both reach and share - it plays a unique role in shaping the national cultural agenda and is at the intellectual heart of the BBC. Radio 4 has followed its Sony Award for Station of the Year with another strong performance and - alongside Radio 5 Live - has illustrated the public's appetite for high-quality speech radio."
In the London commercial market, there was good news for Bauer as Magic FM with Neil Fox took the top slot in the breakfast rankings with 868,000 listeners a week - up from 831,000 in the first quarter, overtaking Global Radio's Heart FM team of Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott whose numbers fell back from a top ranked 893,000 to a second-place 844,000 leaving Johnny Vaughan and Denise Van Outen at Capital FM in third spot with 772,000 for the 6am to 9am period although when their extra hour to 10:00 is added they are in top rank with 944,000 listeners, up from 943,00 in the first quarter.
Fox helped Magic keep the top commercial station ranking - it had 2.005 million listeners a week, up from 1.918 million in the previous quarter and a 7.4% listening share, up from 5.8%, ahead of Heart with 1.774 million - down from 1.848 million and with share down from 5.8% to 5.7% - and Capital with 1.607 million - up from 1.563 million and with an unchanged 4.6% share.
Of the commercial companies, GCap, which has been bought by Global Radio but is being run separately whilst competition issues are being resolved, made no comment on the figures but Global's Acting CEO Richard Park commented, "This is a highly satisfactory set of results for the Global Radio team, consolidating our position as the fastest developing radio group in the UK, the only commercial radio group* to be up in reach, hours and share for a second survey in a row."
Within the figures compared to the first quarter and a year ago:
*BBC Radio 1 lost 383,000 listeners and had a weekly audience of 10,684 million with listening share down from 10.6% to 10.0 % (10.3% a year ago when it had 10.873 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 2 lost 634,000 listeners and had a weekly audience of 12.998 million with listening share down from 16.5% to 16.0% (15.6% a year ago, when it had 13.117 million listeners)
*BBC Radio 3 gained 115,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 1.910 million and a listening share - up from 0.9% to 1.2% (1.1% a year ago, when it had 1.783 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 4 lost 27,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.534 million and listening share down from 12.2% to 12.00% (11.2% a year ago when it had 9.482 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, lost 21,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.001 million, and an unchanged listening share of 4.6% (4.2% a year ago when it had 5.890 million listeners).
(Including Sports Extra it gained 28,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 6.116 million and a listening share up from 4.7% to 4.8% (4.5% a year ago when it had 6.104 million listeners).
*BBC World Service lost 35,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.310 million and a listening share up from 0.6% to 0.7% (0.7% a year ago when it had 1.305 million listeners).
*BBC Asian Network lost 62,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 473,000 and an unchanged listening share of 0.3% (0.2% a year ago when it had 455,000 listeners).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*G-Cap's Classic FM lost 152,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.470 million and listening share up from 3.7% to 3.9% (4.0% a year ago when it had 5.704 million listeners).
*UTV's talkSPORT lost 86,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.384 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.9% (1.8% a year ago when it had 2.372 million listeners.). * Virgin (total including all AM and FM) lost 66,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.400 million and unchanged listening share of 1.4% (1.5% a year ago when it had an audience of 2.534 million listeners). This was enough to take it back above talkSPORT which in the previous ratings had moved ahead of Virgin in reach for the first time.
RNW Note: SMG has sold Virgin to Times of India subsidiary TIML Golden Square Ltd and the stations are to be re-branded, losing the Virgin name.
Among digital stations - excluding Bauer's Kerrang! which has a substantial analogue as well as a digital listenership and a total weekly reach of 1,350 million including its analogue stations (up from 1.297 million quarter on quarter and down from 1.470 million a year ago) but including BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra and Asian Network - the top ten stations in the survey had a weekly audience as below (previous quarter in brackets):
1 The Hits (Bauer) - 1.477 million (down from 1.571 million and up from 1.345 million a year ago).
2 Smash Hits Radio (Bauer) -976,000 (up from 973,000 and up from 906,000 a year ago).
3 BBC 7 - 812,000 (down from 813,000 and up from 738,000 a year ago).
4 BBC Five Live Sports Extra -748,000 (up from 648,000 and down from 866,000 a year ago).
5 Planet Rock (Now independent, having been sold by GCap) -585,000 (up from 563,000 and up from 530,000 a year ago). Up from sixth.
6 BBC 6 Music -551,000 (up from 520,000 and 471,000 a year ago.). Up from eighth.
7 BBC Asian Network -473,000 (down from 535,000 and up from 455,000 a year ago).
8 BBC 1Xtra - 491,000 (down from 595,000 and up from 473,000 a year ago). Down from fifth.
9 Heat (Bauer) -432,000 (down from 446,000 and up from 425,000 a year ago).
10 Mojo Radio - 267,000 (Up from 239,000 and up from 234,000 a year ago.).
RNW note: Tenth on the previous ratings was GCap's The Jazz, which has since been closed down.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
Previous Planet Rock:
Previous Van Outen:
Previous RAJAR (First quarter figures)
2008-07-24: Figures just released by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) show total revenues for Canadian AM and FM stations combined up 6.2% on a year earlier to reach CAD 1.5 billion ( We have not converted to USD since the rate, a dollar is 1.016 CAD is close to unity) in 2007.
Expenses were CAD 1.159 billion leaving profits before interest and taxes of CAD 300.2 million, up 5.2% on 2006: Advertising in the period was up 5.7% to CAD 1.468 billion within which local revenues were up 4.8% to CAD 1.087 billion and National revenues were up 8.3% to CAD 380.6 million.
FM stations says the CRTC clearly dominate the Canadian marketplace with their revenues amounting to slightly more than CAD 1.1 billion of the total compared to CAD 328.4 million for AM stations.
It adds that over the past five years English-language FM stations have seen a consistent rise from CAD 701.5 million in 2003 to CAD 947.5 million in 2007 ; French language FM revenues in the same period went up from CAD 172.9 to Cad 209 million and ethnic station revenues were up from CAD 9.8 million to CAD 16.1 million.
As regards AM stations, English language ones have also had a steady revenue increase - up from CAD 259.8 million to CAD 291.7 million and ethnic stations saw a slight increase and are now at CAD 21.8 million but French language AMs saw their revenues fall from CAD 18.2 million to CAD 15.9 million.
In terms of employment, it notes that more than 10, 00 people are employed in a total of 619 radio stations across the country - up by 23 in 2007, and that their total salaries are just below CAD 607 million.
2008-07-23: Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein has joined his fellow Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps in voting against Federal Communications Commission approval of the Sirius- XM merger according to news agencies.
Bloomberg quoted from an e-mailed statement by Adelstein, who had sought additional conditions above those agreed with the companies by FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin including a six year price freeze as opposed to three and the allocation of a quarter of the satellite companies spectrum for educational and minority broadcasters rather than the 8% agreed in which Adelstein said, "I was hoping to forge a bipartisan solution that would offer consumers more diversity in programming, better price protection, greater choices among innovative devices and real competition with digital radio. Instead, it appears they're going to get a monopoly with window dressing.''
The FCC commissioners vote electronically at a time of their choosing with no deadline and so far Martin and his fellow Republican Robert McDowell have backed the merger with another Republican Deborah Taylor Tate so far publicly undecided although Reuters has reported that she is nearing approval although it notes that she has been reluctant to support the plan as agreed and quotes sources as saying this is because of concerns about allegations that the satellite companies have violated FCC rules and also fail to pay enough in royalties to musicians.
There has been a lobbying effort against the deal by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) which says the deal would create a monopoly and has also alleged breaches of rules. Terrestrial broadcasters do not pay performance royalties in the US although the recording companies are lobbying for them to do so.
In its latest attack last week the NAB put out a release under the heading "COSTS FOR PROPOSED XM AND SIRIUS MONOPOLY LIKELY APPROACHING USD 100 MILLION" in which it said company filings had disclosed USD 69 million in expenses related to the merger.
Its Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said, "Given the satcasters' exorbitant spending reported so far, it is well within reason to assume their combined merger-related expenses are approaching 100 million dollars. From the beginning, we knew XM and Sirius would say anything to gain blessing for a government-sanctioned monopoly, despite their years of brazenly abusing FCC rules," said Wharton. "Now we know they will spend anything as well. But they are also finding that government-sanctioned monopolies apparently don't come cheap."
Stock in the satellite companies fell in morning trading today but then the markets appear to have concluded that Tate would vote in favour as they began to rise: At the close on Wednesday Sirius was up 12.6% at USD 2.68 and XM was up 10.3% at USD 10.04%: Under the merger deal Sirius is offering 4.6 of its shares for each XM share.
2008-07-23: CBS Radio has launched what it terms a "next generation video platform" in conjunction with WorldNow, an innovation it says "presents the stations with the technology and guidance to create individual and personalized branded video players, which will allow them to feature station content, syndicate videos both internally and externally, share and distribute videos to multiple destinations and embed video clips to share with others via social networking sites."
It adds that the move also creates advanced advertising and specialized sponsorship opportunities for CBS Radio's clients, including branded players and content, studio imaging; advertorials and in-video advertising.
The new technology has made its debut on four of the company's New York stations (www.fresh1027.com, www.wcbs880.com, www.923krock.com and www.wfan.com).
CBS Radio's President, Digital Media and Integrated Marketing, David Goodman, said of the move, "Rethinking and evolving our business had led us to this transformation and in the very near future every station will have a major video component transforming radio from a purely audio medium to a visual one as well."
He added, "From a content perspective, no one is better positioned than radio to take advantage of online video with literally thousands of hours of original programming being produced every week. Previously you could only hear that material on-air or online. Now audiences will be able to see what happens at their favourite radio station and interact with our brands and personalities in an entirely different way, and we'll be able to extend our reach through the distribution capabilities the new player affords us."
Amongst the offering CBS says it will be able to provide will be broadcast simulcasts, live concert performances, in-studio interviews, breaking news and original programming exclusively for the web, with a spotlight on content provided by the audience and solicited by the station.
Of the last it says "Effortless upload functionality will facilitate an immediate dialogue between the station and its listeners via videos emphasizing developing news stories, current event, entertainment or comedy."
RNW Comment: Obviously in our dotage, this seems to us a combination of TV minus minus in production values together with exploitation of the desire of those without much worthy to say or skills to say even that very well to be able to make it available with little effort to those of like minds.
There may well be material of value in it but the question is whether it's worth the effort to wade through the dross to get to it. And it's either no use at all or dangerous whilst driving.
2008-07-23: A bid from Radio Plymouth has won the commercial FM licence for Plymouth that was originally won by a Diamond FM bid led by Macquarie Bank (See RNW Mar 10, 2006) but not taken up following a storm of local protests and re-advertised in November last year (See RNW Nov 30, 2007).
Radio Plymouth is 65% owned by the London Media Company, a subsidiary of Sunrise Radio Ltd that operates Palm FM (Torbay) and Exeter FM, Exeter, with the remaining shares held by individuals. Its bid offered "a locally-focused station specifically for Plymouth, with a full service of news and local information, entertaining speech, features and conversation and a wide variety of music from today and the previous four decades."
It had faced competition from "Plymouth's Pirate FM", a bid by UKRD, licensee of Pirate FM in Cornwall.
The style of the station was described on ThisisPlymouth as "Radio 2" with "presenters rather than DJs" and a targeted audience older than that of the existing rival Plymouth Sound, which
David Rodgers, chairman of Radio Plymouth Ltd, which had been one of the four bidders when Macquarie won the licence, commented: "It's great news, the champagne is about to come out" but added that there had been "a lot of heart searching in the current economic climate" before the decision was taken to bid again.
Ofcom has also posted its latest broadcast bulletin in which it notes another TV sanction - ; upholds four TV Standards complaints, considers another TV standards case resolved and posts details of two more not upheld, and upholds one TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint with another two partly upheld. It upheld no radio complaints and of the TV complaints upheld the last three plus one of the standards complaints upheld related to the Channel 4 TV programme "The Great Global Warming Swindle."
In addition to the above, it also listed without details 264 TV complaints against 143 items - and 17 radio complaints against 17 items - that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 223 TV complaints against 144 items and 23 radio complaints against 18 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit in the previous bulletin.
Previous Macquarie Bank:
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2008-07-23: Clear Channel says it has now settled its lawsuits with Tribune Co. over the latter's recent hires of a number of its executives that had included hiring Andrew Friedman who was said by Clear Channel to have broken his employment contract through Tribune's inducement (See RNW May 23): A judge subsequently granted a temporary restraining order preventing Friedman from working on Tribune's broadcast operations (See RNW May 28).
Clear Channel says that under the agreement Tribune has agreed not to further solicit or hire Clear Channel employees subject to contracts, in violation of those agreements and Clear Channel's chief legal officer Andy Levin said in a statement they were pleased to have reached a settlement with Tribune and its former employees and continued, Clear Channel values its employees very highly, and we will continue to enforce our rights against any competitor who attempts to interfere with those contractual relationships."
Tribune in its statement said, "We did nothing wrong here and paid nothing to settle these lawsuits. We have never tortiously interfered with the contracts of Clear Channel employees and we won't in the future."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Tribune Co.:
2008-07-23: Veteran broadcaster and bandleader Humphrey Lyttelton, who died In April (See RNW Apr 26), was posthumously awarded the title of BBC Radio 2 Jazz Artist Of The Year in this year's BBC Jazz Awards, which were held in the Mermaid Theatre in London.
Ceremony highlights included the world premier of Lyttelton's Sad, Sweet Song performed by Ian Shaw, winner of last year's Best Vocalist Award: Lyttelton had asked Shaw to record the song, to which he'd written the words, at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2006 and it was eventually recorded within a few days of Lyttelton's death.
The evening also included the first UK performance for 25 years by Chick Corea and his jazz-fusion group Return To Forever: Corea received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Beatles producer Sir George Martin.
Amongst other awards Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine were presented with the Gold Award; Pianist Kit Downes took the Rising Star Award; Christine Tobin the Best Vocalist Award; saxophonist Tony Kofi the award for Best Instrumentalist; Charlie Haden the International Award ; Bristol-based quartet The Blessing with their debut release, All Is Yes took the Album Of The Year Award; and Candid Records CEO Alan Bates was presented with the Services To Jazz In The UK Award.
Of other BBC station awards, Curios, the modern piano trio led by Tom Cawley took the Radio 3 Jazz Line-Up Best Band Award; 'post-jazz' group Fraud, with saxophonist James Allsop took the Radio 3 Jazz On 3 Innovation Award; and Scottish sax supremo Tommy Smith took the BBC Radio 2 Heart Of Jazz award.
Highlights can be seen on the BBC web site bbc.co.uk/jazzawards and audio of the full concert was broadcast by BBC Radio 2 and is on its website. Highlights and interviews will be in Jazz Line-Up on BBC Radio 3 (Saturday 15:00GMT).
2008-07-22: According to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote on the Sirius-XM merger is still finely balanced following an expected decision by Democrat Michael J. Copps to vote against the merger.
So far chairman Kevin J. Martin and his fellow Republican Robert McDowell are reported to have opted in favour with Republican Deborah Taylor Tate undecided but expected to opt in favour although she hasn't spoken publicly about her attitude or any conditions she might attached to gain her approval.
The other Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein has indicated that he would vote in favour subject to various conditions (See RNW Jul 18). There was no strong reaction by the markets: XM, which reported its results today (See below) was up 0.33% to USD 9.10 and Sirius fell 1.65% to USD 2.38.
In other FCC related news, the Journal quoted Martin as saying that he was surprised and disappointed by Monday's Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision to send back to the agency its USD 550,000 fine on CBS over the SuperBowl half-time show in 2004 during which Janet Jackson's breast was very briefly exposed on air (See RNW Jul 21).
The Journal quoted Martin as saying that the court "decided that the Janet Jackson incident during the Super Bowl Halftime show was not indecent and declared that the FCC was wrong to fine CBS for the broadcast" and continuing, "I am surprised by today's decision and disappointed for families and parents. The Super Bowl is one of the most watched shows on television, aired during the hours when children are most likely to be in the audience.
"Hundreds of thousands of people complained about the show, and a unanimous Commission found that it was inappropriate for broadcast television. In fact, following this incident, Congress said we should be assessing greater fines - as much as 10 times the amount we actually fined CBS - for incidents like these in the future."
He concluded by saying that the ruling highlighted the importance of the Supreme Court's consideration of FCC indecency rules this Fall.
RNW comment: Stupid or just playing politics? Our reading of the full ruling does not indicate that the Appeals Court made a decision on the decency, indecency or appropriateness or inappropriateness of the broadcast. What it did was to look at the rules as set out by the FCC prior to the incident and consider whether the decision was Arbitrary or capricious.
In this light the ruling makes perfect sense but has little or no relevance as to whether, with subsequent clarification of the rules, the penalty would stand if the incident occurred today.
On that matter, whether we agree or not, we suspect the Supreme Court with its current composition will uphold the FCC rules: We would hope however, that if the CBS case is appealed, it sends Martin away with a severe, if metaphorical, clip to the ears as well as upholding the decision of Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Wall Street Journal report re Copps:
Wall Street Journal report re Martin reaction:
2008-07-22: This week for our look at print comment on radio, we start in the UK with the new show Chris Tarrant is to host for GMG's Smooth, Real and Century stations (See RNW Jul 1), the subject of Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times.
The show is Tarrant's first since 2004 when he left Capital Radio, where he had been its breakfast host since 1987 (See RNW Apr 2, 2004).
Donovan notes that the show will be going against Jonathan Ross's Saturday Show on BBC Radio2 and then that Tarrant's show is "being financed to the tune of GBP 1 million (USD 2 million) a year by Nissan, the Japanese car manufacturer."
Donovan notes that his time on Capital "made him a household name across London but not outside it, and for most people beyond the M25, he is primarily the host of ITV's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?", which has certainly made him one."
He notes that Ross has an on-air batman (sidekick) in the form of Andy Davies, who is also his producer and that Tarrant will have funnyman Mike Osman, once the main breakfast host on Capital Gold.
He then adds, that Tarrant will now be able to choose the music he airs - "a rare privilege and one also extended to Ross and Davies" and that according to Head on Media, the independent company producing the new show, this will be "A wide range of his favourite tracks from the past 50 years" from legends and guitar heroes to modern rock, soul and new singer-songwriters" with examples given including Elvis, Sinatra, the Stones, Clapton, Guns N' Roses, the Kooks, the Manics, Stevie Wonder, Soul II Soul, Candi Staton, Adele and Duffy.
Donovan then comments on the financing of the show - "GMG is paying Tarrant nothing. His money comes from Nissan, which is sponsoring the show and co-announced the GBP 1m figure earlier this month, though he has to pay his producer and sidekicks out of that. So Nissan gets lots of publicity for its Micra, GMG rakes in all the advertising revenue, and Tarrant receives a fat salary. It sounds like a win-win situation all round. "
GMG's programmes director John Simons notes that this has been done in America for decades, adding: "For example, with Casey Kasem's Top 40 shows, but I don't think anybody has tried to do it here before. It can only work if you have a very big name - and the BBC has most of those tied up."
After Donovan and Tarrant to sister paper the Times and Chris Campling plus Mark Kermode: Campling's 's "Radio Head" column last week was subtitled "a salute to Mark Kermode" and Campling comments, "If you've played the game of putting a face to the radio voice it's unlikely that you would imagine Mark Kermode looking as he does. On radio I have him as short, hairy and bespectacled after all those years spent in dark rooms squinting at a screen. In real life, as seen on TV, he's big and square-shouldered; he doesn't seem to know what to do with his hands and the hair is cut short, with a quiff, as befits the bass player of a skiffle group. "
On radio says Campling, Kermode is a hero: "His Friday cinema reviews (from 3pm on the Simon Mayo show on BBC Radio 5 Live) are also Radio 5's most popular podcast. Listeners queue up to e-mail the show in what they fondly imagine is a Kermodean manner. They come across as mannered and prolix, but he laughs indulgently."
Kermode's style is described as "demagogic rather than conversational. He has a PhD in English, and it shows."
After more on Kermode's film work, Campling notes that his choice of reading will be featured on the Radio 4 "With Great Pleasure" programme on Thursday this week.
After British hosts to an interview with an Indian one - Ameen Sayani, described by Anuradha SenGupta on ibnlive.com as "Indian radio's golden voice": Sayani obviously has a sense of humour: He said of himself and his work on commercials, "I must tell you a little secret to my success. I'm a commercial broadcaster who gives people headaches with his programmes and then sells analgesics to get rid of those headaches, and if that doesn't work then he sells them toothpaste. You know, so that they learn how to grin and bear it."
And later of his career: "As far as my broadcasting career goes, I think I was always the wrong man at the right place, kicked around towards various goal posts and somehow it clicked. For instance, I was born in a Kutch family, which had never been to Kutch. So there were a number of languages clashing with each other in my family. It was mainly Gujarati and a lot of English because my mother had a governess at home and had learnt English. I went to a Gujarati school where I learnt Gujarati for seven years. I could read, write, speak and even think in Gujarati. I counted in Gujarati and I still count in Gujarati. It so happened that my brother, Hamid, became an exceptional English broadcaster."
Hamid, it appears started taking his brother to All India Radio when the latter was seven and he broadcast in English from the age of around seven to 16 when, around 1950, Radio Ceylon opened an agency and Hamid became its programme director.
Ameen asked for work and was told to study Hindi but thanks to a lucky fluke was hanging around the Radio Ceylon Bombay studio one day, was asked to read a commercial for Ovaltine - originally developed as a food beverage for children but nowadays best known as a bedtime drink that is made from malt extract combined with Milk, Eggs and Cocoa. He asked about pay and was told "Don't be silly" but did get a tin of Ovaltine a week.
Ameen, who became one of India's most popular announcers thanks in large part to his Binaca Geetmala program of hits on Radio Ceylon, was clear about one reason for his success: He commented, "I never had good voice. What I did have was clarity. I had nice collation between my throat and my speech. I had a lot of ambition. I went all out of my way to see that nobody got bored. I did a lot of dhoom dhadaka."
He also commented of his trade, "A good broadcaster must not overshadow the person he is interviewing. He has to lift that person up and get the best out of him. Tease him, nettle him, pull his leg, praise him, go deep into his emotional psyche but never impose yourself on that person. I think that is what my audience appreciated about me. By not interfering with what the interviewee had to speak, I became a representative of the listener and not the world of music."
And of the show: "Geetmala was the first countdown show in India and even I didn't exactly know what the countdown format was going to be like but after the first five weeks, I think the whole of India, including me, was hooked to that format. And it became a kind of a gamble. I created a music ladder, sangeet seedhi, with several rungs. So I used to say so and so song is climbing from number 16 and it's moving further up. So there was fun and excitement."
Finally to the US and some suggestions from Phil Rosenthal in his Chicago Tribune column under the title "No shortage of nominees for local media hall of fame": After commenting on this year's National Radio Hall of Fame - "With Howard Stern and Steve Dahl snubbed again in voting this year, and other major impact players such as Studs Terkel not even nominated, the so-called National Radio Hall of Fame remains as incomplete as Chicago's half-built Museum of Broadcast Communications, which may house it someday yet" he went on to suggest some names he would put in - and other's he'd snub - in a Chicago Media Hall of Fame.
From radio his nominees include such names as "Wally Phillips, Howard Miller, Tom Joyner, Dick Biondi, Larry Lujack and Dahl; commentator Paul Harvey, newsman Orion Samuelson and raconteur Terkel" and in the radio stars category he puts down "Jonathon Brandmeier, Bob Collins, Ken Nordine, Franklyn MacCormack, Steve Harvey, Herb Kent, Dan Sorkin, Yvonne Daniels, Jim Bohannon, Eddie Schwartz, Ira Glass and Peter Sagal."
The list, he says, is "merely an argument starter" so for those who wish to comment follow the link to his column.
On then to listening suggestions, starting with Kermode on BBC Radio 4 in "With Great Pleasure" and a diary note for Saturday mornings to compare Smooth Radio with Chris Tarrant and BBC Radio 2 with Jonathan Ross starting from next Saturday: For those with an interest in jazz we suggest the "BBC Jazz Awards 2008" from BBC Radio 2 on Tuesday and from Monday on the station "The Charles Hazlewood Show" in which the classical conductor explores music from the Beach Boys, Queen and Rachmaninov with Manchester based singer-songwriter Jim Noir and the following "Marc Riley's Time Machine" that this week featured Keith Richard talking to Simon Bates to publicise his solo offering Main Offender and containing comments on his arguments with fellow Rolling Stone Mick Jagger and kicking a heroin addiction.
And from next Saturday evening (18:00 GMT) on BBC Radio 2 we go for "Simon's Big Trip ", an exploration of the missing 13 months in the life and career of Paul Simon, immediately before Simon and Garfunkel hit the big time.
We then note that this year's Henry Wood Promenade Concerts began on Friday and all are being aired by BBC Radio 3 -available from listen again for a week after the performance before going to
the run on BBC Radio 4 of reports by the late Charles Wheeler starting on Monday with a repeat of his 1999 report on the evacuation of British children from major cities during the Second World War followed by "Coming Home" on his personal interpretations of what the end of the Second World War meant to people in Britain and across the world; "The Peacetime Conscripts" on Britain's continuing conscription into National Service after that war; "The Child Migrants" on the migration of more than 150,000 children from Britain between 1900 and 1967; and ending on Friday with "Looted Art", his story of his search for the rightful owner of a tiny portrait he possessed for many years. All air at 08:00 GMT with an evening (20:30 GMT) repeat.
We also suggest from BBC Radio 4 weekdays the "Book of the Week" - "The Atlantic Ocean" - a series of essays by Andrew O'Hagan looking at the relationship between Britain and America, plus in the 1430-15:00 GMT afternoon slot the "Afternoon Reading "- "Stories with Latitude", a series of readings recorded at the Latitude Festival in Suffolk and the following "Brother Mine" series in which Julian Lloyd Webber explores different social and cultural attitudes towards siblings.
And some specific programmes from BBC Radio 4 including from last Saturday "Phil Jupitus' Comic Love" in which Jupitus looks at the world of the satirical newspaper comic strip; and the Saturday Play "The Test" in which a murder case from 20 years ago is re-opened and a prime suspect is forced to take a DNA test (Listen for the twist at the end).
From Sunday we suggest the regular "Something Understood" spot, that was on "Ageing Well"; from Monday evening "American Dreams" in which James Naughtie explores the unease preoccupying American politicians and voters in a presidential election year and finds in Washington D.C. a system dominated by money, lobbyists, partisan politics and anger on the airwaves; from Tuesday the regular "Music Feature", this week looking at "Carmina Burana"; from Wednesday the evening's "Front Row", which was a special programme from the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival; from Thursday "Material World" in which Quentin Cooper explores the possibility of past or future life on Mars; from Friday the regular "Now Show" (Last week's is available as a stream or podcast until then); and from next Saturday at 09:30 GMT "Material Girls" in which Emily Maitlis takes a look at the marketing, promotion and parallel development of two of the best-known brands of the last half-century plus "The Saturday Play" (13:30 GMT) "These Are the Times: A Life of Thomas Paine" - by Trevor Griffiths.
Chicago Tribune - Rosenthal:
IBNLive - SenGupta:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times -Campling .
2008-07-22: Arbitron has reported second quarter revenues up 3.7% on a year ago at USD 78.7 million but costs and expenses were up 9.0% to USD 82.4 million, due primarily to planned expenditures for the commercialization of the Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings service with the result that net income plummeted from USD 3.8 million a year earlier to USD 600,000 (From 13 cents to two cents per diluted share) : Earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) for the quarter fell from USD 5.3 million to USD 1.4 million, compared with EBIT of $5.3 million for the second quarter of 2007.
For the first half revenues were up 4.7% to USD 172.7; EBIT was down 6.2% to USD 28.2 million; and Net Income was down 12.5% to USD 16.9 million ( From 64 cents to 61 cents per diluted share). The figures include a net loss of USD 25 million for the quarter and USD 70,000 net of tax for the half year from CSW Research Limited ("Continental"), its UK-based custom research business which was sold at the end of January this year and is now classified as a discontinued operation.
Looking ahead the company says for the full year it expects revenues from continuing operations to increase between 8% and 10% with earnings per dilutes share between USD 1.30 and 1.44: They were USD 1.37 for 2007.
Arbitron chairman, president and chief executive officer Stephen Morris in his comments issued with the results noted the problems of the PPM service, commenting, "In June, we made the decision to restart the commercialization of our Portable People Meter ratings services. Now that preliminary PPM(TM) ratings are being released in a number of new markets, we are redoubling our ongoing effort to help the radio industry in its transition from diary to electronic ratings. The industry and we have learned much in the transition that has already taken place in Houston and Philadelphia. We intend to help radio apply these lessons as we bring PPM to radio's top markets in the balance of 2008."
He added, "Given the unique role that urban and Spanish-language stations play in their communities, we are devoting particular attention helping these formats capitalize on the advantages that the PPM offers for programming and sales."
At the company's conference call Morris noted the softness of the media business and radio in particular and said this obviously "makes the price increase on PPM very uncomfortable and makes sales on discretionary or peripheral items, like software, more challenging."
On a positive note he said radio remained strong, reaching around d93% of Americans each week and was still an "extremely important advertising vehicle." He also said he was encouraged by the speed at which radio companies were moving to deliver their content on the internet, adding that it would be "exciting" to work with them as the company begins measurement of Internet streams this summer allowing stations to "package their online and offline product for maximum effectiveness."
Regarding concerns about the PPM he noted the changes agreed with the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council last week (See RNW Jul 19) and in relation to the concerns of ethnically target formats commented on the p9litical implications as this was related to minority media ownership which is "hot topic in Washington right now."
"We continue," said Morris, "to feel strongly that our data are valid and reliable and do in fact effectively represent all segments of the population. We can and we will continue to improve our samples, as part of our continuous improvement, but it's time now to move forward."
Asked about the costs of increasing sample sizes Morris skated round the issue, saying that increases in cell-phone-only recruitment, which CFO Sean Cramer had described as more difficult and expensive to recruit, would help increase the numbers for the 18-34 demographic and that the "most efficient" way to increase the sample was to convert the 6-11 part of the panel to 12plus in relation to which he noted that the 6-11 demographic has been more of a TV than a radio one and that Arbitron could make this change without a material impact on expenses.
2008-07-22: XM Satellite Radio which on Monday announced subscriber numbers up to above 9.6 million and preliminary figures (See RNW Jul 21), has now released its results for the second quarter to the end of June in which its revenues were up nearly 15% year-on-year from USD 277 million to USD 318 million with adjusted operating loss down from USD 47 million to USD 37 million and net loss down from USD 176 million to USD 120 million.
XM also reported subscriber acquisition costs (SAC) down from USD 75 a year ago to USD 65 and cost per gross addition (CPGA) down from USD 121 to USD 100 and added that conversion rate and churn were slightly improved. Conversion was up to 53.4% from 52.7% a year ago and churn improved to 1.67% from 1.84%.
2008-07-22: Following its announcement last week that John Hayes is to stand down as President of Corus Radio at the end of August (See RNW Jul 16), Corus Entertainment has announced a number of senior management changes.
On an interim basis it says its President and CEO John Cassaday will add operating responsibility for Corus Radio to his duties and reporting lines will change accordingly with Mario Cecchini, Chris Pandoff, Doug Rutherford and Bryan Ellis, who will become Vice Presidents for Quebec, Ontario, the West and Planning respectively, reporting directly to Cassaday as will Scott Dyer, who becomes Chief Technology Officer from August 5.
Dyer will have operational and strategic responsibility for hardware, software, personnel and technical resources for Corus' core and new media/new platform businesses and will also oversee the technological aspects of the Company's move to its new corporate headquarters and broadcast facility next year.
Doug Rutherford will retain direct responsibility for the Edmonton Radio cluster and all cluster General Managers across Canada will report directly to the appropriate Regional Vice President.
2008-07-22: CanWest Media, which had already indicated that its three UK FM stations were for sale (See RNW May 30), has sold its Aberdeen station Original 106fm to Seven Broadcast, which already held 5% of the station: The station will keep the brand name under a licensing agreement.
Seven Broadcast is owned by Jonathan Arendt and Richard Johnson and had a consultancy agreement with CanWest when it won its first UK licence,the Solent regional station, which won the first licence to be awarded to a foreign company (See RNW Sep 6, 2005) and for which Johnson was the launch managing director.
CanWest won the the Bristol "Original" licence a year later (See RNW Sept 15, 2006) and finally the Aberdeen licence, which was awarded in January last year (See RNW Jan 12, 2007). The station went on air on October 28th last year with Iain McKenna, a former head of Northsound, who resigned from Emap's Radio City in Liverpool to move back to Aberdeen, as its managing director - he retains his post; and other former Northsound staff including Martin Ingrams, who became its breakfast host; andprogramme controller Neil Weightman, who also hosts the drivetime show; and evening host.
McKenna said the deal was "a fantastic opportunity, both for me personally and the radio station."
2008-07-22: Mexican Radio Group Grupo Radio Centro, S.A.B. de C.V. has reported second quarter revenues this year up 16.1% on a year earlier to MXN 173.6 million (USD 16.88 million), mainly put down to increased advertising revenues. For the first six months revenues are up 8.5% to MXN 301.8 million (USD 29.35 million).
Expenses were up 32.6%- mainly attributable to higher legal expenses - but operating income was up more - up 59% to MXN 52.9 million (USD 5.14 million) for the quarter and up for the first six months 67.3% to MXN 66.0 million (USD 6.42 million): Net income was up 58.5 % for the quarter to MXN 25.4 million (USD 2.47 million) and for the first six months more than doubled from MXN 13.1 million to MXN 26.25 million (USD 2.55 million).
Previous Grupo Radio:
2008-07-21: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia has thrown out the USD 550,000 fines imposed on CBS by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in relation to the brief flash of Janet Jackson's breast during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show as a result of what her fellow pop singer Justin Timberlake later termed a "wardrobe malfunction."
CBS had paid the fine but appealed on "constitutional, statutory, and public policy grounds", claiming in particular that the FCC had acted arbitrarily and capriciously.
The incident lasted "nine-sixteenths of one second" and the FCC had in the past not taken action over "fleeting" instances related to video indecency: CBS had already implemented a five-second audio delay to guard against the possibility of indecent language being transmitted on air, but it did not employ similar precautionary technology for video.
The incident led to many complaints, largely as the result of an organized-email campaign and the court ruling notes that CBS said that of more than 542,000 complaints the FCC said it had received, more than 85% are "form complaints generated by single-interest Groups", and approximately 20% are duplicates "with some individual complaints appearing in the record up to 37 times."
The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture of USD 550,000 in Sept 2004 (See RNW Sep 23, 2004) in reaction to which CBS subsequently asked for reconsideration and after this plea was refused filed a petition for review in July 28: In considering this petition the Court of Appeals noted that at the time of the broadcast "the FCC's policy on fleeting material was still in effect."
It commented that the "FCC contends its restrained policy applied only to fleeting utterances - specifically, fleeting expletives - and did not extend to fleeting images. But a review of the Commission's enforcement history reveals that its policy on fleeting material was never so limited. The FCC's present distinction between words and images for purposes of determining indecency represents a departure from its prior policy."
It then concluded, "Like any agency, the FCC may change its policies without judicial second-guessing. But it cannot change a well-established course of action without supplying notice of and a reasoned explanation for its policy departure. Because the FCC failed to satisfy this requirement, we find its new policy arbitrary and capricious."
The court's ruling sends the matter back to the FCC, allowing it the options of accepting the ruling, seeking a review of the decision by the full appeals court, or asking the U.S. Supreme Court, which is already scheduled in its next term to decide another case on FCC indecency ruling in relation to Fox TV's broadcast of the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards in which the words "fuck" and "shit" were aired, to hear an appeal.
The FCC has so far not responded to the ruling but CBS in a statement termed it "an important win for the entire broadcasting industry because it recognizes that there are rare instances, particularly during live programming, when it may not be possible to block unfortunate fleeting material, despite best efforts," and said it hoped the decision would "lead the FCC to return to the policy of restrained indecency enforcement it followed for decades."
The ruling was attacked by the Parents Television Council, which speedily launched another campaign: on its website under a (plainly propagandist) heading, "Federal Judges Say Janet Jackson Superbowl Incident Wasn't Shocking Enough! " the council said "Activist judges across the country are making a mockery of Federal Broadcast Decency laws" and then called for people to "TAKE ACTION NOW! Call your Senators and Senator Harry Reid and demand immediate action on S. 1780 (Protecting Children From Indecent Programming Act)."
In a news release its president Tim Winter said, "Once again, a three-judge panel has hijacked the will of the American people - not to mention the intent of the Congress acting on behalf of the public interest - when it comes to indecent content on the public airwaves. While we are not surprised that the legal venue hand-picked by CBS would rule in favour of the network, the court's opinion goes beyond judicial activism; it borders on judicial stupidity. If a striptease during the Super Bowl in front of 90 million people - including millions of children - doesn't fit the parameters of broadcast indecency, then what does?"
He then urged an FCC appeal to the Supreme Court and added, "In light of this decision, Congress must immediately vote on S.1780 (Protecting Children From Indecent Programming Act) to reaffirm its support for protecting the public airwaves from indecent content."
RNW comment: We have not covered all of this case in detail as it pertains primarily to TV but the decision of the court is in our view being grossly misrepresented by the likes of the Parents TV Council, whether through dishonesty or blinkered bigotry that prevents it from reading the limits of the decision, which relates to an important principle affecting not just all broadcasters but in a wider sphere all citizens.
The court has not said that the FCC is not now within its power to take action but it has said that at the time of the action taken by it the agency departed without prior warning from normal practice. That ruling seems substantiated by the facts and it would take an activist court decision to overturn it - the appellation is simply propaganda in terms of the current ruling but it certainly would be activist to decide that agencies or governments, whatever the defiantly illegal practices of the current US administration, and overturn precedents in such a manner.
In practical terms, either live broadcasts are allowed in the US or they are not: The latter would appear to now be the case unless broadcasters are prepared to gamble on facing penalties in case of the totally unexpected and overall we think the public will be worse off as broadcasters revert to euphemisms and censorship. We can only hope that they start a practice where appropriate of always making the raw cover available on websites, where people have to choose to go and thus the FCC writ does not run and directing listeners to viewers to the site to draw attention to the issues involved.
Court Ruling ( 102 page, 394 Kb PDF):
2008-07-21: XM Satellite Radio in its preliminary results for the second quarter of the year has announced the addition of 322,000 new net subscribers in the quarter to a total of 9,653,000 subscribers, a 17% increase on a year ago. Churn was down to 1.67% compared to 1.77% in the first quarter and 1.84% a year earlier.
Gross additions for the quarter were 1,081,000, including a record 857,000 OEM gross additions, the fifth consecutive quarter of record OEM gross additions, and 224,000 retail gross additions.
XM said that its revenues for the quarter are expected to be in the range USD 283 million to USD 288 million with the second quarter adjusted operating loss in the range of USD 32 million to USD 38 million, excluding the impact of any FCC settlement in relation to its merger with Sirius.
XM also announced separately that is launching an offering of USD 400 million aggregate principal amount of new senior notes part of a series of transactions to refinance certain debt of XM in connection with the pending merger with Sirius Satellite Radio.
The notes will be offered in the United States to qualified institutional buyers and the offering will be structured in a manner that will permit it to be unwound if the merger is not consummated.
2008-07-21: Clear Channel subsidiary Premiere Radio Networks and Citadel Communications subsidiary ABC Radio Networks have announced a contract with conservative talk host Sean Hannity under which the "Sean Hannity Show" will be syndicated by both.
The companies did not disclose the value of the deal, which starts on December 28 and is thought to be of the order of USD 400 million for five years, but noted that the three-hour afternoon show, which originates from WABC-AM, New York, would continue to be syndicated to Citadel stations by ABC Radio Networks whilst Premiere will syndicate it to Clear Channel stations and stations not owned by either company.
Premiere will also lead the show'sadvertising sales from 2009, starting immediately for forward bookings. The companies say they "will strategically join forces in special cases."
Hannity commented in a release, "I have a passion and a love for radio and I deeply want to thank all of my listeners and my radio partners around the country. From the very first day, 21 years ago when that red 'on-air' light went on, I have always felt I was one of the luckiest people on earth. If anybody told me back in 1987 when I began my radio journey, that I would be in this historic partnership with the two best syndication companies in radio, I would never have believed them. This deal for me is truly a dream come true, and for that I am extremely grateful to all who have made this possible."
Citadel CEO Farid Suleman commented, "We are delighted to continue our long-standing relationship with Sean. His show first aired on WABC, which has served as his flagship since September 10, 2001. This new partnership is groundbreaking in the syndicated programming arena. Sean is a special talent and both companies as well as our listeners will benefit from this alliance."
For Clear Channel its Radio president and CEO John Hogan added, "We're extremely privileged to be working with Sean Hannity during the next phase of his remarkable career. It's a testament to both his talent and his professionalism. Sean's unique blend of energy, charisma and intelligence makes him both a tremendous broadcaster and a great asset to radio."
Talkers Magazine ranks Hannity second in its list of top US talk hosts - behind Rush Limbaugh, who is also syndicated by Premiere and who recently agreed a new contract with Premiere valued at around USD 400 million over eight years made up of around USD 38 million a year plus a USD 100 million signing bonus (See RNW Jul 2).
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Premiere Radio Networks:
2008-07-21: Top rated Sydney 2GB breakfast host Alan Jones, who earlier this month revealed that he had prostate cancer (See RNW Jul 7) is now "comfortable and resting'' following successful surgery according to a statement from family spokeswoman Tonia Taylor.
He is expected to return to the air in two to three weeks after stepping down from his show on July 9, since when his slot has been filled temporarily by Jason Morrison.
2008-07-20: Following another quiet week for the regulators, the US is still awaiting a decision on the Sirius-XM merger and elsewhere there were only a few radio-related postings - none at all from Australia or Ireland.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has posted only one radio decision, the approval of an application by Club Social la Grande for a licence to operate a radiocommunication distribution undertaking to serve Camp Rupert, which is located 60 km east of Nemiscau in north-western Quebec. The undertaking will distribute the programming of CFQR-FM, CBF-FM, CKOI-FM and CITE-FM Montréal.
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with an August 19 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments that included the following radio -related matters:
Applications by Care Radio Broadcasting Association, to amend the licence of the Type B English-language FM community radio programming undertaking CIAM-FM, Fort Vermilion, to add low-power FM transmitters at Meander River, Peerless Lake, Manning, Cleardale, Chateh, Wabasca and Fort Chipewyan, Alberta to broadcast its programming.
Proposed are 50 watt transmitters for Cleardale, Manning, Meander River, Peerless Lake; a 45 watts transmitter at Wabasca; a 30 watts transmitter at Fort Chipewyan; and a 14 watts transmitter at Chateh.
Application by Eleanor Whiteduck, to renew the licence of the Type B community native radio programming undertaking CKWE-FM, Maniwaki, expiring 31 August 2008.
In the UK, Ofcom posted reasons for its award of three community licences last month to EAVA FM, Demon FM, and Kohinoor FM, all in Leicester (See RNW Licence News Jul 6). In each case the radio licensing committee noted experience in broadcasting and sound funding proposals.
Ofcom noted that following its posting in October last year inviting applications for community radio licences in the west Midlands, east Midlands and Lincolnshire it had received 31 applications of which 25 had now been considered with six more still to be dealt with.
Ofcom also posted its 2007-08 review of fees and payments that showed a total of GBP 230.9 million (USD 461.5 million), up GBP 1 million (Just below USD 2 million) on a year earlier, was collected and passed on to the UK Exchequer and to the Treasuries of the Isle of Man, the Bailiwick of Jersey, and the Bailiwick of Guernsey
Of the total GBP 173.6 million ( USD 347 million) came from Wireless Telegraphy licences within which are the fees from broadcasters that are made up of pre-determined annual fixed payments (cash bids) that are increased annually in line with the Retail Price Index and a fee based on a percentage of the broadcasters' advertising and sponsorship revenue (qualifying revenue).
The broadcasters payments for the year totalled GBP 53.1 million (USD 106.1 million - down from GBP 63.4 million -USD 126.7 million - a year earlier) of which GBP 9.4 million (USD 18.8 million - up from GBP 8.9 million - USD 17.8 million) was in cash bids and GBP 43.7 million (USD 87.3 million - down from GBP 54.5 million - USD 108.9 million) from qualifying revenues. Ofcom said the reduction in the latter was is predominantly due to the trend in the increase of digital penetration rates in Television and Radio sectors reducing the advertising and sponsorship revenues of licence holders.
It also noted that the review of financial terms for the Independent Radio Licences undertaken in 2006 also led to one licensee paying a lower percentage rate of qualifying revenue from October 2007 and a reduced cash bid payment in 2008.
The remaining amount came from fines, which rose dramatically - from GBP 400,000 ( USD 800,000) to GBP 4.2 million ( USD 8.4 million) primarily because of a few very large fines over premium rate phone line telephone services.
Ofcom also posted a statement on Future regulation of equal opportunities in broadcasting concerning which it had held a consultation. The agency is responsible for ensuring that all but the smallest broadcasters make arrangements for promoting equal opportunities in employment regardless of gender, race and disability and currently does so an annual reporting process and guidance to broadcasters on policies and procedures.
The consultation, it said, had favoured co-regulation in which there was a background of experience of co-regulation of training and development through the Broadcast Training and Skills Regulator (BTSR), and felt that the BTSR should undertake this task for equal opportunities.
In view of this it said it had opted to retain direct regulation until at least April 2009 to allow proper preparation after which it will decide whether the time is ripe to commence co-regulation based on plans to be submitted by BTSR following a detailed planning process, in which both broadcasters and other interest groups should be actively involved.
In the US as already noted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision on the Sirius-XM merger is still awaited although the auguries seem to be in its favour albeit possible with additional conditions to those already put forward with reports that Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein would vote in favour on this basis (See RNW Jul 18). There has also been continuing lobbying on this basis, particularly for an insistence that HD radio receive capability be built into satellite receivers (See also RNW Jul 17and Jul 15).
The agency was also involved again in a number of enforcement actions and decisions regarding contested licence matters and also announced that it was now ready to grant two further FM licences won in its auction 37 - the licences were for Grape Creek and Rio Grande City, both in Texas.
The enforcement actions included the following (in descending order of amount):
*USD 14,400 forfeiture to East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, licensee of KBRH-AM and WBRH-FM, both in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for failing to properly maintain a public file for each station.
The Enforcement Bureau had issued Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) of USD 9,000 for each station in 2004 to which the board filed a response asking for cancellation or reduction on the basis of a longstanding history of overall compliance with the Rules; voluntary disclosure of its public file deficiencies; implementation of new measures at the Stations to ensure future compliance; and its severely limited financial resources.
It submitted its 2003 Annual Financial Report in support of the financial argument, noting that of gross revenues of more than USD 400 million it has lost some USD 35 million in state funding due to a decline in student enrolment and had also settled a lawsuit for some USD 10 million.
The FCC did not accept the financial argument or any of the others apart from its history of compliance, trimming the penalty to USD 14,400 on this basis.
*USD 10,000 forfeiture to Christian Family Network, Inc., former licensee of WOLY-AM, Battle Creek, Michigan, for unauthorized operation after its licence had expired. The licensee had argued for cancellation on the basis that its violation was not wilful and the station's failure to file a timely renewal application resulted from its inability to file electronically. The FCC noted a number of occasions on which the station had been advised of the licence expiry and in August last year issued an NAL for 10,000 to which Christian Family responded by saying it could not file its renewal application because it did not have a computer and said that it had filed a request for a special temporary authorization ("STA") on December 10, 2006. It also argued that it was unable to pay the forfeiture.
The FCC in confirming the penalty noted that Christian Family Network claimed that it is "a poor Christian day-time and cannot afford. . . [a computer]" and goes on to state that it is "very worried and concerned because this is a serious matter involving assets worth more than USD 1,000,000."
The FCC in response to this pointed out the availability of Internet access at many public institutions for a minimal fee and that in regards to the STA it had no record of receiving such a request but that in any case as the licence had by then expired more than two years previously Christian Family was not eligible to receive an STA.
Regarding inability to pay it noted that no supporting financial documentation had been provided despite explicit direction on this.
Accordingly it confirmed the penalty and also noted that as of July 14 its agents had found the station still operating without a licence, and warned that if it did not immediately cease operation of the station this could result in further monetary fines and other more serious sanctions.
*USD 9,000 forfeiture to Phoenix Broadcasting Group, Inc., Licensee of KAMJ-FM, Gosnell, Arkansas, for failing to properly maintain a public file for the station. Phoenix had argued for reduction on the basis that it made an "honest mistake" but the argument was rejected. The FCC did note that it had reduced the penalty by USD 1,000 already because of voluntary disclosure.
*USD 9,000 forfeiture to Phoenix Broadcasting Group, Inc., Licensee of Station KQDD -FM, Osceola, Arkansas, for failing to properly maintain a public file for the station. Phoenix had again argued for reduction on the basis that it made an "honest mistake" but the argument was again rejected and the FCC again noted that it had reduced the penalty by USD 1,000 already because of voluntary disclosure.
*USD 3,000 forfeiture to VI/MAN Broadcasting, licensee of WEGA-AM, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, for failure to timely file a license renewal application and subsequent unauthorized operation.
The licensee claimed that it had attempted to file the renewal on time but its electronically submitted application was never accepted by the Commission due to a miscommunication concerning the filing fee for the application. It then properly tendered both the subject license renewal application and the request for STA to continue operation pending consideration of the license renewal application.
The FCC had initially issued an NAL for USD 6,000 in relation to the breaches and halved this in view of the licensee's efforts to properly file the renewal application.
*USD 1,500 forfeiture to Community-First Broadcasters, Inc., licensee of WAMV-AM, Amherst, Virginia, for failing to file renewal application on time. The licensee had responded to an NAL for this amount by requesting reduction but had failed to provide documentation supporting a claim of financial hardship and the penalty was confirmed.
In licensing decision the commission rejected opposition by a Ray O'Russa to an application by Mapleton Communications, LLC to reduce the night-time power of KGA-AM, Spokane, Washington from 50 watts utilizing three towers to 15 watts utilizing four towers and change its night-time pattern, and also to increase the night-time power of KPIG-AM, Piedmont, California from 0.230 kW from a five-tower directional array to 2.4 kW utilizing four towers. The change would automatically mean the status of KGA would change from Class A to Class B AM station.
O'Russa argued that the change would mean that KGA would "lose much of its great historical West Coast night-time service area" and that all clear channel AM stations could lose their status if the Commission does not reject these "hostile takeovers" of clear channel stations. Mapleton had responded that the applications serve the Commission's goal of reducing overall AM interference.
The FCC ruled in favour of Mapleton, noting that the gains for KPIG and a number of other stations would significantly increase the number of persons receiving primary service, more than offset predicted loss of night-time skywave service and will reduce total interference in the AM band.
In Maine, the FCC denied objections to the renewal of the licence of Saga-owned WBAE-AM, Portland, on the grounds that the station pre-empts its regular music programming to broadcast Portland Seadogs and Boston Red Sox games. The objectors claimed that this violated promises of "All music all the time" made when the station was launched.
WBAE's General Manager responded by noting that the station is a simulcast for much of the time with WVAE-AM, serving Bedford, Maine, with WBAE carrying the broadcasts of the Portland Seadogs baseball team and WVAE broadcasts of the Boston Red Sox's baseball games. He added that to the best of his knowledge Saga never promised to broadcast 'all music all the time' on WBAE.
The FCC rejected the objections and noted, as usual that is does not normally interfere with programming decision and would only intervene when a licensee abuses its discretion to choose, in good faith, the programming it believes serves the needs and interests of its community.
In Michigan, the Commission denied an application from Fort Bend Broadcasting Company requesting reconsideration of a staff decision denying an application to move the community of licence of WLDR-AM, Kingsley, where it is the sole service, to Garfield Township, Grand Traverse County. The staff ruling it said was correct and no hearing was required, as argued by Fort Bend,
Also in Michigan the FCC dismissed a petition from First Pentecostal Church of God in Christ seeking the rescinding of a staff grant of a construction permit for a non-commercial educational (NCE) station at Bedford to Holy Family Oratory of St. Philip Neri.
First Pentecostal said that it had attempted to submit an electronic application for a mutually exclusive CP for an NCE station at Battle Creek but the Bureau's electronic database and filing system (CDBS), which had suffered an outage, had failed to properly process the submission and that it had taken action to alert the commission of the problems to correct the difficulty. The Commission's Media Bureau accepted the Holy Family application and as there was no filing to deny it or object to it granted the application and the FCC noted that First Pentecostal had not sought reconsideration within the 30 days allowed under FCC rules.
The FCC noted that because of the outage of six-and-a-half hours between 01:30 and 08:00 it had extended the filing window from noon on Friday October 19, 2007 to 2 p.m. on the following Monday, amply compensating for the lost time and that applicants had been specifically cautioned not to wait until the end of the window to file their applications. First Pentecostal it said did not show good cause why it could not have made its filing on time and accordingly it dismissed its call to rescind the CP grant.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-07-20: Peter Lloyd, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's south-Asia correspondent is to appear in court in Singapore on Friday charged with trafficking and possession of methamphetamine, or "ice", charges that carry a sentence of up to 20 years in jail and 15 lashes with the cane.
Lloyd, who began his ABC career in 1988 and has mainly worked in TV but with a spell on the national radio current affairs programs AM, The World Today and PM, is reported to have been offered bail of SGD 60,000 (USD 44,000) but latest reports are that he is currently being held in jail.
Australian consular officials had attended a private court hearing in the prison ward of Changi General Hospital - Lloyd was being treated for an eye infection he contracted while on leave - at which the charges were laid.
According to the charges, Lloyd had sold around a gram of methamphetamine, valued at around SGD 100 ( USD 74) to a Singapore man early this month and was also in possession of around a gram of the drug. Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau said Lloyd's urine had tested positive for methamphetamines on an instant urine-test machine.
The ABC's head of legal services, Rob Simpson, flew to Singapore on Friday following Lloyd's arrest but has yet to meet him and the ABC's director of news John Cameron is also flying out to Singapore.
The ABC has been cautious about commenting on the case: A spokeswoman refused to comment on whether the ABC would assist Lloyd with bail, or if he will stay on the payroll and added, "No one has actually seen him yet; we don't know what legal representation he's organised or the family has." She dismissed reports that Lloyd's legal team were planning to raise suspicions that the man to whom he was said to have sold the drug, Sani Saidi, had implicated Lloyd in the deal in exchange for a lesser charge.
Previous ABC Australia:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2008-07-19: Veteran US radio commentator Paul Harvey, now 89, is back on air today following a hiatus because of medical leave and then a personal break following the death in May of his wife Lynne "Angel" Harvey (See RNW May 5).
ABC Radio Networks vice president John McConnell told affiliates that from today the host will "begin doing the 15-minute midday 'News and Comment' again, part-time at first, working up to every day."
His son Paul Harvey Jr., will continue to deliver at least three of the morning 'News and Comment' segments each week until his father feels ready to resume those as well.
Previous Paul Harvey Jr.:
2008-07-19: Arbitron's Radio Advisory Council, which ended three-days of meetings in Teton Village, Wyoming, yesterday, has been told by Arbitron president and CEO Steve Morris that the ratings company's No. 1 priority was to secure MRC accreditation for its Radio First PPM ratings.
In connection with these the company's actions have included agreement to increase the 12 plus PPM sample by a tenth including the 18-54 demographic but had proposed a deadline of 2010 to do so, leading the council to call for speedier implementation, a matter on which Arbitron is to come back to the council whose next scheduled meeting is in Annapolis, Maryland, in November. The company has also increased the sample guarantee for the 18-54 demographic from 80% to 90% and that for the 6 plus demographic from 90% to 100% with that for the 18-34 demographic, concerning which it has come under criticism, from 70% to 75% at six months and 80% for two years and beyond: The council has asked for proposals to reach for a 100% benchmark for both 18-34 and 18-54 demographics.
The advisory council chairman Chuck DuCoty, who is also New Radio Group COO, added that there had also been discussion on sample issues with Arbitron's diary service and the company has been asked for diary sample benchmarks for the 12+, 18-34 and 18-54 so that progress in solving the issues can be measured.
Arbitron has also released preliminary radio ratings data from its Los Angeles Portable People Meter service that it says show "Average station cume audiences are up sharply for all formats" - although the breakdown it released in fact shows a fall from 466,600 for the Spring 2007 diary to 336,600 for the June 2008 PPM ratings [RNW comment: We assume innumeracy, illiteracy or PR rather than carelessness in the table posted are the most likely reasons for the discrepancy]; that in the market Hispanics spend most time with radio and are the most loyal listeners; and that audience composition confirms the targetability of radio formats.
In terms of weekly cume the PPM rating show the largest increase between diary and PPM for Adult contemporary - up from an average station figure of 619,900 for the Spring 2007 diary to 1,684,700 for PPM - and CHR - up from 817,550 to 1,972,775.
Arbitron also notes that the PPM ratings show a "dramatic increase in the composition of the radio audience (persons 18+) who are employed Full Time compared to what was reported by the radio diary" , particularly for African-American listeners.
Arbitron's president, Sales and Marketing Pierre Bouvard commented of the figures, "Just as we have seen in our previous PPM markets, the Los Angeles June 2008 ratings show significant growth in the total audience reach of individual radio stations. That means advertisers can now turn to radio for something that they prize: the ability to deliver reach against a specific target audience." He added, "We also see that, even as individual station cume audiences have increased due to PPM's unique ability to track every station that a person can hear, radio still maintains its targetability."
2008-07-18: The BBC has named former Microsoft Executive Erik Huggers as Director of BBC Future Media & Technology (FM&T) to succeed Ashley Highfield, who has left the cvorporation to become CEO of Kangaroo, the working title for a proposed new video on-demand service owned by BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4.
Huggers, currently FM&T group controller will take up his new role on August 1 and will be responsible for the BBC's output on the internet, interactive TV, mobile, broadband (including the BBC iPlayer) and other emerging platforms and also for the BBC's enterprise and broadcast technology strategy and delivery.
Announcing the appointment, BBC Director-General Mark Thompson said that Huggers had been "a very strong group controller, FM&T for the last year" and added, "He has shown tremendous commitment championing the iPlayer amongst many other projects. I look forward to him bringing his drive and determination to this new role, helping ensure the BBC is fit for the digital future."
2008-07-18: Democrat Jonathan Adelstein, whose vote would tip the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision on the Sirius-XM merger to a go-ahead has told the Associated Press that he would vote in favour if the companies were prepared to accept tougher conditions.
FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin has already said he would consider the idea of tightening up the conditions he had agreed with the two companies for a go-ahead and the two Republicans Commissioners were thought to be likely to vote in favour - Commissioner Robert McDowell has already indicated support but Deborah Taylor Tate is still so far publicly undecided - whilst Adelstein and his Democrat colleague Michael J. Copps were against.
According to the AP, amongst the conditions Adelstein wants are a six year price cap rather than the three years proposed and a requirement that the combined company make one quarter of its satellite capacity available for public interest and minority programming- 10 percent for non-commercial programming and 15 percent for minority programming.
The companies have already agreed to make their technology available for manufacturers to produce receivers that can handle satellite as well as analogue and HD radio signals but various groups including HD developer iBiquity and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have pushed to make it a condition of approval that HD be built into all satellite receivers.
Adelstein has said regarding this that the satellite companies should be required to include a digital radio tuner in any radios they subsidize that can also receive AM-FM services. He also wants an enforcement regime to be set up to ensure that the companies stick to the conditions that are imposed as opposed to the current voluntary offer.
2008-07-17: In a trio of rulings Canadian watchdog the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has rejected two complaints against radio but upheld a third where it ruled that misleading promotions aired by CILQ-FM (Q107, Toronto) in early 2007 breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Code of Ethics.
The promotions said that on the station "You're never more than two minutes away from great classic rock" but a complainant pointed out with details from a particular time block that this was not so and there were frequently periods of more than two minutes between songs, particularly during the morning show.
Q107 had responded by saying the "two minutes away" did not apply during the morning show, so it did not air the promo during that program. The complainant argued that the term "never" implied that the condition applied at all times and the Ontario Regional Panel, which pointed out that this still allowed for a break of up to four minutes between songs, agreed and added that it appeared that the station was purposefully luring listeners by the promise of frequent music.. It also noted that the promotion was modified following the complaint.
The two other complaints that we not upheld involved editorial comments on CFRB-AM, Toronto and CKNW-AM, Vancouver.
In the CRFB case, host Michael Coren on his show commented on problems with pit-bull terriers after an incident in which a retired couple had been badly bitten by a pit-bull and were likely to need rabies shots.
Of this incident he referred to the dog's owner, who had given the couple a fake phone number as "the cretin owner, because everyone who owns a pit-bull is a cretin" and later in the ensuing discussion with callers referred to owners of the breed as "are moronic by nature"; said that in buying them people were trying to make a statement ... "Which is normally quite obvious: 'I'm some white trash, semi-criminal who wants you to be frightened of me'" ; and made other similar statements about the breed and their owners including the joking suggestion that the owners should also be killed.
The exchange led a listener to complain that Coren disparaged pit-bull owners and advocated violence against them. The CBSC noted that comments that sanction or promote violence breach codes but in this case did not agree that the host was advocating the killing of pit-bull's owners.
It agreed that the complainant's assertion that Coren "tarred all owners of pit-bulls" was accurate but said that in the terms of the codes he was entitled to this opinion and regarding violence commented that "The Panel understands clearly the disrespect manifested by the host for pit-bull owners, but nothing in what it has reviewed leads them to believe in the slightest that he had any intention of advocating violence of any kind toward the owners of pit-bulls."
The other complaint that was not upheld involved a broadcast of Bruce Allen's 90-second editorial, Reality Check on CKNW in September last year on the topic of immigrants in which Allen mentioned a number of cultural problems ethnic or religious minorities had encountered, including: Sikh children denied passports because they were wearing "handkerchiefs" in their photos, an immigration plan to change common Sikh surnames Singh and Kaur, burka-wearing women encountering resistance when trying to vote, turban-wearers refusing to wear helmets when motorcycle-riding, etc. Allen concluded his piece with "if you are immigrating to this country and you don't like the rules that are in place, then you have the right to choose not to live here" and "If you don't like the rules, hit it. We don't need you here. You have another place to go; it's called home."
The comment generated considerable controversy and Allen appeared on the Christy Clark Show the following week to discuss the commentary.
The panel considered complaints made in respect to a clause of the code that prohibits "abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion" and unanimously concluded that this clause was not violated.
It also considered them in respect of another code that requires the full, fair and proper presentation of opinion, editorial and comment and in this case the six-strong panel was evenly split concerning the issue of a breach.
Those who felt there was no breach considered that the host was only expressing a political perspective, which he was free to espouse and to broadcast but others felt that Allen's identification of Sikh religious headgear as "handkerchiefs" and the Sikh surname as "Khan" rather than "Kaur" were "mocking or condescending" and commented that he had has felt free to lash out at the practices of those he characterizes as immigrants, and to do so without taking the time or showing the respect to get his research right in the first place.
Another complainant had objected to the host's appearance on the Christy Clark Show but in this case the Panel found that that program was an entirely balanced discussion of the controversy and surrounding issues.
N concluding its decision the panel commented that CKNW and its parent company Corus had taken "extraordinary steps to respond quickly and thoughtfully to the concerns of the public" , that CKNW had responded to all of the many complainants in a "thoughtful, sensitive" manner and had "opened their airwaves to comments and criticisms about the Bruce Allen editorial."
2008-07-17: Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Edward Markey, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet has called upon the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to impose tougher conditions than those proposed by FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin to pass the merger of Sirius and XM Satellite Radio.
In a letter to the commission Markey says, "I believe that such an extraordinary (satellite radio merger) request compels the commission to adopt several extraordinary conditions if it wishes to approve the merger" and goes on to say the period under which the price of the combined service should be capped should be six years rather than the three years Martin put forward; increase the number of channels set aside for non-commercial services above the 24 Martin had called for; and also require receivers to be capable of receiving HD radio signals.
Martin had proposed requiring satellite receivers to be able to handle both the satellite services but made no suggestion regarding HD, a proposal that its developer iBiquity and the National Associations of Broadcasters (NAB) have been lobbying for, a move that US National Public Radio (NPR) also favours.
Its CEO Dennis Haarsager in the letter to Martin says a " merger condition requiring the inclusion of HD Radio technology in all new satellite receivers would ensure a competitive market for digital terrestrial broadcasting, while preventing monopolistic market forces from squeezing out this growing service."
Markey took a similar line, saying in his letter to Martin," "Only through such a mandate will the Commission adequately ensure that competition in digital radio services is as robust as possible and that free, over-the-air radio remains a vibrant marketplace alternative for consumers well into the future."
Markey also raises concerns about a merged satellite company building up its advertising revenues at the expense of national advertising on terrestrial radio, commenting, "Such a trend will undoubtedly affect the viability of free, over-the-air radio stations in many markets. This would be similar to what occurred during the development of cable television when cable operators initially did not air commercial advertisements but later supplemented revenue from subscription fees by airing such commercials."
The suggestion that HD reception be mandated for satellite receivers was recently opposed by General Motors and Toyota (See RNW Jul 11) and has also been opposed by some equipment makers including Pioneer which in May said such a requirement "would limit the breadth of radio product offerings to consumers, limit which radio component suppliers' products be designed into radios, have the effect of decreasing AM/FM tuning performance, unnecessarily increase costs to consumers uninterested in HD Radio and interfere with the useful and healthy free market mechanisms extant in radio electronics purchases."
Pioneer concluded, "It is our belief that HD Radio should compete in the marketplace with other radio services: if free local digital terrestrial radio services are compelling to consumers, HD Radio technology will succeed in the marketplace. In this case, the free market is the best measure of the public interest. "
2008-07-16: US radio advertising revenues, which in June were down 8% on a year ago, did even worse in June when they were down 9% overall according to figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
Within the figures non-spot remained the only bright spot with a 10% increase - up 12% in May - whilst local revenues were down 10% - 9% in May, national ones down 13% - the same as May, and local and national combined were down 10% as for May.
Previous RAB & RAB monthly figures (May):
2008-07-16: Corus Entertainment has announced that John Hayes is to step down as President of Corus Radio at the end of the Company's fiscal year on August 31: He had been with the company since 2001when he was appointed program director.
Paying tribute to him in an announcement, Corus President and CEO John Cassaday said, "With a focus on training and development, building deep customer relationships, and working to imbed each radio station into the local fabric of a community, John spearheaded the growth of our radio division and established Corus Radio as an industry leader in terms of reach, revenues and ratings. We thank John for his tremendous contribution to Corus Entertainment. His passion for the radio business and dedication to his team will be missed."
Hayes noted that the company's long-term strategic plan was presented to our Board of Directors on July 8 and 9 and added, "As I worked with the team on formulating the long-term strategy for the radio division, I naturally began to think of my own future. As we discussed my commitment to remain at Corus long enough to see these plans through, it became clear to me that at this stage of my life I was not able to make that commitment. My tenure as President of Corus Radio is the longest time I have spent in any role in my career. I have cherished my seven years with the Company, but I am an entrepreneur at heart and the time is right for me to move on."
Hayes got wide publicity in 2001 when as Corus program director he cancelled the Howard Stern Show on CILQ-FM (Q107) in Toronto (See RNW Nov 27 , 2001) - it had been dropped in 2000 by his other Canadian affiliate CHOM-FM in Montreal after numerous listener complaints (Stern had termed the French "peckerheads" and said they "should bend over for me the way they did for Hitler"). This earned Hayes the sobriquet "The Incubus" from the host who was then formally off the air in Canada until his 2006 debut on Sirius Canada although some Canadians had been able to listen to his terrestrial show from a Buffalo station until 2005.
Previous Sirius Canada:
2008-07-16: Welsh actress Ruth Jones, who won the Best Female Comedy Newcomer award at the 2007 British Comedy Awards and is best known for playing Nessa in the BBC3 TV show "Gavin and Stacey" which she co-created with James Corden, is to present her own show on BBC Radio Wales from October.
"Ruth Jones' Sunday Brunch" will air from 10:00 until noon on Sundays from October 5 is the first commission for her Cardiff-based production company Sutherland Productions, which will produce the show for an initial run of 12 weeks.
She said of the radio show, "I'm really looking forward to it. It'll be like having friends over the house for brunch. We'll go through the papers, have a coffee, maybe a bacon bap or two and a nice chat, y'know, just relaxed and easy, easy like Sunday morning."
Radio Wales Editor Sali Collins said Jones was "one of British comedy's brightest stars and she's Welsh to the core, so her collaboration with Radio Wales is a perfect fit."
In other British radio moves, the Times of India, whose TIML Golden Square Ltd (TIML) subsidiary has bought Virgin Radio from SMG (See RNW Jun 21) has hired Bauer Consumer Media's digital marketing director Chris Lawson as its head of digital and branding.
Virgin is to be re-launched under a new name in the autumn (fall) and in his newly-created role Lawson will be responsible for developing the station's marketing strategy and its digital business. He has a background in branding with Emap, whose radio and consumer publishing divisions were bought by Bauer (See RNW Jan 26) and where he oversaw a portfolio of some 30 brands including FHM.com and Kerrang.com. Lawson will report to the station's chief operating officer, Clive Dickens.
Out at Virgin as part of the re-organization of the station are its digital media director, Andy Grumbridge and programming and marketing director, David Lloyd.
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd (Parent of Times of India and Entertainment Network India):
2008-07-15: This week we begin out look at comment on radio with Jerry del Colliano's "Grading the Radio Groups" from his insidemusicmedia blog, a somewhat wry commentary whose tone is summed up by one sentence: "It could be that there are some inept officers running some very influential radio companies."
He continues, "These COOs and CEOs make cutbacks in order to live from quarter to quarter. Yet they are paid millions in compensation and benefits -- the fruits of power that has been bestowed upon some, frankly, inept "leaders" for the better part of a decade."
Del Colliano then lists various companies and invites readers to judge "who is earning their keep and who is hurting their shareholders, employees -- and the entire industry."
Amongst them -we have listed only the companies with names starting with C - with what we consider the most salient or pithy parts of his comments are:
CLEAR CHANNEL - "No wonder the founding Mays family can't beat it to the door fast enough for one more pay check. Their legacy may very well be that they single-handedly helped lead the radio industry into the doldrums through inept management and lack of vision."
CBS RADIO - "CBS Radio President Joel Hollander didn't know what he was doing and when his successor, Dan Mason, showed up, he was smart enough to understand that CBS needed to program to the available radio audience and has tried to rebuild stations while corporate pressures forced him to make cutbacks -- not good."
COX RADIO - "Cox President Bob Neil, like CBS' Mason is smart. But Neil is increasingly distracted with the holy jihad he is conducting against Arbitron's People Meter instead of keeping his eyes on his fries "
CUMULUS - "Even with the benefit of small market economics Cumulus is getting too close to becoming a USD 1 stock. This in spite of the fact that the Dickey's knew they needed to get out, but were not able to make a buyout happen in the current financial atmosphere."
CITADEL - "Citadel is a particular disgrace as a public company because its shareholders see fit to compensate their CEO, Farid Suleman, at the USD 11 million a year level -- and they pay the taxes as part of his deal Suleman's accounting background leads him to default to cutting expenses and dismissing talented people rather than investing in a company that could have a digital future."
That last sentence leads us to our next comment- from Rick Aristotle Munarriz of the Motley Fool.
He headed his comment "New iPhone Opens Pandora's Box" and then continued, "The debut of Apple's new 3G iPhone is about to change the way that millions -- and eventually tens of millions -- of people in the country consume new music."
Munarriz then went on to note that the phone can stream music from Pandora.com; that the service is free - he adds, "On-the-go Internet radio, in a device that's a no-brainer to be this summer's hottest gadget, won't help XM and Sirius persuade people to pay USD 12.95 a month for their own offerings."
This leads him on to comment, "There's no point in arguing otherwise anymore: XM and Sirius need this merger to stay alive. They need to realize the cost savings touted in the combination. If they haven't been able to turn a profit under previous rosier scenarios, it gets a lot harder today to stay competitive at a premium price."
Cell phones are also, according to Jacob's Media biting into radio listening in yet another area: Having noted that its "Bedroom Project" last fall showed that many young people do not have a radio and of those who do "it's an old boom box or a clock radio its" Fred Jacobs says that its latest Tech Poll is providing evidence that the "the old bedside clock radio may rapidly become an endangered species."
Of more than 27,000 cell phone owners that were polled 55% said they used the phone's built-in alarm and Jacobs comments that this "spells trouble for radio. It means that a sizable percentage of consumers aren't waking up to Ryan Seacrest or Elvis Duran because they're being roused by their cell phones."
Jacobs also notes the threat from portable MP3 players with more than half the radio listeners who own one saying they can now plug them into their automobile systems. He concludes from this that the idea of radio as "old media" needs to be countered, continuing, "We need cool new devices that contain radios - and other gadgets and features that are desirable, accessible, and simple."
After comment on devices taking the audience away from radio, we end up by crossing the Atlantic for a UK radio column that indicates one reason why, in the UK at least, the picture may not be that dire. In her Daily Telegraph column Gillian Reynolds comments of the late Charles Wheeler (this writer suddenly felt his age when news of his death came realising that we first met in New York 37 years ago) - "It is a rare week when Radio 4 drops a flagship programme to pay tribute to someone who has just died. Charles Wheeler, however, was no mere someone, and The Week in Westminster was not missed on Saturday morning when, in its place, we heard an interview with Wheeler by Jeremy Paxman." (RNW Note: Regrettably this refers to a July 5 broadcast no longer on the BBC web site but the site does include audio of a Wheeler programme form last Sunday - In Pursuit of the Dalai Lama in which he recalls the race to publish the story of the Dalai Lama's flight from Lhasa in March 1959 and reunites four other journalists who waited at the foot of the Himalayas with him. Age again - we have known one of them for more decades as well).
Reynolds comments of Wheeler, "He came to BBC radio only when BBC television had bade him farewell, rather a mistake on their part as his eye for a story remained undimmed, and his gift for compelling narrative - as demonstrated in the several independently produced series he did for Radio 4 - was unmatched If you heard those brilliant radio series, on National Service, on evacuees, on enforced child migrants to Australia, you will also remember his seriousness of purpose, getting to the heart of the story in the plainest of words."
She also notes that the constraints of today mean that what Wheeler did - "he listened, thought, discussed, considered, walked around a subject until he knew it, weighed every word" is no longer possible and notes, "Wheeler saw it coming and warned against it. When 24-hour news arrived on the BBC, he argued that having to be on TV and radio, round the clock, meant there would be less time to find stories, examine their provenance, think about them before sharing them with millions of viewers and listeners This wasn't in Saturday's programme, but I remember it because I was at the debate where he said it and because what he said became, quite soon, evident. Having correspondents on the spot means nothing unless they have had time to understand the story."
And of Sunday's programme, which we have mentioned, she comments, "Thanks to the BBC's advance programme service I've heard it. Because it arrived too late, I didn't preview it, and, as I'm away for the next two weeks, I won't be reviewing it. Don't miss it. You'll hear how some of the reporters' finest writing was purest fiction. You'll learn why the photographer who thought he'd missed the scoop actually had it. Modern communications technology can take us anywhere instantly, but only a good reporter shows us what is happening. Wheeler was the best."
RNW comment: All of which we second. Too often nowadays what passes for reporting is reconstruction of agency reports - something to bear in mind whenever the panjandrums of the FCC and others defending consolidation claim that there are now so many more sources because of the Internet - often the source is the same few, with only the comments differing and the facts often getting distorted along the way.
Finally another documentary on BBC Radio - this time Radio 2 - that formed the bedrock of a UK column - Chris Campling's Radio Waves in Saturday's Times: He starts by writing, "If it is possible for a radio documentary to erase the national embarrassment that was the Nelson Mandela birthday concert in Hyde Park a couple of weeks ago, then Prisoner 46664 - Mandela at 90 could do the trick."
The reporter in this case is another of the old school - Michael Buerk (probably best known for his reporting along with Visnews' cameraman Mohammed Amin - another former colleague, who was subsequently killed in the crash of a hijacked plane that he was onboard) and Campling comments of the documentary, "Instead of the sight of a middle-aged white woman patting small black children on the head while gyrating in a grisly facsimile of tribal dancing (Annie Lennox, named and shamed), we will have a sober and intelligent analysis by Michael Buerk of an extraordinary man. Rather than suffering through a middle-aged white man writhing onstage and sweating profusely (Jim Kerr - what is it with the Scots?), we will have an overview of the work done by Mandela's 46664 Aids charity."
Which takes us on to listening suggestions starting with BBC Radio 4 and Wheeler as mentioned and BBC Radio 2 and the Mandela documentary from Tuesday.
Sticking with documentary in various forms we next suggest BBC Radio 2 on Saturday (18:00 GMT) and "Moments in Love... ...The History of Chillout Music" in which DJ, producer and broadcaster Chris Coco tells the history of the music now known as chillout, and traces its origins back to the experimental work of classical musicians like Erik Satie, through to the electronic experiments of the 1970s up to the present.
Then moving to BBC Radio 3, we suggest Monday's "Night Waves" in which Rachel Campbell-Johnston and guests discussed Errol Morris's new documentary, which explores human rights violations at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
We also note here that this week's "All in the Mind" on BBC Radio 4 (Tuesday) included an interview with Professor Steven Reisner who has decided the only way to get the American Psychological Association (APA) to change its policy prohibiting its members from being involved in torture at places like Guantanamo Bay but allowing them to take part in interrogations is to stand for President of the body.
Next some podcasts from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Radio Netherlands starting with the latter and next Saturday's "The State We're In" if only for a potentially intriguing discussion on rights including the Right to a Holiday and why Europeans get more of them than Americans - according to Nobel prize-winning economist Edward Prescott it's all because of tax.
Then to the ABC and Tuesday's "Law Report" in which lawyer Ken Feinberg who had the job of handing out funds to the families of those killed and injured in 9/11 discusses how he dealt with claims.
On a totally different subject we also recommend Saturday's "All in the Mind" which was comprised of stories from those who lived and worked at - or were held in - Goodna Mental Hospital in Queensland which became the country's largest asylum and housed more than 50,000 people over its lifetime.
We'd also recommend Wednesday's "Religion Report" that marked the 40th anniversary of the Pope banning the contraception pill.
RNW note: Yet again an overnight shift means we hade to curtail listening suggestions. We have partially updated but may add more recommendations from listening over the last few days.
Insidemusicmedia - Del Colliano blog:
Jacobs Media - Fred Jacobs blog:
Motley Fool - Munarriz:
UK Daily Telegraph -Reynolds:
UK Times - Campling:
2008-07-15: In yet another attack on the satellite radio companies, US National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) President and CEO David K. Rehr has written to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) General Counsel Matthew Berry saying that the satellite radio companies' "history of non-compliance with regard to the letter and spirit of the interoperable radio rule and other FCC requirements raises questions regarding the degree to which the Commission can rely on the companies to comply with any conditions that may be central to any decision of the Commission to approve the merger" and also that their "lack of candour" in dealing with the Commission should go to a hearing before any action to approve their merger.
"The simple fact that the applicant is willing to deceive the Commission raises qualification concerns," Rehr wrote. "Under the Communications Act, the Commission must address as part of the merger proceeding the allegations in the record regarding lack of candour. If it determines that the allegations raise substantial and material questions of fact, it is required by law to designate the applications for a hearing. Either way, the candour issue may not legally be deferred to a subsequent enforcement proceeding."
NAB and others he says "have demonstrated that XM's and Sirius's compliance history as a whole calls into question XM's and Sirius's reliability more generally" and he continues, "This issue too is critical to the merger proceeding given that XM and Sirius have offered a series of voluntary commitments in an effort to promote the public interest benefits of the proposed merger. If the merged entity cannot be relied upon to comply with these promises, grant of a merger based upon these commitments would be a sham."
The issue of candour says Rehr is distinct from specific enforcement actions in connection to which he refers to "widespread violations of the FM modulator rules and license provisions."
Rehr adds, "The fact that the Commission refuses to place in the record of this proceeding additional information regarding the scope of the companies' malfeasance that the Enforcement Bureau ordered released a year ago underscores this conclusion. Indeed, based on the record of the merger proceeding, the Commission should fully expect that XM and Sirius will make every effort to avoid the requirements of the conditions whenever it suits their business interests to do so."
"For the forgoing reasons," he concludes his four page letter, "the Commission may not legally approve the merger based on the record. It may not legally defer the candour and reliability issues raised in the record to an enforcement proceeding but must address the issues in the merger proceeding."
Rehr letter (45 kb PDF):
2008-07-15: Various reports and blogs say that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval of the Sirius-XM merger now pivot on the vote of Republican Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate as her fellow Republican Robert McDowell has opted to support Chairman Kevin J. Martin in approving the deal subject to various conditions such as a three-year price freeze and reserving 24 channels for minority and public programming.
Sirius ran the news through a CNN Money report that credited an unnamed "person with knowledge of McDowell's vote" as the source on his stance - he had been expected to approve the merger having indicated that he accepted that the satellite companies were competing not just with themselves but in a wider audio market.
The report notes that the two satellite radio companies have agreed to the conditions in negotiation with Martin and that Martin, who has met all the commissioners about his plan, said last week that he would like the other commissioners to submit their own proposals about the merger, left the door open to other conditions, and indicated he would like to move to a vote at the Commission's meeting at the start of next month. (See RNW Jul 11): It adds that the two Democrat Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps aren't thought likely to approve the merger.
Sirius News/CNN Money report:
2008-07-15: Hispanic Radio may be being hit much harder by the downturn in the US economy than its English-language brethren according to a report in the Washington Post that quotes the owner of one Hispanic station as saying its revenue from Hispanic businesses had fallen by some 40% over the past year compared to a 10% fall from non-Hispanic businesses.
Carlos Aragon, a native of El Salvador, founded Radio Fiesta in Woodbridge by renting his station's signal from JMK Communications of Los Angeles six years ago: It's one of 11 Spanish-language radio stations in the Washington DC area and Aragon said its intention was to create a bridge between the Hispanic and the Anglo community, interviewing politicians and informing the community and creating a radio station that serves the community."
The paper notes that for years "immigrant entrepreneurs have taken over small stations with relatively weak signals, providing what for many Caribbean and Latin American immigrants is a key source of information about their local communities, U.S. life and politics, and news from the homeland" and says that the stations became highly "intertwined" with real estate companies, both locally focussed, as the housing market took off. It notes that real estate agent Jose Luis Semidey ran Radio Latina at 950 AM in Potomac and 810 AM in Annapolis but is now no longer an agent, and he ceased operating the stations in 2006.
Another realty firm, Vilchez & Associates, says the Post was a principal sponsor of Radio Universal in Manassas at 1460 AM, which no longer exists: It was shut down last year to be reopened this year as La Kaliente, with a new format and a new owner.
Aragon says the paper remains optimistic and said the station is still profitable and is weathering the problems by seeking out advertisers and listeners outside of his Prince William base helped by a 5,000-watt signal that can reach Arlington, Fairfax, Alexandria and Fredericksburg, as well as some parts of the District and Maryland.
Others because of their dependence on local business may fare less well according to Steve Passwaiter, a vice president with research firm BIA Financial Network who commented of most of them that they are "locally focused and depend highly on the business of the communities they serve."
Washington Post report:
2008-07-15: Westwood One has announced the appointment of Steven Kalin, most recently Chief Operating Officer and a Board member of publisher Rodale, Inc., as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
In his new role Kalin will be New York-based and will report directly to Westwood One President and CEO Thomas Beusse: He will be responsible for business operations, inclusive of network operations, traffic operations and information technology, as well as play a lead role in business development activities and strategic planning.
Beusse commented of the appointment, "Based on his extensive experience and analytic background, Steve will provide us with the operational discipline to execute on the vision we have developed for Westwood One. This discipline will not only provide us with a foundation upon which to evolve our business, but will also enable us to bring newfound rigour to the broader radio community."
Previous Westwood One:
2008-07-14: UKRD, which in 2006 was the first group in the UK to hand back a local commercial licence to the regulator Ofcom when it closed down Star Radio in Stroud, Gloucestershire ( See RNW Sep 23, 2006) , has now confirmed its plans to hand back another licence, that for Fen Radio in Wisbech.
Fen Radio, which had launched in 1999 as October 1999 as X11FM was acquired by UKRD in 2002: It had already acquired other stations in the area in 1999 when it took over the radio interests of Dawe Media which included KL.FM in King's Lynn, Cambridge Red Radio and Oxford's Oxygen 107.9FM as well as a significant minority interest in Lite FM, Peterborough. It sold its Lite FM interest and Oxygen the following year and after a new management team had been put in place in November 2000 it re-branded its Bristol and Cambridge stations under the Star name the following year.
The Cambs Times broke the news of impending closure last Friday, saying it expected a formal announcement on Tuesday this week in preparation for ending transmissions by the end of this month: It said two sales staff and two on-air presenters would lose their jobs and adds that the station's owners are expected to direct listeners to sister stations "music variety " KLFM and Adult contemporary and classic hits Star 107 in Cambridge.
UKRD chief executive William Rogers, who had attacked Ofcom for its regulatory approach at the Westminster Media Forum on the future of radio last year (See RNW Jun 6, 2007) told the UK Guardian the station was "one of what I believe will be a large number of small radio stations that will prove to be uneconomic and unsustainable", blaming adverse economic conditions and over-tight regulation.
The paper says Fen Radio, which has a potential audience of under 80,000 is expected to lose between GBP 70,000 and GBP 80,000 (USD 14,000-160,000)in the last financial year, on revenues of between GBP 160,000 and GBP 170,000 (USD 320,000-340,000) and cited Rogers as saying they had been around GBP 200,000 (USD 400,000) when UKRD took over the station. It added that UKRD had explored the possibility of a sale or merging the station with KLFM without success and quoted Rogers as saying, "The market is simply too small to sustain a service. It is sad and a deep disappointment that this is the second time we have made this decision - it just reflects reality."
Cambs Times report:
UK Guardian report:
2008-07-14: US National Public Radio (NPR) has announced that its "Bryant Park Project" news programme is to end production on July 25: The two hour weekday morning programme was intended to attract a younger audience to NPR and also serve online listeners and launched at the start of October last year.
It was streamed and podcast and currently is also airing on the NPR Now channel on Sirius Satellite Radio as well as five public station's main analogue channel and on HD channels on 19 stations.
Announcing the cancellation, Ellen Weiss, Vice President for News and Information, NPR, said in a news release, "This was a very difficult decision for us to reach for many reasons, first and foremost because of the enormously talented staff and the smart, creative and engaging program they have produced every day. Working without a roadmap, they took risks with ideas and with the loyal audience they built."
She added, "In a tough economy, however, we have had to do a careful analysis of everything we're trying to accomplish and we came to understand that a radio-format show produced almost exclusively for the web was not the best way to grow the online audience."
Weiss said the programme had taught NPR "new ways to connect with the audience, and this knowledge will inform our future efforts" but did not mention costs directly: According to a New York Times report forecasting the closure the New York-based programme had a first-year budget of more than USD 2 million.
The paper quoted its host, Alison Stewart, who is on maternity leave, as saying, "From what I understand, we are obviously in extra-tough economic times, and it is a financial and strategic decision. I was told it had absolutely nothing to do with the quality or content of the show."
New York Times report:
2008-07-13: Last week was yet another when there were very few radio announcements from the regulators - indeed none from Australia or Ireland and only a few from Canada, the UK and the US: For the latter the Sirius-XM merger remains the main unsettled business and reports are that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin is hoping the Commissioners will be ready for a vote on the deal in time for the agency's next meeting on August 1 (See RNW Jul 11).
As already noted there were only a few radio-related postings from Canada where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced no radio decisions but did issue two public notices that contained radio-related matters.
One, with a deadline for comment or interventions of Aug 12, included the following radio-related matters (In order of province):
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to add an 8,900 watts FM transmitter at Vancouver to broadcast the programming of CBU-AM, Vancouver: The CRTC noted that I had approved in part an application earlier this year from the CBC for a new FM in Vancouver but had also at that time denied the CBC's request to operate an FM transmitter on Gabriola Island as well as the application to amend the broadcasting licence for CBCV-FM Victoria, to add an FM transmitter to serve Nanaimo and also required the CBC to maintain the operation of its AM frequency in Vancouver to ensure effective coverage in outlying areas. The CBC is now seeking an amendment to this decision to amend this earlier decision and convert the authority into an FM transmitter for CBU to address coverage deficiencies in Vancouver but is to maintain the AM service.
*Application by a Corus subsidiary to move the transmitter of CFEL-FM, Montmagny, to a new site in Quebec City to achieve better coverage of the Lévis and Québec City market. It also proposes to reduce maximum power to 78,000 watts with a new antenna height of 157.5 metres. The CRTC notes that the change would mean that the station would considerably increase the population it serves but would no longer serve the Montmagny market and that it is proposed that the CFEL-FM studios be moved from Montmagny to Lévis. It also proposes to replace the graduate scholarship to the École de radio de Montmagny - the projecy no longer exists - , with funding to Les Arts de la Scène de Montmagny for 2007-2008 and Diffusion culturelle de Lévis for 2008-2009.
The second, with a deadline for comment or interventions of Aug 14, related to one radio application in Ontario:
*Application by Blackburn Radio Inc. to increase the power of CFGX-FM, Sarnia, from 26,000 watts to 27,000 watts and increase the antenna height. Blackburn says the changes will improve the station's signal in the core community of Sarnia and rectify current signal deficiencies in some areas.
In the UK, Ofcom posted its latest broadcast bulletin in which it noted its record fine of GBP 1.11 million (USD 2. 21 million) on GCap Media, which it had already posted, and upheld a further radio standards complaint (See RNW Jul 10).
Ofcom also posted its "Citizens, Communications and Convergence" report, prepared it says following comments after it published its Consumer Policy (December 2006) noting that it had not "published an equivalent statement on citizens" and that this had led to suggestions "that Ofcom lacks commitment in discharging its responsibilities in this area."
It denies this, commenting, "In practice, the citizen focus has constantly informed Ofcom's thinking since the organisation's inception, whether in seeking a balanced approach to spectrum allocation or public service broadcasting. We have sought to ensure that our decisions are in the interests of citizens, as well as consumers. Nevertheless, we see some benefit in setting out our general approach to this question (in addition to the detailed assessments contained in specific policy documents), particularly in light of the experience we now have in working with our twin duties."
The report outlines Ofcom's perceived role in general with some examples of illustration: As far as broadcasting is concerned as opposed to more general developments and the Internet are concerned the most pertinent section says that its agenda includes:
*Ensuring plurality in the supply of TV and radio services to ensure that a diverse range of views and opinions is on offer.
*Determining the future of radio regulation to ensure that a wide range of services continues to be available.
* Ensuring that the interests of citizens are reflected in our decisions about how to optimise the use of the spectrum.
It also, although it does not link this to broadcasting, lists:
*Developing a model for content regulation in the internet age that provides adequate protection to the public, taking into account the practical barriers to regulating the internet.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , as already noted has still to go to a vote on the Sirius-XM merger although chairman Kevin J. Martin has indicated that he would like to do so at the Commissioners' meeting next month.
It has also announced that from Monday it will conduct further field tests of "white space" devices "as part of its rule making to consider authorizing the operation of new low power devices in the TV broadcast spectrum at locations where individual channels/frequencies are not being used for authorized services. (See RNW Jul 11)"
The Commission was also involved in various enforcement actions including the following (In descending order of penalty imposed or proposed):
*USD 12,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Clear Channel subsidiary Capstar for broadcasting a telephone conversation without first informing a party to the conversation of its intention to do so.
The penalty relates to a complaint made against KFGO-AM, Fargo, North Dakota, by Sandy Blunt who alleged that Joel Heitkamp, host of its "News and Views" programme, had on several occasions broadcast voicemail messages he had left on Heitkamp's private cell phone.
Clear Channel, which has subsequently sold the station, in response to an inquiry said neither it nor its employees had any knowledge about the matters involved but did say the programme was aired by several affiliates as well as KFGO.
The Commission noted that voicemails were protected "conversations" that required prior consent before they were broadcast and said that in this case "there was no expectation or understanding that the message would be broadcast; the content of Mr. Bunt's voice mail message was aired on at least two occasions by the Station; and that the Station failed to notify and obtain Mr. Blunt's consent before airing the subject conversation."
The base level forfeiture for the offence is USD 4,000 but in this case the FCC said it regarded the "repeated broadcast of an improperly recorded telephone conversation as an aggravating circumstance requiring an upward adjustment of the forfeiture amount" and also noted "that Clear Channel has a history of violations relating to the telephone broadcast rule."
"Finally," it concluded, "to ensure that the forfeiture is not simply an affordable cost of doing business, we must also consider Clear Channel's exceptional size and ability to pay. Therefore, based upon the facts and circumstances presented here, we find that Clear Channel is apparently liable in the amount of USD 12,000 for violating the telephone broadcast rule."
*USD 4,000 forfeiture to CBS Radio, licensee of WIP-AM, Philadelphia, for failing to announce the material terms of a contest and neglecting to conduct the contest in accordance with its material terms
The forfeiture followed a complaint after CBS disqualified a contest winner and revoked his price because of an unannounced term of the competition: it related to CBS's competitive eating competition "Wing Bowl 13" and the complainant was a member of the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters (AICE), a rival of the Independent Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE), historically associated with Wing Bowl 13.
CBS had argued as justification that the complainant was on constructive notice due to CBS's prior exclusion of a competitor in a previous contest, "Wing Bowl 12", on the same basis; and that the complainant did not meet the contest's requirements because he did not reside within the Station's listening area but the arguments were rejected and an NAL for USD 4,000 was issued.
CBS then responded to the NAL by arguing amongst other things that the disqualification of the complainant from the contest was an exercise of the Station's discretionary rights under the Station's rules for the contest and that it substantially complied with the rule and that its conduct was, at most, a "technical" violation for which a forfeiture should not be issued because there was no deception to the public
The FCC rejected the arguments and confirmed the penalty.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-07-13: XM Satellite Radio has announced an increase in the interest rate for its 1.75% Convertible Senior Notes due 2009 subject to the completion of its merger with Sirius Satellite Radio.
Under the deal holders of the USD 400 million aggregate principal amount in the bonds will see the interest rate raised to 10% per annum with the increased rate to come into effect subject to completion of the merger: The noteholders party to the amended agreement have on their part agreed not to assert any claim that the merger constitutes a "Fundamental Change" under the existing indenture, which in such a case would require an offer be made by XM to repurchase the existing notes at par within a specified period following the merger.
XM adds that in view of the amended agreement it no longer intends to commence the previously announced exchange offer to exchange new convertible senior notes for the existing convertible notes.
2008-07-12: The names of the successful companies who have tendered for contracts to develop Australia's digital radio infrastructure have now been announced. The country will use the DAB+ system with transmissions in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth due to launch early next year.
Amongst the successful companies were Rohde & Schwarz - for high power DAB+ transmitters; Factum - for DAB+ Multiplexers & coders; The United Group - for systems integration services & pre-build; and Kordia - for project management support.
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said the announcement was a significant development in Australia's migration to a Digital Radio platform that would deliver a multi-media experience to radio listeners, broadcasters and advertisers alike.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2008-07-12: Emmis Interactive, which already has deals with Lincoln Financial Media, Renda Broadcasting and Big League Broadcasting, has announced a partnership with Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment, which says it was "looking for a way to augment the interactive franchise" it had already developed.
David Huszar, General Manager of Splice Interactive Media, provider of interactive services to Corus Radio, commented, "Revenues in the markets served by Emmis Interactive have collectively increased 40 percent versus the prior year giving us tremendous momentum as we crossover to a new fiscal year on September 1st. We've enjoyed working collaboratively with a company that shares our approach to strategic selling and look forward to expanding on this partnership."
Corus Radio President John Hayes added, "With Emmis Interactive's proven ability to mobilize interactive revenue, we can offer our advertisers powerful and unique opportunities. Emmis Interactive has developed a proven model for local broadcasters, and adding their expertise to our established efforts gives us a significant advantage in the marketplace."
2008-07-11: In more filings to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about the proposed Sirius-XM satellite radio merger and in particular in relation to calls for various conditions to be imposed as a condition of approval, General Motors and Toyota have opposed the suggestion that all satellite receivers should have to be HD radio compatible whilst Public Knowledge (PK) and the Media Access Project (MAP) want more stringent requirements related to spectrum to be reserved for non-commercial broadcasters and equipment that can receive both satellite services.
The call for all satellite receivers to incorporate HD has been backed by iBiquity, which developed HD, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) whose members would benefit through a large increase in the potential HD audience and a number of lawmakers, most of whom appear to have links to the NAB: GM and Toyota in their filing point out that they each offer "vehicles with satellite radio receivers as optional or standard features on a number of models as well as other entertainment options including AM/FM radio" and add, "The proponents of the proposed condition are seeking an unprecedented requirement regulating the choice of entertainment technologies in an automotive environment HD is already penetrating the automotive sector without a mandate. Several manufacturers are either currently offering HD or have announced plans to make HD radio standard or optional in future models.1 Nothing in our companies' respective agreements with XM inhibits our ability to offer HD radio."
As to their reasons they comment, "The automotive environment is extraordinarily competitive and there has been no showing in the record to support the proposition that if consumers continue to show an interest in HD technology that those manufacturers currently pursuing other entertainment strategies will not take notice and adjust their strategies. Moreover, it is well understood, that once mandated, the holders of the intellectual property for HD would have no incentive to be fully responsive to the demands of the marketplace."
Public Knowledge and the Media Access in a letter to the FCC signed by PK president Gigi Sohn and the MAP President and CEO Andy Schwartzman are reacting to a letter from the satellite radio companies last month that set out their "voluntary commitments" that included allowing any manufacturer to develop equipment that could receive their service.
PK and MAP have supported the merger subject to suitable conditions and they say they take the view that the commitments made by Sirius and XM "fall short of what is necessary to ensure that the merger is in the public interest."
They express particular concern about the potential for a merged satellite company to in future cut back on the spectrum for non-commercial programming and divert it to expansion of other services and also want of a receiver that can handle both signals to be made available as soon as the merger is approved rather than the companies being allowed a year to produce interoperable equipment.
In another action related to the satellite companies' spectrum, private investment firm Georgetown Partners, which had requested the FCC to force the merged satellite company to provide it with spectrum to run advertising-funded channels, has asked the FCC's Enforcement Bureau to issue an order stopping Sirius's satellite live television broadcasting using spectrum that it says the Commission licensed exclusively for satellite radio broadcasting: It also wants the Bureau to conduct an investigation into Sirius's " misuse of spectrum".
In a filing to the FCC, |Georgetown says that it "adamantly opposes delivering to Sirius cartfulls of taxpayer dollars by granting spectrum flexibility for it to broadcast television, while at the same time Sirius denies that there is sufficient spectrum to provide for a satellite radio competitor such as that proposed by Georgetown and adds, "By Sirius' own admission, its television service is planned to occupy up to 20 percent of its spectrum, so obviously 20 percent of the spectrum is available for something other than digital radio services and could be made available to provide competition. Doing so would go a long way to satisfying the competition requirements of the Commission's public interest standard that must be met for the merger to be approved."
"We could establish a competitive alternative voice using just the 20 percent of spectrum capacity that Sirius admits it is planning to use for broadcasting television instead of for radio," says Georgetown. "It now is crystal clear on the record that Sirius/XM does not require the entire 25 MHz swath of spectrum to provide digital audio radio programs. Given the extreme scarcity of spectrum allocated for SDARS -- there is only that which is licensed to Sirius and XM -- we again urge the Commission to deny the merger unless it conditions approval of the merger upon a lease for the purpose of providing an independent voice for satellite audio consumers and establishing competition to the resulting merged entity"
Regarding conditions that could be imposed on merger approval, Reuters reports that FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin said today that he would consider imposing additional conditions on the merger to gain support from the other Commissioners.
Speaking at a news briefing Martin said none of the other commissioners had made concrete proposals and added that they needed to "figure out what it is that they want and propose it." Martin said he hoped the Commissioners would be ready for a vote on the deal in time for the agency's next meeting on August 1.
Previous Media Access Project:
2008-07-11: Figures from industry body Commercial Radio Australia show that advertising revenue at the country's metropolitan commercial radio stations has grown by a 5.76% on a year earlier to AUD 654.5 million (USD 543.8 million) during the 12 months to the end of June.
The figures from Price Waterhouse Coopers show Perth as having the greatest growth - up 17.8% to AUD 83 million (USD 73.4 million) followed by Brisbane - up 10.9% to AUD 104.5 million (USD 86.8 million); Melbourne - up 6.65% to 186 million (USD 154.5 million); Adelaide - up 6.51% to AUD 62 million (USD 51.5 million); and finally Sydney - up 1.7% to AUD 218.7 million (USD 181.7 million).
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner said the latest figures show that radio remains a powerful advertising proposition, with even greater opportunities ahead.
"Commercial radio ad revenue has now increased every year for the past six years," Warner said, noting the opportunities from the link between radio and online about which she commented,
"Radio and the internet are both instant, conversational media that appeal to the connected generation, so there are clear benefits in using radio and online advertising in combination. The launch of digital radio in 2009 will also give radio a new lease of life."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2008-07-11: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has reacted cautiously to an announcement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it is to begin field tests of prototype television white space devices (WSDs - devices that make use of spectrum within the TV signal that is not being used at the time of transmission).
The FCC says it will test prototype devices for four weeks from July 14 in various locations in Maryland "as part of its rule making to consider authorizing the operation of new low power devices in the TV broadcast spectrum at locations where individual channels/frequencies are not being used for authorized services."
The NAB, which after previous tests - which all had various failures - had strongly opposed the idea because of potential interference with digital TV transmissions, in a statement from Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton commented, "NAB has no quarrel with field tests, but based upon multiple failures of unlicensed devices in laboratory testing thus far, we remain highly sceptical that this technology will ever work as advertised."
It noted that a 2007 FCC report had concluded that sample prototype 'white space' devices did not accurately detect broadcast signals and caused interference to TV broadcasting and wireless microphones and that in tests in February and April this year Microsoft prototypes has stopped working or shut down and adds that to date 70 lawmakers have expressed concern over the use of unlicensed personal-portable devices in the broadcast spectrum.
2008-07-11: XM Canada, which operates the XM satellite radio service in the country, in its third quarter results - to the end of May - has reported its first ever positive cash flow quarter. In the quarter it said its revenues were up 81% to CAD 10.3 million ( USD 10.1 million ), its adjusted operating loss was down from CAD 4.7 million (USD 4.6 million) a year earlier to CAD 1.3 million ( USD 1.3 million); its subscriber base was up 58% to 439,900 and it generated positive cash flow of CAD 300,000 ( USD 295,000).
Within the subscriber numbers those paying their own subscriptions were up 84% to 280,400 and Average Monthly Subscription Revenue per Subscriber (ARPU) was up from CAD 11.70 ( USD 11.50)to CAD 11.99 (USD 11.79): XM Canada has now increased its basic monthly subscription rate from CAD1.299 ( USD 12.77) to USD 14.99 (14.73).
Subscriber Acquisition cost (SAC) went up from CAD 40 (USD 39.32) a year earlier to CAD 87 ( USD 85.52), primarily because of a shift in focus from general marketing activities towards targeted marketing strategies, including hardware promotions that were combined with prepayment of subsidies in connection with Father's Day gift giving.
XM Canada President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Moskowitz commented, "Our achievement of positive cash flow for the quarter, an important milestone that measures the financial health of the company, demonstrates our ability to effectively manage costs and working capital while growing our subscribers and revenue."
He added, "We have spent a great deal of time striking a fine balance between investing in our business to attract new subscribers and achieving profitability. Our strong financial results reflect our direction to achieve profitable and sustainable growth, a key factor in determining the long-term success in the satellite radio industry. Getting our business to cash flow breakeven has been a key focus of management and we believe that there will be no further requirement for third party funding going forward."
Previous XM Canada:
2008-07-11: Clear Channel Radio has announced the creation of a Marketing Solutions Unit that it says that will work collaboratively with large national advertisers and agencies early in the communications planning process: It notes that "Marketing Solutions is already providing customized executions to major brand marketers that exploit Clear Channel Radio's unique and powerful combination of assets in the most meaningful and effective way."
The unit has named Greg Glenday, most recently regional vice president and director of sales for Clear Channel Radio Sales, as Executive Vice-President and three Senior Vice Presidents : Mary Pultorak, who was national regional vice president for Clear Channel Radio Sales in Chicago, becomes SCP Chicago; Randy Gaeckler, who oversaw national sales for Clear Channel Radio's Atlanta station group, becomes SVP Atlanta; and Jamie Kriegel, who was most recently regional vice president for CCRS' west coast operations, as SVP Los Angeles.
It has also named Vice-Presidents for Boston (Janie Knight); Detroit (Theresa Junkunc); Los Angeles (Adrienne Pabst); and New York (Cary Kimmel);
Glenday commented of the unit that it was "being unveiled at a time where the radio market is aggressively expanding into multi-platforms that include online, on-demand, digital broadcasts and much more", saying that its team would "guide marketers through the exploding opportunities in our growing medium.."
"There's a real need for fresh ideas that demonstrate radio's true value as an advertising and branding platform," he added.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-07-10: Emmis has reported first quarter revenues down 0.6% on a year earlier to USD 86.8 million within which radio revenues were down 1% to USD 64.2 million - US radio revenues were down 3% whilst international radio net revenues were up 14%% to USD 9.3 million - and publishing revenues were up 2% to USD 22.7 million: Operating income was up 4.1% to USD 12.6 million with station operating income up 3.6% to USD 23.3 million
Overall Emmis had net income of USD 1.196 million before preferred stock dividends of 2.246 million which produced a net loss available to common shareholders reduced from 1.935 million to USD 1.050 million (Down from a five cents a share loss to three cents a share).
For continuing operations Emmis went from a net loss of USD 509,000 to net income of USD 340,000 - it has sold all but one of its TV stations and in May agreed the sale of the remaining station, WVUE-TV in New Orleans. : In all Emmis says it expects gross proceeds of USD 1.24 billion from the sale of its 16 TV stations. It also noted that since the quarter it has suspended publication of the magazine Tu Ciudad Los Angeles and expects to record a second quarter charge related to this of approximately USD 1.1 million in severance and other shut-down costs
Emmis also highlighted the announcement during the quarter that its wholly-owned subsidiary Emmis Interactive was to market its services to radio broadcasters and other local media companies since when it has announced agreements with broadcasters Renda Broadcasting, Big League Broadcasting and Lincoln Financial Media, as well as announcing a licensing agreement with the iTunes Store to market Emmis Interactive's custom Storefront technology to other radio stations and media companies.
In addition it announced that it has joined seven other radio companies in launching the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium, LLC (BTC), a company formed to build a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute NAVTEQ traffic and other map-related data via radio technology.
Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said he was "proud of the results our Emmis team was able to deliver during the first quarter" and added, "Five percent growth in operating income during such a challenging period for American media is a testament to the talent and professionalism of our team. I'm particularly thrilled with the performance of some of our newer initiatives, including the 14 percent growth during the quarter in our International revenues, the launch of the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium, and the growing roster of new customers at Emmis Interactive."
At the company's conference call Smulyan was upbeat about its radio performance, singling out WKRS-FM and WQHT-FM in New York and KPWR-FM in Los Angeles for "significantly beating their markets" and also about the message of developing technology commenting that the "most important thing is that we're seeing the innovation of this company starting to pay off" both in terms of radio, where it has flipped its former New York smooth jazz station WQCD-FM to a new rock format WRXP-FM with "encouraging results" and Emmis Interactive that he said had "become the hallmark for how our industry approaches interactive."
2008-07-10: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin notes its sanction of GBP 1.11 million (USD 2. 21 million) on GCap Media for breach of its rules relating to unfair conduct of competitions and premium phone lines - the largest radio fine it has ever issued (See RNW Jun 26) - and also upholds one standards complaint against radio plus TV standards complaints in five cases, two relating to sponsorship of weather bulletins and two TV fairness and privacy complaints, one of them partly.
The radio complaint upheld was against Invicta FM and 36 other GCap Media stations that broadcast an edition of the "Sunday Night with Jason Donovan" programme in which the host endorsed Boris Johnson's candidacy in the then forthcoming London Mayoral election.
Donovan had commented, "It's time for a change. It's definitely time for a change. Boris Johnson. I have to say it. That's my political message" leading to a complaint from a listener to the Kent station Invicta FM.
When contacted about compliance with rules on due impartiality GCap accepted that Jason Donovan's comments breached the rules and said that following the comment the producer had discussed the matter with Jason Donovan, highlighting the seriousness of his actions and that immediate remedial action would need to be taken to deal with the matter.
GCap added that an on-air apology was read out on the radio stations that carried the programme which made it clear that Jason Donovan's comments were not condoned and that it did not endorse any particular candidate in the mayoral election.
It also noted that Donovan was relatively new to the radio industry and that this programme was his fourth live radio broadcast with the show. It would, it said, be monitoring his programme with greater scrutiny in future to ensure compliance with the Code.
Ofcom said that in this case it noted that this was an isolated comment and a message of "general political support" rather than an active encouragement to vote for Johnson and also the steps taken by GCap. Taking these circumstances into account, it said it would on this case, take no further regulatory action.
Ofcom also listed without details 223 TV complaints against 144 items - and 23 radio complaints against 18 items - that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 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 in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2008-07-10: Harpo Productions has announced that Eric Logan, who has been executive vice president for programming and broadcast operations for XM Satellite Radio since August 2004, is to join it in the newly created role of Harpo Executive vice-president.
He will report to Tim Bennett, president, Harpo Productions, and will oversee several divisions within the company including Harpo Radio, Harpo Print and Harpo Retail and will also help manage the company's talent relations efforts, handling relationships with top-tier talent across all Harpo platforms.
Logan began his radio career in 1985 as a radio station mascot in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and was also with Infinity - now CBS Radio for a decade, including a spell at WUSN-FM in Chicago as operations manager as well as country format captain for Infinity. He left Infinity in May 2003 and then moved to Citadel where he was president of programming before his move to XM.
Announcing the appointment Bennet said, "Over the past several years in our exciting partnership with XM Radio, we've seen Eric shine. From his ability to paint a picture of possibilities for Harpo in satellite radio to his gifted capability in working with both talent and teams he has earned the respect of management across our growing company."
Logan commented of his move, "I'm very excited to be joining Harpo at time when the future for the company has never been brighter. The opportunity to work with the entire organization on ways we can further grow our content offerings across all our platforms and showcase our talent portfolio is truly an opportunity of a lifetime."
Also in Chicago, Robert Federreports in his Sun-Times column that Spike O'Dell has told his bosses at Tribune-owned WGN-AM that he plans to retire from his USD 1 million a year job at the end of the year. Feder says that O'Dell has made no secret of his unhappiness at having to get up at 2 in the morning and his lack of enthusiasm to continue and notes that he told the Tribune last year in an interview about his intended retirement, "Some people may think I'm nuts. But that's my plan and I'm sticking with it."
Previous Tribune Co.:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column
2008-07-09: Corus Entertainment has reported third quarter revenues - for the period to the end of May - up 5% on a year ago to CAD 207.8 million (USD 205.4 million), led by continued growth from broadcasting. Profit was up 11% to CAD 71.8 million (USD 77.2 million) with net income up from CAD 29.6 million (USD 29.3 million) a year earlier to CAD 37.7 million (USD 37.3 million) - up from CAD 0.35 per basic and CAD 0.34 per diluted share to CAD 0.45 per basic and diluted share. Corus noted that this year it benefited from CAD 10.0 million (USD 9.9 million) in recoveries related to income tax changes, and was negatively impacted by an accrual of CAD 9.7 million (USD 9.6 million) related to disputed regulatory fees.
President and CEO John Cassaday said it was "another strong quarter for Corus Entertainment meeting our expectations and added, "Once again, we delivered excellent results from our Television division; solid revenue performance from all of our divisions; and continued excellent overall cost control. We remain very optimistic about our outlook, particularly given the growth opportunities in the expanding women's segment of specialty television and continued strong economic performance in western Canada, supporting our radio and premium television businesses."
Within the results, TV revenues rose 5% to CAD 114.6 million (USD 113.3 million) with segment profit up 8% to CAD 49.6 million (USD 49.0 million); radio revenues were up 3% to CAD 77.9 million (USD 77.0 million) with segment profit down 1.6% to CAD 24.7 million (USD 24.4 million); and Content Revenues were up 12% to CAD 16.3 million (USD 16.1 million) with profit up from CAD 100,00 (USD 98,800) to CAD 3.7 million (USD 3.66 million.)
2008-07-09: Following reports that Global Radio is to cut some 30 posts, staff at GCap Media, which it took over last month, have been told that they will also see a round of cost cutting that could mean the loss of around a hundred jobs from the 1,500 it currently has.
The two companies are currently being run separately until a regulatory review has been completed.
Losses are expected to be mainly in support departments including finance, legal and human resources but some programming staff and senior managers may also be made redundant.
The reasons being given are the same as those for Global Radio - concern about an economic downturn and credit crunch. As with Global Radio the company has confirmed that some employees have been told their roles may become redundant but no details have been released.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
2008-07-09: The BBC Trust in its annual report has queried the "long-term viability" of digital radio in the UK, noting the failure on any digital-only stations to make a breakthrough into the mass market: It added that it remained to be seen whether the launch later this year of the new commercial digital multiplex, to be run by a consortium led by Channel 4, will "boost the market sufficiently to ensure its long-term viability".
The Trust added, "Although growing, reach and audience awareness [of digital audio broadcasting] remain low. In November, the government launched the Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG)to look at how to promote digital radio and increase penetration "and warned of growing concerns in commercial radio about the future of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting).
In terms of BBC stations the Trust expressed concern about the size of the audiences for BBC Radio 3, with fewer than two million listeners a week, and also for Radio Five Live and digital music stations 6Music and 1Xtra although it also noted that "BBC network radio stations continue to perform strongly overall."
Commenting on the network stations it noted that BBC Radio 1's reach and share of listening had grown over the past two years and that its "reputation as a station for new, UK and live music remains strong".
Of BBC Radio 2, the most popular UK station, the Trust noted a slight fall in reach but also praised its work done in developing new artists.
Of Radio 3, despite concern about audience levels, it noted that its level of approval had risen over the past year.
Of BBC Radio 4, it noted that the station had maintained its reach and increased share slightly and had the highest average listening hours of any BBC station at nearly 13 hours a week as well as remaining highly regarded by its listeners.
Of BBC Radio Five Live it noted a decline in reach and a "fall in the proportion of high approvers." It also noted that the station was successfully building digital listening in conjunction with its digital-only spin-off 5 Live Sports Extra.
It also noted that podcasts had grown in popularity and that this did not appear to have affected reach, adding, "Indeed, there is some early evidence that those who 'listen again' on the internet are now listening to more live radio."
When it came to digital-only stations the comments were less positive with a note that awareness of them remained low, and that o BBC 6Music and 1Xtra each still attract only around half a million listeners a week.
BBC Annual report (Links to Two reports and two fact sheets: In all 6.4 MB of PDFs - 210 pages):
2008-07-09: This week we start our weekly look at print comment on radio with a look at two issues - digital radio and the idea of the Fairness Doctrine, the former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requirement for fairness and balance in programming..
Regarding the first our last week's comment included scepticism about DAB digital radio from the UK Daily Telegraph (See RNW June 30) and this week the scepticism comes from the US courtesy of Tyler Savary in a posting on istockanalyst.com.
Savary starts by commenting on the calls from various quarters from those who won't have to pay for it and in some cases will benefit directly for the inclusion of HD chips into satellite radio receivers as a condition of the Sirius-XM merger.
"The NAB, iBiquity, and virtually every congressman and Attorney General who steps in to this circus that we call a merger," he writes, "has been asking for the inclusion of HD chips into Satellite Radios. Of course, they never once mention who should pay for the design, the installation, the manufacturing, etc, etc, etc, but they claim they do it for the 'benefit of the consumer.'"
He then continues, "Let us take a look at that claim" and details various factors that include:
Demand - As of 2008, less than 500,000 HD radios had been sold in the US There obviously is not a high consumer demand for the HD radio."
He then looks at price and availability - The average price is around USD USD 125, with some units running less than USD 100. The problem? According to John Gorman's Blog, there are virtually no radios in Brick and Mortar stores for people to look at and play with.
How about "sound quality and ease of use?" - Nope, and Nope. Again Gorman (John Gorman in his blog) cites multiple complaints about a large bulky antenna (which you have to move manually until you pick up the signal), signal's fading in and out, and additional static on surrounding channels.
Savary then asks, "So what on earth can the HD Radio Alliance and all of these top political figures mean when they say that HD radio is in the public interest?" and suggests it could be because the American public has already been paying much of the cost, noting that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) "has already awarded well over 200 million dollars for the advancement of HD radio, and those awards are continuing to this date."
On then to the Federal Communications Commission Fairness Doctrine, long scrapped, but the subject of continuing suggestions that it could be brought back - suggestions that seem to us more a case of political crying wolf than something actually likely to happen.
We noted two comments on this last week, one from John Rook, who referred to the other, by Jerry del Colliano.
Rook in his blog says: "As a broadcast owner two dozen years ago I was nominated by President Reagan's close friend, Senator Paul Laxalt of Nevada to be an FCC commissioner" and after noting support from the industry comments, "I greatly admired Reagan and would have probably supported him in most areas except for his desire to end the Fairness Doctrine."
This view comments Rook "wasn't what the White House wanted from a prospective FCC commissioner" and he ends by commenting that, although he could change his mind, at the moment he agrees with del Colliano.
del CoOlliano in his regular posting writes under the heading, "Radio's Unfairness Doctrine" that when the move began to repeal the doctrine the thinking was that there was "No need for a provision requiring equal time for other sides of the issues The marketplace would take care of itself. There were enough voices."
He notes that as a result many shows were developed that "led to the golden age of political talk radio" and also that "Talk radio (all news and later sports) helped to save the AM band when young folks found FM."
He follows on by this by saying that "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, wants the Fairness Doctrine back on the books and she seems hell bent to win passage" (RNW note: As we indicated earlier, we aren't convinced of this); noting the conservative bent of most successful US talk radio; and adding that although talk radio may owe its success to the elimination of the Doctrine ..." now it's possible that radio may suffer from the one-sided approach to issue-oriented programming. Possible."
The political pendulum, he says, is swinging back and he comments that he's "not looking for Limbaugh to give equal time (although I sense he has been doing that more lately)" but would not be surprised if the Doctrine did come back... "and I wouldn't get all that upset about it..."
"Balancing issues, programs, talk show hosts -- to encompass a wider viewpoint," he continues, "may not be crazy (even if it might be a left wing plot). It could be good broadcasting. The kind that gets even higher ratings."
In support of this he notes the success of "Meet The Press" under the late Tim Russert - "a man who really tried to be fair to both sides. And many conservatives said so."
" And at the time of Russert's death, Meet the Press was far and away the number one Sunday morning political show -- and a huge NBC Universal money-maker. Equal time can be good for business."
The posting attracted a number of comments, some of which made good logical points about balance including one that commented, "If I am presenting a program on science that discusses evolution or the Big Bang, I don't think it is incumbent upon a broadcaster to also present the point of view of people who believe in fantastic mythological arguments against these points of view. Also, which mythology should be the opposing viewpoint - all of them? How can I be "fair" if I present Christian or Muslim balance but not Wiccan or Heathen or whatever else? Should a religious program on Sunday be followed by an atheist one?"
He and others also commented about the impact of the Internet and some took a more predictable view such as the comment that Pelosi "is under the misguided impression that if there was a fairness doctrine, her point of view and her party would become as popular as Rush Limbaugh. That you can legislate opinion. And you can't. Or that by eliminating the popularity of Fox News, you can level the playing field. You can't."
Which takes us to Limbaugh, who we doubt will strive that officiously to be fair to his opponents, but whose success has netted him a USD 400 million extension of his deal with Premiere Radio Networks (See RNW July 2).
News of the deal provoked a number of writers to suggest that Limbaugh may have agreed what Rick Aristotle Munarriz writing in The Motley Fool terms "the last blockbuster mega deal in the radio broadcasting industry."
Munarriz gives details of the deal as reported - Clear Channel, which owns Premiere, has not announced them but Limbaugh gave some details in an interview with the New York Times - and also notes the "five-year USD 500 million contract that Howard Stern signed with Sirius Satellite Radio a few years ago."
He then goes on to comment on why "this could be the last time that the radio industry waves around a nine-figure deal."
Firstly, he comments, "terrestrial radio's appeal is waning. Hardcore commuters have switched to the mostly ad-free satellite radio, while the portability of digital music, podcasts, and Internet radio have created pocket-sized alternatives to firing up the AM and FM bands."
And "Even more importantly for terrestrial radio's fortunes, the merger between XM Satellite Radio and Sirius should close later this year."
The two satellite companies he says were in bidding wars for talent but in the absence of such competition writes Munarriz "That will change. Stern is unlikely to command the same USD 100 million-a-year payday he's averaging today, even though Sirius' ability to close the subscriber gap with XM since Stern's arrival certainly suggests he deserved the money."
Munarriz suggests that this will lead to cutbacks in programming costs but is also upbeat about the future for both terrestrial and satellite radio, particularly through "monetizing their websites" and concludes, ". When you couple new revenue streams with the lower cost structure afforded by programming costs, the future of radio -- both satellite and terrestrial -- may be brighter than you think."
Also commenting on the Limbaugh deal was Gary Susman in Popwatch: His thesis was that the deal makes business sense for a number of reasons. Amongst these he says the election won't
"won't matter a whit to his (Limbaugh's) ability to do what he does best: work up an outrage over politics; the size of his audience doesn't really matter as no "no other radio personality comes close to his numbers" and also because a "station that puts Limbaugh on the air figures it can build an entire slate of like-minded talk shows around him, figuring that if his listeners will come for him, they'll stay for the rest; and then the clincher
"What's important, from an industry standpoint, is Limbaugh's ability to deliver those listeners to advertisers. In the fascinating profile of Limbaugh that runs this weekend in the New York Times Limbaugh says that he's a businessman first, and his priority is to sell airtime. What's more, the big-ticket sponsors who advertise on his show know it's a friendly environment for a pro-corporate, consumerist message. 'I consider myself a defender of corporate America,' Limbaugh tells the Times. In other words, no sponsor ever need worry that its ad will appear alongside a rant about downsizing, pollution, price-gouging, or other corporate bad behaviour. (This is also, conversely, one reason why liberal talk radio hasn't prospered: sponsors are afraid to support what they fear will be a hostile environment for their ads.)
There is more but that seems a suitable point at which to move on, albeit noting that the history of print media had already illustrated the importance of advertisers as opposed to circulation, be it in the prosperity of publications with fairly small circulations but an appeal to readers highly valued by advertisers or the survival - as of London's Evening Standard whose circulation was below that of its competitor evening paper - of a publication with a smaller readership but one more valued by the advertisers.
So to listening suggestions, starting this week with some podcasts from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: From this week we suggest Tuesday's "Late Night Live", which included Bruce Shapiro discussing the late Jesse Helms, the North Carolina Republican Senator who died on Independence Day, and Oxford Historian Margaret Macmillan commenting on the way nations use and abuse history to shape decisions and justify actions.
We also suggest Tuesday's "Book Show" for its discussion of the book "Standard Operating Procedure" by the New Yorker's Philip Gourevitch and filmmaker Errol Morris, based on interviews with low-ranking soldiers convicted in connection with the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the photographs of which Gourevitch though would change the nature of attitudes about America's conduct of the Iraq War.
Also from the ABC we suggest the most recent (July 5) issue of "All in the Mind" - "Apes, legal personhood and the plight of Nim Chimpsky" which deals with the case taken by Austrian animal activists to the European Court of Human Rights to gain a right to legal personhood for a chimp called Matthew and the separate saga of Nim Chimpsky, a chimp subjected to an effort to teach him sign language and raise him like a human child.
Then from Sunday "Background Briefing" was on "The climate engineers", a timely repeat of a programme from earlier this year on such ideas as climate control through placing giant mirrors in space or firing sulphur particles into the stratosphere to cool the planet
Finally from the ABC, last week's "The Science Show" on "Music and the Brain", an examination of how human biology and culture affect musical tastes and the sounds that attract or repel us: We particularly appreciated the comment from brain biologist Alan Harvey that Norman Mailer's comment that jazz is orgasm might be closer to the truth than even he suspected.
Which takes us to BBC Radio 3 and next Friday and Saturday starting with "Jazz Library" (Friday 21:30 GMT) in which Alyn Shipton and biographer Tom Perchard select the finest records by the late trumpeter Lee Morgan, to sit alongside his key recording "The Sidewinder", a disc which transformed both his own fortunes and those of his record company, followed by "Jazz on 3" in which Jez Nelson presents a gig recorded at London's Jazz Cafe in June featuring cult US piano trio "The Bad Plus".
And from Saturday we suggest "Jazz Line-Up" in which Claire Martin talks to saxophonist Tom Richards, whose 23-piece orchestra has just released its debut album "Smoke and Mirrors", for which he has written all but one of the tracks.
We'd also note that "Afternoon on 3" this week (13:00 GMT weekdays) is a series of programmes marking the centenary of the birth of the great Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan and that in "The Essay" slot this week (22:00 GMT Monday through Thursday) are more "Greek and Latin Voices", this week looking at the life, work and teaching method of Plato.
And finally from Radio 3 more speech in the form of next Sunday's "Ideas - The British Version", the final programme in the three-part series exploring the origins of British intellectual traditions: This edition, following on last week's look at "Socialism" is on "The Free Market" and the theories of Adam Smith.
Sticking with ideas we move over to BBC Radio 4 with Sunday's "Something Understood" in which Mark Tully considered the state of limbo, where time can seem to stand still; Monday's "Science in the Making" in which Stephen Webster examines the way scientists work and scientific methods and asks why we should believe them; and Tuesday's "Off the Page", which featured a discussion on "Groupthink" and the latest "Thinking Allowed", a discussion on glamour.
Also from Radio 4 we'd suggest last Sunday's "Analysis" on "Responsible Journalism" and another "journalistic" programme in Tuesday's "Tintin's Guide to Journalism", a celebration of the centenary of the birth of the Belgian artist Herge, creator of the boy reporter Tintin who travelled the world making the news.
Then to drama and literature and "The Afternoon Reading" (14:30 GMT) on Radio 4 that this week features stories short-listed for the BBC National Short Story Award and "Book at Bedtime" (21:45 GMT weekdays) that this week is "The Night of the Mi'raj", a crime novel set in contemporary Saudi Arabia.
Finally BBC Radio 2 for Monday's " The Charles Hazlewood Show", the second of six programmes by classical conductor Charles Hazlewood - this week featuring British acoustic duo Westcott and Rodway with an unusual mixture of folk, jazz and flamenco - and the following "Marc Riley's Time Machine" with a 1996 interview by Jo Wiley of Nicky Wire, from "The Manic Street Preachers" plus Tuesday's "Ed Sullivan and Gateway to America" , a look at the TV show that made its debut in July 1948 , and Friday's "Hey! Bo Diddley" (18:00 GMT), the second of the three-part celebration of Bo Diddley by Roger Daltrey (The first part is on the site until then).
RNW note: We regret other pressures meant this item was posted late this week.
Insidemusicmedia - del Colliano:
istockanaylst - Savery :
Motley Fool - Munarriz:
Popwatch - Susman:
John Rook web site:
2008-07-08: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voided resolutions made at the July 2 telephone meeting of its Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age on the grounds that it violated "openness" provisions required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
The resolutions included a call for an investigation of Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings on the grounds that they might misreport minority listening (See RNW Jul 3).
Arbitron, which at the time said was happy to continue its dialogue with the FCC about the advantages of the PPM for radio and defended the ratings in terms of reliability and full representation of all groups, has denied it was involved in an manoeuvring to get the resolution set aside, terming report of this "an insult to the integrity of the FCC, which is properly insisting on compliance with the law" and also to its own integrity, noting that it had "participated in countless numbers of forums to discuss the extraordinary efforts the company makes to properly represent the diversity of the radio audience in its listener surveys."
It also said it was "happy to continue its dialogue with the minority community and the FCC about the advantages the Portable People Meter brings to radio."
In connection with the PPM Arbitron has also announced that it is now offering a "free, customized concierge service" that it terms its "PPM VIP Service" targeted to PPM participants aged from 18-34.
"The user-controlled, web-based, telephone wakeup and reminder service," it said, "is designed to improve compliance by increasing the day-to-day contacts between the PPM respondents and Arbitron's ongoing panel relations efforts."
Arbitron says that the service will enable panellists in New York, Houston and Philadelphia who live in households with a person age 18 - 34 in residence to use the personal digital calendar service through visits to their password protected panellist web page on which they can register up to five phone numbers to receive customized alerts for any personal event.
Arbitron's President, Technology and Research & Development, Owen Charlebois commented in a release, "We've made tremendous strides in improving the representation of 18-34 year olds in all our PPM markets. We've seen double digit increases in DDI performance for 18-34 across the board, with equally significant increases for blacks and Hispanics in that demographic. The increase in sample has also markedly improved the proportionality of our PPM samples in terms of age, race, ethnicity and language preference. The PPM VIP Service is just one of many tools and programs we are using to enhance sample quality in our continuous improvement programs."
The PPM service itself has added a new customer in the form of the New York Giants who have signed an agreement for custom radio ratings services in New York.
New York Giants Chief Marketing Officer Mike Stevens said the PPM data would provide it "with game-by-game insights that we were never able to see before. We know that Giants fans are passionate about their team and will tune in so they never miss a game. We can now deliver valuable insight about our audience base and demonstrate to advertisers that sports radio is a unique format for reaching one of their most valued demographics."
Arbitron notes that New York PPM Pre-currency showed that the average Giants game in the 2007 season on WFAN-AM reached 194,600 Men 25-54 compared to 188,000 for the top rated morning drive show in the city.
Under the contract the existing PPM panel will be used to generate custom reports of pre-, post-, in-game and total broadcast listening estimates for the Giants 2008 football seasons.
2008-07-08: The BBC has announced that Journalist and former TV executive Steve Hewlett is to present BBC Radio 4's new programme "The Media Show", which will replace the station's former media programme "The Message" that ran from 1998 until May this year, with three series a year being aired..
The new show will run every week of the year on Wednesdays at 13:30 London time from October 1 this year and will deal with all forms of media - print, television, radio, online and telecommunications.
Hewlett who has been a regular Radio 4 contributor and commentator on media for the UK Guardian said he hoped "the programme will be able to lift the lid on many of the current stories within the media, offering genuine insight and intelligence, making this show a must-listen for both those within the industry - but always accessible to a wider audience of those interested in a subject that affects all our lives."
Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer commented of the appointment, "Steve has been a terrific addition to Radio 4's presenting talent in the last year and I am delighted that he now has a regular slot - all the year round - where his wide-ranging experience and knowledge can be used to illuminate a big range of media issues."
2008-07-07: Top rated Sydney 2GB host Alan Jones who revealed last week that he has prostate cancer is to have an operation to remove his prostate gland on July 19 and says he expects to be off air for a few weeks whilst he recuperates.
Jones, who is 67, found he had cancer in May following a routine check-up but kept quiet about it: He revealed his condition at Macquarie Radio's Sydney studios blindsiding media who had been expecting an announcement concerning his retirement: In fact he has been in preliminary discussions about extending his contract, which runs out in February next year, although with plans to reduce his workload - he current covers the normal breakfast slot and part of the morning period in a five-hour stint compared to the three-and-a-half hours that is usual in Australia.
After revealing his condition he commented, "We don't do dying around here. We just try and make the most of living" and later added, "The prospect of full recovery is very significant. On the other hand, I'm smart enough to know you are dealing with cancer and that's something that other people have had to deal with so I'm not the Lone Ranger there."
I hope that in volunteering this information I might be able to encourage other people to be much more sensible and less frightened about doing something about themselves," he continued.
In his regular editorial on Friday Jones commented on reactions to his announcement, terming the disease "the breast cancer of men" and refereed to the "dreadful record" of prostate cancer amongst Australian men above 50, down he said to "an equally dreadful record in getting check-ups" and called for men to get regular checkups. "Early check-ups" he said, "will most probably ensure survival although of course there are no guarantees."
He also spoke of the messages he had received, quoting the poet Wordsworth on "the nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love of which people are capable" and expressed gratitude for the messages he had received.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Sydney Morning Herald/AAP report:
2GB - Jones Editorial MP3 (2.45 Mb 2 mins 41 seconds):
2008-07-07: Bauer-owned London station Magic FM has taken the Station of the year award for stations with a potential audience of a million plus in this year's Arqiva commercial radio awards with GCap Media's GWR Bristol taking the award for stations with a potential audience from 300,000 to a million and The Local Radio Company's Harrogate area Stray FM the award for stations with a potential audience below 300,000.
Amongst other awards, the commercial digital station of the year was GaydarRadio for the second year running - it was also the Sony Digital Station of the Year last year. The judges said it wa"a station with a great sense of direction and self nurturing presentation and production talent who targets its audience with fun yet serious presentation."
In addition, Global Radio, now the largest UK commercial radio company thanks to its acquisition of GCap Media took the RadioCentre chairman's award for "creating a significant player in the commercial radio market"; and former GCap Media chief executive Ralph Bernard was presented with the IRN Newslink special award for almost 25 years of "outstanding contribution to the commercial radio industry".
The awards, now in their 13th year, attracted a record number of entries: They are organized by industry body The RadioCentre and sponsored by Arqiva.
The full list of winners was:
Station of the year - with a potential audience of more than 1 million - Magic 105.4.
Station of the year - with a potential audience of 300,000 to 1 million - GWR Bristol.
Station of the year - with a potential audience of less than 300,000 - 97.2 Stray FM.
Digital station of the year - GaydarRadio
Programmer of the year - Andy Roberts - Kiss 100.
Gold award - Neil Fox - Magic 105.4.
Presentation newcomer of the year - Chris Wise - 107.4 The Quay.
Presenter(s) of the year - Jo & Twiggy - Trent FM.
Station sound award - talkSPORT Creative.
Station creative award - Andy Griffiths & Mike Doyle - 102.1 Swansea Bay Radio.
News award - Nomia Iqbal & Katie Collins - 107.6 Juice FM.
Programme or feature of the year - 'V Festival 2007' - Virgin Radio.
Technical innovation award - Juicetube - 107.6 Juice FM.
Most played artist on commercial radio - Take That.
Marketing award - Gavin Bruce & Jay Crawford - Real Radio Scotland.
National sales team of the year - talkSPORT.
Local sales team of the year - Central FM.
Social action initiative award - Severn Sound - The Floods 2007.
Schools radio award (in association with Vision Charity) - Becky Hardesty - Royal National College for the Blind.
Neil Robinson Memorial Award for marketing excellence -Vicky Sanders - Key 103.
Newslink special award - Ralph Bernard CBE.
RadioCentre Chairman's Award - Global Radio.
Previous Arqiva Awards (2007 Awards):
2008-07-07: Global Radio is making a number of employees redundant - the UK Guardian says it will drop up to 30 jobs - as part of what it terms a "prudent reaction to the current economic climate although it has not given details.
The paper says it understands the losses will cover programming, human resources, technology and journalists in the stations it acquired when it bought Chrysalis Radio: These are in the LBC, Galaxy and Heart stations and the paper says LBC senior producer Steve Campen, who is currently overseeing former London mayor Ken Livingstone's programme, is set to leave the station after more than 20 years' service. It quoted a Global Radio spokeswoman as saying she could confirm some employees were "entering into the redundancy consultation process" and that acting chief executive Richard Park had "decided to take this action as a prudent reaction to the current economic climate."
The paper adds that its sources say LBC's rolling AM news channel LBC News 1152 is to become mostly automated rather than using live presenters.
Global Radio acquired GCap Media, formerly Britain's largest commercial radio group last month in a deal under which it agreed that the assets of GCap and Global should be "held separate" while a regulatory review is completed (See RNW May 22) and Global's Chief Executive Ashley Tabor and Chairman Charles Allen temporarily stepped down from those roles to take on the same responsibilities at GCap from June 9th.
It and GCap have announced plans to increase networking of shows that will lead to a number of local station staff losing their jobs.
Previous Global Radio:
UK Guardian report:
2008-07-06: Last week was an abnormally quiet one for radio licence decisions with no such postings from Canada or Ireland and just a few from Australia and the UK.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) posted three radio decisions, one each relating to stations in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.
In New South Wales it has allocated two temporary community licences for the Young area after the applicants, Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting Inc and Young District Arts Council Inc., were unable to agree on a sharing arrangement, the ACMA's preferred option.
Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting Inc, which had been refused a permanent licence last year, got a licence running from July 1 this year to January 3 next year and Young District Arts Council Inc. a licence from January 4 to June 30 next year.
Commenting on the decision ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said there was "a strong incentive for Lambing Flat Community Broadcasting to use the next six months as a temporary community broadcaster to demonstrate to ACMA that it merits consideration for a long-term licence should one be made available in the future,' but added that there were "no immediate plans to look again at allocating a long-term community broadcasting licence for Young."
In South Australia, the ACMA has made capacity available in the Renmark/Loxton region for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to provide its NewsRadio service but because of spectrum congestion for high power radio services was unable to identify any vacant FM frequencies for the service. Accordingly it has allocated the 93.9 MHz, currently used by Riverland Christian Radio Inc. under a temporary community licence to the ABC and moved Riverland to 100.7 MHz with a maximum effective radiated power of 5 kW using a directional antenna pattern.
In Western Australia, it concluded after an investigation of a complaint that Lost the Plot Productions, which operates the Fly FM radio service in Albany, had been operating a commercial radio broadcasting although its licence is for an open narrowcasting service.
Lost the Plot Productions has now accepted an enforceable undertaking under which its service of pre-recorded material comprising predominantly contemporary hit music will be repeated in the same order and the material will not be updated or varied more than once in any week.
The ACMA noted that before commencing its service Lost the Plot stated that the service would consist of pre-recorded material, that the whole of the material would be repeated after each broadcast, that there would not be more than 4 hours of material in a completed broadcast and that the material would only be updated once a week.
The ACMA said that it had understood this meant the service would be a 'pre-recorded' looped service that would repeat material in exactly the same order without any variation at all, thus limiting its appeal. Its investigation found that music tracks were not played in the same order but in varying order in each four hour loop and it said that in these circumstances, ACMA found that Fly FM could not be described as providing programs of limited appeal as required by a narrowcasting licence.
In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a rare week in which it posted no radio licensing decisions as such but it did post a public notice concerning its practice in regard to determining the transaction value in changes in the effective control of broadcasting undertakings.
The CRTC had proposed simplified methods last year but the consensus of the interventions it received was that these would not ensure a proper reflection of the actual value of assets and that the Commission's current discounted cash flow (DCF) methodology was to be preferred.
Accordingly it has decided to retain the DCF methodology for transactions where a valuation report is requested although in cases where preparation of this might cause an undue financial hardship on the applicant it will allow a different methodology to be used. In these cases the applicant will have to convince the authority that using the DCF method "will cause an undue financial hardship and that the method chosen by the applicant stands the test of reasonableness, is consistent and is the most appropriate under the circumstances "
There were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom did post the reasons behind its award last month (See RNW Licence News Jun 29) of the North Wales Digital Multiplex licence to MuxCo Wales Limited, which is proposing to launch with proposes to launch with six linear local digital sound programme services, a podcast service, and BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru (See RNW May 24 ).
Ofcom has also advertised a new commercial FM licence to serve North Wales. This is the last commercial FM it is planning to advertise for the time being in the UK.
The closing date for the receipt of applications is 3.00pm on Wednesday 24 September 2008 and all applications have to be submitted with a GBP 10,000 (USD 20,000) non-refundable fee.
Regarding the MuxCo award the Ofcom radio licensing committee noted that MuxCo Wales Limited brought together MuxCo and Town and Country Broadcasting, which operates five local analogue services in Wales and is an investor and service provider for each of the North East Wales and West Cheshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Mid and West Wales and Gloucestershire multiplexes. MuxCo's executives, it said, have considerable experience in the management of local DAB multiplexes and the operation of digital radio services and 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 said that it felt the package of services being offered would be likely to appeal to a broad range of listeners in the area through their differing formats and geographical emphasis and would broaden local digital choice by offering local services specific to the North Wales area on DAB for the first time, combined with the three new services which would be available in the area for the first time.
Ofcom also awarded three new community licences in Leicester and rejected three other applications for community licences in the area.
The new licences went to EAVA FM (East African Voice Association), which will offer a service for East Africans in Leicester; Demon FM, a station that will be based at De Montfort University and will broadcast programming for the 16-30 demographic; and Kohinoor FM, whose programming will serve the Panjabi speaking population of all ages and faiths in the area.
Rejected were bids from The Sunflower FM (Oadby & Wigston, Leicestershire); Panj Pani Radio (Leicester); and Peace Community Radio (Leicester).
In addition Ofcom has posted its Commercial Radio Broadcast Update for June and updated its timetable for community FM licence adverts.
There were no significant matters in the former - no analogue station format changes; no content sampling reports; just one DAB multiplex change - the addition of Xfm London to the Cardiff and Newport multiplex service; and just one change of control review, that relating to the purchase of Wave 102, Dundee, from UTV by Adam Findlay, and his company New Wave Media. Findlay, the son of former Scottish Radio Holdings Chief Executive Richard Findlay, is a former Radio Forth managing director.
Regarding the community licences update, Ofcom it says it intends to invite applications for the east and southeast of England, excluding the Greater London area, at the end of August 2008 and update this timetable with dates for Greater London (within the M25) in due course.
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been asked by its Advisory Committee On Diversity For Communications in the Digital Age has asked the Commission to "investigate Arbitron's new PPM (Portable People Meter) audience measurement system" in regard to any discriminatory effect on stations targeting minority audiences (See RNW Jul 3).
The FCC also posted its Quarterly Reports on Informal Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Releases for the third and final quarters of last year, showing a large fall in broadcasting complaints compared to 2008 (See RNW Jul 3).
In addition it was involved in a number of enforcement actions with penalties imposed or proposed including the following (In decreasing amount order):
*Issued USD 20,000 forfeiture to Riverside Youth & Rehabilitation d/b/a Riverside Ministries, which it found had demonstrated a lack of candour on a modification application relating to the facilities of WZNP-FM, Newark, Ohio.
Kent State University, which made a mutually exclusive application for a minor change to its non-commercial educational station WKRW-FM, Wooster, and had been refused, had filed a Petition to a minor change to NCE station WKRW-FM, Wooster, the transfer of the construction permit for the station to Christian Voice of Central Ohio, Inc. alleging that Riverside made a false certification in an earlier application to modify the WZNP-FM facilities.
Christian Voice argued that Riverside made an inadvertent mistake on the Modification Application - it related to a transmission tower relocation that downgraded the signal and meant fewer people could receive it -rather than intending to deceive the Commission.
The FCC said that because the modification application became final and did not meet the filing deadline or present evidence supporting one of the exceptions to the finality doctrine, it would not re-examine the grant of the Modification Application. Accordingly the transfer goes ahead.
The FCC also ruled however that the there could not have been an "inadvertent" error by Riverside, which had "falsely certified on the Modification Application a fundamentally basic question regarding whether it received authorization based on a preference for fair distribution of service."
It imposed the USD 20,000 penalty for "misrepresentation and lack of candour" for which the base penalty is USD 32.500, making a reduction because of a history of compliance.
*Issued USD 18,000 forfeiture to "John Doe" (The name was redacted for reasons of the individual's age), of Largo, Florida, for operation of radio transmission equipment without a license in Largo, Florida, on the International Distress, Safety and Calling Channel and transmission of false signals of distress. The FCC had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount in April this year but had received no response so confirmed the full penalty.
*Issued USD 12,000 forfeiture to D-Mitch Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WBSC -AM, Bennettsville, South Carolina, for failure to maintain operational Emergency Alert System equipment and failure to maintain and make available a complete public inspection file. The FCC had issued him an NAL for this amount in April this year but received no response.
*Issued USD 10,000 forfeiture to Frank Rodriguez of Paterson, New Jersey, for operating an unlicensed FM transmitter. The FCC had issued him with an NAL for this amount in April this year but Rodriguez did not respond.
*Issued USD 8,100 forfeiture to Halifax Christian Community Church, Inc., licensee of low power FM station WFBO-LP, in Flagler Beach, Florida for operating its station inconsistent with the terms of its station authorization and its operation of an unlicensed radio station.
In April last year, agents had found the station, which is licensed to operate on 93.3 MHz, was broadcasting on 92.7 MHz and the station's general manager and president had admitted that he was broadcasting on 92.7 MHz without a license because WFBO-LP was not heard very well on 93.3 MHz from his new studio location.
In October last year following more complaints agents found that the station, which was authorized to operate at a maximum 36 watts with a Shively 6812B antenna, was operating at 106 watts using a Norwalk Electronics Phazor antenna.
In April this year an NAL for USD 24,000 was issued to which Halifax responded by requesting cancellation or reduction because it attempted to operate the unlicensed transmitter on 92.7 with as little power as possible and attempted to restrict the transmitter's usable coverage area and because the forfeiture would pose an undue financial hardship.
The FCC rejected the first argument but reduced the penalty to USD 8,100 on the grounds of inability to pay.
*Issued USD 7,000 forfeiture to Radio Plus, Inc., licensee of WFDL-AM, Waupun, Wisconsin, for failing to enclose the WFDL antenna tower within an effective locked fence or other enclosure. An NAL for this amount had been made in July last year but Radio Plus had argued for reduction or cancellation on the basis amongst other arguments that prior to the inspection, it had contacted contractors and that contractor availability and weather conditions prevented it from replacing the fence until the springtime. The FCC rejected the arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
In California, the FCC granted a licence to Logos Broadcasting Corporation for its non-commercial educational station KLFF-FM, San Luis Obispo, and rejected a call from Radio Representatives, Inc. to revoke the licence although it admonished Logos for providing "demonstrably false" information regarding the availability of a tower site in an earlier request for an extension of the deadline to commence operations. It added that had the statute of limitations not prevented it from doing so it would have levied a forfeiture regarding the matter but did not consider the misrepresentation was such that the licence should be revoked.
The FCC also found that there was "insufficient evidence that Logos intentionally misrepresented its programming plans" as alleged by RRI , which said that "In support of its permit application Logos specified that it would broadcast programming geared to the educational needs of local prison inmates, educational and instructional programming geared to a local school, and religious instruction." The actual programming according to the FCC posting appears to be mainly Christian music and the FCC notes that "Citing a lack of staff resources, Logos also admits to a lack of programming geared to the local prison inmate population, although it stresses that its programming fills a need in the prison community. "
RNW comment: Depending on one's standards and use of language, RRI would appear to have a strong case in terms of the normal meaning of words and Logos to be somewhat cavalier about accuracy. However the FCC does seem to be rather a toothless beast when it comes to issues of programming: Were the station in many other countries where there are tighter format requirements we cannot see how Logos would have escaped sanctions or licence loss in this case.
The FCC has also posted its initial decisions in relation to 32 groups of mutually exclusive applications for new or modified non-commercial educational FM station construction permits from the first filing window for such applications in October last year. Petitions to deny the application of any of these tentative selectees have to be filed by July 25.
The selectees are:
Miles College service to Demopolis & Catholic Radio Network, Inc. service to York, which were in conflict with two proposed services to Moundville.
Shredding the Darkness service to Sylvania that was in conflict with Appalachian Performing Arts Institute proposed service to Mentone Tennessee.
TBTA Ministries service to McIntosh, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Mount Vernon.
Calvary Chapel of Casa Grande service to Chuichu, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Eloy.
Native Media Resource Center service to Gualala which was in conflict with a proposed service to Point Arena.
Community Public Radio, Inc. service to serve Buffalo Hill which was in conflict with a proposed service to Placerville.
Nevada-Utah Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists service to Bishop, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Mammoth Lakes.
Calvary Chapel Aurora service to Wiggins, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Kersey.
Salisbury University Foundation, Inc. service to Dover, which was in conflict with proposed services to Camden and Dover.
TBTA Ministries service to Lumpkin, which was in conflict with proposed services to Americus, Lumpkin, and Richland.
Smile FM service to Crystal Valley, which was in conflict with proposed services to Newaygo and White Cloud.
Marge Hazen Ministries, Inc. service to Bolivar, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Brewster.
CSN International service to Weston, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Leipsic.
Kanza Society, Inc. service to Hooker, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Guymon.
South Central Oklahoma Christian Broadcasting service to Chickasha, which was in conflict with proposed services to Alex and Dibbie.
Old Time Gospel Ministries service to Altamont, which was in conflict with proposed services to Chiloquin and Klamath Falls.
Salem Folklore Community service to Turner, which was in conflict with proposed services to Stayton.
Klamath Falls SDA Church service to Klamath Falls, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Altamont.
Four Rivers Community Broadcasting Corp. service to East Nottingham, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Rising Sun, Maryland.
Fourteen Hundred, Inc. service to Evans City, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Northvue.
Spirit Broadcasting Group, Inc. service to Cokebury, which was in conflict with proposed services to Clinton, Joanna, and Laurens.
Calvary Chapel Myrtle Beach service to McClellenville,
The Praise Network, Inc. service to Chamberlain, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Pierre.
VCY America, Inc. service to Wasta, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Rapid City.
Solid Foundation Broadcasting Corporation service to Tusculum, which was in conflict with proposed services to Mosheim and Townsend.
Weatherford Christian School service to Graford, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Jacksboro.
Oasis of Faith, Inc. service to Falfurrias, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Premont.
Oscar Aguero Ministry service to Park City, which was in conflict with proposed services to Evanston, Wyoming, and to Castle Rock and Oakley in Utah.
Utah State University of Agriculture and Applied Science service to Moab, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Castle Valley.
Mountain Air Radio, Inc. service to Orderville, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Kanarraville.
Port Townsend Seventh-Day Adventist Church service to Port Townsend, which was in conflict with a proposed service to Sedro-Woolley.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-07-05: Australian radio veteran Paul Thompson, who launched both Austereo and DMG Radio Australia is to step down as chief executive of the latter on October 1 according to the Melbourne Age, which adds that the company's managing directorCathy O'Connor will take over as chief executive.
Thomson, who is 65, was founding CEO of the Austereo Group, which over 15 years he built from SAFM in Adelaide - it launched in late 1980 - into the leading FM network in Australia: it currently controls the Today and Triple M national radio networks that each have stations in all mainland Australian capital cities as well as overseas interests and a joint venture interest in stations in Newcastle and Canberra.
He became the chief executive of DMG Radio Australia, the owner of the Nova and Vega FM stations, in 1996 after London-based international media company Daily Mail and General Trust asked him to build a national radio network in Australia.
The company also began in Adelaide with its purchase of loss-making talk station FIVEaa immediately after which it acquired a network of regional radio stations, mainly based in NSWL The Nova, and subsequently the Vega networks, were built up through winning bids for commercial FM licences auctioned in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane.
Thompson will remain as a non-executive chairman of DMG Radio Australia and told the Age that the introduction of digital radio next year and the accelerated push online "seemed to create a natural watershed" for his semi-retirement move..
Melbourne Age report:
2008-07-05: Veteran Texan broadcaster Murphy Martin who started his broadcasting career in radio in 1949 and went on to become a TV anchor and the voice of the Dallas Cowboys for a quarter of a century has died aged 83.
According to his website Martin died in a Dallas hospital in the presence of his wife Joyce just before 11p.m. local time on Thursday, a little more than an hour before his 83 rd birthday.
Martin was born in born in Groveton July 4, 1924, and moved to Lufkin with his family at the age of three: The Lufkin Daily News reports that after graduating from Lufkin High School Martin attended college at North Texas State in Denton and then went into radio in 1949 when he moved back to Lufkin, later becoming the anchor, news director and sales manager for KTRE-TV in Lufkin.
His subsequent career was mainly in TV but he was also the public address announcer at Dallas Cowboys' games and in 2006 was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.
Lufkin Daily News report:
2008-07-04: Veteran journalist Sir Charles Wheeler (he was knighted in 2001), the BBC's longest-serving foreign correspondent who got his taste for journalism on the now-defunct Daily Sketch at the start of the Second World War as a copy boy, has died aged 85 of lung cancer.
Wheeler was the son of an RAF wing commander who in the late 1920s became an expatriate employee of a Bremen shipping company: He was born in Bremen but educated in the UK at Cranbrook School. He joined the Royal Marines when the war broke out and as Captain Wheeler was assigned to a unit created by Ian Fleming, later famous as author of the James Bond novels, to gather advance intelligence for the D-day landings in June 1944.
After the Victory in Europe he was posted to Berlin where he helped a number of German submarine commanders to flee from the eastern sector and after demobilisation in 1947 joined the then BBC External Service, predecessor of the World Service, as a sub-editor, later becoming its Berlin correspondent but after three years in that post he was re-assigned over his protests to London as a talks writer.
Her moved to TV and the BBC TV Panorama current affairs programme in 1956 as a producer but was not happy with the role and after two years became the BBC South Asia correspondent based in New Delhi.
Whilst in that role he became famous - or notorious - for comments made after a trip to Ceylon that led to a diplomatic row with the country (which became Sri Lana in 1972) threatening to leave the Commonwealth because he called its Prime Minister "an inexperienced eccentric at the head of a cabinet of mediocrities".
The then British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan issued a public apology and somehow Wheeler not only kept his job but also over the years his habit of making his point when he felt something was wrong.
His subsequent postings included Berlin in 1962 and Washington in 1965 at a time when he found himself reporting the civil rights movement, Vietnam War and President Nixon's rise although not his fall (albeit whilst in Berlin he had met Nixon, who was vice-president and fount him "weird and totally mad") as he became the BBC European correspondent in 1973 when Britain joined the then European Economic Community, the European Union's predecessor.
In more recent times he was a presenter of documentary series on Radio 4 for whom he was working on a programme about the Dalai Lama almost up to his death - he had covered the flight of the Dalai Lama from Tibet in 1959!
Paying tribute, BBC Director-General Mark Thompson commented, "To audiences and to his colleagues alike Charles Wheeler was simply a legend. His integrity, his authority and his humanity graced the BBC's airwaves over many decades. He is utterly irreplaceable but like everyone else, I am privileged to have worked with him."
Deputy Director-General and Head of BBC Journalism Mark Byford said Wheeler was in his view "the greatest broadcast journalist of his generation. Courageous, insightful and always curious, he had the truly outstanding gift for vivid, beautiful writing matched by a quite extraordinary skill for using pictures and sound to convey the power of his own eye witness reportage. As a journalist you saw him as the pinnacle of our profession. His death is a huge loss but his legacy will last forever."
Radio 4 Controller Mark Damazer said, "Charles Wheeler embodied all that is best in the BBC's journalism. He had a brilliant eye and an unequalled ability to convey what he saw and what he knew."
"His work for Radio 4 over the last decade ," he added, "demonstrated his astonishing range - dealing with central and eastern Europe - but also, and superbly, with the legacy at home of World War Two. The documentary series Coming Home in 2005 was the Radio 4 highlight that year. He was working for Radio 4 almost until he died, on a programme about the Dalai Lama. Everything he did was shot through with his compassion and wisdom. He was magnificent."
RNW note: Having first met Wheeler in New York in the early 70s, two qualities about him stick in the memory - his unfailing courtesy and politeness and the quiet determination to get to the root of a story. In one role training TV journalists two of his reports, one with Kurdish refugees who had fled Iraq to the mountains of Iran in winter and another in Kuwait after it had been liberated illustrated his qualities in the one case of a rapport with people in dire straits and in the second of seemingly accepting the inability of a soldier to speak English and then -with perfect timing - getting the man, who was refusing access, to say enough in English to make the situation crystal clear. Of various tributes we have seen in print we would recommend that by Martin Bell, another BBC veteran correspondent, in the Guardian.
*BBC Radio 4 will broadcast a special tribute programme on Saturday, July 5, at 10:00 GMT
UK Guardian - Martin Bell tribute to Wheeler:
2008-07-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Advisory Committee On Diversity For Communications in the Digital Age has asked the Commission to "investigate Arbitron's new PPM (Portable People Meter ) audience measurement system to determine whether the system is having or will have a detrimental and discriminatory effect upon stations targeting minority audiences, to determine whether the Commission possesses authority to address such discrimination, and to determine whether the Commission should submit the results of its investigation to the Congress for consideration of possible legislative action or action by sister agencies."
It is asking that the results of any investigation be published by August 15 but CBS Radio, which is represented on the committee, has described the request as inappropriate.
CBS said in a statement it was voting against the proposal partly on procedural grounds because a subcommittee had not, as is normal, vetted the recommendation and also because it asks for investigation of "an entity that holds no FCC license and is clearly not regulated by the agency. We view such expanded Commission jurisdiction inappropriate and, if exercised in this case, a precedent for FCC involvement in the practices of any entity whose business is at all related to media, telephone, broadband or any regulated service."
Arbitron said in a statement that it was happy to continue its dialogue with the FCC about the advantages of the PPM for radio, adding that experience had shown PPM ratings to be "more reliable than systems that rely on memory and are prone to human error and bias."
It continued, "Our PPM samples fully represent the diversity of the markets we measure in terms of age, sex, race, ethnicity and language preference. Hispanics and African Americans have the highest listening levels in the PPM system and ethnic broadcasters who have embraced PPM are succeeding with the timely and detailed data that only PPM can deliver."
Previous CBS Radio:
2008-07-03: Red Zebra Broadcasting, controlled by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is adding three more stations to its stable with the purchase of Centennial Broadcasting's Roanoke-Lynchburg stations Talk WLNI-FM, Rock WZZU-FM, and Soft AC WLEQ-FM (Bedford).
It has already begun providing programming for the stations but The Lynchberg News-Advance quoted Red Zebra CEO Bruce Gilbert as saying that in the short term it has no plans to change the programming on the stations except promising coverage of Redskins games this fall.
Gilbert added that since Red Zebra launched it had "been looking for opportunities across the Mid-Atlantic." As far as the new acquisitions were concerned he commented, "The people that are there are very good at what they do. We do want it to be business as usual" but added "we wouldn't be good businesspeople if we didn't take a close look at everything" and consider changes, he said.
Last month Red Zebra announced that it was buying three AMs in the Washington D.C. area from Clear Channel (See RNW Jun 5).
Previous Red Zebra:
Lynchberg News Advance report:
2008-07-03: The UK Radio Academy has announced the award of two more fellowships - to BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer and GMG Radio's Scotland programme director Jay Crawford.
The awards were made at the Academy's Gala Dinner in Glasgow, where this year's Radio Festival was held.
At the Radio Festival itself one of the main topics of discussion was digital radio and amongst the suggestions made to drive the take-up of digital radio was one from commercial industry body The RadioCentre that would also happen to significantly reduce competition from the BBC and deprive millions of listeners of a service: It came from the body's chief executive Andrew Harrison who said that BBC Radios 1 and 2 should be made digital-only stations.
After commenting on the financial burden of dual transmission in analogue and digital, Harrison said, "Radio 1 and Radio 2 should be in the vanguard of converting the listener from a backward-facing analogue medium to a forward-looking digital one. The quicker Radio 1 and Radio 2 are made digital only, the quicker DAB will become the default standard."
Harrison dismissed the idea of pushing for the privatisation of the two BBC stations - which of course would increase competition for existing commercial stations - an idea put forward by Peter Bazalgette, former Chairman of Endemol UK, the independent TV company behind such programmes as Big Brother.
"You wouldn't start from here. But do I think Radio 1 and Radio 2 should be privatised now? No. It's not on the political agenda and it's a waste of lobbying time," commented Harrison.
The UK Guardian in its report from the festival noted that in an interview with it last month Global Radio chief executive, Richard Park, also floated the idea of moving BBC Radios 1 and 2 to digital and reported that BBC Radio 2 and 6Music controller Lesley Douglas, who was sharing the stage with Harrison, disagreed, saying that to make the two stations "digital-only at the wrong time, and too early, would cripple the radio industry in this country" and adding that it made more sense for the BBC to promote digital through its FM stations.
The call followed a report last week from the Digital Radio Working Group -DRWG- (See RNW Jun 24) that called for an "aspiration" that DAB should be the primary platform for all national, regional and large local services by 2020.
RNW comment: Our view on the move to digital remains as before - only if the commercial radio companies are prepared to pay for replacement receivers for everybody, which of course they are not, should there be any question of an enforced migration. If there is a sufficient move to digital for commercial companies to give up their analogue licences and move to digital that should be a business decision for them on when to make the move.
There is also the issue of the UK being on a version of DAB that has been superseded by more advanced options - Australia is planning to use DAB+ - that give better quality whilst using the same amount of spectrum and our feeling is that until there is worldwide agreement on a version of DAB that would allow travellers to carry receivers, there should be no question of analogue switch-off at all by the BBC. What probably would make sense, however, would be to require all digital radio to have a common interface - much like USB is not universal on computers - that would allow a simple upgrade to a new chip on existing receivers without wasting the rest of a receiver.
Previous Global Radio:
Previous Radio Academy:
UK Guardian report:
2008-07-03: Figures just released by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) show a large fall in radio and TV broadcasting complaints last year compared to 2006 - in all down from a total of 556,404 to 158,919 of which 151,008 (149,457 indecency/obscenity complaints) came in the first quarter.
Overall in 2006 the quarterly totals, the vast majority relating to broadcast indecency or obscenity complaints, went from 275,257 (275,131 indecency/obscenity complaints) in the first quarter to 53,352 (52,067 indecency/obscenity complaints) in the second then leapt up again to 194,468 (193,504 indecency/obscenity complaints) then fell back again to 33,327 (30.962 indecency/obscenity complaints).
In 2007 the first quarter again saw a leap - up to 151,008 (149,457 indecency/obscenity complaints) followed by a dramatic fall to 5,675 (4,368 indecency/obscenity complaints) with a third quarter total of 987. (368 indecency/obscenity complaints compared to 448 Programming General Criticism) and then rose again in the final quarter to 1,249 (433 indecency/obscenity complaints, a total that was below the 573 Programming General Criticism number).
Previous FCC complaints figures (First two quarters 2007):
2008-07-02: Clear Channel Communications has set July 24 as the date for a special meeting of shareholders to consider the proposed takeover by private equity groups led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. and has also extended until December 31 this year the outside date for completion of the deal although it adds that it still expects it to close on July 30.
Clear Channel also announced the termination of the previously announced tender offer and consent solicitation for its outstanding 7.65% Senior Notes due 2010 for which the deadline had been extended numerous times.
It adds that none of the CCU Notes were purchased in the offer and all CCU Notes previously tendered and not withdrawn will be promptly returned to their respective holders.
It is however going ahead with the previously announced tender offer for subsidiary AMFM Operating Inc.'s outstanding 8% Senior Notes due 2008 and has extended the deadlines from 08:00 New York time on July 3 to 08:00 New York time on July 30 although it notes that the Offer Expiration Date and the Consent Payment Deadline are subject to extension and that its completion is conditional on the satisfaction or waiver of all of the conditions precedent to the Agreement and Plan of Merger by various parties.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-07-02: According to the UK Guardian, the American Family Association was a key player in putting pressures on Heinz to cancel a Deli Mayo commercial that features two men kissing: The cancellation of the advert, which was aired in the UK, not the US, has led to a campaign led by Stonewall and Gaydar Radio to boycott Heinz products.
The advert showed a family getting ready for school - sandwiches are being prepared in the kitchen by a man with an American accent dressed in a serving outfit who is referred to as "mum" from whom the father collects his sandwich and comments "See you tonight love".
As he then goes to leave "mum" says "Hey, ain't you forgetting something?", at which point the two kiss.
Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of Stonewall, said he was "shocked" by the decision to withdraw the ad and added, "We're shocked that an innocuous ad should have been withdrawn in this way. I can't imagine that Heinz would respond to protests about black people featuring in their adverts."
He added, "In response to Heinz's decision to withdraw their TV ad featuring a gay kiss, Stonewall is encouraging Britain's 3.6 million gay consumers and their friends to stop purchasing from Heinz and buy alternative products instead."
Gaydar in its report quoted Nigel Dickie, director of corporate affairs for Heinz UK as saying they withdrew the advert because it was their "policy to listen to consumers" and adding ," We recognize that some consumers raised concerns over the content of the ad and this prompted our decision to withdraw it."
In responses one comment says of the advert that the "premise of the commercial is that the Mayo is so good that it's like you have a New York Deli worker in your kitchen instead of your wife" and of those who complained, and later says, "Aside from the fact that they could have explained the 'joke' within the premise of the commercial to their children they plainly felt it inappropriate that their children might ask about homosexuality in general If this advert showed a different kiss other than one the viewer's children were used to would they have complained. 'Mummy why is that white woman kissing a black man?' or 'Mummy why is that Chinese woman kissing an Indian man?'"
The Guardian in its report notes various comments made by Heinz including one in the UK saying it had decided to drop the campaign because "some consumers raised concerns over the content of the ad"; an apology put out by Heinz in the US after the American Family Association had issued a call to action saying the advert was the kind "we can expect to see in California as they prepare to vote on homosexual marriage" and in which the company apologized "for its misplaced attempt at humour and we accept that this ad was not in accordance with our longstanding corporate policy of respecting everyone's rights and values." [RNW comment: An apology that is a stunning example of corporate public relations twaddle, cowardice and inability to use language with any meaning since a moments thought should indicate you cannot respect everyone's rights and values at the same time. Was this an underhand corporate way of supporting Taliban values on this matter?].
The UK Advertising Standards Authority said it received 215 complaints from viewers who considered it offensive and "inappropriate to see two men kissing" but opted not to start any formal investigation.
Because the advert was for "junk food" it had an "ex-kids" restriction, prohibiting airing in or around children's programming but the ASA said that even had this not applied it would have not investigated, noting that "while some viewers may have personal objections to any portrayal of same sex kissing there was nothing in the content of the advertisement what would constitute a breach of the advertising code."
Gaydar Radio report:
UK Guardian report:
2008-07-02: Clear Channel-owned Premiere Radio Networks and top-rated conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh have agreed a renewal of his syndication contract that they say will run "many years into the future." The Rush Limbaugh Show will have been airing for 20 years this August and is now the highest rated national radio talk show in America.
The deal also includes continued syndication of The Rush Limbaugh Morning Update, a 90-second commentary that airs Monday through Friday in addition to which Premiere Radio, in partnership with Limbaugh, will continue to oversee monthly newsletter "The Limbaugh Letter" and the RushLimbaugh.com website that incorporates the Rush24/7 subscription service.
Although no figure was released for the deal, the New York Times says that it gives the host around USD 50 million a year - a raise of some USD 14.4 million a year over his current contract, which was paying him USD 285 million over eight years and was due to expire next year. The total is said to be made up of a USD 100 million signing bonus plus around USD 38 million a year.
The paper says the financial details "were supplied by Mr. Limbaugh in an interview with The New York Times Magazine for an article that was posted online on Wednesday and will appear in print on Sunday.
On top of this Limbaugh said he "was also getting a nine-figure signing bonus" and added later, "First and foremost I'm a businessman. My first goal is to attract the largest possible audience so I can charge confiscatory ad rates. I happen to have great entertainment skills, but that enables me to sell airtime."
Commenting on the extension in a release by Premiere, Limbaugh says, "This is exactly where I want to be, doing what I was born to do, with an amazing audience and phenomenal support from affiliate stations and sponsors. I'm having more fun than a human being should be allowed to have. There's a relationship between the audience and the host here that is second to none. We're going to continue to provide Broadcast Excellence and have a lot of fun along the way."
Premiere Radio Networks President Charlie Rahilly said demand for the show was at an all-time high and continued, "The Rush Limbaugh Show enjoys an unprecedented platform of radio affiliates. Plus, advertisers harness the intensity of listener engagement - no one's 'word of mouth' about a product or service delivers more impact than Mr. Limbaugh's. The Premiere team is proud to partner with Mr. Limbaugh deep into the next decade."
Clear Channel Radio President and CEO John Hogan added, "Broadcasters of Rush's quality come along once in a lifetime. We're privileged to continue our relationship which is unprecedented in the history of our industry."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Premiere Radio Networks:
New York Times report:
New York Times Magazine interview:
2008-07-02: Air America Radio has named radio veteran Bennett Zier as its CEO, a role in which it says he will "help expand and grow the Air America brand by spearheading on-air, online and video initiatives."
Zier, who will be New York-based, was born in Long Island and graduated from Adelphi University with a degree in Business and Communications: His radio career began with Greater Media in Long Island and includes 14 years with CBS Radio in New York, more than a decade with Clear Channel where he was most recently its Washington D.C.- based EVP, a spell at Red Zebra Broadcasting in D.C. where he was the funding CEO, and subsequently a founding member of Umansky, Wyatt, Zier (UWZ), a Washington D.C.-based management and marketing consulting firm that had amongst others worked for Air America.
Zier will remain a director of UWZ and said of his new role, "With the current political environment so active, it's a great time for Air America Media to grow as an entertaining media company covering politics and news. I'm eager to begin rolling out with the team at Air America a number of exciting initiatives that we have planned to enhance the progressive, multimedia experience offered to our listeners, viewers and readers."
Air America chairman Charlie Kireker commented of Zier, "Bennett brings a wealth of successful experience to this role at Air America Media, ranging from launching and growing stations to running broadcast companies in Washington D.C., New York and Boston," adding "After 30 years in the broadcasting industry, he is a respected influencer, creator and operator of media businesses. Since we recruited him to our Board in April, Bennett has demonstrated the leadership skills necessary to build Air America into a significant business while working with president Mark Green and the rest of our management team."
Last month Air America Radio named another Clear Channel veteran Bill Hess as its Senior Vice President of Programming (See RNW Jun 24).
Previous Air America Radio:
2008-07-01: In a deal aimed at getting listeners on mobile devices Entercom in conjunction with its stream hosting provider Liquid Compass has partnered with FlyTunes with an initial launch under which its stations in San Francisco (KOIT - KDFC - KBWF) and Seattle (KNDD - KMTT - KISW - KKWF), Entercom stations will be available in the new "Cities" section of the FlyTunes Guide. Additional stations in other Entercom markets will roll out on FlyTunes over the next 90 days.
FlyTunes is the first content network specifically designed to deliver radio, video and podcasts to smart phones and its CEO Sam Abadir commented, "Mobile devices present a completely new paradigm for content and ad delivery, very different from traditional broadcast radio and TV, and clearly Entercom understands the value of the medium and the potential of our network."
With the addition of Entercom's stations, FlyTunes offers over 650 channels of music, local and national news, top local personalities, weather, video, and podcasts to smart phone listeners in 130 countries around the world.
2008-07-01: Sirius Satellite Radio in financial guidance for next year says that its planned merger with XM Satellite Radio would yield to total costs savings of around USD 4000 million in 2009 through synergies.
Assuming the merger goes through it predicts adjusted EBITDA (net income/(loss) before interest and investment income, interest expense (net of amounts capitalized), depreciation expense, and non-cash stock compensation expense ) for the combined company of around USD 300 million with positive cash free cash flow , before satellite capital expenditures, for the full year 2009.
Neither company it notes has yet reported positive adjusted EBITDA or achieved free cash flow for a full year.
Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin, who would become CEO of the combined company after a merger, commented, "The upside potential from this merger is significant. In addition, the synergies, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow are expected to continue to grow in subsequent years, and we look forward to providing more detail of this growth in coming months."
Despite the guidance Sirius stock was down 8.57% at close on Monday to USD 1.92 and XM was down 2.85% at USD 7.84.
2008-07-01: Guardian Media Group has hired former Capital Radio breakfast host Chris Tarrant to host a Saturday morning show that will air on eight of its stations including Smooth in London; Real Radio in Wales, Scotland and Yorkshire and Century Radio in the north-east and north-west in competition with Jonathan Ross on BBC Radio 2.
Tarrant left Capital in 2004 ( See RNW Apr 2, 2004) to concentrate on TV work hosting "Millionaire" and has not hosted any long-term regular radio since then, although he had a one-month contract last year to host a Sunday evening auction-style show "Small Price 2 Pay" on UBC's Classic Gold digital station. (See RNW Feb 5, 2007).
The UK Guardian, which is owned by the same parent, says Tarrant's new show, which will air from 10:00 to noon on Saturdays - Ross airs on BBC Radio 2 from 10:00 to 13:00 - will start on July 26: It is being sponsored by Nissan Micra and produced by Head on Media.
Previous GMG Radio:
UK Guardian report:
2008-07-01: This year CBS Radio News has again taken the "Edward R. Murrow Overall Excellence Award" in the series of awards named after the network's celebrated reporter and commentator but it lost the "Continuing Coverage" crown to ABC News Radio's coverage of the Virginia Tech Shootings.
In all CBS Radio took five Radio Network/Syndication Service awards; ABC, Mississippi Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio (NPR) each took two; and XM Satellite Radio took one. In TV, ABC was the leader with six awards whilst CBS took four including one for Best Newscast for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.
In all 54 news organizations are being honoured with 77 awards out of an initial pool of 3,459 entries from several hundred news organizations: The awards will be presented at the RTNDA (Radio-Television News Directors Association) Awards Dinner on October 13, 2008, in New York.
This year's radio winners were:
Radio Network/Syndication Service:
Overall Excellence: CBS Radio News
Continuing Coverage: ABC News Radio, Virginia Tech Shootings
Feature: Hard News: Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Emmett Till Apology
Feature Reporting: Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Kids Write the Blues
Investigative Reporting: NPR, Sexual Abuse of Native American Women
News Documentary: XM Satellite Radio, The Invisible: Children without Homes
News Series: NPR, Rescuing the Wounded: Iraq to Germany
Newscast: CBS Radio News, News on the Hour
Sports Reporting: ABC News Radio, A Reason to Cheer
Spot News Coverage: CBS Radio News, Virginia Tech
Use of Sound: CBS Radio News, Bob Barker Retires
Writing: CBS Radio News, Dave Ross
Radio: Large Market:
Overall Excellence: WBAL-AM, Baltimore
Continuing Coverage: KTAR-FM, Illegal Immigration
Feature Reporting: WNYC-FM, The Second Mom
Feature: Hard News: KGO-AM, The Golden Hour
Investigative Reporting: WTMJ-AM, Unlawful Restraint?
News Documentary: WBAL-AM, The Immortal Ironman
News Series: WBZ-AM, Teen Stress
Newscast: 710 KIRO AM, The Big Story @ 6
Sports Reporting: KMOX-AM, PlayBoys Pt. 4
Spot News Coverage: KRLD, North Texas Tornado
Use of Sound: KGO-AM, The Golden Hour
Website: WTOP-AM/FM, wtopnews.com
Writing: WBZ-AM, Carl Stevens
Radio: Small Market:
Overall Excellence: KFDI-FM/KFDI-AM, Wichita, KS
Continuing Coverage: WVPS-FM, Climate Change
Feature Reporting: WFCR-FM, Love, War, and PTSD
Feature: Hard News: South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Fire Gel
News Documentary: WUOM-FM, Ashes to Hope: Overcoming the Detroit Riot
News Series: WSLU-FM, Farm to Farm, Family to Family
Newscast: WWL-AM/FM, Grand Jury Clears Doctor Charged with Killing Katrina Patients
Sports Reporting: WMSI/WQJQ-FM, British Baseball Fan
Spot News Coverage: KFDI-FM / KFTI-AM, Valley Center Explosion
Use of Sound: WRUF-AM, Game Security
Website: WAKR-AM, AkronNewsNow.com
Writing: WGLT-FM, Charlie Schlenker Compilation
Previous (2007) Murrow Awards:
RTNDA web site - awards page:
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