August 2008 Archive
- July 2008 - September 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.
2008-08-31: Last week was rather busier than of late for most of the regulators albeit it was a matter of routine postings rather than any major developments in general although in Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Agency (ACMA) has released a draft of an Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan for public comment and in the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is asking for comment on the idea that satellite radio receivers should be forced to build in an HD digital radio reception capability.
The plan would replace the current plan which was developed in 2005, and cover new spectrum opportunities for international mobile telecommunication, space research activities, radio astronomy, mobile-satellite services and harmonisation between space and future terrestrial services. The changes were agreed internationally at the International Telecommunication Union World Radiocommunication Conference held in October to November 2007.
Changes have also been proposed to reflect domestic developments, mainly associated with enhancing future flexibility for anticipated growth in radiocommunication services in Australian.
On more earthbound matters the ACMA has varied its Local Area Plan for Mudgee in New South Wales under which the Mudgee 2GEE commercial service will become available to listeners in the Ilford and Pyramul townships.
Under the change, 2GEE will move the site of its Kandos/Rylstone translator and gain an extended licence area towards the Bathurst and Lithgow although there will be no signal overspill into these areas. The overlap with the licence area of the remote commercial radio services 4RBZ and 4RBL will increase.
Giles Tanner, General Manager of ACMA's Inputs to Industry Division said that in "making its decision, ACMA took into consideration that neither Pyramul nor Ilford currently receive a licensed commercial radio service. ACMA believes the changes will allow people to enjoy the benefits of commercial radio that they did not have before, whilst also limiting the level of signal overspill into any neighbouring licence areas."
The ACMA has also found that two Queensland community services that it investigated following the receipt of complaints failed to encourage community participation.
Bundaberg Burnett Community Broadcasting Association Inc, the licensee of Bundaberg temporary community broadcasting service 96.3fm was the subject of other complaints including licensee's failure to keep a record of programs broadcast; broadcasting advertisements; and not continuing to represent the community interest but these were not upheld.
The ACMA noted that this was the first time that the licensee has breached a licence condition since the initial allocation of a temporary community broadcasting licence in December 2002 and said it does not propose to take any formal enforcement action but will continue to monitor the licensee's compliance with its licence conditions.
In the second case Tenterfield & District Community FM Radio Association Inc .whose 2TEN temporary community licence includes the local government areas of Tenterfield in New South Wales and Stanthorpe in Queensland, was also subject to a complaint that it was failing to represent its community interest,
This complaint was not upheld but it was found not to have formal structures in place to ensure that it was encouraging participation from members of the community in all aspects of the operations of the service.
The ACMA noted that 2TEN had already made improvements, including the establishment of formal sub-committees and has asked it to provide a report in February 2009 on the measures it has taken since the investigation was finalised to meet its licence obligations.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posed a number of radio related decisions including (In order of province):
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of low-power English-language religious FM VF8020, Rimbey.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of English-language, low-power FM VF2467, Squamish.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Kispiox First Nation Community Radio's English- and Aboriginal-language Type B Native FM VF2065, Kispiox.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Northern Native Broadcasting's CFNR-FM, Terrace, and its transmitters VF2064, Fort St. James; VF2066, Dease Lake; VF2065, Kispiox; VF2078, Lower Post; VF2079, Masset; VF2072, Good Hope Lake; VF2077 Moberly Lake; VF2073, Quesnel; VF2110, Blueberry River; VF2111, Bruns Lake; VF2112, Doig River; VF2113, Fort Ware; VF2114, Iskut; VF2115, Kincolith; VF2116, Kitimat; VF2117, Kitkatla; VF2118 Gitanyow; VF2119, Prince Rupert; VF2120, Telegraph Creek; VF2133, Atlin; VF2134, Canim Lake; VF2135 Kitseguecla; VF2169, Smithers; and VF2235, Williams Lake.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Arctic Radio (1982) Ltd.'s CHTM-AM, Thompson.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Riding Mountain Broadcasting Ltd.'s CKLQ-AM, Brandon.
Manitoba and Ontario:
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Native Communication Inc.'s CINC-FM, Thompson, Manitoba, and its transmitters CICP-FM, Cranberry Portage; CIFF-FM, Flin Flon; CINR-FM, Norway House; CISF-FM, Swan Lake; CISI-FM, South Indian Lake; CIST-FM, St. Theresa Point; CISV-FM, Swan River; CITP-FM, The Pas; CIWM-FM, Brandon; CIWR-FM, Waterhen;
VF2106, Lac Brochet; VF2107, Poplar River; VF2108, Red Sucker Lake; VF2109, Tadoule Lake; VF2167, Pukatawagan; VF2168, Wabowden; VF2174, God's Lake Narrows; VF2175, God's River; VF2195, Cross Lake; VF2196, Berens River; VF2198, Garden Hill; VF2199, Shamattawa; VF2220, Brochet; VF2222, Nelson House; VF2261, Cormorant; VF2262, Duck Bay; VF2263, Grand Rapids;
VF2264, Pikwitonei; VF2265, Split Lake; VF2312, Churchill; VF2313, Moose Lake; VF2314, Oxford House; VF2333, Gillam; VF2334, Fox Lake; VF2335, Lake Manitoba; VF2336, Griswold Manitoba;
VF2337, Easterville; VF2338, Thicket Portage; VF2339, Bloodvein; VF2340, Hollow Water; VF2342, Sherridon; VF2382, Long Plain; VF2404, Jackhead; VF2405, Pauingassi; VF2406, Leaf Rapids; VF2407, Little Grand Rapids; VF2420, Camperville; VF2421, Dauphin River; VF2422, Ilford; VF2423, Lynn Lake; VF2462, Snow Lake; VF2503, Fisher River; and VF2504 Paint Lake - all in Manitoba plus CIKN-FM, Kenora, Ontario.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Maritime Broadcasting System Limited's CJCW-AM, Sussex.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2009 of the licence of Type B Native radio station CFTI-FM, Big Cove. The CRTC in making the short-term renewal noted "licensee's uncooperative behaviour in relation to its lack of response for additional information following the receipt of its application to renew the broadcasting licence for this undertaking. The Commission also notes that the licensee has failed to file annual returns over the course of the licence term."
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Jack McGaw Consulting Incorporated's low-power English-language travel and tourist service CIRH-FM, Halifax.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Membertou Radio Association Inc.'s English- and Aboriginal-language Type B Native service CJIJ-FM, Membertou.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Seaside Broadcasting Organization's CFEP-FM. Eastern Passage.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of 1333598 Ontario Limited's low-power English-language travel and tourist service CIPR-FM, Pigeon River.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Southern Onkwehon: we Nishinabec Indigenous Communications Society's CKRZ-FM, Ohsweken.
Ontario and Quebec - new stations to serve Ottawa, Ontario, and Gatineau, Quebec:
The CRTC at a public hearing in May considered ten applications for new FMs to serve Gatineau and Ottawa, granting two licences. The applications granted were from Astral Media inc. and Frank Torres, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated:
The Astral application was one of four mutually exclusive applications for new stations to use 99.7 MHz.
It proposed a 45,000 watts Soft Adult music format to serve Ottawa and Gatineau in competition with applications from Christian Hit Radio Inc. for a 2,400 watts English-language FM commercial specialty (religious) FM to serve Ottawa; Mark Steven Maheu, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a 30,000 watts English-language Pop Alternative music commercial FM; and Ottawa Media Inc. for a 4,800 watts English language Adult Album Alternative commercial FM to serve Ottawa and Gatineau.
In addition Instant Information Services Incorporated applied to increase the power of English-language commercial tourist service CIIO-FM, Ottawa, which currently operates on 99.7 MHz, from 25 watts to 427 watts/ This would have changed it from an unprotected low-power service to a protected Class A service
Frank Torres' application was one of six mutually exclusive applications to use 101.9 MHz or 101.7 MHz and was for a 3,600 watts blues music English-language commercial FM in Ottawa.
Rejected were applications from Corus Radio Company for a 4,100 watts English language news/talk commercial FM to serve Ottawa and Gatineau; Fiston Kalambay Mutombo, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a 285 watts French-language Christian music specialty FM to serve Ottawa; Instant Information Services Incorporated for a 200 watts French-language commercial tourist FM to serve Ottawa; Radio de la communauté francophone d'Ottawa for a 718 watts French-language Type B community FM; and Réél-Radio for a 158-watts French-language community-based campus FM in Gatineau.
In a dissenting note Commissioner Michel Morin said he agreed with the Astral Media selection but with choice limited because only two frequencies were available he continued, "After having selected a music station as our first choice, I feel that we should have opted without hesitation for a talk station for the sake of diversity, the competition that we must attempt to encourage and the lack of talk stations on the FM band available to the 700,000 English-language consumers in the Ottawa-Gatineau region."
"Following the Commission's decision," he wrote, "two new music stations will be added to the 12 existing stations, which will result in 14 music stations out of a total of 16... Why must we limit the talk radio market to two stations: the CBC's public station Radio One on the FM band and private commercial station CFRA, owned by CTVglobemedia, on the AM band? Why should 2 undertakings out of 16 comfortably rule over a quarter of the region's total listenership and dominate the FM and AM bands without having to face competition from a new talk station?"
Prince Edward Island:
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Jack McGaw Consulting Incorporated's English- and French-language low power travel and tourist CIRB-FM, Confederation Bridge.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Mohawk Radio Kahnawake Association's CKRK-FM, Kahnawake.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Comité de la Radio communautaire huronne Wyandot inc.'s CIHW-FM, Village-des-Hurons.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2010 of the licence of Coopérative des travailleurs CHNC's French-language commercial station CHNC-AM, New Carlisle, and its transmitter CHGM-AM, Gaspé
In making a short term renewal, the CRTC noted that approval has been given to convert CHNC-AM, New Carlisle to FM and add FM transmitters in Gaspé, Carleton, Chandler and Percé and that in June it approved an application by the licensee to acquire the assets of the station - the new FM transmitters were not in operation at the time but have to be on air by March 3, 2010. It therefore extended the licence to the end of the broadcast year in which the new FM has to be operational.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Radio Essipit Haute-Côte-Nord Inc.'s Type B Native radio station CHME-FM, Les Escoumins, and its transmitters CHME-FM-1, Tadoussac; CHME-FM-2, Sacré-Cur; and CHME-FM-3, Forestville.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2010 of the licence of RNC Média inc.'s French-language commercial station CHLX-FM, Gatineau, and also deletion of conditions of licence relating to its operation within the specialty FM format, which required it to devote at least 70% of its music programming to concert music (subcategory 31); devote at least 15% of its music programming to jazz and blues music (subcategory 34); and devote, in any broadcast week, 15% or more of the station's musical selections from category 3 (Special Interest Music) to Canadian selections, scheduling them in a reasonable manner throughout the broadcast day.
RNC had said the programming it offered attracted only a small audience and prevented the station becoming profitable. It is proposing to offer soft popular music format comprised of ballads and love songs that will enable it to attract a slightly younger audience and strike a better balance between the female and male audiences and also devote at least a fifth of its programming to jazz.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Radio communautaire de Harrington Harbour's English-language Type A community station CFTH-FM-1, Harrington Harbour and its transmitter CFTH-FM-3, Kegaska.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2010 of the licence of CJMS-AM, Saint-Constant. The CRTC notes that the short-term renewal will allow it to assess at an earlier date the licensee's compliance with the provisions of the Radio Regulations, 1986 regarding the filing of annual reports and its condition of licence relating to contributions to Canadian content development.
*Approval of application by Guy Simard, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a 17,460 watts French-language adult pop music commercial FM in Montmagny together with a 12,600 watts transmitter in Saint-Fabien-de-Panet, Quebec.
The application had been opposed by La Radio touristique de Québec inc., licensee of French-language low-power station CKJF-FM Québec , which currently operates on the 90.3 MHz proposed by Simard; Corus Quebec, licensee of CFEL-FM, Montmagny , which said the economic climate is not favourable for a new station in the market and said it would serve the area better were the CRTC to approve its application to add an FM transmitter in Montmagny and thus improve its coverage; and by Evanov Communications Inc., which proposed that the station use a frequency that cannot serve Quebec - where only 90.3 MHz and 106.9 MHz could support a commercial radio station serving the general public.
*Denial of application by La Radio touristique de Québec inc., licensee of CKJF-FM and CJNG-FM, Québec, to increase the power of CKJF from 12.7 watts to 79.4 watts and decrease the antenna height. It approved an application to increase the power of CJNG - which is on 89.7 MHz - from 12.7 to 20.4 watts and decrease the antenna height.
The CRTC noted that the power increases would change the status of each service from low-power unprotected services to regular Class A1 services and that they had been opposed by Radio-Classique Québec, Groupe Radio Simard and Evanov Communications Inc. on various grounds.
Radio Classique expressed concern about interference with its 92.7 MHz signal to which Radio touristique responded by saying the Department of Industry considers the applications to be technically acceptable and has made them subject to the customary conditions.
Radio Simard, which has filed an application for a new 17,460 watts commercial FM in Montmagny on the 90.3 MHz frequency used by CKJF and that these are mutually exclusive. Radio touristique responded by saying that the choice of 90.3 MHz in Montmagny was not mandatory as other frequencies, such as 94.7 MHz and 105.3 MHz, would be available.
Evanov noted that available spectrum in Quebec is very limited and that 90.3 MHz and 106.9 MHz are the only frequencies able to sustain a mainstream radio station, with 101.5 MHz as a low-power alternative. It requested denial of the applications because it would be in the public interest to issue a call for applications to use the last available frequencies in the market and because the applicant had not demonstrated that the existing technical parameters are insufficient to allow it to provide the service for which it obtained a licence. Radio touristique responded that the frequencies are being used very efficiently, since the programming of its radio stations is entirely local and contributes to the area's tourist industry, which is very lucrative.
The CRTC said that it did not consider that the use of 90.3 MHz , which is allotted specifically to the city of Montmagny , would be optimal and noted that Guy Simard expressed his willingness during the hearing to assist the licensee in finding a new frequency and ensuring the continuity of the service offered by Radio touristique de Québec. Accordingly it denied this part of the application.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Harvard Broadcasting Inc.'s CFWF-FM, Regina.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Rawlco Radio Ltd.'s CJME-AM, Regina.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Shelley Thoen-Chaykoski's low power English-language birding, hunting and eco-tourism service, CFBA-FM, Foam Lake
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of White Bear Children's Charity Inc.'s CIDD-FM, White Bear Lake Resort.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Natotawin Broadcasting Inc.'s CJLR-FM, Laronge and its transmitters CIRN-FM, Saskatoon; CJLR-FM-1, Montreal Lake;
CJLR-FM-2, Denare Beach; CJLR-FM-3, Prince Albert; CJLR-FM-4, Regina; CJLR-FM-5, Yorkton; CJLR-FM-6, North Battleford; CJLR-FM-7, Meadow Lake; VF2298, Black Lake; VF2299, Fond du Lac; VF2300, James Smith Reserve; VF2301, Shoal Lake; and VF2332 Beardy's F.N. Res. (Duck Lake).
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Bethany Pentecostal Tabernacle's low-power English-language specialty service CIAY-FM, Whitehorse.
Yukon, British Colombia and Northwest Territories:
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of Northern Native Broadcasting's CHON-FM, Whitehorse, and its transmitters CHCK-FM, Carmacks; CHHJ-FM, Haines Junction; CHOL-FM, Old Crow; CHPE-FM, Pelly Crossing; CHTE-FM, Teslin; VF2024, Burwash Landing; VF2027, Watson Lake; VF2028, Mayo; VF2035, Ross River; VF2038, Upper Liard; VF2039, Carcross; VF2049, Dawson City; VF2125, Beaver Creek; VF2126, Keno City; VF2127, Stewart Crossing; VF2128, Tagish; VF2147, Destruction Bay; VF2148, Whitehorse (Mayo Road Subdivision); VF2311, Lower Post; plus VF2306, Atlin, and VF2352, Good Hope Lake, both in British-Colombia; and VF2354, Aklavik; VF2414, Faro; and VF2498, Tsiigehtchic (Arctic Red River), all in the Northwest Territories
The CRTC also renewed from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2012 the licences of the following Type B Native FM's all of which may have failed to comply with regulations relating to annual returns in the years noted:
Native Communications Society of the N.W.T.'s CKLB-FM, Yellowknife, and its transmitters VF2069 Deline, Fort Franklin; VF2070, Fort Good Hope; VF2071, Rae-Edzo; VF2080, Fort McPherson; VF2081, Fort Resolution; VF2082, Inuvik; VF2083, Aklavik and VF2102, Fort Simpson.
Greg Johnson's CICU-FM, Eskasoni (2001 to 2004 and 2007).
Corporation Médiatique Teuehikan's CHUK-FM, Mashteuiatch (2001 and 2003).
Société de Communication Ikito Pikogan ltée's CKAG-FM, Pikogan (2001 to 2004).
Gespegewag Communications Society's CHRQ-FM, Restigouche (2007).
Radio Ntetemuk inc.'s CIMB-FM, Betsiamites (2001, 2005 and 2007).
Corporation de Radio Kushapetsheken Apetuamiss Uashat's CKAU-FM, Maliotenam, and its transmitter, CKAU-FM-1, Sept-Îles (2005 and 2007).
Radio communautaire MF Lac Simon inc.'s CHUT-FM, Lac Simon, and its transmitter CHUT-FM-1, Val D'Or (2001 to 2007).
FDB Broadcasting Inc.'s CFDM-FM, Meadow Lake (2002, 2003 and 2007).
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with a Sept 29 deadline for submission of interventions or comments that included the following radio-related items:
*Application by Bluewater Community Radio to relocate increase it's the height of the transmitter of English-language Type B community service CFBW-FM, Hanover.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom has posted its Commercial Radio Broadcast Update for August that included four analogue changes of format; channel changes on four digital multiplexes; five change of control reviews; and the issuing of one "yellow card".
The last went to Shropshire station Sunshine 855, Ludlow, for a lack of local news bulletins.
The change of control reviews were for Xfm, South Wales, which has been sold by Global Radio/G Cap Media; Solent regional station Original 106, which has been sold by CanWest; and Ivel FM, Vale FM and Pennine FM, which have been sold by The Local Radio Company. All the acquisitions were allowed.
The analogue format changes were for LBC News; Vale FM; Time 106.6; and The Revolution.
Global Radio's AM station LBC News is to be allowed to simulcast the programming of its FM sister station LBC 97.3 during the hours of 1900-0700, Monday to Friday, and from 1800 Sat - 0700
Sun, and 1700 Sun - 0700 Mon, hours when it says the AM signal is at its weakest and most vulnerable to incoming interference.
The station broadcasts rolling news for the rest of the time but Global says the high cost of the service combined with its low revenue potential means that it is no longer possible to sustain rolling news as a 24-hour format.
Vale FM is to be allowed to regionalise six of its ten daytime local hours by sharing output as appropriate with Ivel FM; Tristar Broadcasting Limited's Time 106.6 is to be allowed to relocate the station from Slough outside the licence area to Sunrise Group's nearby broadcast centre in Southall. In allowing the move Ofcom said there were exceptional circumstances including the geographical closeness of the locations - nine miles apart - and the GBP 100,000 (USD 180,000) a year occupancy costs in Slough that contribute significantly to the station's losses making co-location a significant factor if the station is to survive.
Oldham station The Revolution is to be allowed to drop Adult Alternative Hits requirements from its licence conditions. The station said the addition of this was only made in February last year and the change had not worked out. It also noted that Xfm has now firmly established itself within the area.
The digital multiplex changes, each replacing 'Urban Choice' by 'Choice FM' , affect the North East England; North West England; South Wales and Severn Estuary; and West Midlands and Yorkshire digital multiplexes.
Ofcom has also invited applications for community licences in East and southeast England, excluding Greater London and other areas within the M25. The deadline for applications is November 18 and a GBP 600 (USD 1,080) non refundable fee has to accompany each application.
Ofcom warns that there is a severe lack of suitable FM frequencies in and around Greater London and other areas within the M25. Therefore in many cases applicants in overlapping, adjacent or even quite different locations may be competing for an FM frequency.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted has issued a Notice of Inquiry concerning the "Development of Devices Capable of Supporting Multiple Audio Entertainment Services", by which it means requiring satellite radio receivers to be capable of receiving HD Radio or any other technologies capable of providing audio entertainment services and requiring HD receivers to also be capable of handling the other services.
Somewhat confusingly for the rest of the world the FCC refers to DAB - the generic term for digital audio broadcasting - when it means HD whereas in most of the world it means Eureka DAB [are we being unkind so suggest that if Americans could not handle IBOC (in-band-on-channel) rather than the marketing translation of this to HD they might be confused by a rather more complicated real world that includes DAB - using MP2 encoding, DAB+ with AAC, which dare we mention it includes Reed-Solomon error correction coding; the DMB system (based on DAB) and DVB-H mobile TV systems, and Digital Radio Mondiale.
In the call for comments - a 60 day window from August 25 - the FCC notes the issues of costs involved and whether, and to what degree, the higher volume might lead to lower licensing fees for the intellectual property involved and whether it should -or had the power - to require reduced licensing fees to iBiquity if it mandated inclusion of an HD Chip. Sirius XM, it notes, has agreed to provide its intellectual property on reasonable terms to allow manufacturers to provide equipment that can handle the merged entity's signals and is committed to allowing device manufacturers to incorporate in SDARS receivers any other technology that would not result in harmful interference with the merged entity's network, including HD Radio, iPod ports, Internet connectivity, and other technology. [RNW comment: If it doesn't have the power to require very reasonable rates - and in view of the cheapness of an analogue receiver a dollar a set should be a maximum for combined licensing fees for both satellite and HD receivers, our view is that the FCC should keep out of this one and let the market decide.].
In other actions the FCC has actually made a refund to Fireside Media, owned by Dave Garey , which had submitted high bids on four FM construction permits in the FCC's auction 37 that it then withdrew - for stations in Whitehall and Eureka, Montana; Breckenridge, Texas; and Manville, Wyoming.
Under FCC rules a bidder who withdraws a provisionally winning bid during an auction has to pay a withdrawal sum equal to the difference between the amount of the withdrawn bid and the subsequent winning bid
In this case, following the auction the final withdrawal payment relating to the Eureka CP, which was sold in Auction 37 and interim withdrawal payments relating to the other three CPs that had not been sold were paid by Fireside from its upfront payment. The Breckenridge and Manville CPs were subsequently sold in the FCC's auction 62 but the Whitehall CP was not sold at that auction and has not been put on offer since.
As a result the FCC calculated that Fireside had to make final withdrawal payments of USD 108,892 - USD 41,137 for the Breckenridge CP and USD 67,755 for the Manville one but Fireside said it could not pay this on the basis of financial hardship.
Documentation provided substantiated the inability to pay and the FCC accordingly forgave the debt: It also said it would refund at least USD 8,659 of the USD 17,318 of Fireside's auction down payment that it currently holds and noted that Fireside is entitled to argue under its rules for refund of more of the monies involved.
In enforcement actions the Commission levied a number of penalties on radio stations including the following:
*Issued USD 18,000 forfeiture to Capital Assets, Inc., licensee of WRJX-AM and WHOD-FM, Jackson for failing to properly maintain a public file for the stations.
It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount to which Capital Assets responded by requesting a reduction on the grounds of a prior history of compliance and financial hardship. The FCC said that Capital had failed to provide documentation to justify reduction on the latter grounds and in terms of complaints noted that it had failed to comply with the rules for a significant part of the license term at three separate stations including these stations and WBMH-FM, Grove Hill. It confirmed the full penalty.
*Issued USD 9,000 forfeiture to Capital Assets, Inc., licensee of WBMH-FM, Grove Hill, for failing to properly maintain a public file for the Station.
It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount to which Capital Assets responded by requesting a reduction on the grounds of a prior history of compliance and because the omission had been due to the "negligence of a previous manager" since when it had hired a new manager with the issues/programs lists then being properly prepared and placed in the Station's public file. Regarding the issue of compliance the FCC notes that Capital had disclosed in the license renewal application for the station that it had retained no issues-programs lists in the station's public inspection files for seven years of the eight-year license term and had disclosed similar violations in the license renewal applications of WRJX-AM and WHOD-FM, Jackson. It confirmed the full penalty.
Issued USD 18,000 forfeiture to LaSalle County Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of WLPO-AM and WAJK-FM, LaSalle, for failing to properly maintain a public file for each station. It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount to which LaSalle responded by requesting a reduction on the grounds of a prior history of compliance.
The FCC in confirming the full penalty noted that LaSalle had disclosed in the license renewal application for the stations that it had retained no issues-programs lists in the station's public inspection files for seven years of the eight-year license term and had disclosed similar violations in the license renewal applications of WKOT-FM, Marseilles. It confirmed the full penalty.
*Issued USD 9,000 forfeiture to LaSalle County Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of WKOT-FM, Marseilles. Again it had issued an NAL for this amount to which LaSalle responded by asking for a reduction, primarily on the grounds of a history of compliance. As with its other stations (above) the argument was rejected and the full penalty confirmed.
In New York, the FCC granted an application from Ithaca Community Radio, Inc. for a construction permit for a new non-commercial educational (NCE) FM to serve Watkins Glen. The application was opposed by Ithaca College, licensee of NCE station WICB-FM, Ithaca, on the grounds of potential interference with its signal, and also by two individuals - one of whom signed his letter - in this case the applicant's counsel provided a letter saying the signature was forged - and the other unsigned. Both these individual objections were accordingly dismissed whilst that of the college relied on a different methodology to assess interference and was also dismissed.
In Pennsylvania, the FCC dismissed objections to the renewal of the licence of non-commercial educational station WRKC-FM, Wilkes-Barre, on the grounds that the station's general manager, Sue Henry censored the content of several syndicated programs formerly broadcast by the station because she did not agree with their political content.
Henry had responded that she discontinued the programming because their commentary was inconsistent with the mission of the licensee, King's College, a private Catholic institution and noted that another station in the market still carried them.
The FCC noted that it has not been involved in determining programming content, dismissed the objections, and renewed the licence.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site: :
2008-08-30: Chicago radio has seen an influx of new management this month, some of it triggered by the promotion of Darren Davis, Clear Channel's vice president of programming and operations in Chicago, to SVP of Programming for Clear Channel in which role he will oversee 148 mid-market stations.
He was also programme director for adult-contemporary WLIT-FM and smooth jazz WNUA-AM. He is being succeeded in is programming and operations role and also as WLIT PD by Tony Coles, who'd been working for Clear Channel in Portland, Ore., as a regional vice president of programming as well as operations manager and program director.
The PD role at WNUA will be taken by veteran host Rick O'Dell who retains his midday slot and also the role of music director at the station.
Also taking over a PD slot is Rick Vaughn, most recently program director of WIOQ-FM in Philadelphia: He takes over at rhythmic Top 40 WKSC-FM from Rick Gillette, who is moving back to California after two years in the role.
Another move on the way is at CBS Radio where Mike Peterson has resigned. He was PD of country format WUSN-FM and also of AC WCFS-FM and, according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times, is leaving to run his family's business, a shade tree nursery, in Oregon.
Feder says that until a replacement is hired programming at the two stations will be overseen by vice president and general manager Dave Robbins.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2008-08-30: British comedy producer, writer and performer Geoffrey Perkins has died aged 55 in a road accident in London.
Perkins who made his name producing "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" for BBC radio worked on some twenty radio programmes including the comedy "Radio Active", which was developed from an Oxford University production based on a parody group called Hee Bee Gee Bees.
After his work in BBC radio he also produced The Uncyclopaedia of Rock for Capital Radio and became a director of leading independent production company Hat Trick Productions before returning to the corporation as BBC TV's Head of Comedy.
He left the BBC again to become creative director of Hat Trick Productions in 2001, producing a number of shows for the corporation. His latest production, Harry And Paul, with Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, is due to start on the BBC next week.
BBC director of vision Jana Bennett said she was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the news and added that he was "was an outstanding creator of countless comedy hits on the BBC and elsewhere, and a very distinguished former BBC head of comedy."
2008-08-29: Global Radio owned Capital 95.8 has appointed Lisa Snowdon, who has been filling in since Denise van Outen quit (See RNW Aug 4) as its breakfast show co-host with Johnnie Vaughan.
Snowdon, who presents "Britain's Next Top Model" on Living TV, will be the fourth partner for Vaughan since he took over from Chris Tarrant in 2004.
Capital 95.8 managing director Paul Jackson said of the appointment, "Lisa has been outstanding in recent weeks and we have received an amazing response from our listeners."
He added that she was "a fantastic talent, with a natural flair for radio and works brilliantly alongside Johnny. We are thrilled to have her as part of the Capital 95.8 team."
Snowdon said she "couldn't think of a better way to start the day than with Mr Vaughan and the breakfast gang. He keeps me on my toes and has me in stitches for the whole four hours. I have grown up with Capital and having the opportunity to work with Johnny on London's most iconic breakfast show is a dream come true for me" and Vaughan added, "I'm delighted to have Lisa as my new co-host. Her enthusiasm for her new role is self-evident and she's a natural behind the mic. Lisa is a great addition to the Capital breakfast show."
Previous Global Radio:
2008-08-29: Former Catholic priest and KGO-AM radio host Bernie Ward has been sentenced to jail for than seven years and three months by a federal judge in San Francisco.
The 57-year-old had pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of distributing child pornography, following an investigation that began when an online dominatrix who reported him to police because of concerns about images he had of young children.
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker passing sentence noted that federal law requires at least a five-year sentence but described the case as a "personal tragedy" and added that prison may not be the best way to help Ward or children exploited by pornography.
Ward had admitted sending between 15 and 150 pornographic images, which he said were part of research for a book, by e-mail but the judge said that he was disturbed by some aspects of the case commenting of transcripts of a conversation with the dominatrix in which Ward said he was aroused when his daughter walked in the bathroom while he showered, "I find it extremely troubling that a parent would say the things he wrote in those messages" and asking why, when Ward "encountered his own predilection (for child pornography), didn't he seek treatment, seek help?"
Federal prosecutors had asked for a nine-year sentence and Justice Department lawyer Steven Grocki said Ward's actions were not "an aberration. ... This is recurrent behaviour" and added that Ward "These images depicted these minors suffering the most horrific torment He traded in the currency of human suffering.''
Ward's lawyer Doron Weinberg, arguing for the minimum five-years sentence, described the conversations as role-playing - Ward said he had downloaded the images as part of his research for a proposed book on hypocrisy among Americans who preach morality - and said the actions were an aberration in the life of "a very good man (who) has touched the lives of thousands of people" as a broadcaster and fundraiser for charity.
Ward himself said at the hearing, which was attended by his wife and four children, "I regret my actions, the harm they caused my family, my friends and this community."
The judge said he would go along with a defence request that Ward serve his sentence - seven years and three months - in the minimum-security prison in Lompoc (Santa Barbara County) and prosecutors did not object.
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2008-08-29: Macquarie Media has recorded profits for the year to the end of June up six-fold, boosted by an AUD 255 million (USD 218.8 million) profit on the sale of its 60% of Taiwan Broadband Communications.
Net profit was up 625% to AUD 273.8 million (USD million 234.9 million) on revenues - boosted by its acquisition of the television assets of Southern Cross Broadcasting (Bought in a Southern Cross acquisition that saw Fairfax Media subsequently take over Southern Cross's metropolitan radio stations - See RNW Jan 18) - up 145% to 449.1 million (USD million 385.4 million) whilst net profit from continuing operations was AUD 19.7 million (USD 16.9 million) compared to an AUD 1.9 million (USD 1.63 million) loss a year earlier. Operating revenues were up 80.8 % to AUD 568 million (USD 487.4 million) and EBITDA was up 46.5% to AUD 216 million (USD 185.3 million).
Like-for-like media operations showed a revenue increase of 5.4% with like-for-like EBIDTA up 8.2%.
The former Macquarie Media Group's regional radio operations are now part of Macquarie Southern Cross Media (MSCM), which was formed through integration with the Southern Cross TV operations and whose operations revenues were up 7.8% to AUD 353.7 million (USD million) with EBITDA up 12.2% to AUD 119.7 million (USD million).
Within MSCM radio operations revenues were up 9.4% to AUD 170 million (USD 303.5 million) and radio EBITDA was up 13.5% to AUD 66.2 million (USD 56.8 million). TV operations revenues were up 6.3% to AUD 163.8 million (USD 140.6 million) with EBITDA up 10.6% to AUD 53.5 million (USD 45.9 million).
Chief Executive Mark Dorney said of the results, "It has been both a busy and positive 12 months for MMG. Our high quality media businesses have produced a strong Group result and we have been able to complete integration of the strategic acquisitions made during the period."
He added, "It was a transformational period for our Australian operations. Acquiring and integrating SBC's television operations added another medium to our regional media platform.
MSCM is now Australia's largest regional media group, with a potential reach of 7.5 million Australians. In the majority of its markets, it is the only combined radio and television provider.
MSCM remains on track to deliver AUD 9 million (USD 7.7 million) in annualised cost synergies in the 2009 financial year."
"MSCM," he said, "continued to deliver positive earnings growth over the period, which includes eight months of earnings from our television operations. Both radio and television benefited from solid local advertising growth throughout the 2008 financial year. As expected, national advertising in the December 2007 half was boosted by the Federal Government information campaigns and the 2007 Federal Election. Whilst these factors had largely passed when we acquired control of SCB television on 26 October 2007, they positively impacted our radio business."
Dorney also commented on the development of cross media sales initiatives which he said "have been tailored to best serve the markets in which they have been launched. These innovative cross media sales ideas were shared across the Group in June 2008 at the combined sales and television conference. Being able to offer our advertisers an integrated, creative offering across both radio and television, and thus increase the effectiveness of the offered product, provides MSCM with a market-leading offering in regional Australia."
Previous Macquarie Media:
2008-08-29: Global Radio, which acquired the Xfm brand when it took over GCap Media, is to re-brand its Xfm station in Scotland as part of its Galaxy Network some time in the next few months although it has not yet given a date and will continue to broadcast as Xfm for the moment.
Staff were told in an e-mail by Darren Henley, managing director for Global's Classic FM, Xfm and Choice - all acquired from Capital, that the focus would move as the launch approached, adding, "I know that there has been a lot of uncertainty and change over the past few months for everyone in Glasgow - and I really do appreciate the very professional way in which you have all carried on working so hard and your willingness to embrace change."
The move is being seen in some quarters as a potential death knell for Xfm - the South Wales station was sold to Town and Country Broadcasting in May by GCap (See RNW May 31) which in February had put up for sale all the Xfm licences outside London (See RNW Feb 11) although Global then halted the sale of the Manchester and Scotland stations.
Any attempt to re-brand the London or Manchester Xfm stations will be more restricted by licence conditions but Global could try to get a re-branding past the regulator or consider a sale. In a UK Guardian blog, Xfm founder [in London] Sammy Jacob, who is now NME Radio managing director, said of the station that once they sold out to Capital radio in 1998 "it never really had a clear focus. It was pulled left, right and centre, with different management imposing different visions; trying to make it what they wanted it to be rather than what it should have been. It undermined what we set out to do. Like any brand if you don't have a clear vision then it is just going to dilute and whither away."
Another former GCap station is also in the news with an announcement that Planet Rock, which was bought by businessman Malcolm Bluemel in June (See RNW June 5), is to move out of GCap's Leicester Square premises in October and re-locate with UBC Media in Marylebone in October as part of a re-launch.
GCap had agreed to allow the digital station to use its facilities until it found a new home and Bluemel commented of the move, "Planet Rock is now completely in charge of its own destiny with our very own location in the heart of London. This is a dream come true for us. We can now provide rock fans with essential rock listening, artists can come into the station at any time we choose, we can do it our own way and give our listeners exactly what they want. There is a close knit passionate team at Planet Rock, headed up by Trevor White, and all of us look forward to building on the amazing progress this fantastic radio station has already made."
UBC Media CEO Simon Cole said he was proud to provide services to Planet Rock and build facilities for them inside its Lisson Street premises.
Another former GCap station, The Jazz, which was closed down but is being re-launched In other UK station news, Marketing Week has reported that First Radio Sales has won the national airtime contract for the re-launched Jazz FM that is due to debut in October.
Guardian Media Group (GMG), which bought the Jazz FM stations, re-branded the analogue stations as "Smooth FM" outlets and dropped the brand from various digital multiplexes last year although it retained the service online at jazzfm.com but this year announced that it was to bring the service back on a number of digital multiplexes: The announced closure of GCap's The Jazz digital station on the Digital One national commercial multiplex was reported to be a significant factor in the decision.
Subsequently The Local Radio Company, run by former Jazz FM chief executive Richard Wheatly agreed a three-year deal with GMG to re-launch Jazz FM. This is scheduled for October 6 on digital radio in Glasgow, London, the west midlands and North West England. The station will also be launched on the Sky and Freesat digital platforms as well as the Internet.
Previous Global Radio:
Previous GMG Radio:
Previous Local Radio Company:
Previous Planet Rock:
Marketing Week report:
UK Guardian blog:
2008-08-28: Clear Channel says 38 of its stations are to take part in the "Build the Dream" Radiothon being held today in collaboration with the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial to mark the 45th Anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream Speech".
The event will feature celebrities, athletes and elected officials including Ice Cube; Aretha Franklin; Samuel L. Jackson; and Nia Long plus radio personalities including Doug Banks, Steve Harvey and Tom Joyner and also former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
In a release Doc Wynter, SVP, Urban Programming for Clear Channel Radio commented, "This is the first time in history that Clear Channel has participated in a radiothon of this magnitude. We are proud to be a part of the commemoration and cannot think of a better way to honour Dr. King's rich legacy than to join forces with the Foundation to raise funds for the Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C."
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-08-28: Figures posted this week by Statistics Canada flush out those posted last month by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that showed total revenues for Canadian AM and FM stations combined up 6.2% on a year earlier to reach CAD 1.5 billion (See RNW Jul 24).
Statistics Canada note that this outpaced advertising market growth as a whole for the third time in five years: It also noted that within the radio figures the percentage increase for the five largest census metropolitan areas was smaller at 4.0% (Total CAD 699.4 million) than those for other census metropolitan areas - up 8.3% to CAD 393.5 million and non-census metropolitan areas - up 7.4% to CAD 380.3 million.
In terms of Profit Before Interest or Tax (PBIT), the rate - of 19.8 cents per dollar of revenue - was the third best for 30 years, behind the figures for 2005 and 2006 and that within the figures FM maintained its dominance, generating 94.6% of PBIT from 78.3% of advertising revenues in 2007, a little above the figures for 2006.
PBIT as a percentage of revenue was largest in the five largest census metropolitan areas at 25.7%, down from 26.8% in 2006; that for other census metropolitan areas was up from 13.4% to 14.8% and for non-census metropolitan areas rose from 13.8% to 14.2%.
Previous Statistics Canada:
2008-08-28: Adverts placed on behalf of the Barack Obama presidential campaign have been pulled from a number of radio websites after ClickZ reported that they were appearing alongside such gems as "Celebrity Tramp Stamps" and links to content labelled "Red Light Girls," "Chicks on Toilets," and "Thong of the Day.
The adverts were mainly on Clear Channel rock station sites and ClickZ said they had been paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Illinois Senator's campaign and asked people to "Register To Vote For Barack Obama And Other Candidates For Change." They said they were "Paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Obama for America and Authorized by Obama for America" and appeared in a number of swing states including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Virginia according to Web ad tracking service The Media Trust Company.
Many were placed by the media firm Centro whose CEO Shawn Riegsecker told ClickZ News, "The content on these sites is clearly objectionable and the ads should not have been displayed there. As soon as we were alerted to this issue, we removed the ads immediately. The DNC and Obama for America maintain very high editorial and content standards of where their advertising is displayed and we should not have placed an ad there,"
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-08-27: CBS Radio is to place more emphasis on digital media in a re-organization of top management responsibilities that will see David Goodman, president of digital media and integrated marketing, devote all his time to extending radio to multiple digital platforms.
Ina memo to employees CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason, comments of the change in duties for Goodman, who set up C BS Radio's deal with AOL Radio and its player development, "Seeing that digital has become an ever increasingly important part of our business we're lucky to have someone with David's expertise and insight leading our efforts from a technology and revenue generating perspective."
He then adds, "Our stations are benefitting from partnerships that are a direct result of David's passion and belief in our online capabilities and I'm confident he will lead us down a path of success."
Other changes include putting Michael Weiss, president of sales, in charge of the Altitude Group that was formerly overseen by Goodman; expanding the duties of the Group's executive VP Rich Lobel to include similar duties for the Digital Media Group; and assigning day-to-day management responsibilities for the group to Sue McNamara, executive VP of sales.
2008-08-27: Global Radio-owned GCap Media in Devon is broadcasting messages on its Gold AM services in Exeter and Torbay saying that, because they exceeded ownership limits in the area when they bought 18 Classic Gold stations from Classic Gold Digital Ltd in June last year, they are to cease broadcasts on the AM frequencies at the end of this month.
The message refers listeners to sister station Gemini FM or suggests listening on DAB digital radio or the Internet to the Gold service as an alternative.
GCap had already said in relation to its AM Gold stations that they would close them when their transmission contracts run out
Some blog comments on the closures as well as suggesting that the listening figures for the stations have fallen so much that the sensible thing to do would be to close them all and go for an oldies national digital station also stray into comment on the other stations that the combined GCap/Global Radio will have to sell as part of the approval of the deal.
These include West Midlands stations BRMB, Beacon, Mercia and Wyvern FM, which are currently sharing an overnight show and could easily form the nucleus of a Midlands' station network. Amongst those interested in a purchase is reported to be former BRMB programme controller and operations director Mike Owen who says he is putting together a consortium to buy the stations.
He told RadioToday.Co.uk, "Buying BRMB, Beacon and Mercia as well as the potential of the AM services would be a golden opportunity. We already have the financing in place to handle the business elements of an offer and I am totally confident the stations would make money. It will be brilliant to recreate stations in the Midlands that dominated the market 25 years ago!"
In further GCap-Global radio developments, the UK Guardian says that Global Radio group chief executiveAshley Tabor has set November 1 as the target date for the merger of the sales operations of the two companies, with the new team to be based in Leicester Square, the current home of GCap's Capital Radio and Classic FM.
Tabor also announced in an e-mail to staff that GCap's national sales director Simon Daglish was leaving the company and will be replaced on an acting basis by his current deputy John McGeogh.
Daglish is joining Channel 4 where the paper says he is expected to take charge of advertising and sales across all of the broadcaster's digital radio stations.
Previous Channel 4:
Previous Global Radio:
GCap announcement (1:30 700KB MP3):
RadioToday.co.uk report on Owen bid:
UK Guardian report:
2008-08-27: Radio One Inc. has gained approval to transfer the listing of its Class A shares from the NASDAQ Global Market to The NASDAQ Capital Market. The transfer is effective from the start of business today and the shares retain their "ROIA" symbol.
The company announced last week (See RNW Aug 22) that the shares had failed to maintain the minimum value of USD 5 million for a period of 90 days as required for the NASDAQ Global Market and that it had applied to transfer the listing to the NASDAQ Capital Market: It also noted that the transfer does not affect its Class D shares - more than 96% of its public float, and that these will continue to trade on the NASDAQ global market.
Previous Radio One Inc:
2008-08-26: We start this week's look at print comment on media with sports and first a New York Times article by Bryan Curtis on the break up of Mike and The Mad Dog.
Under the headline "Talking Sports the Way Men Really Talk Sports", Curtis runs briefly through the rumour and reports that led up to the announcement.
He then comments of the announcement that Chris Russo (Mad Dog) had left for Sirius XM Radio, "As a shell-shocked Russo put it that evening, 'It's a very strange day in my life.' It was for all of us. For the 'Mike and the Mad Dog' show was not just a New York institution (it was the highest rated radio show in the 25- to 54-year-old demographic in the afternoon) and a clearinghouse for instantaneous sports opinions. The true genius of Mike and Mad Dog was how they, perhaps better than anyone else, captured the fraught way in which men talk to each other about sports. In the age of highly theatrical, ESPN-style shouting, we will perhaps never again have such a theatre for real angst and aggression, for small moments of joy followed by gratuitous insult."
Of the partnership he comments, "Both thought their opinions were valuable enough that they should be broadcast without interference by the other guy. It was the other guy, however, who gave the show its emotional crackle. Francesa, round and toad-like, was the more oracular of the pair, able to instantly summon obscure sports facts. (He had trained as a researcher at CBS.) Russo, who was skinny and vibrated like an old radiator, was no slouch: he was the product of a boarding school education and an eager student of the sports pages."
He then expands on this " Sports fans will recognize the basic teacher-yahoo dynamic, but Mike and the Mad Dog had a far more complex relationship. 'Each guy would play both sides of the coin,' says Mike Tirico, the host of a show on ESPN Radio and the play-by-play announcer of 'Monday Night Football.' Disaster lurked around the corner. In 1991, Russo lambasted CBS's coverage of the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament, which not coincidentally happened to feature Francesa. They had it out on the air. The following year, Russo puckishly deleted Francesa's name from the show's opening titles; in a meeting with station management, the two came close to trading punches."
He then comments, "Like Don Meredith and Howard Cosell before them, Mike and the Mad Dog seemed to have settled into a kind of lucrative détente " but ends by commenting that ". Sports talk has become such a big industry that you can no longer trust its authenticity" but that "Mike and the Mad Dog, to the last, were the real deal."
Our next sports choice is very much a political one: In his Sunday Times Radio Waves column, Paul Donovan picks on a point in terms of the Olympics cover in the UK, commenting about the London 2012 Olympics; "If our national team in four years' time is still called, wrongly, "Team GB" and not "Team UK", then at least some broadcaster somewhere will explain why this is, and challenge it. As far as I could tell, grazing 5 Live, talkSPORT, the BBC World Service and other stations over the past fortnight, only Radio 2's astute Ken Bruce bothered to ask why the official name of our national team specifically excludes Northern Ireland - and neither he nor his aide, Lynn Bowles, could answer it."
Donovan then follows with praise for The World Service: The World Service, thankfully, has shunned the term. "We have not used the term 'Team GB' as part of our output because we broadcast to the whole world," it says. "It's a good point you raise, and we've mentioned it to our team in Beijing, who will explore it for our daily Sportsworld programme."
Donovan goes to details some of those who misused the term Great Britain -- the talkSPORT spokesman's response - "It's my understanding that 'Great Britain' is used to mean the UK as a whole" betrays, if thought about it for a moment, a combination of ignorance and stupidity - and then goes on to comment, "Other words were also misused, though with delicious comic results."
One example he cites came from a World Service reporter who said of Usain Bolt that "he literally exploded on the world athletics scene this year".
Donovan who understands the words literal and literate comments, "If true, this would certainly have prevented him from taking part." And of the same athlete in regard to a reporter who said that "after his victory, Bolt 'went ballistic in every sense of the word', which means he would now be a bullet."
Maybe metaphorically but not literally a few reporters need to be given a bullet!
They certainly could do with more care in the use of adjectives and various forms of speech at times, but at least have the justification in many cases of speaking extempore whereas it can presumably be assumed that those issuing news releases or making promotional postings should have thought about what they are writing before they are sent out.
Take the following from iBiquity CEO Robert Struble in his company's posting headed "Thoughts on Radio's Digital Future. Digital Over the Air and Digital Online: We Can Walk and Chew Gum at the Same Time."
After warning people to "Beware of pundits, advisors or bloggers advocating false choices" Struble continues, "Recently, some radio industry commentators have made the assertion that broadcasters must drop everything and focus on internet streaming and getting their content online. In this narrative, any time spent on HD Radio implementation (or much of anything else for that matter) is wasted, because being digital online is the only way to save our great industry."
Fine you might think except that he continues, "Preposterous I say. We are capable of and need to do both" and only someone in the part-ordered recesses of his mind would be able to work out what the two parts of "both" refers to from the preceding paragraph.
Struble then goes on to argue that radio broadcasters are in "two fundamental businesses", of being "content developers" and "spectrum owners." That would be fine except that we thought the spectrum was leased by the government not owned by them. But we cavil and maybe rather than going on to take Struble's thoughts apart - our views are that the whole is stronger at stating the obvious than making any new suggestions or doing much more than a B- booster job - we should move on and let someone else do it.
Amongst those who did was Mark Ramsey, the Hear 2.0 President who agrees with some of the obvious from Struble: "It's fair to say, as Struble argues, that we would be foolish to put all our eggs in the Internet basket. Personally, I think what we do on our good-old air have a lot more consequence to our future than anything online, since the brand begins in the ears of our audiences and goes online only from there."
He then writes, "At issue, however, is whether HD Radio deserves a basket at the front of radio's menu of choices, if indeed it warrants a basket at all. It's the potential distraction that concerns me."
And of Struble's two fundamental businesses and comment, "In the digital world, both are precious and actions must be taken to maximize their value" Ramsey comments, "While this is technically true, it misses the entire point of our digital age. Namely, you, my radio friends, are not in charge. The audience - the consumers - are in charge. And they will do what's in their interests, not ours. They will listen where they want, not where we want them to. They'll listen to what they want, not what we push on them. They will do so on devices of their choosing, not ours. They will hear music and information on their timeline, not ours. They will hear it in the fidelity of their choice, not ours."
He then goes on to argue that "This is not about HD or Internet or WiMax or Wi-Fi or whatever. This is about the migration of control from us to them" and in the context of Struble's views on maximizing the value of radio's content says, "maximizing value is about making choices and bets about the future based on measurable trends and consumer insights, few of which are favouring HD."
Ramsey also notes Struble's comment "And digital pipes are worth more than analogue pipes, without question, because you can do more with them." are worth more " to which he responds, "Digital pipes are NOT worth more 'because you can do more with them.' An actor isn't worth more if he's got talent, he's worth more if he's popular bandwidth (not necessarily "digital pipes") is worth more because its owners have grand plans, big investments, and bold designs on innovations which uniquely solve consumer problems via profit-making strategies that are in tune with their times or ahead of them."
Ramsey concludes somewhat tartly, "It is not about us. It is about the audience. Nobody cares what we own. Besides, what are 'digital pipes' worth when there are no listeners at the other end?
Indeed we can 'walk and chew gum at the same time', but what if we're buying the gum from iBiquity and walking in circles?"
And for a final comment on the impact of the Internet on radio, we move to Ben Fong-Torres in his Radio Waves column in the San Francisco Chronicle.
He comments of stations that not long ago they "never mentioned the competition and didn't accept commercials (that is, business) from other stations, even if they had different formats. And, as the Internet grew, they resisted any connections (not unlike other traditional media), unable to comprehend any value to streaming their programs to people outside their markets, listening in by way of a computer. How would that help them sell local advertising, or boost their local ratings?"
He then continues, "Now? It's a digital gold rush. You can 'Listen Live' to virtually any radio station in the country - and beyond. And, now, when you tune in to one station, that station happily shows you to a magic door, behind which dozens or hundreds of other stations, all in the corporate family, await you."
Fong-Torres notes CBS Radio's move onto the Internet in partnership with AOL ; the formation by Clear Channel in "partnership with Katz Media Group, its ad sales subsidiary, to form the Katz Online Network, which will soon offer one-stop access to the two companies' 1,200 affiliates, including stations owned by Cumulus and Entercom."
From CBS he quotes David Goodman, president of CBS digital media and marketing, as saying, "It was important to us to offer a suite of services, in a continuum of audio. At one end, you have people who just want to sit back and listen to music, but want more choices. On the other end, we offer more tools and apps for those people who want a deeper level of personalization, and want to exercise their creativity."
Goodman also commented in defence of radio's content, "Programs like Pandora are just playlists. A real radio program is the stuff between the music."
RNW comment: All the more important then to get that stuff right but even then we have our doubts about the comparative value of radio in a world of downloads and organizations of Pandora. They won't, of course, ever be able to replace the immediacy of radio when it comes to the bits between which to us makes it even more small minded of stations to neglect news and local news in particular, even on music formats, whatever the accountants may say in the short term.
But that takes on to our listening suggestions - comparatively little of which is for music since we calculate that most people have a fairly clear idea where to get what they want in those terms.
To introduce the first - the Friday 19:50 GMT BBC Radio 4 "Points of View" slot, which is currently being presented by Katherine Whitehorn, we quote from Gillian Reynolds' radio column in the UK Daily Telegraph.
"Katharine Whitehorn's essays on 'A Point of View'," writes Reynolds, "are salted with experience, peppered with perception and spiced with sense. They are also the nearest this slot, once Alistair Cooke territory, since his demise a revolving pulpit for sundry pundits, has come to offering a conversation with the listener.
"Whitehorn is daring. She challenges received opinion on such things as euthanasia or identity cards with allusive wit and laconic logic. She also has the gift of articulating, pithily, those half-formed doubts that linger long after official spokespersons or callers to phone-ins have departed the airwaves."
Reynolds concludes by hoping that the station will "hang on to her" but then writes, "Since she is old, sounds posh, understands that radio works best when the listener is included, rather than kept at arm's length by the speaker's expertise, they may not."
Reynolds also recommends a BBC 6 Music show - Adam and Joe (08:00 to 11:00 GMT on Saturday) with a kick at the start rather than the tail. The duo, she writes, "deserve a big audience but I hope they don't get one. They are too funny, inventive, disrespectful, joyous. They are also intelligent, which bars them, thank heavens, from Radio 5 Live, which on Saturday mornings resembles the intellectual achievement of a chimps' tea party. But if Radio 1, or the new Capital, or Radio 2, or even Radio 4 in one of its desperately 'young' moods were to sign them up, they would change, become frantic, be obliged to fit in. At the moment they chat without putting each other down."
Moving on we next suggest a number of BBC Radio 2 programmes starting with Monday evening and "The Record Producers", which examined the work of Brian Wilson and the following "Suzi Quatro's Heroes" that this week in the fifth of six programmed profiled Felix Cavaliere, the lead singer, writer and keyboard player from one of her favourite groups, The Young Rascals. And from Tuesday we suggest the continuing "Living in Harmony" series on close-harmony singing (The second of six) followed by "Street Corner Soul" - the story of doo wop (The first of four programmes).
And finally from the station we go for next Saturday and Coldplay live in the BBC's Radio Theatre (18:00 GMT).
Moving to BBC Radio 3, where the Proms continue to dominate the schedule, we note last Saturday's "The Wire", which featured a repeat of the drama "The Moonmen" and was followed by another repeat that is well worth a second listen in the "Between the Ears" slot. This was "Rock's DNA - Portrait of a Guitar Chord", an exploration of the Jimi Chord.
Also from the station we suggest "Composer of the Week" (11:00 to noon GMT), which this week is on Ralph Vaughan Williams and the "Sunday Feature", which last Sunday was "Vaughan Williams: Valiant for Truth", a portrait of the composer and man presented by Stephen Johnson.
From BBC Radio 4, we go first for two programmes we caught on Monday - one on the way to sleep after an overnight shift which we found interesting enough to hold on for the end and the other caught on the way to an overnight shift and heard on the road in part but which we have been spurred to get again from the web site to see if the whole matches the little we heard.
The morning programme was "Fry's English Delight" in which Stephen Fry looked at the words and sayings from Britain's maritime history that have made their way into common speech but whose origins are frequently completely unknown to those using them. The evening one was the comedy "Tomorrow, Today! What Price Utopia?" - set in 1961 but about a BBC producer with the task of producing a soap to be set in 2006.
We also suggest, taking our cue from the Fry programme Tuesday's "Word of Mouth" in which Peggy Reynolds amongst other things looked at the way the British misuse words taken from other languages.
Other programming that has caught our ear or eyes from BBC Radio 4 include last Saturday's "Archive Hour" - "With God on Our Side" in which the former Bishop of Edinburgh considers what happens to people's faith when their life is on the line as in war. [The lines so much beloved of various American hosts that "there are no atheists in a foxhole" is of course as accurate as much else of their bigoted blether.]; Two musical programmes with Tuesday's "Music Feature" - "40 Years from Folsom" in which Matthew Bannister recalls Johnny Cash's historic 1968 concert at Folsom Prison in California and Friday's (12:30 GMT) "For One Night Only: Bernstein in Berlin" in which Paul Gambaccini recalls the concert by musicians from East and West that was conducted by Leonard Bernstein on Christmas Day 1989, six weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall; and a different perspective on Sound in next Saturday's "Beardyman and the Mimics" (09:30 GMT) in which Champion beatboxer Beardyman, aka Darren Foreman, a master of vocal artistry ventures on a personal journey to unveil the secrets of animal vocal mimicry.
Which takes us to the regular afternoon programming on the station with the 14:30 GMT "Afternoon Reading" - this week showcasing various contemporary writing and the following "A Guide to Garden Birds."
In potentially linked vein we also suggest "Parkmasters" from Monday morning in which historian Tristram Hunt explores the people and ideas behind Britain's public parks, looking in this programme at John Claudius Loudon and Derby Arboretum.
That was followed by the regular "Book of the Week", which this week had Adam Nicolson reading from "Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History", his account of one of Britain's most celebrated gardens, which was bought by his grandparents Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson in 1932.
After that a little reminiscing and documentary starting with "Something Understood" from last Sunday in which BBC Foreign Correspondent Jonathan Charles reflected on whether travel really does broaden the mind and also from last Sunday "The Frost Collection" in which David Frost and guests Max Hastings, Charles Kennedy and Esther Rantzen looked back at some of the most memorable interviews of his long career.
And the medical with Sunday's Analysis "Trust Me, I'm a Patient" in which Michael Blastland considered the pros and cons of Consumer-driven health care with some patients demanding treatments of unproven worth, regardless of cost [Ironically in the UK often promoted most by two newspapers who see no contradiction in leading one day on a call for lower taxes and the next on demanding National Health Service provision of very expensive treatment that may prolong life for only a short time.]
Also of interest here we found Monday's "Placebo" in which Ben Goldacre investigated the latest research on the placebo effect and the following programme "The Stanford Prison Experiment" in which Claudia Hammond looked at Philip Zimbardo's experiments in a mock prison, which produced behaviour so extreme in terms of maltreatment that he had to abandon it and which led him to shocked recognition of similarities in the abuse conducted at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.
We'd also suggest from Tuesday "Jatropha the Wonder Plant" on a plant that has grown in the tropics for centuries and is being touted for use as a bio fuel and "Great Lives" in which in biographical discussions with Matthew Parris' guests nominate a subject- this week the guest was Bob Harris and he nominated rock'n'roll DJ Alan Freed whose career disappeared amidst a payola scandal and who died a penniless alcoholic.
Then going towards the end of the week we opt for Thursday and "The Ancient Novel" in which Tibor Fischer at the International Conference on the Ancient Novel talks to leading academics about this relatively unknown literary genre plus "In Business" in which Peter Day reports on a business war game held in London by leaders of the British pharmaceutical industry who were concerned that it was failing to keep up with biotechnology. Later that evening "Jon Ronson on..." is on "Bad News" in which he looked at how people take bad tidings - it includes the tale of a man told he had terminal cancer and who opted to spend his last six months expensively living it up, only to find that the doctors got it wrong.
Hear 2.0 - Ramsey:
iBiquity - Struble:
New York Times - Curtis:
San Francisco Chronicle - Fong-Torres:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Telegraph - Reynolds:
2008-08-26: A strong performance by radio and New media - whose revenues were each up 15% to GBP 34.6 million (USD 63.5 million) and GBP 5.8 million (USD 10.7 million) respectively - has more than outweighed a 4% fall in TV revenues to GBP 18.3 million (USD 33.6 million) to give UTV Media a 8% overall revenue rise to GBP 62 million (USD 113.8 million) for the six months to the end of June according to its interim results just released.
Pre-tax profits before exceptional items was up 12% to GBP 10.4 million (USD 19.1 million) within which non-television operating profits rose 32% to GBP 9.9 million within which radio operating profits were up 31% to GBP 9 million and New Media operating profits rose by 51% to GBP 900,000.
Within the radio revenue rise, GB radio revenues were up 5% to GBP 25.0 million of which GBP 12.1 million (up 18% ) was from talkSPORT whilst Irish radio revenues were up 47% to GBP 11.6 million (USD 21.3 million) with like-for-like revenues up 24% to GBP 9.4 million ( USD 17.3 million).
UTV said its new Belfast station U105 continued to make good progress and losses were down from GBP 400,000 to GBP 300,000 (From USD 734,000 to USD 551,000) and added that With strong revenue growth, reduced losses at U105, and the acquisition of FM104 in Dublin on 10 April 2008, operating profits from its Irish radio division were up by over 65% to GBP 3.6 million (USD 6.6 million).
Its GB radio it noted had increased its revenues 5% to GBP 25.0 million (USD 45.9 million) with talkSPORT revenues up 18% to GBP 12.1 million (USD 22.2 million) whilst local station revenues were down 5% to GBP 12.9 million. In Scotland, losses at its new Edinburgh station were down from GBP 900, 0000 to GBP 600,000 (From USD 1.65 million to USD 1.1 million) and it says it plans to break even by the end of next year.
Group Chief Executive John McCann said of the figures, "Good news stories about media companies are rare at the moment; however the group is pleased to announce significant growth in both turnover and pre-tax profits in the first half of 2008. I am particularly pleased to report strong performances in both our radio and new media divisions. This is further indication that the group's decision to diversify away from a pure television offering was indeed the right one. This strategy has been key to protecting the group against the current market volatility and leaves us well placed to take advantage of opportunities arising from an upturn."
"While advertising remains a difficult environment," he added, "we expect to markedly outperform our peer group over the next quarter. With a strong management structure and clear strategic vision, we are confident in the group's ability to deliver robust revenue and profit figures in the face of uncertain macro economic conditions."
2008-08-26: Clear Channel Phoenix KYFI-AM talk host Bruce Jacobs has come under attack by police officers after attacking the widow of an office shot dead by a suspected illegal immigrant gang member.
12News in Phoenix reports that Julie Erfle was left to bring up her two young sons after her husband Nick was shot and has since taken up the issue of "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" and lobbied in Washington DC in favour of legislation to support the policy.
The Clear Channel host is amongst critics of the policy, terming it amnesty for illegal immigrants and 12News reports that Jacobs told his audience he was ashamed of Julie Erfle, adding, "I'm sure if her husband were alive today knowing how his legacy is going to be used or his memory is going to be used to further the cause of the very thing he took an oath for, to uphold the law, he would be ashamed of you."
Erfle's fellow police officers have defended her with Nate Gafvert, vice president of the Mesa Police Association, saying that Jacobs "you cold heartedly attacked a hero's wife and family" and Nick Erfle's former co-worker Sgt Pete Marconi terming the attack "the worst of yellow journalism."
The critics want a written and on-air apology but, says the report, Jacobs has responded by saying he has "unbelievable sympathy" for Julie Erfle and her children as individuals, but standing by his criticism of her politics.
RNW comment: Unless the quotation is incorrect, the host is being disingenuous in his response or just doesn't understand his own language. He is quite entitled to disagree with the policy but, unless he was a close acquaintance or friend of the dead officer and knew his views and politics differed from those of the widow, has no grounds whatsoever to defend this attack.
Nick Erfle could honourably swear to uphold the law and do so but still disagree with particular laws and his widow has every right to campaign for changes to the law in the circumstances, be it for harsher or more lenient laws.
Unless the host can substantiate his comments about her husband's being ashamed of his widow's actions, he should have apologized, albeit he could still have maintained his disagreement over the laws involved. He didn't and Clear Channel should take the honourable course and fire him - not for his views on the issue but for a personal attack that cannot be justified and in the circumstances has no place on air. It won't happen of course, but it would be very pleasing were local businesses en masse to withdraw their advertising from Clear Channel until it does.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-08-26: A freelance BBC soccer reporter is facing the loss of his job after saying during a BBC Radio Manchester update on a Bradford v Rochdale game that the latter "were making more holes in the Bradford defence than in a Spanish aircraft."
The comments by freelance Chris Price, who also works behind the bar at the Comedy Club, led to complaints and the BBC apologised, terming the comments, made after last week's crash at Madrid airport in which more than 150 people died, "inappropriate."
The Manchester Evening News quoted Price as saying "I honestly thought I was being descriptive. It wasn't meant to be funny; it was just a descriptive phrase. If people are offended by what I said, then of course I apologise but I never intended to offend anyone" but also that he made a "horrible mistake'."
Mike Brookes, media officer for Rochdale Football Club, told the paper, "I did that job for the BBC for the best part of 15 years and you have to try and be a bit quirky. But there is being different and then there is crass stupidity. It was unprofessional and stupid."
Manchester Evening News report:
2008-08-26: In more Australian radio results, both Austereo and Macquarie Radio Network have reported increased revenues but while the former's profits were up 5.1% to AUD 48.8 million ( USD 42.1)those of the latter were down 17.9% to AUD 4.42 million ( USD 3.81 million ).
Macquarie did have some good news however as The Australian and other papers reported that Sydney 2GB host Alan Jones, who has had treatment for colon cancer, will be back on air by the middle of next month.
It quoted Macquarie Radio CEO Angela Clark as telling it that "At the latest, he will be back on air on September 15" and adding "At this point, he's planning to continue his existing shift." There had been speculation that Jones would cut back on his five-hours-a day stint, which covers the Sydney breakfast slot and then runs an hour into the morning slot.
Macquarie is more dependent on the Sydney market - where it noted that radio advertising had been down 1.7% year-on-year - than Austereo but overall it reported revenues up .6%, boosted by revenues from its recently launched online sites.
Chairman Max Donnelly, said it had "been a difficult year with regards to the advertising market" although but added that the "radio business has produced solid results." Last month "the network released a profit downgrade in which said earnings would be 15-20% below its 2007 figures.
Austereo in its preliminary final report said its revenues from ongoing operations were up 5.4% to a record AUD 266.7 million (AUD 230.2 million) with EBIT up 7.0% to AUD 86.8 million USD - 74.9 million. Per share earnings were up 9.3% to 13.93 cents).
It said that its leading share of capital city audiences rose to 22.9% and under 40 audiences increased to 34.2% whilst in the 25-54 demographic, the group held a 28.9% share. Total capital city radio revenues it said were up 5.65% and the company said it also "maintained leadership of online radio sites."
Chairman Peter Harvie commented "Year on year, the group grew in all key measures and the expanding cross-platform transition is one of the most successful in the media category" and added, "In June, iPod downloads of the top rating radio show, Hamish & Andy, exceeded half a million We are also now realising the potential of the combination of radio and online technologies both as compatible media and as new audience platforms."
CEO Michael Anderson commented that interactive opportunities were now opening up new horizons for audience reach and advertising responses, saying, "In the past year, combined radio and online advertising campaigns have almost doubled. We are also now prepared for the impending launch of digital radio which will further enhance the medium."
"Our success," he continued, " is ultimately determined by the strength of our on-air personalities, music and relevant content and a continued focus on talent development is positioning us well, building future business opportunities. In the course of the year, we introduced new talent and programmes, providing strong upside potential for the group. We now deliver our content across multiple platforms, including conventional radio receivers, mobile phones and computers."
Looking ahead Anderson said, "Radio has a record of resilient performance. For the July to December 2008 half, we believe that capital city radio growth will be in positive territory, in a range below 3%...Austereo is uniquely placed, through its current leading ratings and sales share, to capitalise on future advertising market uplift."
Austereo began a share buy-back during the year and at the end of June had bought 927,710 shares being purchased for AUD 1.3 million (USD 1.1million) at an average price of AUD 1.42.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
The Australian report:
2008-08-25: Astral Media and Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Radio International have announced the launch of the first Virgin Radio North American commercial FM with a format switch to Virgin's hit adult contemporary by Astral Media's Mix FM in Toronto.
The switch took place at 16:00 EDT today with Chris Biggs and Taylor Kaye's new weekday afternoon drive show "The Rush" prior to which the Mix web site redirected to virginradio999 with a countdown with a repeating pip below which was a "Listen" button.
[When we checked this just before the switch the station went to music (The Time of Your Life) but with the pops still there. At 4p.m. the pips disappeared and the station went into a melange of sounds in a promo with various artists commenting on Virgin Radio and a rather pretentious sequence on evolution with Virgin being the latest evolution thereof we found better things to listen to at this point ]
The Rush was followed by The Big 6@6 with Chris Biggs then "On Air with Ryan Seacrest", which will air weekday evenings from 19:00 to 22:00.
Announcing the switch Jacques Parisien, Group President, Astral Media Radio and Astral Media Outdoor, said Astral's "continuous commitment to offering quality and innovative radio to listeners and advertisers alike is once again exemplified with today's announcement. With Virgin Radio we hope to create a totally fresh sound with a brand that appeals strongly to our current audience and helps us reach out to new listeners. Partnering with Virgin Radio International brings us many opportunities to leverage the global and local power of the Virgin brand and gives us a clear mandate to build the best radio Toronto has ever heard."
Ian Grace, President of Virgin Radio International, said of the move, "This is an exciting day for the people of Toronto and for the entire Virgin Group. With Astral Media's strength and expertise, and Virgin's international and customer focused experience, we believe we have built a station that listeners have been waiting for."
Branson added, "I am thrilled to be partnering with Astral Media and launching Virgin Radio 999 FM, so we can serve up a fantastic new format to Torontonians that's bound to be the bright spot of your morning, noon and night. Virgin Radio International is experiencing phenomenal growth around the world and recently we have expanded to Italy, France, Dubai and India. We are thrilled to add Canada to the list."
RNW comment: We would note here that the phenomenal growth - Branson's words and virtually the whole world must by now know how modest he is when it comes to promoting himself or his brands - does not include the UK where the Times of India has bought Virgin Radio from SMG and is dropping the name, because of branding restrictions and a tie up in India between Virgin Radio and its rival Hindustan Times. We would not be surprised however to read of phenomenal growth in the future if Virgin does a deal with a local FM in the UK, despite the fact that the sale has cost it an audience of millions!
Previous Virgin Group:
VirginRadio999 web site:
2008-08-25: Industry body Commercial Radio Australia has released more than a hundred updated detailed market profiles of regional and metropolitan commercial radio areas in a move that the body says is designed to help radio stations, advertising agencies, media agency buyers and planners better understand the markets commercial radio stations serve.
The Commercial Radio Market Profiles are collated every five years and provide details on individual radio markets throughout Australia including all the commercial stations in the area and various demographic breakdowns, including such details as the age, labour force details, and income brackets of listeners in the area and an area profile of main industries, plus employment and educational qualifications of the workforce.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive Joan Warner said of the profiles, which are put together using a range of official data sources, "These detailed market profiles are designed to provide advertisers with a better understanding of the markets, the size, specific demographic breakdown and the opportunities available, particularly for regional radio, where easy access to this type of information is not always available."
"The profiles," she added, "will assist with the planning of effective ad campaigns for specific local areas across both regional and metropolitan Australia. Commercial radio stations are an integral part of the local communities that they serve. These profiles will help make that relationship even more relevant."
The profiles are available to its members from the organization's website and are also being distributed to stations as CDs.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Commercial Radio Australia web site:
2008-08-25: In further signs of thin times for UK commercial radio, Oldham, Lancashire, station The Revolution 96.2 FM has flipped formats from to an AC format from the mix of AC/AA/Soft Rock and Ballads specified in its licence and according to online rumours has been sold to an unknown buyer.
The station was owned by the Oldham Evening Chronicle and the UKRD Group, which in 2006 became the first UK operator to hand back a licence to Ofcom - that of Stroud-based radio station Star 107.9 (See RNW Sep 23, 2006). In July this year it handed back the licence of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, station Fen Radio (See RNW Jul 14), the third UK licence to be handed back.
The other was that of Kingdom Group's Lothian station River FM, which was closed at the end of January last year (See RNW Jan 31, 2007).
The station is currently continuing to stream online and has posted no news of a sale on its site.
The Revolution web site:
2008-08-24: Last week was one of no major issues but a steady flow of routine postings from most of the regulators although in the UK Ofcom posted no radio-related decisions.
In Australia, there were two radio -related posting from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), one proposing to make channels available for Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio services in the Bendigo, Colac and Geelong areas of Victoria and the Townsville area of Queensland. The channel capacity in Geelong would be for an extension of ABC local radio services and in the other locations to allow the corporation to provide its NewsRadio service.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said the proposed changes were "part of a broader plan to extend these ABC services to all transmission areas of Australia with a population of 10,000 or more" adding that because of inability to identify vacant FM frequencies that could be used for the services the proposals "would require changes to the transmission arrangements of some existing broadcasting services and ACMA is keen to receive community feedback on this issue."
Under the proposals ABC NewsRadio would serve Bendigo on 89.5 MHz from Mount Alexander, a frequency currently shared by Goldfields Community Radio Co-operative and Phoenix FM under temporary community broadcasting licences. They would move to 101.5 MHz under the proposals and share the frequency with Central Victorian Gospel Radio, which is currently using it under a temporary community licence.
In Colac the ACMA is proposing that ABC NewsRadio service operate on 104.7 MHz from Warrion Hill, using a frequency currently allocated to Colac community radio station 3OCR, which would move to 98.3 MHz.
In Geelong, the ACMA is proposing that ABC Local Radio service operate on 94.7 MHz from Murradoc Hill, using a frequency currently allocated to Geelong Ethnic Communities Inc. to broadcast The Pulse under a temporary community broadcasting licence. The Pulse would move to 91.9 MHz.
In Charters Towers and Townsville, the ACMA has identified 94.3 MHz and 93.5 MHz as available for use for ABC NewsRadio in Townsville and Townsville North but that it needs to conduct on-air tests to identify any potential interference issues and adds that the testing requires a move of two other services. It is proposing that a high power open narrowcasting (HPON) service in Charters Towers move to 98.3 MHz and a community radio service in Bowen move to 95.9 MHz.
At Bowen, it says it can make channel capacity available on 96.7 MHz for an ABC NewsRadio service. The other posting concerned Darwin community radio service 8TOP, which it said had breached conditions of its licence by failing to encourage members of the community it serves to participate in the operations of the service and in the selection and provision of programs and by broadcasting advertisements.
Regarding the former, 8TOP has agreed to a range of measures to promote compliance and will report to ACMA on its progress and the ACMA says that it will take any further non-compliance particularly seriously and would consider formal enforcement action.
Regarding the adverts, during the programme "Territory Talk", the ACMA noted that 8TOP has discontinued the Talking Travel segment of its Territory Talk show and says that it has policies in place to ensure it properly tags sponsorship announcements. The ACM said it was satisfied that its non-compliance arose from a misunderstanding about its obligations and is confident that 8TOP will seek to comply with this licence condition in the future.
In Canada, radio-related postings by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included:
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of English-language, low-power station, CJAG-FM Jasper.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licences of English-language, low-power stations CFPE-FM and CFPF-FM, Banff.
*Renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015 of the licence of English-language, low-power station, CKTC-FM, Red Deer.
*Approval of application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. for a broadcasting licence to operate a new 3,600 watts Adult Contemporary format English-language commercial FM to serve Drumheller.
There had been competing applications from Thomas Bolin, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a licence for a 43.7 watts Classic Hits Low-power, English-language commercial FM and from Newcap Inc. for a 6,000 watts Broad-based Classic Hits, Rock-based format English-language commercial FM.
*Approval of application by Native Communication Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a new 3,000 watts English- and Aboriginal-language Native Type B FM to serve Winnipeg and approval in part of an application from Evanov Communications Inc., on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a broadcasting licence to operate a new 6,500 watts New easy listening (65%) and Adult contemporary (35%) English-language commercial FM radio station to serve Winnipeg. Evanov now has 90 days to propose a suitable alternative frequency to the 104.7 MHZ it had asked for.
Two other applications were rejected: These were from Newcap Inc. for a 100,000 watts Classic Alternative Rock format English-language commercial FM and YO Radio Management Inc. for a 100,000 watts Pop Alternative format English-language commercial FM.
*Approval of application by Seaside Broadcasting Organization to change from 94.7 MHz (channel 234A) to 105.9 MHz (channel 290A) the frequency of CFEP-FM, Eastern Passage, and also to reduce its power from 1,400 watts to 1,360 watts and increase the effective antenna height to 49.2 metres. The station said the technical parameters authorized for the station did not receive approval from the Department of Industry due to interference with another station.
The application was opposed in an intervention by Communications Michel Mathieu, which stated that it was preparing an application for a client to operate an FM broadcast service within a radius of 100 miles from Halifax and that 105.9 MHz after an engineering study was found to be the only frequency that provides adequate coverage for its client's project. The CRTC noted that is can only assess applications that it has received and approved Seaside's application.
*Rejection of application from Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. for a licence for a 100,000 watts country music English-language commercial FM to serve Humboldt. The application had been opposed by Harvard Broadcasting Inc. and Radio CJVR Ltd., which through its stations CJVR-FM and CKJH, both of which are based in Melfort, as well as through its rebroadcasting transmitter CJVR-FM-1, Dafoe, provides a country music service and some local programming to the Humboldt area. It said some 14% of its 2006 revenues came from Humboldt and the surrounding area and estimated a 75% fall if the new station were to be approved.
The CRTC noted that Humboldt's population in the 2006 census was 4,998 and that Golden West had not provided evidence of potential demand for its proposed station.
The CRCT also posted a public notice, with a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of Sep 23 that included the following radio applications:
*Application by Vista Radio Ltd to relocate the transmitter for its CHNV-FM, Nelson, increase the antenna height and increase the power from 84 watts to 1,100 watts. Vista says the quality of the signal is very poor and that it does not cover the highway which is a critical part of life in Nelson.
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to change the frequency of its transmitter CBZW-FM, Woodstock, which transmits the programming of CBZF-FM, Fredericton, from 91.9 MHz (channel 220LP) to 95.3 MHz (channel 237LP) to avoid potential interference from its French-language FM transmitter CBAF-FM-21 at Bon Accord which will operate on 91.7 MHz (channel 219C) once implemented.
*Application by Radio Rimouski inc. to add a 50 watts FM transmitter at Rivière-du-Loup to broadcast the programming of its CFYX-FM, Rimouski.
In another public notice, with a deadline for interventions of comments of Sep 25, concerning a public hearing to be held in Cambridge, Ontario, on Oct 20, the Commission listed the following radio applications:
*Application to convert CKBA-AM, Athabasca, to a 9,000 watts FM on 94.1 MHz.
*Application by Vista Radio Ltd. to acquire CKLM-FM, Lloydminster, and CFNA-FM, Bonnyville, from 912038 Alberta Ltd., a corporation controlled in equal parts by Anita and Stewart Dent, for CAD 7.3 million ( USD 6.97 million): In association with this Vista proposes a tangible benefits package of CAD 438,000 (USD 418,000), - 6% of the value of the deal.
*Application by Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Limited - Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Ltd. (the general partner) and Jim Pattison Industries Ltd. (the limited partner) - to acquire for CAD 3 million ( USD 2.87 million) CIGV-FM, Penticton, and its related transmitters CIGV-FM-1, Keremeos, and CIGV-FM-2, Princeton,, from Great Valleys Radio Ltd., a corporation controlled by Ralph and Jean Robinson. A tangible benefits package of CAD 180,000 (USD 172,000) - 6% of the total - is proposed. The CRCT notes that addition of CIGV-FM Penticton would provide the Pattison Group with a third FM presence in the Kelowna market and would require an exception to the market limits set down in its Common Ownership Policy and that to remove this Pattison has requested that the station's power be reduced from 6,300 watts to 3,100 watts.
Nova Scotia and Ontario:
*Applications by Rogers Broadcasting Limited to acquire CFDR-AM, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, from Newcap Inc. for CAD 7 million ( USD 6.69 million) and by Newcap Inc. to acquire CIGM-AM, Sudbury, Ontario, from Rogers for CAD 2 million ( USD 1.91 million).
Rogers proposes tangible benefits of CAD 420,000 (USD 401,00) for CFDR and Newcap a total of CAD 120,000 (USD 115,000) for CIGM, each over seven years and representing 6% of the transaction value.
Rogers has also applied to convert CFDR to a 63,000 watts FM on 92.9 MHz and Newcap to convert CIGM to a 100,000 watts FM on 93.5 MHz.
Applications for licences for new services to serve London, Ontario:
*Application from Sound of Faith Broadcasting for a licence for an English-language FM specialty Christian music service using 99.9 MHz with a power of 234 watts. The applicant currently operates low power Specialty commercial CHJX-FM, London, and requests revocation of its licence when it starts operating the new FM.
*Mutually exclusive applications, proposing to use 98.1 MHz from:
Forest City Radio Inc. for a 4,000 watts Pop/Oldies music English-language commercial FM.
CTV Limited for a 20,000 watts Modern Hits English-language commercial FM.
Rogers Broadcasting Limited for a 4,000 watts Contemporary Hits English-language commercial FM.
Evanov Communications Inc. for a 4,000 watts Youth Contemporary music English-language commercial FM.
Frank Torres, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for an 18,578 watts Blues music English-language commercial FM.
*Mutually exclusive applications, proposing to use 91.1 MHz from:
Blackburn Radio Inc. for a 4,000 watts Adult Album Alternative English-language commercial FM. Blackburn has also submitted as an alternative a technical brief for a 4,000 watts station on 98.1 MHz.
United Christian Broadcasters Canada for a 2,904 watts Christian music English-language commercial specialty FM.
In addition an application from My Broadcasting Corporation for a 2,500 watts Gold-based Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM in St Thomas, using 94.1 MHz, will be treated as an application for a London station because of the proximity of St Thomas to London.
Applications for licences for new services to serve Guelph, Ontario:
*Mutually exclusive applications, proposing to use 101.5 MHz from:
Frank Torres, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for 326 watts Blues music English-language commercial FM.
Blackburn Radio Inc. for a 132 watts Classic Rock/New Rock English-language commercial FM.
Guelph Broadcasting Corporation for a 132 watts Rock English-language commercial FM.
The CRTC will also consider an application to convert Oldies format CJOY-AM, Guelph, to an11, 000 watts FM using 95.7 MHz.
There were no radio announcements from Ofcom but in Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) was involved in the release of latest ratings that showed listening up slightly since the previous ratings (See RNW Aug 21).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posted a number of rulings on contested radio licensing decisions but in general had a fairly quiet week: it also cancelled its planned Open meeting on Friday.
In a decision concerning ten applications each by The Helpline and Spirit Communications, Inc. of Westerville, Ohio, for licences for new non-commercial educational FM licences it dismissed ten of the applications following an anonymous petitioner's call for dismissal all of them on the basis Helpline is a "sham organization" created by Spirit to "deliberately circumvent" a cap of ten window-filed applications in which any party may have an attributable interest. The applications were for stations in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia from The Helpline and in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Utah, and Washington for Spirit.
Helpline had responded by saying that the current lack of common directors between Spirit and Helpline was sufficient to reject this argument but the commission held that Helpline's applications should be attributed to Spirit and, therefore, that Spirit exceeded the cap and dismissed the ten applications with the latest file numbers.
In making its ruling the FCC noted that the two organisations were founded by the same three individuals (John P. Shumate, Sr., Kathy Shumate, and Karen Seidenschmidt) in 1994 (Spirit) - the licensee of WUFM-FM, Columbus, Ohio, and numerous FM translator stations which operate as a network using the name RadioU - and 1996 (The Helpline) with Spirit's primary purpose is to operate broadcast stations which encourage Christian values and Helpline's to operate a telephone call-in service for troubled teenagers.
Before the October NCE window, it said, Helpline had never applied for a broadcast licence and it noted that it has no paid employees, an unpaid board of directors, operates with volunteers from a one-room office co-located with Spirit's offices and amongst those answering its phones have been two Spirit employees and a Spirit director.
Spirit is also noted had held a fund drive in 2007 to fund its broadcast operations and assist future expansion and had told potential donors that it would file applications in the window to potentially reach more than 30 million new listeners: It subsequently said that the audience goal was an overestimate based on a mistaken belief that spectrum would be available in several major metropolitan areas.
In October 2007 the Commission adopted the ten-application filing limit that it had proposed two months earlier and three days later Helpline held a meeting of its three member-board at which the three individuals who had founded Spirit and Helpline and been on both boards for more than a decade resigned after having "'elected' among themselves successor directors of Helpline."
The new board members were two Spirit employees and their spouses.
Regarding the applications made by both organizations, the FCC noted that they were prepared by the same consultant and that the two separate bills were each addressed to Spirit: It adds that "Spirit and Helpline nevertheless assert that Spirit did not directly or indirectly provide Helpline with financial, legal, technical, or other assistance, suggestions, consultations and/or services concerning any matter associated with Helpline's applications."
The FCC additionally noted that, although anonymous allegations cannot be considered petitions to deny or informal objections they may consider information supplied as port of the Commission's own inquiry: Accordingly in this instance it "dismissed" the anonymous "petition" and adopted the policy it had announced when it adopted the cap of processing only the first ten applications and dismissing the rest. The result of this was that nine of the Helpline applications and a remaining application filed separately were retained with the latter for a station at Hebron, Indiana, being granted as a singleton.
RNW comment: The evidence appears fairly clear here that those concerned have a problem with truth and/or accuracy: It would not, it seems to us, have been that unfair to conclude that they were unfit to hold a licence and not only have rejected all the applications but also have revoked the existing licences held by Spirit.
The FCC has also detailed tentative selectees in 12 groups of mutually exclusive applications for new or modified non-commercial educational FM station construction permits that were filed or amended in its October 2007 filing window.
The selectees are the following:
California applications in Group 39: California State University Foundation, Long Beach, application for a permit to serve Perris. Rejected are applications to serve Hemet from Life on the Way Communications, Inc. and to serve San Bernadino from San Bernadino Acorn.
Florida applications in Group 59: Westminster Academy application for a permit to serve Umatilla. Rejected are applications from CSN International for a permit to serve Eustis and from Cornerstone Broadcasting Corporation to modify the licence of its WJLH-FM, Flagler Beach.
Georgia applications in Group 66: Georgia College and State University application for a permit to serve Milledgeville. Rejected was an application from Community Public Radio, Inc. for a permit to serve Brown's Crossing.
Iowa applications in Group 72: Application from Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames for a permit to serve Story Cliff. Rejected were applications from Shining Light Ministries and Boone Biblical Memorial Church to serve Boone and from Union Valley Baptist Church, Inc. to serve Radcliffe.
Massachusetts applications in Group 111: Application by Morgan Brook Christian Radio, Inc. for a permit to serve Baptist Village. Rejected was an application by Nehemiahs Neighbors Church to serve South Monson.
Michigan applications in Group 125: Application by Smile FM for a permit to serve Mount Forest. Rejected were applications from Midland Seventh-Day Adventist Church to serve Midland; aidnewsfoundation to serve Pinconning; and Partnership Ministries, Inc. d/b/a Passion Communications to serve Shields.
Michigan applications in Group 126: Application by Smile FM for a permit to serve Grosse Point Shores. Rejected was an application from Detroit Summer to serve Fraser.
Michigan applications in Group 128: Application by Smile FM for a permit to serve China Township. Rejected was an application from De Mujer a Mujer International to serve Marine City.
Mississippi applications in Group 144: Application by Delta Blues Foundation, Inc. for a permit to serve Clarksdale. Rejected was an application from McGee Communications to serve Grenada.
New York applications in Group 189: Application by Free 103Point9 for a permit to serve Acra. Rejected were applications from JCM Radio of NY, Inc. to serve Coxsackie; Foothills Public Radio, Inc. to serve Durham; and Redeemer Broadcasting, Inc. to serve Jefferson Heights.
Ohio applications in Group191: Application by Clyde Educational Broadcasting Foundation for a permit to serve Coshocton. Rejected was an application by Newcomerstown Exempted Village Schools to serve Newcomerstown.
Kentucky applications in Group 356: Application by Eastern Kentucky University for a permit to serve Pineville. Rejected were applications from Appalshop, Inc., also to serve Pineville; Mountain Radio Media to serve Manchester; Educational Cultural Broadcasters Group, Inc. to serve Corbin; Breathitt Listeners Choice Radio, Inc. to serve Jackson; Bible Baptist Church to serve Hazard; Middlesboro Board of Education to serve Middlesboro; FM 90.1, Inc. to serve Paintsville; Spirit Broadcasting Group, Inc. to serve Cumberland; and Shredding the Darkness to serve Salyersville.
In Illinois, the commission has approved an Interference Reduction Agreement under which Kovas Communications Inc., licensee of WONX-AM, Evanston, will be allowed to increase its power from 3.5 kW daytime and 2.5 kW night-time to 7 kW subject to the surrender of the licence of its WMCW-AM an 0.5 kW daytime, 0.018 kW night-time station in Harvard and granted or denied relevant applications linked to this to introduce the agreement.
In Louisiana, the FCC dismissed a petition for reconsideration of its decision to allow Sunburst Media to change the community of licence of KCIL-FM, Houma, to Jean Lafitte. The petition had been made by a petitioner who lives more than 650 miles from the two communities concerned on the basis amongst other things that the population of Jean Lafitte is small relative to the population living in the station's protected contour, that at least 40 other communities have substantially larger ones, that the contiguous communities of New Orleans and Metairie comprise a "more compelling commercial market". The commission, dismissing the petition said that apart from being procedurally defective would otherwise have been dismissed on substantive grounds,
In New Hampshire, the FCC denied a petition from Barry P. Lunderville requesting re-instatement of his application for a new AM at Kearsarge. The application was mutually exclusive with an application for a new AM station at Conway, New Hampshire, filed by Radio & Gramophone, LLC.
The licence went to Mt Washington on the basis that Kearsage, a sub-division of Conway was not a licensable community and the staff decision on this basis was upheld and the petition dismissed.
In Puerto Rico, the FCC granted an application by Univision to change the channel for WUKQ-FM, Mayaguez, from 256B to 254B and imposed a condition requiring completion of modification of the station's facilities within six months. Regarding the latter it noted that in 1995 it had issued a Report and Order requiring a series of co-ordinated facility modifications including those for WUKQ and that the change was one of the first steps necessary to accomplish the long-delayed and long-overdue implementation of the report and order.
In Texas, the FCC approved the assignment of the licences of KETX-AM, KETX-FM and KETX-LP, Livingston, from the estate of Peggy Haley to Telcom Supply, Inc. This had been opposed by Harold J. Haley, Jr., who argued that the station sale had to be approved by the County Court at Law for Polk County, Texas, that he had submitted an offer to the Court "which significantly exceeds that offer made by Telcom," and that because the court had not yet acted on the outstanding offers, the Commission should deny the Applications as premature.
He subsequently said the court had approved the sale but that he intended to appeal against the decision. The FCC in denying his petition said Haley had not presented specific allegations that the transfer would be against the public interest nor argued that Telcom was not qualified to be a licensee and that the argument related to a dispute between Peggy Marsh, guardian of her mother's estate and her brother. It also noted that it has routinely granted assignment applications that are the subject of private legal disputes.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-08-23: According to various Indian publications, most of which seem to be taking the news from Asian News International (ANI), Voice of America (VOA) is to close down its Hindi radio service, which has been running since 1955, at the end of September.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees VOA, had proposed closure of the service in 2006 (See RNW Feb 7, 2006) but a subsequent funding bill instructed that the cut be reversed, and ANI reports that the same has happened this year as the 2008 funding bill for the Broadcasting Board of Governors that was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President also directed that the proposed cut be reversed.
It adds that in July this year, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programmes marked the Broadcasting Board of Governors Fiscal Year 2009 budget, and again directed the proposed Hindi service cut to be reversed but says the Board appears to go ahead with the shutdown, which would mean the loss of six permanent posts in New Delhi.
The VOA said in July this year that it was planning to drop its Russian language radio and TV broadcasts as well as radio services in Bosnian, Georgian, Hindi, Macedonian, Serbian, and Ukrainian, moves that were said to reflect a move to emphasis on the Moslem world allied with the need to cut costs following the launch of Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa, the Arab radio service that VOA employees complained focussed on popular music and entertainment at the expense of substantive news programming. Most of the cuts had also been proposed earlier (See RNW Feb 8, 2007).
RNW comment: In light of events it would seem that decisions by the BBG are a pretty good indicator of where conflict will intensify, making the comparatively miniscule savings involved seem foolish penny-pinching.
Newstrack India/ANI report:
2008-08-23: Federal prosecutors are calling for a nine-year jail sentence for former Roman Catholic priest and San Francisco KGO-AM talk host Bernie Ward who pleaded guilty in May to one charge of distributing child pornography in exchange for dismissal of another count of distributing and one count of receiving Internet images of child pornography (See RNW May 10). The prosecutors said Ward shared graphic images of 3-year-old children being subjected to "sadistic and masochistic abuse" with a group of 10 people for about a year.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Ward, who has been released on USD 250,000 bail but is confined to his San Francisco home, with electronic monitoring: His lawyer had proposed a five-year sentence and disputed the prosecutors' statements saying there was no evidence to support the host's contention that "he engaged in his behaviour to further a journalistic investigation."
The lawyer said his client's offences began as a legitimate book project and his "'distribution' of child pornography involved no more than the non-commercial transfer of a few dozen images to other willing adult recipients, all of whom appear to have been more regularly involved in this conduct." None of the other recipients has been prosecuted, added the lawyer. Doron Weinberg.
Ward had spent 24 years with the station, now owned by Citadel, and was fired in December last year after his federal grand jury indictment was unsealed.
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2008-08-23: Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc.(SBS) , which as we noted earlier this month was facing de-listing from the NASDAQ stock exchange (See RNW Aug 15), has now announced that it has received a written deficiency notice from the market as its stock has closed below USD 1.00 for thirty consecutive days.
It has until February 17 next year to come into compliance and says that it "intends to use all reasonable efforts to maintain the listing of its common stock" but cannot guarantee that it will succeed."
SBS common shares were last above the required minimum on Jul 8 when they closed at USD 1.04: Since then they have steadily fallen and for the past few days have closed at 51 cents.
2008-08-22: Providence, Rhode Island, host John DePetro's wife Kristen was the source of six diaries that inflated his ratings in the Arbitron Spring Survey according to his station, Citadel-owned WPRO-AM.
Citadel's market manager Barbara Haynes said in a news release that DePetro has said he "did not have knowledge of her actions" and added, "WPRO AM Program Director Paul Giammarco and I are profoundly disappointed by John's wife's actions."
DePetro, who had not commented at the time the news broke, was quoted by the Providence Journal as saying, "It's embarrassing all the way around. I don't have a lot to add. My wife was asked to take part in a radio survey, she did and she shouldn't have. It was wrong .It's not like American Idol. She didn't realize the impact [her participation] would have."
In the scaling up of entries in the market the six diaries concerned were counted as 3,840 listeners and their inclusion significantly boosted DePetro's ratings amongst the 25-64 demographic taking his morning show to fourth rank: When they were taken out for revised ratings he dropped to ninth (See RNW Aug 12).
Rival Clear Channel had noted the sudden rise and an investigation launched by Arbitron isolated the diaries to a household from the area in which DePetro lives although the company did not give further details.
Responding to the announcement Bill George, program and news director for Clear Channel's WHJJ-AM said they were "shocked and disappointed" that the "fraudulent ratings diaries have come from the home of an on-air personality at WPRO," and continued "Arbitron ratings are an important part of our business and it is disheartening to learn that a competitor may have had the ability to influence their outcome."
In a letter to advertisers George commented, "Ratings are a vital tool that help us make important decisions affecting our stations, our advertisers and our listeners. We appreciate the efforts of the Arbitron Company to rectify this situation and release accurate, non-biased ratings in a timely manner."
RNW comment: DePetro may of course be completely honest - in which case he presumably doesn't talk to his wife, whose diaries purportedly came from three men and three women, about his job and the importance of ratings - but reactions to the news that his wife is being blamed posed alongside various reports indicate that he hasn't convinced very many people of this, although a few are willing to accept his version.
Previous Clear Channel:
Providence Journal report:
2008-08-22: Radio One Inc. has said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it's A-shares, which represent less than four per cent of its total outstanding public float and which can be converted to the Class D shares, failed to maintain the minimum value of USD 5 million for a period of 90 days as required for the NASDAQ Global Market and that it has applied to transfer the listing to the NASDAQ Capital Market.
It says it believes it is eligible to transfer the shares and expects to maintain its current NASDAQ Global Market status pending approval of the transfer application.
The Capital market, formerly the Small Cap Market, is used by smaller, less-capitalized companies that do not qualify for inclusion in the NASDAQ Global Market formerly the National Market). Radio One had also been facing concerns about its main listing after the D-shares fell to just above this in mid-July but it has since recovered and this month's low losing price was USD 1.25. On Friday it was down 0.7% on the day to close at USD 1.42.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2008-08-21: The US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has highlighted growth in off-air revenues -which it says is "nearly a full year ahead of the predicted timeline" and now approaching USD 2 billion - in the first half of the year.
As in the first quarter, when overall revenues were down but off-air ones were up 15%, they were the only bright spot as they went up by 10% in the second quarter to USD 501 million whilst local revenues were down 7% to USD 3.792 billion; national revenues were down 11% to USD 778 million; local and nation combined fell 8% to USD 4.57 billion; Network revenues were flat at USD 293 million; and Grand Total Revenues were off 6% to USD 5.364 billion.
For the half year, off-air revenues are now up 12% to USD 889 million; local revenues were down 6% to USD 6.978 billion; national revenues were down 11% to USD 1.428 billion; local and nation combined fell 7% to USD 8.406 billion; Network revenues were up 3% at USD 567 million; and Grand Total Revenues were off 5% to USD 9.862 billion.
RAB's President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Haley, who had made the initial prediction, commented, "Radio's off-air platforms are realizing prosperity similar to that of other alternative forms of advertising. The industry's investment in new technology and digital distribution channels has extended Radio to the Internet, mobile phones, navigation systems, and more. Combined with an enhanced on-air product and on-site experiential marketing, the result is a 360-degree experience for consumers with multiple touch point opportunities for advertisers."
RAB had predicted a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for off-air revenues - "comprised primarily of online activity, followed closely by experiential marketing partnerships" - of 10% from June, 2005 to June, 2007 but the increase has been 12.3% over the past two years
It put the overall revenue decline down to total media spending cutbacks in key categories but noted a "a welcome infusion of dollars" from political advertising; insurance spending for the half year up 21.6% to USD 421.8 million; Professional Services spending up 18.3% to USD 283.2 million; and a 10.2% increase from Department/Discount Stores/Shopping Centers to USD 264.6 million.
Amongst sectors it noted as "hard hit by the economy" were Automotive; Financial Services; Home Furnishings/Floor Coverings; and Home Improvement Stores and it also noted that the Communications/Cellular/ Utilities sector had been slowed down by market saturation (90%+ penetration), and customers not as willing to trade up to new equipment.
Within the automobile sector it highlighted increases from some "Smart advertisers" with Ford's spending for the half-year up 27% to USD 85.5 million; Toyota's Lexus up 17% to USD 38.5 million; Nissan up only 5% to USD 64.2 million; a 57% increase from General Motors' Saturn division to USD 18.5 million; and a 303% increase from Mitsubishi to USD 28.3 million.
In July, overall radio revenues were down 6% within which off air was the only bright spot - up 6%. In comparison local revenues fell 5%, national ones 15% and local and national combined figures were down 7%.
Previous RAB (June figures):
RAB first quarter report:
2008-08-21: Latest Irish radio ratings from the JNLR/TNSmrbi survey covering July 2007- June 2008 show 85% of the country's population listen to radio each day, up 1% from the figures for the previous survey covering April 2007-March 2008 and unchanged from the year ago figures.
Listenership to any regional/local station was up 1 to 53% - down 2 on a year earlier - and the national listening figures were unchanged compared to the previous survey with 23% for RTÉ Radio 1 as in both previous periods; 17% for RTÉ 2FM - the same as the previous ratings but down 1% on a year earlier; and an unchanged 16% for Today FM compared to both previous periods; 6% for Newstalk 106-108FM - unchanged from the previous period but up 1 from a year earlier; and 3% for RTÉ Lyric FM compared to both periods.
In market share for 07:00 to 19:00 there was an increase from 47.9% to 48.8% for any regional/local station - 50.5% a year earlier; within the figures compared to the previous ratings, Today FM share was down 0.4 to 11.7%; Newstalk retained 3.7%; RTÉ 2FM was down 0.4 to 12.4%; RTÉ Radio 1 fell 0.1 to 21.3%; and RTÉ Lyric FM was up 0.1 to 1.6%
Of the regional stations Beat 102-103FM had a weekday reach figure of 19%, up 1; and regional youth service Spin South West was down 1 to 14% whilst new North-West regional service i102-104 in its first figures - covering February to June had a weekday reach of 5%
Amongst local stations, excluding Dublin and Cork, the top five stations in terms of weekday reach (compared to the previous ratings) were Highland Radio with 64% - down from 66%; Limerick's Live 95FM with 61%, up from 59%; Midwest Radio with 50% - up from 47%; and WLR FM / Shannonside Northern Sound with 49% - unchanged and up 1).
In share terms the top five were Highland Radio with 60.4% (Down 2.4); Mid West Radio with 55.3% (Up 2.9); Shannonside/Northern Sound with 54.6% (Up 4.9); Tipp FM with 48.3 % (up 0.5); and Radio Kerry with 44.8 % (down 1.4).
In Dublin the leaders in terms of weekly reach were RTÉ Radio 1 with 35% (down 1) ; FM 104 with 28% (down 1); Dublin's 98 (former 98FM ) with 23% (down 2); RTÉ 2FM with 19% ( down 3); and Spin 1038 and Newstalk, each with an unchanged 18%.
In Cork the leaders in reach were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103FM with 69% (plus 1); Cork's 96FM with 55% (Plus 2); RTÉ Radio 1 with 34% (plus 2); Cork's Red FM with an unchanged 31%; and Cork's 103FM County Sound and Today FM, each with 27% - unchanged for Today and down 1 for C103.
RTÉ said that the figures showed it dominating morning, lunchtime and drive time listening on weekdays and Managing Director of RTÉ Radio, Adrian Moynes commented. "With increased competition in the last 12 months RTÉ Radio continues to perform well. It's a roll call of success with big names attracting big audiences at prime times on weekdays and at weekends."
Previous Irish Ratings:
2008-08-21: Aided by acquisitions including that of Southern Cross Broadcasting, the Southern Star television production and distribution company, and Rural Press, Fairfax Media has reported full year 2008 revenues to the end of June up 34% to AUD 2.92 billion ( USD 2.57 billion) although like-for-like revenues were only up 2.9%.
Overall Fairfax EBITDA grew 46% to AUD 818.3 million (USD 720.7 million) - underlying like-for-like EBIT was up 8.7% to AUD 722.1 million (USD 634.0 million) - and net profit after tax was up 47% to AUD 386.9 million (USD 340.8 million): Earnings per share were up 8.1% to 24.6 cents.
CEO David Kirk said in a release that Fairfax was "reporting strong earnings growth through the year in the face of difficult economic conditions in Australia's metro markets and in New Zealand" and added, "These results highlight the successful implementation of our strategy of diversification of revenue, investment in digital earnings growth and constant focus on operational improvement to drive earnings per share growth."
Chairman Ronald Walker added, "Our Board is very pleased to report strong earnings growth as a result of our singular focus on reaping the benefits of our merger with Rural Press and acquisition of Southern Cross, and the successful integration of those businesses into Fairfax Media and its operations in Australia, New Zealand and the USA."
Within the figures Fairfax noted declining earnings in its Sydney and Melbourne publications but that EBITDA for its Australian Regional and Community publications was up 7.8%, for its Specialist publish was up 15% and for Fairfax Digital was up 46%.
The Fairfax Radio Network of metropolitan and regional stations reported like-for-like revenues down 2.1% and costs down 5.2% with EBITDA up 8.8% to AUD 19.7 million (USD 17.3 million). It commented that radio "enjoyed good performance in Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, with
Sydney operations stabilising" and added that ratings had improved as the year progressed , particularly at its Sydney 2UE talk station, and expected cost synergies had been fully achieved.
Previous Fairfax Media:
2008-08-21: According to allmediascotland Lanarkshire radio station L107, which closed for the second time on Monday (See RNW Aug 18) has yet again been revived.
It reports that Alan Shields, a former managing director (Scotland) of The Wireless Group, which was bought by UTV, has bought the station and is to put it back on the air, less than a week after its closure.
The report quotes Shields as saying he'd been tipped of that previous owner Mark Page [who had revived it in 2005 See RNW Nov 28, 2005] was handing the licence back to Ofcom and after Ofcom said he could take it bought the station.
He added, "I am a Lanarkshire businessman. I hate people losing their jobs. I know radio inside out. And I know about selling advertising in Scotland. Mark's skills are in presenting, mine are in making sales. I know I can make L107 financially successful and am already looking to acquire at least one more radio station before the end of the year. Maybe even more after that."
The report says that Shields, who declined to comment on what he had paid for the station, had no plans to change its output but is to add one more name to its roster, that of Scottie McClue, who most recently was a presenter on Edinburgh-based talk107.
2008-08-20: Talk Radio Network Enterprises has announced that it has agreed a multi-year extension of its syndication agreement with host Laura Ingraham, who has already been with it for five years.
Mark Masters CEO of TRNE said they were "excited and proud to continue syndicating The Laura Ingraham Show" and added, "Laura's unique brand of conservative wit and wisdom, along with her searing analysis of pop culture resonates with a wide and diverse audience. Given her proven track record in the industry, Laura's star will continue to rise for many years to come."
TRNE also said it would be announcing several new affiliates for the show soon and noted that according to Talkers Magazine the Ingraham Show is ranked as the 5th largest syndicated show with over 300 affiliates nationwide and is currently heard in 24 of the top 25 metro markets and 44 of the top 50 metro markets.
Ingraham in a TRNE release, commented, "TRNE, led by Mark Masters, has demonstrated a clear talent for fostering and growing innovative talk radio programming, and I look forward to continuing our successful collaboration. Americans want and deserve smart, funny and irreverent talk, and I intend to keep giving it to them."
2008-08-20: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has given details of its planned new look for its CBC Radio 2 network at a launch event in Toronto at which CBC English Radio's programming director Chris Boyce has spoken of the expanded range of music for the station as like "an incredibly well-loaded iPod."
The new daytime programs debut in September and are part of a broadening of daytime programming that was first announced in March by Jennifer McGuire, then executive director of English programming for CBC Radio (She left in May) who at the time said that the station would retain a music station with an emphasis on classical music but would also boost Canadian content.
The rundown includes a classical music show running from 10:00 to 15:00 preceded by a four-how show with a range of genres and followed by a drive show focussing on vocal music.
CBC News in its online report of the launch noted that when the initial announcement was made there was a flood of protest over the reduction of classical music on the network and said that Boyce had reiterated a commitment to classical, the single largest music genre on the station but added that "as a public broadcaster, our reason for being is to reflect Canada to Canadians and to reach Canadians."
The new classical show "Tempo" is to be hosted by Ottawa-based mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah, who said she wanted to make the show "fun and accessible and smart because [classical music] is all those things."
Rich Terfry - who is also hip hop artist Buck 65- will host the drive-time show and acknowledged the fears of classical music fans but added, "I think it's only going to take a few days on the air for a lot of those people to say, 'I was imagining something really bad and this is actually really great and not what I was afraid of at all.'"
The morning show will be hosted by Tom Allen on weekdays and Molly Johnson at weekends- on Sundayit is only two hours to 08:00 followed by Choral Concert, which remains but gains Peter Togni as its new host. There will also be a new Sunday early evening show -17:00 to 18:00 hosted by Jurgen Gothe.
Despite the assurances the concerns remain - some 16,000 have so far joined the Facebook group "Save classical music at the CBC" - and most of the comments posted with the CBC story were hostile to the changes with a number saying they would soon be ex-listeners. One listener commented on being an "avid listener for several decades" but added that there had "been this creeping degradation of the service over the past year or two: more 'lite' classics, less carefully curated content, more pastiche shows that leave everybody unhappy, more peppy, empty blather between the music."
This was followed by the comment, "And finally, the inanity of it all it drove me to the Internet, and in particular, BBC Radio 3. Wow! Little did I know just how second rate Radio 2 had become. The BBC really knows how to create content that is challenging and intelligent.
CBC News report:
2008-08-20: BBC Radio 1 has announced changes to its evening and weekend schedule from next month including their own regular shows for Kissy Sell Out and Kutski- currently both in the rotation for the In New DJs We Trust show; Nick Grimshaw and Nihal and a show for 1Xtra's MistaJam who joins Radio 1 but continues to present his current show.
Leaving the station will be Dick and Dom, who have hosted Sunday Mornings (10am-1pm) for the past year and who will depart next month and also Dave Pearce and Eddie Halliwell, who will leave in October to continue their international club careers. Pierce has been with the station since 1995 and Halliwell since 1996.
Returning to the station next month following maternity leave are Sara Cox and Edith Bowman: Cox will cover Jo Whiley's weekday morning show during Whiley's maternity leave and then in the New Year host Sunday mornings whilst Bowman will host the Sunday morning show next month and October before returning to her regular weekday afternoon slot in November. Chappers and Dave [Mark Chapman and Dave Vitty] will then take over the Sunday mornings in November and December until Cox takes moves into the slot.
Nihal, who has been hosting the weekend breakfast shows, will move to weekend afternoons and Grimshaw will take over the weekend breakfast shows from next month. In addition Tim Westwood's Saturday evening show will be extended by one hour to run from 21:00 to 01:00 and include reggae dancehall with DJ Goldfinger while. MistaJam will host the new 1Xtra Mixtape show Saturday nights 03.00-05.00.
During the weekday evenings Kutski will host Friday nights from 01.00-03.00 and Judge Jules will move to the preceding 23:00- 01.00am slot.
In other moves, Heidi Van den Amstel ("techno") and Jaymo & Andy George "electro mash-up") join the rotating In New DJs We Trust line-up (Thursday night 02.00-04.00).
2008-08-19: This week we start our look at print comment on the media with two articles concerning whether- to use the headline from Newsday as the base -"Shock jock hate speech leads to violence."
That article by Jenna Kern-Rugile provoked a remarkably hostile response from Brent Bozell as well as many bloggers on the right.
In it she referred to the July 27 shooting in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville in which two people were killed and seven others seriously wounded and, noting that she was a Unitarian, commented that the faith defines itself as a "liberal religious community' - not liberal in the political sense, but because we believe in open-minded discourse and welcome people of all persuasions."
Police in Knoxville she then says were quoted as saying that the man targeted the church "because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that ... the Democrats had tied his country's hands in the war on terror and had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets."
She then continues in a not illogical thread, "Might the shooter have heard talk-show host Rush Limbaugh say that 'liberalism is the greatest threat this country faces' and 'the Islamofascists are actually campaigning for the election of Democrats" and that riots at the Democratic Convention would be "the best damn thing that can happen to this country.'"
Or "Might the shooter have heard talk-show host Sean Hannity say in 2006, 'There are things in life worth fighting and dying for, and one of them is making sure Nancy Pelosi doesn't become the speaker.'"
Books found in the shooters home she notes included Sean Hannity's "Let Freedom Ring,"; "Liberalism Is a Mental Health Disorder" by Michael Savage; and "The O'Reilly Factor" by Bill O'Reilly and Kern-Rugile then continues, "Are these pundits entitled to their beliefs? Of course. And as a firm free-speech supporter, I can't advocate censoring them. But with the Tennessee murders fresh in mind, I can't help wondering: Did their anti-liberal rants help push Adkisson (the shooter) over the edge?"
She then gives other quotes from Savage and O'Reilly; from David Hudson, a scholar at The First Amendment Center, on the Amendment's protection for "lots of offensive, repugnant speech" ; Hannity as saying on his show that the idea that the shooter's reading list had any connection with his actions was "absurd"; and from Rory O'Connor, author of a study of shock jocks and hate speech who commented, "Sure, these guys hold some responsibility for what happened, but we all hold responsibility - particularly anyone who hasn't stood up and spoken out against hate speech. We're all contributing to the climate where people are being dehumanized because of their beliefs."
Kern-Rugile details the response of the Rev. William Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, which included urging church members to stick to their principles, the first of which is "the inherent worth and dignity of all people. ... This has been part of our mission since . . . abolitionism, continuing through women's suffrage, the civil rights movement, and our current advocacy on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons."
After saying that we will never know if the shooter would have done the same thing had different books been on his shelves, she concludes that "those of us who reject the rhetoric of extreme right pundits can still speak out and try to put pressure on the corporations that air their shows and the advertisers who sponsor them. Censorship, no. Exercising our free speech and spending our dollars in sync with our values, absolutely."
Hardly rip-roaring attacks on the hosts concerned but the ever vigilant Media Research Center President L Brent Bozell couldn't resist the temptation to launch a full salvo in return.
With his usual attention to detail and nuance, Bozell began by saying that the "Newsday column was absolutely despicable, and they should be ashamed and embarrassed for having printed it" and then went on, "Jenna Kern-Rugile's wretched words were nothing more than an in-print character assassination of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, a foray into absurd Leftist delusions of links between them and the vile murderer in a Tennessee church this past July 27. This is not a freedom of speech issue. This is Newsday giving this woman a license to assault these fine men in print, accusing them of complicity in murder."
He concluded, "Newsday should immediately publish a full retraction, and an abject and absolute apology to those defamed by this woman's wretched words. And Ms. Rugile should never again appear in their pages."
For those interested there were nearly 400 responses to the article on the Newsday site when we last checked. There are many more to be found through a simple search but few that are particularly thoughtful - most simply use the topic as a base from which to launch their own diatribe, frequently on topics - such as crimes committed by illegal immigrants - that are hardly germane to the original although others do at least.
NewBusters, whose parent is the Media Research Center, also carried a large number of responses, mainly of the diatribe nature but we noted one that we felt was a very fair response: From "Jason C" it read in part, "Has everybody here actually read the op-ed in question? It's really not that outrageous. It does not in any way suggest that those talk-show hosts had any literal link to the Tennessee shooting. To claim that Kern-Rugile even implied this is highly irresponsible."
It continued, "While I do not fully agree with the tenor, target, or rhetorical strategies of her essay, it is a perfectly legitimate critique and assessment of the social impact of the occasionally hateful - yes, hateful - things that those pundits say. O'Reilly, Savage, and Hannity should not by any means be censored or held accountable for this shooting. But the intersection between the shooter's professed motives, the rhetoric of the aforementioned commentators' daily diatribes, and the fact that the shooter was apparently an acolyte of all three is certainly worth discussing."
RNW comment: We find it difficult to find a more suitable description of Bozell than "contemptible." The demand that Rugile should never appear again is a demand for censorship, whatever the dictionary-challenged Bozell may claim. and we also note that Bozell neglects to include Savage as one whose character was being assassinated: Perhaps he thinks Savage does not merit defending or is not a "fine man"? Bozell also writes on the basis that the article claims links between the hosts and the murderer but in fact it claims no links apart from the fact that the police said he had books by Hannity, O'Reilly, and Savage, and specifically says there is no certainty of a link between the actions and the books.
Enough of the unbalanced though and on to what seems to us a potentially far more significant criticism that indirectly may well link to factors like syndication of shows: It came from Alan Furst's blog headed, "In Case Of Emergency" in which he noted that once terrestrial analogue TV is switched off in the US next February radio is likely to become even more important in an emergency than it is now and then goes on to comment on the absence of strong local news operations in many US markets.
Should a storm or power outage put TV out Furst reckons that there will be more people reliant on radio and continues, "So, what will happen if a serious storm or disaster takes out the cable and leaves a city with a couple of radio stations that have no news room? This scenario isn't limited to smaller towns. Big cities are extremely vulnerable."
He takes Houston as an example, a city that he comments is a "sitting duck for a major Hurricane" but has just one AM station "with a decent sized news room" and even that, he comments, carries mostly syndicated programming. He then goes on to comment that most listening is on FM and of Houston comments, "Shall we take a guess as to how many Houston FM stations have a working newsroom? Not to pick on Houston, we could be talking about most markets, large and small. Few have any information service on FM outside of their NPR station."
His view is that every city needs a "well publicized emergency plan that defines the radio and television outlets that will provide official information during emergencies" and that for station owners it should be a case of "If you hold the license, you accept the responsibility."
"It's what holding a license is all about in the first place," comments Furst to which we respond that the chances of regulatory action on this matter are not something we'd gamble a dime on but it does say something about priorities - and, we'd ask, what chances of the Internet being of much use in a really severe emergency?
Which is not to say that the Internet should be neglected as a source of information -or in business terms by radio- just that it's hardly the most robust source of information when the wind is howling at a Katrina strength.
In more normal times, however - and maybe even in emergencies if the mobile communications companies develop their networks more, it is increasingly offering a way to get radio or other services, something noted by Bob Hamilton, President New Radio Star/New Radio, in a blog last week.
Hamilton notes the comments in the late 50's that TV would kill radio but that in the event it didn't particularly because "Eisenhower had single handedly devised the Interstate highway system which put people in the car for longer periods of time. You couldn't watch television and drive down the new freeway at the same time. Radio became king in a car that had an increased usage."
Tied in with this was a change in the very nature of US radio - away from drama, big band and long interview news shows to "fast moving disc jockeys, records and information and entertainment in quick bits. "
Hamilton comments that "It seems that radio has cycled back to the 50's. It's been so long since we had a quarterly report come in from radio that was in the plus category as far as big profits were concerned you have to go back in the archives to find it."
But he then offers hope, "This is not to paint the future of radio as bleak. Still, over 90% of the people in North America listen to radio once a week or more. But, stats are that the listening time and advertising dollars are in a plunge, and radio must do something about it even re-invent itself."
What interested most, however, was what came next in his comments - a section on the availability of so many more sources for music and then a really significant line "And, it's going to get worse. Two years ago I took an 11,000 mile, two month trip across the U.S. in my little Roadtrek RV...I listened to internet radio all across North America with my Verizon Wireless 3G connection...only about 15% of the time did I not have connection. With Wi-Fi, Imax, 3G, and 4G being the target of companies like Sprint and Verizon...we are only a short time away from "always on, anytime, anywhere" connection to the Internet."
We don't necessarily agree with his later comments but they are worth a read in terms of what a station website can be and certainly in terms of criticism of the fact that many sites are infrequently updated and don't reflect the station but particularly " There is no evidence of any listeners. If you examine the most successful websites of the past few years, they include sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Pandora, Rhapsody and many others. These sites are all "social networks," meaning they interact with their listeners and in most cases depend on their users for content. Hamilton is, of course, pushing his own particular solutions but the article remains worth a read.
Finally to praise for radio, this time from Robert Sandall who last week wrote the UK Sunday Times "Radio Waves" column in the absence of Paul Donovan. Sandall for particular medical reasons has found himself up and alert overnight when BBC Radio 4 in the UK hands over to the World Service - from around 01:00 to 05:20 local time.
He comments of the experience, "And it's great to report that for those who, for whatever reason, can't sleep, need to have the silence filled, but don't want to be urged towards unconsciousness by soothing music or burbling phone-ins, the World Service is perfect For me, this is BBC Radio at its best, offering hours of stimulating and unusual listening that makes the eventual return of R4, with its querulous farmers and politically plodding Today, seem soporific. "
Of the content he comments, "The surprise with World is the freshness and hard-hitting attack of its reporting. Stuff that would have other networks scurrying for cover, with face-saving comments from bland spokespeople, is laid out with bracing frankness. I've listened to a half- hour interview - handily titled The Interview - in which Dick Pound, the former Canadian Olympic swimmer and IOC vice-president who set up the World Anti-Doping Agency, explained, in graphic detail, the armoury of ruses by which many, if not most, top athletes evade the detection of their performance-enhancing drug regimes. These apparently range from using artificial penises (known as "wizzalators") and balloon inserts for false urine samples to injections of other people's blood. "
And later, "World's other trump card is the searing quality of its human-interest stories, many of which appear on Outlook, which is often presented by Matthew Bannister, the former director of BBC Radio. Topicality is not the fetish here that it is elsewhere. An account from the Yugoslavian civil war of a brief friendship between a female British reporter and two prim Bosnian ladies, housebound in besieged Sarajevo, starving quietly in their crinolines, possessed Chekhovian poignancy. "
Which takes us onto listening suggestions, starting of course with some World Service regulars: Apart from "Outlook" which was mentioned, we suggest a dip into its documentaries (available as downloads/podcasts as well as streams - this week, for example had the "The Monday Documentary: The Billion Dollar Election" followed by "Charlie Gillett's World Of Music" whilst on Tuesday dipping into the service took us to another documentary -"Rehearsing For War" followed by "Health Check" and a report on sickle-cell anaemia that we would not normally have listened to but found fascinating.
A dip into the schedule will provide other listening to taste - news, sport, analysis - but not at the moment drama as World Service drama is currently taking a break: Which of course takes those who want it to either BBC Radio 4 or BBC Radio 3. The latter still has"The Wire" but its regular Sunday "Drama on 3" slot is in a break - The Proms continue to dominate the station's schedule.
From the former there are the regular "Afternoon Plays", "Friday Play" and "Saturday Play" as well as various readings.
And whilst mentioning readings, BBC Radio 2 is now into the final stretch for its current six part series ...The Novel That Changed My Life: This Friday's programme, the fifth in the series (18:00GMT) features Mel Smith commenting on "A Man in Full" by Tom Wolfe. It's followed by a broadcast of a concert from the Palladium Theatre in London in which the station marks the seventieth birthday of lyricist Don Black with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a host of names.
We'd also recommend Tuesday's "Living in Harmony", the first of a six-part series on close-harmony singing .
RNW note: The BBC iPlayer is now back working and a check showed that programming that was unavailable online on Tuesday evening, including Lving in Harmony, is now available on its Listen Again service.
We have opted to leave most listening suggestions as above and retain the recommendation of a dip into the podcasts of the Australian and British Broadcasting Corporations.
We note however that we neglected comedy in our suggestions so to remedy this start with the suggestion of the regular lunchtime comedy hour from BBC Radio 2 on Saturdays: this Saturday sees a change to two news shows - first (12:00 GMT) "Sean Lock and Friends ...at the Fringe", featuring the first of two shows in which British Comedy Award-winning and Perrier Award-nominated stand-up comedian Sean Lock hosts a showcase of the best comedians on the Edinburgh Fringe - and then "Miranda Hart's Joke Shop", the first of a four-part sitcom set in a joke shop.
Then from BBC Radio 4 we go for Monday's "Just a Minute", which came from the Edinburgh Fringe; another sitcom in "The Spiritual Centre" from Tuesday evening; Comedy sketches in "Fordham and Lipson" (Thursday 22:30 GMT); and "Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive" from Friday (17:30GMT).
Alan Furst blog:
Bob Hamilton interview:
Newsday - Kern-Rugile:
UK Sunday Times - Sandall:
2008-08-19: Global Radio has hired Mail on Sunday and Mail Online managing director Stephen Miron from their owner Associated Newspapers as its new chief executive. No date has been given for his start but he will run an empire that includes the former Chrysalis and GCap Media stations - apart from some divestitures required to gain the deal approval (See RNW Aug 8) with brands that include Capital Radio, Galaxy, Choice, Xfm, and Heart.
Miron will report to Global group chief executive Ashley Tabor and will be working alongside the former Capital programme director Richard Park who has taken on the role of group executive director and director of broadcasting: He joined Global a year ago and was most recently Acting chief executive Global Radio - from Jun 2008 through the "hold separate" period for GCap Media and Global Radio.
Both Miron and Park will be on the Global Radio Board, which will continue to be chaired by Charles Allen.
Tabor commented of the appointment, "[Stephen] is highly regarded within the media sector and I have been impressed with his achievements within the newspaper industry over many years and in particular the innovative and exciting developments he has brought to the Mail on Sunday. I have no doubt that his drive, along with his commercial and management experience, will enhance our business and I look forward to him joining the company."
"We now have the right management balance to drive the business forward and ensure that Global and its radio brands, lead the industry," he added.
The UK Guardian reporting on the signing called it a coup for Global and quoted Miron as saying, "It is a fantastic challenge at a very exciting company. It will be a challenge working in a new medium with a dynamic group of people."
The paper says he was reported to have rejected an offer from the ITV executive chairman, Michael Grade, to join its management last year because he deemed the role not senior enough and quoted an unnamed source, who commented how well remunerated he had been at Associated Newspapers, whom he joined in 1988 from TV Times, as saying, "Global must have paid a fortune for him."
Nick Theakstone, the UK chief operating officer of WPP's combined media buying operation Group M, said: "He makes things happen - this is fantastic news for radio. They have done brilliantly to get him. He will pick radio up by the scruff of the neck."
RNW comment: Miron will have to oversee the merger of GCap and Global following what could fairly be termed a disastrous merger of GWR and Capital to form GCap, then the largest UK commercial radio company. We certainly expect co-siting of a number of stations and a single headquarters with more jobs to go and the company also has to face potential competition in 2011 for the Classic FM licence. Under current Ofcom practice this will be put up for competitive bids but there have been suggestions that Global has been involved in talks about changes in practice and that it would prefer the former "beauty contest" system, which it would expect to win. We cannot see how Ofcom could go for such an idea but maybe some politicians can be bought?
Previous Global Radio:
UK Guardian report:
2008-08-19: Chris "Mad Dog" Russo who , when he left CBS Radio's WFAN last week said he hadn't got a job to go to, has been hired by Sirius XM Radio to "headline a new sports talk channel exclusively available on Sirius and XM".
Russo has a five-year deal, rumoured last week to be worth some USD 15 million although no figures have been released, and Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer, Sirius XM Radio said his hiring would fuel subscriber growth.
"Mad Dog's fans are passionate about their sports and passionate about where they get their sports news and commentary from -- these are the listeners that any audio entertainment company would want," he said. "Having Mad Dog on Sirius and XM will fuel subscriber growth and create new and exciting opportunities for advertisers. Choose whatever sports analogy you want -- this is a big win."
"Mad Dog is a national personality and now he has a radio audience that spans the country," he added. "He is now unleashed and the result will be a compelling and informative channel with totally unique access and attitude."
Russo commented in the same release, "No other sports talk radio comes close to what I will be able to do with Sirius XM Radio. I get to create a whole channel of my kind of sports talk and am very excited to join Sirius XM which has the largest collection of sports properties in the history of radio, consisting of virtually every major sport including, MLB, NFL, NASCAR and the NHL. With football season about to kick off and all the pennant races heating up, I can't wait to get on the air and talk to the 18.5 million Sirius XM Radio subscribers around the country."
Russo will host special preview shows over the weeks before his official debut on Sirius channel 123 and XM channel 144, which will re-launch as Mad Dog Radio on September 15 with a line-up that includes anchor program, "The Mad Dog Sports Show," live from Sirius' New York studios every weekday afternoon from 2:00 to 7:00pm ET. This will be the combined Sirius XM's first original show.
At a news conference at the Sirius XM HQ in New York, company CEO Mel Karmazin spoke of his long relationship with Russo dating back to his 1992 purchase of WFAN when he was with Infinity Broadcasting and noted that with more than 18 million subscribers his company offers the host a much larger audience than WFAN could.
Russo, who described Karmazin as a "winner", said the offer had been one he couldn't refuse and said Karmazin had told him, "I am going to give you a channel. You are going to direct, produce and star in it" adding, "It's a once in a lifetime, I had to take it."
Regarding his departure from WFAN, he re-iterated his previous statements that it was not linked to his relationship with former WFAN co-host Mike Francesa whose handling of Friday's show when Russo called in he described as a "tremendous job."
Previous Sirius XM:
2008-08-19: Clear Channel Radio, which in June signed a new five-year deal with its chief executive John Hogan (See RNW June 30) has now locked in a number of other senior executives with long-term deals.
In a release Clear Channel said they include Evan Harrison, Susan Karis, Mark Kopelman, Gene Romano, Tom Schurr, and George Toulas [RNW comment: Which in standard Clear Channel English-mangling mode probably means these are all those who have signed such deals - with no others involved] and also announced the promotion of Harrison, Kopelman, Romano, and Toulas to newly created positions.
Kopelman and Toulas become EVPO of mid-major markets joining, says Clear Channel, joining Schurr and Karis who currently lead major markets in the eastern and western regions, respectively.
Kopelman, previously a Regional SVP, led the company's Houston stations "through revenue growth of more than 15 percent" and is "credited with creating an avail-sharing program to help managers work together to help drive share of business" [Did we not earlier note English-mangling as a characteristic of Clear Channel releases] whilst Toulas as President and Market Manager of Clear Channel's Miami station cluster helped grow top-line revenue in Miami by some 10 percent in 2007.
Schurr, a 26 year veteran of the radio industry, has managed stations in Sacramento, Louisville, Nashville, Houston, and Dallas and was first named Regional VP in 2000, promoted to SVP of the southeast region in 2005, and a year later became EVP of the east region.
Karis, says Clear Channel, has helped build extremely capable teams with senior leaders in different markets including Houston, Minneapolis and Phoenix.
Harrison, who remains an EVP, has been promoted from his current post - heading the company's Online Music & Radio unit - to president of Clear Channel's Online Music & Radio unit and Romano, who was previously Senior VP of Programming becomes Executive VP of Programming. In his new role he will work with Karis in the west major markets.
Announcing the appointments, Hogan said in a release, "The talent and commitment of our senior management team continues to drive Clear Channel Radio's industry leadership and success. These individuals are key members of our executive management team, and have helped build our audiences while turning competing technologies into collaborators. They will continue to push our outstanding content deeper into our current digital platforms as well as new ones."
He added that along with the company's full management team they were "helping to change the face of radio" and concluded, "These promotions and contract extensions reflect the hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm that make the Clear Channel Radio team the strongest and most innovative group in radio."
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-08-18: Lanarkshire-based L107, which as 107 The Edge was closed by its then owner The Kingdom Group (See RNW Jul 16, 2005) but then revived by Mark Page, who operates the Garrison Radio stations (See RNW Nov 28, 2005), has now closed again.
A notice on its web site says simply "L107 has now closed down. Thank you for listening." Its last show featured farewells from its breakfast host Grant Thompson.
In other Scottish radio news, the Sunday Herald reports that Bauer Radio is to drop local evening programming on its Scottish stations next month and will air network programming in their place.
The paper says the current evening shows on Radio Forth, West Sound, Radio Borders, Moray Firth, Radio Clyde, Radio Tay and Aberdeen's Northsound will be replaced by Scotland-wide programming broadcast from Radio Clyde. Two new shows, one running 19:00 to 22:00 and fronted by Radio Clyde's "Romeo" (David Farrell) and a 22:00 to 01:00 show fronted by Gina McKie, also of Radio Clyde, to be launched on September 15.
It adds that the move has been condemned by local politicians and notes that it follows a similar move to networking announced earlier this month by GMG's Smooth and Real Radio stations in Scotland (See RNW Aug 11).
The paper quotes Travis Baxter, managing director of Big City Radio - Bauer's network of 35 local stations across the UK - as saying he was still discussing with staff the exact effect of the changes, but he expected five to six presenters on freelance contracts to be sacked and that the net saving to the company - after the costs for setting up the new Scotland-wide programmes were taken in account - would be GBP 50,000 (USD 93,500) a year.
He added, "To a company of Bauer's size it isn't even a hill of beans, showing that we're not cutting content mainly to save money. A Scotland-wide show, broadcast from Radio Clyde where we have our most developed technology, will be better able to attract big name celebrities and that is what we feel the audience want. That is the reason we are doing this."
Paul Cooney, Bauer's head of radio in central Scotland said: "We're always looking for ways to improve our output and our research has shown that listeners at night-time want live, quality programming made in Scotland for a Scottish audience. In the late evenings and through the night, the audience is younger and doesn't have as much need for information on local travel, weather and news which our daytime listeners find so important."
Sunday Herald report:
L107 web site:
2008-08-18: Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora, one of the most popular Internet audio services, has warned that it and others may be on the verge of collapse because of the charges for streaming music, telling the Washington Post, "We're approaching a pull-the-plug kind of decision. This is like a last stand for webcasting."
Westergren said his company, whose Music Genome Project allows customers to create stations tailored to their own tastes and is one of the 10 most popular applications for Apple's iPhone, would be paying 70% of its revenues - projected to be USD 25 million this year - in music royalty fees following last year's decision by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) that the charge per song should rise from 0.08 cents per song per listener in 2006 to 0.19 cents per song per listener in 2010.
"We're losing money as it is," said Westergren, a former acoustic rocker."The moment we think this problem in Washington is not going to get solved, we have to pull the plug because all we're doing is wasting money."
He added,"We're funded by venture capital. They're not going to chase a company whose business model has been broken. So if it doesn't feel like it's headed towards a solution, we're done."
The paper quoted lawyer David Oxenford, who represents some of the smaller webcasters as saying for them the costs could run from the whole of to three times their revenue: Oxenford in his regular broadcastlawblog.com comments ," The differing perception continues to make settlement difficult, as the recording industry keeps complaining that the industry has not done enough to monetize their operations - and the Internet radio companies express frustration at that attitude. If there was some way of making more money from Internet radio operations, doesn't the recording industry think that the webcasters would take advantage of those practices? Why would they leave money on the table if they could figure out a way to make it? If they could make money, they would - though the recording industry seems not to believe it."
The Post says that California Democrat Howard L. Berman is trying to broker a last-minute deal between the webcasters and SoundExchange, the organization that represents artists and record companies, but says, "Most of the rate issues have not been resolved. If it doesn't get much more dramatic quickly, I will extricate myself from the process."
SoundExchange general counsel Mike Huppe told the paper of its demands, "Our artists and copyright owners deserve to be fairly compensated for the blood and sweat that forms the core product of these businesses."
The paper also quoted Matt Nathanson, a singer-songwriter who has recorded for both major and independent record labels, as saying he is worried that the demands placed on Internet radio could "choke" the industry before it gets its footing. "Net radio is good for musicians like me, and I think most musicians are like me," he said. "The promotion it provides is far more important than the revenue."
RNW comment: SoundExchange in our view is likely to push for the maximum it thinks it can get - not just from Internet audio but also down the road from satellite radio and terrestrial radio which, in the US but not most of the world, pays no performance royalties. It is in our view able to do so because of a government-mandated rate rather than because it is operating in a free market and in these circumstances we thing the best solution is to change legislation, dump the existing single rate and institute a multi-tiered copyright system that would bring some pricing pressures into play as we have already suggested (RNW Mar 2007 Comment).
That would take too long to solve the immediate problems related to which we would like to see the Internet audio industry get their act together in setting up a co-operative recording company that would institute such a system and promote artists who sign with it for all they are worth. To collectively agree to boycott recording companies who do not offer such a rate would probably fall foul of various cartel and anti-trust laws but to give preference to songs for which they have to pay less and either limit - or charge extra for - others where the full rate is applicable would be defensible as a business decision.
Such a move would settle in practical terms the value of promotion and could well bring forward new artists. As for the existing industry, already a number of big names have dumped their recording companies and in its present form the industry is probably doomed anyway so the sooner the system can be changed to a more market responsive one the better.
If big names or their recording companies are too greedy and suffer as a result that would seem to us a plus overall: After all current big names are able to make big money through tours irrespective of recording sales and if more artists see the way forward as taking less in royalties to gain more promotion and thus the ability to make more from live performances, the public would not suffer.
Washington Post report:
2008-08-18: Clear Channel Radio says it has added 15 more North American markets for its Total Traffic Network (CCTTN) taking the total served to 95 and increasing the service's coverage to a total of more than 200 million.
The service delivers real-time traffic data over RDS-TMC (Radio Data System Traffic Message Channel) for suitably equipped vehicles and according to Jeff Littlejohn, Executive Vice President of Distribution Development for Clear Channel Radio it now has more than 500,000 paid subscribers.
Equipped Vehicles and Devices
The additional markets added are include Binghamton, NY; Charleston, SC; El Paso, TX; Grand Rapids, MI; Honolulu, HI; Melbourne, FL; Mobile, AL; Modesto, CA; Oklahoma City, OK; Panama City, FL; Pensacola, FL; Spokane, WA; Stockton, CA; Tallahassee, FL; and Tuscaloosa, AL.
[RNW note: Clear Channel says in its release that they include these markets but having given a total of 15 - and these add up to 15 - we can only assume someone can't count beyond their fingers and thumbs!]
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-08-17: Last week was a very quiet one for the regulators as regards radio with no postings in Australia or Ireland; only an assessment of the current UK radio situation by Ofcom in its "UK Communications Market 2008" report; and a few postings in North America.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as noted make a few radio related postings including the following:
*Renewed the licence of community-based campus station CKUM-FM, Moncton, from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015.
*Approved the application by Radio CFXU Club to change the frequency of its low-power community-based campus station CFXU-FM, Antigonish, from 92.5 MHz (channel 223LP) to 93.3 MHz (channel 227LP).
*Renewed licence of Conestoga College Communications Corporation's instructional campus radio station CJIQ-FM, Kitchener/Paris, from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015
*Renewed the licences of the following French-language commercial FMs from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2015.
*CHOX-FM, La Pocatière, and its transmitters CHOX-FM-1, Baie Saint-Paul; CHOX-FM-2, Sainte-Perpétue; and CHOX-FM-3, Saint-Aubert.
*CFLO-FM, Mont-Laurier, and its transmitter CFLO-FM-1, L'Annonciation.
*CIEL-FM, Rivière-du-Loup, and its transmitters CIEL-FM-1, Pointe de Rivière-du-Loup; CIEL-FM-3, Cabano; and CIEL-FM-5, Sully.
*CHJM-FM, Saint-Georges, and CIBM-FM, Mont-Bleu ltée.
There were, as already noted, no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin, upholding five radio standards complaints and partially upholding a radio fairness and privacy complaint (See below): It also posted its UK Communications Market 2008 report and latest Media Literacy bulletin.
The former, posted as 2 PDFs (233 pages - 1.82 MB and 133 pages -1.88 MB) notes of UK radio (which heads the second section) that its reach has declined from 90.5% of the UK population in 2002 to 89.8% in 2007 with average weekly listening down from 21.8 hours to 20.6 hours within which the BBC's share of listening has risen from 52.6% to 55.0%.
In financial terms it says total revenues for radio went from GBP 1.083 billion in 2002 to GBP 1.179 billion in 2007 within which commercial revenues went from GBP 509 million to GBP 522 million and BBC expenditure rose from GBP 574 million to GBP 657 million [RNW note: We have not converted these figures in view of the significantly different exchange rates to the USD over the period and indeed steep fall in sterling compared to the dollar over the past month or so].
Radio's share of UK advertising over the period dropped from 3.4% to 2.9% but the number of stations, including analogue and digital DAB ones, rose from 345 to 397 with DAV take-up increasing from 1% of households in 2002 to 22% in 2007.
It notes that commercial radio revenues have risen in the most recent period - they went up from 512 million in 2006 to 522 million in 2007, but this was below the totals for 2003 ( 543 million), 2004 (551 million) and 2005 (530 million).
In terms of cost per hour, BBC Radio 4 is the most costly UK station, spending GBP 9,900 per hour, followed by BBC Radio 5 Live at GBP 6,300 per hour - both high figures because of the cost of covering news and live sporting events albeit they were down from GBO 10,500 and GBP 6,900 an hour respectively for 2006/07. In comparison BBC Radio 2 and Radio 3, which carry drama and documentaries as well as music cost GBP 4,500 and GBP 4,300 an hour whilst Radio 1 costs GBP 3.500 an hour.
As regards the listening decline, Ofcom notes was more pronounced amongst younger age groups with the most recent fall for the 15-24 age group being 3.1% year-on-year and that for the 4-24 group down 7.8% compared to falls of 2.5% amongst those 35-44 and 2.3% for those 55 and over.
In terms of digital radio's success, it notes The Hits has become the first digital-only station to break into the top ten, with a weekly audience of 2.3 million: This compares with more than 13 million for BBC Radio 2 (analogue plus digital), the UK's most listened to station; and 5.9 million for the top commercial station, Classic FM. Of other national commercial stations talkSPORT has reached a figure of nearly 2.7 million listeners a week, just behind Virgin with 2.8 million but ahead of BBC Radio 3, which was 12th with 1.904 million - behind the other BBC networks and also behind Magic FM, Heart FM, and Kiss 100 [Ofcom notes here that new RAJAR specifications introduced in the second quarter of 2002 mean that some figures are no longer directly comparable with those for previous years.]
In growth terms it points to digital listening via DAB, digital TV platforms and online with the latter more likely as a listening source for the younger demographics, and likely to grow with the development of Wi-Fi.
Ofcom also notes the planned launch of Eureka DAB-based services in a number of countries but a cooling in initial enthusiasm for DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale), using medium wave or short wave frequencies and on the negative side for digital the closure of a number of digital stations by GCap before its sale to Global Media as well as its sale of Planet Rock, despite it having increased its audience by nearly 20% year-on-year and being the third highest-rated commercial digital station.
In the UK, the Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG) has in an interim report nominated DAB as the most appropriate replacement for analogue radio but in the medium term a mixed DAB/FM and IP delivery of audio with medium wave to be allocated for uses other than radio. In FM it notes the awarding of a number of new commercial licences in 2006-07 as well as growth in community radio licences.
Looking at commercial radio it notes major changes in ownership with GCap - bought by Global Radio - and Emap - whose radio interests were bought by Bauer - both now in private hands and Virgin having been bought by Times of India Group. The seven leading radio groups now own 64% of all UK commercial stations, down from 65% a year earlier, with Global Radio by far the largest group (76 stations) followed by Bauer with 41 and then, in terms of station numbers albeit of small stations, The Local Radio Group.
Ofcom as noted also published its latest Media Literacy Report with most emphasis in this being given into the potential for harm to children from material on the internet or in video games and noted that the British government plans to adopt all the recommendations made by Dr Tanya Byron in her "Safer Children in a Digital World" report that was published in March. These recommendations include the setting up of a UK Council of Child Internet Safety and a requirement that home computers have parental control software pre-installed.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has had a very quiet week as regards radio although it did reject a waiver request from Nassau Broadcasting concerning a Joint Sales Agreement relating to WWHK-FM, Concord, New Hampshire; ordered the end of the JSA immediately and indicate it will then consider enforcement action for breach of its rules (See RNW Aug 13).
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
Ofcom - Communications Market report 2007/08 Part 1:
Ofcom - Communications Market report 2007/08 Part 2
UK Govt - Byron report:
2008-08-17: UK media regulator Ofcom has upheld five radio and ten TV standards complaints in its latest Bulletin in which it also partly upholds one radio and one TV Fairness and Privacy complaint and gave details of another Fairness and Privacy complaint - against both radio and TV - that was not upheld. It also noted sanctions it announced last month including a GBP 25,000 (USD 46,600) TV fine and a record penalty on the BBC of GBP 400,000 (USD 792,000) for breaches of its code concerning fair conduct of competitions (See RNW Jul 30) .
The radio complaints upheld, excluding the competitions complaints for which it levied a record fine on the BBC, were:
*Complaint against Rick Shaw's Drivetime Show on GCap Media's Xfm that featured a regular competition called "The Random Question Generator" in which listeners were invited to send a text message to a five digit short code and an entrant was then selected at random to appear on air at a later date, usually the following day, to answer a series of questions.
During the competition, the presenter, Rick Shaw, asked the questions in a 40 second period. When the 40 seconds had elapsed, he announced that the contestant could have a prize for every correct answer given and proceeded to ask what prizes they would like. Rick Shaw then agreed to each of the contestant's prize requests, irrespective of their absurdity (e.g. "a girlfriend", "a private jet" and "a pint of milk").
However, there was at no time any intention of these prizes being awarded - instead, each contestant was sent a selection of CD and DVDs and a "winner" complained that the competition was misleading because he had understood that the prize pledges made by Mr Shaw were genuine.
GCap in response explained that this particular competition was in essence a joke and was presented as such. It argued that the sheer nonsensical nature of some of the requests and the presenter's nonchalant response clearly indicated this.
It added that it was standard procedure to advise entrants prior to going on air that they would be asked to state a random but fictitious prize. In GCap's view, therefore, it considered this was sufficient in informing contestants of the true, informal nature of the competition. Nevertheless, it stated that to prevent any further misunderstanding, The Random Question Generator had been withdrawn from the schedule after the complainant contacted the station.
Ofcom in upholding the complaint noted that Whilst some of the items chosen by winners were unrealistic and therefore clearly a joke whereas other requests, such as a satellite navigation system or concert tickets were not and, as such, the audience's understanding of the competition would have largely depended on which particular edition they were listening to and whether they were regular listeners who would "get the joke".
It also noted that there was no description given on air of the actual prizes awarded to the competition's winners (CDs and DVDs); the presenter simply stated that he would send the winner "some stuff" and commented that "XFM should make every effort to ensure that its listeners are not misled in the future by the comical nature of such competitions and that it is made clear to listeners and competition entrants what prize is actually on offer - and that the requested prizes will not be awarded."
*Complaint against Tindle Radio's Dream 100's Saturday Early Show encouraging texts when the programme was pre-recorded and thus "listeners were being encouraged to interact with a programme where it was not possible to do so."
The message concerned -"Text Dream by sending the word DREAM and your message to 64477. Texts are charged at 25p plus your standard network rate" - was said by Tindle to have been intended to warn customers of the costs of texts under requirements by PhonepayPlus (the premium rate services ("PRS") regulator) to transmit approximately eight 'wealth warnings' throughout the day to ensure listeners are made aware that texts are charged at a higher rate.
It said it had been rotating these messages as required but accepted that there was potential for listeners to expect their message to be read out if they were unaware they were listening to a pre-recorded programme and had no removed all such messages from pre-recorded programming and also changed the wording to say "If you want to text Dream 100 " which it considered made it clearer that its purpose was not to solicit for messages but to warn listeners of the costs.
Ofcom noted that in February this year it resolved a complaint against Dream 100 Radio which involved the broadcast of pre-recorded programming containing direct calls to action for listeners to submit song requests by text message: In view of assurances received then it said it was "extremely concerned to note that listeners were still likely to be misled into potentially submitting text messages during pre-recorded programmes without it being made clear whether any such texts were likely to be put to air."
*Complaint against Premier Christian Radio over adverts it had carried for The Politics Programme broadcast on Revelation TV and Genesis TV1 which said, "Alan Craig, the Christian People Alliance and Christian Party's candidate for London Mayor has seen ITV force him to re-write comments in his party election broadcast about a radical Muslim group. Join me George Hargreaves on The Politics Programme on Genesis TV and Revelation TV on Wednesday 30 April at 9pm when we ask the question: 'Has the Christian People Alliance and Christian Party's mayoral candidate, Alan Craig, been a victim of political censorship gone bad and political correctness gone mad?' ".
A listener complained that this promoted a particular candidate in the London Mayoral election and no adverts for other candidates were transmitted. Before making its ruling Ofcom had contacted the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre ("RACC") which said it cleared the advert on the grounds that it was not directed towards a political end, but was rather advertising a television debate: Premier had said it believed the clearance was sufficient to ensure compliance with codes relating to political matters in the run up to an election and that the advert took no sides in whether Alan Craig had been the victim of political censorship and political correctness, but that it directed listeners to The Politics Programme to watch the debate and to make up their own minds.
It concluded that the advert implicitly promoted Craig's candidacy; left listeners with a one-sided view of ITV's decision to instruct Alan Craig to re-write his Party Election Broadcast as being some form of censorship without offering an alternative view point; and by focusing so centrally on one candidate and specific issues relating to him became directed towards a political end and as such breached the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice ("BCAP") Radio Advertising Standards Code.
*Complaint about blurring the distinction between advertising and editorial content against UTV's Edinburgh-based talk107 relating to a regular travel feature that was sponsored by a travel company. In one edition a representative of the company was interviewed about the problems at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal Five and the interviewee was credited on air as a representative of the company and allowed to promote specific holidays it offered. A presenter also referred to the company's web site.
UTV Radio accepted that the broadcast raised issues concerning transparency, separation and editorial independence; said that all promotional references were removed from subsequent broadcasts as soon as it became aware of the complaint; and added that the sponsorship arrangement had ended on 30 May 2008 and that the feature was no longer being broadcast.
Ofcom concluded that sponsorship information had not been appropriately conveyed to listeners and said it appeared that the sponsor had been permitted to influence the travel feature's content on a regular basis. It welcomed measures taken to avoid recurrence but noted its concern that programming so clearly in breach of the Code remained on air until we had alerted UTV to the complaint and said that it might consider further regulatory action were there to be any similar breaches.
*Complaint against GCap Media's SRG, Colchester's programme "Graham Torrington's Late Night Love" in which the host promoted his own internet dating site. A listener complained that the site was a commercial operation the presenter's repeated references to it were not editorially justified.
GCap said that the presenter had been made aware of the seriousness of the matter and added that SGR's Programme Controller had taken steps to prevent recurrence,
The radio Fairness and Privacy complaint that was partly upheld involved a report on Stephen Rhodes Consumer Programme on BBC Three Counties Radio about problems with accommodation rented through a High Wycombe firm. A tenant alleged that a deposit of GBP 1,000 paid when she moved into a property rented through a lettings agency had been withheld: Her own house had been damaged by fire thus meaning she needed to rent temporary accommodation and the deposit had been paid in the first instance by her insurers but she was told it was her responsibility to recover it.
The presenter named both the agency and gave the first name of a man he described as "the manager or the owner, I'm not sure" who had refused to speak to him and the man concerned complained. The complainant said the lettings agency had introduced the tenant to the landlord but did not manage the property and that it was the landlord who was responsible for all contact with the tenant: He noted that the landlord was not named and also said advice given about taking both the agency and landlord to court was misleading and inaccurate.
The BBC said the lawyer who advised the programme had said that because the agency had no contact with the tenant it did not mean they could not be a party to the dispute and the insurers had confirmed that the deposit was paid by them to the lettings agency and not the landlord. It also said that it had made it clear that the landlord was involved, although it did not name him.
It later accepted after reading the tenancy agreement, that the advice given by Stephen Rhodes in the programme was not appropriate and that the tenant should have been advised that she could take legal action against the landlord alone.
Ofcom did not uphold the complaint of unwarranted infringement of privacy in the broadcast of the programme but it did hold that there had been unfair apportionment of blame as a result of not taking reasonable care to ensure that the material facts presented in the programme did not result in unfairness to the complainant.
Ofcom also posted details of a case that involved BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC TV in the North East & Cumbria that it did not uphold: In this case Gentoo Group Limited had complained that it had not been provided with an appropriate opportunity to respond to allegations made concerning it during a programme that looked at the whether the sale of more than 36,000 council houses to Gentoo, formerly Sunderland Housing Group, had led to improvements as promised at the time.
In this case Ofcom held that the company had been given a timely and appropriate opportunity to respond to significant allegations made against it and did not uphold the complaint.
In addition to the above, it also listed without details 470 TV complaints against 283 items and 42 radio complaints against 36 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 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 in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2008-08-16: Mike (Francesa) is now solo without the company of Mad Dog (Chris Russo) following an announcement by CBS Radio's WFAN-AM on Thursday that the latter had left the show that the duo had co-presented for nearly two decades on the station.
Russo's departure came in the early evening after the afternoon drive show had gone off air and Francesa was speedily announced as solo host with the name changed, for now at least, to "Francesa on the FAN."
Russo, had been reported to be at odds with Francesa and in June Newsday reported that he might be breaking up the "Mike and the Mad Dog Show" in yet another blow to WFAN (See RNW Jun 23): The station had already lost its "Imus in the Morning" show when it fired the host, now with Citadel, because of his nappy-headed ho's exchange concerning the Rutgers University Women's Basketball Team (See RNW Apr 13, 2007).
It correctly forecast that the show would not reach its 19th anniversary, which was due next month.
Russo insisted after his departure that the departure wasn't because of relationships with his co-host, telling the New York Times, "The idea that we hate each other and I had to get out, trust me, that's not true. I'm 48 years old. It's time for a change, and I'm looking for a new challenge" and adding that he did not have a new job waiting.
The paper quoted his agent Sandy Montag, who had been negotiating a possible extension to his contract, which ran until March next year, as saying that Russo was unwilling to commit to five more years and adding, "We mutually agreed today that if he were going to leave, now would be the time to do it, from both parties' standpoints."
Russo, the paper reported is not to get a farewell show and it quoted Francesa as saying, "You only get a goodbye show when you retire. No company gives you a goodbye show unless you're no longer going to be a competitor. And we all know that Dog will work again."
It also quoted Francesa as saying of his plans, "I don't think anyone wants to hear one voice for five and a half hours" and adding "I'm not sure I'll take another partner on, but before Mike, I was solo. I can do a talk show. Solo, partner, anything I'm on, I'll do a good talk show."
Although there was no farewell show as such Friday's show turned into a reasonable facsimile of one when Russo called in.
Neil Best of Newsday, who authored the June report of the expected break-up said that Russo had fretted that listeners might blame him for breaking up the team and Francesa assumed he would be on his own answering questions about it but in the event "the tone was set during an emotional, gracious first hour highlighted by a call from Russo."
CBS Radio policy, reported Bets, is against such calls but Francesa wanted to give Russo the chance to say goodbye to fans. He added that as "Russo spoke about how he and Francesa know each other better than they know their own wives, he began to cry. 'It wasn't an easy call [to leave],' he told listeners. 'I'm going to miss that show.'"
Francesa also broke up at times and for a last time aired the familiar "Mike and the Mad Dog" jingle, then a tape of Russo's greeting: "Aaaaaaand, good afternoon everybody! How are you today?"
"This show has been a major part of my life; it has been my heart for 19 years," Francesa said. "It has been a pleasure doing it. It has been an honour doing it, and I hope we never took it for granted."
Best reports that Russo is expected to sign with Sirius XM Radio to host his own show for around USD 15 million over five years.
New York Times report:
2008-08-16: In a development that could lead to the availability of a genuine "world radio" NXP Semiconductors, the independent semiconductor company founded by Philips has announced development of the first multi-standard radio integrated circuit for automobile receivers that supports iBiquity's HD plus Eureka DAB and DAB+, DRM, and T-DMB.
Until the advent of digital radio various manufacturers made portable world radios that could handle AM, FM and short-wave signals and a number of manufacturers are already producing receivers that can handle DRM, DAB, FM-RDS and AM with even more producing receivers for DAB with FM - and in some cases AM - capability.
The NXP chip - SAF3560 - says the company offers automobile radio manufacturers a simple upgrade path from NXP's DSP-based AM/FM analogue radio solution and it supports features such as iTunes tagging as well as providing software upgradeability.
iBiquity COO Jeff Jury said they were "excited to work with NXP in creating the next generation of HD Radio technology" and added, "Together we are taking multi-standard radio to a whole new level. NXP's innovative multi-standard radio solution enables car manufacturers to incorporate HD Radio reception capability, along with analogue radio, in an easy-to-integrate manner - allowing the automotive industry to offer new entertainment technologies to consumers."
NXP's Product Marketing Manager Joern Conze added, "The automotive industry is increasingly looking to deliver new innovations with mass appeal. With the help and expertise of iBiquity, we're now able to offer auto makers a global platform to support multiple standards for excellent sound quality in car radio reception. We're helping our customers stay innovative by offering a highly integrated, flexible and scalable solution to dramatically improve music, audio, text and data features of digital HD Radio technology."
RNW comment: So now all we need is a chip that adds satellite radio - and we see no reason why 1WorldSpace reception should not be available along with that of Sirius XM Radio - plus the ability to add or incorporate Wi-Fi and mobile phone signals and where a power supply is available a truly international receiver is possible. When power consumption and size will get down to a level that permits the kind of portability that analogue predecessors offered to travellers is of course a more moot point, even if the price came within range.
In other equipment developments Radiopaq has introduced its Rp5 table top model with a five-way speaker system and USB connection that allows users to listen to internet audio through Wi-Fi as well as analogue FM and DAB digital radio signals. The Rp5 is due in British stores next month at a cost of around GBP 250 (USD 470). Reactions to its announcement have included comments that developments of mobile phone technology have already provided the equivalent through combinations such as the iPhone/iPod Touch, which enable users to receive Pandora and AOL Radio, and a radio docking station.
2008-08-15: Regent Communications has revealed in an 8K filing that it has received a de-listing warning from The NASDAQ Stock Market because the price bid for its common stock has now closed under USD 1 for 30 consecutive days: It has 180 days - to Feb 9 next year - during which the bid price has to top the USD 1 mark for ten consecutive days to regain compliance with NASDAQ rules or be delisted.
Also facing delisting is Radio One Inc., which received its warning on May 21 from NASDAQ because its Class A common shares had not maintained the required USD 5 million minimum market value for 30 days. That warning required Radio One to come into compliance by next Tuesday (Aug 19) or face de-listing of the A shares although the notification does not affect the company's Class D common shares - some 95% of its outstanding public float: The Class A shares can be converted to Class D shares.
Earlier this month at the company's Aug 5 earnings conference call its President and CEO Alfred Liggins III noted that Radio One was making every effort possible to get the D share price above a dollar but it has not succeeded - the shares closed at USD 1.03 that day but then dropped below the dollar mark and closing prices have since ranged from 77 cents to 93 cents (yesterday) although they have risen today - they closed at 97 cents.
Continued failure would trigger a NASDAQ delisting warning with 180 days to come into compliance. The same fate could also befall a number of other radio companies, most prominently Citadel whose stock dropped to close at 87 cents on Jul 10 and has above USD 1 only two days since then - the highest was USD 1.09 on Aug 11- and also Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) whose stock last closed above the dollar on Jul 1 and closed yesterday at 55 cents.
Previous Radio One Inc:
2008-08-15: Nearly half of Americans think the government should require equal time be devoted to conservative and liberal political commentary by broadcasters according to a telephone poll just released by Rasmussen Reports.
The figures from a survey of 1,000 likely voters" conducted on August 13 show a party divide in opinions with 54% of Democrats in favour and 26% of them opposed with a fairly even divide for Republicans and independents within the overall total of 47% in favour; 39% opposed; and 14% not sure.
The survey also asked about regulation of web sites and bloggers offering political commentary and for this the response was 31% in favour; 57% against and 12% not sure: Again party affiliation affected the figure - 61% of republicans were opposed and 67% of unaffiliated votes whilst amongst democrats 48% were in favour and 37% against.
Rasmussen notes that in a July 2007 Rasmussen Reports survey, Americans were evenly divided on whether or not the government should require political balance on TV and radio stations and it notes of the context of this month's survey that in recent months Conservatives have expressed alarm over efforts to restore the so-called Fairness Doctrine which would mandate politically balanced commentary on the airwaves and also that Democrats have been pushing the idea in part because of the long-standing complaint by liberals that conservatives dominate talk radio.
Its survey showed in relation to this that 42% of respondents said there are more conservative radio talk shows because they get better ratings; 28% believe it is because stations owners are biased; 17% attribute it to an unspecified other reason, and 13% are unsure: Amongst Republicans 61% believe conservative talk radio has flourished because of the ratings, with only 11% saying it is due to bias whereas among Democrats bias was seen as the reason over ratings by a 42% to 28% margin. Among the unaffiliated, 42% say ratings and 27% say bias.
RNW comment: It seems to us that the crucial question should not be one of comment and opinion but rather one of information and its accuracy. Frequently we find when attempting to check something out that the airwaves and Internet are full of opinion but finding facts is often very difficult, even when it comes to something simple like finding an exact quotation over which one group or another are frothing at the mouth.
Our views therefore tend towards an accuracy and right to correct doctrine - with the right something that can only be exercised through specific court action but severe rebuttal penalties when it can be proven in a court that comment has been knowingly based on false information and reasonable correction has been refused. In such cases we think an appropriate penalty would be require the host before and after every advert break in his or her programme to have to read out a court-agreed correction for at least every programme for a week (for daily shows) or month (for weekly ones) to set the record straight with an automatic licence revocation hearing for any station that does not obey the court order. As for comment, we believe in the adage of giving enough rope - if a host after being caught our reacts by criticising the ruling, so long as it based on a factually accurate account of that ruling, we see that as a freedom of speech issue. If the choice is to deliberately misrepresent the ruling, it's a contempt of court one and jail might well be appropriate for as long as it takes to purge that contempt.
2008-08-15: In more US results, LBI Media has announced second quarter revenues up and 1Worldspace, formerly plain WorldSpace, the international satellite radio operator had revenues down on a year ago although up on the first quarter of this year.
At LBI Media, second quarter revenues were up 4.6% on a year ago to USD 34.0 million with adjusted EBITDA up 2% to USD 16.1 million: The company said the increase came primarily from a 15.8% increase in radio revenues top USD 19.8 million, partially offset by a 7.8% decline in TV revenues to USD 14.2 million. Net income was down from USD 8.6 million a year ago to USD .4 million, primarily it said because of a USD 2.8 million deferred compensation benefit in this year's figures.
In radio it said it benefited from strong growth in all its markets - Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas - and notes that in Los Angeles softness in local revenues was offset by increases in national sales.
EVP Lenard Liberman said of the results, "I am pleased with our first half performance, even as the general advertising environment remains soft due to macroeconomic conditions. Our radio cluster continues to deliver solid organic growth, even while facing difficult comparisons to the first half of 2007 when the segment grew by 22%.
1worldspace said it had ended the quarter with 171,657 subscribers worldwide, up 187 from the previous quarter, a figure it said continued "to reflect the cessation of marketing efforts in India and other parts of the world ahead of the Company's efforts to launch its mobile service in Europe in 2009, as well as the need to raise additional funding."
Revenues were down from USD 3.608 million to USD 3.267 million overall with subscription revenues down from UAD 1.884 million to USD 1.747 million whilst operating expenses fell from USD 45.0 million to USD 33.1 million and its loss from operations was down from USD 41.4 million to USD 29.8 million. Its net loss was down from USD 51.3 million to USD 36.0 million (From USD 1.30 to 85 cents a share).
It noted that majority-owned subsidiary WorldSpace Europe had received approval to operate a terrestrial repeater network in Germany that is to work in conjunction with its existing satellite service to provide subscription-based satellite radio service to automobiles, starting sometime in 2009.
Regarding financing 1worldspace noted that in June it reached an agreement with its existing note holders to defer its June 1, 2008 debt repayment of USD 17.7 million and accrued interest of USD 2.16 million to June 30, 2008 and also agreed to accelerate the repayment of the remaining unpaid principal amount of the Bridge Loan Notes of USD 17.5 million to July 31, 2008 and added that after the quarter ended it had been involved n further refinancing agreements.
On July 3, 2008, the Company reached a revised agreement with its existing note holders to defer the June 30 payment until July 9, 2008, on which date the payment was further deferred to July 31, 2008, when the second payment of USD 17.5 million was also due, as the Company entered into a second forbearance agreement and amendment.
Upon receipt of funding to make one of the July 31, 2008, obligations, on July 24, 2008, the Company entered into a third forbearance agreement and amendment under which the Company agreed to pay on or before July 25, 2008, an aggregate of USD 18.5 million to the investors in principal and interest and further extended the forbearance period through September 15, 2008 for the remaining unpaid principal amount of the Bridge Loan Notes of about USD 20 million. In addition, the Investors agreed to change the September 30, 2008 maturity date of the Convertible Notes to December 31, 2008 if the Company has paid in full on or before September 15, 2008, all amounts due on the Bridge Loan Notes.
On July 24, 2008 1Worldspace secured USD 20 million of subordinated financing from Yenura Pte. Ltd., a company controlled by Noah Samara, chairman and CEO of 1worldspace. Approximately USD 18.5 million was used to meet the terms of the July 25, 2008 financing terms reached with its investors, leaving approximately USD 1.5 million to make certain payments owed to vendors and other persons.
It launched its new brand, 1worldspace and a new website on July 14.
Noah Samara said in a release, "Our goals moving forward in 2008 continue to be the resolution of our financial situation and a focus on our plans to bring mobile satellite radio services to Europe, starting with Italy sometime next year. We have also drastically reigned in spending in India, pending the attainment of the license for repeaters and a local equity partner relationship there, as we continue to work very hard to solve our liquidity issues."
2008-08-14: Sirius XM Radio CEO Mel Karmazinsays he has already identified executive positions that can be cut to achieve cost savings through the merger that the company has already said could reach USD 400 million a year.
In an interview with Bloomberg Karmazin commented, "We're not going to need two different people'' making sales calls to retailers. We're not going to need two chief financial officers, two general counsels "
Karmazin also reiterated his optimism concerning revenue increases despite a struggling US automobile market, noting that an increasing proportion of new cars are equipped to receive satellite radio transmissions but added, "We need another year or two in order to demonstrate the profitability of the company,."
Sirius XM shares which closed at USD 1.58 on July 29 when the merger was completed - a 16% fall on the day - have since hit a high of USD 1.60 on Aug 1 but then fallen back. They ended Thursday up 3.6% on the day at USD 1.43.
RNW comment: It should come as no surprise to anyone that Karmazin will lop jobs as much as he thinks he can without damaging the service. We would also expect Karmazin to try and increase advertising - an area that gained comparatively little attention in assessing the impact of the merger but one in which the two companies had far fewer competitors than they did for audio sources but that is prime factor in subscription decisions - most subscribers have cited commercial free channels at the head of their reasons for subscribing.
Also gaining comparatively little attention had been the effect on staff and supply companies who will have much less leverage now there is only a merged company and we would also expect some suppliers to be offered a simple choice between savage cuts in charges or being dropped. What chances Oprah and Barbara Walters being on Sirius XM in a year's time? Howard Stern, apart from his long-term relationship with Karmazin, is we think in a better position since if push came to shove he could probably make a reasonable living from Stern TV and launching his own Internet service as well as costing subscribers.
Previous Sirius XM:
2008-08-14: UK talk host James Whale, who was fired by UTV's talkSPORT in May after advocating a vote for current London Mayor Boris Johnson against then mayor Ken Livingstone (See RNW May 6) is to sue the station according to the UK Guardian.
The paper quotes the host as saying he "had been 'reluctantly forced' into legal action against the station and said he had two separate complaints at an unfair dismissal tribunal and at London's high court.
He added, "I wish I hadn't been treated like this and would quite like to get on with my life" and also said he "would come back if we could come to some agreement. They haven't really filled the position."
After his dismissal, Whale - who now so runs an Internet radio show at his own site.- surfaced at Bid TV (See RNW May 9). He was subsequently hired by Global Radio for a six-week stint from this Sunday on its talk station LBC 97.3 - as a stand in for regular late-night host Clive Bull who is taking a vacation.
LBC also hired Livingstone to host his own Saturday 10:00 to 14:00 talk show from August 30: He had stood in for regular host Jeni Barnett in the weekday afternoon slot and Whale said at the time of the announcement that he would be "very excited to prove that James Whale and Ken Livingstone can work together."
RNW comment: Without seeing Whale's contract, we have no idea of how strong his claim is but although media regulator Ofcom has yet to rule on complaints against Whale over his comment there seems little doubt that broadcasting regulations were breached nor that a host with such experience - Whale had been at talkSPORT for 13 years, has no excuse for not knowing the regulations. The matter thus seems to us to come down in legal terms to contract details and in fairness terms to a matter of Whale's attitude over the breach: If it was deliberate flouting of the rules because Whale disagrees with them then dismissal seems quite fair to us but if it was carelessness then it seems less so.
UK Guardian report:
Whale web site:
2008-08-14: CBS Radio has appointed Roy Laughlin, most recently a partner in Magic Broadcasting which is to re-launch is urban KDAY-FM, Los Angeles, on Monday, as SVP/Market Manager for it in Los Angeles.
Laughlin replaces another California radio veteran Jeff Federman, who had joined CBS as cluster director of sales and KCBS (Jack FM) vice-president and GM in 2004 and was made market manager two years later. Federman was also GM of KROQ-FM, KCBS, and KNX-AM.
He has already left CBS but Laughlin will not take up his post until Sep 2: Announcing the appointment CBS Radio President and CEO Dan Mason described Laughlin as "a creative thinker who knows the radio business from the ground up" and continued, "I couldn't be happier to have him on our team. We'll be able to benefit from on his ingenuity and ties to the Los Angeles community of listeners and advertisers which should garner immediate results for our award winning brands in the market." Laughlin, who will report to Mason, became general sales manager of KIIS-FM in Los Angeles in 1991 and was later promoted to station manager. He has also been co-market manager of Clear Channel/L.A. and is a co-founder of GAP Broadcasting.
2008-08-13: Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner has gone to China to discuss with the Chinese broadcast regulator SARFT (The State Administration of Radio Film and Television), major broadcasters and equipment manufacturers Australia's plans to launch digital radio at the start of next year.
Australia has adopted the DAB plus format and Warner said SARFT, which has so far only approved the original DAB format - whose MP2 coding makes less efficient use of spectrum than DAB+ - and Warner said the Chinese regulator was interested in learning why Australia had opted for DAB+.
"Australia is leading the world in the development of multi-media applications and also broadcasting the DAB+ standard on air in preparation for switch-on. The Australian trial is also assisting leading receiver manufacturers in the UK and Asia in DAB+ product development," commented Warner, who will meet Chinese receiver manufacturers in Shanghai to discuss what equipment they have available.
Earlier this year SARFT announced plans for commercial trials of mobile TV based on the China Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting (CMMB) standard, opting for the home-grown standard that will mean other standards such as DVB-H and ISDB-T will have less -if any opportunity - to take a significant share of the Chinese mobile TV market but as regards radio it has opted for the Eureka DAB system and is also evaluating DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale).
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2008-08-13: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected a waiver request from Nassau Broadcasting and ruled that it must immediately end a joint sales agreement for WWHK-FM, Concord, New Hampshire, and added that its Enforcement Bureau will consider action against Nassau for breach of its rules.
Nassau and WWHK licensee Capitol Broadcasting Corporation had in January 2005 sought permission to transfer control of the station to Nassau, saying that after the deal Nassau would control four stations in the Manchester, New Hampshire, metro market and included in the application a Joint Sales Agreement made in July 2004 under which Nassau would sell advertising on WWHK, manage the station's traffic and billing functions, and receive all revenue from the sale of advertising on the station.
Subsequent to the JSA, Arbitron announced the creation of a new Concord metro market and on January 26, 2005 - before the FCC had finished evaluating the application - WHKK was sited in the 26-station Concord Metro market.
Nassau already owned five stations before the change, which also put three of its four Manchester stations into the new Concord metro, taking it above the permissible limits and the FCC dismissed the application for transfer of control.
Nassau argued that the decision should be reconsidered on the basis that there should be a two-year waiting period before a change in an Arbitron metro would act as a bar to a station acquisition but FCC staff rejected the argument and denied reconsideration. Nassau then appealed for a review of the decision by the full Commission and argued that the waiver, requested "solely to allow it to maintain its ability to operate WWHK-FM under the JSA until the Commission decides the Nassau Application for Review on the merits" should be granted or that the Commissions rule requiring attribution of JSAs be stayed to enable the WWHK JSA to remain.
It argued that to deny the application would cause irreparable harm because Capitol would have to operate the station on a standalone basis and both it and Nassau would suffer financial loss as a result.
The FCC in refusing the application commented that Nassau knew the new Concord Metro was to be created at the time it filed its application and had failed to demonstrate any special circumstances to cause it not to attribute the JSA.
"Nassau," it said "has failed to demonstrate a likelihood it will prevail on the merits, that absent a stay it will suffer irreparable harm, and that the public interest dictates a stay should be granted.
It added that as it had dismissed the application in February 2006 and had subsequently directed that all non-compliant JSAs had to be terminated by September 3, 2006, and according believes Nassau had been in violation of its rules. It is to refer the matter to the FCC Enforcement Bureau and has ordered that the JSA be terminated immediately and the FCC informed within ten days after which notification the enforcement issues will be addressed.
2008-08-13: London's only Jewish community radio station has ended broadcasts after it lost a High Court libel case brought against it by Respect MP George Galloway and was ordered to pay him GBP 15,000 (USD 28,450) and also pay his court costs, estimated at a further GBP 5,000 (USD 9,500).
Jcom, which broadcast online and in north-west London, was wound up as a result: Its site is still live but carries a notice saying "Sorry, no show is currently broadcasting" as well as various past text information including details of its sister station in Leeds, which is still in operation. Its contact section carries a message saying ," Jcom Radio regrets that it is currently not directly contactable" beneath which is another notice saying "If anyone is interested in becoming a presenter, producer, helper, advertiser or sponsor, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and your request will be forwarded to the new management team."
The judgment followed a broadcast in November last year in which a presenter called himself "Georgie Galloway", said he was the station's "Middle East correspondent", and used the catchphrase, "kill the Jews, kill the Jews". The presenter Richard Malach was immediately fired - Jcom said he was young and inexperienced and had erred in his judgment while attempting to present an edgy programme - and the station posted an apology on its website and also offered Galloway the opportunity to appear on the station.
The UK Independent says that only 36 people were listening online when the show was aired on top of any audience listening to its broadcasts, which cover an area with a three-mile -5km- radius in north-west London.
Galloway, it says said he had pursued the case because the apology "fell short of the categorical retraction of the imputation of anti-Semitism that I insisted upon."
RNW comment: Although we think Galloway had every right to object to the broadcast, our view is that the damages were out of proportion to any harm the programme concerned was likely to have caused to Galloway's reputation - something in the order of GBP 100 would seem about right to us in view of the size of the audience. We can only hope that if Galloway in any of his broadcasts is incautious enough to cast a slur on anyone, the courts will levy damages large enough to bankrupt him. Preferable, of course, would have been an acceptance that an apology was due but not an insistence on a complete grovel plus a suitable broadcast and online article by Galloway.
UK Independent report:
Leeds Jcom site:
London Jcom web site:
2008-08-13: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with two senior US radio executives, one whose ambition is to run the biggest radio company in the US and the other, who worked for him at Infinity/CBS Radio but then moved on to bigger things and so far seems better at increasing red ink than black.
The first of course is Mel Karmazin, now CEO of Sirius XM Radio and who has forecast that it will overtake Clear Channel as the largest radio company in the US.
Karmazin started selling radio adverts when he was 17 and in his career went on to head the WNEW stations in New York for Metromedia before co-founding Infinity Broadcasting and then, after it was taken over by CBS headed CBS Radio and then became Viacom CEO after it absorbed CBS. He resigned in May 2004 and joined Sirius Satellite Radio in November that year. He now looks likely to keep his "Wall Street darling" reputation for the ability to drive up the price of his companies' stocks following the successful piloting through of the Sirius-XM merger.
In a New York Times report by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Karmazin seemed to relish the idea - he will of course become much richer if the stock price increases.
Sorkin in his report indicated the degree to which money seems to drive Karmazin, writing, "When I became the C.E.O. of CBS, the first thing I did was sell the artwork," he said with a smirk, referring to his tenure at Viacom before being ousted after a public battle with Sumner M. Redstone. For good measure, he left the walls bare to remind employees he was running a tight ship. Then, unsolicited, he added, "You know, the movie I'm most proud of is 'Jackass.' It cost me USD 6 million and made USD 100 million."
Sorkin adds that Sirius employees do not need to be convinced of Mr. Karmazin's nerve or cheapness but that the task of persuading investors of a successful future for Sirius XM in the current market conditions is a much bigger task.
Neither Sirius nor XM has yet made a profit; the combined entity is billions in debt; and the automobile market, a primary driver for subscription is, as Sorkin puts it "in free fall."
"And yet Mr. Karmazin, tanned and svelte, seems at ease", comments Sorkin who - again indicating the influence of money on the man - notes that Karmazin claims that CBNC is his favourite Sirius channel.
Amongst cost-cutting measures likely is a move from Sirius's current HQ in Manhattan of which Sorkin reports that when Karmazin first jointed the company and walked into them commented, "Oh, my God. We have a lease here? Do we know we're losing money and this is radio?"
He then says the "question still remains whether Mr. Karmazin can succeed beyond simply cost-cutting, which is likely to come from the companies enormous advertising budget and slashing duplicative jobs" and continues, "Some analysts have been sceptical. Mark Wienkes, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, says the combined company is a 'niche market opportunity' with a 'mass market cost structure.' He has a "conviction sell rating" on the stock."
After commenting on the competition for listening from terrestrial players, Internet audio and portable player, Sorkin comments that Karmazin referred to the NAB opposition to the merger as his ace-in-the-hole when testifying about it.
"It was the best thing that happened," he said, explaining that it demonstrated that Sirius and XM did not just compete against themselves.
Sorkin says that Karmazin wanted the merger from the day he was recruited to join Sirius by Leon D. Black, the billionaire financier who runs Apollo Management and is a board member of Sirius.
He is still confident he can turn the company into profit, suggesting this is a year a two, after which "'Then we can argue about what the company is worth,' he said, arguing that it is nearly impossible to properly value money losing business using traditional metrics. And then again, Mr. Karmazin hinted he may try to sell Sirius-XM, like he has the ventures he has run before. 'I'm not a visionary; I'm an operator,' he said. 'And I've been a seller. The bankers all want the next transaction.'"
Should he turn the company around, Karmazin who has just paid USD 1.37 apiece for some two million shares and says he had bought 20 million at an average of USD 5 would be well placed for his next deal.
On then to his former subordinate Farid Suleman, who is now Citadel CEO and of whom Jerry Del Colliano in his insidemusicmedia blog has a very low opinion.
"I don't know what it is with Citadel CEO Farid Suleman," he writes. "The more you see him in action, the less impressed you are."
After commenting on Citadel's latest quarterly earnings - - "some blame was put on Paul Harvey being away from his radio show causing some national ABC Radio Networks advertisers to pull back. The economy -- advertisers. Blah. Blah. Blah." writes Del Colliano, the blog notes the emphasis on cost savings and previous comments about cutting back on sales staff and contrasts Citadel with Regent.
Regent, he describes as "a small company run by the former head of the Radio Advertising Bureau, Bill Stakelin" and its sales are up ..," Try saying 'up' in the same sentence with a radio company's quarterly ratings.
And how "Regent did it" the reasons include "Local operating strategy. Compare this with Farid's meddling and Clear Channel's constant restructuring and everybody else's penchant for top down management"; attention to digital; and a big sales force - "While Farid wants to cut his sales staff, Stakelin practices what he preached at the RAB and has increased his sales staff. More salespeople to sell more radio and cross-platform integration."
"Regent," comments Del Colliano "is a small market operator. Citadel is a small time operator that also has some large markets acquired through their ABC acquisition."
After comments on personalities and their approach - the above seems to indicate that Karmazin believes in cost cutting as much as Suleman but knows better where to cut,
On then to an issue that's probably phony but keeps popping up in the US, that of suggestions of a reintroduction of the former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "Fairness Doctrine", an issue that seems to us probably as much part of political campaigning as any real likelihood of a restoration - the suggestion seems to be largely predicated on support by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a search for "Pelosi and Fairness Doctrine" brings up some 210,000 responses, nearly all right-wing doom mongering reports that all seem, if they bother with any sourcing, to refer to one report by John Gizzi of Human Events in June in which he reports that she told him at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast that she personally supported its revival.
Whatever the reality the issue keeps cropping up, mostly in relation to talk radio but also in relation to religious broadcasting and indeed earlier this month Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell suggested that re-introduction could be extended to blogs on the Internet (it might also led to him growing wings, becoming totally honest, and flying away but we doubt that as well).
In relation to religious broadcasting, a report from the Religion News Service quoted Rich Bott, the owner of Bott Radio Network- based in Kansas but airing Christian programming in ten states, as saying such a move might well put him out business and would "really make it impossible to preach the whole counsel of God."
It also quoted Bott as saying, "We've been in broadcasting for over 45 years so we remember what it was like under the previous regime of the so-called Fairness Doctrine. What we had to do then would be impossible today If someone were to assert that God has ordained marriage as only between a man and woman that would be a controversial statement today. Someone will ask for time."
Bott of course is not politically neutral but some on the other side of the political spectrum also oppose reintroduction of the doctrine and the report quotes John Neurohr, the press secretary at the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group in Washington, as saying, "It's not free speech. We don't support it, and most people on the left don't support it. The bottom line is that we need to get better at talk radio."
Neuhrohr added in the context of talk radio that the doctrine would create only the illusion of a surge for liberal talk radio and noted that some progressive hosts, such as Ed Schultz, manage to bring in high numbers simply because they're entertaining. [RNW Comment - Think about that for a moment since we can see no reasonable way that it can be argued any such doctrine requiring presentation of opposing views would lead to a surge for any form of unbalanced radio. Our views, incidentally, are fairly straightforward in that we think any loon should be allowed to make any comment but that there does need to be some redress when people are damaged by falsehoods. We think the US can go too far in this regard in defending freedom to misrepresent or to present falsehoods but the UK goes far too far the other way when it comes to libel cases. We doubt that there is really any likelihood of the return of a Fairness Doctrine but the fear of a correction of falsehoods one might be useful at times.]
On then to listening suggestions and again we have had a fairly busy week that has constrained our listening - and thus, like most people we suggest, led us more into going for the quality we know rather than trying the new.
In that light we therefore first suggest a UK Guardian report on Internet stations in which Pascal Wyse and Alexis Petridis picked their top spoken word and music sites:
We intend to dip into them all as we get time - we can certainly support the recommendation for Resonance FM - but have over the past week been stuck mainly with UK terrestrial stations and thus the BBC we find most of the London commercial stations something to dip into - and out of when the comments become inane or the adverts get in the way - rather than specifically bother finding on the Internet.
That has left us with BBC stalwarts and very much our usual range of choices starting with BBC Radio 2 primarily for some comedy (its Saturday Noon to 13:00 GMT comedy slot is fairly regular listening), musical documentary - this week's crop includes "Migrant Music" on the impact of Eastern European immigrants on the West's music and "Soup in a Basket", the third of a four-parter on Northern England's clubs in their heyday; and also this week the current "...The Novel That Changed My Life" series that on Friday ( 18:00 GMT) features Kathy Lette talking about William Makepeace Thackeray's epic, "Vanity Fair".
From BBC Radio 3 we note the continuing Proms, the regular Monday through Thursday "Essay"series - this week it's a repeat of biologist Jack Cohen's "Life But Not As We Know It" in which he considers why aliens would alter our view of biology, evolution and religion ; its World Music ( last Saturday's programme looked at what remains of traditional Chinese music in Shanghai); Jazz (We tend to listen to the Friday Night "Jazz Library" ( 21:30 GMT - This Friday it features recordings by the late jazz organist Jimmy McGriff) and "Jazz Club" (22:30 GMT and this week featuring guitarist David Torn's project Prezens) plus drama - Last Saturday's "The Wire" was "Lullaby of Shadows" by Andrea Earl - it's a psychological thriller about a mother who believes her husband is plotting to kill their newborn baby.
From BBC Radio 4 we note the regular 14:30-15:30 half hour of "The Afternoon Reading" and following quarter -hour (This week "A Dollar a Day" in which Mike Wooldridge to use the BBC description "presents a series asking whether the global target of halving world poverty by 2015 can be achieved and what living on a dollar a day really means."
After that we suggest a dip into the BBC and Australian Broadcasting Corporation's podcasts - regulars for us include various documentaries and the Friday Comedy (currently "The Now Show") from BBC Radio 4.
Human Events - Gizzi:
Insidemusicmedia - Del Colliano:
New York Times - Sorkin:
Religion News Service re Fairness Doctrine:
UK Guardian - Wyse and Petridis:
2008-08-12: Bonneville Broadcasting is to drop its talk format WWWT from this fall after less than a year in operation and use its frequencies for its Federal News Radio (WFED), which will move from its current 1050 AM to WWWT's 1500 AM and 820 AM frequencies.
In addition the 107.7 FM frequency that currently carries WWWT is to switch to carrying Bonneville's news WTOP.
Washington Nationals games and sports programming that is currently carried on the WWWT frequencies will be aired on the 1500 AM and 107.7 FM frequencies.
According to the Washington Business Journal the changes mean that eight employees have already been dropped with several more cuts expected when the change is made. It quotes Bonneville senior vice president Joel Oxley as saying the move was made because it "didn't get the kind of ratings that we were looking for and therefore didn't have the revenue or the profit" and adding this "This lets us move our distribution to WFED, which has a tremendous growth opportunity."
In addition to boosting WFED, WTOP will also expand its signal through its FM trimulcast, to become even more of a regional powerhouse.
WWWT has already dropped its morning show "The Inner Loop with Burd, Doyle and Jones" whose last edition was on Monday with WTOP and WFED simulcasts starting today in toe 06:00 to 09:00 period and various syndicated shows will be dropped as their deals expire including those of Glenn Beck (Premiere); Jim Bohannon and Bill O'Reilly (Westwood One); Neal Boortz and Stephanie Miller (Dial Gobal); Phil Hendrie (Talk Radio Network) and Randi Rhodes (the former Air America Radio host now syndicated by Nova M).
Washington Business Journal report:
2008-08-12: Revised Arbitron ratings for Providence, Rhode Island, issued after complaints of tainted diaries in a media-affiliated household in East Greenwich (See RNW Aug 10), have moved Citadel's talk WPRO-AM from fourth to ninth rank for the 25-64 demographic in Morning Drive.
East Greenwich is where WPRO's morning host John DePetro lives but Arbitron has said it will not identify the household responsible for the diaries and DePetro, who is on holiday, has not commented - the latest entry on his website is for Aug 5.
In all six diaries - three from men and three from women - claimed more than 109 hours of listening to WPRO-AM between 06:00 and 10:00 according to Jim Corwin, vice president and general manager of the local Clear Channel stations.
The revised ratings do not change the three top stations in the slot and demographic - Clear Channel's rock WHJY-FM in top rank, Entercom's sports WEEI-FM; and Citadel's hits WPRO-FM: Citadel's WWLI-FM (Lite Rock 105) moved up to fourth followed by WCTK-FM; WSNE-FM; WPMZ-AM, and WWBB-AM.
Overall for 12 and older listeners the revised ratings show Hall Communications Inc's WCTK-FM in top rank with WPRO-AM and WWLI-FM tying for second and WPRO-FM fourth.
WPRO-AM marketing manager Barbara Haynes and Program Director Paul Giammarco noted in a statement that the station has retaining its top ranking for Morning Drive amongst listeners 12 and over.
Previous CC Media Holdings/Clear Channel:
DePetro web site:
Providence Business News report:
2008-08-12: CanWest has now exited the UK radio business with the sale of its Original 106 Solent regional station to Celador Radio: It had already sold its Bristol and Aberdeen stations to companies headed by Jonathan Arendt and Richard Johnson (See RNW Jul 30 and Jul 22).
Celador Radio was formed to bid for UK licences with a board including Paul Smith, chairman of Celador - the production company best known for its "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" programme; former BBC Radio 2 controller Jim Moir; former Capital Radio breakfast host Chris Tarrant; and UBC Media Chief Executive Simon Cole but failed to win any. This is its first station.
Former Tindle Radio chief executive Kevin Stewart, who left Tindle in January, is reported to have joined Celador Radio to oversee development of the acquisition.
2008-08-11: In further North American Radio results CC Media Holdings has reported revenues up 2% to USD 1.83 billion including foreign currency gains without which they were down 1% - Clear Channel Radio revenues were down 6%; Cumulus has also reported revenues down - by 4.2% to USD 83.6 million and Newcap has reported an increase of 5% to CAD 27.4 million (USD 25.6 million).
At Clear Channel, now owned by CC Media Holdings, Inc., currency gains of USD 52.2 million took its revenues to an increase and without the gains they were down 1%. In divisional terms radio broadcasting revenues were down 6% to USD 891.5 million; other revenues were marginally down from USD 52.5 to USD 52.4 million; and outdoor revenues were up 9% to USD 914.8 million.
Radio expenses were down by 3% to USD 526.8 million; other expenses were flat; and Outdoor expenses rose by 14% to 637.8 million.
Regarding radio revenues the company said a decline in local and national revenues - as a result of overall weakness in advertising - was partially offset by increases in traffic and on-line revenues. Radio revenue, it said, were down across all different sized markets and advertising categories including automotive, retail and consumer
OIBDAN (Operating Income before Depreciation & amortization, Non-cash compensation expense, Merger costs and Gain on disposition of assets) for radio was down 10% to USD 364.7 million; for others was down 3% to USD 8.1 million and for outdoor was flat at USD 277 million.
Overall net income was up 19.6% to USD 282.33 million (from 48 cents to 57 cents per share) including merger costs of USD 7.5 million, a net gain on the disposition of assets of USD 17.4 million and a gain on marketable securities of USD 27.7 million and income tax expenses down 21.7% to USD 125.1 million.
Commenting on the figures, CC Media Holdings CEO Mark P. Mays said the results for both the quarter and first half were "impressive in the context of this challenging economic and advertising climate."
He added, "We reported higher revenue and earnings per share for the second quarter and continued to outperform many in the media arena. Strong relative performance in both Outdoor and Radio are a testament to the wisdom of continuing to do what we do best. We exert strict cost discipline and invest in the growth drivers of our core businesses. As we enter the second half of the year with our merger closed, we are hopeful that our streamlined operations coupled with a concentration on growth and execution will enable us to continue to perform well, despite a difficult economic environment."
The company said regarding radio divestitures that at the end of June it had 275 non-core stations up for sale and had sold 238 with 37 of the remaining non-core stations classified as discontinued operations at the end of June with 34 being under definitive asset purchase agreements - 24 of these have now been sold - and three being marketed for sale: It had originally announced plans to sell 448 stations in November 2006
At Cumulus, revenues were down 4.2% to USD 83.6 million within which cash revenues were down 3.7% to USD 79.7 million and barter revenues, which Cumulus is trying to cut back, were down 14.6% to USD 3.9 million: Station operating expenses were down 1.1% to USD 53 million and station operating income was down 9.2% to USD 30.7 million.
Pro forma revenues - excluding the results of the Company's Caribbean stations that were sold in November 2007 - were down 3.7% - cash revenues were down 3.1% and barter down 14.6% - with station operating expenses down 0.5% and station operating income down 8.7%.
Cumulus also noted a one-time termination fee of USD 15.0 million from its investor group as result of the termination in May of a plan to take it private, helping its net income up from USD 2.5 million a year earlier to USD 30.3 million (from six cents to 70 cents per diluted share).
North of the border Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited (Newcap) reported revenues up 5% to CAD 27.4 million (USD 25.6 million) driven by same-station growth with EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) up 46% to CAD 10.4 million (USD 9.7 million) - for the half-year it is up 87% to CAD 13.6 million (USD 12.7 million) - primarily as a result of investment income.
Net income for the quarter was up 10.3% to CAD 6.4 million (USD 6.0 million) but for the half year it is down from CAD 13.2 million (USD 12.4 million) to CAD 7.1 million (USD 6.6 million) because of a boost a year earlier through gains on disposals of two long-term investments: The company declared a dividend of CAD 0.15 per share after the end of the quarter.
Newcap noted that during the quarter it spent CAD 9.5 million ( USD 8.9 million ) on the purchase of a 29.9% interest in a Nova Scotia FM for CAD 1 million ( USD 940,000) and buying the half interest it did not own in Metro Radio Group, operator of CKUL-FM, Halifax. Subsequently it has agreed to buy 12 Ontario FMs from Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc. for CAD 18.95 million (USD 17.5 million - See RNW Jul 30), and also exchange with Rogers Broadcasting a Halifax AM for one in Sudbury, Ontario, plus around CAD 5 million (USD 4.7 million ) in cash, making a total cost for the two transactions of around CAD 13.9 million (USD 13.0 million. ). It also launched three new FMs in June - in McMurray, Alberta and Sydney and Kentville, Nova Scotia.
President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Steele said the company was "making significant efforts to improve results in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta" and had been " extremely pleased" to see in the July ratings that our overall market share in these two cities has increased.
"While we continue to grow the company organically," he added, "we remain focused on expansion plans as evidenced by our recent acquisition announcements and new station launches."
Previous CC Media Holdings/Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2008-08-11: UK GMG Radio has come under criticism in Scotland for firing six Scottish DJs in changes that saw increased use of networked programming on its Glasgow Smooth station according to the Glasgow-headquartered Sunday Herald.
The papers reports that contracts terminated include those of Alistair Alford, Mike Marwick, Alastair McDonald, Craig McMurdo, Jackie Storrar and Art Sutter and notes that the Glasgow station now has filled some of the slots with shows hosted by Tony Blackburn (See RNW Jun 3), whose weekend breakfast show is aired by the six Smooth stations, and Mark Goodier. It adds that GMG Radio's Real Radio in Scotland has also increased network programming including Chris Tarrant's new Saturday morning show (See RNW Jul 1). GMG has also axed its two daily news shows that aired at lunchtime and drivetime on all but one of its 13 Real, Century, Smooth and Rock Radio stations (See RNW May 7).
The Glasgow Smooth station was formerly owned by Saga, which was taken over by GMG (See RNW Dec 19, 2006) and the paper quotes former Saga FM managing director Norman Quirk as terming the move towards networked programmes "disgraceful" and adding, "It is very sad. The reason commercial radio started and was so popular was because it was breaking away from the London-centric media. Pop music is international; there is nothing local about it, so the interaction between the broadcaster and audience is where you get the local input... What we did at Saga was establish a station serving the needs and interests of people in the west of Scotland. What we have with Smooth Radio is a national station with local opt-outs. It is patronising to the audience."
For GMG its Glasgow Smooth FM programme director Jay Crawford said they were "operating in a difficult economic climate" and added, "One of our strengths is attracting broadcasting's famous figures and utilising their talents to draw a bigger audience."
The story has attracted more than a hundred comments from readers ranging from calls to boycott it to others regarding it a commercial decision that will stand or fall by listeners reactions whilst others broaden the debate to include other stations in the area and fears that GMG could also start networking programming on its Rock Radio, which so far has stuck to local content.
Previous GMG Radio:
Sunday Herald report:
2008-08-11: US actor, musician, composer, musical arranger, radio host, record producer , and singer-songwriter Isaac Hayes has died aged 65 : He is reported to have been found on the floor near a -running treadmill by his fourth wife Adjowa and was taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital in nearby Memphis, where he was pronounced dead.
Hayes was most famous internationally for his work on the theme tune for the 1971 film Shaft for which he received an Academy Award for Best Original Song and two Grammy Awards and more recently as the character Chef in South Park.
Hayes became a Scientologist around 1995 and he left the series following episodes satirising "Scientology" with reports saying he quit because of this although Roger Friedman of Fox News later reported that statement to this effect was made in Hayes' name, but not by Hayes himself, as he suffered a stroke in January.
Hayes was also hosted his own morning show in New York on Cox Radio's WRKS-FM (Kiss-FM) for a period from 1996 according to his official website that also notes that he hosted The Isaac Hayes Top 20 R&B Countdown show and the nationally syndicated, five-hour Hot Buttered Love Songs show that aired in Memphis on Citadel's WRBO-FM (103.5 Soul Classics).
Hayes official web site:
2008-08-10: Last week was one mainly of routines for the regulators although in Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority as we have already reported posted its latest Broadcasting Financial Results report and in the US the Federal Communications Commission has posted its proposals for Fiscal Year 2008 regulatory fees, asking for comment on them and with all commissioners commenting that the current structure, basically the same since 1994 is overdue for change.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) as noted has posted its Broadcasting Financial Results 2006-2007 that showed radio revenues for the year up but those of TV down (See RNW Aug 9): It also found that Armidale Community Radio Cooperative Ltd., which holds a temporary community broadcasting licence breached a condition of its licence by failing to encourage members of the community it serves to participate in the operation of the service and in the selection of programs.
The ACMA had investigated following a complaint in February that the station was not encouraging community participation in the operations and programming of its service and was also failing to represent its community interest in line with its licence conditions.
Its investigation rejected the latter complaint but found that it provided only limited opportunities for members of the community to participate in the operations of the service; particularly in the area of decision-making and added that while the licensee was able to demonstrate that it had actively encouraged community members to participate as presenters, it was unable to provide evidence to demonstrate compliance with the licence condition to encourage community participation in the selection of programs.
The licensee, whose current licence runs to October 3, has been asked to provide a compliance report covering the period form Jul 1 to Sept 30 by October 15.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in only a few radio-related postings including the following (In order of province):
*Approval of application by My Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) for a licence to operate a 1,330 watts blended adult contemporary and middle of the road music English-language commercial FM in Exeter. The application had been opposed by Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation, which expressed concern over the negative impact that this new station would have on its own station CHWC-FM, Goderich, and stated that, approving MBC's application would, in effect, grant MBC "back door" access to the Goderich market.
MBC responded by noting that while Exeter borders five different radio markets, including that of Goderich, it is not directly served by any radio station in the area and the CRTC in granting the application noted that the 3mV/m contours of the proposed station and the 3mV/m contours of CHWC-FM Goderich do not overlap.
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with a Sept 9 deadline for comments or interventions, relating to various applications including the following radio ones:
Application by Bedford Baptist Church to change the frequency of low-power unprotected English-language religious FM radio, CHSB-FM, Bedford from 89.1 MHz (channel 206LP) to 99.3 MHz (channel 257LP). The change is necessary because its current frequency will be in conflict with that of new commercial radio station CIJK-FM, Kentville, which was approved in July last year.
*Application by Radio Ville-Marie to add a 250 watts FM transmitter at Rimouski, Quebec to broadcast the programming of CIRA-FM, Montréal.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland but the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced that its 2008 National Conference will take on 17th and 18th of September in the Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin. This year's conference will be called "Does the Medium Matter?" and chaired by broadcaster and journalist Claire Byrne.
It will address the themes of digital and new media from a variety of standpoints and speakers will include Alex Pumfrey, Programme Director, Digital UK and James Cridland, Head of Future Media and Technology, BBC Audio and Music Interactive, who will speak on digital delivery; and Jonathan Marks, media anthropologist; and Philip McCartney, Head of Sales, Bebo Ireland, who will speak on new media.
The conference will also look at the growth of radio and TV in the country since the passage of the 1988 Radio and Television Act, which heralded the beginning of commercial radio and television in Ireland.
In the UK, Ofcom has pre-advertised the Thanet area FM licence, currently held by kmfm Thanet Limited. The licence is to expire on Jan 16, 2010 and declarations of intent to apply for a 5-year licence from then have to be submitted by Sept 2 together with a GBP 5,000 (USD 10,000) application fee plus a GBP 20,000 (USD 40,000) deposit that will be refundable upon receipt by Ofcom of a valid application in response to the subsequent re-advertisement of this licence.
If no declaration of intent is received the licence will not be re-advertised and if the only declaration is from kmfm it will be invited to re-apply for the licence.
Ofcom has also posted an "Illegal Broadcasting Factsheet" including comments from the London Fire Brigade and a London Community station about the effects of pirate broadcasters on their services : In the foreword to it Ofcom says "Illegal broadcasting - or pirate radio - is a significant problem in the UK's major urban areas, in particular London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.
In a foreword it comments, "Key safety of life services - our ambulance, fire, police and air traffic control services - as well as licensed BBC, commercial and local community radio stations can suffer interference from these illegal stations."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had a fairly quiet week although it formally approved various licence transfers involved in the Sirius-XM Merger and adopted the Consent Decrees linked to this (See RNW Jul 28).
On a wider basis it adopted its adopted its Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to collect regulatory fees for Fiscal Year 2008.
In a statement regarding the order FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin said "Over the last decade, the communications landscape has changed dramatically" and questioned whether the balance of regulatory fees between various industries remains "reasonable and equitable in light of the significant market changes since then. "
Similar statements were released by the other commissioners with Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein noting that the Commission has not conducted a sweeping review of the regulatory fee methodology since 1994 and adding, " For these reasons, I have issued a yearly call for the Commission to conduct a thorough review of our regulatory fee policies"; his colleague Michael S. Copps added that he was "pleased that at long last we are initiating a broad-based review of our regulatory fee rules", something he said he had called for "over the years. It is hard to believe that we are still assessing fees based on the communications marketplace as it existed in 1994. It's as if we regulated the record industry and still assessed fees based on the number of CDs sold in retail stores in 1994, before the advent of digital downloads."
Republican Robert M. McDowell commented, "The Commission has been reviewing this issue for three years. We have heard and considered the proposals and views of the relevant parties -- common carriers and companies with submarine cable interests and cable landing licenses. It is time for the Commission to make a decision that makes sense given the incredible expansion of capacity on these systems in relation to the regulatory costs generated by the operators. I look forward to finding a solution that will result in lower regulatory fees and that will treat providers in a non-discriminatory and competitively neutral manner." whilst
His colleague Deborah Taylor Tate added, "Given this sizable tax burden (RNW Comment: Bearing in mind that US telecommunications' revenues alone are forecast to reach USD 1.1 trillion in 2008 and that USD 312 million is 0.03% of this, the figure is not that large in relation to the total) on the telecommunications market - and ultimately on the telecommunications consumer - it is important that these fees be equitably assessed but not unduly burdensome. Some parties have raised a concern about whether these fees in fact are equitably assessed, and I am pleased that we are now focusing more on this issue."
In a number of enforcement and contested licence decisions the FCC has:
*Issued a USD 10.000 forfeiture to Jean Idalbert of Brooklyn, New York, for operating an unlicensed FM transmitter. It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount in April but received no response so has confirmed the penalty.
*Issued USD 9,000 forfeiture to Frank Neely, licensee of WGIV-AM, Gastonia, North Carolina for failure to maintain the station's public inspection file. It had issued an NAL for this amount to which Neely responded by calling for cancellation on the grounds of inability to pay and also argued that the penalty was excessive: His council said he had conducted an informal survey among his clients which established that the public has no interest in the content of station issues/programs lists, which undermines the Commission's "assumption" that the lists serve the "critical function or getting important information to the public,"
The FCC rejected the last argument and in confirming the full penalty also noted that Neely had not submitted the required documentation to sustain his claim of inability to pay.
*Adopted a Consent Decree under which Sunshine Broadcasters, Inc., licensee of WIGN-AM, Bristol, Tennessee, which admitted that it engaged in a stock transfer involving a transfer of control of the Company without seeking prior FCC approval, will pay USD 5,000 and also maintain a Compliance Plan to ensure future compliance.
*Issued an NAL for USD 3,000 each to Luis A. Mejia and MSG Radio, Inc. for apparent failure to provide required information in relation to the assignment of the licence of WIAC-FM, San Juan, Puerto Rico, by Mejia to MSG.
The FCC had received two petitions to deny the USD 4 million sale on the basis that Mejia and MSG lacked candour with the Commission by withholding documents germane to the transaction: The petitioners objecting were found not to live at the addresses submitted with their petitions and the FCC accordingly dismissed their petitions but it also opted to assess their complaints and in doing so held that required information had not been submitted, for which the base forfeiture is USD 3,000.
*Issued USD 3,000 forfeiture to Entercom Greenville License, LLC, licensee of WYRD-AM, Greenville, South Carolina, for failure to maintain the station's public inspection file.
It had issued an NAL in this amount in November 2004 to which Entercom which had reported missing files in connection with its licence renewal application, had requested cancellation saying it had subsequently recreated the missing lists and put them into the file. The FCC rejected the argument and confirmed the penalty.
In California, the Commission denied CSN International's request to reconsider its refusal of additional time to construct facilities for KOGR-FM, Rosedale, for which CSAN had been granted a Construction Permit in 2003 with an expiry date three years later. CSN had only started construction in October 2006 and then found that when it began to install its antenna on the American Tower Corporation tower specified in the CP found that the United States Forest Service (USFS) prohibited installation of broadcast antennas at that location.
It had then requested an extension, which was refused on the grounds that the rules only allow this where specific circumstances beyond a permittee's control delay construction. In this case, said the FCC, CSN did not qualify because it had not been diligent in ascertaining the restrictions, which it discovered only three days before expiry of the CP although these were in a draft USFS Forest Management Plan. The FCC in refusing to reconsider commented that CSN elected to use a site in a National Forest. It therefore knew, or should have known, that the site was under USFS jurisdiction and that a diligent applicant would have contacted the USFS before it filed its application - and remained in contact with the USFS thereafter - to determine any restrictions on the proposed site.
In Idaho, the FCC gave the go-ahead for the transfer control of Intermart Broadcasting Twin Falls, Inc., licensee of KSNQ-FM, Twin Falls, from James E. Martin, Jr. to Patricia S. Woods and assignment of the station licence to GAP Broadcasting Twin Falls License, LLC.
The transfer had been opposed by Astounding Productions, Inc., which had bid against Intermart for the Twin Falls FM construction permit in the FCC's Auction 25. The bidding was won by Intermart with a bid of USD 838,000 but Astounding had contested the licence award on the basis that agreements between Intermart and Citicasters Co. raised the question of whether Citicasters was behind the bid. The FCC had found no evidence to support the suggestion but Astounding had subsequently filed an Application for Review and, when this was denied, appealed to the United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. It was now arguing that because this case was pending the assignment is premature and should be denied.
The FCC noted that its practice was to approve an application but condition the grant of an assignment or transfer of licenses in such cases on the outcome of the pending proceeding and did so in this case.
In New York State the Commission allowed a six-month waiver of its ownership limits in connection with Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Licensee, LLC's proposal to move WNYG-AM's community of licence from Babylon to Medford. The station will remain in the New York Metro meaning a cap of eight stations and up to five AMs or FMs: Multicultural currently has an interest in six AMs including WNYG-AM, an interest permitted as a grandfathered combination.
The company says the waiver will allow it to divest the station - as required because the limits would apply after a change of community of licence - in an orderly manner and noted that the application is being made because it has to move co-owned first-adjacent channel station WNSW-AM, which recently lost its tower lease, and to avoid having to discontinue operations of one of the stations will be co-locating WNSW-AM with its its WPAT-AM on an existing tower site it owns and from which WPAT-AM currently operates. This change it says means WNYG must also relocate to protect WNSW.
Multicultural said it had spent months searching for another resolution, but in light of the "difficult allocation situation for WNYG with several grandfathered overlapping contours, and the lack of available land for tower sites in this area of Long Island," the current proposal is the only feasible solution.
The FCC in granting the waiver commented that it would allow an orderly disposal and "thereby ultimately eliminate a grandfathered combination and enhance competition in the New York Market."
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-08-10: Arbitron is to release new Spring Ratings for Providence tomorrow following a row over the original ratings that showed a dramatic leap in ratings for former Boston host John DePetro's morning show on Citadel's WPRO-AM and for the station in general.
Clear Channel had queried the ratings when they showed WPRO moving to the top rank amongst total listeners for the first time and DePetro's moving from an 11th-ranked 2,.0 share to a fourth placed 6.8: Subsequent investigations by Arbitron showed that what it termed a "media affiliated household" had been responsible for six survey diaries in which three men and three women aged from 27 to 34 listed their listening to the DePetro show for a total of 109 hours out of a possible 120 hours in a week.
The six diaries are part of a total of 2,160 diaries used for the Providence metro area of 1.37 million people with each counting as 640 listeners
DePetro, not known for being backward in excoriating politicians who refuse questions when involved in a controversy, has been keeping quiet about the issue and - in company with WPRO program director Paul Giammarco and Citadel general manager Barbara Haynes -- has not returned calls from various newspapers
Arbitron's re-issued ratings will not include the six diaries at issue - the Boston Herald says that a letter from Clear Channel Vice President Jim Corwin to advertisers says the household involved was in East Greenwich where DePetro lives - and it said in a letter to its subscribers, "Audience estimates for WPRO-AM may be substantially affected in particular demos and day parts. Estimates for several other stations, which received limited amounts of listening in these diaries, may also be affected to a minor extent."
The Providence Journal quoted Bill George program director for Clear Channel's WHJJ-AM as saying he asked Arbitron to investigate after noticing an unusual jump in the ratings for WPRO, specifically in listeners 25 to 34 during the 6-to-10-a.m. slot, when WPRO's John DePetro is on the air.
George said his station noticed WPRO's rating for women in that age group went from 0 percent in the fall to 12.1 percent in the spring. The ratings for men in that age group jumped from 1.7 percent to 14.1 percent.
Previous Clear Channel:
Boston Herald report:
Providence Journal report:
2008-08-09: Australia's commercial broadcasters reported revenues of AUD 4.995 billion (USD 4.452 billion) for 2006-07, up just 0.1% on a year earlier according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
The figures, from its publication, Broadcasting Financial Results 2006-2007, and 2005-06 were compiled using information from holders of the country's 55 commercial TV licenses and 271 commercial radio licences at the end of June last year and holders of the country's 54 commercial TV licenses and 274 commercial radio licences the previous year.
Of the total, TV revenues were down 0.6% to AUD 3.9663 billion (USD 3.535 billion) whilst those for radio were up 2.9% to AUD 1.029 billion (USD 917 million)
Reported profits were AUD 887 million ( USD 791 million) of which AUD 654 million (USD 583 million) was for TV - approximately half this amount is attributable to specific income statement adjustments, as reported by one network - and AUD 233 million (USD 208 million) was for radio.
2008-08-09: US defence contractor CACI has lost a defamation claim against Air America Radio and its former host Randi Rhodes who after the Abu Ghraib scandal described prison interrogators it has supplies as "killers" who raped children, showed no loyalty to America, and "fought on the side of apartheid."
CACI, which is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, had filed a defamation suit in the federal district court in Alexandria, Virginia, that was dismissed in September 2006 and then appealed.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected CACI's arguments and upheld the district court ruling that the contractors were public figures and thus under the First Amendment they had to prove that Rhodes acted with "reckless disregard for the truth" in making her claims.
In its ruling the appeals court comments, "In her scalding accusations against CACI - a military contractor with public figure status - Rhodes relied on a number of reputable sources, including two U.S. Army reports and the statements of an army brigadier general who was once the head of U.S. detention facilities in Iraq. Rhodes and Air America moved for summary judgment after
CACI sued them for defamation. The district court granted the motion, concluding that Rhodes's statements were protected by the First Amendment, either because they were not made with actual malice or because they did not state actual facts about CACI. We affirm."
Of the host it says, "She laced her show with fierce and colourful criticism of the President, the civilian leadership at the Pentagon, and military contractors for their role in the 'initiation and continuation of the war.' 'Rhodes accepts New York Magazine's characterization of her style as 'shrill, screeching,' and 'hectoring, cocksure.' 'She also admits to making frequent use of hyperbole, a common tool of the talk radio host, in criticizing 'everything having to do with the war in Iraq.'"
It later refers to the CBS 60 Minutes II broadcast that showed amongst other things "photographs of naked detainees stacked in a pyramid; a photograph of two naked and hooded detainees, positioned as though one was performing oral sex on the other; and a photograph of a naked male detainee with a female U.S. soldier pointing to his genitalia and giving a thumbs-up sign. Another photograph showed a hooded detainee standing on a narrow box with electrical wires attached to his hands. A final photograph showed a dead detainee who had been badly beaten."
"By the time Rhodes made the statements on her show in August 2005 that CACI challenges as defamatory, Rhodes had read a number of published reports that CACI interrogators at Abu Ghraib had abused detainees and directed or encouraged the abuse of detainees. These sources included two official military reports, a published interview of the brigadier general formerly in charge of U.S. prisons in Iraq (including Abu Ghraib), news articles, and a journalist's speech."
It notes that Major General Antonio M. Taguba's investigation and report ( the Taguba report) into investigations at Abu Ghraib , "documented the following acts of abuse, among others: punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; using unmuzzled military dogs to frighten, and in one case to bite, detainees; breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on the detainees; positioning a naked detainee on a box with a sandbag on his head and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electrical torture; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broomstick; having sex with a female detainee and threatening male detainees with rape; stacking naked male detainees, handcuffed and shackled, in piles so that each one's penis touched the
buttocks of another; videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees; forcibly arranging detainees in sexually explicit positions for photographing; forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate while being photographed and videotaped; and taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees."
It also notes that in a speech by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh at an American Civil Liberties Union conference he spoke of women prisoners at Abu Ghraib " passing messages out [to their families] saying please come and kill me because of what's happened. And basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children, in cases that have been [video] recorded, the boys were sodomized, with the cameras rolling, and the worst above all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking."
It also notes that in an interview Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who was (at the relevant time) in charge of U.S. detention facilities in Iraq had charged that "torture practices" were used at the prison and then developed and implemented in Guantanamo Bay and said she had no doubt that the civilian contractors Titan and CACI had ordered the abuses. It also referred to a New York Times Magazine report that reported amongst other things on contractors using personnel "from South African veterans of the wars to save apartheid,"
RNW comment: We have included some of the comments at length - for more follow the link below, which makes shaming reading for the US - but in essence, using words such as torture in terms of general dictionary definitions rather than narrow US legalistic ones ; comments from various people about the understandings of those present about who was in charge of interrogations, and the Taguba report finding that a CACI employee was responsible for encouraging abuse at Abu Ghraib and was likely responsible, along with three others, for the entire pattern of abuse at the prison - abuse that included rape and sodomy - Rhodes' allegations seems to us far too close to the truth for comfort.
We noted in particular the court's comment that "a reasonable jury could not find that Rhodes spoke with reckless disregard for the truth when she accused CACI of responsibility for the rape of children" and its specific reasoning as to why comments Rhodes made had First Amendment support.
Previous Air America Radio:
Appeals Court ruling (38-page 170 kb PDF):
2008-08-08: The UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has cleared Global Radio's acquisition of GCap Media subject to divestments in the Midlands and says there will be no referral to the Competition Commission on this basis: It has not required any divestitures of London stations or restrictions on Global Radio continuing to sell Guardian Media Group's national airtime.
The divestitures planned include Heart 106 in the East Midlands in relation to which the OFT has said that it will allow the station to continue to operate under the Heart Brand as a franchise, the first time if has accepted a franchise-based deal.
In the West Midlands, Global is planning to sell GCap Media's BRMB, Beacon, Mercia and Wyvern stations: In each case the current "hold separate" measures between GCap and Global will remain in place until the arrangements are finalised.
In its ruling the OFT said that most of GCap's 71 local stations do not compete with Global for the same audience or advertisers but in the Midlands advertisers trying to reach a regional audience had a choice between Global's Heart stations and GCap's Leicester Sound, Trent and RAM with a similar issue in the West Midlands.
In London, the OFT said that although each group had 20-30% of the advertising, neither Heart nor LBC, which are owned by Global, were close competitors to any of GCap's stations - Capital, Choice or Xfm - "due substantially to differences in audience demographics" and added that Global will have to compete hard for advertisers and audience against Bauer's Magic and Kiss stations as well as others including Virgin and also for audience with the BBC.
The OFT, it said, "expects the deal to generate significant efficiencies that will benefit advertisers and listeners, for example, by delivering cheaper prices for multi-station advertising packages and programming changes capable of attracting larger and more focused radio audiences, thereby enhancing rivalry in the London market."
Simon Pritchard, OFT Senior Director of Mergers said of the clearance: 'Merger efficiencies benefit customers and put pressure on rivals. In this case, they tipped the balance in favour of clearance in London. This shows that with the right facts, efficiencies can make a difference, even at first phase, and even in a horizontal merger with high market shares. The divestment remedies in the Midlands, where efficiencies were not sufficient, are about restoring competition to make sure customers will not be harmed.'
The OFT itself did not disclose for confidentiality reasons, the stations that Global had proposed (as listed above) to divest but did say that it will consult publicly concerning the suitability of potential purchasers of the stations to be sold.
GCap Media Acting CEO Ashley Tabor said of the approval that they were pleased that the OFT had made the final decision without referring the deal to the Competition Commission and added, "Today is a momentous day for the UK commercial radio industry, marking the start of a new era for the sector. Global Radio will now be able to lead the industry to the consolidation it needs. We will be able to offer real value and quality to advertisers and listeners by operating the Heart and Capital brands alongside one another and today's decision represents the beginning of a very exciting radio company where we can now set about the task of integrating the 2 businesses, creating Global Radio in its new form."
Previous Global Radio:
2008-08-08: Univision has followed the trend in recent results in reporting a revenue decline in the second quarter - down 4.3% overall to USD 533.1 million but its radio division outperformed TV with revenues only down 0.4% to USD 111.9 million for radio compared to a TV reduction of 5.2% to USD 411 million for TV and Internet fall of 11.3% to USD 10.2 million. The company added that if major soccer tournaments and political advertising are excluded, revenues were up 04%.
Overall Univision's net loss increased from USD 19.6 million a year ago to USD 100.7 million.
Of the radio report Univision said "outstanding programming and effective cross promotion with Univision's local television stations resulted in audience share growth and rank improvement among Adults 18-34 and Adults 25-54 in key markets."
It noted that its stations were top ranked for the 18-34 demographic in eight of 14 core markets and top ranked for the 25-54 demographic in six of them and that its New York cluster had increased its 25-54 audience by a half in the Spring 2007 book with double digit ratings growth in this demographic in San Francisco, Dallas, San Antonio, San Diego, Austin and Puerto Rico.
CEO Joe Uva commented, "Univision's Television and Radio divisions continued to outperform their industries in the quarter and results for the first six months of 2008 have kept pace with last year's comparable six-month period, despite challenging economic conditions."
He added, "We continue to leverage all of our assets to integrate our multiple platforms and provide innovative solutions to our customers. Going forward, we are focused on tapping into the full potential of the Univision brand, which is #1 among Hispanics, and leveraging our deep relationship with our audience to develop new revenue streams and grow the business while keeping costs down."
2008-08-08: New York State Governor David A. Paterson has signed into law the "Broadcast Employees Freedom to Work Act" that prohibits non-compete clauses in broadcasting, clauses that were said to have "placed a hardship on professionals in the industry by limiting their flexibility to be hired after leaving a company."
In a news release from the Governor's Office, the provisions are said to have "forced some broadcasters to move outside of the region to find work and limited others from finding employment in New York - ending some careers" and Paterson commented, "Broadcasters, like other members of the media, play an important role in our democracy by providing the public with critical news and analysis that help us shape the ongoing discourse about the future of our society."
He added, "The contract provisions we're banning placed an unfair burden on these professionals by limiting their ability to move to other employers within the same market or within a certain time period. With the approval of this bill, we hope to empower broadcasters with greater independence as they pursue employment options."
2008-08-08: Clear Channel Cleveland's regional vice president of programming Kevin "Pig Vomit" Metheny has been ousted from the post with today his last day according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The paper quotes Mike Kenney, Clear Channel market manager/vice president, as saying that WTAM program director Ray Davis has been named interim regional vice president but declining to say more about the departure.
It adds that Metheney had the nickname "Pig Vomit" because he was one of several radio executives used to make up the eponymous character in Howard Stern's movie "Private Parts."
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-08-07: Sirius XM Radio has reported that the then standalone Sirius Satellite Radio had second quarter revenues up 25% year-on-year to USD 283 million with subscriptions also up 25% to 8,924,139 including record gross additions and its CEO Mel Karmazin is projecting the combined Sirius XM Radio to soon be the largest US radio company, ahead of Clear Channel.
Sirius's adjusted loss from operations was down from USD 79.3 million a year ago to USD 23.8 million, driven it said, primarily by increased revenues and reduced subscriber acquisition costs (SAC), which were down by USD 24.3 million to USD 81.4 million.
Overall Sirius reported a net loss of USD 83.9 million - down from USD 134.1 million a year earlier (Down from nine cents to six cents per share).
Sirius (and Sirius XM) CEO Mel Karmazin said of the standalone results that they "once again demonstrated that we achieved strong revenue growth and solid cost control" and continued, "Despite a tough economy and weak auto sales, gross additions set a new second quarter record. In the second quarter both revenue and subscribers grew 25% as compared with last year, while cash costs remained essentially flat leading to a 70% reduction in our second quarter EBITDA loss."
Turning to the combined company following the merger with XM he said this "now has an annualized revenue run-rate of over USD 2.4 billion, making Sirius XM Radio one of the fastest growing and best positioned subscription media businesses."
"With rapid integration efforts underway, we started realizing synergies on Day 1, he said, adding, "We expect to realize USD 400 million in synergies next year and see this figure growing substantially beyond 2009."
At the company's conference call Karmazin pointed out that the combined Sirius XM was second only to Clear Channel in radio revenues in the US and then added, "We anticipate being the largest radio revenue company in the U.S. very shortly, as our top-line growth is dramatic."
Acknowledging the slowdown in the US economy and in auto sales, Karmazin eschewed gloom and noted that with worst-case scenarios of only 12 million automobiles sold in the US this year and the company has receivers in half of these and converts half of the buyers into customers, it would add more than USD 350 million in new subscriber revenues.
Karmazin also said that the company expected to have receivers that could handle both Sirius and XM signals in stores soon - "months sooner" than they had committed themselves to doing this in gaining Federal Communications Commission approval of the merger.
Regarding this he said that whilst commission approval "approval took considerable time and attention, the billions of net present value of synergies resulting from this merger are very large and are already in progress. You have seen our strong financial guidance, and we intend to deliver on a strong full year of combined company operations I usually say getting a deal done is the easy part, making it work is the tough part. With this combination, the tough part is over. We will now capture for shareholders what we have been all looking for, and that is a profitable company."
Karmazin also confirmed the executive appointments already leaked (See RNW Aug 1) and said the net level down of management will be named in a couple of weeks.
Previous Sirius XM:
2008-08-07: Latest American radio results have a bright spot from Regent but are otherwise gloomy with revenue falls for Citadel (excluding the effects of its takeover of ABC Radio), Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) and Westwood One.
Citadel moved from net income of USD 3.8 million a year ago to a net loss of USD 251.6 million - including USD 285.6 million in impairment charges (From a positive three cents to a negative 96 cents per share) as pro-forma revenues dropped 8.5% - from USD 251 million to USD 230 million: Its overall revenues, boosted by the acquisition of ABC Radio Networks were up 62.2% to USD 229 million but operating loss increased by 6.3% to USD 299.5 million
Citadel put the revenue down primarily to revenues in its radio markets falling by USD 15.8 million and at its Radio Network by USD 5.5 million, due primarily to the Paul Harvey and Reach Media contracts.
Within the revenue figures radio market revenues were up 41.7% to USD 185 million and Radio Network revenues more than quadrupled - up from USD 11 million to USD 46.1 million with corresponding operating income rises of 24% to USD 79.65 million and 134.8% to USD 7.66 million.
Citadel also noted that in the first half of the year it reduced its net long-term debt by approximately USD 231.8 million - resulting in a gain on extinguishment of debt of USD 53.2 million and leaving around UD 2.233 billion in long-term debt at the end of June, since when it has been reduced further to around USD 2.2 billion. During the quarter its net interest expenses had more than doubled - from USD 14.3 million a year ago to USD 30.2 million, primarily because of borrowings to finance the merger with ABC Radio as well as the payment of approximately USD 276.5 million for the Special Distribution to pre-merger shareholders, which were both completed in June of 2007.
Chairman and CEO Farid Suleman said of the results, "The slowdown in the economic environment continues to take its toll on the Company's revenues; however, the Company remains focused on investing in new programming opportunities while continuing to reduce its costs."
At the company's conference call he referred to "another tough quarter for the company, and for the industry" and noted the indisputable under-performance of Citadel with relation to its competitors.
"We are focused," he said, "on things that we can control over the next six to 12 months so that we can position the company for maximum growth. The bad news is that, over the last six to nine months, the company has really underperformed the industry, particularly in the larger markets and in some cases some of our smaller markets The good news is that all of the changes across all of the markets that we needed to do are beginning to take effect, and will have a real positive contribution going forward."
Suleiman referred to format changes in Atlanta, Dallas and Washington DC that he said were proving successful and also spoke of revenue growth opportunities in interactive, where Citadel has lagged, now that the stations of the combined companies are all streaming in a single platform.
In relation to Paul Harvey - who was off the air through illness and following the death of his wife but is now back part- time - Suleiman noted the effect of Harvey's absence and regarding Reach Media said it was a "foregone conclusion" that this contract would not be renewed.
At Regent revenues rose 2.9% to USD 26.5 million and net income nearly doubled - up from USD 3 million to USD 5.7 million ( Up from 8 cents to 15 cents per share), a marked contrast to the other results: Its station operating income was up 7.9% to USD 10.1 million and station operating expenses were flat.
Same station net broadcast revenue for the quarter was up 3% to USD 25.6 million and same station operating income was up 6.1% to USD 10.2 million.
Regent noted that the figures for this year and last were affected by realized and unrealized gains and losses on derivatives.
President and CEO Bill Stakelin said of the results that the company has "continued to find ways to outperform the industry and our portfolio of markets due to the excellent execution of our aggressive local operating strategy."
He added, "The concerted investments we have made in our stations and digital footprint have enhanced our ability to consistently deliver valuable audiences to our local advertisers. Further, our sales teams are now fully versed in cross-marketing our integrated platform and they are working diligently to continue to increase our share of ad dollars. Looking ahead, we continue to face headwinds from a slowing economy and soft advertising market, but we are controlling our costs and implementing our strategic plan."
Regent is projecting third quarter net broadcasts revenues and station operating income of approximately USD 24.6 to USD 25.1 million and USD 8.5 to USD 8.8 million, respectively.
At Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) radio revenues were down 9% to USD 41 million within overall revenues down 6% to USD 45.2 million and moved from operating income of USD 11.1 million a year ago to an operating loss of USD 389.3 million including an impairment charge - mainly related to its broadcast licences - of USD 396.3 million.
It put the revenue falls down mainly to radio whose revenues were down 9% to USD 41 million and said that local figures fell most in Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York whilst national figures were down in New York and Miami but up in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Chairman and CEO Raúl Alarcón Jr. stressed non-radio success in his comments, saying, that the company had "continued to execute on our strategy to strengthen our diversified media platform and expand our share of the rapidly growing Hispanic population."
He added, "While MegaTV continued to generate robust growth, our overall results were impacted by decreased revenues at our radio group, in line with our expectations. Due to the economic slowdown, the advertising environment weakened further during the quarter, with key categories seeing reductions in spending. As a result, we are tightening our cost controls, while adjusting our sales and marketing efforts. Despite difficult near-term business conditions, we are continuing to build our audiences in the nation's largest Hispanic markets, which bodes well for the future our investment in programming at our radio platform has provided increased market share and greater penetration among the U.S. Hispanic population. We remain committed to capitalizing on our solid content and growing distribution platform to grow our audiences and our share of advertising across our footprint."
SBS has suspended its quarterly guidance, saying this is a prudent measure "due to the limited visibility resulting from the current economic environment and the industry-wide advertising decline "
At Westwood One, revenues were down 9/6% to USD 100.4 million, put down primarily to "continuing weakness in the economy and the local/regional advertising marketplace as well as competition" and the company noted that national revenues were up slightly but local/regional business was down 16.8%: Overall Westwood One has a net loss of USD 199.7 million) for the quarter compared to USD 6.9 million net income a year earlier (From a positive 8 cent s to a negative USD 1.98 per share).
Westwood said that after the impairment charges it still has goodwill balances of approximately USD 258.1 million and said that "to address near-term economic weakness and to position the Company for long-term profitable growth, management is planning several significant business re-engineering initiatives that should lend stability to the business in the near-term and are intended to drive incremental revenue and streamline the cost structure in the long-term. W
President and CEO Tom Beusse said Westwood one was "making significant progress on our strategy to become a leading integrated, cross- platform media company delivering superior content and services."
He specifically noted the "recently announced partnership with AirSage, which significantly elevates our traffic offering, and ongoing investments in the business highlight the significant progress we are making in more effectively positioning the Company for the long-term" and added, "Moreover, the latest recruits to the management team have a wealth of experience across broad media, radio and digital platforms and we are all aligned on the vision for the business. I am excited about the team we have in place and the addition of The Gores Group, LLC as value-added investors and members of the board."
Previous Westwood One:
2008-08-07: Latest Australian ratings covering the period June 22 - July 26 show the leaders holding on to their top slots but lower down the big news was that DMG's Vega in Sydney has finally gone above a 5% share: The company referred to Vega as being a "standout performer for DMG Radio, delivering its strongest survey since launch" and continued, "Vega Sydney achieved its launch goal of reaching the No 1 FM position for all people 40-54 [RNW Note: For this demographic it had a 10.0 share and was only beaten by ABC 702 with 12.2 and 2GB with 10.4. It also posted a strong increase n overall share to a record 5.1%]. Vega Melbourne also showed good growth in 40-54s with a 7.0 overall share."
Program Director David Kidd commenting on the success told the Australian Associated Press, "We have continued to develop the station based on listener feedback and it is a completely different station to the one launched three years ago, almost to the day. We are far more in touch with Sydney audiences then we've ever been."
At the top of the Sydney rankings Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB increased its lead , taking share up from 11.6 to 12.3 whilst second-ranked ABC 702 dropped back from 10.6 to 10.3 although its commercial talk rival, Fairfax Media's 2UE also increased its share - from 7.1 to 7.6 -and moved from seventh to fifth rank.
In the breakfast slot Alan Jones for 2GB increased his lead by even more - he was up from 13.8 to 14.6 whilst second-ranked ABC 702 fell a point from 12.2 to 12.1 and lower down 2UE in fifth rank dropped back from6.9 to 6.5. Austereo's 2DAY retained its position at the head of the FM stations with share up from 10.3 to 11.1 in the breakfast slot: Overall 2DAY was up from 9.5 to 10.1 and Austereo commented that the Today network had "cemented its FM leadership."
Austereo chief executive officer Michael Anderson added of the results as a whole, "The Today Network continues to grow at a confident rate in a very competitive market and Triple M has again shown a level of consistency which demonstrates great listener loyalty. We're now only just over half way for the survey year and the results we're seeing are very encouraging and prove we are staying on course for a strong second half of 2008."
Austereo chairman Peter Harvie added, "Austereo launches the 09 financial year winning four out of five mainland capital city FM markets - and clear ahead of the same time last year. It is a great outcome for the group".
In Melbourne whereFairfax Media's 3AW won the overall survey for the 45th consecutive time with 16.6% of listeners, second ranked Fox also increased its share - from 13.3 to 14.1- but third-ranked ABC 774 fell back from 11.5 to 10.2. It was down in all time slots and at breakfast Red Symons share was down from 14.3 to 12.9 allowing the Matt and Jo Show on Fox FM to take second place. 3AW with Ross Stevenson and John Burns took their leading rank share up from 20.1 to 21.3.
City by city, the top stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA with 16.5 (16.6) - same rank; SAFM with 12.0 (11.2) -up from third; ABC 891 with 11.6 (11.3) - down from second;
**Nova with 10.5 (10.9) remained fifth, behind Mix 102.30 which with 11.2 (10.8) was up from sixth to fourth.
*Brisbane - Nova with 15.7 (15.1) - same rank; Triple M with 12.0 (11.9) - same rank; 97.3 FM with 10.6 (11.5) - Same rank.
* ABC 612 with 9.9 (9.8) remained fourth and B105 with 9.8 (9.0) remained fifth.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 16.6 (16.8) - same rank; Fox FM with 14.2 (14.1) - same rank; ABC 774 with 10.2 (11.5) - same rank;
* Gold FM 7.6 (7.8) remained fourth, ahead of Nova 100 which, with 7.3 (7.2) remained fifth and Triple M with 6.7 (6.1), which remained in sixth rank.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 17.2 (17.5) - same rank; 92.9 with 13.1 (14.1) - same rank; ABC 720 with 12.6 (11.6) - same rank;
* 6PR was fourth with 10.5 (10.3), up a rank, ahead of 96FM with an unchanged 10.2 whilst Nova with 9.8 (10.6) dropped two ranks to sixth.
*Sydney: 2GB 12.3 (11.6) - same rank; ABC 702 with 10.3 (10.6) - same rank; 2-DAY with 10.1 (9.5) -same rank.
*Nova with 7.7 (8.1) remained fourth, ahead of 2UE which was up to fifth from seventh with 7.6 (7.1) and overtaking WSFM, which went down from fifth to eighth with 5.4 (7.5) as 1170-2CH remained sixth with 7.1 (7.3) and MIX 106.5, which moved up from eighth to seventh with 6.7 (5.5).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian Ratings:
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2008-08-06: In latest US radio results, both Entravision and Salem have reported second quarter revenue declines on a year ago.
Entravision's revenues were down 5% to USD 62.9 million whilst operating expenses were flat but corporate ones up 2% with the result that net income from continuing operations fell 1% to USD 11.66 million from although net income available to common shareholders was up 25% to USD 10.74 million ( from eight to 12 cents per share).
The company also announced that it had repurchased 2.3 million shares of its Class A common stock for approximately USD 13.7 million in the quarter and additionally has repurchased a further million shares for approximately USD 3.4 million so far in the third quarter.
Commenting on the results, Walter Ulloa, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "During the second quarter we continued to drive audience growth and strengthen the position of our TV and radio stations in an advertising market that remains weak due to general economic conditions. We are taking additional steps to control our costs while continuing to make prudent investments in our content, marketing and sales capabilities. In addition, our balance sheet remains strong and we have ample financial flexibility. The nation's Hispanic population continues to grow and we remain optimally positioned to capitalize on this opportunity over the long-term."
Looking ahead Entravision expects third quarter net revenues to decrease by low- to mid-single digit percentages and operating expenses to increase by low-single digit percentages as compared to the third quarter of 2007. Excluding the non-cash stock-based compensation, corporate expenses are expected to be approximately the same as compared to the third quarter of 2007.
At Salem, revenues were down 2.2% to USD 57.5 million whilst operating expenses were down 2.2% to USD 47.2 million and operating income was down 5% to USD 10.3 million.
Net income, however was up 20.5% to USD 3.5 million (From 12 cents to 15 cents per diluted share): This figures includes a USD 600,000 gain net of tax from discontinued operations, primarily from a USD 800,000 gain from the sale of WFZH-FM, Milwaukee, Wisconsin whilst the year-ago quarter figures included a USD 400,000 loss, net of tax on the disposal of assets..
Within the figures broadcast income was down 5.1% to USD 49.9 million - same station revenues were down 5.5% to USD 48.4 million and station operating income was down 9% to USD 18.0 million - same station operating income was down 8.3% to USD 17.8 million
Non broadcast revenues by contrast were up 21.9% to USD 7.5 million although operating income was down 18% to USD 700,000.
2008-08-06: This week we concentrate our weekly look at print comment on radio with the anniversaries of two phenomena, one from Europe cum Britain and the other the US.
The first is Radio Luxembourg, whose English-language service marked its 75 anniversary at the weekend with a get together in the Grand Duchy of many of the DJs who had worked on it after the Second World War.
The station was launched in 1933 by the International Broadcasting Company (IBC) which was launched to circumvent the BBC monopoly in the UK and began by leasing time on transmitters in continental Europe and then reselling it as sponsored English language programming aimed at audiences in Britain and Ireland. Most of the transmitters - whose names are still on the dials of antique radios, died with the outbreak of war - but Radio Luxembourg, which had been closed in 1939 to protect the Duchy's "neutrality" was re-launched in 1946 and its "208" medium wave service that could be received satisfactorily in the United Kingdom only after dark, when it was able to strike the ionosphere and bounce back to the British Isles, became a prime source of pop music for British audiences from the 1950s until it was closed down in 1992.
At its peak it claimed some 78 million listeners a week but by the end British commercial stations - launched from 1963 - and BBC Radio 1, which was launched in 1967 - had taken deep bites into its listening and revenues. [RNW Note: A "classic rock" Radio Luxembourg- is now on the Internet]
Paul Donovan devoted his Sunday Times radio column last week to the station under the heading "Luxy Legends" and began: "Cliff Richard once said that when he was growing up in Hertfordshire in the 1950s, he never realised that Luxembourg was a country. He thought it was just "two rooms somewhere, with DJs in them". It may be an apocryphal story. But it is true that millions of us, listening to Radio Luxembourg under the bedclothes on our trannies, in that distant era when tranny meant transistor and not transvestite, were wholly ignorant of the world's only grand duchy, sandwiched between Germany, Belgium and France, and its giant mast sending out radio programmes across northern Europe."
He noted that for many Britons the self-labelled "Station of the Stars" it was the source of their pop music as well as other features such as pools tipster Horace Batchelor, evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong.
The former DJs present at the re-union included many still well remembered or still broadcasting in the UK such as Paul Burnett, Dave Christian, "Kid" Jensen, Tony Prince, Mike Read, Emperor Rosko, Mark Wesley, and Steve Wright
Other well-known DJs who worked on the station include BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles, who was at Luxembourg near the end of its life, Jimmy Savile, Hughie Green, Noel Edmonds, and Tony Blackburn.
As Donovan in noting the influence of the station concludes, "Above all, it changed British radio for ever by scheduling its top shows on a Sunday, when the Reithian BBC was at its quietest, most serious and closed down early. Audiences were thus desperate for light entertainment, and Luxembourg gave it to them. These attractions included George Formby, Gracie Fields, the League of Ovaltineys and, in 1948, its first Top 20. Millions listened avidly. That set the pattern for all future chart shows to go out on this day of the week, which they still do - including Radio 1's Chart Show with Fearne & Reggie, and both Hit 40 and Fresh 40 on commercial radio. And that is how the day of rest became the day of rock'n'roll as well. Blame Luxembourg. Or Lord Reith, perhaps."
After Radio Luxembourg on to a US phenomenon who is widely known, if not widely heard, outside the US (apart of course from Internet subscribers to his audio and US Forces listeners) - Rush Limbaugh.
His 20th anniversary provoked, if that is the correct word, a number of articles of which we have chosen two, one supportive from the US and the other rather less so from the UK Guardian.
Taking the last first, Ian Williams' article was headed, "What Rush Limbaugh wrought For the last 20 years, the right-wing radio host has distilled the essence of redneck prejudice."
His opening paragraph was also not star-struck in support of the host referring to him as "the right-wing radio monologuer who has "remade American politics", according to Karl Rove, or is a "big fat liar" as Al Franken has called him, in homage to the man's own distinctively rebarbative style. A distinctively American phenomenon, his partisan rants would lose any British station broadcasting him its license."
A little unfairly perhaps, albeit not more so than could be said of many right-wing US hosts attacks on "Liberals", Williams goes on to link the host with the shooting by Jim Adkisson of a "liberal" Unitarian Universalist congregation, killing two and wounding six congregants watching a children's musical.
He goes on to quote the Rev William Sinkford, national president of the Unitarian Universalists Association of Congregations, who he says provocatively turned the other cheek: "This crime was the action of one man who clearly must have lost the battle with his personal demons," he said. "When I was asked if the shooter would go to hell, I replied that he must have been living in his own private hell for years."
"In fact," continues Williams, "hell is listening to Limbaugh. However, I must admit, listening to the liberal opposition radio can be like languishing in limbo. Too many of them are dourly earnest and humourless, while, evil-minded, fact-free and malicious as Limbaugh is, he is a good performer with sense of humour that is wicked in senses ancient and modern.
He also takes a swing at the host for not respecting the truth, writing, "'I'm not making this up,' is Limbaugh's catchphrase. But, in fact, he often does just that."
He concludes, "For the Limbaughs of this world, gays, blacks, liberals, feminazis, Clintons, Obamas and all the rest of his Grand Guignol dramatis personae are unpatriotic, not real citizens, maybe not even human. They deserve neither rights nor respect. This is Bush's Radio G'tmo. It epitomises the ethos of the age. Twenty years of Rush Limbaugh radio? Eight years consecutive of Bush and Cheney? Surely it's time for parole?"
The comments that follow the article contain considerable dissent including one comment that began, "Your essay was so full of specious arguments, that I don't know where to begin" and another says of the redneck comment," No prejudice in that statement, of course. Not one bit."
The second article we picked concerning Limbaugh was from the CBS web site of all places, albeit it was originally from The National Review.
In it Roy Spencer, who amongst other things is said to serve as "official climatologist for The Rush Limbaugh Show" starts off by commenting, "Rush Limbaugh's 20 years of masterminding a wildly successful syndicated radio talk show proves many things about America that the mainstream media just doesn't seem to get."
He goes on [RNW comment- having presumably not watched many US morning shows with their diet of entertainment-related items], "We don't want a steady stream of bad news all the time. We don't need a daily dose of new crises to wring our hands over. And in a country with abundant opportunities for success - where your creativity and ambition not only benefit you, but benefit everyone else - we sure don't need our politicians telling us that we need them in order to be successful in life. "
He then makes other laudatory comments about the host and his influence and derogatory comments about some of the host's critics, commenting, "Rush's on-air talents are numerous, combining to provide a wonderful vibe three hours a day, five days a week, that we will probably never again experience in talk radio. He articulates those underlying truths of life of which we are only dimly aware, bringing them out in the open and discussing them in the context of the news of the day. .. Despite 15 hours of material each week, Rush's enemies still have trouble finding anything he's said to damage him on the public stage. And then, they only do so at their peril. .."
"Rush," he concludes," is America. Its ideals and aspirations, work ethic and patriotism. A people who would rather focus on all that is right with our country rather than complain about what is wrong. And as long the old media continues to deny that reality, Rush will continue to rally the hearts and minds of the people who make this nation work."
Top that? We can't so on to listening suggestions although we will start with one courtesy of Chris Campling in his UK Times "Radio Heads" column that praises a BBC Radio 4 comedy show from last August "Bleak Expectations" and goes on to recommend the return of the show (17:30 GMT on Thursday). Of it he says, "And now it's back (Radio 4, Thursday, 6.30pm). One doesn't want to spoil the tension by detailing any aspect of the plot but those who feared that we had seen the last of Gently Benevolent because Anthony Head, who played him, had more glamorous parts to play on TV need fear no longer. Richard Johnson again plays the elderly Sir Philip Bin, and Tom Allen his younger, accident and grief-prone self, while Geoffrey Whitehead plays all six members of the sinister Sternbeater family.
"Chapter Three, incidentally, even has a guest star - David Mitchell as the muscular, Methodist-hunting vicar Mr Godly Fecund. When the greats of modern comedy queue up to take part in your show in any capacity, however small, you know you're up there with The Muppets and Extras."
Then on to a round-up of some of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation podcasts that we have been trying to catch up on: We start with "All in the Mind", which airs on Saturday and suggest the past four programmes (Downloads are available up until a month after first airing so the first will go this coming Saturday) that are a three-part series on Goodna Mental Hospital, which became Australia's largest asylum, housing 50,000 people over its lifetime. The series carries recollections from people who worked and lived there, some as staff, others the family of staff, and yet others who were incarcerated in the institution.
We'd also recommend last Saturday's programme "Is being gay in your biology?" and still on health cum biological issues the most recent three editions of the ABC's "Health Report" covering Prostate cancer research; Weight Loss Diets; and Oral and Breast cancer.
Then back to the BBC and starting with BBC Radio 2 we recommend from Monday evening "The Charles Hazlewood Show", the last in the current series in which the guest was jazz pianist Gwilym Simcock. and musical selections included work from Bob Marley, Goldfrapp and Zoltan Kodaly, plus the following "Suzi Quatro's Heroes", the second of a six-part series and featuring Quatro talking to Jackie DeShannon.
Also from the station we suggest the continuing Friday evening series -the third of six - " The Novel That Changed My Life" in which Vic Reeves goes for Jack Kerouac's "On the Road."
Moving to BBC Radio 3 where we note that the proms continue, we again suggest "The Essay" (Monday to Thursday at 22:00 GMT) that this week was "The Future is Not What it Used..." in which Richard Foster considers what as a child in the 1950s he expected to be the world today and what actually happened.
Also from the station we suggest Tuesday's "Feature", a look by Ken Hollings in "All Your Tomorrows Today" at the work of the RAND (Research and Development) Corporation and the same programme from Wednesday - "Bosphorous Battles" in which Tom de Waal takes a journey up the Bosphorus and talks to the writers Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak, Professors Gun Kut and Edhem Eldem, and Captains Rajiv Kumar and Mete Kocar to present a portrait of Istanbul as seen from its seaway; and Thursday -" Louis MacNeice: The Cat, the Celt and the Cave" in which various poets and critics mark the centenary of the Irish poet's birth with a look at his work. Finally from Radio 3 we go for the "Sunday Feature" (20:30 GMT) - "A Brief History of Cunning" presented by American writer and satirist Joe Queenan.
And then to BBC Radio 4 with the 17:30 GMT comedy slot on Thursday - "Bleak Expectations" as already noted- and Friday -"The Now Show" plus the regular weekday afternoon slot of "The Afternoon Reading" (14:30 GMT), which this week features stories with a gastronomic flavour plus the following quarter-hour of "At War with Wellington" in which Peter and Dan Snow investigate the diaries and letters of Wellington's forces in the Peninsular War against Napoleon.
Also from Radio 4 we suggest Monday Evenings "Peer Review in the Dock"; Tuesday's "Mr Punch Says That's the Way to Do It" in which actor Martin Reeve explores the history and tenacious survival of the Punch and Judy show; Wednesday's "The Strange Parallel World of Christian Pop", a look by Paul Bayley at recordings made by Christian pop groups from Britain during the 1960s and 70s; Thursday's "Analysis" (19:30 GMT) and "Al Qaeda's Enemy Within" in which BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner talks to former allies of Osama bin Laden who are now engaged in countering the terrorist leader's agenda; and finally Sunday's "Something Understood" (05:05 GMT) in which Mark Tully talks to Will Hopper, one of the authors of The Puritan Gift about the Puritan work ethic, its origins and global impact, both culturally and economically?
CBS/National Review - Spencer:
UK Guardian - Williams:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times- Campling:
2008-08-06: Following two days of stunting, Salem Communications has now flipped its Christian Talk WITT-AM to a news/talk format with the launch of "WNYM -AM (The Apple, The Talk of New York.)
The new station made its debut at 09:06 ET this morning with a line-up including Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Dr. Laura Schlessinger and around the clock national news from Fox News and local news.
Station general manager Sean O'Neill commented in a Salem news release, "With our recent upgrade to 50,000 Watts, we now have the capability to reach 16 million New York and Tri-State listeners at their office, homes and cars with intelligent, compelling talk. Now our advertisers will have a better way to reach more consumers than ever before."
Program Director Peter Thiele added, "WNYM (970AM) The Apple is here because New York deserves another choice for entertaining, intelligent conversation. New York is the birthplace of modern talk radio and New Yorkers want a choice. Now broadcasting at 50,000 watts New Yorkers can now hear WNYM (970AM) The Apple in offices and buildings better than ever before."
2008-08-05: In more US radio results Radio One Inc has reported second quarter revenues up 1% but a net loss more than doubled from a year ago because of one-time charges and Saga Communications has reported revenues and net income each down.
At Radio One, net revenue was up around 1% to USD 83.4 million but station operating income was down 11% to around USD 35.2 million and net loss - affected by one-time charges increased from USD 5.1 million a year ago to USD 11.17 million (From five to 12 cents per share).
On a pro-forma basis after adjustment for the effects of one-off items Radio One said it made a net loss for the quarter of USD 1.3 million, down from USD 4.0 million a year earlier.
Regarding operating expenses, which were up 28% to USD 65.8 million, the figures showed the increase primarily down to USD 10.4 million recorded for bonuses going under a new employment agreement to President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, USD 5.8 million of which have been paid.
Liggins commented of the results in a release, "It was a very busy quarter for us, complete with acquisitions, including the purchase of Community Connect Inc. ("CCI", a social online networking company), asset sales, debt de-leveraging and stock buy-backs, yet I am pleased we were focused and delivered better than market results. While the soft economy and continuing fall off in national revenues impacted our radio business, we once again outperformed the markets we operate in by over 200 basis points. Our core radio revenues declined 3%, yet our local revenue performance significantly offset the continuing drag we experienced in our national business. Other positives impacting the quarter for radio were strong political spending, Internet revenue growth of 36% and a doubling of revenue from a series of new syndicated shows."
He added, "Given the backdrop of the weak economy and declining revenues in radio, we once again focused on cutting back on operating expenses and improving our balance sheet. Setting aside consolidation of CCI's expenses, our Internet investments and one-time charges for a new executive employment agreement, as well as spending on the 2007 stock options review, we under spent inflation, and almost held expenses flat. On the balance sheet, we wrapped up the purchase WPRS-FM for our Washington, DC market. In addition, proceeds from our Los Angeles and Miami asset sales positioned us to accomplish net debt pay downs and bond retirements of USD 77 million, as well as the buy-back of over 2 million shares. My outlook for the rest of 2008 and into 2009 remains cautious, yet I am excited about our Internet growth opportunities, and I am confident our management team will continue to outperform the market."
Of radio's performance, the company said, "For our radio business, while we again outperformed from a revenue perspective that of the markets in which we operate, we experienced a decrease in net revenue consistent with the decline in overall radio industry revenue, with the continuing significant fall off in national revenue driving almost all of our decline. These circumstances drove considerable net revenue declines in two of our larger markets, Atlanta and Houston, and more modest declines in our Cincinnati, Detroit and Washington, DC markets. These declines were offset in part from net revenue growth in our Indianapolis and Raleigh-Durham markets, as well as increased net revenue from new syndicated programs, Internet revenue from station websites and political advertising. Reach Media had a decline in revenue due to the absence of TV licensing revenue as well the hosting of fewer and smaller sponsored events during second quarter. Net revenue is reported net of agency and outside sales representative commissions of approximately USD 9.4 million and USD 9.9 million for the quarters ended June 30, 2008 and 2007, respectively. Excluding the net revenue results from CCI, net revenue declined 3.4% for the quarter ended June 30, 2008, compared to the same period in 2007."
At the company's conference call, Liggins stressed moves to diversify away from being a radio company to a more broadly based media and content one, saying he believed the Internet was going to be a "real opportunity for radio to level the playing field between us and other mediums like television or local cable."
Liggins said that currently radio's Internet revenues were mainly funds shifted away from radio itself to station's online activities but he wanted to move to gain new revenues online.
"I believe today's radio digital revenues are really just re-trading dollars," commented Liggins. "I think it's advertisers, ad agencies, buyers reclassifying what had been radio dollars and putting some of that money against interactive. Our Interactive One effort, combined with CCI, actually allows us to play for dollars at the interactive agency level and go after the same dollars that Yahoo or MSN or AOL do, and that's not something that I think that you can do just with a collection of radio sites. Ultimately, our future is in being a black media and content company, and not just a radio company, although we are doing some significant things in radio to grow our share and to grow our brands. We believe in radio. We still make a lot of money in radio."
At Saga net operating revenue was down 2.8% on a year ago to USD 37.3 million and net income fell by 10.5% to USD 3.4 million (From 19 cents to 17 cents per share).
On a same-station basis, net operating revenues were down 3.8% to USD 37.0 million, operating income were down 13.3% to USD 7.6 million and station operating expenses were approximately flat with last year at USD 27.0 million. On a more positive note free cash flow was up 5.5% to USD 5.9 million and same-station operating revenues were up 3.8% to USD 27 million, same station operating income was up 13.3% to USD 7.6 million and station operating expenses were approximately flat.
At Saga's conference call President and CEO Ed Christian opened by saying it wasn't a "fun time to be in business right now in the United States" and that all business was affected although radio looked in pretty good shape compared to other media.
He also commented that radio's business was being affected by later placement of advertisements that could be reflecting advertisers moving to "just in time" practices and suggested part of radio's problem came from allowing others to control things saying agencies controlled advertising and in relation to the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings, which he did not discuss, suggested that radio companies needed to define their geographical market not allow an independent company to assign a geography and market.
Christian was also asked about the possibility of performance royalties for terrestrial radio in relation to which he trotted out the NAB line (National Association of Broadcasters) line that half any royalty would go to largely foreign-owned recording companies and that radio had built the careers of the musicians involved.
In other US radio business Salem has announced the sale of its Christian Talk WRFD-AM, Columbus, Ohio to Christian Voice of Central Ohio for USD 4 million, and is now out of the market.
Previous Radio One Inc:
2008-08-05: Clear Channel, which following the deal to take it private has to divest itself of stations in various markets to comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ownership caps, has put 55 stations into the "Aloha Station Trust" to comply with the rules whilst they are sold or exchanged.
The sale or exchanges is to be handled by Media Venture Partners (MVP) and in addition to these sales Clear Channel is selling or exchanging four other stations - AC WNNF-FM and classic-rock WOFX -FM (The Fox) in Cincinnati plus hits KHMX-FM and Spanish KLOL-FM (Mega) in Houston - up for sale or exchange to comply with Department of Justice rulings.
The stations involved are:
Arkansas - KHKN, Little Rock.
California - KDFO, Bakersfield; KFSO, Fresno; KAVL-AM & KTPI, Lancaster; KSJO, KCNL & KUFX, San Jose.
Connecticut - WURH, Hartford-New Britain-Middletown.
Florida - WKEY& WKEZ, Florida Keys; WCZR, WSYR, WOLL & WQOL, Fort Pierce Area; WROO, Jacksonville; WJRR, Orlando; WPBH, Panama City.
Georgia - WIBL, Augusta; WBFA & WSHE-AM, Columbus; WEBL, Macon.
Kentucky - WMKJ, Lexington-Fayette; WKRD, Louisville.
Louisiana - KYRK, New Orleans.
Maryland-Delaware - WDKZ & WLBW, Salisbury-Ocean City.
Maryland -, WFMD-AM & WFRE, Frederick.
Michigan - WBFN-AM, Battle Creek; WMAX, Grand Rapids.
Mississippi - WHER, Laurel-Hattiesburg.
New Hampshire - WGIP-AM, Portsmouth-Dover-Rochester.
New Jersey - WHCY &, WTOC-AM, Sussex.
New Mexico: KTEG & KABQ, Albuquerque.
New York - WALK-AM & FM, Nassau; WWDG, Syracuse.
North Dakota - KRRZ-AM, Bismarck/Minot
Ohio - WAKS, Cleveland; WDKF& WDSJ, Dayton; WBUK, Lima.
South Carolina - WALC, Charleston.
Texas - KFMK, Austin; KBRQ, Waco.
Virginia - WZBL, WSNZ & WSNV, Roanoke-Lynchburg,
West Virginia-Kentucky - : WBKS, WIRO-AM & WZZW-AM, Huntington-Ashland.
Wisconsin - WISM, Eau Claire.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-08-05: In more digital radio developments in the UK, Ford has now made DAB (digital audio broadcasting) receivers available as an option on its Focus C-MAX, and Kuga models - it is built into the premium Sony CD audio system available for these models and is standard on the Ford Kuga Titanium. The cost is around GBP 300 (USD 600) except for the Focus Titanium & ST-2/3 and C-MAX Titanium models that already have Sony non-DAB equipment and for which an upgraded system is GBP 100 (USD 200).
In other DAB receiver developments PURE has garnered six further Energy Saving Recommended (ESR) accreditations for its radios. It's PURE Move earlier this year received the first ever ESR endorsement for a radio and now the endorsement has also been given to the EVOKE-1S; Siesta; Chronos II; TEMPUS-1S; ONE Mini and soon to be launched ONE Elite.
All the models are part of PURE's EcoPlus range, a still growing series of fifteen products with reduced power consumption- both in use and on standby, packaging materials from recycled and sustainable sources and components selected to minimise their environmental impact.
2008-08-05: Salem has dropped its former Christian format on its 50,000 watts daytime WUTT-AM, and is currently airing "Frank 97 AM" featuring Frank Sinatra music in advance of a change tomorrow morning that it says will herald a "new era" in New York radio.
In a news release it said "The legacy call letters are going away, (the identity will be new, and the content will be fresh."
Program Director Peter Thiele added in the release, "Broadcasting at the daytime power limit of 50 thousand watts and reaching nearly 16 million people, we plan to invade the New York marketplace with a new alternative for listeners and advertisers. Wednesday morning the final countdown will commence to introduce ourselves to New York. This event will change Big Apple radio the way we know it."
Speculation is that the station is to go to a news/talk format.
2008-08-04: Capital Radio breakfast co-host Denise van Outen has left the GCap Media/Global Radio station six-months after she was hired with a one-year contract to team up again with a former Channel 4 TV "Big Breakfast" co-host Johnny Vaughan (See RNW Jan 11).
She was the third co-host for Vaughan who took over from then top-rated London commercial breakfast host Chris Tarrant after Tarrant left in April 2004 to concentrate on TV work (See RNW Apr 2, 2004). Vaughan was at first teamed up with Becky Jago and then with Zoe Hanson, who joined the show in December 2004 (See RNW Dec 4, 2004).
There had been reports at the end of last month that van Outen wanted to leave the show because the early hours were affecting her health and she was having problems juggling the show and her TV commitments.
She has been on holiday recently but was due back today: Model Lisa Snowdon, who had been standing in as Vaughan's co-host while she was on leave is continuing as a stand-in
The UK Guardian notes that Global Radio is currently involved in taking over GCap - a deal currently subject to regulatory evaluation on competition grounds and during which GCap is being managed separately - and said she had asked for a meeting with management to discuss her position within days of the takeover going through in June.
It quoted a GCap spokesman as saying, "Denise asked for a meeting and made it clear to her new bosses that she wasn't able to handle the early starts as they were impacting on her personal life and her health. It takes a special kind of person to consistently rise early and give the public the level of entertainment they expect each morning. Denise requested the opportunity to break her contract immediately and we obliged."
He added, "Johnny was an integral part of the initial decision to bring Denise into the show. I think he was surprised to learn she couldn't cope with the early starts."
GCap's decision will have been made easier by the relative failure of the show in the ratings: In the most recent figures it was third ranked for the 6am to 9am period with 722,000 listeners a week - it runs an extra hour, taking its overall figures up to 944,000 - behind leader Neil Fox on Bauer's Magic FM (868,000) and Global Radio's Heart FM team of Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott with 844,000 (See RNW Jul 24).
Previous Global Radio:
Previous van Outen:
UK Guardian report:
2008-08-04: Entercom has reported second quarter revenues down 1% to USD 123.8 million with EBITDA and station operating income each down 2% but free cash flow was up 25% to USD 32.6 million and adjusted net income per share increased 16% to 44 cents although a one-off impairment charge of USD 184.6 million (USD 112.1 million net of tax) took the company into a loss of USD 96.3 million compared to a year-earlier loss of USD 12.5 million ( Up from a loss of USD 0.32 to USD 2.60 per basic and diluted share).
Sane station revenues were down 2% on a year ago to USD 123.8 million with same station operating expenses down 2% to USD 73.8 million and same station operating income down 3% to just under USD 50 million.
Commenting on the performance, President and Chief Executive Officer David J. Field said he was "pleased to report that Entercom achieved strong growth in both free cash flow and adjusted net income per share during the quarter." He added that "in the face of difficult and deteriorating general economic conditions that have significantly impacted earnings from a broad range of consumer-facing businesses, I am also very pleased by Entercom's second quarter operating results. Third quarter results will reflect declining business fundamentals, but looking ahead, radio broadcasting is well positioned for resumed growth. Radio listenership in the U.S. reached an all-time record this past year and radio is the most cost-effective major advertising medium in the nation."
At the company's conference call Field stressed the strength of radio listening contrasted with the financial state of the industry.
Noting that there was no question but that the industry was suffering from the "combined impact of weak general economic conditions and the secular challenges facing virtually all forms of traditional media as advertisers shift a portion of their spending to new media," Field added, "It is also the fact that radio listening remains extremely healthy, in sharp contrast with certain other traditional media that are suffering significant audience erosion and business-model deterioration. Unfortunately, this critical fact, and critical distinction, is rarely reported."
Listening he noted was at an all-time high and had increased by some six million over the past three years [RNW note- during which time the US population increased by around double that number] , indicating "extraordinary resilience" by the medium.
Field expressed concern about the tendency of some reporters to adopt a negative attitude to radio and ignore the listening levels and frustration about the ignoring of the arguments by advertisers although he added, "I'd far rather be in a business with a great story that doesn't get heard than be in a business with a poor story and trying to work around that."
Asked about potential acquisitions and specifically the possibility of buying some of the 50 mid-market stations that CBS Radio has put up for sale, Field said that the company's priority was currently its balance sheer and that is was hard to see it having much interest in acquisitions at present.
2008-08-04: Clear Channel, now privately owned, is putting two Cincinnati FMs up for sale according to the Cincinnati Inquirer which says AC WNNF-FM and classic-rock WOFX -FM (The Fox) are both up for sale or exchange to comply with regulatory requirements.
The paper says the two stations are not amongst those that were sold to the private equity groups that bought Clear Channel and acquired WLW-AM, WCKY-AM, WKRC-AM, WSAI-AM, WKFS-FM and WEBN-FM in the market. The paper says that Bonneville or Cumulus could be interested in the stations but adds that they also face regulatory hurdles.
Previous Clear Channel:
Cincinnati Inquirer report:
2008-08-03: Last week the regulatory news came from both sides of the Atlantic but not from the Pacific - or Ireland -where there were no radio announcements: In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued its first Communications Monitoring Report; in the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posted its formal approval of the satellite radio companies' merger; and in the UK Ofcom levied its largest-ever fine on the BBC.
In Canada, as noted, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued its first Communications Monitoring Report, citing convergence as the prime reason to change its previous practice of publishing separate annual monitoring reports for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries (See RNW Aug 2): The CRTC was also involved in a number of radio-related postings including the following decisions (In order of province):
*Approval of application by a Newcap subsidiary to add a 3,300 watts FM transmitter at Pincher Creek to broadcast the programming of CJPR-FM, Blairmore.
*Approval of application by Bear Creek Broadcasting Ltd. to amend the licence for its English-language commercial station CIKT-FM, Grande Prairie, by modifying its current condition of licence relating to Canadian talent development expenditures. The licensee advised that in relation to two its originally proposed initiatives, one no longer exists and the owners of the music festivals in another had decided to use one of its competitors as their sole radio sponsor and proposed two new initiatives - the new "Peace Country Idol" and "Telus Country Fever" initiatives.
*Approval of application by Salmo FM Radio Society for a licence for a 5 watts English-language, very low-power developmental community FM radio station in Salmo.
*Approval of application by Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) for a licence to operate a 1.6 watts English-language, low-power Type B community FM in Nakusp, to replace its very low-power developmental community FM in Nakusp
*Approval of application by Chase and District Community Radio Society for a licence for a 19.7 watts English-language, low-power Type B community FM in Chase. The applicant currently operates the English-language, low-power developmental community station CFCH-FM Chase, whose licence expires in October and will not be renewed.
*Short-term renewal from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2010 of licence of Arctic Radio (1982) Limited's CFAR-AM, Flin Flon. The commission noted that the term will allow it to assess compliance with regulations relating to the Canadian category 2 musical selections, and with the station's conditions of licence, particularly with respect to the broadcast of Cree-language programming.
The station had admitted non-compliance in relation to both issues but said it has undertaken various measures to ensure future compliance.
*Approval of application Frank Rogers, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a licence to operate a 50 watts New Country music format English-language, low-power commercial FM in Beeton-Tottenham
*Approval of application by Frank Rogers, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a licence for a 50 watts Adult Contemporary music format English-language, low-power commercial FM in Alliston.
*Approval of application by Cochrane Polar Bear Radio Club for a licence to operate a 5 watts English-language, low-power developmental community FM radio station in Cochrane.
*Denial of application by Rick Sargent to add a 50 watts FM transmitter in Caledon to broadcast the programming of Eclectic Adult Contemporary music format CJFB-FM, Bolton. The technical parameters are currently used by the licensee to operate low-power tourist information service CFGM-FM, Caledon, which under the proposal would have been converted to a transmitter of CJFB-FM.
In denying the application, the CRTC noted that in most cases it authorizes addition of a transmitter to correct technical deficiencies or to address demonstrated economic need and neither factor applied in this case: It said it was not convinced that the change, which would result in the loss of Caledon's tourist information service would better serve the needs of the residents of that community or be in the public interest and added that approval would serve to undermine the integrity of its licensing process
*Denial of application by Evanov Communications Inc., on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a broadcasting licence to operate a 26,800 watts New Easy Listening music format English-language commercial FM radio station in Shelburne
Evanov owns and operates CIDC-FM Orangeville and CKDX-FM Newmarket and several interventions opposing the application said it would contravene Canada's common Ownership Policy, an objection that Evanov said was ill founded since Shelburne was a distinct market.
The CRTC noted that on the basis of the 3mV/m contour of the proposed Shelburne FM station and the stations it already owns would give Evanov three FM stations in the market that CIDC-FM is licensed to serve. As this would exceed the limit of two FM stations in the same language that this licensee may hold in the Orangeville market and would require an exception to the policy In this case the applicant it said had demonstrated neither an economic or technical need for such an exception.
*Approval of application by Radio communautaire du Saguenay inc. to relocate the transmitter of French-language type B station CKAJ-FM, Saguenay, increase its effective antenna height and increase its power from 2,693 watts to 14,164 watts.
As already noted here were no radio announcements from Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom has imposed its largest-ever fine on the BBC -of GBP 400,000- GBP 225,000 for radio show breaches - for breaches of its code concerning fair conduct of competitions (See RNW Jul 30).
In the US, the main news from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was the formal posting of its approval of the Sirius-XM merger (See RNW Jul 28). It was late in posting comments from Republican Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate, whose vote decided the issue. She commented that "As a strong supporter of free-markets and limited government regulation" she was "predisposed to allow private companies the autonomy to make business decisions without the heavy hand of government regulation."
In this case, however, she noted the requirement to review, particularly because the companies' licences prohibited a merger and continued, "Our consideration necessarily presents unique and complex challenges because of the infancy of the satellite radio market, the past actions of the two companies, and the potential public interest benefits that would accrue from the merger. In approaching this analysis, I thought it more prudent to first address the multiple violations committed by the Applicants over the past five years, and then consider the merger application. The forfeitures imposed against these companies, in combination with the strict compliance plan they will submit to, convince me that it is now reasonable to consider and approve the merger application."
"In the end," she said, "I voted to approve this merger because I believe that the free terrestrial broadcast radio industry that has been part of the fabric of our country will not only survive, but flourish in this new digital age, and competition from satellite radio will continue to challenge local broadcasters to deliver the type of high-quality, local product they have delivered for the last hundred years. If you don't believe me, look at those who have staked their businesses on the future of terrestrial radio and its reach to 95% of the radio-listening market, like Rush Limbaugh who recently signed an eight-year, USD 400 million deal with Clear Channel."
As regards specifics, Tate said she was insistent that a settlement regarding violations had to be agreed before any vote - the vote was preceded by agreement from Sirius to pay USD 2.2 million and XM to pay USD 17.4 million in a consent decree; that as a pro-consumer move the order required a three-year price cap; that the spectrum set aside agreed, whilst less than some groups wanted - Tate noted she had initially proposed divestiture but this was impractical if not impossible - whilst less than some groups had wanted would "promote a greater diversity of voices, and grant complete editorial control to other programmers and owners"; and regarding calls for compulsory including of an HD receiver chip in satellite receivers she said the automakers said the cost would be from double to quadruple that suggested by iBiquity and thus she believed "the proper path for the Commission to take is to review the issue, along with the price cap, in three years. In addition, we will launch a Notice of Inquiry to examine what the resulting costs would be and whether HD should be mandated."
In enforcement actions the FCC has again issued or proposed a number of penalties including the following (in descending amount order):
*Issued USD 7,200 forfeiture to ROA Licenses, LLC, licensee of WJZZ-FM, Roswell, Georgia, for failing to properly maintain a public file at the station. The FCC had originally issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) of USD 9,000 to which the licence responded by requesting a reduction on the grounds that it had subsequently found that several of the missing issues/programmes lists involved were in fact available at the station, because of corrective action taken, and because of a history of compliance. The FCC reduced the penalty on the last ground but rejected the other arguments.
*It also issued another USD 7,200 forfeiture to ROA Licenses, in relation to public file offences at WPZE-FM, Fayetteville, Georgia. Again I had originally issued an NAL for USD 9,000 to which the licence responded by requesting a reduction on similar grounds and again the FCC trimmed the penalty because of a history of compliance but rejected the other arguments.
*Issued USD 7,000 forfeiture to Jeremy William Barber, owner and operator of a Citizens Band radio station in Aloha, Oregon, for failure to permit an inspection of his CB radio station. An NAL for this amount had been issued to which Barber failed to respond.
*Issued USD 7,000 forfeiture to Michael T. Kersnowski, doing business as www.radioactiveradios.com in Salem, Oregon, for marketing and offering for sale non-certified Citizens Band transceivers. An NAL for this amount had been issued to which Kersnowski failed to respond.
*Issued USD 5,600 forfeiture to Christopher H. Bennett Broadcasting of Washington, Inc., licensee of KBMS-AM, Vancouver, Washington, for failing to enclose the KBMS antenna towers within effective locked fences or other enclosures, and for failing to maintain an accessible main studio in its community of license. The commission had originally issued an NAL for USD 14,000 to which Bennett had argued for cancellation on the grounds that the towers complied with regulations and a history of compliance. Bennett said that due to local zoning restrictions, the KBMS antenna towers were built in 1984 on 12-feet tall concrete piers without the required AM fencing and the FCC on reviewing the evidence cancelled the USD 7,00 penalty proposed for failure to enclose.
Regarding the main studio breach it reduced the penalty to USD 5,600 on the basis of a history of compliance but also noted concern that its agent had been initially told he would have to make an appointment to carry out inspection and cautioned Bennett that its main studio has to be accessible to the public during regular business hours to ensure, among other reasons, that the public has access to the KBMS public inspection file. Failure to maintain such accessibility in the future, it warned, may result in further enforcement proceedings.
*Issued USD 5,200 forfeiture to Saga Communications for late filing of request to renew the licence of its former earth station at Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan and for operating the station without authority.
The base penalty for the breaches is USD 3,000 for late filing of renewal applications and USD 10,000 for operation without a licence but in this case in line with previous such cases it proposed penalties of half these amounts and it then reduced the USD 6,500 arrived at to USD 5,200 because Saga had voluntarily disclosed the breach and had taken corrective measures before the FCC commenced enforcement action.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-08-02: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued its first Communications Monitoring Report, citing convergence as the prime reason to change its previous practice of publishing separate annual monitoring reports for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries.
CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein said of the change, "The convergence of technologies and industries has dramatically reshaped the communications landscape in recent years. This year's monitoring report gives us our first comprehensive look at the state of the overall communications industry in Canada, and is an invaluable reference for anyone interested in this industry."
The report shows that in 2007, Canada's communications industry posted revenues of CAD 51.1 billion (USD 49.7 billion), an increase of 5.7% over 2006, within which broadcasting industry revenues were up 6.7% to CAD 13.1 billion (USD 12.75 billion) and telecommunications revenues were up 5.3% to CAD 38 billion (USD 37 billion).
The Commission says that broadcasting revenue rises were driven principally by broadcasting distribution companies, as well as by specialty, pay and pay-per-view television and video-on-demand services and those for telecommunications rose mainly because of the demand for wireless and residential high-speed Internet services.
The 286 page report comments in its Executive Summary: "Communications companies are crossing what have been traditional boundaries between broadcasting and telecommunications. The CRTC Communications Monitoring Report combines the previous broadcasting and telecommunications monitoring reports into one report to address these developments by providing a more holistic view of the industries and their markets than in past reports specific to each industry."
Virtually all Canadians it says can receive broadcast services and more than 98% subscribe to telecommunications services. Cable BDU it notes "have benefited from technological developments as they have transformed their networks from one-way broadcasting networks to two-way broadband communications networks."
It also notes that in the broadcasting section, BDU broadcasting revenues increased 1.4 and 2.0 times faster than radio and television respectively: BDU broadcasting revenues increased 8.8% from CAD 5.8 billion (USD 5.64 billion) in 2006 to CAD 6.3 billion (USD 6.13 billion) in 2007 whereas private commercial radio revenues increased 6.2% to CAD 1.5 billion (USD 1.46 billion) [RNW Note: We reported on these figures last month - See RNW Jul 24] and television revenues increased 4.3% to CAD 5.3 billion (USD 5.16 billion) .Of radio it notes that there were 1,222 radio and audio services in Canada, including 59 digital radio and audio services, in 2007, of which 8.5% were operated by the national broadcaster. Radio services were broadcast to English-language Canadians (75%), French-language Canadians (22%) and third-language Canadians (3%).
As regards listening it says that nationally average weekly hours tuned per capita have declined by 2% annually from 19.5 hours in 2003 to 18.3 hours in 2007 and on a per listener basis, average weekly hours tuned also declined but at a slower rate, declining 1% annually from 21.0 hours in 2003 to 20.2 hours in 2007.
Private commercial broadcasters represent 60% of radio and audio services in the country and the report notes that Although 47 AM stations have been converted to FM since 2003, the average revenues and profit before interest and taxes (PBIT) per FM station has remained relatively unchanged at CAD 2.5 million (USD 2.43 million) and CAD 600,000 (USD 584,000) per station respectively whereas the average revenues per AM station have increased from CAD 1.5 million (USD 1.46 million) in 2003 to CAD 1.9 million (USD 1.85 million) in 2007 and the PBIT has increased from almost nil to CAD 100,000 (USD 97,000).
Previous von Finckenstein:
CRTC Communications Monitoring Report 2008 (286 page (2.02 MB PDF).
2008-08-02: US National Public Radio (NPR) has announced that it is to acquire from Public Radio International (PRI) its public media Web services company Public Interactive (PI), the Boston-based application services provider that was founded in 1999: Debra May Hughes, who has served as President and Chief Operating Officer of PI since 2005, will continue with PI following the takeover.
NPR says it is to involve PRI in growing the parent to enable it "to provide the strongest tools, services, and solutions for public radio and television stations, producers, and distributors around the country."
PI, it says, will act as a neutral utility serving all of public media, similar in philosophy to public broadcasting's satellite distribution systems. It will also continue to operate as a fee-for-services business and it adds that NPR and PRI will "work together and with other industry leaders on several significant, immediate steps to further PI's growth and services, including conducting a station consultation process, supporting editorial collaboration, and establishing common standards and interoperability across public media. PRI will manage all sales and marketing efforts through a transition period, expected to run until the end of 2008."
The new move say the two organizations "reflects PRI's and NPR's shared vision of the future potential of public broadcasting in digital media and both organizations' strengths" and Alisa Miller, PRI President and CEO commented, "PRI is proud of its innovator role in creating Public Interactive and this partnership with NPR is a natural evolution of that process. Last fall, PRI began exploring how to expand PI's role to become an even more essential digital infrastructure provider, benefiting public media while maintaining its station-centric approach. Today's digital environment demands that our industry come together to meet our behind-the-scenes digital infrastructure needs, allowing each of us to redouble our distinctive efforts to inform, engage, and enlighten Americans with our unparalleled content. We value NPR's leadership in helping to create interest in an industry-based infrastructure, and are pleased to be working with them."
Hughes added, "We've succeeded over the past decade by working closely with stations to develop the exact online tools and features they want to strengthen ties to their audiences. We see that there is a tremendous opportunity for stations to be even more relevant online, and we're excited to help them take full advantage of this opportunity."
For NPR, its interim CEO Dennis Haarsager commented, "Public radio is vibrant and vital to American society, and its digital media capabilities must be as well. NPR is committed to supporting stations and producers with viable digital tools and services that will help enhance their multimedia presence, help grow audiences, and build new community partnerships, and we believe that this new relationship will serve the system well."
2008-08-01: Sirius XM Radio has now tidied up its senior ranks following the merger to create it, noting in an 8K filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that Sirius Satellite Radio chairman Joe Clayton and board members Warren Lieberfarb and Michael McGuinness resigned from the board of the new company immediately prior to completion of the deal.
Former XM Satellite Radio chairman Gary Parsons is now chairman of the new company and its board has been expanded from eight to 12 members which includes Parson and six other former XM board members -, Joan Amble, Eddy Hartenstein, Chet Huber, John Mendel, Jack Shaw, and Jeff Zients.
Lower down the ranks an internal memo from Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin names five senior managers, only one of whom, EVP/Chief Administrative Officer Dara Altman is from XM. The other four are EVP/General Counsel Patrick Donnelly, EVP/CFO David Frear, President/Entertainment & Sports Scott Greenstein, and President/Operations & Sales James Meyer.
RNW comment: As seemed inevitable from the start, this list suggests that apart from the money side of the things - XM's shareholders would appear to have a better deal than its employees - this is more like a Sirius takeover than a merger. It will be interesting to see how the proportion of job cuts divides between Sirius and XM.
2008-08-01: In further US radio results Beasley Broadcast and Fisher Broadcasting have both reported second quarter radio revenues down on a year ago although overall revenues were up at Fisher.
At Beasley, net revenues fell 10.9% to USD 31.0 million with operating income down 11.8% to USD 6.2 million but net income was up 12.4% to USD 2.4 million (From nine to ten cents per diluted share).
Beasley put the revenue fall down to a USD 1.5 million net revenue decline at the Company's Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market cluster primarily attributable to the Company's election to not renew certain sports programming rights which contributed USD 1.0 million of net revenue during the 2007 second quarter and other declines at the cluster and at its Las Vegas, Ft. Myers-Naples and Greenville-New Bern market clusters. These were partially offset by gains in Philadelphia and Augusta and a rise in revenue from the Company's interactive initiatives.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George G. Beasley said of the results that the quarter was "a challenging period for radio broadcasters and Beasley as local, regional and national economic factors weighed on advertiser activity. £
He said results in Miami, Las Vegas and Fort Myers-Naples were impacted by severe downturns in local real estate markets. In addition, our Miami results reflect comparisons with the year-ago period that included net revenue from broadcasting the Florida Marlins baseball games on our Sports Talk station."
"Quarterly bright spots," he added "include our market out performance and revenue gains at our Philadelphia and Augusta market clusters and the continued traction we are building with our interactive initiative which generated approximately USD 1.4 million of high-margin revenue, representing an approximate 33% increase over levels achieved in the same period last year."
"Looking forward, " he said, "with personnel and programming changes in place in various clusters, we remain focused on our long-term goal of out-performing the markets in which we operate and we continue to manage the Company for revenue growth from our core operations as well as from interactive and HD Radio while also seeking margin growth through prudent expense management."
At Fisher Communications overall revenues were up 10% to USD 45.3 million but it made a loss from operations of USD 3.9 million compared to USD 3.3 million income a year earlier. Net income was boosted by a USD 103.6 million gain from the company's sale of Safeco stock and ended up at USD 63.7 million compared to USD 2.3 million a year earlier ( Up from 26 cents to USD 7.29 a share). Excluding the stock sale and other one-offs net income was down by more than 90% to USD 213,000 (Two cents a share).
Within the figures radio revenues were down 3% to USD 11.2 million and the company noted an increased loss from operations - up to USD 1.5 million compared to USD 350,000 a year earlier. The company noted the effects of increased promotion expenses and Mariner's rights fees. The company did not renew its rights to the Seattle Mariners' games and will be without them after this year.
TV revenues by contrast were up by 5.3% on a same-station basis and up 15% overall to USD 31.0 million.
Commenting on the results, President and CEO Colleen B. Brown said, "Despite the economic headwinds, we are pleased that Fisher continues to grow its revenues and increase its market share. We remain focused on executing on our strategy of improving operations and creating solid revenue growth. We are optimistic about the long-term outlook for our business, given the progress we are making in transforming Fisher's operations and its business model. Our management team has a strong track record of effectively managing our costs and creating ratings and revenue growth."
Previous George Beasley:
2008-08-01: Danny Baker, the original host of BBC Radio 5 606 football phone-in programme , is to return to the station yet again, this time with his own weekly programme throughout the football season.
Baker, who claims to have been fired three times by the BBC, has twice been a regular 606 presenter on 5 Live and hosted six special 606 programmes throughout the Euro 2008 soccer competition (See RNW May 20).
He first worked for what was then simply Radio Five from 1990 to 1993 on Sportscall, 606 and Morning Edition before moving to BBC Radio 1. He returned to the re-launched Radio 5 Live in 1996 in 1996 but was fired the following year over calls he made about referees. Earlier this year he was hired back by the station for shows during the Euro 2008 soccer competition
His new show will air on Tuesday nights from 22:00 to 23:00 from Tuesday September 16 when the Champions League gets underway and Baker commented in a BBC news release, "Despite everything you hear - the BBC is actually staggeringly clever. They gave me just a few shows 'for the hell of it' during Euro 2008 and then watched as I turned back into the helpless craven football phone-in host they knew I would become. Just when I thought I was out - they pulled me back in."
5 Live Commissioning Editor Jonathan Wall commented, "Danny proved very popular during his Euro 2008 stint. It was very rarely about the football itself! You never know quite what you are going to get but that is a huge part of Danny's appeal. He's fun, will provide something a bit different, and I'm sure he will keep his production team on its toes! "With Alan Green, Spoony and Tim Lovejoy we think it's an unbeatable line-up on 606 to accompany our live football commentaries."
2008-08-01: Westwood One and AirSage have announced a partnership to launch what they are terming a next generation platform for traffic reporting.
Under the agreement the two will combine traffic speed and flow information derived from cell phone signals with Westwood One's leading traffic incident reporting expertise, which they say will allow Westwood One's Metro Traffic to improve the accuracy of traffic information available to commuters, offering significant advancements in the reporting of travel times, faster alerts, and better alternative route suggestions.
The new system will start to roll out in September and Westwood One's EVP - Business Affairs & Strategic Development Jonathan Marshall said the partnership would "provide local traffic reports that are simply more accurate than what is currently available anywhere."
AirSage CEO Cy Smith added, "We are excited to partner with Westwood One, the long-time leader in traffic reporting. Our combined technology and data sources will enable Westwood One to provide the most complete, accurate and timely traffic information to media outlets and to commuters. With this service, drivers will find it easier to avoid congestion and navigate the roadways of America."
Previous Westwood One:
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