September 2008 Archive
-August 2008 - October 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.
2008-09-30: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with the demise of two regular columnists - one on each side of the Atlantic.
In Chicago, Robert Feder announced in his column last Tuesday that he's shortly to leave the Sun-Times for which he has been writing on media for nearly three decades.
The reason - "Thanks to a deal worked out between the Sun-Times and the union representing newsroom employees, those of us who've been here 25 years or more were offered the option to step down with a full year's pay and benefits" - and Feder continues, "The more I thought about it, the more I came to see it as a great opportunity. After devoting all of my energy to covering the same beat for 28 years, I'll be able to take a break, step back and think about what else I want to do."
He then reminisces about the job - "One reason I stayed as long as I have in this job is that it was such a perfect fit. I'd been fascinated by the inner workings of the media for as long as I can remember. While other kids grew up worshiping rock stars or athletes, my idol was Walter Cronkite, the great CBS News anchorman. When I started here in 1980 -- just two years out of journalism school at North-western -- I couldn't believe I was getting paid to write about my favourite subject in the world. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven."
Feder laments that the beat isn't "much fun as it used to be" and after commenting on the paper and his personal relationship from early days with it - as the paper the family took and onward to the one he worked for, he concludes that working for it "has been more than an honour and a privilege. It's been a dream come true."
His readers responded the following day, most with generosity but for that and the whole column follow the link at the end although we don't know how long the paper will keep the links.
At least Feder broke the news himself and is getting a reasonable deal in the current circumstances of economic crisis (what bets that if he had hung on he might have been amongst those laid off but getting paid much less?) but in the UK news that the Independent on Sunday is to drop Nicholas Lezard's radio column after nearly a decade came via a report by Ben Dowell in the Guardian.
Dowell says that Lezard's column will die in a fortnight's time and the he was told the reason for scrapping it is "a lack of funds."
"As far as I know they are not replacing me - it seems that in these tough financial times they cannot afford a radio writer," he said, adding the memorable line that he was surprised because columns covering less popular art forms were being retained and saying, "More people listen to the radio than watch television these days."
After columnists, an executive's view of the post she is leaving: The executive is Nicola Sawaya, who is leaving Pacifica Radio at the end of this month and who drafted a letter on her reasons to station founder Lew Hill as the person she would have liked to have had a conversation with to explain her departure.
It was posted in its entirety by Pacifica's Network Programming Coordinator Nathan Moore on his "Airwaves & Liberty" blog with the usual disclaimer about views posted not necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacifica Foundation, its stations, staff, or volunteers.
Sawaya invites others to disseminate the letter together with her preface so as to give it context. In the preface she notes that she gave notice to leave at the end of the Foundation's fiscal year, adding, "Concurrently, I had written myself out of the FY09 budget, as the Foundation is hard-pressed to support two well-paid executives. You lead from the top."
She continues, "Lew Hill is the founder of Pacifica, now almost a 60 year old non-profit media organization. If I could have a conversation with anyone to explain my departure, it would be with Lew Hill. So, I decided to write him a letter. Feel free to read it, and to share with others who care about Pacifica. All I ask is that this preface always accompany the letter as it sets the context."
In the letter she introduces herself as "the executive director and chief executive of the radio endeavour you started called Pacifica" and continues, "It's changed a lot."
She notes that the network now has rive stations in urban areas, commenting, "millions of human beings within ear shot, all with easy access to the cheapest and most accessible broadcast mediums on the planet, radio. Yes, the planet. There is an Archive of programming and folios spanning decades - a repository and collection of voices that truly belongs to the people as part of the history of our country and the world. And, there are over a hundred smaller stations scattered through rural and urban settings - cities and towns and ridge tops - affiliated with Pacifica and broadcasting our programming - a network that has been in place for quite awhile."
She then notes Hill's notion that "listeners would voluntarily financially support radio, journalism and cultural exchange, created a model for many, many non-commercial educational radio stations to apply. Your vision of public ownership of the airwaves put into practice with the radio license you applied for and grew as the first non-profit community licensee station, gained great traction and has been replicated exponentially."
After this she notes some of the differences in fund raising and continues on, after a while, to comment of signs of stress at Pacifica itself saying: "Sadly, it is no longer focused on service to the listeners but absorbed with itself and the inhabitants therein. I call it Planet Pacifica, a term I coined during my hiring process. There is an underlying culture of grievance coupled with entitlement, and its governance structure is dysfunctional. "
"Pacifica calls itself a movement, yet currently it is behaves like a jobs program, a cult, or a social service agency. And oftentimes, the loudest and most obstreperous have the privilege of the microphone The programming isn't attracting many listeners anymore, either. It skews towards the narrow in its editorial stance, leans towards the niche, and change to the programming can't occur without a fight. The listening audience is small, in other words, the stations have yet to grow into their large signals."
And of her own departure, "Despite my best intentions and determined and focused efforts, I was continually thwarted to do the job I was hired to do." For the rest read the letter.
After the departures and farewells on to the continuing - programming that we feel well worth a listen.
We start this week with some podcasts- from Radio Netherlands today's "The State We're In" that marked "International Right to Know Day" (It falls on Sept 28) with stories of people using Freedom of Information legislation to protect their rights and also the right to sleep - a necessary part of human life but one far too often interrupted in the modern world (as we full well know from working overnight's and being woken by callers (phone and other), helicopters, aeroplanes, police sirens and so on.
We'd also note that Radio Netherlands' "Radio Books" is now into a new season (next edition is Oct 1) but there is a good archive on the site.
We then suggest from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation at the weekend "All in the Mind" - "Sceptics on sceptical thinking" and "Background Briefing" - on "Population control", an edition in which Historian Professor Matthew Connelly of Columbia University proposes some alternatives to past efforts to manipulate population growth.
We'd also suggest the past two editions of the "Religion Report", on the "brown priests" who joined the Nazi Party featuring comments from American historian Kevin Spicer, a visiting professor at Notre Dame University whose book "Hitler's Priests" follows the careers of a dozen 'brown priests', examining their motives, the trouble they caused, and their eventual fate; and on "Critical Terrorism Studies" in which Dr Mervyn Bendle of James Cook University commented on the rise of a new academic field - Critical Terrorism Studies - which treats terrorism as a construct of the Western imagination, or else as a rational and justifiable response to Western evil.
Which takes us neatly to BBC Radio 4 and "Is Al-Qaeda Winning?" , a programme that looked at the battle for hearts and minds in the "war on terror" - it contains some chilling moments as well as some hopeful ones but also some disturbing views from potential US allies who say that the "War on Terror" is doing more harm than good - a BBC World Service survey released on Monday showed that to people in 22 out of 23 countries surveyed thought the "war" had failed to weaken al-Qaeda.
Worryingly that survey found that negative views of al-Qaeda are most common in nearly all of the countries surveyed but not in Egypt and Pakistan and that only in Kenya, Nigeria and Turkey was the dominant view that the US is winning.
The other major threat of the moment is of course economic and we note that last weekend's "Profile" on Radio 4 was of US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. We'd also commend the daily run of World Business Report, World Briefing, and Business Daily on the BBC World Service in the current circumstances as well as the regular BBC Radio 4 and Five Live output on the topic.
Back for a moment to BBC Radio 4 and we suggest the afternoon 14:30-15:00 GMT half hour of "The Afternoon Reading"- this week stories by men and women who have lived, worked and served in prison, and following this the continuing "America, Empire of Liberty" series (For those who prefer a single longer programme the station airs an Omnibus version on Friday nights at 20:00 GMT.).
Switching channels for some lighter fare we next opt for BBC Radio 2 and Monday's final programme in the four-part "Higher and Higher" series on soul artist Jackie Wilson; Tuesday's "Dazed and Confused...The Led Zeppelin Legacy" and "Howlin' Wolf"; Friday's "Howard Goodall's Class Acts" that this week looks at two comprehensive schools - the most successful school brass band in the world, Smithills from Bolton, plus singing and playing from Guildford County School; and finally next Saturday's "Eric Clapton in Concert" (18:00 GMT).
Sticking with music we note that BBC Radio 3's "Composer of the Week" this week is Charles Mingus and that next Saturday's "Opera on 3" features the ENO's production of Leonard Bernstein's comic operetta Candide.
Then back to Radio 4 but sticking with music and we suggest from Tuesday (12:30 GMT ) "Soul Music So What", the latest in the series on famous pieces of music that this week looked at those affected by "So What", the opening track on Miles Davis' seminal 1959 album "Kind of Blue".
We'd also suggest from last weekend "Archive Hour" -"Julian Baggini's Sound Philosophy."
From later in the week we opt for Thursday's "Material World" in which Quentin Cooper hears about a new study into how different cultures process faces in different ways, and the implications this has for social interaction, identifying criminals and face recognition by computers and also from Thursday "Soul and Skin. Mind The God Gap" in which Rob Watson reports on the battle for religious voters in the key state of Ohio, and asks if the Democrats can close the 'God Gap'.
From Friday we suggest "Once Upon A Time On The Front Line" (10:00 GMT) - stories of the families of British soldiers deployed in Iraq and "The News Quiz" (17:30 GMT); and from Saturday the next edition of "Let Me Entertain You", John Sessions' series charting the history of popular entertainment in Britain, from medieval minstrels to Victorian freak shows and another "Archive Hour" - "King of Comedy" in which Angus Deayton presents a tribute to the influential comedy producer, writer and performer Geoffrey Perkins, who died recently.
And to end from Sunday we go for "Dancing With The Russian Bear - The Jilted Lover" (12:30 GMT), the first of a two-part series in which Tim Whewell talks to Kremlin insiders and key players in Europe and America about the new chill between East and West and also the new "Classic Serial" - the first programme in a two-part adaptation by Christopher Fitz-Simon of Somerville and Ross's comic novels "The Experiences of an Irish RM."
Chicago- Sun-Times - Feder columns:
Pacifica Radio - Sawaya letter:
UK Guardian - Dowell:
2008-09-30: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has - unsurprisingly - welcomed legislation put forward by House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (See RNW Sep 29) that would mandate building HD receive capability into radio receivers sold in the US.
In its usual spin mode the NAB termed the proposals "bipartisan legislation that would boost consumer access to free, over-the-air HD Radio" and its President and CEO David K. Rehr commented in a release, "NAB salutes the leadership of Chairman Markey and a bipartisan group of lawmakers for sponsoring this important bill that will boost the integration of HD Radio in satellite radio receivers, including those installed in automobiles. In addition to providing 235 million weekly listeners with entertainment and music programming, free local radio stations have a long tradition of serving as a lifeline during times of crisis. This legislation will extend and enhance these services as radio stations embrace our digital future."
RNW comment: We now await vehement objections from right-wing talk hosts and all who purport to believe in the market to this move that I effect would hand a massive bonus to terrestrial radio and iBiquity at the expense of consumers whom the NAB obviously feels should not be allowed to make up their own mind whether they want to pay extra for facilities that so far they have shown a mass disinclination to purchase.
As per the comment we made yesterday, we think a precondition that required iBiquity to develop a chip that is of a size that would fit into a cigarette-packet sized receiver and consume no more than 50% more power than existing analogue receivers and also imposed a limit of a dollar in royalty payments per chip would turn the balance of this argument towards making the move of benefit to consumers whereas the current one would use legislation to take money from them for the benefit of commercial companies.
Looking at the Rehr statement, our feeling is that justice and market philosophy would be best served by imposing the conditions, increasing licence fees to NAB members to pay for half the development costs, and then letting the market decide.
2008-09-30: Arbitron has come under further political pressure over the effect of its Portable People Meter (PPM) radio ratings on minority broadcasters, this time in the form of a letter from Illinois Democrats Senator Barack Obama and Dick Durbin to its chairman, president and CEO Stephen B. Morris asking that commercialization of the service be delayed until it has received Media Rating Council (MRC) approval.
In their letter dated Monday the two Senators start by saying they are "writing to express concern" about the planned introduction of the PPM into eight new markets - including Chicago - on October 8 and urging him to "delay the rollout until the system is accredited by the Media Research Council (MRC). [RNW note-the Research rather than Rating error is by the Senators in the PDF we have seen of the letter]."
"Delay," they continue, "is in the best interest of consumers, broadcasters, and advertisers. Experts agree that a properly implemented PPM system is more accurate than the paper and pencil diary system currently in use. However, Arbitron plans to commercialize a PPM system based on a methodology that was denied MRC accreditation and as a result, we can only conclude that it does not accurately reflect the behaviour of all consumers including minorities."
They then say that "MRC accreditation is the only third party tool we have to judge whether or not the system is being properly implemented. And the implications of poor implementation of a new PPM system for the public interest are too serious to ignore."
The two Senators then refer to their advocacy of media diversity and opportunities for minority broadcasters and add that they "share the concerns expressed by the Chairmen of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees with your rollout strategy and its potential effects on media diversity."
They conclude by noting that the "MRC's Voluntary Code of Conduct discourages ratings companies like Arbitron from discontinuing use of an accredited ratings method until a replacement method is accredited" and say "Commercializing the PPM before resolving the methodological problems threatens the utility of this voluntary system" and urge Arbitron to abide by the system for the "good of the market's and the public's faith in the data you produce."
In his reply Morris says, "Arbitron is following and will continue to follow the requirements of the Media Rating Council Voluntary Code of Conduct. The MRC's mission, as the industry organization that audits and accredits ratings services, has always been expressly predicated upon a process that is voluntary rather than mandatory."
He continues, "We support the MRC accreditation process and will continue to pursue accreditation in all markets, but the radio industry should not wait any longer for electronic audience measurement. Broadcasters, agencies, and advertisers in radio's top markets have long called for the adoption of a more precise and credible audience measurement tool. They have made it clear that the adoption of the Portable People Meter service is critical if radio is to remain competitive in an increasingly challenging media marketplace."
RNW comment: Obviously this issue needs full disclosure by all parties of the issues that have led the MRC to deny accreditation. The latest posting we have seen from the MRC was issued at the End of February this year and the crucial segment, after comments on independent external audits of the Philadelphia and New York PPM services carried out last year, read: "After careful consideration of the available information, the audit committee voted not to grant accreditation to the Philadelphia and New York PPM services at this time and conclude the 2007 audits. Moving forward the MEC will be assessing the impact of Arbitron's planned initiatives for improving panel results in these markets to eventually enable successful completion of the accreditation process. As part of the accreditation process a new audit will be required in 2008."
The MRC later comments that it "believes that electronic measurement such as Arbitron's PPM technology can represent an improvement over existing non-electronic audience measurements, and encourages Arbitron to continue its extensive good faith efforts to achieve accreditation of the Philadelphia and New York Services."
It would seem from this that Arbitron and MRC have had seven to nine months to address the issues and it would seem a reasonable requirement that reasons for any further delay should be put into the public domain.
If Arbitron has indeed made progress that should be sufficient to gain accreditation - the impression it is trying to give with its figures on work done on panel composition - the MRC has some questions to answer but if Arbitron has failed to make the progress then details should be made public. Unfortunately the lack of trust in the US financial system has now rather overtaken the lack of trust in the PPM and is likely to be much more significant for the radio industry.
Previous Media Rating Council:
2008-09-29: Massachusetts Democrat Rep Edward Markey has leaped ahead of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) call for comments on the idea of mandating HD receive capability for satellite radio receivers by putting forward his "Radio All Digital Channel Receiver Act" (H.R. 7157) that would require receivers - including those for satellite radio and those for analogue AM/FM services - to incorporate HD reception.
His bill is co-sponsored by amongst others three Congressmen who have been in Clear Channel's camp for some time (Clear Channel is a major shareholder in HD developer iBiquity and both support mandating HD recevie capability in satellite receivers), supporting amongst other things its calls for an easing of station ownership limits in large markets - Texas Democrat Charles Gonzalez; Oregon Republican Greg Walden; and Nebraska Republican Lee Terry. Markey had already pushed for the inclusion of an HD receive capability for satellite receivers before the Sirius-XM merger was approved (See RNW Jul 17)
In a release Markey commented, "Millions of Americans today rely on local broadcast radio for news, public safety bulletins, sports, weather, traffic and other information. The recent merger of the only two satellite radio providers, XM and Sirius satellite radio, has underscored the importance of ensuring consumer access to a diversity of sources for digital radio content, in particular content originating in their local communities."
HD developer iBiquity and Clear Channel had lobbied for HD reception capability to required for all satellite receivers as a condition of the Sirius-XM merger but the FCC balked at imposing it although the satellite companies committed themselves to allowing manufacturers to include satellite receive capability in their equipment if they chose t.: The FCC later issued a Notice of Inquiry calling for comments about the idea (See RNW Licence News Aug 31).
Receiver manufacturers and the big automakers have opposed the idea, saying the decision should be left to the market. The suggestion that HD reception be mandated for satellite receivers was recently opposed by General Motors and Toyota as well as by receiver makers (See RNW Jul 17 & RNW Jul 11)., a stance that most comment to the FCC so far has supported with comments objecting to additional cost and size of equipment and also suggesting that it was beyond the agency's capabilities to "design and develop electronic equipment for the 21st century." On the issue of cost Ars Technica reports that during the FCC's proceeding on the Sirius/XM merger, the FCC asked iBiquity about receiver expenses and was told that it estimated the cost of HD radio components in most satellite tuners at around USD 12-USD 15.
RNW comment: Bearing in mind that it is possible to buy a portable AM/FM receiver for the kind of amount iBiquity suggests as the cost of HD components, this seems to us corruption of the most blatant kind - of markets and politicians. Although we favour the idea of true world receivers (which would include the much-more widely - in geographical terms - used DAB and DRM systems), it would seem to us iniquitous that there should be a political diktat to force people to pay this kind of money for facilities they may not want and that would also on the basis of current designs rule out some of the slim portable yet reasonable quality FM receivers that have been on the market for more than two decades and which are very useful for travel purposes.
Accordingly we would put an amendment to the bill first requiring iBiquity to develop a chip that is of a size that would fit into a cigarette-packet sized receiver and consume no more than 50% more power than existing analogue receivers and secondly imposing a limit of a dollar in royalty payments per chip. Only when such a chip was developed would the requirement come into force but in the meantime the development requirement would. At that price and with those conditions, the requirement would advance the interests of consumers but we would bet heavily that iBiquity would scream and shout and lobby very heavily against the development.
The requirement as mooted is primarily a diversion of masses of consumer money at a time of economic problems into the hands of iBiquity and Markey and the co-sponsors should be held to ridicule whenever the opportunity arises- and particularly when it comes to voting for them.
Previous Clear Channel:
Ars Technica report:
2008-09-29: The US House of Representatives has passed by a voice vote The Webcaster Settlement Act that would allow Internet radio stations to negotiate with the music industry for a royalty rate lower than mandated last year.
The unanimous vote in support followed withdrawal of opposition from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which had expressed concerns over the fast-tracking of the bill, which it said could have serious implications for broadcasters.
NAB has been involved in negotiations over webcasting rates but said it had been stonewalled by the record labels and SoundExchange, the body charged with collecting Internet royalty payments.
CNET said that NAB withdrew its opposition after a meeting with California Democrat Howard Berman who said in relation to the deadline of December 15 to negotiate a new rate - which NAB had said it was concerned didn't allow enough time - that the deadline would be extended until Feb 15. (which it was in the version that passed the House on Saturday).
The Bill now has to get through the Senate and CNET quoted NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton as saying," "The bill having passed unanimously in the House certainly gives it momentum heading into the Senate."
Internet music service Pandora had spearheaded a call for lobbying for the Act, which was also supported by US National Public Radio, and its founder Tim Westergren, who had said that if it did not pass the company and other Internet music services would have to close because they could not pay the rates mandated by the US Copyright Office, thanked supporters for their action on his blog.
In blog entries written before the vote he said that "The NAB is trying furiously to derail the bill. This has become a direct fight between the lobbying power of the large broadcasters and the collective voice of constituents."
Earlier he had accused the "large traditional broadcast radio companies" of launching a "covert lobbying campaign to sabotage" progress towards a settlement with artists and record companies "that would save Pandora and Internet radio" adding "This is a blatant attempt by large radio companies to suffocate the webcasting industry that is just beginning to offer an alternative to their monopoly of the airwaves."
RNW note: The text of the bill as passed is not yet online but Thomas.gov does have the amendments made including the date extension to Feb 15.
Pandora - Westergren blog:
2008-09-29: Absolute Radio, the re-branded former Virgin Radio, launched this morning under its new owners, TIML Golden Square Lrd, a subsidiary of Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.
The introductory music was "A Day In The Life" by The Beatles and the first song was David Bowie's "Absolute Beginners".
The first words came from listener Michael Cook who had sent in the following mission statement:
Real music is
The song, not the video
Playing, not miming
Gigs, not photo shoots
Tour buses, not voice coaches
Built to last, not flavour of the month
The lads from school, not an ad in The Stage
Something to say, not something to sell
Previous Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd:
2008-09-29: Bakersfield, California, host Scott Cox, who was suspended by KERN-AM on Wednesday last week for removing 15 campaign signs of local pastor Chad Vegas, a candidate for re-election to the Kern High School District Board of Trustees, was back on his morning show today.
Cox said he removed the signs as a publicity stunt and Bakersfield.com reported that he had said before his suspension, "The entire plan was to disappear the Chad Vegas signs and then reappear them Friday night, and then on Monday take credit for having gotten the culprits to return them. There's something about giving Chad Vegas a rough time that I can never do it enough to make me happy."
It adds that Cox said he has pulled similar stunts before, removing signs of Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall and Kern County Supervisor Mike Maggard.
KERN Program Director D.C. Carter in a news release announcing the reinstatement said Cox had expressed regret for his actions and added, "We know that Scott will continue to be edgy and controversial, that's just who he is. But I think he has a better understanding now of his responsibilities as a KERN employee and a prominent member of our community."
RNW comment: As a stunt this worked but presumably the action is also illegal and we think a few nights in jail - or maybe a home for wayward juveniles - might well have increased the value of the stunt, and the attention to staying within the law by the host.
2008-09-28: Last week saw a low level of activity as regards radio amongst the regulators: There were no radio postings in Australia or Ireland and only a few in Canada where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted only two decisions.
One was approval of a Nova Scotia application in which Bedford Baptist Church proposed a change from 89.1 MHz to 99.3 MHz for CHSB-FM, Bedford, following approval of an application by Newcap Inc. to use 89.3 MHz for a new commercial radio station in Kentville. The application was filed to reduce the possibility of interference.
The second was approval of an application by Radio Ville-Marie, licensee of French-language specialty station CIRA-FM, Montréal, Quebec, to add a 111.5 watts transmitter at Rimouski to broadcast its programming.
The CRTC also posted two public notices including radio applications of which one with a deadline of October 31 for the submission of interventions or comments included an application by Faithway Communications Inc., licensee of Christian music station CJRI-FM, Fredericton, New Brunswick, to add 50 watts low-power FM transmitters at Woodstock, New Brandon and Saint Stephen to broadcast its programming.
The other notice, also with an October 31 deadline, included two Saskatchewan radio applications, each from Rawlco Radio Ltd., which wants to add a 1,200 watts transmitter at Big River to broadcast the programming of CHQX-FM, Prince Albert and another 1,200 watts transmitter at Big River to broadcast the programming of CKBI -AM, Prince Albert.
In the UK Ofcom has received two applications for the North and Mid Wales commercial radio licence, the final commercial FM licence it is scheduled to offer in the UK (See RNW Sep 26).
It has also allowed Adventure Radio's Chelmsford/Mid Essex station Dream 107.7 FM, which was recently allowed to reduce the number of hours of output it produces locally and replace a daily weekday news/news magazine/interview hour centred on local activity with a daily locally focussed music and speech programme, to move from Chelmsford and co-locate with new sister station Southend Radio some 20 miles (32 km) away (See RNW Sep 24): The station was sold to Adventure by Tindle Radio, who has made the co-location request.
Ofcom has also posted a statement regarding regulation of community services following a consultation to which it received nine responses most of which supported some or all of the procedures proposed by Ofcom with a number of respondents offering additional suggestions.
Ofcom notes that each community station has a set of "key commitments" which form part of its licence enumerating these as:
*A description of the community to be served;
*A summary of the character of service (a short description of the station's aims);
*A description of the programme service;
*Social gain objectives (including how the station will satisfy the mandatory social gain requirements set out in the relevant legislation, and any other social gain objectives of the service);
*Access and participation arrangements; and
*Mechanisms to ensure accountability to the target community.
In relation to these it says it agrees with respondents that the decision on whether a proposed change is substantial or not should be made on a case-by-case basis and that if a proposed change is considered to be substantial, a consultation will be required. The final decision in such cases will be made by Ofcom's Radio Licensing Committee.
Regarding the process for considering requests to change key commitments it noted amongst other things that a station can submit a request and that this will be considered against five statutory criteria:
*That the departure would not substantially alter the character of the service;
*That the departure would not narrow the range of programmes available by way of relevant independent radio services to persons comprising the relevant community;
*That, there is evidence that, amongst persons comprising that community, there is a significant demand for, or significant support for, the change that would result from the departure;
*That the departure would not be prejudicial to the access by members of that community to the facilities used for the provision of the service and for training in the use of those facilities; or
*That the departure would not be prejudicial to the delivery of social gain resulting from the provision of the service provided under that licence.
It notes that it is not required to consult on a proposed change when we consider that it would not substantially change the nature of the service but if it is so considered a case-by-case consideration will be instituted. A change can only be allowed if it satisfies at least one of the statutory criteria and if a consultation is undertaken Ofcom will publish a notice of the details and invite comments. The station itself will be required to publicise its request for a change (through, for example, regular on air announcements and prominent messages on its website).
After the consultation has closed a decision will be made by Ofcom's Radio Licensing Committee with reference to the responses to the consultation, the statutory criteria, and our additional policy criteria. Decisions will be published on the community radio section of Ofcom's website, and the appropriate changes, if any, made to the licence.
Ofcom also sets out its procedures for ensuring compliance with key commitments
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is still embroiled in issues of how far Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings may harm minority broadcasters and has now received further filings from the PPM Coalition and the company itself, with the latter maintaining its stance that the agency has no authority over ratings. (See RNW Sep 25).
Apart from that it had a quiet week as regards radio beyond routine work. On the enforcement front we noted only one penalty, the issuing of a USD 1,000 Notice of Apparent Liability to Forfeiture (NAL) to Michael G. Lewis, licensee of FM Translator Station K296DW , Lone Pine, California, for failure to timely file renewal application and unauthorized operation. It also renewed the licence.
In Virginia it imposed an admonition but cancelled a USD 6,000 NAL issued to West Mecklenburg Broadcasting (WMB), licensee of Station WJYK-AM, Chase City, for failure to file a timely license renewal application for the station and unauthorized operation after its license for the station had expired.
WMB had responded to a letter telling it that the licence had expired and its call letters deleted from the FCC database by explaining that it had attempted to file the renewal on paper and was unaware that it had to be filed electronically and after an NAL for USD 6,000 was then issued requested cancellation on the basis that its financial condition made it impossible for it to pay any forfeiture at all, submitting income tax returns that showed gross revenues for 2001 through 2003 of USD 7,824, USD 8,061, and USD 5,670, respectively.
The FCC on this basis cancelled the penalty and replaced it with an admonition.
The FCC was also involved in the following contested licensing decisions (in order of state):
Denied informal objections and renewed the licences of Alaska Broadcast Communications, Inc. (ABCI) stations KGTW-FM and KTKN-AM, Ketchikan.
TLP Communications, Inc. (TLP), licensee of KFMJ-FM, Ketchikan, had objected to the renewals on the basis that ABCI incorrectly certified there had been no violations during the subject renewal period and also incorrectly certified the operational status of FM Translator Stations K258AD, and K248AI, Craig, which TLP said had been off the air for at least two years. The translators rebroadcast the signals of KGTW-FM and KTKN-AM respectively.
ABCI acknowledged that it provided incorrect certifications concerning previous violations at the stations, saying that it had overlooked" a May 2002 FCC inspection that resulted in the issuance of a Notice of Violation for each of the stations and that it "was not [the licensee's] intention to mislead the Commission regarding violations of FCC rules."
ABCI said it ABCI corrected the inaccurate response and filed an amendment to the Renewal Application and noted that the violations had been resolved with no further action taken by the FCC.
Regarding the translator stations ABCI said it had inadvertently said they were operational but it had not intended to deceive and it had after the filing of the objections it had amended the Renewal Applications and explained that maintenance personnel had found the stations to be off the air in July/August 2005 and in January 2006 had removed the stations for "evaluation and repair", notifying the FCC that they were off the air and seeking special temporary authority, which was granted, to permit them to remain off the air pending repairs." They were reinstalled and returned to service in May 2006.
The FCC ruled that the errors did not constitute misrepresentation and had been unintentional and corrected by the licensee. It concluded TLP had failed to present a substantial and material question of fact as to ABCI's qualifications to be a licensee but admonished ABCI for its acknowledged lack of diligence with respect to false certifications in the Renewal Applications as initially filed and said it intended to closely monitor future filings to ensure that ABCI provides accurate information.
*Granted an Application for Review of a Media Bureau decision to deny a petition by Philadelphia Radio, Inc. (GPR) to reconsider the grant of a construction permit for a new FM translator station at Manahawkin to Edward A. Schober.
Schober had filed a Form 175 short-form application proposing a new FM translator station at Manahawkin, during the filing window for FM Translator Auction No. 83 and staff determined that the proposal was not mutually exclusive with any other proposals and directed him to complete a long form application.
This was filed but GPR subsequently filed a Petition to Deny Schober's Application on the basis that Schober never obtained reasonable assurance of the availability of his proposed transmitter site, a site owned and controlled by GPR's ultimate parent company, Greater Media, Inc.
Schober did not respond to the allegations in GPR's Petition, but instead filed a minor amendment to his Application to change the transmitter site to which GPR filed an "Opposition to Amendment," arguing that because Schober never obtained reasonable assurance of his initial site and misrepresented this fact in his Application, he cannot "cure this fundamental defect by blithely specifying a new site."
The staff had denied GPR's Petition and granted Schober's application, a decision appealed by GPR, which said never had reasonable assurance of this tower site, misrepresented this fact in his application, and was therefore precluded from amending his application to cure this fatal defect.
The FCC noted that although when it adopted its competitive bidding process it had repealed the requirement that broadcast applicants certify the availability of the transmitter site there was still a requirement that an applicant possess "reasonable assurance" of a transmitter site at the time it files its application.
In this case it said Schober did not have such an assurance and it accordingly rescinded the grant of his application.
In another case involving multiple filings for new non-commercial educational FM stations, the commission dismissed calls by R B Schools and Health Radio, Inc. to review dismissal of their applications for construction permits as Time-Share Applications.
The two organisations had claimed that the FCC Media Bureau erred in dismissing the applications because the applicants had failed to demonstrate that they attempted for reach a time-sharing agreement with the existing NCE FM station licensee before filing their Time-Share Application.
The FCC in dismissing the pleas said none of the Time-Share Applications contained either a time-sharing agreement or a statement that efforts to reach a time-sharing agreement were unsuccessful, as required by the Rules and noted that the applicant had confirmed that it had made no effort to reach a time-sharing agreement with the existing licensee prior to filing the Time-Share Application.
The Applicants had claimed that the rules did not explicitly require that a time-share proponent initiate an attempt to reach a time-sharing agreement prior to filing a non-consensual time-sharing application but the FCC disagreed.
The stations involved were in
Iowa (St. Charles).
Illinois (Decatur; Elgin; Flossmoor; Glenview; and Winnetka).
Michigan (Bay City; Bloomfield Hills; Kalamazoo; Plymouth; Southfield); Ohio (Wooster).
Tennessee (Knoxville - the Health Radio application).
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-09-28: BBC Radio 3 is to showcase new writing talent in its winter series of "The Wire", the regular Saturday drama programme.
The new series will run from October 11th through November 1 inclusive and will launch with "Random", written and directed by Debbie Tucker Green, an exploration of how an ordinary day for a black family in London is changed forever by a seemingly random act of violence. The station describes the production, which was recorded in South London with Nadine Marshall playing all four characters in the family, as a particularly timely play with more than 25 teenagers having died violently in London alone this year. The play had its premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in London earlier this year.
The following week the play is "Dirty White Girl" by Louise Wallwein: It is the first radio play by Wallween who is a youth workshop leader and poet as well as a dramatist and was inspired by a young woman she met in a workshop, a teenage racist whose life was thrown into confusion by her attraction to a young Asian boy in the same workshop.
The third play is "Nowt To Look At" by Val Laws, perhaps best known for her controversial Arts Council funding to spray-paint poetry on sheep.
It's a black comedy that explores attitudes towards disfigurement, mental illness and self-image. The main character, Annie Benson, has been a recluse in her Newcastle flat for most of two decades and finds what remains of herself in a pathology museum where her head floats in a specimen jar. She recounts her story and that of her great-nephew Jon and her shy young neighbour Roz are forced to come together to deal with the aftermath of her death.
The play was partly inspired by Val's 2006 Northern Writers' Award for a project on forensic/pathology poetry hosted by King's College Medical School.
The final play on November 1 is the black comedy "49 Donkeys Hanged"by Cornish writer, actor and playwright Carl Grose who was performing with the Kneehigh Theatre Company in Soweto just more than ten years ago when he saw the headline in a local paper - "49 Donkeys Hanged" over a story saying that a local farmer had hanged 49 donkeys from the branches of trees on his land.
His drama is set in Cornwall and centred on the lives of Stanley Bray, a Cornish farmer who hangs donkeys, and Joy, his wife, a wheelchair-user.
BBC Radio 4 has also announced planned schedule changes starting in January when it will reduce the "Afternoon Reading " from five weekday broadcasts to three running from Tuesday through Thursday.
Replacing the reading on Mondays and running from 15:00 to 15:45 will be an edited version of the station's Saturday "Archive Hour" programme- to be called "Archive on 4" whilst on Fridays the replacement will be Gardener's Question Time, which will move from its currently Wednesday afternoons slot but keep its 14:00 Sunday afternoon repeat slot.
Commenting on the changes, Radio 4 Controller Mark Damazer said in a news release, The Archive Hour is one of the network's gems. I have always felt it would be a great addition to the daytime weekday schedule. Introducing a shorter repeat of Saturday's Archive Hour on a Monday afternoon will enable new listeners to enjoy these fascinating stories from recent history."
Regarding Gardener's Question Time is producer Trevor Taylor said the move to a Friday and Sunday schedule enables the programme to be geared to the weekend "when we know the majority of our listeners are busy tending to their gardens."
2008-09-27: According to the Irish Independent, the bid headed by former Scottish Radio Holdings chief executive Richard Findlay for five Irish stations has run into problems: The paper says the original bid of Euros 52 million (USD 75.9 million) for the stations - Ocean FM in Sligo and Donegal; KCLR in Kilkenny and Carlow; Tipp FM in Tipperary; KFM in Kildare; and Mid West Radio in Mayo - is reported to have been haggled down to between Euros 45 million and 50 million (USD 54.6 to 61.4million).
Financing it says was to have come through debt from Allied Irish Banks and equity from its private clients but that one of them, a UK equity firm that was to provide from a fifth to a quarter of the equity, is threatening to walk away unless the price is cut further.
The initial 90-day period for exclusive due diligence and negotiations ended nearly two weeks ago but was extended.
Irish Independent report:
2008-09-27: New Zealand's state broadcaster Radio New Zealand is today celebrating 60 years of international short-wave broadcasting: It was launched by the then Prime Minister Peter Fraser on September 27, the Dominion Day holiday in 1948 under the name Radio New Zealand as part of the New Zealand Broadcasting Service (NZBS).
Now broadcasting as Radio New Zealand International it serves the Pacific and into South East Asia through 18 Pacific radio stations that re-broadcast Radio New Zealand International material each day and also through digital and analogue short-wave transmissions, and via the internet.
Last year the service won the prestigious International Radio Station of the Year Award at the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) Media Excellence Awards in London.
Radio New Zealand International Manager, Linden Clark commented in a release by the service, "From humble beginnings using two second hand transmitters US military transmitters left behind after the Second World War, the station has grown to become a significant international broadcaster using short-wave, digital and analogue technology which allows us to play a vital role in increasing understanding and awareness of New Zealand's role in the Pacific."
Anniversary celebrations this week will include a special programme to be broadcast on Radio New Zealand National at 12.20am on Saturday 27th September and at 9.06pm on Tuesday 30th September. This programme will also be broadcast on Radio New Zealand International throughout the week. It includes the opening announcement by the Prime Minister of the day, Peter Fraser, excerpts from early programmes and interviews with former and current staff.
Previous Radio New Zealand:
2008-09-27: Austereo has re-branded its Mix 94.5, Perth, as Australia II, with the new station being launched on Friday morning by the breakfast team of Fred Botica and his "Bunch" from the Maritime Museum in Fremantle on the 25th anniversary of Australia II's victory in The America's Cup that prior to then had been held since 1851 by The New York Yacht Club.
A hundred Mix listeners were at the event, dressed as they had been on September 26, 1983, when Australia II's victory over Liberty ended the New York Club's longest running winning streak in history. Others present included Australia II crew members John Longley and Skip Lissiman and all songs aired were from 1983.
In the UK, Virgin Radio on Friday featured a special six-hour special hosted by Russ Williams, who has been with the station from its start, that looked back at the history of the station including launch audio from 1993.
In a blog on the company's site Williams details the history of the station and how he made the move to it from Capital Radio - being sent on "Gardening Leave" and given an earful by Richard Park whose son Paul Jackson subsequently joined Virgin. Originally to have been based in Woking, it was moved to One Golden Square - its current home - after sales manager John Pearson pointed out the downsides in attracting advertising agencies and clients from a base outside London.
It originally went on air with the first recording played INXS' version of "Born To Be Wild" and the first voice that of Richard Branson, live from the Virgin Megastore in Manchester.
Williams details how staff were told in that the station was to be sold to Capital, a deal that fell through, and Virgin was subsequently bought in December 1997 from Richard Branson by Chris Evans, at the time its breakfast host, through his Ginger Media Group for GBP 85 million (Then USD 142 million) - GBP 2 million (USD 3.3 million)less than Capital had offered: Branson, who received GBP 40 million (USD 67 million) and a 20% stake in Ginger Media, commented at the time, "The maverick in me prefers the idea of Chris Evans to Capital Radio.".
Evans sold Ginger Media to SMG for GBP 225 million (Then USD 371 million) in 2000 (See RNW Jan 13, 2000) but eventually clashed with his new employers and was fired at the end of June 2001 (See RNW Jun 29, 2001). He claimed unjust dismissal but lost the case in 2003 (See RNW 27 June 2003). SMG subsequently ran into problems with its debt that forced it to sell off various parts of the business and it decided to concentrate on its TV interests. Virgin was bought from SMG by Indian media group Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd. subsidiary TIML Golden Square this year for GBP 53.2 million (USD 104.6 million - See RNW Jun 21). The new owners opted not to keep the Virgin name and are re-branding the station as Absolute Radio from 07:45 on Monday.
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd..:
2008-09-27: The BBC has announced the shortlist of contenders for the inaugural Nick Clarke Award, created in honour of the late Radio 4 host who died of cancer in November 2006 (See RNW Nov 24, 2006): It is intended to celebrate and recognise the best broadcast interview of the year and will be presented to the winner at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival in October together with "a dozen bottles of good claret - which Nick himself would have enjoyed."
Stephen Mitchell, Deputy Director, BBC News & Head of Programmes, BBC News said of the award, "Nick Clarke was one of the BBC's finest broadcasters and we are thrilled to have such a strong shortlist for the inaugural award in his honour. The shortlist was drawn from many, brilliant entries and I believe all of them reflect the interviewing style Nick was so famous for - they are memorable, leave a strong impression on the audience and provide a deeper understanding of their subject matter"
The broadcasters and interviews, which had to be conducted between 31 July 2007 and 31 July 2008, on the shortlist are:
*Phil Cox, More4News, Channel 4 - Interview with David Mapstone, a former Sudanese army commander who spoke of the part he played in the war crimes in Darfur
*Tim Donovan, BBC London News - Interview with Ray Lewis when he resigned as Deputy Mayor of London
*Lyse Doucet, The Interview, BBC World Service - Interview with David Bellavia, an American soldier, about the war in Iraq
*Alison Fern, BBC Southern Counties Radio - Interview with Tara Edgar and family about living with a child with Cerebral Palsy
*Carrie Gracie, The Interview, BBC World Service - Interview with Alan Johnson about his experience as a hostage in Gaza
*Fergal Keane, Taking a Stand, BBC Radio 4 - Interview with Jack Kevockian, who has "assisted" more than 100 people take their own lives
*Eddie Mair, PM, BBC Radio 4 - Interview with Hilda Gibson, former Land Girl, after the Government announced that they would be recognising the wartime contribution of the Women's Land Army
*Jimmy Smallwood, Morning: MK, BBC Three Counties Radio - Interview with Barry James Taylor of the England First Party during the Spring Local Elections and a particularly hard-fought ward in Milton Keynes
2008-09-26: US National Public Radio (NPR) has named Kinsey Wilson, who has overseen USA TODAY's combined online and print news operation since 2005, its Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media.
He will join NPR on October 20 to lead a 100-plus digital media team involved in NPR's multi-year commitment to continued growth in digital multimedia including a rollout planned on Monday of NPR.org's social media platform; an upcoming major Web site redesign; the expansion of NPR.org's open API (Application Programming Interface), an online content sharing online tool launched in July 2008; and the evolution of NPR Music, a music discovery site launched in November 2007.
NPR's COO Mitch Praver said of the appointment, "NPR is committed to making smart, thoughtful investments in the Web and mobile platforms that best support and extend its journalism, while meeting the rapidly changing ways that audiences consume news and information. The strategy calls for developing the digital infrastructure to allow for areas of greater collaboration with NPR's 850 plus stations in order to build the foundation for a shared digital future. Kinsey Wilson brings the digital media leadership experience, editorial judgment, and vision we need to build upon past successes and take NPR.org to the next level."
2008-09-26: Greater Media has announced that its chairman John Bordes died suddenly on Thursday but gave no further details, simply requesting in a posting on its web site that "everyone respect the family's privacy during this difficult time." No details were given on Bordes' age or cause of death" and adding that details of funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.
Greater Media was founded in 1956 by Yale classmates Peter A. Bordes and Joseph Rosenmiller.
Peter Bordes died in 199 aged 71: His brother John became chairman and CEO of the company in 2000 and retained the chairmanship role when Peter Smyth became President and CEO in 2002.
Previous Greater Media:
2008-09-26: Reporters Without Borders has expressed its support for Mexican station EXA FM, based in the Tabasco State capital of Villahermosa, following the fatal shooting of its morning show host Alejandro Xenón Fonseca Estrada and says it is "outraged that neither federal nor state investigators had contacted the station nearly 24 hours after the murder."
The host was putting up anticrime posters in Villahermosa when he was shot and it is suspected that he may have been killed because of his campaigning against organized crime and the Committee to Protect Journalists says it is investigating possible links between Fonseca's work as a journalist and his killing.
Witnesses told local police and journalists that four unidentified men riding in a van pulled alongside Fonseca as he was putting up the posters opposing kidnapping and expressing support for Tabasco's governor, Andrés Granier Melo; berated him for the posters and then shot him. He was taken to a local hospital but died from chest wounds.
Fonseca had hosted the morning call-in show "El Padrino Fonseca" (The Godfather Fonseca), geared toward young listeners, for the past 10 years and had announced that he was to put up the posters as part of his campaign against violence in Tabasco.
The Committe to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Americas Senior Program Coordinator, Carlos Lauría said, "We call on state and federal authorities to conduct an exhaustive investigation that will bring all those responsible to justice. The time has come for the government of President Felipe Calderón and congressional leaders to reach a consensus and develop legislation that federalizes crimes against free expression and freedom of the press. The legislation must focus on broadly protecting freedom of expression as the wave of violence is inhibiting all Mexicans, including journalists, in communicating with each other."
It also noted that Mexico is one of the most dangerous places for journalists in Latin America and says that as the war between powerful drug cartels has intensified, local journalists who report on organized crime and the drug trade are facing grave risks: 21 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, seven of them in direct reprisal for their work and seven others have gone missing since 2005.
It added that one of the missing reporters, Rodolfo Rincón Taracena, disappeared on January 20, 2007, in Villahermosa after finishing a piece about local criminal groups attacking cash-machine customers and in June this year, Juan Padilla, editorial director at the Villahermosa-based daily El Correo de Tabasco, was threatened in a note reading "You're next, Director" left outside the front door of the newspaper's office building two days after a severed human head was found near the same spot.
Reporters Without Borders commented, "The lack of any immediate reaction from the police and judicial authorities is all the more incomprehensible as the Mexican congress is currently debating a bill initiated by President Felipe Calderón that would make it a federal crime to attack the media Even assuming Fonseca was killed above all because of his campaigning against organised crime rather than his journalism, there should have been an immediate demonstration of the political will to defend press freedom and restore the rule of law."
It added that station staff had said they were unaware of any prior threats against Fonseca, who started his programme in 2001 on Radio Tabasco before moving with it to EXA FM.
Committee to Protect Journalists report:
Reports Without Borders report:
2008-09-26: UK media regulator Ofcom says it has received two applications for the North and Mid Wales commercial radio licence, the final commercial FM licence it is scheduled to offer in the UK.
They are from Radio Glyndwr and Real Radio Wales offering respectively a "local speech and music station for the North and Mid Wales area, with 24-hour news, information and comment aimed primarily at the 35+ age group, with a predominately Gold and Easy Listening mix of music, regularly reflecting Welsh culture and language" and "A full-service Adult Contemporary music station for North and Mid Wales, targeting primarily 25-54 year-olds, including speech, regional information and listener interactivity along with 24-hour news."
The Radio Glyndwr bid is from a group led by Dee 106.3, Chester, in which UTV Radio has a 22% interest and the Real Radio bid is from GMG Radio, which already operates a Real Radio station in South Wales.
The licence is for an area already served by Coast 96.3, Marcher Sound, and Radio Ceredigion.
Previous Guardian Media Group:
2008-09-25: Arbitron has announced the formal filing of comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) both responding to the call for an inquiry into its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings and saying that the agency has no authority to regulate radio ratings.
Its action follows the filing of comments by the PPM Coalition - comprised of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), the Spanish Radio Association (SRA), the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC), the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies(AHAA), Border Media Partners, Entravision, ICBC Broadcast Holdings, Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) and Univision - on its petition for an inquiry that is currently before the FCC (See RNW Sept 4).
The Coalition argues that minority stations suffer in the PPM ratings because their listeners are undercounted and thus the rollout of the PPM in eight more markets from October 8 will hurt their businesses and the agency's diversity goals. They have asked the FCC to "undertake a fact-finding inquiry, using subpoenas for document production and conducting witness testimony under oath."
Their concerns have been echoed by various politicians with both the New York and New Jersey attorney generals launching investigations and New York City Council, which has held its own hearings about the issues, has also has voted unanimously to ask the FCC to investigate PPM Methodology, a call also made by the agency's own Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age (A call later voided by the agency See RNW Jul 8).
Arbitron, which has consistently argued that the agency has no remit or authority over radio ratings has also defended the PPPM as producing more accurate results than the diary system.
In its petition it says there is "extensive precedent in which both Congress and the Commission have previously recognized that the FCC lacks authority to regulate audience ratings" and says that "Both Congress and the Commission have expressly stated that the reliability and methodologies of audience ratings services are best left to private industry groups such as the Media Rating Council, Inc., or MRC."
It also said that the PPM Coalition petition is "replete with misstatements of facts, unsupported speculation, and overheated rhetoric" and continues, "The company maintains that an examination of only a few of the allegations at the heart of the petition demonstrates that the petitioners cannot support the extreme measures that they demand."
A number of stations targeting minority audiences says Arbitron "have maintained or increased market ranking since the introduction of PPM", listing amongst them Houston Urban-formatted KBXX-FM and KMJQ-FM whose ratings fell when the PPM was first used in Houston but recovered after they "implemented several well-publicized changes in their programming and promotion practices - but not changes in their basic station formats." It says that the Houston ratings also showed Spanish language KLOL-FM ratings to have improved under the PPM and cites other examples from Philadelphia, now converted to PPM, and from Chicago, New York and San Francisco.
To buttress its arguments Arbitron has also posted figures showing minority and young adult representation to be as good or better in PPM samples compared to Arbitron's diary surveys
The PPM Coalition in its filing places emphasis on Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation, accusing Arbitron of being disingenuous in citing Houston accreditation when the methodology used there is not the one intended for other markets where it plans to implement a "substantially different methodology" that has been denied MRC accreditation.
It adds that "Arbitron's plan to commercialize an unaccredited currency product is unprecedented" and says the FCC inquiry is needed to "ascertain the facts and assess potential harm to broadcast diversity."
In relation to talks with Arbitron the Coalition says they have been to no avail and adds, "On the one hand, Arbitron acknowledges the industry's concerns and promises to continue its efforts to improve its PPM services -- improvements to the quality of its sample, improvements to the weighting of its data, and improvements to the compliance rates of its participants, etc. On the other hand, Arbitron insists that its PPM services are reliable and effective. Which is the truth? Is PPM ready for market or does it still need considerable work?"
The filing continues, "Without MRC accreditation or access to Arbitron's guarded research data, there is no way for the industry to judge. That is why the commission must investigate."
It claims the FCC has the authority to investigate the PPM system under Section 403 of the Communications Act, commenting, "If, as asserted by the PPMC, implementation of Arbitron's flawed methodology will gravely impact broadcast diversity and the diversity of media voices within the U.S. radio market, the Commission must investigate these claims because they strike at the very heart of the commission's policies on diversity of media ownership."
Arbitron Chairman, President and CEO Stephen Morris is scheduled to attend the National Assn. of Black Owned Broadcasters' 32nd annual fall broadcast management conference tomorrow as part of the panel discussion "PPM: Continuing the Dialogue."
Previous Media Rating Council:
Global Radio has re-branded London flagship Capital Radio only a year and a half after its latest re-vamp dropping the old Capital logo that showed the station name with an outline of the River Thames in favour of a new red, blue and white logo and the return of the name Capital FM and strap line "London's number one hit music station".
The change makes the fifth identity in less than three years for the station - its names have included Capital 95.8 "London's hit music station"; Capital 95.8 "The Sound of London";"' 95.8 Capital Radio" and plain old" Capital Radio".
Global Radio group executive director and director of broadcasting, Richard Park said of the new "95.8 Capital FM" that the "simplistic and vibrant design reflects the iconic status of 95.8 Capital FM as it moves forward as an important part of Global Radio".
The new branding was launched on the station's website at 07:00 this morning and represents the first time the FM designation has been used for the stations since January 2006.
Previous Global Radio:
2008-09-24: This week with the NAB Radio Show just ended and the US economy in turmoil, the main focus of this week's look at print comment on media is on the business of radio in the current state of the economy.
Most of the comment veered towards the pessimistic so we opted to start with the most positive comment we noted on the NAB show - from the exceptional or exceptionally deluded Harve Alan whose blog, headed "An Optimistic Tone" began, "After attending the NAB and R&R Conventions in Austin this past week, I felt a little different leaving these gatherings than I had in recent years--optimistic."
He continued, "It was a pleasant surprise. Sure, there was the normal (and usually empty) rah rah speeches and a certain amount of grousing one would expect from these meetings. However, for the first time in quite a long time I got the feeling something good could be brewing. I listened to and talked to a lot of people and I detected a more determined spirit."
But he then goes on in apparent contradiction, "How could this be? August revenue down another 11%. Good people are still losing their jobs. The banking and credit situation is still shaking foundations loose. Radio stocks still at record low levels. Station multiples have declined. Under 25's haven't magically developed a newfound passion for radio. HD Radio is still flailing. And 'Radio Heard Here' is no more an effective slogan, pitch or campaign than it was last year when it was introduced."
Turning this to the positive he goes on, "Any one of these things could dampen anyone's spirit. I think what has changed is everything has changed and a certain sense of reality has set in. Act now or your time to act may be very short. And there is lots of action."
So what should be done? The blog as with so many then becomes what seems to us a pitch to sell or promote services, in this case through a list of the things he is involved in that includes, "Developing a new commercial strategy designed for both PPM and diaries that defies conventional wisdom and does everything WRONG! So crazy it just might work."
This prompted a number of responses including one quoting John Gorman about which Alan commented, "My post wasn't as much about the NAB organization as much as it was about people of quality in the radio business who are trying to improve things. I prefer to try to be statesman- like as opposed to John Gorman who most times walks around with a burning club waiting to flame anyone or anything he dislikes. This is no surprise--he built his former radio career on these tactics."
He concluded, "Let me be clear. I have my own issues with NAB and certainly with the "problematic" HD Radio and have said so on this blog. It is my belief that along side of the criticism I have an obligation to offer constructive suggestions and solutions as I did today."
Sharing that view - and also with a product to promote - was Andrew Deal whose post on fourthspeaker.com was headed, "Prognosticating the Demise of Radio Will Get Us Nowhere" and was in turn a response to a post by Erik Schwartz's foneshow blog that postulated a grim outlook for radio - "Listenership is down. Revenues are off. The audience is trending older and young people aren't listening.
Schwarz - as might be expected from someone involved in getting audio to mobile phones? - suggests the problem is a change in habits rather than lack of interest: "It's not that people don't like audio programming anymore. It's that the audience has changed in ways that radio does not understand. People don't consume media the way they did 5 years ago. Want to see the future of media consumption? Look at your TiVo. Look at YouTube. People want a user-controllable experience. They want media to be on-demand, in discrete single micro-chunks, sharable and re-usable as they wish. They need fresh content. They find out about new programming from their friends. They're quick to try something new, but quick to drop it if it doesn't fit their needs."
Radio's response he postulated is "Mostly denial" and in this frame he puts HD Radio - "a way of cramming more stations into the existing radio spectrum. More stations don't address the problem of the changing consumption habits of the audience. NAB is trying to get cell phone manufacturers to put FM radios into cell phones. As if the problem is a lack of radios."
He then goes on to say "the distribution channel must change from a centrally-controlled broadcast model to a narrowcast model, where the consumer has more control . Programming will change. Talk, news, and sports will become more dominant. Music radio can't just be music; iPods do that just fine. Music radio will need personality. They're in the audio content business -- it should not matter how that audio is distributed Revenue models will change. Advertisers too have a different set of expectations in the internet age."
And at the end, "The radio industry has a brief window of time standing open right now. I estimate it's about 36 months. They will either embrace change and understand what they are, or they will settle into the dustbin of industries that have failed to adapt to the changing needs of the audience. The time is now."
That deadline immediately sparked disagreement - to the extent that a later post emphasises that this is the tipping point" to take action, not the death of radio as some of those responding had taken it to mean.
Among them Andrew Deal on Fourthspeaker.com described Schwartz's comments as "nothing other than a cheap shot at an industry in genuine transition" and continued, "I understand what drives the thinking within it, because I too have been frustrated at the slower than expected pace of radio networks moving content to mobile radio, and have been tempted to do likewise. The thing that stops me though is the wisdom of mentors who cautioned me not to lash out for attention when you are frustrated."
Deal, who obviously hadn't read the blog carefully, then went on, "Before I go deeper into how counterproductive this partisan outsider approach is, my first point is that the 36 month prediction of radios relegation to "the dustbin" is just plain wrong... In short, the industry will not expire, but it will gradually transform into a multi-platform model. The platforms that still reach 93% of the population are not going away anytime soon, nor should they."
He then went on say talking down radio, as David Rehr so aptly stated in his NAB Radio Show Opening Keynote Address today is a senseless self-inflicted wound that we would expect to be reserved for radio's detractors. The only people that benefit from creating a divide between new and old media are those seeking to acquire old media's hard earned treasure."
And also on the positive side in response to this was Dave Van Dyke of Bridge Ratings who commented, "Not only is radio listenership, in general, growing, but we are also seeing recent trends that the youth market continues to depend on terrestrial radio especially for music discovery. Pundits seeking radio's demise with 12-24 year olds are missing the general mood amongst this demographic who are using traditional radio alongside their other digital media. They've figured it out - it's perhaps non-surprising that self-proclaimed experts would predict a non-rational 36 month death, when doing so only serves their purposes.
Which takes us to that John Gorman blog and a much more negative take as the heading "Rehr ended in Austin" indicates. Gorman no friend of NAB CEO David Rehr, whom he nickmanes Fumbles", referred to his keynote address as lighting up the Convention Center "like a three-watt bulb" and then hit harder with the comment, "I know some of you feel I'm being too hard on Fumbles when I call him a liar. Some of you feel he's really sincere and merely illustrating the state of the radio industry through fables. Here's the problem. Fables and out and out lies are different things. Fables are told for the good of the listener, lies are told for the good of the liar."
Gorman then goes on with a list of "What he said" and "What he meant."
For most of them -some are fairly long - read his blog but in view of current economic circumstances we particularly appreciated one of the latter " Translation: I wouldn't put too much stock . oops, wrong word . I wouldn't read too much into the possible de-listing of Citadel, Radio One, Regent, and Westwood One from the New York Stock Exchange. I mean look at Sirius XM. They're way under a buck, too - and they're our competition . oops, I didn't mean to say that either, or did I? "
And finally a brief excerpt from Jerry Del Colliano's insidemusicmedia blog headed, "Hey Feds, Bail Out Radio and Records Next"
After commenting on the rescue of banking and mortgage and insurance with the auto industry coming up behind he comments, "Why not radio and records next? Radio is as mismanaged as any other industry."
And after some other comments, "You see, radio CEOs have worked darn hard to build shareholder value and everything is against them. The economy. The so-called regulators (for not allowing further deregulation). The Wall Street banks -- the ones they must repay their over leveraged debt to. Damn. Being a radio CEO or a record label exec must be a bitch these days. It's never their fault when things go to hell -- that alone should qualify them for a handout."
And later " Okay, I'll admit it. My bailout is to help my friends who are in over their heads right now trying to run local radio on Wall Street principles. I just want to help my friends." True presidential material maybe!
Now to listening suggestions starting with two BBC Podcasts - Last Saturday's "From Our Own Correspondent" that include Owen Bennett Jones on why he considers America is losing a crucial battle for hearts and minds in Pakistan and "Profile" - on Hank Paulson, the US Treasury Secretary who is currently embroiled in the biggest economic crisis of this century.
Then sticking with the BBC we go to BBC Radio 4 for some regulars - the "Afternoon Reading" slot (14:30 GMT) that this week features offbeat love stories from a variety of writers and is followed (at 14:45 GMT) by the continuing "America, Empire of Liberty" series - reasons for some of those who emigrated to the US seem remarkably similar to those of today - economic interests first followed by liberty (the comment was one that listed the price of land, low taxes, and absence of feudal overlords).
Backtracking a little with Radio 4 we also suggest last Saturday's "Let Me Entertain You", the start of a series in which John Sessions presents a series charting the history of popular entertainment in Britain, from medieval minstrels to Victorian freak shows (Available until next Saturday's edition at 09:30 GMT). Also from Saturday we suggest last week's "Archive Hour" - "The Voices in my Head" in which Julian Rhind-Tutt explores how actors react to the sounds of their own voices.
From Sunday we suggest "The Original" in which writer and journalist Alkarim Jivani asks why we value originality: The programme includes interesting comment on the decisions behind the restoration of Warsaw after it had been flattened by the German Army in a frenzy of revenge-oriented destruction in the Second World War - the issue being which Warsaw should be reconstructed and how far back it made sense to go..
From Monday we suggest "The Music Feature" - this week it looked at "Swan Lake" and the impact it has had; "Law in Action" which returned with a first programme examining the plausibility of the claim that the medieval Islamic world influenced the 13th-century foundations of English common law; "File on 4" in which Alan Urry looked at the case for linking animal cruelty with child abuse, amid concerns expressed by organisations such as the RSPCA and the NSPCC (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) that offenders may be more likely to commit both crimes. (It seems to make a good case for contributing to neither organisation until their more extreme factions are excised and a little moderation is introduced into their judgments); "Case Notes" that this week looked at the medical and psychological aspects of abortion; and "Material Girls" in which as Barbie and Madonna both turn 50, Emily Maitlis looks at the marketing, promotion and parallel development of two brands (Barbie developed from a pornographic German doll!).
After so much from Monday we skip Tuesday apart from the regular items already noted and go to Wednesday and the latest "Tracing your Roots." This issue looked at how the manner of an ancestor's death can affect family history. Later we go for "Turned out Nice Again!" in which Allan Beswick tells the remarkable story of two George Formbys - it continues on Thursday (22:30 GMT).
Also from Thursday we note the return of "In Our Time", a discussion this week on the history of miracles. Later in the day we suggest "Document- Britain's Cuban Missile Crisis" in which Mike Thomson looks at the actions of the British government during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 (19:00 GMT) and the following "In Business - Brand Wagon" in which Peter Day visits a museum of brands that failed and talks to the people trying to revive old brands from the dead" and after "Costing the Earth", this week "Hurrah for the Eco Car" a much promised but little delivered concept.
Switching to Music we go for BBC Radio 2 from Monday and "Higher and Higher...The Life and Soul of Jackie Wilson", the third of Paul Gambaccini's four-part series; Tuesday's "Living in Harmony", the sixth and final part of Russell Davies' series on close-harmony singing, and the following "Howlin' Wolf", the first of a two-part profile of the eponymous Chicago bluesman.
Then from Friday we suggest the continuing "Howard Goodall's Class Acts", the third in a six part series that this weeks looks at the Purcell School in Hertfordshire and from Saturday "Jimi Hendrix: Made in London", a look at the nine months Hendrix spent in London and moved from being an unknown to a superstar. It's part of the BBC's Guitar Stories season as was Howlin' Wolf.
As for Radio 3 we note that this week's "Performance on 3" features a number of programmes from the Edinburgh International Festival 2008 and that next Sunday's "Drama on 3" (19:00 GMT) is
"Season of Migration to the North", a dramatisation of Sudanese novelist Tayeb Salih's thriller. In the "Sunday Feature" that follows Hari Kunzru looks writers' responses to the Anarchists of the Victorian and Edwardian era.
RNW Note: We expect to expand listening suggestions later.
foneshow blog - Schwartz:
fourthspeaker - Deal:
John Gorman blog:
Harve Alan blog:
Insidemusicmedia - Del Colliano:
2008-09-24: Reprising the situation in Providence, Rhode Island a month ago when host John De Petro's family were found to have sent in Arbitron Diaries that boosted his ratings on Citadel's WPRO-AM (See RNW Aug 22), Clear Channel's San Diego XTRA Sports 1360 - the former Progressive talk KLSD-AM that switched to sports in November last year - has fired morning host Dave Palet after admitting that three Arbitron diaries had come from a household "directly linked to the household of an on-air personality on KLSD-AM."
The San Diego Union-Tribune says that the admission was in a memo sent out on Friday that said the "on-air personality in question has been removed from the on-air shift and will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal" and adds that Palet was fired on Friday afternoon.
Palet had co-hosted a talk show at the station with Jeff Dotseth since it was launched: The paper says he declined comment but his agent said he "denies all claims by Clear Channel and will pursue legal action for defamation of professional reputation."
Arbitron had announced that it had learned "that three Summer 2008 Week 2 San Diego metro diaries were returned from a media-affiliated household" and says it is to release revised ratings for the past two "Arbitrends" ratings periods covering May-July and June-August on Friday.
It noted that the station had shown substantial improvements in the reports but added, "Audience estimates for KLSD-AM may be substantially affected in particular demos and dayparts."
Previous Clear Channel:
San Diego Union-Tribune report:
2008-09-24: Former talkSPORT host James Whale, who was fired from his late-night phone-in show on the station by owner UTV after he urged his listeners to vote for Boris Johnson in the London mayoral election (See RNW May 6) has now withdrawn from legal action over the dismissal.
Whale who was subsequently hired by Global Radio to host a weekday drive time show on its LBC 97.3 (See RNW Sep 9), was quoted by the UK Guardian as saying he did not have the funds to continue the unfair dismissal claim.
He said, "I felt I deserved better than to be sacked, but the fact of the matter is that the legal system in this country precludes an individual taking on a big company. I have run out of funds and I just could not continue" and added, "I have still got a lot of friends at TalkSport and I think I have made my point. There is no point dwelling on it. I was angry at the way I was treated by the company after all that time. I feel better now because I have got it out of my system."
Whale said he had not benefited at all from the legal action.
talkSPORT management had said when it fired Whale that he had committed a "gross error of judgment" in making the comments that it said were against UK broadcasting regulations on impartiality and UTV has confirmed that it has made no payment to Whale in connection with the matter.
RNW comment: In this particular case, we suspect the judgment was little to do with lack of funds as much as that Whale's legal advice was that he did not have much chance of winning - we are sure some of the no-claims no-fee lawyers would have taken up the cudgels had his case been very strong.
In this case talkSPORT may have been more sensitive about impartiality rulings following a ruling against it by Ofcom in November last year after morning stand-in host - and Respect Party MP - George Galloway, announced his intention to stand in the next general election in the constituency of Poplar and Limehouse and also made derogatory comments about the existing MP, Jim Fitzpatrick. (See RNW Nov 20, 2007 2007-11.html#OFCOM8).
Galloway, however was not fired - he currently hosts a call-in show on talkSPORT from 22:00 to 01:00 on Friday and Saturday nights - so Whale has a point about the severity of the action against him, weakened by the fact he should have been aware of the ruling against Galloway's comments, but probably nowhere near enough of one to win his case.
Previous Global Radio:
UK Guardian report:
2008-09-24: UK Media regulator Ofcom which recently allowed Chelmsford/Mid Essex Dream 107.7 FM to reduce the number of hours of output it produces locally and replace a daily weekday news/news magazine/interview hour centred on local activity with a daily locally focussed music and speech programme has now allowed its new owners to move it Chelmsford and co-locate with new sister station Southend Radio some 20 miles (32 km) away.
Southend's owner Adventure Radio recently bought the loss-making station from Tindle Radio (who had made the co-location request) and say the change will not affect the services offered in the station's transmission area.
2008-09-23: Triton Media's Dial Global - it has now rebranded the former Jones Networks shows that it acquired in June (See RNW Jun 20) under the Dial Global name, took the top ratings in Arbitron's RADAR 98 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience rankings just released by Arbitron covering the period June 28, 2007 to June 25, 2008.
Its Contemporary Network moved into top spot swapping ranks with its MAI Adult Power (formerly Jones Adult Power) network. The rebranding was less successful for ABCRN (Formerly ABC Radio Networks but now rebranded by Citadel) as its top ranking networks lost listeners although the ABCRN Daytime Direction Network retained third rank.
Amongst other networks, Westwood One had a successful period with its WON1 Network and Westwood CBS News Day Network both gaining listeners - the former retained fifth rank and the latter moved up from 12th to eighth as it gained 262,000 listeners and took share up from 1.6 to 1.7: Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Network fell back again and had no contender in the top ten - its Morning Drive Network was pushed down a rank to 11th as its listening fell by 123,000 to 3.892 million and average rating dropped from 1.6 to 1.5.
The top five networks in the survey were:
1 - Dial-Global Contemporary Network, which gained 222,000 listeners and moved up from second with an average audience of 6.660 million and an average rating up from 2.5% to 2.6%
2- Dial Global (formerly Jones) MAI Adult Power which lost 233,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 6.477 million and an average rating unchanged at 2.6%
3 - ABCRN Daytime Direction Network (Formerly ABC Radio Networks), which lost 89,000 listeners and fell from second to third with an average audience of 6.074 million and an average rating unchanged at 2.4%
4 - Dial Global Complete FM Network, which gained 9,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.773 million and an unchanged average rating of 2.3%
5- Westwood WON I Network, which gained 131,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.583 million and an average rating unchanged at 2.2%
*Premiere Networks highest ranked offering is the Premiere Morning Drive Network in 11th rank which lost 123,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 3.892 million and an average rating of 1.6%
Previous Citadel (Formerly Disney)/ABC, America:
Previous Premiere Radio Networks:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 97):
Previous Westwood One:
2008-09-23: UK Channel 4 has announced that it is to cut another 150 or so posts from its current headcount of some 1,000 jobs in what it terms in a release an "accelerated efficiency drive in response to GBP 50 million shortfall in 2008."
The company says the move is being made in "response to an advertising downturn that is forecast to reduce its budgeted revenues by GBP 50 million (USD 92.8 million) this year" and says that its latest cost reduction announced to staff today involved cutting its programme spending by more than GBP 25 million (USD 46.4 million) on top of which it says it has "identified a further GBP 25 million of savings in 2008 from all other areas including marketing, new business investment, new media and general overheads."
It made no reference to its Channel 4 radio plans and although a spokesman has said it remains committed to the venture he added that all costs are being evaluated.
Channel 4 said it will "offer voluntary redundancies and consult staff on other ways to minimise compulsory job losses " and Chief Executive Andy Duncan said of the cuts, "Channel 4 has outperformed its competitors in recent years but the economic downturn is now affecting the entire media industry. Our objective as a public organisation is to operate at break even while maximising creative investment. With revenues falling, we've no alternative but to cut costs. My particular regret is the impact of these job losses amongst our skilled and dedicated workforce."
Previous Channel 4:
2008-09-22: CBS, which announced when it issued its second quarter results that, having already sold 39 of its radio stations in ten smaller markets, it was to sell 50 stations in mid-sized markets (See RNW Jul 31), has now started on the sale process.
Bids are being invited for stations in markets such as Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and San Diego and bids are expected from radio companies including Bonneville, Cumulus and Entercom - Citadel appears to be ruled out by its problems following its purchase of ABC Radio.
There were suggestions that CBS might sell off its entire radio holding but earlier this month its President and Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, speaking at the annual Merrill Lynch Fall Media Preview in Marina Del Rey, California, has told investors that his company plans to remain in radio although he did not close the door on an eventual sale (See RNW Sep 10).
2008-09-22: Arbitron has responded to Democrat Senators Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) and Patrick Leahy (Vermont) who wrote to the company's Chairman, President and CEO Steve Morris expressing their concerns about the potential impact of expansion of the commercialization of its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings by emphasising the importance the company attaches to Media Rating Council approval of the system.
Inouye and Leahy in their letter had expressed concern that the PPM ratings could have an adverse effect on ownership diversity, which they call a "core tenet of broadcast policy."
They cited in this regard requests for an inquiry into PPM methodology from the FCC Advisory Committee on Diversity (Later voided by the agency See RNW Jul 8) and the PPM Coalition (See RNW Sep 4) and the investigations started by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (See RNW Sep 11) and his New Jersey counterpart Anne Milgram (See RNW Sep 16).
The Senators echoed the calls of others in saying that it was "vital that the use of any new survey methodology be accurate and fair prior to commercialization" and they noted MRC accreditation in Houston, adding that such accreditation helps "to assuage many of the concerns raised by broadcasters" and added that they "strongly encourage you to continue working with the MRC toward accreditation in all markets in which Arbitron plans to commercialize PPM as the sole ratings method" and noted that the MRC Voluntary Code of Conduct discourages discontinuing an accredited method, like the diary, until its replacement is accredited.
Morris in his response says Arbitron is "pleased" that the Senators "recognize the pre-eminent role of the Media Rating Council process as the driving force for quality improvements in the ratings services that the media industry counts on" and said it would "continue to follow the minimum requirements of the MRC Voluntary Code of Conduct and will continuously strive to improve PPM radio ratings services."
"Throughout the deployment of the Portable People Meter ratings services, Arbitron has voluntarily briefed elected officials on many aspects of PPM radio ratings," he continued in a statement. "We will keep Senator Inouye and Senator Leahy informed of our plans, progress and continuing efforts to deliver PPM radio ratings services that are valid, fair and representative of the diversity of the radio markets we measure."
He concluded, "Broadcasters have long called for the adoption of a more precise and credible audience measurement tool. They want to meet the increasing demands of advertisers who have called on radio to adopt a more accountable radio ratings system in top markets that would be on par with those of other media."
Previous Media Rating Council:
2008-09-22: Clear Channel spent more than USD 1 million on lobbying in the second quarter of this year according to a report filed to the US House of Representatives and Senate.
The funding is around 31% more than the company spent in the first quarter of the year and takes the total spent so far this year to some USD 1.82 million compared to some USD 2.45 million for all of last year.
Broadcasting issues that excised the company include the Sirius XM merger, a possible return of FCC Fairness Rules, local radio ownership rules and Low Power FM, and broadcast indecency.
RNW: Naïve of us as the US economy falters thanks to at the best to immorality and foolishness by not just the financial sector but also wide rang of US residents and companies, but we cannot see that US society as a whole benefits from most of this spending. If it's a matter of preparing sound arguments and presenting them to lawmakers we reckon a tenth of this would suffice: The rest has to veer towards the area of corruption of the aforesaid lawmakers.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-09-22: Shares in international satellite operator 1WorldSpace more than doubled on Friday - rising from a Thursday close of 85 cents to USD 1.71 following an announcement that it has agreed in principle to defer until Sept 25 its obligation to pay USD 19.97 million in principal amount of its Bridge Loan Notes, plus accrued but unpaid interest due on the Bridge Loan Notes, which was payable on Sept. 15.
The company said that during a forbearance period it is "working on developing a comprehensive operational and financial restructuring plan for addressing both its immediate and longer term financing requirements" and intends to present this plan to the four holders of the notes on or before Sep 25.
The agreement also paves the way for the company's founder and current CEO and Chairman Noah Samara to step down, including agreement in principle to "use its reasonable best efforts to appoint a Chief Restructuring Officer acceptable to the Holders no later than Sept. 30."
Samara has also agreed that if all the amounts due are not paid by Sep 25 he will if asked to step down from these positions by the end of the month although he will remain a director of the company.
WorldSpace said the agreement was "subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, which the Company believes will be satisfied before close of business" on Friday but did not detail these and said it had retained The Bank Street Group as its special restructuring adviser to assist in developing the plan.
As well as missing various debt payments WorldSpace has mortgaged virtually all of its assets and also is reported to have not paid staff.
2008-09-21: Last week was very quiet for the regulators as regards radio with no announcements from Australia, only one in Canada and not many more elsewhere: In Canada the posting from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was approval of an application by Parrsboro Radio Society for a 50 watts low-power Type B community FM radio programming undertaking in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.
Programming to be offered will be primarily popular music but also with a local and regional news content of such events as town council meetings and high school sporting events.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) posting also related to community radio - the advertising for expressions of interest for licences for "community or community of interest" radio services (See RNW Sep 18).
It was a similar picture in the UK where Ofcom, as well as reserving a decision on a UTV application to co-locate its Head of the Valleys station with two other stations (See RNW Sep 20), also approved a further community licence and posted its Community Radio Fund end of year report for 2007/08.
The licence awarded went to Corby Radio, which is offering "a community-focussed radio station, strong on local issues and news combined with popular music for all tastes, genres and ages."
In the Community Radio Report Ofcom noted that in two rounds of applications for grants from the Community Radio Fund, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport had made available GBP 465000 (USD 851,000) in funding to a total of 34 stations, only two of which had received previous awards, plus an additional GBP 35,000 (USD 64,000) for alternative media projects.
In all 84 stations had applied for a total of GBP 3.17 million (USD 5.80 million) of which GBP 1.79 million ( USD 3.28 million) related to the first round for which payments totalled just under GBP 305,000 (USD 558,000) and GBP 1.37 million (USD 2.51 million) in the second round. The grants paid varied from GBP 5,000 (USD 9,200) to GBP 16,000 (USD 29,300) and averaged GBP 13,676 (approx USD 25,000) compared to an average GBP 20,749 (Approx USD 38,000) in relation to which Ofcom noted that in 2006/07 the total available to the fund following a large underspend in the previous two years was GBP 830,000 (USD 1.47 million).
It also noted feedback from stations that indicated considerable success where grants had been made for fundraising or business development posts where in 2006/07 the average grant was GBP 18,500 (USD 33,900) and the average return GBP 101,000 (USD 185,000).
In relation to the amounts available Ofcom said the chairman of the Community Fund Panel in a meeting with the Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism had said that because of the growth in the community radio sector it was now difficult to adequately fund stations' core costs adding that the size of the fund meant that it was only possible to provide short-term support to successful stations (typically for one year), and that a number of worthwhile applicants were rejected due to a lack of available funds.
Ofcom also published further media literacy research this time concerning the attitudes of ethnic minority groups in the UK - the research was amongst the four largest ethnic groups - Indians, Pakistanis, Black Caribbeans and Black Africans - and showed them to be leading the way on digital device take-up and use with high levels of mobile phone, internet and multichannel television take-up.
Despite this it says many lacked confidence about finding content online, a lower level of online shopping or banking, and it also noted a higher level of concern about "offensive material" on television, mobile phones, gaming and radio. In terms or radio it said ethnic minority groups are approximately three times as likely to mention concerns about poor quality content or offensive content with Black Caribbean adults the most likely to mention a concern (42 per cent compared to 12 per cent among the UK population in general).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has posted latest licensed station numbers (See RNW Sep 20) and the two Republican Commissioners addressing the National Religious Broadcasters Capitol Hill Media Summit have praised the diversity of current US media sources (See RNW Sep 18).
The week also saw the first petition opposing the Sirius XM merger: It came from Mt Wilson FM Broadcasters which says the conditions imposed should be tougher and re-iterates previous arguments that the company should be subject to the same penalties as terrestrial radio in connection with "the use of unauthorized frequencies to air indecent programming."
In various enforcement actions the FCC has:
*Issued a USD 8,000 forfeiture to Mark V. Aulabaugh, licensee of KSEY AM and FM, Seymour, Texas, for failure to maintain and make available complete public inspection files.
It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount in June to which there was no response, leading it to confirm the penalty.
*Issued a USD 1,000 forfeiture to New World, L.L.C., licensee of KZTD-AM, Cabot, Arkansas, for failure to maintain and make available a public inspection file. It had initially issued an NAL for USD 10,000 to which New World responded requesting reduction or cancellation because it had only become the licensee five months before the FFC investigation that uncovered the failure and also on the grounds of financial hardship. The FCC rejected the first argument but on the basis of documentation provided cut the penalty to USD 1,000.
*Cancelled USD 18,000 NAL issued in June to 16 years old "John Doe" of Key Largo, Florida, for operating radio transmission equipment without a license in Largo, Florida, on the International Distress, Safety and Calling Channel and transmission of false signals of distress.
The FCC, which has admonished "Doe", noted that in August last year he confessed to an officer with the Largo Police Department that had stole a marine radio from a boat and used it to make five false distress/mayday calls to the USCG from his bedroom. The police, who arrested him on charges unrelated to the distress calls, confiscated one marine radio, two CB radios, and a marine battery from Mr. Doe's bedroom and a whip antenna from outside his bedroom window and he had responded to the FCC expresses sincere remorse for his actions and requests reduction or cancellation of the forfeiture, because it would pose a financial hardship. The FCC in cancelling the financial penalty noted that Doe stated that he had never had a job, has no sources of income, and has been in custody in a juvenile detention facility since February this year.
In aTexas contested licence related actions the FCC had dismissed a motion by Cameron Broadcasting Company seeking reconsideration of approval of an application by BMP Austin License Company, L.P. to move its KXBT-FM, Dripping Springs, to Bee Cave.
At the time it filed its application KXBT was the sole operational station in Dripping although Educational Media Foundation held a construction permit for Station KLLR-FM there that was near completion.
Cameron had subsequently filed an application to move its KMIL-FM (formerly KNVR-FM) from Cameron to Thrall, an application that it said was mutually exclusive with BMP's application, and it argued that BMP's reliance on the KLLR construction permit constituted an illegal "backfill" proposal.
FCC staff had dismissed this objection and granted the application but the FCC agreed with Cameron's contention that BMP's reliance on the KLLR construction permit constituted an unacceptable backfill proposal. It added, however, that this did not render BMP's application "fatally defective" and that the staff decision had properly concluded, any Application defects were cured, prior to the staff's processing the Application when KLLR commenced service in Dripping Springs because BMP's community of license modification would no longer result in the loss of that community's sole local service.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-09-20: UK media regulator Ofcom has decided hold off making a decision about co-location of UTV's Valleys Radio outside its licensed area (The Heads of the South Wales Valleys) into the Neath/Port Talbot area, where the company proposes to house its sister stations, Swansea Sound and The Wave but it has put the matter out for public consultation.
Ofcom's criteria for such moves relate to smaller stations where cost-sharing with a neighbouring station might alleviate some of the pressure and consider such matters as the distance between areas, cultural affinity, size of station and financial issues.
In the case of Valleys Radio its has a Measured Coverage Area of 475,315 compared to the 250,000 for which Ofcom's guidelines suggest there could be a stronger case for co-location although it will also consider requests involving larger stations in exceptional circumstances.
The consultation is being offered to UTV to see if it can establish that such conditions exist in this case and responses have to be submitted by October 17.
UTV has not yet settled a final location for its South Wales Media Centre on which it plans to spend GBP 430,000 (USD 787,000) and in which it wishes to locate the station but its chosen location is some 15 miles - 25 by road - from the Neath/Port Talbot area boundary.
Valleys radio has been an AM station but Ofcom has approved a change that will allow it to broadcast using a mix of AM and FM transmitters and UTV argues in its application that the move will not alter the character of the service - a "focused music and information station for the Valleys" - and that listeners will only hear improvements in the service.
It says it will continue its link with the local newspaper the Cynon Valley Leader that also carries a weekly Valleys Radio column as does the Gwent Gazette and will not change the frequency of its bulletins. It adds that Valleys Radio's programme policy, finance, engineering, IT, evening and overnight programming and commercial production have all always been delivered from Swansea as for the last eight years has its news output and says that the move would mean that its centralised news facility will be nine miles closer to Valleys Radio's existing location than it is now.
It also says that over the past four years the station has seen its reach halve and listening hours have gone down by 60% with a consequent effect on its competitive impact and finances and puts the fall down to the introduction by the BBC and GMG's Real Radio of a number of FM transmitters in its core area, the reason that it also sought permission to invest in a chain of FM transmitters in the area. The station has moved it says from a net profit of GBP 243,000 (USD 445,000) in 2004 to a GBP 90,000 (USD 165,000) loss in 2007 with a loss of GBP 157,000 (USD 287,000) forecast for this year.
The co-location it says will help to "financially facilitate this investment" and "will be an extremely important step forward for the development of local radio in the area and the maintenance of fair and effective competition" and it adds that in part the problems of the station are "attributable to the poor location and condition of the Valleys Radio building."
2008-09-20: Figures just released by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) show that at the end of June the US had a total of 29,690 licensed broadcast stations, up 97 on the total at the end of last year but down 14 on the total at the end of March (We are unable to give the year-on-year figures as the FCC does not appear to have posted them. They are not on their station totals web site and we did not receive them when we queried the FCC last year).
Within the figures, the number of licensed radio stations, excluding LPFM stations, at the end of June was 14,124, up 147 since the end of last year and up 121 since the end of March: of these 6382 were commercial FMs - up 73 since the end of last year and up 66 since the end of March; 4778 were commercial AMs - up two on the figure at the end of last year and unchanged since the end of March; and 2964 were Educational FMs, up 72 from the figure at the end of last year and up 51 from that at the end of March.
The number of LPFM stations was 839, up six since the end of last year and the same as at the end of March.
Previous FCC station numbers:
2008-09-19: Westwood One has now joined the ranks of companies receiving a de-listing warning because its stock has been below USD 1 at closing for more than 30 days: After hovering around USD 1.10 for a while it dropped to USD 1 on Aug 15 and after then being below a dollar touched the figure again on Aug 20 after which it dropped to a low of 49 cents on Sept 17 although it has recovered a little to end the week at 63 cents.
In a release the company says that it intends to cure the deficiency although it cannot guarantee that it will do so within the six months cure period allowed by the New York Stock Exchange.
Before the de-listing announcement the company had given further details of cutbacks at its Metro Networks traffic division that it says it expects to reduce operating costs by USD 25-30 million a year when fully implemented.
Under the plan, detailed at a conference call with President and CEO Tom Beusse and newly-installed CFO Rod Sherwood, the company is to structure itself around 13 hub markets instead of its existing 60 regional centres, a change Sherwood said would "more fully leverages our new digital technologies." 18 of the moves are to take place in the final quarter of this year with the whole move to be completed by mid 2009. Management of the company's sales staff, currently handled from its New York HQ, will come under managers in eight of the hubs.
Despite a staff reduction of 15% Sherwood said customers would get a service that would not be interrupted and could improve local traffic information because of digital technology. He added that the company would also restructure other areas to deal with unprofitable activities and Beusse added of this, "Networks are largely collections of programs so we have a portfolio, and some of those programs have been with us for a long time, and some have not been with us for so long. When you walk into a company, you inherit some deals you wouldn't have done."
Of the changes relating to sales staff, who previously worked on either local traffic or network sales, Beusse said they would all now be trained to sell all of its services, commenting, "It's more sophistication, more locally, and better efficient use of 135 sellers, which should be a monster sales force, but has been a very small sales force based on the way we've deployed it."
Previous Westwood One:
2008-09-19: Canadian radio listening fell last year according to latest figures from Statistics Canada that say on average listening in the fall totalled 18.3 hours a week, down from 18.6 hours a year earlier and 20.5 hours in 1999.
The fall occurred in all provinces except Prince Edward Island and Manitoba with listening (figures for an 18 plus demographic) highest in Prince Edward Island at 20.1 hours followed by Manitoba at 18.8 hours and then Newfoundland, Ontario and Alberta, each with 18.6 hours, although English-speaking households in Quebec listened for 19.6 hours with the province's total brought down to 18.5 hours because French-speaking households there listened for only 18.4 hours.
In demographic terms teenage listening (12-17) was significantly lower than any other demographic at 7.2 hours overall and ranging from a low of 5.9 hours each in Nova Scotia and French-speaking homes in Quebec to a high of nine hours in Alberta.
Overall it was highest amongst females aged 65 and over with the highest listening amongst this group of 25.4 hours in Newfoundland albeit males 50-64 in Prince Edward Island topped the provincial listening ranks with 26.4 hours and highest female listening was 25.6 hours by females 25-34 in Prince Edward Island.
In format terms adult contemporary was the most successful, attracting 22.7% of all listening time followed by gold/oldies/rock music (14.3%) and the CBC/Radio-Canada (12.4%). AC's highest share was in New Brunswick (37.3%) followed by 27.8% in Quebec and 27.0% in Ontario whilst amongst other formats the highest share was of 35.9% for country in Saskatchewan.
Previous Statistics Canada:
2008-09-18: US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO David Rehr in his "State of the Industry" speech at this year's NAB Radio Show in Austin Texas has attacked what he terms "negativism" that threatens to paralyze the industry.
Rehr commenced by saying that the industry was at a "very critical juncture" and continued, "Never before has our business faced so many challenges - a rapidly changing media landscape that makes us feel unsure and unbalanced, turbulent economic conditions that impact our bottom lines, and regulatory and legislative hurdles that threaten the way we conduct our business. This is a tough world that radio broadcasters are operating in today."
He then went on, "But there's a greater issue that I want to address that's, frankly, more troubling.
In fact, I believe it's something that could possibly jeopardize the future of this entire business. I'm talking about the negativity that's pervading the radio business and threatens to paralyze us. It's not surprising that some of you may be feeling this pessimism. It's like a dark cloud hanging over our heads. And we feel bombarded by negative - and often false - messages about radio that reinforce these feelings."
"We hear," said Rehr, "that radio is obsolete, that it's not adapting fast enough to the digital age. We hear that listenership and revenues are declining. We hear that people don't value radio as they once did. But what we're not hearing enough are the stories of radio's successes."
Amongst these he mentioned the weekly total of some 235 million listeners, up some million a year before (RNW comment: As we have previously noted the figure is without meaning unless you also give figures for the increase in US population but then Rehr is a salesman rather than purporting to give an unbiased and accurate report on the state of an industry whose revenues were down 11% last month according to the RAB);and the fact that people spend more time with radio than on the Internet or reading newspapers.
Radio said Rehr, in order to "move forward and build a successful future" had to "commit to spreading the positive news about radio" mentioning in this context the developments in technology in the form of "HD radio and new delivery devices" - HD he said has "amazing possibilities " including more niche channels - and "an effort to increase the number of FM radio receivers in cell phone handsets" [RNW note: Rehr says this could reach "an additional 260 million consumers" - so let's see 235 million a week already plus 260 million makes 495 million whereas the latest figure on a quick check from the US Census Bureau is an estimated US population just above USD 305 million. Later he says "Radio reaches everyone - 93 percent of Americans listen each week" - so everyone is nearly everyone and as Humpty Dumpty said to Alice "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less. ... When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less. ..." Need we go on? Against this background the man should always be regarded as spouting drivel unless there is evidence to the contrary- his prepared speech can be found on the NAB web site for anyone who wants to read it all!].
NAB web site - Rehr keynote address:
2008-09-18: Republican Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Robert McDowell has attacked proposals for increased reporting requirements for broadcasters and defended the current state of US media as "more robust and competitive than ever."
Speaking to the National Religious Broadcasters Capitol Hill Media Summit at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. he said, "At times the explosion of new content appears to be overwhelming: billions of new sources connected through the Internet; hundreds of cable channels; even more content on satellite TV and radio; MP3 players; and, of course, thousands of radio and TV stations, plus much, much more. In fact, there's so much content out there that teenagers created a text messaging acronym to describe this information flood: "TMI," or "too much information."
In this context he asked, " why are policymakers like us at the FCC unearthing decades-old mandates to re-impose on radio and TV stations? Didn't we think that they were safely slumbering away in their crypts for all eternity? Why is the FCC considering overburdening the traditional electronic media precisely at this crucial moment in history when broadcasters face more competition than ever before?" and continued by saying of what he termed an "apparent new era of media re-regulation" that "with top-line revenue falling, I know that many small broadcasters can ill afford to shoulder the costs of obligations that were deemed obsolete years ago."
His Republican colleague Deborah Taylor Tate also spoke at the summit of the effect of technological change in providing additional choice, commenting, "Americans have more choices in devices, applications, internet and broadband providers in a cross-platform, digital, virtual world anytime, anywhere. There are over 260 million cell phone users in the US; wireless now outpaces wireline; cost is down, minutes of use are up, and can you imagine that "ringtones" are a USD 3 billion dollar business worldwide."
She then went on to speak of a downside of "broadcast decency, internet safety, and childhood obesity" and as regards broadcasters added, "As you may know, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours a week watching television. Even during the "family hour," a 2007 study found that 75% of the programs aired contained foul language, and 90% of the programs contained some type of objectionable content. A Zogby poll found that 79% of respondents thought that television contained too much sex, violence, and coarse language. I can think of no other national issue on which there is this level of agreement. Americans want family-friendly programming and I applaud the NRB members that have created more family-friendly choices."
RNW comment: Whilst on the surface unobjectionable the comments seem to us to miss some very important points. As far as information is concerned the major traditional sources - local broadcasters and newspapers have cut back on much cover - particularly political coverage leaving much more to the two main news agencies AP and Reuters and to put it bluntly although the Internet may provide hundreds of thousands of articles in response to a search it is frequently impossible to narrow this down to verifiable sources -much is just comment and blether from a prejudged position. The much vaunted explosion of information is thus in many cases a delusion and worse than useless and we would love the power to put McDowell and Tate in a room with a computer and internet access but only water (no food) and then give them a dozen or so stories to check out with only two options -public recantation or starvation unless they succeeded in doing a proper verification. We suspect the response would be two recanting commissioners.
As regards Tate's call about the demand for "family-friendly programming" this is one area in which the market can easily determine the accuracy of her statements. If it is indeed what is wanted, as opposed to what people say they want, ratings and cable channel purchases will soon lead to changes. We suspect that again she is talking out of a portion of her anatomy she wouldn't want to mention on air.
2008-09-18: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised for expressions of interest for licences for "community or community of interest" radio services, a new phase in the development of community radio services in the country.
Commenting on the adverts BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe noted that it had last sought interests in such licences in 2005 since when "there has been a significant increase in the number of groups who have chosen to avail of temporary licences in order to pilot community services."
He added, "We feel that it is appropriate therefore to seek expressions of interest on a national basis in order to inform discussions on a new community radio licensing plan."
Expressions of interest have to be sent to the BCI by October 23rd and its web site has links to the Commission's Guidelines for the Submission of Expressions of Interest to aid those interested.
2008-09-18: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has appointed Toronto-born former Much Music, CHUM and Sony Music Canada executive Denise Donlon as executive director of CBC English Radio: She is to take up the post on Sept 29 and will succeed interim executive director Susan Mitton who took over after Jennifer McGuire who left the post in May.
As with recent changes to CBC Radio 2 that lessened its commitment to classical music (See RNW Aug 20), the appointment has led to numerous posts on the CBC's site and those of Canadian newspapers suggesting that the move will dumb down the corporation because her history is of posts serving a younger demographic than the current audience.
Richard Stursberg, executive vice- president of CBC English Services, said in a statement, "Denise is without question one of the broadcasting industry's most talented and dynamic organizational leaders. She is both a proven administrator, and team builder, and a champion of creativity, artistic excellence and social responsibility. Her media experience and knowledge will complement and strengthen the mandate of CBC Radio, which is to engage all Canadians through its unique position as a non-commercial national public radio service."
Donlon in a CBC interview after her appointment defended the Radio 2 changes terming the station a "fabulous showcase for Canadian artists ", said she was a strong believer in public broadcasting and added, "It really has to do with who we are as Canadians, to have this public discourse and the depth of coverage. If you're a curious listener who's interested in many things, as I am ... you come to CBC Radio because that's where you can hear that broad range."
In another interview she told the Toronto Star, "I'm a huge fan of CBC Radio. All the programs and personalities I admire are here. It was too exciting a proposition not to engage. It's a bold time for public broadcasting in Canada, with lots of brave changes, new energy and new talent. I'm loving it."
Toronto Star report:
2008-09-17: US radio revenues in August have fallen even further than in July and the first half - down 11% overall compared to down 6% and 5% respectively to the US Radio Advertising Bureau.
Yet again the only bright spot was off air where there was a 10% increase in August compared to an 11% fall in local revenues, a 14% fall in national revenues, and a 12% fall in local and national revenues combined.
Previous RAB (First half and July figures):
2008-09-17: Emmis is slashing the salaries of a 64 executives to USD 15,000 with bonuses to be paid on top based on performance targets according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Feder adds that the bonuses will come from the USD 41 million Emmis received from its sale of WVUE-TV in New Orleans.
Emmis has just declared a dividend of USD 0. 78125 per share on its 6.25% convertible preferred stock (one share is convertible to 2.44 shares of Emmis Class A Common Stock) to be paid on October 15.
In other Chicago radio news Feder also reports that cutbacks to its Metro Networks/Shadow Broadcast Services by Westwood One -part of the first wave of overall layoffs that are intended to cut the company's employee umbers by 15%, some 300 people - has put at least five staffers our of a job including were news bureau chief Perry Williams, reporter/editor Tom Gaines (known on the air as Tom Kelly), and reporters Jill Urchak, Bill Souronis and Dan Levy, most of whom had been with Westwood one for a decade or more.
Westwood One has also announced the appointment as Chief Financial Officer of Rod Sherwood, previously with the Gores Group LLC, where he was Chief Financial Officer, Operations . Gores has invested USD 100 million in the company (See RNW Jun 20).
Sherwood takes over from Gary Yusko, who is leaving Westwood One "to pursue other opportunities" according to the company.
Back in Chicago, Feder also says that Arbitron's PPM is set to boost Bonneville. Preliminary figures he says show that its classic hits WDRV-FM (The Drive) tops the ranks for the 25-54 demographic with its hot adult-contemporary WTMX-FM (The Mix) in second rank and its adult-contemporary WILV-FM moving up to 13th and overtaking Clear Channel Radio's onetime format leader WLIT-FM.
For the 18-49 demographic Feder says Bonneville still retains the lead but the Mix is first and the Drive second.
Overall Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM tops the ranks for listeners 12 and older followed by the Drive, Citadel's oldies WLS-FM, CBS Radio's WBBM-AM, and Citadel's WLS-AM. Clear Channel's urban contemporary WGCI-FM has plunged to 19th place: In the Spring Ratings, the last under the diary system, WGN was top ranked with a 6.3 share, with WGCI not far behind at 6.0.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Tribune Co.:
Previous Westwood One:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder columns:
2008-09-17: This week - rather belatedly thanks to pressures of other work - we devote our look at print comment on radio to reports on the potential impact of the current financial crisis on Sirius XM which, as we reported on Sep 10 has a number of refinancing deadlines in 2009.
Writing in Seeking Alpha before the US government decided to bail out the banks, Tyler Savery notes that in all Sirius XM has around USD 1 billion in debt it would like to re-finance and continues, "In current markets that represents challenges for Sirius XM Radio. While they may have some offers, they are likely at rates that the company would rather not have."
He then asks "what viable solutions are available?" and suggests the first thing it needs to do is generate as much cash as it can from its 19 million or so subscribers to put itself "in a position to either better negotiate with lenders, or better yet pay down that debt" and mentions in this context its "Best of" offers that would allow customers of either Sirius or XM to add the "Best of" the other for USD 4.99 a month. That, as he notes, would put USD 76 million into the companies coffers if it were to offer a one-year limited offer of USD 40 upfront rather than the USD 60 it would cost on a monthly basis. In similar vein he suggests that offering an opportunity to pre-pay a year of service for USD 100 (USD 155 on a monthly basis) to the fifth of subscribers who are already on a one year or longer plan could add USD 380 million and if it tempts 500,000 others take the total up to USD 430 million.
Add to that a special deal on the family plan - Savery suggests that offering a year of a second subscription (USD 6.99 a month or USD 84 a year) for USD 60 could add a further USD 30 million if it attracts 500,000 takers - taking the total upfront to some USD 536 million.
Such a move as he notes carries the risks of devaluing the product which is why it would have to run for a "for a very limited time and for a very specific reason" - the merged programming to be launched on October 5th he suggests would be an opportunity for such an offer to run through October.
On the downside he notes that such pre-payments are deferred revenue and thus a liability on financial statements and will also impact future cash flow but the goal behind the move would be "to increase the cash position to an extent where Sirius XM Radio is no longer at the mercy of the financial institutions, and can negotiate from a position of strength" in a situation where as he puts it the option is "taking a whack on the chin in the way of high interest rates on borrowed money OR creating a bit of unsettlement in the financial statements for a quarter or two."
The article attracted a number of sympathetic responses one of which, written from the point of view of a subscriber-stockholder, suggests that if they got together they might be able to buy the company outright and adds "I'm not sure how this would happen or if it even could, but I'd rather invest more in the co. than let someone else have it for peanuts, and lose what I've got invested in it now." It attracted support from other subscriber shareholders.
In a Business News Network blog headed "You can't be Sirius", Mark Bunting took a look at the company from a different angle, that of it now being a "penny stock."
"How did this happen?" he asks. "The recently completed merger of Sirius and XM was supposed to create a stronger company. Subscribers would be combined, costs would be cut and investors would flock to the stock."
He then goes on to note the same issues of re-financing including the USD 300 million in convertible bonds that has to be re-financed by February and also the problems that the company potentially faces because it is heavily reliant on the U.S. auto industry that will be "in the doldrums for the foreseeable future."
Bunting does not come up with suggestions for the company, noting instead what it is doing with its "Best of "offer and also the effect on Howard Stern's USD 500 million five-year contact - he notes that Stern has stock that has fallen from USD 220 million two years ago to below USD 30 million - a price that he says makes for a possible "serious bargain."
In the Washington Post Cecilia Kang notes the fall in Sirius XM's share price and the pressures of re-financing, quoting Standard and Poore's analyst Tuna Amobi as saying "The last few days on Wall Street has really drilled home the fact that the credit crunch is not abating and, if anything, it is exacerbating, and that creates a lot of concern" although he also takes the view that Sirius SM is a value buy at levels below a dollar.
Amobi's view was backed by April Horace of Janco Securities who rated the stock as a "cautious buy" at current levels, noting of the problems of raising funds, "Every bank you thought you could get money out of is either closing its doors or being sold."
Sirius XM's problems were also the subject of a Wall Street Journal report by Sarah McBride who notes regrets by CEO Mel Karmazin about his comments at an investor conference about the difficulty of re-financing on reasonable terms in the current situation.
"Am I going to lend the company the money?" Mr. Karmazin asked. "I hope not. I hope we don't get to that."
Of those comments he said, "I wish I didn't say it. I tend to be candid. I said something off-handed. I wish it was as simple as that."
Karmazin is already meeting banks about replacing the USD 300 million of convertible bonds due in February with bank debt but wants favourable terms and he commented that given its current low stock price he would love to take the company private although he was unsure about how the money could be found in the current state of the credit market.
After this on to other radio and listening suggestions starting with a regular, BBC Radio 3's "The Essay" (22:00) series that this week is on Excess, a look by Adam Phillips at whether human appetites are by nature excessive; the problems of addiction; excessive sexual desire; self-destructive behaviour; and religious excess.
We'd also note that Monday's "Night Waves" preceding The Essay featured Philip Roth talking to Philip Dodd and "Jazz on 3" afterwards - one of a number of programmes originating in various Edinburgh Festivals - featured David Murray's Black Saint Quartet at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival.
To end our Radio 3 suggestions we then go for next weekend with "Opera on 3" on Saturday (17:00 GMT) - HK Gruber conducts the RSNO (Royal Scottish National Orchestra) in Weill and Brecht's anti-capitalist political satire "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny" and from Sunday "Drama on 3" (19:00 GMT) - "A Disappearing Number", a play about our compulsion to understand, exploring mathematics and creativity- and the following "Sunday Feature" - "Remember, Remember" in which Susan Blackmore explores how we are outsourcing the memory of our lives to digital devices.
Then to BBC Radio 2 and Monday night's "Living in Harmony", the fifth of a six part series on close-harmony singing, and "Street Corner Soul", the final part of the four part story of doo-wop.
On Thursday "Bob Harris Country" (18:00 GMT) comes from Nashville on the day of the 7th Americana Music Association Awards and on Friday we suggest the second of "Howard Goodall's Class Acts", this week featuring LIPA (The Liverpool Academy of Performing Arts) and Ysgol Glanaethwy, the performing arts school in Bangor, Wales.
Then to BBC Radio 4 and from our past few days listening we suggest Sunday's "And The Academy Award Goes To...One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" and from during the week the usual "Afternoon Reading" (14:30GMT) that features featuring new and classic stories from collections all currently available and in print and the following "America, Empire of Liberty" series that charts the history of America. It was preceded on Monday morning by a debate presented by Justin Webb to launch the series.
From Monday evening we then suggest one of a number of business-economy related programmes -"The Credit Crunch Mess, What's Next", another debate, and from Thursday (08:00 GMT) "the City", the second in Jeff Randall's look at the City of London as a financial centre. Last week's programme, on the site until then, had an interview with Barclay's chief executive that in view of subsequent events is worthy going back to and this week's programme looks at Futures and Options.
From Tuesday we suggest "Great Lives" - this week featuring Field Marshal Bill Slim, leader of the Burma Campaign, who was nominated by General Sir Mike Jackson, former Head of the British Army and "File on 4" on a new and potentially fatal strain of the MRSA bacteria.
From Wednesday we go for three programmes starting with "Case Notes" in which Dr Mark Porter discussed with Dr Anne Szarewski HPV, a family of viruses that cause verrucas, warts and cervical cancer and plans to vaccinate girls before they become sexually active against two sexually-transmitted viruses that cause the majority of cervical cancers
On a more positive note the 17:30 GMT comedy slot had "Mark Watson Makes the World Substantially Better" on the subject of virtue and humility and in the late evening (picked up whilst driving to a shift - isn't radio a wonderful medium) "American Dreams" that after a depressing story on Tuesday of Michigan (Detroit house prices down 72%, a six-bedroom house now on sale for USD 7,000 with offers considered by the speculator who now owns it following a repossession) , and a Wednesday look at Houston's demographic changes, moved on Thursday to Fort Riley in Kansas, a rapidly expanding base playing a key role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On Friday it's in Washington DC.
Also from Thursday as well as "The City", which we'd already recommended, we add "Document", "The Case of the Suez Maru", a Japanese navy vessel involved in the shooting of Allied POWs who were in the sea after the vessel carrying them had sunk ( a good illustration of how the politics - and Cold War - led to decisions to allow crimes to pass unpunished) '; In Business - Casino Capitalism", a timely programme that examined how financiers could learn about risk management from gambling and the casinos who do it every day of the week; and "Costing he Earth" that looked at how food aid policies of charities may exacerbate problems - it included a fairly convincing argument from one charity that has stopped food aid because so much of the funds raised are taken up by purchase and transportation and also then depress prices in the target areas, reducing the ability of local farmers to compete and thus grow crops for the future.
Business News Network - Bunting:
Seeking Alpha - Savery:
Wall Street Journal - McBride:
Washington Post - Kang:
2008-09-17: BBC World Service and Deutsche Welle have announced plans to launch a joint digital radio service to Europe on DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) shortwave.
The new service, which will be entirely in English, will provide a mix of audio and text, the latter being created automatically from the BBC News web site and has a potential audience of some 170 million people in Europe.
Ruxandra Obreja, Chair of the DRM Consortium and Controller, Business Development, BBC World Service, said the two organizations saw DRM - a digital broadcasting system for the broadcasting bands below 30MHz (long, medium and short wave) - as "the winning solution for the digitisation of the AM bands on a global scale and they believe that this new stream for Europe will give a welcome boost to international digital radio " adding that listeners in Western and Central Europe can now buy one of the growing selection of DRM-capable receivers and hear in excellent quality top class programmes that in recent years they could only access online".
For Deutsche Welle its Director General Erik Betterman said the move was "an exciting venture that will offer European listeners top class content and provides the perfect opportunity to reintroduce listeners to DRM."
Recent programming using DRM has included last Saturday's "Last Night of the Proms", broadcast by the BBC World Service as a replacement for its normal evening DRM broadcasts on medium wave.
A number of new DRM receivers were shown last month at the IFA electronic consumer trade fair in Berlin including the Russian Sarapulsky Radiozavod SRZ RP - 229 DRM, the first DRM-car receiver that is currently a prototype ready to move into production.
IFA also saw a presentation on DRM+, currently under development and expected to be standardized next year. DRM+ will expand the system to the VHF bands up to 120 MHz and has recently been tested in Hanover and Kaiserslautern and found to work without causing any FM interference.
Previous Deutsche Welle:
2008-09-17: Arbitron in preliminary details from its RADAR 98 network survey, due to be released next Tuesday, says that 93% of American adults aged 18-34 tune into radio weekly with the percentage going up to 94% of Black Non-Hispanics and 95 percent of Hispanics, age 12 and older, and to 95% of college graduates aged 18 plus and 96% of adults 25-54 with a college degree and annual income of USD 50,000 or more.
The RADAR 98 survey, which covers the period June 28, 2007-June 25, 2008, was compiled from a sample of more than 275,000 Portable People Meter wearers and diary respondents.
Previous RADAR (RADAR 97):
2008-09-16: Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system, already the subject of subject of a subpoena from the New York State Attorney General's Office (See RNW Sep 11), has now been subpoenaed by New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram "concerning allegations that its new method for measuring radio station listenership in New Jersey is flawed, statistically unreliable and undercounts the listening habits of minority consumers."
In a release Milgram's office says the subpoena "seeks information regarding Arbitron's new, electronic Portable People Meter (PPM) method for determining audience share, which the company has been sampling and will soon begin using on a regular basis in the New-York-New-Jersey market" and notes that it has been refused accreditation in the Philadelphia-New-Jersey and New-York-New Jersey markets by the Media Rating Council.
Arbitron has already said that its panel composition in terms of ethnic minorities betters that for its diary panels (See RNW Sep 10) saying that "in actuality it has "a major overrepresentation problem. We have an overrepresentation of Spanish speakers in all our panels."
In response to the New Jersey subpoena the company said its PPM ratings services "are valid, fair and representative of the diversity of the radio markets measured" and, as it said in response to the New York subpoena says "the difference between PPM ratings and diary ratings is a function of the survey tool, not the sample" and adds that broadcasters of all formats, including urban and Hispanic, who have embraced PPM as programming tool, have increased their audiences and their standing in the marketplace since the initial release of electronic ratings.
In other sample-related news Arbitron has said that it plans to add cell-phone only households to its panels in 125 diary markets starting with the Fall 2009 sample and will also try to improve the participation of 18-34 year-olds by increasing incentives for them whilst reducing them for those in 55 plus only households starting in spring 2009.
Arbitron's president, Technology, Research and Development Owen Charlebois said of the cell-phone move, "People who live in homes that can be reached only by cell phone are more likely to be between the ages of 18 and 34. By including cell-phone-only homes in the sample frame we will be better able to improve young adult proportionality in diary markets."
Arbitron says it is also to accelerate the development and deployment of electronic and online alternatives to the paper and pencil diary for all markets and its chairman, president and chief executive officer Stephen Morris said in relation to the moves that "Continually enhancing the quality of our samples, surveys and reports is a priority for Arbitron."
"While our improvements in PPM markets have been getting the headlines in the past months, " he added, "we have also been working to expand the scope of our efforts for diary markets. We're grateful to the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council, the Small Market Owner Operator Caucus and many radio group owners for their participation, which has helped us set our priorities and shape the programs we are unveiling today."
Previous Media Rating Council:
2008-09-16: Anchorage, Alaska, conservative talk host Eddie Burke has been suspended for a week without pay by his station KYBR-AM after he broadcast the phone numbers of women involved in organizing a weekend protest rally against state governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin
The Anchorage Daily News quoted KYBR station manager Justin McDonald as saying the broadcast violated station policy but defended Burke's rights to criticize people on air - he had called the rally organizers Charla Sterne and Ilona Bessenyey "socialist, baby-killing maggots," read their phone numbers on the air and encouraged listeners to call them.
The paper says Burke later apologized for the abuse and said he didn't realize he was giving out personal cell-phone numbers. The women said their voicemail was quickly filled with angry, profane messages, some of them threatening.
McDonald, who hostedBurke's 14:00-17:00 weekday show on Monday, added, "Though I do not agree with some of the comments he made, as a licensee, we attempt to respect everyone's First Amendment rights, including Eddie Burke's, our listeners' and our non listeners'. That does not mean I condone inciting violence or harm in any way to people wanting to voice their opinions with peaceful protest."
The papers adds that McDonald on the show encouraged people to welcome Burke back and says most listeners who called were behind Burke and had disparaging things to say about the anti-Palin protesters and the media.
In contrast to this many of the remarks on KYBR's bulletin board were critical of the host although others supported him and a number were crudely critical either of Governor Palin or her opponents.
Alaska Daily News report:
KYBR web site:
KYBR bulletin board:
2008-09-16: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) and Sirius XM Radio were amongst the losers on Monday as stocks dropped in the wake of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy and the Bank of America takeover of troubled Merrill Lynch.
Overall the Dow Jones was down 4.4% and the NASDAQ 3.6% but Sirius XM stock fell by more than double that to end the day 10.5% down at USD 0.85 and SBS was down 39% to 25 cents.
Sirius XM could now join the ranks of radio companies facing delisting from the NASDAQ Global market because of the value of its stock and SBS seems very unlikely to retain its listing barring unexpectedly positive financial news.
Amongst other companies that have received NASDAQ delisting notices Citadel was down in line with the market - it ended the day 3.4% off at 85 cents and Regent was down 8.25% at 89 cents;
Other radio company falls included one of 5.75% to USD 2.95 for Entravision ; an 8.9% fall to USD 5.24 for Entercom and a 13% fall to USD 1.56 for Salem.
Radio One Inc. held off the bad news and ended unchanged at USD 1.50 and Emmis bucked the trend to end up 2.4% at USD 1.73
Previous Radio One Inc.:
Previous Sirius- XM:
2008-09-16: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Bulletin has upheld four radio and ten TV standards complaints - three of them relating to broadcasts by "evangelist" Peter Popoff whose programmes including suggestions of improved health and increased wealth from such delights as "Miracle Manna" and "Miracle Olive Oil Soap", have now been dropped by the broadcasters involved.
It also considered another TV standards complaint resolved through action already taken by the broadcaster and also posted details of one TV standards complaint and another TV fairness and privacy complaint that it did not uphold.
The radio complaints upheld included two concerning competitions on GCap Media stations - involving the "Wake up Your Brain" competition on Kent station Invicta FM and "Worst Girlfriend" on South Hampshire station Power FM.
In the first case a listener had called the station to enter the competition and said she gave the correct answer to which she received a response that the answer had already been accepted and a winner found. However on the following day the competition was still being conducted with listeners urged to call in with answers.
GCap noted that entry was free for the competition with prizes generally being small items such as CDs and DVDs and that a winner had been announced on air but further calls solicited the next day although it said no calls from listeners were answered during this time; anyone calling in would therefore have heard a continuous ringing tone.
It added that the presenter concerned could not recall why he solicited further calls or, as alleged by the complainant, gave additional clues and it was also unable to provide a recording of the second broadcast.
Ofcom, ruling that rules had been breached, noted emails provided by the complainant demonstrating her efforts to raise the matter with the station and said it was "concerned that the unfair conduct of this competition was not identified at the time and the complainant had spent a month trying to discuss her concerns with the broadcaster." It also expressed concern that, although the matter had not been raised with it until after the 42 days during which broadcasters are required to retain recordings, the broadcaster had not retained the recording in these circumstances.
In the Power FM case, the station had run a daily competition during its drive-time show to coincide with the release of an Avril Lavigne song called "Girlfriend". Each day listeners were asked to call the station on a local-call rate telephone number to submit their "worst girlfriend" stories and the most entertaining entry was awarded a pair of tickets for an Avril Lavigne concert.
A listener complained that the winner on one day was the sister of one of the show's presenters to which GCap responded that on the day concerned with around 1 minute of the song remaining no calls had been received so the presenter called her sister whom she knew to have a good "worst girlfriend" story. It said the intention was not to "fake a winner", rather, it was a "naïve and ill-advised solution on the part of the presenter" and that the station's programme controller had reprimanded both presenters and added that on the following day to compensate it had awarded two sets of tickets, including the ones awarded to the presenters' sister.
Ofcom noted that in this case no harm was done because of swift action by the station but said that its rules had been breached.
Of the other complaints upheld one was against Bauer's Kiss 105 which had invited listeners to obtain about its schedule during its bi-annual event "'Dance Party Weekender" by texting a short-code. A complainant said the presenter had said the service was free but it had actually cost 25 pence.
Bauer in response said that the messages had been free but this changed following a contract renewal and presenters were instructed to inform listeners that there would now be a 25 pence charge.
On hearing of the presenter's error it said it had contacted the service provider who identified a total of 610 messages that had been received and that it had immediately arranged reimbursement.
Ofcom, while ruling that there had been a breach, said it accepted that this was unintentional and welcomed the remedial action taken but said it was concerned that such a significant change in cost was not sufficiently communicated to staff.
The final radio complaint upheld involved Llandudno community station Tudno FM and a discussion on "dogging" (a slang term for having sex with strangers in a public place) during its breakfast show. This lead to a complaint about the airing at an "inappropriate" time and also a further complaint that comments aired the next day had included derogatory remarks about the initial complaint. Tudno FM was unable to produce a recording - saying there had been a fault in a computer soundcard that was rectified when discovered - so Ofcom was unable to rule on the complaint itself but did hold that failure to retain recordings breached its regulations, a breach that it will hold on record.
In addition to the above also listed without details 268 TV complaints against 119 items and 15 radio complaints against 17 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 272 TV complaints against 140 items and 27 radio complaints against 40 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2008-09-15: WorldDMB and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) have announced the creation with the backing of Europe's major broadcasters and manufacturers of "WorldDMB Digital Radio Receiver
Profiles", a set of minimum features and functions for all digital radio receivers that they say will effectively create a single digital radio market for Europe.
The initiative was industry led and so far three profiles have been posted - the Standard Radio Receiver (Profile 1) expected to drive the price-sensitive mass market for radio devices; the Rich Media Radio Receiver (Profile 2) for table-top radios with colour screens able receive audio, advanced text and picture applications; the Multimedia Receiver (Profile 3) for devices such as mobile phones, personal media players, able to receive advanced forms of multimedia including mobile video.
Om regard to automobile receivers the profiles define such requirements as automatic retuning between digital and analogue services, and advanced travel and traffic services for real time satellite navigation, thus allowing drivers to receive all Eureka 147 digital broadcasts as they drive from place to place and country to country within Europe and potentially beyond where any country opts to adopt the WorldDMB Eureka147 Family of Standards.
EBU technical director Lieven Vermaele said of the initiative, "There was a critical need to create a unique set of specifications for digital radio receivers for Europe - for manufacturers, broadcasters, and the public. The European consumer will in future be able to buy receivers which will provide them with digital radio services across Europe. This is a major achievement."
His comments were echoed by WorldDMB and manufacturers with the former's president Quentin Howard commented, "This important step provides the assurance radio manufacturers have been seeking to create a single consumer market. In doing so, consumers benefit from the scale and through more competition resulting in a greater choice of innovative digital radio products. Broadcasters can plan around any of the standards with confidence, safe in the knowledge that these new digital radios will receive their services. This is a positive message to the broadcast, manufacturing and retailing industry and gives the consumer further confidence that the future of radio is digital'.
Amongst manufacturers both PURE Digital and Frontier Silicon posted releases strongly supporting the standard with Frontier Silicon speaking of the impact it would have by "providing a catalyst for the rapid deployment of DAB in all its forms across Europe" and Pure's General Manager Paul Smith adding that the "Today's announcement will encourage and broaden the take up of digital radio both in the consumer and automotive markets."
Previous Frontier Silicon:
2008-09-15: DJ and station owner Steve Penk is to take over the breakfast slot on Oldham station The Revolution which he has recently bought and which will be managed by John Evington, formerly with talkSPORT and CanWest.
Other hosts for the station will include former Radio 1 DJ Gary King, who was also colleague of Penk at Manchester Key 103, in the mid morning weekday slot and James H. Reeve, who will host the station's Saturday sports show.
A number of the station's former hosts have said they will launch a rival station with a similar format the Revolution's former format but so far there is no further word on their plans - probably for an online station.
In other UK radio moves, BBC Radio 1 DJ Dave Pearce is resurfacing on BBC 6 Music on Sunday nights, taking with him his Dance Anthems show. Pearce was one of those affected by Radio 1 changes to its late-night schedule and is benefiting from a new schedule at 6 Music starting on October 4 that will also see weekend breakfast host Natasha Desborough leave the station and a new Sunday afternoon show hosted by Fun Lovin' Criminals frontman Huey Morgan. Current Saturday evening 6 Mix host Iyare will take over the weekend breakfast slot and in turn the duo Queens of Noize will take over 6 Mix.
2008-09-14: Last week again saw a trickle of radio decisions form the regulators but no big issues at stake: In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) posted just one radio decision, a ruling that community radio station 4DDB Toowoomba breached the conditions of its licence that prohibit the broadcasting of advertisements and the broadcasting of sponsorship announcements that run in excess of five minutes per hour.
The ACMA had investigated the station following complaints about it broadcasting adverts and also failing to represent its community interest in line with its licence conditions but upheld only the first complaint.
Noting that this is 4DDB's second breach of these licence conditions this year - it said the station failed to include tags in relation to numerous pre-recorded announcements for financial sponsors and two live cross-over chats - and that it found the licensee to have has operated the service as part of a profit-making enterprise, the ACMA says it will now move to pursue compliance measures addressing the potential for future breaches of the relevant licence conditions.
It says it will write to 4DDB licensee Darling Downs Broadcasting Society Inc. shortly about the proposed compliance actions, details of which will be announced when finalized.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) also had a quiet week, posting only a few radio decisions. These were (In order of province):
*Denial of application by Tantramar Community Radio Society (TCRS) for a licence for an English-language Type B community FM radio station in Amherst.
This application was opposed by Maritime Broadcasting System Limited (MBS), licensee of commercial station CKDH-AM, Amherst, which said approval would have an undue negative impact on the profitability of CKDH and noted that TCRS projects that its proposed station would generate local advertising revenues of CAD 200,000 in year 7. It took the view that Amherst could not support both stations and noted that it had prepared an application to convert CKDH to the FM band that projected an after-tax loss over the first seven-year licence term.
TCRS responded by suggesting that CKDH's current format may have something to do with its declining profitability during the last five years and noted that, at one time, CKDH had a significant presence in the Amherst region, supporting various community groups with fundraising events such as radiothons and providing in-depth coverage of news events such as municipal council and school board meetings as well as elections and added that in recent years it had observed the outsourcing of jobs, erosion in locally produced programming and little or no local news coverage by CKDH.
The CRTC in refusing the application noted that 80% of its planned music programming would be Pop, Rock, Dance, Country music and Easy listening and that the spoken word programming plans are absent of any specific description that would serve to demonstrate the diversity to be offered. It therefore took the view that program choice would not be increased by the new station and it also agreed that the new station could have an undue negative impact on the advertising revenues and financial situation of CKDH.
*Denial of application by Groupe Radio Antenne 6 inc. to convert CFGT-AM, Alma, to a 50,000 watts FM. The Group currently also owns and operates CKYK-FM, Alma, and CHRL-FM, Roberval, and thus a conversion would require an exception to its policy of permitting a single group to own only two FMs in the same language in a single market.
The CRTC normally only allows such exceptions when a licensee has clearly demonstrated that it has explored all other options for solving its technical or financial problems and in this case it noted that the applicant did not demonstrate that the current CFGT signal is deficient in its market and added, "The primary argument put forward by the applicant on this point can be summarized as the generally observed trend of a constant migration of the AM radio audience to the FM band."
It also noted that "the financial situation of CFGT appears healthy given that the station has shown a profit margin before interest and taxes that is generally well above average for the Quebec and Canadian radio industry over the past five years" and took the view that it had not presented evidence sufficient to justify an exception to its policy.
*Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a temporary 50 watts low-power FM transmitter in Lac-Mégantic to carry the programming of CBVE-FM, Québec, and ensure the continuity of the national network service of Radio One to Lac-Mégantic while the municipality of Lac-Mégantic conducts renovations on the site of the low-power AM transmitter CBMO, which is currently unserviceable.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has announced the in-principle award of the Dublin classic rock licence to Classic Rock Broadcasting Limited (trading as Radio Nova - See RNW Sep 9) but in the UK there were no radio broadcasting postings as such although Ofcom did announce the appointment of Alan Watson as the Adjudicator for Broadcast Transmission Services.
This appointment follows the Competition Commission's decision to accept undertakings from Macquarie UK Broadcast Ventures Limited in connection with the merger of Arqiva and National Grid Wireless, which has now been concluded.
The need for the role arouse when the Competition Commission accepted undertakings that provide for the establishment of an Adjudication Scheme to protect the interests of as a condition of approval.
Ofcom comments that the adjudicator will have an important role in protecting customers' interests in the broadcast transmission market in future with responsibilities that will include resolving disputes between Arqiva and its customers, to ensure that services are supplied on terms that are fair and reasonable, and that they only reflect costs that are efficiently incurred.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also had a fairly quiet week although its enforcement bureau did issue two USD 10,000 penalties in connection with operation of pirate transmitters.
The penalties, both relating to New York, went to Alexander Kissi for operating an unlicensed radio transmitter on the frequency 96.5 MHz in Bronx and to Yvon Louis for providing services and facilities incidental to the operation of an unlicensed radio transmitter on the frequency 88.1 MHz in Hollis, NY.
In addition the FCC has posted its tentative agenda for its September 25 open meeting and also confirmed the comment and reply-comment dates - Nov 10 and Dec 9 respectively - for comments regarding its Notice of Inquiry into the issue of requiring HD and satellite radio receivers to each be capable of receiving the other's signals.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-09-13: Citadel Broadcasting has now joined the ranks of US radio companies receiving NASDAQ Global Market de-listing warnings because its stock has fallen below USD 1 for thirty consecutive days. In this it joins Regent (See RNW Aug 15) and Spanish Broadcasting System (See RNW Aug 23). Radio One Inc. also received a notice concerning its Class A shares which have since been moved to the NASDAQ Capital Market (See RNW Aug 27). That notice did not affect Radio One's Class D shares, which form more than 96% of its issued capital.
Citadel says that it "intends to cure the deficiency and to return to compliance with the NYSE continued listing requirements."
Citadel shares, which closed Friday at 88 cents, last closed above USD 1 on Aug 11 when they ended the day at USD 1.09. Prior to that they had previous closed above USD 1 on Jul 9 when they were USD 1.05.
2008-09-13: Talk Radio Network Enterprises (TNRE) has announced that the Laura Ingraham Show, whose demise on the Salem Network on Friday had been preceded by her on-air comments telling listeners "you may have to search the dial to find the new stations we're on, or look at our website", has signed with it for a further five years and has already added 17 new affiliates.
It has named the affiliates in ten markets but said that in the others the new affiliates would not be announced until next week "As a courtesy to those additional stations transitioning..."
The additional markets are Sacramento, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Cleveland, Ohio; Portland, Oregon; San Antonio, Texas; and Seattle, Washington whilst the affiliates named are KPZA-AM, Hot Springs, Arizona; KXAM-AM, Phoenix, Arizona; KGIL-AM, Los Angeles, California; XESURF-AM, San Diego, California; KLZ-AM, Denver, Colorado; WAMT-AM, Orlando, Florida; WWBA-AM, Tampa, Florida; WCFO-AM, Atlanta, Georgia; KHBZ-AM, Honolulu, Hawaii; and WNDA-AM, Louisville, KY;
Ingraham, now in her eighth year in talk radio commented, "This is a critical time for our country both politically and culturally, and I am thrilled to continue my daily conversation with my listeners coast-to-coast. I feel like I'm just getting warmed up."
Of TRNE, with whom she was involved in a dispute over renewal that she says led TRNE to lock her out of the studio and take her off the air for the ending of the Spring Arbitron period - an absence that did not please Salem - she 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."
At Salem, the main beneficiary of her departure appears to be its syndicated host syndicated host Mike Gallagher who moves into prime time in more than 20 markets including five new markets in the top ten.
2008-09-12: Australia's digital radio services are to be launched on May 1 next year - rather than in January -following the resolution of various infrastructure issues and the industry has now revealed details of a multi-million dollar on-air awareness campaign to aid its launch.
The Australian radio industry has designed a logo to go with the campaign and also set up a Digital Radio Plus website promoting digital radio and noting that it has adopted the DAB+ version. The campaign, valued at around AUD 10 million (USD 8 million), will be rolled out in three phases in the first quarter of next year in the cities where digital radio is to be broadcast.
Joan Warner, CEO of Commercial Radio Australia, commented of the plans, "We have maintained from the outset that the digital radio rollout in Australia would be on a national basis, with the first five markets in the mainland capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth to be launched simultaneously" and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Director of Radio Sue Howard added, "Given we have timeline infrastructure issues in a number of the launch cities and after consultation with the commercial sector, the industry has made a united decision to officially launch digital radio to listeners on 1 May 2009 in all markets."
Des DeCean Austereo Director of Technologies and Chair of the Commercial Radio Australia Digital Technical Advisory Committee added, "All of our transmission equipment has been ordered and is in production. The finalisation of the antenna design and installation will allow us to move forward to complete the infrastructure build."
The radio industry held a briefing in Sydney on Thursday and is holding another briefing on the plans in Melbourne today
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Digital Radio Plus web site:
2008-09-12: Planet Rock, now owned by entrepreneur and rock music fan Malcolm Bluemel, has announced a new weekend schedule from October 4 that will include a 10:00-13:00 Sunday show hosted by veteran Canadian-born DJ David Jensen. The show "Another Jensen" echoes his "Jensen's Dimension" show that launched his career on Radio Luxembourg in 1968 and he says of it, "It's going to be fun reviving my first ever Radio Luxembourg series by showcasing rarely heard songs by significant artists. The breadth of talent will encompass the likes of John Martyn, Richard Thompson, Big Country, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Steve Winwood, Melissa Etheridge, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan and many more."
The new line-up will also include U.S. born Darren Redick, who will host the 14:00 to 16:00 weekend slot, and a new show for Joe Bonamassa on Sunday nights from 23:00 to midnight.
Rick Wakeman's "Rick's Place" will remain in its Saturday morning spot of 10am - 1pm but - "A week with Alice"- the best bits of Alice Cooper's breakfast show will move to Saturday nights from 21:00 to midnight.
While Planet Rock is developing its digital radio business Passion for the Planet has added TV to its radio output. The Planet for the Passion Group launched six years ago with radio stations on green issues and now has some 90,000 listeners a week online and via digital multiplexes. Its managing director and co-founder Chantal Cooke commented of the move, "The radio station has proved incredibly popular and people keep saying they'd love to see something similar on TV as well - so it's the logical next step."
The TV service is available online or via PlayTV UK Internet protocol television (IPTV) set-top box service in the UK as an on-demand service.
Previous Planet Rock:
2008-09-11: Sirius XM Shares which on Wednesday dipped below USD 1 to close at 98 cents dropped further on Thursday to end at 92 cents.
The fall began at the beginning of the week when after closing last Friday at USD 1:30 they dropped to USD 1.26 then to USD 1.14 as concern mounted about the combined company's ability to keep its head above water: It has three significant re-financing deadlines next year - February when a USD 300 million Sirius convertible issue becomes due, May when USD 350 million of XM bank debt has to be repaid and December when a USD 400 million XM convertible issue becomes due, all in a market where currently even high-rated companies face financing problems.
There seem few immediate solutions to the problems of dropping below USD 1, with consequent potential de-listing if the lack of confidence continues and the fall has taken place following an upgrading of its prospects by the company earlier this week when CEO Mel Karmazin said it had identified a further USD 25 million of cost savings and predicted a USD 300 million positive adjusted EBITDA for 2009 following a USD 350 million los this year (See RNW Sep 9).
Previous Sirius- XM:
2008-09-11: The clash between minority radio station owners and Arbitron about potential effects of the introduction of the latter's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings on the finances of the former has now moved further with the New York Attorney General's office announcing that it is opening an investigation into the way that Arbitron is to deploy the PPM devices, due to become currency in New York and seven other new markets on October 8: The others are , Nassau-Suffolk, Middlesex, Los Angeles, Riverside, Chicago, San Francisco and San Jose.
Arbitron meanwhile in its PPM conference call with president of sales and marketing Pierre Bouvard said it had "another set of great news for you on the PPM sample", the issue that seems to be at the root of the issues. The company said that it meeting or exceeding 56 of 57 benchmarks for 18-34s across the 10 markets and in relation to its 10 PPM markets in August it had an average 6+ Designated Delivery Index (DDI) of 106, with an average DDI in 18-54s of 102 although 18-34 DDI is at 93.
Arbitron senior VP of marketing Bill Rose added regarding ethnic samples that the black sample averaged 109 across Philadelphia, Houston, New York (non-embedded), Nassau-Suffolk, Middlesex, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco and these markets had an average DDI of 116 among Hispanics, with Spanish-dominant Hispanics at 133 and English-dominant Hispanics at 115.
Bouvard said of these figures, "It's ironic when you read about the concerns of ethnic broadcasters. In actuality, we have a major overrepresentation problem. We have an overrepresentation of Spanish speakers in all our panels."
In a letter to Arbitron, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo said he was worried that the new system was "neither reliable nor fair, and may have a dramatically negative impact on minority broadcasting in New York."
Cuomo also said that the PPM system "appears to contain design flaws that may have a devastating impact on minority communities, broadcasters and businesses."
Arbitron's initial tests of the meter in New York showed severe ratings falls for some stations targeting minority audiences, results put down by James L. Winston, the executive director of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), to inadequate representation of African-Americans and Hispanics on Arbitron's PPM panels.
Arbitron, which is also facing an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission, says the meters are more accurate than diaries, which are based on people's recall but it also says the FCC has no jurisdiction on this matter.
In response to the Attorney General's investigation and in testimony before the New York City Council, which is also looking at the PPM, Arbitron's chairman, president and CEO Stephen B. Morris said the PPM ratings panels are as representative as those for its diary system and that the fundamental techniques used to recruit PPM respondents in the New York area are the same as used for the diary.
It says of the differences in ratings between the diary and PPM ratings that these result from the fact that the PPM measures actual exposure to the audio whilst the diary is recall-based and allows loyal listeners to any format to overstate their habitual listening.
It adds that broadcasters of all formats, including urban and Hispanic, who have embraced PPM, have improved their audiences and their standing in the marketplace but says it will continue to continue to adhere to the Media Rating Council's Voluntary Code of Conduct and will continuously strive to improve the PPM radio ratings service.
Morris added that the media industry should "be concerned about the attempts to supplant or short-circuit the Media Rating Council accreditation process" and continued, "The MRC was founded at the behest of Congress. Throughout its 40 plus years of service, the MRC has been a driving force behind the vast quality improvements in the ratings services that research companies have been delivering to the advertising and media industries."
"Paper-and-pencil diaries," said Morris, "are simply not up to the task of reliably recording actual listening behaviour in large, complex markets such as New York. And paper-and-pencil diaries are not up to the critical task of providing New York advertisers with the credible, accountable measures that they demand of radio and of every other advertising medium."
He added, "The difference in ratings between the diary and the PPM is not about the sample. It's about how the diary lends itself to overstated listening particularly by loyal listeners. The more loyal the listener, the more likely a diary keeper will overstate listening. It is the primary driver of the 30 percent overall reduction in audience in PPM vs. the diary."
Previous Media Ratings Council:
2008-09-10: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with various reports related to the ultimate factor controlling a service: its financing.
To begin with we start with a blunt quote, courtesy of a report by Oliver Luft in the UK Guardian about the takeover by DJ Steve Penk of the Oldham station, "The Revolution" (See RNW Sep 4).
Luft commented of a format change from its previous alternative music output, "It's very well fans of that type of music saying that it's the only radio station like that in the north-west but the reality was that no bugger was listening ".
The paper puts a figure of more than GBP 250,000 (USD 440,000) as the cost of Penk's purchase and he commented, "There had to be a point where the music changed overnight, for the good of the station. We have to generate listeners and revenue. It had become like a private club, it sounded like an exclusive club that a small group of people enjoyed but the majority shunned."
To back him up he quoted latest ratings: "The latest RAJARs support that. The figures have gone off a cliff. I had to make immediate changes and the policy is now more mainstream.
In the case of the Revolution a number of DJs quit because of the changes- they "didn't want to play Madonna" was Penk's reaction and he then commented, "You can have principles in life but it doesn't pay the bills. But I think it's a shame some of them left before they even knew who the new owner was."
After the problems for a UK - or for that matter any - commercial advertising-funded terrestrial station on to the Internet and the problems that all players seem to have as the recording companies try and squeeze as much as they can from online audio irrespective of ability to pay.
One intriguing suggestion we noted on Silicon Valley Insider came under the heading "Payola: Could An Old Idea Save Online Radio And The Music Industry?"
In it Doug Perlson, CEO of TargetSpot, Inc., an online advertising network and marketplace designed for streaming audio, began by commenting that "Internet radio continues to grow at an astonishing rate, representing one of the rare bright spots for the struggling music industry" but then noted that it is "still grasping for a way to make its burgeoning listener base pay off for investors."
This led on to his suggesting: "There is a simple yet counterintuitive method that could benefit the music industry, artists, the online radio networks, and listeners. The only problem is that it has long, unpleasant history behind it. We are talking about paid song inclusion, sometimes known as Payola."
After noting a little of the history of payola and the exemption to performance royalties for terrestrial broadcasters, he notes: "This trade-off of free play but no payments breaks down with both Internet and satellite radio. These new media do not receive the performance royalty exemption. In fact, questions and negotiations over the price of performance royalty payments have almost killed Internet radio, and most Internet radio companies have yet to turn a profit."
"Large Internet and satellite radio stations currently pay per-song performance royalty fees, a significant drain on their margins," he continues. "On the other hand, with both the rationale for the law and the way it is written, these networks should not be barred from accepting payment for song placement. The barrier is therefore not a legal one, but instead a cultural one, built up and taught in the industry over the last half-century. And this barrier helps no one: not the public, nor the stations, nor the music industry, and especially not the artists."
To buttress his argument, Perlson then writes, "For Internet radio, the bar on paid song inclusion is a protection that the public doesn't need. The vast reach of Internet radio provides its own protection against the unwanted effects - listeners can't really be held captive on a few stations in their area. Instead, they can easily turn the channel to listen to whatever they want, whether it's a streaming station in LA or a national pure play Internet radio service. Unlike terrestrial radio, where there is a very limited range of options, Internet radio's reach is almost limitless."
He compares the idea to online advertising search payments and says that "an Internet radio 'pay to play' advertising service could accomplish a similar goal", envisaging such a service as providing the opportunity for artists and recording companies to bid for time on the Internet's best radio stations for promotional purposes whilst at the same time significantly reducing the performance royalty costs of the stations involved.
The "new regime" he suggests "should be viewed as an additional channel for music discovery. As we have seen with paid inclusion and contextual advertising, the additional channel can have the desired effect of introducing the user of the service to something that is useful. If the sponsored song does not achieve the desired effect, the 'advertiser' is able to quickly recognize that it was a poor fit, and remove the song from rotation."
RNW comment: The idea is interesting although it obviously pushes Perlson's interests and it does not make clear the detail of the essential point - making it clear when there is a payment to play something rather than it being chosen on perceived merit. It also in our view still leaves the established, rich and powerful with much more clout than an up and coming group or singer. We still think there is more mileage in the idea we have put forward a number of times of having tiered performance royalty rates to be applied to a work on an annual basis - a commitment to either nil rates, a low rate, or higher ones from the copyright holder, thus building in an automatic incentive to use some of the free or lower rate material which would enable up and coming and limited appeal artists to get more exposure. It would also put the boot into recording companies as groups could, if they needed to, much more easily set up their own recording companies but that is no reason to bar the idea.
After that on to Alan Furst and comments on iBiquity's HD radio system, which he says "Ain't No XM, Or FM."
When FM was launched he notes it was often as an afterthought to existing AMs and because the FCC limited how much could be simulcast, the FMs had to offer something different (RNW note: A similar idea of encouraging new services was behind the reason of the stick of automatic analogue licence approval for UK stations who provided a service on a local digital multiplex).
Furst notes experimentation on various New York FMs commenting, "The entire dial was open to experimentation All of this was so different from the AM band then and today's FM that it's hard to even describe now. FM was the exciting frontier. AM was establishment. Many AM operators simply handed their FMs to the kids to program. The owners didn't know what to do or didn't really care."
"Looking back, " he continues, "FM had a huge advantage. It was run by outsiders who didn't know there were any rules."
He then goes on to say he decided "to give HD a fair shot and thorough listening", partly spurred by a clearance sale for USD 82 or receivers that once fetched USD 299.
His findings include:
"Every radio I own picks up dozens more stations off their whip antennas than this one does with the supplied dipole. Now I see why they tried to sell me a USD30 external antenna."
"The AM section is very poor. WOAI is 50KW and exactly 100 miles from my home. It fades in and out on this radio. WOAI puts a solid signal on the USD 30 Sony pocket radio I found at Walmart, but not on this USD 300 marvel."
He then asks, "Why would someone from the general public buy one especially at full price? I don't know. To make matters worse, there's nothing for them to listen to here in Austin."
He then concludes, "There are a handful of HD-2 music formats on the air. All sound like little effort has gone into them. I didn't need a whole weekend of listening to figure that out. HD seems to be run by people who know too much about radio or worse, the accounting department.
They are applying a business model and 'metrics' before the art has taken hold " and suggests the same kind of approach as that which led to the success of FM including, "Think talent. Start fresh.
Hand a channel over to a group of teens or twenty somethings. Let them figure it out. No rules. Just tell them to make something happen. Wait five years and see what develops. Give HD the chance to be the creative playground that allowed FM to develop."
RNW comment: Too late now but the problem it seems to us was to accede to the lobbying of those who already had the licences and mandate a system that used their frequencies without any payback. For that reason on its own, we prefer the UK approach with Eureka DAB, which in part because of the non-proprietary system is being adopted fairly widely with consequent reductions in receiver prices.
It's probably too late to put conditions on HD -in our view a condition of analogue licence renewal should have been the provision to newcomers free of charge for all but basic costs of HD2 channels with a priority system for bids related to the new communities of interest they are bidding to serve.
It would not be too late, however, if the will were there to introduce DAB in US cities limiting it in the way community stations are limited in Australia, Canada and the UK. Listeners would gain more choice and the receivers are likely to be available at a reasonable price because development costs have been met already. As for the effect on the commercial companies and HD, they promote the market as if it were a religion and deserve no sympathy whatsoever should the newcomers rake away their audience and put them out of business. Talk the sword and die by it: The frequencies can then be put up on offer to anyone else who wants to try to make a station pay.
On then to some preliminary suggestions from the start of the week (we hope to update on Friday with some addional suggestions).
We begin with BBC Radio 2 and Monday's "Higher and Higher" in which Paul Gambaccini presented the first of a four-part series chronicling the life of singer Jackie Wilson and Tuesday's "Living in Harmony", the fourth of a six-part series on close-harmony singing plus the third in the four-part "Street Corner Soul" telling the story of doo-wop. This week's programme includes comment on the exploitation of the work of black artists through the practice of making a cover version by a white artist - sometimes using the same backing musicians, when a work had shown promise.
After that BBC Radio 3, currently in the last week of this year's proms (They end next Saturday) and first a regular in the form of the Monday through Thursday "Essay" that this week is "It's Big and It's Beautiful, The Rise of Retro Tech" presented by Christine Finn.
Also from the station, apart from the Proms, we note the return of "Drama on 3" next Sunday with "Blue Wonder" in which a young secretary unwittingly becomes romantically involved with an East German spy.
Then from BBC Radio 4 we opt for Sunday's "British Jews and the Dream of Zion", in which, to mark the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the state of Israel Jonathan Freedland explores the complex relationship between British Jews and the Jewish homeland.
From Monday we suggest the delights of the continuing "Fry's English Delight" series on the English language. This week Fry looked at the cliché.
It was followed by the latest of the "Parkmasters" series, in which historian Tristram Hunt this week looked at James Pennethorne's work on Victoria Park, London.
Later on Monday morning "Textbook Diplomacy" looked at a scheme in which final year pupils in French and German schools started using an identical history text book, an example of a trend across Europe towards using the teaching of history to overcome mistrust and conflict between nations.
Also from Monday and through the week the "Book of the Week" this week is on the theme of "Making Money", a selection of writings made by Evan Davis, beginning with a look at greed.
Also from Monday and throughout the station's schedules on the week we would suggest a dip into the various "Big Bang Day" programming.
Then from Tuesday we suggest the "Music Feature", a look at "The Life and Times of the Tambourine."
From Thursday morning we suggest Crossing Continents - "Confessions of an LA Gangster" - an edition based on recordings made with former gang leader Rene Enriquez, currently serving 20 years to life for murder, and the following "150 Years of the Halle", a celebration of the Manchester-based orchestra by its music director (Sir) Mark Elder and three programmes from Thursday evening.
The first is the latest edition of "Bleak Expectations" and the second "Costing the Earth - Old Bricks, New Tricks" that examined possible solutions to housing problems, with some contributors suggesting that renovating old properties was more eco-friendly when the energy needed to build new was taken into account: It also contained what we found a slightly chilling passage in terms of comments on a "personal carbon allowance".
Later in the evening "Jon Ronson on...The Right Kind of Mental Illness" includes Ronson talking with former Labour spin doctor and psychoanalyst Derek Draper about sociopathic behaviour in parliament and also interviewing interviews a former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik who in 1998 stood down for a period after announcing that he was suffering from depression (at the time his party had less than a quarter of the seats in Norway's Parliament and oil prices had fallen, hitting the economy): He later said that the support he received had made the episode on that was positive overall (he was later re-elected and left a booming economy when he was eventually defeated).
Finally from Radio4 from Saturday we suggest "The Archive Hour -The Shanghai Sailors", a story of the shameful treatment meted out after the Second World War to Chinese seafarers who were repatriated, some leaving behind wives and children with whom they were allowed no contact: The report makes one appreciate yet again the generosity of spirit and decency of former US President Gerald Ford when it came to dealing with the Vietnamese who had fled their country after the South Vietnam government fell (and contrast the US of those days favourably with the current UK in its treatment of Iraqis under threat for having worked for the British Army in their country).
Silicon Valley Insider -Perlson:
UK Guardian - Luft:
2008-09-10: Latest Australian ratings covering July 27 - August 30 show that the Olympics outweighed the absence of breakfast host Alan Jones - who has had treatment for colon cancer and is due back next Monday - for Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB in Sydney but the Olympic effect did not stretch to Melbourne where Austereo's Fox FM took top spot that had been held for nearly six years by Fairfax Media's talk station 3AW: The Olympics rights holders in Melbourne, ABC 774 and Pacific Star Network Limited's SEN did not see their share move much - down 0.2 from 10.2 for the ABC and up 0.2 to 5.4.
Austereo, which commented that its Today Network had "cemented its FM leadership with great gains in the 10+ demographic and across the board in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide" said of FOX that it "had a great result coming in as the number one overall radio station for the first time since Survey 8, 2002."
It also highlighted the success of its drive time team, commenting, "Another highlight from Fox FM was the significant increase in audience for Hamish and Andy to a highest ever 766,000.
Hamish and Andy also continued to increase nationwide listeners in massive numbers and are now the number one drive show in four out of five capital cities. In today's results they now have a national audience of 2.12 million listeners for their drive show in all markets including Newcastle and Canberra and for the Saturday morning highlights show."
Fox had gained share in all time slots - up 0.5 to 15.0 at breakfast - where 3AW's team of Ross Stevenson and John Burns held on to their lead despite falling 1.0 to 20.3; up 0.9 to 13.8 in mornings where 3AW still held the lead with 15.1 - down 2.6; Afternoons with 16.6, up 1.6 and holding onto top rank; and drive -up 1.1 to 22.1 and again holding on to top rank.
Commenting on the Fox performance, 3AW general manager Shane Healy told The Melbourne Age newspaper (like 3AW owned by Fairfax), "In many, many, many, many, many surveys over the last five years when we've been No. 1, we've had scores worse than 14.9% and been a comfortable No. 1 in the market. So I think you've got to congratulate them."
In Sydney, 2GB, boosted by its Olympics rights, increased shares in all time slots except drive where it had an unchanged 8.7 share (leader 2-DAY was up 2.2 to 15.9 in drive). The increase was particularly marked in the evenings where it was up by 3.8 to 18.1. In the breakfast slot, Jason Morrison -standing in for Alan Jones after he went into hospital for prostate cancer treatment in July (See RNW Jul 21) took the station's share up from 14.6 to 15.7, much of it at the expense of ABC 702 which was down 1.9 to 10.2 whilst rival commercial talk station 2UE was up 0.8 to 7.3. In the music stations at breakfast 2DAY retained top FM ranking with Kyle and Jackie O taking its share up 1.0 to 12.1 as it swapped places with the ABC.
2-Day like rival DMG-owned Nova also increased its share overall - by 1.3 to 11.4 and 0.5 to 8.2 respectively - Nova's breakfast team of Merrick Watts, Tim Ross and Kate Ritchie took their share up 0.7 to 9.7, retaining fourth place behind 2GB, 2-Day and ABC 702.
City by city, the top stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA with 16.3 (16.5) - same rank; Mix 102.3 with 12.8 (11.2) - up from fourth; SAFM with 12.7 (12.0) -down from second.
*ABC 891 with 12.1 (11.6) was pushed down from third to fourth; 5MMM with 10.3)10.2) was up to fifth from sixth, swapping places with Nova, which had 8.9 (10.5)
*Brisbane - Nova with 13.3 (15.7) - same rank; B105 with 11.7 (9.9) -up from fifth; 97.3 FM with 11.7 (0.6) - up from fourth;
*Triple M with 11.6 (12.0) - fell to fourth from second; and ABC 612 with 11.0 (9.9) was down from fourth to fifth.
*Melbourne - Fox FM with 15.1 (14.2) - up from second; 3AW with 14.9 (16.6) - down from first; ABC 774 with 10.0 (10.2) - same rank;
* Nova 100 with 7.4 (7.3) moved up a rank to fourth, swapping places with Gold FM - to fifth with 6.8 (7.6) and Triple M with 6.5 (6.7), remained in sixth rank.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 16.7 (17.2) - same rank; 96 FM with 13.0 (10.2) - up from fifth; 92.9 with 11.3 (13.1) - down from second;
*ABC 720 with 11.1 (12.6) - was down from third to fourth followed by 6PR which fell a rank to fifth with 10.8 (10.5) whilst Nova remained sixth with 10.1 (9.8).
*Sydney: 2GB 13.4 (12.3) - same rank; 2-DAY with 11.4 (10.1) -up from third; ABC 702 with 8.7 (10.3) - down from second;
*Nova with 8.2 (7.7) remained fourth, ahead of 2UE which remained fifth with 7.8 (7.6); whilst MIX 106.5 moved up seventh to sixth with 7.0 (6.7), overtaking WSFM, which moved up from eighth to seventh with 6.8 (5.4) and overtook 1170-2CH, which dropped from sixth to eighth with 6.0 (7.1).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian Ratings:
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Melbourne Age report:
2008-09-10: CBS President and Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, speaking at the annual Merrill Lynch Fall Media Preview in Marina Del Rey, California, has told investors that his company plans to remain in radio but would not rule out a future sale of which he commented "I suppose that's possible", according to a report on Marketwatch.
Commenting on the radio stations that CBS has sold he said, "I think if I'd listened to people who said, 'Les, don't sell off the radio stations in the smaller markets, don't sell them and use the proceeds to invest in the Internet,' I think I would've been dead."
Marketwatch says Moonves added that while radio is not high-growth it does provide cash to help with the corporation's dividend and that he echoed the high hopes of CBS Radio Pesident and CEO Dan Mason for Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings that he says has identified large numbers of radio listeners who have not been measured by the traditional diary system.
2008-09-10: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that the repeated use of the English phrase "Fuck you" on Gilles Proulx's "Le journal du midi" broadcast on CHMP-FM, Montreal, breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics.
Proulx repeatedly used the English epithet - directed at Montreal's firefighters - during an early afternoon interview with the Assistant General Director of the Montreal Fire Safety Department
At the time of the interview, Montreal's firefighters were engaged in a labour dispute with the City and had allegedly sabotaged some fire stations so that their superiors would be prevented from entering the buildings and Proulx, who opposed the firefighters' actions, used the abuse during his argument, saying that taxpayers would have to foot the bill for the damage.
The comments led to a complaint to which CHMP-FM's program director had responded by saying in part, "We have reviewed the Program and confirm that the host used a derivative of the F-word to describe his thought. We recognize that this is inappropriate, and that the use of such language does not meet Canadian broadcasting standards. We apologize for having broadcast the term. Since receiving your email, we have discussed the situation with the Program host, and he is aware that this type of language is not appropriate under any circumstances. "
The complainant- a firefighter - had responded to this expressing the view that Proulx should apologize to him and to President of the Montreal Firefighters Association and followed up with a message applauding the program director for "having taken his responsibility as program director very seriously and welcome his apology for having broadcast inappropriate words over the air waves" but saying that Proulx himself "needs to demonstrate as much professionalism and apologize for having directed those very inappropriate comments at 2300 individuals."
He then took the matter back to the CBSC and in making its ruling, the CBSC Quebec Regional Panel said that Proulx was fully entitled to his opposition but had gone too far by aiming his coarse language insults at the firefighters personally and also that use of the language during daytime hours violated the CAB Code.
2008-09-09: Sirius XM Radio in an update has said it now expects to end this year with around 19.5 million subscribers and next year with 21.5 million; that its pro-forma revenues will be around USD 2.4 billion this year and USD 2.7 billion next; and that it will have a pro-forma adjusted EBITDA loss of approximately USD 350 million in 2008 which as previously announced it expects to turn into a USD 300 million positive adjusted EBITDA for 2009. It also announced that it is increasing its estimate of net synergies to USD 425 million for 2009, up from the USD 400 million it predicted earlier this year.
Speaking to the 2008 Merrill Lynch Media Fall Preview Conference in Marina Del Rey, California, Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin said, "We have made great strides over the last six weeks and continue to make progress integrating the company and delivering on our promises to customers and stockholders. We are finding significant cost savings on every line item of the P&L and are beginning to realize these synergies already. Sirius XM also continues to be one of the strongest growth stories in media, with pro forma revenue growth of approximately 17% in 2008."
"There have been significant reductions that we have already captured," he added, continuing, "Today we are very comfortable that the USD 400 million in synergy savings is now USD 425 million."
Amongst potential savings identified Karmazin noted USD 20 million in telecommunication expenses; USD 50 million in subscriber acquisition costs; USD 50 million from cutting back on senior management staff and outside advisors; and USD 25 million by cutting the company's innovation centre in Boca Raton, Florida.
On a positive note Karmazin said a wearable satellite reception device would be in stores soon and forecast that Sirius XM would "be the premiere company in the audio entertainment world," adding," No one has 135, 140 channels of content of every market in the country."
On the downside he noted high cash financing costs to close the merger of Sirius and XM after the FCC gave its approval in July, commenting, "There was some very ugly financing in order to get the deal done. The good news is that we got the deal done, the bad news is what we paid a lot to get it done."
The company has also announced the content on offer for its new "Best of Both" programming under which existing subscribers to either service will continue to receive their existing service plus selected programming from the former rival.
XM subscribers will now be able to purchase six channels formerly exclusive to Sirius -Howard 100; Howard 101; Martha Stewart Living Radio; Playboy Radio; and sports services Sirius NFL Radio and Sirius NASCAR Radio whilst Sirius subscribers will be able to purchase seven - Oprah & Friends; The Virus; Public Radio with Bob Edwards; and sports services NBA; NHL Home Ice; College Sports ; and PGA Tour.
Included in the sports services will be play=by-play programming of NBA, NHL, NFL, and College Sports games.
2008-09-09: Former talkSPORT late night host James Whale who was fired by the UTV-owned station for comments he made call on his listeners to vote for Boris Johnson in the London mayoral election (See RNW May 6) has now been hired by Global Radio's LBC 97.3.
He will take over the weekday 16:00-19:00 drivetime slot from James Hartigan and Petrie Hosken in November.
Whale has already been working for LBC as a stand in for regular late-night host Clive Bull (See RNW Aug 14).
LBC has also announced that Apprentice contestant James Max is to take over its Saturday breakfast show.
Previous Global Radio:
2008-09-09: Clear Channel has announced the results of its previously announced tender offer for its outstanding 7.65% Senior Notes due 2010, an offer that expired this morning.
In all it says a total of around 48.5% of the notes outstanding were validly tendered representing an aggregate principal amount of USD 363.9 million, all of which tenders were accepted with payment of the tendered amount plus accrued interest to be made on Friday this week.
Clear Channel has also been proposing amendments to the notes and indenture governing the notes but the consents were not enough to go ahead with these.
RNW Note: This is a corrected version as Clear Channel amended the figures it initally posted (of 46.5% of the notes representing an aggregate principal amount of USD 348.9 million.)
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-09-09: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has awarded the Classic Rock licence for Dublin and its commuter belt in principle to Classic Rock Broadcasting Limited (trading as Radio Nova).
Radio Nova, which is scheduled to go on air in August next year, was competing with two other applications - from East Coast Digital Media Limited's "Classic Rock Radio - backed by the Guardian Media Group (GMG) -and Dublin Rock Radio (Classic) Limited's "Rock Radio 100.3FM"( See RNW May 24)
Commenting on the award, BCI Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said the "unanimous view of the board was that the quality of the application received from Radio Nova 100 was such that it warranted the award of the licence after phase one consideration. We now look forward to commencing contract negotiations with the successful applicant."
Nova's backers include Vienna Investments, the original owner of Dublin FM104, and businessmen Ulick McEvaddy, Barry O'Callaghan, Dermot Hanrahan and Maurice Cassidy, CEO of WLR FM. It proposes to employ 32 full- and part-time staff across all areas of the station, which will operate from Dun Laoghaire.
In its application it said that it would invest Euros 3.7 million (USD 5.25 million), forecasting revenues rising from Euros 1.35 million (USD 1.92 million) in its first year to Euros 3.8 million (USD 5.4 million) in the fifth year with a loss of Euros 1.5 million (USD 2.13 million) in the first year and a move into profit in the fourth year with a profit for the fifth year of Euros 314,000 ( USD 445,000). It is forecasting an audience share of around 2.5% in the first year with this doubling over three years.
In comparison, Classic Rock Radio was proposing to invest Euros 4.0 million (USD 5.68 million), Euros 1.8 million of this from GMG; and Dublin Rock Radio was proposing to invest Euros 3.0 million (USD 4.26 million)
Previous Guardian Media Group:
2008-09-08: Greater Media has now launched NOW 97.5 with what it terms a "younger leaning adult contemporary format" on the frequency formerly occupied by smooth jazz WJJZ which it took off air on Friday (See RNW Sep 5).
The company says it will feature artists rangin from Madonna, Rob Thomas and Kelly Clarkson to Rod Stewart, Elton John and Phil Collins and Greater Media Vice President and Philadelphia Market Manager John Fullam commented that they had seen a "great opportunity for a station that takes a new, younger approach to today's soft rock in the Philadelphia market."
In a posting on its web site Greater Media says a new program director will be named in the near future and adds that they are "very grateful to Michael Tozzi and the entire Smooth Jazz on air staff for their valuable contributions."
The WJZZ web site when we last checked still carried its farewell notice whilst the new station has its own web site nowismusic.com.
The format change will pit the station against veteran Jerry Lee's AC station, WBEB-FM (B101), which has dominated women's demographics in the market - it topped the ratings for No. 1 in women aged 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 in the July Arbitron PPM ratings.
Previous Greater Media:
NOW 97.5 web site:
2008-09-08: Radio still rules when it comes to music listening in the US according to Rasmussen Reports whose most recent survey on the matter ( of 1,830 Music Listeners) shows 42% of respondents saying they listen on radio most frequently followed by 25% on CD players, 14% on MP3 players; 9% on satellite radio and 5% on a computer. Tape decks still just managed a showing - 1% - but turntables were nowhere in sight.
The good news for radio is tempered somewhat however by demographic variations - 45% of young adults use MP3 players, compared to 22% of their elders: They also download music more.
2008-09-08: The Indian Information and Broadcasting Ministry, which had already delayed bidding for unallocated FM channels in Phase II of its FM licence auction- originally scheduled for November 2007 but then put back to December 2007 and January 2008 and ultimately to January this year - has now cancelled the bidding and is to fold it into a combined auction with channels that are to be offered in Phase III.
A circular from the ministry talks of "'a combined tender in respect of vacant channels of Phase II and channels of Phase III".
Reporting on the decision radioandmusic.com quotes Apurva Purohit, president of The Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI) as saying that it makes sense for the remaining 80 Phase II licences to be given out after deregulation is brought in with phase III. She adds that it would be to the benefit of India's private radio as a whole as it would give time for issues such as FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), allowing news and current affairs, and allowing multiple licences in a single market to be addressed before the licences are put on offer in Phase III.
The report also quoted a number of groups that had planned bids as expressing disappointment with My FM CFO Vijay Garg commenting, "This move comes as a disappointment for us as we were expecting to bid for metros and other cities in Phase II itself. Now that the vacant frequencies would be merged with Phase III, it might get a bit competitive to get licenses."
BAG Films & Media Ltd Managing Director Anurradha Prasad added, "It is a major setback on part of the radio industry as we were bidding for as many as 15 licenses all over. It was quite evident the way things were happening since the past four-five months that nothing fruitful would come from the delays. We were wishing that the government would have continued with the Phase II even after the delay and we have no clue what to expect from the Phase III after Phase II is cancelled."
Previous Indian Radio:
2008-09-07: Last week again saw more routine work than major issues at stake but in the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now, following receipt of a petition concerning the accuracy of Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings, called for comments on the PPM.
In Australia the Australian Communications and Media Authority posted just one radio decision, relating to Goldfields Community Radio Cooperative Limited, the licensee of Fresh 89.5 FM, Bendigo, Victoria.
The ACMA investigated the station following a complaint that it was failing to represent the Bendigo community, not encouraging members of that community to participate in the operations of the service, and had broadcast adverts.
It did not uphold the adverts complaints but in relation to the other complaints it found that Goldfields Community Radio had not held annual general meetings of its members for the years 2001 to 2006, meetings it termed a "key part of the operations of community broadcasting services as they deal with accountability issues of the first order including reporting obligations and important governance decisions, including the election of the board of directors."
It noted that the station has now held an AGM and is being managed by a board elected by its members and opted to take no further action at this stage but said that it would scrutinise compliance with these, and other key licence conditions, in any allocation process for a long-term community broadcasting licence for Bendigo.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as we have already reported has posted details of an application from Stingray Digital Media for a licence for a new pay audio service of up to 60 music channels that could provide further competition to the Sirius-XM service (See RNW Sep 6).
In other radio-related postings the CRTC has:
*Approved an application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to add an 8,900 watts FM transmitter in Vancouver, British Columbia, using the frequency 88.1 MHz to broadcast the programming of CBU-AM, which carries its national English-language network service Radio One.
The CBC had been given approval in May to operate an FM station on this frequency but the CRTC denied an application to convert CBU-AMm to FM. The CBC subsequently opted to continue operating CBU-AM and add an FM transmitter, the subject of this application, to address coverage deficiencies in Vancouver.
*Approved an application by Blackburn Radio Inc. to increase the power of CFGX-FM, Sarnia, Ontario, from 26,000 watts to 27,000 watts and increase the effective antenna height. Blackburn says this will address the signal in Sarnia.
There were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom has posted its latest broadcast bulletin, upholding five radio complaints (See RNW Sep 4). Ofcom has also pre-advertised the Huddersfield FM licence currently held by Huddersfield FM Limited (broadcasting as Pennine FM), and due to expire on 28 February 2010.
Declarations of intent to apply for a new licence to run to 31 December 2015 have to be made by October 1, accompanied by a non-refundable GBP 5,000 (USD 8,840) application fee and a GBP 20,000 (USD 35,400 deposit), which will be refundable upon receipt of a valid application in response to a subsequent re-advertisement of the licence. Should only the current licensee submit a declaration of intent, it will be invited to re-apply for the licence.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted has requested comment - with a deadline of Sep 24 then of Oct 6 for reply comments - following the filing of a petition calling for an inquiry into Arbitron's PPM ratings (See RNW Sep 4).
The "Emergency Petition for Section 403 Inquiry" was filed by the PPM Coalition (PPMC) -comprised of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Spanish Radio Association, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, American Hispanic Advertising Association, Border Media Partners, Entravision, ICBC Broadcast Holdings, Spanish Broadcasting System, and Univision, which noted that in July the Commission's Advisory Committee on Diversity recommended the same action it is seeking - it's recommendations were later voided (See RNW Jul 8).
The PPMC is arguing that "PPM methodology undercounts minority radio listeners, that the rollout of PPM methodology starting October 8, 2008 in eight markets (including the four largest radio markets) will seriously harm minority broadcasting and defeat the Commission's diversity goals, and that the Commission has ample jurisdiction to conduct this inquiry and to take action." Arbitron has disputed the FCC's authority in this case, although it says it remains committed to "continue our voluntary meetings with the FCC."
The FCC has also posted a "phishing" warning to fee payers, saying it has received "complaints that non-government entities may be using Internet sites to misdirect parties seeking to submit their regulatory fee payments" and that the sites are seeking financial information. It adds that those involved should make their Internet payments directly through the Commission's authorized Internet payment website and says that the allegations have been referred to the Inspector General for further investigation.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-09-06: The late President Ronald Reagan's progressive son Ron Reagan is to return to radio from Monday with a show originating from Seattle and to be syndicated by Air America Radio.
Reagan, who was previously a host with KIRO-AM in Seattle will be broadcast from CBS Radio's progressive talk KPTK-AM and aired by Air America in its regular programming from 20:00 to 21:00 ET following the 18:00 to 20:00 Rachel Maddow show. The Maddow show, which previously ran to 21:00 hours is being cut back to allow her more time to focus on her MSNBC television show.
Previous Air America Radio:
Seattle Times report:
2008-09-06: Further competition for the Sirius-XM Radio service in Canada could be on the way following an application by Stingray Digital Group Inc. (SDG) for a licence to operate a national pay audio programming undertaking to be known as Stingray.
The service will consist of a maximum of 60 audio channels, in a wide variety of music formats including English, French and other-language content.
The application will be considered at a public hearing on October 20 by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC): The deadline for submitting interventions or comments is October 2.
2008-09-05: Philadelphia smooth jazz station WJJZ-FM has dropped the jazz output and is to switch formats with what its web site is terming "a powerful new choice" to be revealed at 9 am on Monday. The departure adds yet another city where the format has been gone including Baltimore, New York and Washington DC.
The Greater Media station says in on its web site, "After much consideration and review, our company has decided to make a change to 97.5 FM" and adds that it shares "a passion for this wonderful music, the smooth jazz format, and all the good people that made the special things happen for all of us" but that despite committing substantial resources over two years it has "had limited success with smooth jazz as judged by the marketplace."
The station ended the smooth jazz programming at 18:00 ET on Friday with after Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You" and referred to a weekend of great music to follow until the new format makes it debut.
The smooth jazz format had been aired in Philadelphia for 13 years by Clear Channel with the same call signs on the 106.1 frequency until Aug 10, 2006, when it flipped the format (and that of its Gold based AC Sunny 104.5). Greater Media brought it back on 97.5 on November 17 that year but it has remained low in the ratings - July PPM figures showed it as 23rd with a 1.7 share.
Previous Greater Media:
WJJZ web site:
2008-09-05: Discounts of up to 30% may be offered on USD 980 million of Clear Channel Communications Inc. bonds that are scheduled to be priced early next week according to Bloomberg.
Citing a "person familiar with the transaction" the agency says the discount on the 10.75% eight-year-notes could cost the banks up to USD 294 million.
It quoted Andrew Feltus, a senior vice president and portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management Inc. in Boston as saying the discount may be needed because of the lack of demand for speculative-grade securities and the amount of debt on Clear Channel's balance sheet after the buyout.
This would take the yield of the notes up to around 16% and Feltus, who oversees USD8 billion in high-yield debt, commented, "You're talking about something that's over five times leveraged. The banks are now stuck with it.''
Bloomberg says the Clear Channel notes are rated Caa1, seven steps below investment grade, by Moody's and an equivalent CCC+ by Standard & Poor's. Junk bonds are rated below Baa3 by Moody's and BBB- by S&P and Bloomberg adds that New York-based Citigroup sold USD500 million of a Clear Channel term loan at about 83 cents on the dollar, according to S&P's Leveraged Commentary & Data.
In addition Clear Channel has announced that 46% of its outstanding 7.65% Senior Notes due 2010 have been offered up in response to its previously announced offer to purchase them. The aggregate principal of the notes tendered was approximately USD 342 million and Clear Channel says it will accept all of the noted validly tendered with payment to be made around Sept 12.
It also announced that it has extended from Sep 5 to Sep 9 the offer expiration date and consent payment deadline for the notes for which the tender offer is USD 930.00 per USD 1,000 principal amount plus the consent payment ofUSD30.00 per USD 1,000 principal amount although it notes that these deadlines could be further extended.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-09-04: According to Crain's Manchester Business radio host Steve Penk has bought Oldham station 96.2 The Revolution: The station changed formats last month amidst rumour of a sale (See RNW Aug 25).and Ofcom in its August Commercial Radio Broadcast Update said it had allowed a format change for the station (See RNW Licence News Aug 31).
Crain's says Penk is the sole owner after buying the entire share capital of Oldham FM Ltd (trading as The Revolution) from its shareholders UKRD Group and Hirst Kidd & Rennie, the company behind the Oldham Chronicle.
It quotes the host, who has worked for Key 103 in Manchester as well as Capital Radio in London, Fox FM and Virgin amongst other stations, as saying, "For some time I've been looking at various possible acquisitions but was very keen to find something in the two UK markets I know best, the North West and the South East."
He continued, "The Revolution fits the brief perfectly and I have big plans for the radio station. The North West is a fantastic market currently dominated by the huge radio groups and the BBC. This is my first acquisition and it won't be my last. I'm relishing the challenge and looking forward to taking on the big radio groups and the BBC."
Crain's Manchester Business report:
2008-09-04: The war of news release and filings over minority media concerns about the effects of a switch to Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings has continued with the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB); Spanish Radio Association; Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA); the PPM Coalition, a group of minority radio broadcasters; and the Minority Media Telecommunications Council, among others calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate the PPM's accuracy.
The petitioners say they do not object to electronic measurement in general but are concerned that its panels are under-represented in terms of various minorities and that this could have a potentially devastating effect on minority-owned stations.
NABOB executive director and general counsel Jim Winston said of the move, "NABOB has been meeting with Arbitron for almost two years seeking improvement in Arbitron's PPM system. From the beginning NABOB has advised Arbitron that its PPM methodology showed deficiencies in the recruitment, retention and participation of the sample panel, and these deficiencies have resulted in a significant under representation of younger African Americans in the PPM results. In addition, NABOB has objected to PPM's attribution of sporadic listening and the failure to have a metric that reflects listener engagement."
He continued, "During this two year period, we have seen PPM denied accreditation in New York and Philadelphia, which confirms the issues NABOB has been raising about PPM. Yet, Arbitron proposes to replace its accredited diary service with the PPM service that has been denied accreditation. In response to our concerns we have received only vague assurances from Arbitron that PPM will be perfected by 2010. We can't wait that long for Arbitron to get it right. If they don't fix PPM now, some of our member stations may not be in business in 2010."
The AHAA's emergency petition says Arbitron's methodology needs to be "reliable and fair" and its Chairman José López-Varela commented, "The association is committed to preserving the integrity of the Hispanic advertising industry and our marketplace. We intend to be vigilant in pursuing accurate measurement of Hispanics and that the sampling methods and tools are adequate to provide the resources we require."
Arbitron responded to this by saying it did not consider that the FCC had jurisdiction in the matter and lacked the authority to commence an investigation although it remained "committed to continue our voluntary meetings with the FCC."
RNW comment: We began by terming this a war of news released since as we have noted concerning this matter before we also think that this is not a matter where the FCC has authority to act.
It would, however, be foolish of Arbitron to neglect the concerns of its customers although in our view the best time for action by station owners would have been to get involved when Clear Channel called for proposals for an alternative system. There are competitors in the field and were station owners to commit themselves to financing trials in other markets it would certainly put pressure on Arbitron albeit we believe that a monopoly is inherently undesirable and a better long-term situation for the industry would be to have some markets with a competing ratings provider and subsequent competition to gain markets (and market share) on a regular basis.
2008-09-04: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Bulletin has noted sanctions imposed against SportxxxBabes for broadcasting sexually explicit material, upheld standards complaints against six TV programmes and five radio ones considered a further three TV standards complaints and one radio standards complaint resolved by action taken by the broadcaster; upheld no Fairness and privacy complaints although it posted details of seven TV fairness and privacy complaints, four against one BBC programme.
It also held three TV organisations to be in breach of their licence conditions regarding equal employment, noting that, despite repeated requests and written warnings from Ofcom, they have still not provided the information requested or complied in any other way with the obligation to report on the current operation and effectiveness of their arrangements
The figures compare with five radio and ten TV standards complaints upheld in its previous bulletin in which it also partially upheld 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.
The radio complaints upheld were against:
*Reading-based 2-Ten FM concerning a bulletin in which a report about the risk of flooding to homes featured a representative of a local company that builds flood defences and ended with a reference to "photos of some of the high-tech ways you can protect your home" on its web site.
A listener complained that the report was sensational news hiding blatant advertising".
GCap, which owned the station at the time, said that the news report was intended to highlight the increased flood protection available above the standard legal protection but admitted that views of the representatives should have been challenged and added that the journalist responsible for the news report had since been retrained to ensure that "stories are balanced and adequately researched" and that his performance will be monitored.
It said it had no commercial dealings with the company concerned and had just used it as a news source.
Ofcom ruled that there had been no editorial justification for featuring the company in the way it had been and that by directly promoting the products and services of a commercial organisation in a news bulletin, the programme was in breach of its rules.
*GWR FM (Swindon & West Wiltshire)'s The Go Home Show and broadcasts to celebrate St George's Day in which the presenter invited listeners to join them at their particular event location and stated that there would be free traditional English food and beverages available. The location chosen for the show was a public house owned by the presenter leading to a listener complaint that the presenter was promoting his pub by "encouraging listeners to go to his pub for a drink".
GCap, which owned the station at the time, said the fact that the location was owned by the presenter was more a matter of "more a matter of availability and convenience rather than a shrewd attempt to achieve some sort of commercial gain", that the only products that were on offer at [the] pub were 'cream teas and other beverages' [which were] sourced from a third party by the radio station"
Ofcom noted repeated references on air to the public house concerned together with mentions that the broadcaster owned the pub and concluded that taken together with the presenter's invitations to listeners to join him for a drink, rather than simply to join in the event, undue prominence was given to it in breach of its rules.
*Scarlet FM (Llanelli and Carmarthenshire Coast) concerning a pre-recorded poll in advertising breaks in which listeners were invited to vote by standard rate text, telephone or on the station's website, for the best beer garden in the Llanelli area in addition to which presenters had also during programming encouraged listeners to take part.
A listener expressed concern that the poll was only open to advertisers on the station and Scarlet FM said the poll was run in commercial airtime and that local pubs paid to be candidates but listeners were not prevented from voting for other pubs.
Ofcom in its decision accepted that the poll run during advertising time sounded like an advert but considered that mentions in editorial time, which repeated the content of the advert, breached its rules.
*Atlantic FM (Cornwall) and the regular weekday evening show in which presenter Matt Bunt announced that the station was helping listeners who may be considering what to do after completing their GCSEs or 'A' levels. He then promoted the "Mechanical and Engineering National Diploma" available at Cornwall College and announced its telephone number and web address, for more details.
A listener said the output sounded like editorial as opposed to an advertisement but although it referred to courses "available in Cornwall" mentioned only one college -Atlantic FM.
Atlantic FM in response said that the material had been paid for and should have been broadcast as advertising; apologised for its "very unfortunate oversight" and said "the educational rather than overtly commercial nature of the material may have briefly obscured the need for separation."
It added that it had restructured this content into a live read scheduled at the end of a commercial break, with immediate effect and detailed how its "course of the day" advertisements were now clearly separated from editorial, both in style and sequentially, saying it was "confident that the item would not now be perceived as editorial."
It admitted breach of the relevant codes and Ofcom in its ruling said the broadcasts reflected "failure to ensure the clear separation of advertising from programming (editorial) - one of the basic principles of UK broadcasting."
*Isle of Wight Radio and a phone-in segment during Big Al's Mid Morning Boogie with the Doc in which presenter Alex Dyke referred to a protest rally that had taken place against the proposed closure of 23 local schools by the Isle of Wight Council. A listener who had attended the rally called in to dispute the numbers given for protestors taking part and criticise the way the close had been covered and there was an exchange in which strong views were expressed.
Ofcom received a complaint from this listener who stated that on the next day's programme the presenters referred live on-air to the previous day's phone-in segment and her involvement in it and said the presenters had subsequently called her at home and left a message on her answer machine. She complained that she had been unfairly treated during the broadcast and that the call made to her home unwarrantably infringed her privacy.
Ofcom requested a recording of the programme, first receiving a blank CD and then a second CD on which it was unable to find the relevant exchange. The broadcaster later confirmed that the recording was not of the programme requested because of human error and that it had not kept a copy of the required recording beyond the 42-day period required by its licence
Ofcom noted that it was therefore unable to rule on the complaint of fairness and privacy but noted that failure to supply recordings us a serious and significant breach of the broadcaster's licence.
The radio complaint considered resolved involved an International Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) programme that included celebratory material commemorating the birthday of Velupillai Pirabakaran, the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a proscribed terrorist organisation under the Terrorism Act 2000.
This means that under current UK legislation it is unlawful to be a member of the LTTE, to raise funds for it or to invite or encourage support for it and complaints were made that broadcast promoted an event to commemorate the LTTE's "Heroes' Day" celebrations; broadcast the comments of "ardent LTTE supporters" that appeared to promote terrorism; broadcast comments and LTTE songs that praised Pirabakaran; and contained material that was "serious and confirmed [the] glorification of terrorism" ("glorification" of terrorism is a criminal offence).
IBC stated that it was genuinely surprised that the content of the programme could be regarded as being in breach of the Code or that it glorified terrorism and added that and that as a community based broadcaster it was obliged to reflect the views of its audience and as such these views do not always reflect the views of the broadcaster.
Regarding the event involved it said this to the best of IBC's knowledge, was not linked to the "Heroes' Day" celebrations of the LTTE and added that the event was organised by "the general public to commemorate their loved ones" and that appropriate permission for the event was given by the Metropolitan Police.
IBC did however acknowledge that in a few cases certain inappropriate comments and words in songs were allowed to be broadcast; and confirmed that extra care would be taken in future to ensure compliance in similar live broadcasts.
Ofcom noted various passages from an independently translated transcript of the programme and said that parts "included content that could be perceived as either encouraging or inviting support for the LTTE."
In considering the matter resolved, however, it took into account the fact that no previous breaches of its codes had been recorded against IBC; the fact that IBC has acknowledged that some parts of the statements and songs broadcast could be regarded as inappropriate, and assurances by it that extra care will be taken in future in producing similar broadcasts.
In addition to the above also listed without details 272 TV complaints against 140 items and 27 radio complaints against 40 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 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 in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2008-09-03: The HD Radio Digital Alliance, which was launched in December 2005, has announced that its President and CEO Peter Ferrara is to move to the new position of Strategic Adviser on January 1 next year; EVP Diane Warren will move up to the role of President.
Announcing his move at the alliance's annual update call Ferrara said that it was time "for a change" as the group is becoming a marketing organization and he felt his "skill set was not as strong as Diane's in terms of marketing and doing those things, and [I] felt that I had provided whatever value I was likely to provide with my hands on in the early stages of helping form and create the alliance."
Both he and Warren noted that the number of stations broadcasting in HD has risen from 300 in 2005 to 1,758 with more than half of these multicasting and more than 60 HD devices available at some 1,200 retail outlets.
The price for some receivers is now below USD 100 and half that with rebated and Ferrara said that this was approaching the "magic" price point for buyers.
Ferrara also announced that the restrictions that had been put on HD secondary channels under which advertising was limited to four ten-second mentions an hour has been lifted although the broadcasters would adopt a "consumer-sensitive" attitude to adverts on these channels rather than running the normal advertising load that is carried on terrestrial analogue stations, likening plans to the National Public Radio (NPR) policy with sponsorships and painted a future in which radio would offer advertisers a broader platform of standard, HD2, Internet and mobile devices.
"When we began putting the pieces in place for the Alliance in the fall of 2005, there was little attention being paid to HD Radio and the industry lacked a plan to make it a reality," he said. "There were only a few HD stations on the air, no automakers offered an HD Radio and no national retailers carried receivers. Today, it is gratifying to know how far we've come in three short years. While there is still much to do, this has been an unprecedented effort with unparalleled success within the radio industry. It's a testament to what broadcasters can achieve when the industry comes together with a clear purpose and mission."
Warren termed 2008 a "break out year" for HD but said much was left to do and both she and Ferrara stressed that local radio will have to take a larger role in promoting HD. "At some point," she said, ", there will come a time when HD Radio is in all radios, and the bird will have flown the nest. But in the meantime, there's a lot of work to be done with the various stakeholders."
Previous HD Digital Radio Alliance:
2008-09-03: Cambridge (UK)-based Internet radio technology group Reciva has announced that former Chrysalis Radio chief executive Phil Riley has joined it as chairman following the conclusion of what it termed "a significant round of fundraising."
In a company news release Riley said of his appointment, "This is my first step back into corporate life since the successful sale of Chrysalis Radio last year [Sold to Global Radio last year See RNW Aug 1, 2007] and I'm thrilled to be with Reciva, which has positioned itself as the leading technology provider in the rapidly expanding internet radio market."
"'Connected' radios", he added "will define the future of audio broadcasting, so it's great to be working with the market leader at such an early stage"
Reciva CEO Ben Terrell commented, "Phil is an acknowledged leader in the UK radio industry, and it's a testament to the technology and people within Reciva that he has agreed to join us as Chairman. His business and broadcasting skills will ensure Reciva maximizes its market leading position as the Internet radio industry develops."
2008-09-03: UK Virgin Radio's new owners TIML Golden Square, which is ultimately owned by the Indian media group Bennett and Coleman subsidiary , which also owns the Times of India and Radio Mirchi stations, has now released further details for the station, which Virgin's breakfast host Christian O'Connell has confirmed on air will be Absolute Radio [See RNW Sep 2]. TIML had retained brand agency Albion to suggest a replacement name but the decision to go with Absolute was favoured in part because it already owned the trademark and web site - the URL currently re-directs to the Virgin site which is carrying the message "Soon to be known as Absolute" and also a sequence of promotional messages including one for Christian O'Connell's breakfast show.
As well as the re-branding of the AM and FM Virgin stations, the new owners will also use the Absolute name for Virgin's two digital stations - Virgin Radio Xtreme and Virgin Radio Classic Rock will become Absolute Xtreme and Absolute Classic Rock.
The new owners say they plane to diversify into online music subscription services and are to promote the new name with a 16-week multimedia campaign that Absolute Radio chief content officer, Clive Dickens says will be the most expensive in the station's history and "I'm pretty sure in the whole of commercial radio".
The new station will feature a "deeper, wider and less repetitious" than Virgin's current offerings according to Dickens who said the station will emphasise personality DJs and be "irreverent and cheeky".
In addition to JK and Joel and Robin Burke whose departure we reported yesterday, Tony Hadley, who hosted the Friday and Saturday evening Party Classics shows, will leave the station.
O'Connell retains his breakfast slot as does morning host Russ Williams but evening host Geoff Lloyd will move to an expanded drivetime show running from 16:00 to 20:00 instead of ending at 19:00 - current drivetime host Nick Jackson will move to an early afternoon slot - and Ben Jones will take over weekday evenings running to midnight with new hire and former Kerrang! DJ Tim Shaw hosting the weekend evenings from 22:00 to 01:00 and Jo Russell from Trent FM taking over the weekend morning slot from JK and Joel.
The new owners opted not to try and retain the Virgin name, which is controlled by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group.
Absolute founders - Dickens, Donnach O'Driscoll, its chief executive and CFO Adrian Robinson, are currently running a blog in which Dickens says goodbye to Hadley, commenting that it has been "a privilege to have had him on the schedule, most recently hosting Party Classics on both Friday and Saturday evenings."
He adds that the "plan going forward is to echo our weekday '80s offerings at the weekend in a new music-intensive show called 'Absolute 80s' on a Friday night, with Neil Francis. Then on Saturdays from 6.00 p.m. Leona Graham will be hosting a special 'Absolute Classic Rock' show, part of our strategy of showcasing the digital brands on the main station."
Of the choice of name he comments, "We held all suggestions up against criteria which included URLs and trademark availability, resonance with brand, international translation & appeal and the like. Absolute was a clear winner on all fronts and the more we lived with it, the more we really liked it. Such a great powerful and flexible word. And we can own it across the World - and we can really build a music entertainment business around it, with a great radio station at the core. It sums us up well, though, I think. The word embodies what we stand for: we are resolute and unapologetic about our passion for real music - our desire to build a great entertainment brand and business - our determination to put listeners at the heart of our plans - and we are not afraid to challenge the commercial radio status quo."
Previous Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (Times of India owners):
Previous Virgin Group:
TIML Golden Square blog:
2008-09-02: This week in our look at print comment on radio we begin with a Washington Post report by Paul Farhi on one of a group who get comparatively little publicity but may shape radio greatly.
Writing under the headline, "When This Guy Talks, NPR Listens" his report was on Canadian-born consultant David Candow, described by Farhi as "one of the most sought-after vocal training specialists in the English-speaking world, a kind of Henry Higgins to broadcasting's Eliza Doolittles."
NPR says Farhi is Candow's most prominent client with almost all of its most prominent voices having gone through his training sessions.
Newfoundland-born Candow spent 31 years with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and found some initial scepticism but has since gained the nickname "the host whisperer" for what Farhi terms his "knack for bringing out the most emotive, evocative and distinctive qualities in NPR's journalists."
Candow, he says, usually begins his work "not by lecturing but by listening. He pays close attention not just to what his students say, but to nonverbal cues like pitch, pace, volume, rhythm. All of it makes an impression. A little bend in a word here, a pause mid-sentence, even standing or sitting can affect the way someone sounds, he says."
He says his intention is not to make those involved into actors - behaving as someone else - but a better self and he counsels his clients to write "for the ear, not the page."[RNW comment: This was standard practice when this writer joined the BBC but then in those days not only was radio training taken seriously but TV practice in the age of film allowed time for a reporter to write a rough script to go with expected pictures and then revise it to marry narration and pictures when the film was "out of the soup" and it was known whether the expected and actual were the same. Unlike US practice there was trust in reporters so little "script approval", another factor that often ends up with pictures being loosely attached to a pre-written script that is then used for radio, TV and web purposes with consequent weakening of each.].
In practical terms, says the Farhi article, this means "keeping the sentences short and declarative", avoiding compound sentences that are in general "too hard on the ear" and noting that in radio "the big adjective is a verb" by which he means that a single verb can say more than a string of adjectives.
As an example he cites a radio story about a 105-year-old woman named Alice. The reporter told her listeners that upon their first encounter, Alice "flits" into the room. "Flits!" repeats Candow. That one verb is "more powerful than any description I can make up."
Farhi goes on to give further examples from a recent session at NPR and then quoted Scott Simon, host of NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday," on the reaction of some veterans who wanted to know what someone like Candow could teach them.
"I can't say I was immune from those immediate reactions myself," said Simon but then adds that after a few sessions, "I was transformed. He's just totally sensible."
After other comments from NPR vice president of news Ellen Weiss and Candow himself, Farhi ends by quoting Candow on the differences that technology has made over the years from a time when "radio voices had to be deep and rich to cut through static and road noise."
Radio can now tolerate a wider range says Farhi and quotes Candow as saying, "I welcome it. One of the most compelling sounds for the human ear is the sound of another human voice. Now we can hear a fuller range of voices. The orchestra is now complete."
Sticking with Canadians for a moment, we next move to a Calgary Herald article on the city's radio personalities by Ruth Myles, Bruce Weir and Shelley Youngblut,, not so much for details of the individuals involved as for the introduction: "'A face for radio.' Critics say it like it's a bad thing, but really, isn't it a compliment? Imagine being renowned for an appeal that goes beyond the physical. It's not gleaming teeth, generous curves or $300 haircuts that draw listeners to their favourite spot on the AM or FM dial on a daily basis. Unlike their anchorman counterparts, radio personalities aren't subjected to the vagaries of superficial tastes. Listeners won't channel surf in their cars or click on another station's URL on their workplace computer just because they don't like the DJ's shirt, necklace or glasses. No, it's what they say and how they say it, what they play and how they play it, that wins our hearts and minds. How else can one explain the star power of Peter Gzowski and Vicki Gabereau, the finest radio faces ever to grace Canada's airwaves?"
Follow the link if interested in the surprisingly wide range of personalities involved but meanwhile we move on to what may become a regular feature - the latest comment from iBiquity CEO Robert Struble, this time from a report on HD radio by Chris Kaltenbach in the Baltimore Sun.
After duly noting the struggle HD is having - later Kaltenbach pours more cold water on HD by noting that its critics "contend that the claims of improved sound quality are overblown, and that they don't matter that much to most consumers anyway. And at a time when many use iPods to create their own playlists, niche audiences may not have as much use for HD Radio stations anymore" - he quotes Struble as saying, "We're where we'd like to be, but we'd like to make it go quicker."
Never mind the rest, this is arrant nonsense. iBiquity would loved to have had millions of sets out there and if so it probably wouldn't have been so keen on lobbying the FCC to make DH chips mandatory in satellite receivers.
It does, however, cue in further comment on the issue, this time from Gino Lattarulo in Seekingalpha.
The headline "Leave Sirius Alone" expresses the tone to follow but Lattarulo doesn't suggest the FCC shouldn't take up the issue. After commenting that the "the notice of inquiry comes from Clear Channel and iBiquity itself which is producing the HD system" and noting that the satellite industry has "has spent billions developing and producing receivers to liberate the masses from the stranglehold of terrestrial radio.", the article continues: "Clear channel is trying to go back to bullying 'ol reliable and spineless FCC into letting them leach HD technology onto satellite receivers without having to spend the money to compete hardware for hardware. I say sure, let them do it. But pay the owners of satellite technology and the manufacturers of the receivers for the right to do it."
Bearing in mind the amount the satellite companies have spent on ensuring their products are in automobiles, maybe this is the answer but then again as Lattarulo later comments the issue is almost certainly not one of technology.
"Do you really want to get ahead?" he asks of Clear Channel and the NAB and responds, "Concentrate on your business model and the well being of the stock holders. YOU NEED CONTENT. HD is not your savoir. Content is. Content Content. Why do you think Sirius is signing content like crazy? It's not because the sound quality is all that great, it's because they know people will tune in to CNBC and Baseball. Stop being so thick headed about such a remedial concept."
Which takes us on to listening suggestions starting with one that forms the nub of a UK Times "Radio Head" column by Neil Fisher.
The plug is for Monday's "Twenty Minutes" between Prom concerts on BBC Radio 3 and it was the story of The Representative, a newspaper founded by a young Benjamin Disraeli specifically to challenge the dominance of The Times.
The plan failed miserably but Fisher comments of the programme- "Stealing the Thunderer", "The story is juicily told by Stuart Kelly, and it makes the best possible argument for these documentary slices that have consistently been pepping up the daily Proms."
Adding to Radio 3 listening suggestions we would go, apart from Proms concerts according to content, with Tuesday's "Twenty Minutes" - "The Power of the Ondes " in which Thomas Bloch discusses the ondes martenot. For those who know the Theremin, it should prove interesting and for those who know neither of these early electronic musical instruments even more so.
The Wednesday edition also seems as if it may we worth a listen - "The Quiet Carriage" in which Geoff Dyer explores changing ideas of privacy, personal space and good manners on trains. Finally from the station we suggest next Saturday's "Music Feature" - "Kennedy on Grapelli "in which Nigel Kennedy pays tribute to Stephane Grappelli.
Moving stations to a different music feature we next suggest BBC Radio 2 from Monday with the last of the six part "Suzi Quatro's Heroes ", a profile of Sam Moore, one half of the soul duo Sam & Dave, and from Tuesday with "Living in Harmony", the third of a six-part series on close-harmony singing and the following "Street Corner Soul ", the second of a four part series on doo wop.
Finally from the station we suggest Friday evenings "...The Novel That Changed My Life", the sixth and final programme in the series. In this episode Alex James considers Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island."
After that back to music but this time with BBC Radio 4 and Tuesday's "Music Feature" - "Musical Comedy Was My Dish" in which Ben Elton explores a forgotten side of his greatest literary hero PG Wodehouse, who wrote lyrics for hundreds of songs which appeared in many musical comedies.
Then working chronologically we go for suggestions that illustrate some of the range of the station starting with Sunday's "Food Programme" on anchovies and "In Search of Tristan" in which Twm Morys explored the legend of Tristan and Isolde. We'd also note that the current "Classic Serial", is Tobias Smollet's satire "The Expedition of Humphry Clinker", dramatised by Yvonne Antrobus.
From Monday we suggest Stephen Fry's "English Delight", this time a look at "Quotations" and the following "Parkmasters" that this week looked at Joseph Paxton and his work developing Birkenhead Park.
Later on Monday morning we were pleasantly surprised by "Driving into Debt", the story of repossession man Mark Caisely and in the afternoon by "The Afternoon Play" - "Peter Lorre vs Peter Lorre" on the case the actor found himself involved in to protect his name.
Also from Monday and running through the week we suggest "Book of the Week" - "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star" in which Stuart Milligan reads from Paul Theroux's account of a journey in which he retraces his own steps and follows in the tracks of his classic 1973 travel book The Great Railway Bazaar.
From the afternoons we go for "The Afternoon Reading" - this week short stories by Alan Sillitoe and the following "The Drawings On The Wall" in which archaeologist Dr George Nash explores Western Europe's most remarkable rock art sites.
On Tuesday we opted for "Whose Side is Bart Simpson on?" in which Phil Jupitus looked at the enduring popularity of The Simpsons and "The Afternoon Play" - "The McKinnon Extradition", the story of the British hacker who has so far lost his battle against extradition to the US to face charges of hacking into US government computers - and who faces potentially faces a much longer jail sentence than if he had murdered the British politicians (Tony Blair and David Blunkett) who agreed a one-sided extradition treaty with the US in the wake of 9-11.
Later on Tuesday we go for the latest in the "Great Lives" series in which Shadow Chancellor George Osborne nominates Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty whilst on Wednesday we suggest "The Strange Case of Oliver Cromwell's Head" in which Mark Whitaker explores the story of how Oliver Cromwell's body was exhumed and hanged at Tyburn. His head was cut off and displayed on top of Westminster Hall as a warning to anyone opposed to the monarchy. It stayed there until 1684, when it went missing and Whitaker looks at the story before it was finally put to rest in Cambridge in 1960.
From Thursday we suggest "Material World", which looks at the world of plastic electronic engineering; the comedy "Bleak Expectations" and "In Business" in which Peter Day looks at the ever increasing bandwidth demands from the Internet.
From Friday we go for music again with "For One Night Only" in which Paul Gambaccini recalls classic concerts, in this case Miles Davis and Quincy Jones Live at Montreux and then sticking to music we end on Saturday with "Brel et Moi" in which former Labour strategist Alastair Campbell reveals his passion for the music of the late Belgian singer/songwriter Jacques Brel plus drama with "The Saturday Play" - "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich", Mike Walker's adaptation of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's classic portrayal of life in Stalin's prison camps.
Moving to Radio Netherlands next we suggest Monday's "Curious Orange" - a multi-cultural show at the start of Ramadan that ranged from Moslem culture in general to the cultures of Italy with a story about Dutch art in Florence and Indonesia; Tuesday's "The State We're In" that looked at workers' rights including modern day "serfdom" in rural Turkey, issues faced by sex workers in Amsterdam and also a man who believes everyone should have the right not to work [to which our basic response is that he should also have the right to starve himself to death but probably not any right to procreate].
Wednesday sees a new season of the station's "Radio Books" after a break since June: It will highlight work from the immigrant communities of the Netherlands and Belgium and begins with "We are not Great" by Karin Amatmoekrim, the story of a teenager who grew up in Curacao and moves to a small village in North Holland.
Earlier books are still on the site and as a final suggestion from Radio Netherlands we suggest a dip into its "Bridges with Africa" programme - editions back to April are on the site.
Them moving to the US, we suggest a dip as the US Presidential elections approach and party conventions end into "On the Media" from WNYC and also a dip into "Media Matters" from WILL-AM last month (the Aug 10 programme features Thomas Frank, author of "The wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule".
Baltimore Sun - Kaltenbach:
Calgary Herald - Myles, Weir and Youngblut:
Seekingalpha - Lattarulo:
UK Times - Fisher:
Washington Post- Farhi:
RNW note: We will tidy up this report later:
2008-09-02: UK Virgin Radio, which is due to be re-branded Absolute Radio in a re-launch next month by its new owners TIML Golden Square Ltd, a subsidiary of the Times of India (See RNW Jun 21) is to lose three hosts before the re-branding according to the UK Guardian.
The paper quotes Virgin Radio chief operating officer Clive Dickens as saying JK and Joel (Jason King and Joel Ross), who currently host the weekend 10:00 to 13:00 slot, are leaving "to do yet more TV". They are to be replaced by Jo Russell, one half of Nottingham station Trent FM's Jo & Twiggy breakfast show, and she in turn will be replaced by the station's afternoon host Emma Caldwell. The Trent breakfast show will be renamed the "Twiggy and Emma" show.
Also on the move is Robin Burke, who hosts the 04:00 to 06:00 early breakfast show on weekdays.
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd (Times of India owners):
Previous JK and Joel:
UK Guardian report:
2008-09-01: According to the New York Post, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is investigating New York financier Daniel Zwirn and his USD 5 billion hedge fund, D.B. Zwirn, in relation to an alleged improper transfer of radio licenses.
The nine licences involved were owned by Tama Broadcasting which ran radio stations in Georgia and Florida and according to the paper Tama has accused Zwirn of transferring ownership of the licenses from Tama to Zwirn without the approval of the FCC. The Post adds that the ownership of the licences became an issue after Tama failed to make payment on a USD 20 million loan from Zwirn, which forced the broadcaster into Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year.
Such a transfer would breach FCC rules and could lead to a fine or licence revocation but Zwirn had denied the licence transfer claims, made by Tam's then CEO Dr Charles Cherry.
New York Post report:
2008-09-01:UK media regulator Ofcom is to ease its licensing rules for digital radio to encourage co-operation between Global Radio and Channel 4 according to the UK Sunday Times.
The paper says that the regulator, which is concerned about the future of DAB digital radio, is involved in a plan in which Channel 4 and its minority partners, including Bauer Radio and UTV would take a 65% share in Digital One, the national commercial digital multiplex.
GCap Media had agreed to sell its controlling holding in the multiplex to Arqiva for a nominal sum (See RNW Feb 11) but Global, which has since taken over GCap, reversed the sale decision (See RNW Mar 12).
The paper says Global and Arqiva would take a stake in the Digital Two national multiplex that was won by Channel 4 but which is being mothballed but which Ofcom is suggesting could become a regional-national hybrid, thus allowing Global to launch a national Heart station.
Ofcom, it adds, wants Channel 4 to launch its three new stations on Digital One by April next year but currently only E4 radio, which was to have been on air by now, is the only one of the three confidently expected to meet the deadline.
Previous Channel 4:
Previous Global Radio:
UK Sunday Times report:
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