December 2008 Archive
-November 2008 - January 2009 -
Links- internally where there are follow-up stories we try, at the end of each story, to put a pertinent link to the top of the previous relevant story. Regarding external links see note at end of page.
RNW October comment -White spaces, white noise! Argues in favour of using the unused parts of broadcast spectrum for wireless Internet as being in the wider public interest albeit proceeding with caution and regulating to as to not to cause interference to broadcast signals.
2008-12-31: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with two articles regarding the former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "Fairness Doctrine", dropped in 1987 after being in effect since 1949.
The suggestion that it might be re-introduced has had a number of US talk-hosts and conservative columnists and bloggers up in arms but the first report we turn to - from retired journalist Dick Ahles in The Day, Connecticut - expresses considerable scepticism about the likelihood or desire for its re-introduction.
After detailing a little of the history of the doctrine and noting some of the columns written in opposition to the idea - including comment from George Will in The Washington Post that begins, "Reactionary liberalism, the ideology of many Democrats, holds that inconvenient rights, such as secret ballots in unionization elections, should be repealed; that existing failures, such as GM, should be preserved; and, with special perversity, that repealed mistakes, such as the "fairness doctrine," should be repeated. That Orwellian name was designed to disguise the doctrine's use as the government's instrument for preventing fair competition in the broadcasting of political commentary."
Will, to digress further, was described by the Huffington Post in relation to that column as "apparently among the paranoid-schizophrenics who have come to believe that the Fairness Doctrine, which sought to balance the political viewpoints found on terrestrial radio back when that was a scarce commodity and which never really worked to anyone's liking, is poised to make some sort of comeback. "
It continues, "You'll note in Will's piece that there is not one single name of anyone of any import who could play even an ancillary role in making the revival of a shop-worn, unwanted policy possible. That is because the only people who want to bring back the Fairness Doctrine are the hobgoblins and banshees that are conjured up in the ether-sleeps of conservative op-ed writers."
The Huffington Post then goes on to quote - as did Ahles - from a New Republic report by Marin Cogan headed "Bum Rush" that notes various comments on the issue from conservatives and specifically the suggestion that now President-elect Barack Obama's administration would re-introduce the doctrine.
Cogan writes, "To figure out who was causing such agitation, I went searching for the proponents of the fairness doctrine. I looked at Obama's position--and it turns out that he doesn't want the policy reinstated. Then I called the array of Democratic congressmen who had been tagged by conservatives as doctrine proponents. But they all denied any intention to push for its reinstatement."
The article later says, "Responses from the offices of most of the Democrats who have been pegged as fairness-doctrine proponents-- (Charles Ellis "Chuck") Schumer, Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, and others--have ranged from a firm denial that the issue is a priority at all to disbelief at finding themselves at the centre of a manufactured controversy."
After fairness, to accuracy and a report from Scott Sloan in the Lexington Herald-Leader that linked cutbacks to claims made by Cumulus's WVLK-AM that continued after the cuts cost seven of the 42 workers at its six Lexington stations their jobs.
Included in the losses were two of the station's three news reporters but, reports the paper, it continued its promotional adverts claiming to have "the largest local news team in the area."
Clear Channel's rival news station WLAP-AM, reports Sloan, also has one staff reporter and the company's market manager Gene Guinn commented of the Cumulus claim, "We have always found their claims of having the largest local radio news team misleading, even more so now given the recent cuts to their news department While our competitors choose to grandstand over the air, we feel it best to stand by our coverage and let the listeners decide for themselves."
Sloan notes that both stations tout their partnership with local TV stations and other regional media to back up their coverage claims and says Cumulus's general manager Hal Hofman said he planned to stand by the promotions and that they would continue to run, adding, "When you look at WVLK's news content, compared to other radio stations in the market, I feel we still have that leadership position."
Sloan also notes that Lexington's non-profit National Public Radio affiliate WUKY-FM appears to have the largest radio news staff in the city and also shares a Frankfort bureau with other public radio stations, including Eastern Kentucky University's WEKU-FM in Richmond, which also covers Lexington news: Its news director Alan Lytle said he doesn't take issue with WVLK's advertisements because "a lot of our coverage isn't the kind of things you might hear on WLAP or WVLK" adding, "We don't do a lot of police blotter stuff," he said. "Our bread and butter are the policy issues, the government-related stories."
Some of the comments from readers summed the situation quit fairly in our view: One said of both WKVK and WLAP: "Neither of these radio stations has a legitimate "News Department." That implies a staff that enterprises, reports, writes and delivers actual "news." Each station has abdicated its responsibilities to the community --pledged in exchange for a broadcast license-- by reducing its news staff to one person and slashing its content to "rip 'n read." If these station managers were honest, they would admit this. In the meantime, each station exploits a parasitical relationship with local TV news departments, which are not exactly pinnacles of quality journalism."
He also took a swing at WUKY saying its "programming is a huge disappointment. Their 'local news' regurgitates the Herald Leader, and dumping NPR news through the mid-day in favour of 'rock' is just stupid.
RNW comment: This little cameo to us illustrates the self-serving nonsense talked by many of those- including some FCC Commissioners - who claim that the Internet has provided many more sources of information for people. In fact we have found when tracing back many stories, some with thousands of entries, that in most cases it provides either additional comment based on the same source or blog information from an individual that may or may not be true but cannot be checked. The claim is as misleading as the promotional adverts and in this case appear to be and it seems to us that serious thought needs to be paid to some mechanism for supporting local news cover - to include issues as well as gossip, crime and scandal - in most advanced countries as the effect of online advertising cuts into revenues at newspapers and staff are cut. The issue is in our view much more important than many of the music copyright issues that attract more attention.
Finally business and an article from Brad Kava in the San Francisco Examiner that mirrors some of our views expressed above.
Under the heading, "Howard Stern and Sirius/XM: another toxic investment" he refers to a New York Times report that he says is "is surprisingly kind to Mel Karmazin and his Sirius/XM satellite radio, although when you read it, you can see the underpinnings of colossal failure" and then continues, "It's the same problem newspapers and old media have: people don't want to pay for something they can get for free. And in the case of Stern, his enormous salary and the fact that it makes him so unwilling to do the kind of marketing it takes to keep himself in the public eye, will doom the service."
In Kava's case he says he dropped a satellite subscription because he couldn't "justify spending USD 200 a year to track Stern, when I can get the gist of what he says on blogs, such as www.marksfriggin.com." and continues, "And I don't see what else I can get from satellite that I can't get from the Internet or my own iPod, or iPhone."
Which seems a reasonable point at which to move on to listening suggestions, which in our case come nearly exclusively from public service radio sources, partly because of the BBC's strengths and partly because of the range of downloads offered by them and other public broadcasters: We also prefer to listen to music and find the idea of it as background noise interrupted by sales pitches - which is what too many commercial stations offer - not to our taste.
And this week we start our listening suggestions with various MP3 downloads and first of all we suggest a dip into Radio Netherland's "Radio Books"- the selection from the past few weeks includes works featuring variously a puppeteer; day in the life of a homeless man in Amsterdam park; tales of fantasy and real friends, of forbidden love and a re-telling of Romeo and Juliet set in 16th-century Lahore in which a Muslim girl and a Hindu boy fall in love.
Sticking with Radio Netherlands for a moment last week's "Earthbeat" looked back at some of the most memorable stories of the year including tales of Somali pirates and vegetable re-designers in the Netherlands and this week's revisits other stories from the past twelve months including the anti-noise machine.
Also looking back at the past year was Tuesday's "The State We're In, Midweek Edition" (Dec 30), which also looked at noise and the issues of the right to silence or to sex.
Then switching across the Atlantic we suggest a dip into "On the Media" from WNYC: The "A Few Regrets" report in the Dec 26th item is a neat and to us amusing illustration around half way through of the dangers of allowing computers to alter language automatically as well as making the American Family Association seem slightly ridiculous - for those of you who listen we could add the words Enola Gay and Marvin Gaye.
After that to the BBC, which to our regret keeps most items available for only seven days after airing although it is improving its service in some cases and keeping streams (but usually not downloads) available for longer.
Over the course of this week when not working we have picked out from BBC Radio 3 last Saturday's "Music Feature" on the history of the violin; Last Sunday's "Discovering Music" on "The Play of Daniel", one of the earliest pieces of music theatre and "Drama on 3" - "Beyond Words" - Three short symbolist plays by Maurice Maeterlinck, adapted by Katie Hims; Monday's "Jazz on 3" - the self explanatory "Best of Live 2008"; and next Sunday's "Drama on 3" - "In the Absence of Geoff", a comedy from Charlotte Jones plus the "Sunday Feature" in which Matthew Sweet finds out about Vril, the infinitely powerful energy source of the species of super-humans which featured in Victorian author and politician Edward Bulwer Lytton's pioneering science fiction novel "The Coming Race".
From BBC Radio 2 we went for last Saturday's "Pacific Ocean Blues: The Life and Death of Dennis Wilson" in which Roger Daltrey looked back on the life of Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson; Tuesday's "The Wonderful Sound of Woolies", a programme produced before the company went into liquidation and started to close down in which Brian Matthew looks at Woolworth's history of selling recordings and the final episode of Paul Gambaccini's "Class of 2008"; Wednesday and Thursday for "Showman and Star-Maker: A Tribute to Bill Cotton", a two-part programme on a man who transformed British Television; Friday's "Motown Record Producers" - again a self-explanatory title; and Saturday's "Times They Are A Changing" in which Paul Sexton looks at the art of the protest song and its story from past to present.
From BBC Radio 4, and regular weekday features we opted for "The Book of the Week" - "How to Get Things Really Flat" by Andrew Martin, the story of a male tackling domestic chores; "The Afternoon Reading" - "Big Charlie" - based on the tale of the transportation of an elephant between two Butlins camps in the 1950s and following "Pilots That Never Flew" series in which Paul Roseby, Director of the National Youth Theatre, examines the laborious process of creating successful pilot programmes; "Book at Bedtime" - John Galsworthy's "The Dark Flower" and "Alistair Cooke's Seasonal Letters from America" - a series of broadcasts from the archives that actually began on Christmas Eve (and is thus now victim to the seven-day limit): We particularly appreciated the New Year's Day programme that in comments on the Y2K bug illustrated some of the cultural differences between the US and Europe.
Amongst one-off we found Monday's "Start the Week" and "Science Friction" - an edition considering the use of animals for experiments - thought provoking as was Sunday's "In Business" in which corporate change expert John Kao shows how jazz improvisation can help companies innovate (Both programmes are usually available as MP3s but because of the music content the latter is only available as a stream).
We'd also note last Saturday's "News Review of the Year", hosted by Edward Stourton, who has been in the news because the Today Programme dropped him as a regular host and "Salman Rushdie and The Wizard of Oz" in which the author celebrates the seventieth anniversary of the classic film.
The station also has a number of programmes on Cuba this week including "Crossing Continents" (Monday) plus "Playing Castro's Tune" and "Brand Cuba" (Tuesday).
We'd also suggest Wednesday's "The Media Show" for anyone interested in the difference between interesting the public and in the public interest and Saturday's "Correspondents' Look Ahead" and "Listeners Look Ahead" programmes at lunchtime.
Finally there's comedy in the 18:30 GMT slot including Tuesday's "Laura Solon: Talking and Not Talking"; Thursday's "Act Your Age" and Friday's "Now Show".
RNW Note:We will tidy this report up later and if we get time we will attempt to update with more downloads still available
Connecticut Day -Ahles:
Huffington Post on the Fairness Doctrine:
Lexington Herald-Leader - Sloan:
San Francisco Advertiser - Kava:
The New Republic - Cogan:
Wall Street Journal: Sinton:
Washington Post - Will:
2008-12-31: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a series of penalties ranging from USD 7,000 to USD 14,000 for various breaches of its Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) rules and involving Cumulus, Dickey Broadcasting Company, Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting Corporation; Urban Radio I; and W.S. Communications, L.L.C.
The highest penalties, of USD 14,000, were proposed on Cumulus and W.S. Communications, L.L.C.
In the Cumulus case it related to its Georgia stations WPEZ-FM, Jeffersonville; WIFN-FM (Formerly WAYS-FM), WDEN-FM, WLZN-FM (Formerly WMKS-FM), WAYS-AM (Formerly WWFN-AM), WDDO-AM, and WMAC-AM, Macon; and WMGB-FM, Montezuma.
The FCC notes that no base penalties are set down for "specific EEO rule violations, such as a failure to recruit widely for vacancies or to self-assess EEO performance" but that the rules do set down a base forfeiture amount of USD 10,000 for violation of the Commission's public file rules, of USD 3,000 for failure to file required information, and of USD 1,000 for failure to maintain required records and that Cumulus was apparently liable for forfeitures of USD 4,000; USD 2,000; USD 4,000; USD 1,000; USD 2,000 and USD 1,000, making the total proposed forfeiture USD 14,000. Also facing a USD 14,000 penalty is W.S. Communications, L.L.C., licensee of Colorado stations KWGL-FM, Ouray and KAVP-AM, Colona: In its case it is proposing forfeitures USD 5; USD 2,000; USD 1,000; USD 1,000; USD 2,000, and USD 1,000.
USD 8,000 forfeitures were proposed in two other cases, those of Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting Corporation and Urban Radio I, LLC.
Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting, the licensee of Puerto Rico stations WIPR-TV, WIPR-FM, and WIPR-AM, San Juan plus WIPM-TV, Mayaguez, was assessed for forfeitures of USD 2,000; USD 2,000; USD 1,000; USD 2,000 and USD 1,000.
Urban Radio I, LLC, was assessed for forfeitures in respect of New York stations WLIB-AM, and WBLS-FM. In its case the proposed amounts were USD 2,000; USD 2,000; USD 3,000, and USD 1,000.
The lowest penalty of USD 7,000 goes to Dickey Broadcasting Company, licensee of Georgia stations WALR-AM, Atlanta, WCNN-AM, North Atlanta, and WFOM-AM, Marietta. In its case the forfeitures proposed are of USD 2,000; USD 2,000; USD 2,000, and USD 1,000.
Democrat Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps issued a joint statement concerning the issues raised in these cases in which they commented on the "inconsistent" enforcement of EEO rules by the Commission, saying that one consequence had been that "employment in broadcasting does not reflect America. "
They noted that the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council has found that while the average forfeiture amount for EEO violations has increased, the Commission's EEO docket has decreased by 96 percent, specifically that between 1994 and 1997, the Commission decided 251 cases, resulting in 86 forfeitures but between 2004 and 2007 it decided only 10 cases, resulting in 8 forfeitures.
"Lax EEO enforcement," they said, "has yielded less diversity in employment" and they cited figures from the Radio and Television News Directors Association/Hofstra University that found that, while the minority population in the United States has risen 8.1 percent in the past 18 years, minority workforce in TV news is up 5.8 percent, and the minority workforce in radio is up by just 1 percent and commented that it "it is clear that the Commission's recent efforts to promote employment diversity have been woefully inadequate."
"Having a communications industry that reflects our nation's diversity," they concluded, "would best serve a wide range of consumer and societal interests. It is not only a legal obligation, it is also the right thing to do.
2008-12-31: Jenny Abramsky, the former BBC Director of Radio and Music who stepped down in September, has been made a Dame of the British Empire in the UK's New Year's Honours just announced, a list dominated by awards to sports personalities.
Commenting on the award on BBC Radio she said she hoped the award was "in part a recognition of the part radio plays in delivering public service broadcasting" and continued, "It's listeners love listening to all those radio stations, so I hope it's a recognition of just how important all those radio stations are to listeners."
2008-12-31: Republican Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate on Tuesday received messages from her colleagues at her last Open Meeting of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which was conducted by teleconference: She will leave the post with the start of the new Congress having been first appointed by President Bush in 2005 and then re-appointed to a full term in 2007.
Tate in a statement thanked the President and commented on being given "the opportunity to serve the people of this nation during this transformational and revolutionary time -- a time in the history of US communications that heralded courageous investment decisions, tenacious entrepreneurship and unrivalled American innovation."
Of her colleagues she commented, "I could not have served with 4 more dedicated, professional and compassionate individuals. They epitomize all that is good and positive about the term 'public servant'."
After other comments on the work of the commission she commented of her role, "While serving at the FCC, I have tried to be a voice for children and families. I have tried to bring old-fashioned common sense and to represent the interests of Main Street, small businesses and rural America; to speak out for our songwriters and storytellers and inventors; and to try and insure our decisions keep in mind those who are most in need" and in further relation to this added a comment about her pleasure concerning the two national hearings held in Nashville in her home state of Tennessee in particular "the most recent regarding the interplay of media and childhood obesity -- an issue I have been extremely committed to."
She later quoted a former President as a model, saying, "As Abraham Lincoln said: 'I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.' I have tried to also act justly, show mercy and walk humbly with God."
He fellow Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell in his statement referred to her championship of Tennessee and states in general and then commented, "Debi also has brought her tremendous energy to bear on issues affecting families and children. No other commissioner in the history of this agency can be said to have done more to call attention to the actions that the government, industry, and private citizens can take to help parents and children negotiate our evolving telecommunications landscape. In addition to her well-recognized efforts to bring attention to the electronic media's role in addressing childhood obesity issues, she also has been a strong advocate for private action and, where necessary, government oversight to protect youngsters. For example, she was actively engaged in the "Digital Kidvid" proceeding, helping to forge a settlement with industry under which kids under 12 are shielded from immediate online sales pitches associated with their favourite children's television shows. "
Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein commented on Tate's "collegiality and dedication" and continued, "Her grace and friendship have made easier and more enjoyable the many important and often difficult issues we've tackled together. Debi's experience as a former State commissioner and her tireless efforts have led to many accomplishments during her tenure."
He also referred to her actions relating to children, saying, "Her advocacy on behalf of American children and families has been truly commendable and should serve as an example for everyone. And I am particularly grateful for her willingness to work together on behalf of the creative community, which was only matched by her love of Tennessee."
His fellow Democrat Michael J. Copps in his statement referred her as "always an upbeat person looking ahead to how she can make a difference in the lives of the public she has chosen to serve for so many years. This chapter in her career of public service has been in many ways extraordinary, but it is just that-a chapter in a book still being written with other chapters yet to come."
He also commented on "the work she does on behalf of children and families, fighting for a media environment that appeals to the better angels of our nature" and continued, "She has also led a charge for broadcasters and advertisers to cut back on peddling unhealthy foods that contribute so measurably to our country's crisis of childhood obesity. Something tells me she will continue to pursue these family-friendly causes in the years ahead. I certainly hope so because she brings passion, experience and commitment to these issues. And when Commissioner Tate is enlisted for a cause-and that is often-she signs up for the long haul. That's the kind of dedication she brings, and we need, in public service."
2008-12-30: Saga Communications, which earlier this month received a warning from the New York Stock Exchange that it could fact de-listing based on the requirement for a minimum market capitalization of USD 25 million or more for any 30-day trading period, has announced that its board has authorized a reverse split of its stock at a ratio of not more than one-for-four as a measure that would allow it to move listing o its Class A Common Stock from the NYSE to the NYSE Alternext.
In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company notes that the NYSE letter, written after its stock closed at USD 1.10 on December 17, was dated Dec 19 at which date its stock closed at USD 1.45 and its average trading market capitalization was USD 46.2 million: it says that in relation to the warning it has decided to be pro-active and adds that if it goes ahead with the reverse split and the price of its stock increases to more than USD 3 as a result, it would in coordination with the NYSE move to become listed on the NYSE Alternext and notes that it has already submitted an application to become listed on the NYSE Alternext.
Other possibilities it lists are moving to the NASDAQ Capital Market (which, among other things, requires a USD 4.00 trading price) or if the stock price does not rise sufficiently to allow continued NYSE listing or the NYSE Alternext or NASDAQ Capital Market initial listing requirements a move to trading the Class A stock over-the-counter.
Saga also notes that a reverse stock would reduce some costs such as NYSE listing fees and cites amongst other reasons to make the split that some institutional investors may be prohibited from purchasing stocks below certain minimum price levels and some brokers may be reluctant to recommend lower-priced stocks but that on the other hand there might be negative perceptions of reverse splits and in some cases the stock price of some companies that have implemented reverse stock splits has subsequently declined back to pre-reverse stock split levels.
The board authorization allows it to determine whether or not to go ahead with the split up until the end of March next year when the authorization will expire and if it does go ahead set the split ratio up to the one-for-four limit.
The filing also notes that as of December 26 Saga chairman and CEO Ed Christian owned, directly and indirectly, all of the 2,402,338 shares of Saga Class B Common Stock - which carry ten votes per share - and 7,134 shares of the 14,451,582 issued and outstanding shares of Class A Common Stock - which carry one vote per share. This it says represents some 62.5% of the combined voting power of Saga's common stock and thus Christian's consent is sufficient to approve the split with no further stockholder vote or action.
Saga shares closed on Tuesday down 4.1% at USD 1.39, making its market capitalization USD 23.43 million.
In other US radio business news, Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Radio, has promoted Jimmy W. Hayes, its executive vice president of finance and chief financial officer, to the post of CEO.
He will take up his new role on Jan 1, 2009, and current chairman and CEO James C, Kennedy, who will retain the chairman's role, making the announcements said, "I have been the CEO of Cox Enterprises for 20 years and I feel that is long enough. Jimmy Hayes has earned the opportunity to be Chief Executive Officer of this company and in these difficult times, Jimmy's skills and experience are perfectly suited for the job. As Chairman of the Board, I am not going anywhere. I will still be around to provide Jimmy all the support that I can."
Hayes spent 16 years with Cox Communications before moving to Cox Enterprises: He will be a member of the board of Cox Enterprises, Inc. and of Cox Radio, Inc. and his remit covers Cox Communications, Manheim Auctions, Cox Media Group and Cox Auto Trader.
2008-12-30: Folder Media, which in September acquired the UK children's digital radio station Fun Radio from GCap Media and Bit Entertainment, -owner of the "Bob the Builder" franchise, has re-branded the station Fun Kids and re-vamped its web site
The station launched in 2005 with backing from GCap, Bit and the children's radio campaigner Susan Stranks and was initially on some other South-East England digital multiplexes but in January this year it was dropped from all but the London multiplex. It also broadcasts on Sky Digital and Virgin Media as well as offering an online stream.
In the most recent ratings it had a weekly audience of 19,000 listeners, down from a peak figure of 57,000 in December 2007 although it claims a monthly audience of some 60,000 adults and 130,000 children.
Folder Media is the parent of Muxco, which is a partner in consortia that have been awarded nine digital multiplex licences: It produces audio and data services for radio, multiplex management services including overseeing the day-to-day management of UTV's multiplexes and consultancy services. Other clients include the NME Radio and JazzFM digital stations.
Previous Muxco/Folder Media:
Fun Kids web site:
2008-12-29: A US National Public Radio (NPR) correspondent has found herself in the same position as the subjects of her series - Called "American Moxie: How We Get By" it deals with the topic of how Americans are handling current economic pressures.
The New York Times reports that Ketzel Levine came up with the idea in September and it began airing in early December but Levine became one of the victims of cutbacks at NPR that saw 64 jobs go (See RNW Dec 11).
The series was constructed on the basis that each report should be connected with the previous report and Levine told the paper "that was the best part" as it meant she would "go on a story and have absolutely no idea what the next story would be - I'd have to find it while I was there."
When she found she was being laid off she decided the final report should be about her own situation, something the paper said was not at first favoured by Ellen McDonnell, the NPR director of morning programming but recognized that it was "a very unique opportunity for Ketzel to tell a story that lots of people can relate to. She found out in a very personal way what it's like to have to start over again and to have that moxie she spoke about."
"The whole concept that one person in the story would lead to another, and then it would all end with her, was not something any of us anticipated," she added.
RNW note: Yet again the language gets mangled with the abuse of "unique" - meaning one of and thus an absolute of itself that needs no qualification but maybe we should give up on the idea of people in communications using language with precision.
New York Times report:
2008-12-29: Last week saw the regulators only working three-days with postings down accordingly and none at all from Australia or Ireland but a steady level from other areas.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted a number of radio decisions including (in order of province):
*Approval of application by a Newcap subsidiary to convert CKBA-AM, Athabasca, to a 9,000 watts FM. The FM will retain the station's current Classic Hits music format targeted to adults between the ages of 25 and 54 with a particular focus on the 35 to 44 demographic. Simulcast of the AM and FM signals will be allowed for a tranistion period of three months.
*Renewal to Aug 30, 2012, of licence of North Superior Broadcasting Ltd.'s CFNO-FM, Marathon, and its transmitters CFNO-FM-1, Nipigon/Red Rock; CFNO-FM-2, Hornepayne; CFNO-FM-4, Geraldton; CFNO-FM-5, Longlac; CFNO-FM-7, Nakina; and CFNO-FM-8, White River.
In relation to the short-term renewal the CRTC noted that the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA) expressed concerns over the apparent failure of the licensee to fulfil its obligations relating to its financial contributions to Canadian talent development (CTD) and to adhere to the requirement of the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the Regulations) relating to the broadcast of Canadian content for category 2 (Popular music) musical selections.
It added regarding the former that the station had failed to make a payment of CAD 400 for the 2003 broadcast year but in response to a question from the commission said that when it learned of this it made a payment for this amount to FACTOR.
The CRTC also noted that analysis of the station's programming during the week of 1 to 7 October 2006 showed that only 30.9% of all category 2 musical selections broadcast over the broadcast week, and 27.3% of all category 2 musical selections broadcast between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, were Canadian, under the requirement for at least 35% but that the licensee said it had now installed new music software to ensure compliance.
*Administrative renewal until Mar 31 next year of licence of Newcap's CIHT-FM, Ottawa. The licence had been renewed administratively from 1 September 2008 to 31 December 2008 but the CRTC said it would not be able to rule on the applications before the current licences expire.
*Administrative renewal until Mar 31 next year of licence of Newcap's CJLL-FM, Ottawa, Ontario/Gatineau, Quebec. The administrative renewal was on the same basis as that of CIHT-FM (above).
*Revoked at the request of the Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works the licence for CJBD-FM, Destruction Bay, VF2359, Beaver Creek and VF2412, Dawson City.
The CRTC also posted a notice concerning applications that did not require a public process and that it processed during the period 1 September 2008 to 31 October 2008 under its streamlined procedures.
This included the following radio decisions:
*Change in the authorized contours of Harvard Broadcasting Inc.'s transmitter CFEX-FM, Calgary.
*Change in the authorized contours of Touch Canada Broadcasting Limited's CJCA-AM, Edmonton.
*Change in the authorized contours of Northern Native Broadcasting's Broadcasting Corporation's transmitter VF2169, Smithers.
*Change in the authorized contours of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's transmitter CBUT-42, Osoyoos (formerly Oliver).
*Change in the authorized contours of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's transmitter CBUB-FM, Osoyoos.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Extension until April 30 next year of time for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to commence operation of FM transmitter at Baie Verte approved in May 2006. The CRTC notes that this is the final extension to be granted by the Commission regarding this transmitter.
*Extension to 26 Feb next year of time for commencement of operations of Bedford Baptist Church's low-power English-language religious FM in Bedford that it approved in July, 2006.
*Change in the authorized contours of the transmitter for United Christian Broadcasters Canada's English-language CKJJ-FM, Bancroft.
*Change in the authorized contours of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's transmitter CBFX-FM-1, Trois-Rivières.
*Change in the authorized contours of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's transmitter CBMZ-FM, Trois-Rivières.
*Change in the authorized contours of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's transmitter CBF-FM-8, Trois-Rivières.
*Change in the authorized contours of the transmitter for low power English-language Type B community station, CJUC-FM, Whitehorse.
The CRTC also posted a public notice with a deadline for submission of interventions or comments relating to an application by Astral Media Radio (Toronto) Inc. and 4382072 Canada Inc., partners in a general partnership carrying on business as Astral Media Radio G.P., to change the frequency of its transmitter VF2329 (CILK-FM-1), Big White Mountain, from 103.9 MHz to 93.1 MHz and increase the antenna height. The transmitter carries the programming of CILK-FM, Kelowna, and the CRTC noted that the request, triggered by approval of the use of 103.9 MHz for Vista Radio Ltd.'s new FM in Kelowna, will change the transmitter from a low-power unprotected transmitter to a Class A protected undertaking.
In the UK, Ofcom posted no radio announcements but it has posted its view of the Milestones of its first five years - two PDF s covering and 2007-08: Radio is not prominent with the later document highlighting just one radio item, that the 100th Community Radio station went to air in March this year (See RNW Mar 10 2008-03.html#OFCOM4). The earlier document lists the launch of Community Radio in 2004 and the later November 2006 publication of the agency's "Future of Radio" document (See RNW Nov 17, 2006).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission,(FCC), which cancelled its Open Meeting scheduled for Dec 18, has now scheduled a new meeting via a conference call for next Tuesday (See RNW Dec 25).
Earlier in the week it noted that a Petition for Reconsideration had been filed in respect of an Inquiry into its policies and rules concerning AM Radio Service Directional Antenna Performance Verification¨
The Agency had issued new rules that would allow most AM stations to verify the performance of their antennas with modern computerized methods that include Method-of-Moments (MoM) computer modelling for pattern prediction and should save broadcasters both time and money as the approach is simpler and takes less time than the magnetic field-strength measurements that were required under the old rules. The computerized system can only be used for series-fed radiators and the change was supported by the main AM broadcast groups in the US including CBS, Clear Channel, Citadel, Cox Radio and Cumulus.
The FCC also further extended - until Feb 9 the deadline for Cox Enterprises, Inc.; Calvary, Inc.; Bonneville International Corp.; Scranton Times LP; and Morris Communications to file amendments to pending waiver requests or renewal applications or to file requests for permanent waivers of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule. It had previously extended the deadline by 30 days to Jan 7 (See RNW Licence News Dec 14 ).
In enforcement actions it denied a petition filed by Rama Communications, Inc. for reconsideration of a USD 16,000 forfeiture it had imposed for Rama's failure to maintain an operational Emergency Alert System ("EAS") and failure to maintain and make available a complete public inspection file for its WLAA-AM, Ocoee, Florida.
The FCC had confirmed the forfeiture in October (See RNW Oct 19) after Rama failed to reply to a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture for this amount issued in August. Rama, it commented had presented no arguments that warrant cancellation or reduction of the forfeiture and it noted in respect of comments by Rama that the EAS equipment was operational on the day of the FCC agents inspection because its new engineer repaired the equipment after the agents' inspection it commented that it was undisputed that the equipment was not working during the inspection.
Regarding the public inspection file, Rama said it maintained a complete file at the main studio/corporate headquarters in Orlando, Florida, but the FCC said that agents had gone to the HQ after inspecting the transmitter site and the file provided did not contain the required quarterly issues programs lists.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-12-28: The BBC World Service's broadcasts in Sri Lanka have come under attack in the Asian Tribune, which is calling for the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation chairman Hudson Samarasinghe to stop the BBC Sinhala and Tamil services relaying LTTE (Tamil Tigers or Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) propaganda and says that should Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa proscribe the Tigers next month this would provide him with an "excellent opportunity" to do so.
The BBC World Service Sandeshaya broadcastsare among six services available in the country - the others come from China Radio International; Deutsche Welle, the US International Broadcasting Bureau's Voice of America, Lihinimedia of Canada, Radio Japan and Trans World Network - and the Tribune suggests that Samarasinghe should explore the "getting other foreign broadcasting services like Deutsche Welle and Voice of America to broadcast facts on Sri Lanka."
It adds that Samarasinghe himself has said that he preferred to violate an agreement with the BBC rather than betray his country and adds that there need be no concern about contractual obligations if the BBC can successfully challenged in the courts.
RNW comment: We have no brief or liking for the Tamil Tigers but attempts to proscribe an international news service because it has interviewed leaders of movements like the LTTE strike us s short-sighted and likely to fail: Outside the country the SLBC has no remit and even if BBC Tamil services over the air or on the Internet are blocked in the country we cannot see that this will stop those who favour the Tigers from accessing their propaganda although it will probably then come in a form that is unquestioned.
Asian Tribune report:
2008-12-27: BBC Radio 4 "Today Show" presenter Edward Stourton, who learned from a newspaper enquiry that his contract was not to be renewed (See RNW Dec 13) paid thanks to listeners to the programme this morning: At the time he has dais he was "devastated" by the news.
"I'd like to say a thank you, a huge one in fact, bursting with gratitude and emotion, to those of you who got in touch with me and the programme to support me when I learned I was leaving Today," he said on the programme. "Some of the things you said were quite humbling and it made a real difference."
The news that he was being dropped sparked complaints to the corporation and more than 80 Members of Parliament signed an Early Day Motion that called for his reinstatement.
Stourton said of his future with the Corporation, "I'm happy to say that after a difficult few days the BBC and I have agreed I'll continue broadcasting on Radio 4, which I love doing. And I will still be appearing on this programme from time to time. So, I hope I can now go back to covering stories, rather than being one, which I have to say I didn't enjoy one little bit."
2008-12-26: Yet another US smooth jazz station has gone off FM and is to be moved onto a secondary HD channel, this time Clear Channel's WLVE-FM (Love 94) in Miami Beach, Florida, which has become Rhythmic AC "93.9 MIA" and launched commercial-free yesterday.
The flip was follows similar changes at smooth jazz stations in Dallas, Houston, New York, and Washington, D.C.
The new station's website is up and running, albeit the audio stream and on-demand audio is not available outside the USA, a restriction that includes Canada: When we last checked the former WLVE web site, which had previously carried a notice saying the signal would be moved to the HD2 channel, is just producing a blank "splash page", and it is unclear whether this is because of problems or because Clear Channel has opted not to keep the smooth jazz signal online or to delay an online stream until the station launches on the HD channel.
Previous Clear Channel:
93.9MIA web site:
2008-12-26: Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.-owned Radio Mirchi has launched a six month long anti music piracy initiative, fulfilling a promise made in February by its CEO Prashant Panday, who committed it at the media industry conference Ficci Frames to putting USD 1 million of FCT (Fixed Commercial Time) to a campaign against music piracy across India.
The 'NO TO NAKLI' drive will start with three generic ads, supported by film music directors, producers and composers as well as its own DJs, that will urge the station's listeners to discard their pirated DVDs and CDs and will emphasise revenue losses caused by pirated recordings.
Pranday commented of the launch, "Radio Mirchi has always been at the forefront of the anti-piracy movement in the industry. We believe that piracy is one of the major concerns and is afflicting the entire industry as it adds to a big monetary loss. We are always on the alert to the threat of piracy and we feel that it's our responsibility to spread awareness and thereby make people aware about this cause. Through our NO TO NAKLI campaign, we intend to reach out to our listeners and appeal to them to join hands against this unethical practice."
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co.:
Previous Indian Radio:
Radio and Music report:
2008-12-25: CBS Radio, whose predecessor Infinity then headed by chairman and CEO Joel Hollander claimed a world first for the frequency in May 2005 by turning its 1550 AM signal in San Francisco into wholly podcast and user-generated programming station (KYCY-AM/KYouRadio) is now reverting to the more conventional and is to use it for oldies from the start of the New Year.
The call sign will be changed to KFRC-AM ( FM sister KFRC-FM was switched in October from classic hits to a simulcast of news KCBS-AM although the classic hits format is still online and the KFRC HD2 channel) and the station will air Scott Shannon's syndicated True Oldies Channel.
CBS Radio/San Francisco VP & Market Manager Doug Harville said of the change that Shannon had "done a terrific job helping us put together an entertaining station playing the music that KFRC listeners have enjoyed for years."
The company says the Classic Hits programme will continue online and on HD.
2008-12-25: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which cancelled its Open Meeting scheduled for Dec 18 (See RNW Licence News Dec 14), has now scheduled a new meeting via a conference call for next Tuesday.
Those interested in listening can call a toll-free number to get audio (up to ten minutes before the meeting is due to open at 11:00 ET but the commission notes that capacity for this could be limited. In addition for those in DC, the agency will provide audio in one of its rooms together with sign language interpreters, open captioning, and assistive listening devices.
2008-12-24: Sports Business Journal is reporting that the US National Football League (NFL) may move its national radio rights deal away from Westwood One, citing as a reason its view that the company a "financially troubled radio network" although it says Westwood One is still in the running to keep the rights, which it has held for 29 of the last 31 years.
The Journal says the league allowed an exclusive negotiating window with Westwood One to lapse this month and is allowing others to bid for the rights for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons: It adds that Westwood One had offered to pay about USD 20 million a year to extend its deal for two years, a figure that is relatively flat with its current deal, but up to 30 percent higher than what ESPN Radio is expected to offer for the entire package but NFL Executives passed on the offer because of the syndicator's tenuous financial position according to its sources.
They then sent out letters to Westwood's radio competitors, including ESPN Radio, Sporting News Radio (which is owned by American City Business Journals, parent company of SportsBusiness Journal), Sports USA Radio and The Content Factory.
Westwood One was de-listed by the New York Stock Exchange last month because its market capitalization had fallen below USD 25 million (See RNW Nov 18): Westwood's stock has varied between two cents (In off the board trading shortly after its de-listing) to USD 2.42 over the past 52 weeks and is currently trading just above five cents.
The Journal quotes radio consultant David Pearlman, president of Pearlman Advisors as saying the NFL was putting its radio rights up in a difficult market this year because of issues from the economy to a potential labour dispute to an explosion of NFL content on digital media - Sirius has the satellite radio rights for NFL games through 2010 and in addition Sprint has a wireless deal that provides play-by-play audio, also through 2010.
He added that radio has recently gone through "turbulent" times and "Contracts like NFL football will come under closer financial scrutiny than ever before."
ESPN holds the TV rights to "Monday Night Football" and ,says the Journal, would like to extend these to radio but would have conflicts for Sunday night games because of its "Sunday Night Baseball" for the first month of the season although ESPN Radio could syndicate the games to other radio stations.
It says the rights for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday nights, plus the Thanksgiving Day games could be sold separately.
Previous Westwood One:
Sports Business Journal report:
2008-12-23: Clear Channel Communications, Inc. has announced the expiration and final results of its previously announced cash tender offer to purchase any and all of its outstanding 7.65% Senior Notes due 2010 and also the expiration and final results of the previously announced cash tender offers by its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, CC Finco, LLC for Clear Channel's outstanding 6.25% Senior Notes due 2011; outstanding 4.40% Senior Notes due 2011; for Clear Channel's outstanding 5.00% Senior Notes due 2012 and for Clear Channel's outstanding 5.75% Senior Notes due 2013 and, together with the 5.00% Notes.
Clear Channel has accepted for purchase all of the 7.65% Notes validly tendered - amounting to USD 252.403 million - approximately 65.38% of outstanding 7.65% Notes - leaving USD 133.68 million of the notes outstanding.
The total consideration payable per USD 1,000 principal amount of 7.65% Notes is USD 650 (plus accrued and unpaid interest) and Clear Channel says it indents to fund payment for these notes with the second of three borrowings permitted to be drawn under its existing delayed draw term loan facility to purchase, redeem or repay the 7.65% Notes.
CC Finco has accepted for purchase all of the 2011 Notes validly tendered - 3.61% of the outstanding 6.5% notes for a total consideration payable per USD 1,000 principal amount of USD 320 (plus accrued and unpaid interest) amounting to USD 27.06 million and approximately 10.69% of the outstanding 4.40% Notes for total consideration of USD 250 payable per USD 1,000 principal amount of 4.40% Notes is USD 250 amounting to USD 26.72 million.
Regarding the 2012/2013 notes all those validly tendered were accepted amounting to USD 24.2 million or 8.07% of the outstanding 5% notes at USD 200 payable per USD 1,000 principal amount (plus accrued and unpaid interest) and a total of USD 24.26 million or 4.85% of outstanding 5.75% at USD 175 payable per USD 1,000 principal amount ((plus accrued and unpaid interest).
In all the notes redeemed amount to approaching USD 355 million.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-12-23: Actor, lawyer and former Tennessee Senator and Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson has been signed up by Westwood One to host a talk show to replace Bill O'Reilly's Radio Factor, which will end a six year run at the end of February next year.
Commenting on the appointment Gary Schonfeld, President of Westwood One Networks, said in a release, "Senator Thompson is a perfect fit for radio. His unique set of qualifications will make him a huge hit with both listeners and advertisers."
Bart Tessler, EVP Westwood One News & Talk Programming added, "There is no prerequisite for a great talk show host, but if I were going to make one up, senator, presidential candidate, federal prosecutor, radio commentator, film and TV star would be a pretty good start."
The Fred Thompson Show will launch on March 2 next year and Thompson commented, "When folks listen to a radio show, they make an appointment with it. It is the ideal way for me to continue my dialog with America about the issues we all face each day."
Thompson, if rumours are correct, has gotten in early ahead of another former Presidential hopeful, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was also said to have been angling for the O'Reilly slot
Yet another presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, who already has a weekend programme on the Fox News Channel, has a deal with Citadel's ABC Radio to host short segments starting in January.
Previous Westwood One:
2008-12-22: CBS Radio, continuing its programme of disposing of mid-size market stations, has announced that it has reached agreement to sell three Denver stations for USD 19.5 million in cash to Wilks Broadcasting.
The stations being sold are Country KWLI-FM; Adult Contemporary KIMN-FM and Classic Hits KXKL-FM and CBS Corporation President and CEO Leslie Moonves commented of the deal that it "another step forward in our strategy of exiting mid-size radio markets."
"We believe," he continued, "that focusing on the nation's largest markets represents the best value for our shareholders, and we will continue working to secure deals at attractive exit values such as this one for our remaining mid-size markets."
Wilks CEO Jeff Wilks commented, "We continue to believe in the power and the future of radio, and look forward to adding Denver to our portfolio of radio broadcast stations. Denver is the market where I started my career and I'm excited to come back and operate these three leading stations."
Earlier this month CBS had announced agreement to swap five mid-size market stations for two Clear Channel Houston stations (See RNW Dec 15).
2008-12-22: US radio advertising in November dropped by a fifth compared to a year ago according to latest figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB): The only faint bright spot was a 1% increase in Off Air revenues.
National figures were the worst - down 24% and local revenues not much better - down 21% with the combined national and local figure down 21%.
The figures follow a weak October when revenues were down 10% with local revenues down 15% although national held up better - down only 1% - and Off Air revenues were up 2%. The economy has not strengthened since then and figures for December, despite an absolute boost from holiday advertising, are lining up to also be down very substantially.
Previous RAB (October figures):
2008-12-22: The BBC has announced that BBC1Xtra Head of Programmes Lorna Clarke is to step down from the post and concentrate on the BBC Electric Proms for which she has been Festival Director since January 2006, adding the Proms role in November that year.
Clarke will leave 1Xtra in March 2009 and commented in a news release, "I'm proud of what has been achieved in my time at 1Xtra. The network is in good health, and is achieving a new record reach of 600,000 listeners a week."
Radio 1 Controller Andy Parfitt added, "Lorna has delivered a much stronger 1Xtra, successfully introducing a new schedule alongside a number of significant events. She is a surefooted leader and I wish her every success for the future."
Parfitt himself has taken on the extra role of Controller of BBC Popular Music in addition to his existing remit for Radio 1, 1Xtra, Asian Network and BBC Switch but has ruled himself out of the running for the BBC Radio 2 Controller's post that was left vacant after Lesley Douglas stepped down following the row over cure comments by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross that were aired by the station.
She had also held the roles of Controller BBC Popular Music role - with a remit to co-ordinate pop music across BBC radio and TV - and Controller 6 Music. Since leaving the BBC she has become director of programming and business development for Universal Music in the UK (See RNW Nov 25).
2008-12-21: Last week the main regulatory news came from the from the UK - a GBP 95,000 fine (USD 143,000) on the BBC (See RNW Dec 18) and the issuing of two yellow cards by Ofcom (See RNW Dec 16) - and Australia where the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is to review the commercial radio standards introduced by its predecessor the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) following the "cash-for-Comment" scandal (See RNW Dec 19): Elsewhere things were fairly quit with no radio announcements from Ireland and only a few from North America.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) as already noted is to review the country's commercial radio standards. It also varied its digital radio technical specifications so as to allow increased coverage when services commence in these cities next year.
Acting ACMA Chairman Chris Cheah said the latest changes addressed "concerns and suggestions" raised during ACMA's consultations about the introduction of digital radio and would result in further, slight improvements to the coverage of digital radio in Melbourne and Brisbane but added, "Not all industry concerns could be addressed because of the limitations on the VHF spectrum currently available for digital radio."
Digital radio services using DAB+ are to start in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney next year and ACMA has to set a start date, which must be on or before July1, although broadcasters are pressing for a May 1 start.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had an uncharacteristically slow week with only a few radio postings.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Renewal 1 January 2009 to 31 August 2012 of licence of Wesley United Church Radio Board 's religious station VOWR-AM, St. John's. The CRTC noted that the short-term renewal will enable the Commission to assess at an earlier date the licensee's compliance with the requirement relating to the filing of annual returns and also that it had incorrectly previously stated that the licensee may have failed to comply with its condition of licence relating to CTD (Canadian Talent Development) contributions for the broadcast years 2001 through 2005, as well as for the 2007 broadcast year but that the non-compliance in fact relates to the licensee's failure to submit annual returns for the same years. It has ordered the licensee to submit its missing annual returns for the broadcast years 2001 to 2005 and 2007 no later than 31 January 2009.
*Approval of application by Astral Media Radio Inc. to increase the power of transmitter CJMM-FM Rouyn-Noranda's transmitter CJMM-FM-1, La Sarre, from 349 watts to 1,904 watts
*Correction of previous decision listing VF2212 Carrot River, Saskatchewan as a transmitter operated to rebroadcast the programming of CJNE-FM, Nipawin, Saskatchewan (See RNW Licence News, Dec 14) whereas it had been licensed as a stand-alone radio station owned by CJNE FM Radio Inc.
The C RTC also posted a public notice, with a deadline for interventions or comments of January 23 next year, that included the following radio-related items:
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to use a Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operations (SCMO) channel to allow its CBR-FM, Calgary, to broadcast multi-cultural programs in the Punjabi, Hindi, Fiji, Gujarati and Urdu languages, along with English programs for young South Asian Canadians.
*Application by La Radio touristique de Québec inc. to increase the maximum power of its tourist radio station CKJF-FM, Québec, from 16 watts to 100 watts, and change its frequency from 90.3 MHz to 106.9 MHz.
The new frequency is necessary given the Commission's decision to authorize Guy Simard, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, to use the frequency 90.3 MHz in Montmagny, Quebec
There were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom as already noted has fined the BBC GBP 95,000 (USD 143,000)) and issued "Yellow Cards" to two commercial stations.
It also issued a GBP 20,000 ( USD 31.000) fine to Hertfordshire station Mercury FM (See RNW Dec 17) and learned that the UK Government has chosen current Ofcom board member Colette Bowe as the organization's new chair to replace (Lord) David Currie (Also Dec 17).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had a fairly quiet week with no major issues before it.
In enforcement actions it has issued a USD 3,000 forfeiture to Saga Communications' WLRW-FM, Champaign, Illinois for public file rule violations.
Saga had been issued with a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount in June, having noted various missing files in its licence renewal application for the station. It had responded requesting cancellation on the basis that the violations were not wilful or repeated, that it is contrary to the public interest to assess a forfeiture for voluntary, self-reported violations, and that precedent for such offences was to admonish the licensee.
The FCC gave a thumbs-down on all counts and confirmed the penalty.
In various licensing decisions the Commission has:
*Rejected an Application for Review filed by Finger Lakes Alliance for Independent Media ("FLAIM") seeking review of a staff decision that denied FLAIM's Petition to Deny and allowed the assignment of the licences of WHCU-AM, WYXL-FM, WNYY-AM, and WQNY-FM, Ithaca, New York, from Eagle Broadcasting Company, Inc. and Eagle II Broadcasting Company, Inc. to Saga Communications of New England, LLC .
FLAIM had argued that the staff, by relying on Arbitron market data, disregarded its allegations that the four stations "provide nearly all of the local broadcast news coverage in Ithaca . . . [, account] for more than 68 percent of the local audience . . . [, and capture] 64 percent of advertising revenue."
Under FLAIM's analysis, the relevant market consists of seven stations which provide "listenable" service throughout Ithaca despite terrain obstructions or, alternatively, of five stations which are licensed to Ithaca and provide local news.
Eagle and Saga responded that the Commission and U.S. Department of Justice rejected similar competition arguments when Eagle acquired the stations, and that Eagle's sale of the stations to Saga neither creates a new combination nor changes the competitive makeup of the market.
The FCC rejected FLAIM's arguments and allowed the transfer with Democrat Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael J. Copps concurring but saying that they did so reluctantly on the basis of limited information that makes it difficult to assess the true impact of this transaction on competition, localism, and diversity in the Ithaca market.
In Nebraska, the Commission allowed Chapin Enterprises, LLC to change the community of license of KBZR-FM, Lincoln, to Papillion, and rejected a petition to reconsider the grant of the Chapin application. This had come from a man living in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the commission ruled that he lacked standing to file his petition.
In Pennsylvania, the Commission considered petitions to deny the assignment of WCCL-FM, Central City,; WLKH-FM, Somerset, Pennsylvania; WBVH-AM, Somerset, and WNTJ-AM- (formerly WPRR-AM, Johnstown, from 2510 Licenses, LLC to Forever Broadcasting, LLC
Sherlock Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WBXQ-FM, Patton, Pennsylvania, and Sounds Good, Inc., licensee of WBRX-FM, Cresson, Pennsylvania, had jointly opposed the applications on the basis that as Arbitron had cancelled the Johnstown Arbitron Metro (after Forever opted to cancel its subscription for the market) the Commission's policy requires a waiting period before a party can rely on certain market definition changes. The FCC agreed and the dismissed the Assignment Application as inadvertently accepted for filing, commenting that cancellation of the metro would allow Forever to own nine stations, including six FM stations, where it had previously been limited to six stations, with a maximum of four FM stations.
The FCC also posted details of its tentative selections of 26 groups of mutually exclusive applications for new or modified Non-commercial educational (NCE) FM stations in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado; Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington State.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-12-20: Sue Howard, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Director of Radio and Regional Content, has announced she will be leaving the Corporation this month after 22 years with the broadcaster, which she joined in 1986.
Her career started on-air role in which capacity she fronted Classic FM Drive, pioneered ABC Radio's mid-dawn shift and became the first woman to present a breakfast program on ABC metropolitan radio.
She became Head of ABC Local & Regional Services in December 1996 and was appointed Director of Radio in a re-structuring in June 2000 (See RNW Jun 20, 2000).
In a corporation news release, Howard commented, "It's very hard to leave something you are so passionate about, but in many ways this is the very best time of all. I am proud that radio finished 2008 on an historic high with its largest audience share on record. It's very clear that millions of our listeners are telling us every week that we're doing a lot right and it's a terrific feeling to leave the medium I love in such a strong position. ABC radio is poised, not just to meet the digital challenge ahead, but is ready to continue to lead Australian media into the new multi platform era."
She added, "I've been proud and privileged to lead and work with the dedicated, enthusiastic and creative radio team across Australia and while of course I feel some sadness in leaving, there are other challenges and opportunities beckoning me that I feel I need to take."
ABC Managing Director Mark Scott said of her, "Sue has notched up some remarkable firsts for the Corporation. She leaves with our respect, thanks and warm wishes. Under Sue's 11 year directorship radio audiences across the country increased by more than 30% and the ABC became one of the largest creators of podcasting material in the world."
He specifically noted her commitment to digital, adding, "Sue's belief that the ABC needed to play a major role in the digital revolution saw the establishment of the Dig internet stations and the training and placement of the first radio online producers working in regional Australia telling local stories for radio, television and online; a move that has extended both the cross media content produced while capturing larger radio audiences the country."
Previous ABC, Australia:
2008-12-20: The UK Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG) in its just-published final report suggest that the country could be ready to move to digital radio by 2017 but ducks issues of using the more advanced DAB+ system - which uses the AAC codec - in place of the existing DAB signal that uses the less efficient MP2 encoding.
The group has singled out three criteria that it says have to be met to trigger a migration to digital: That at least half of listening should have moved to digital platforms; that national multiplex cover should be comparable to current FM coverage and that local multiplexes should reach at least 90% of the population and cover all major roads.
In respect to these DRWG chairman Barry Cox commented in a news release, "With nearly a million DAB sets expected to be sold this Christmas period we know listeners are already benefiting from the choice of channels available at the moment.
He added, "We have always believed in the future of digital radio and now urge the industry, along with Government and Ofcom to address the barriers to successful migration, so people can access even more choice and functionality in the future. Most importantly we need to see overall coverage for DAB improve, along with more focus to get motorists to adopt DAB so that it can be a real alternative to FM services."
Culture Secretary Andy Burnham commented in a news release, "This is a crucial time for the radio industry. I am pleased that the Working Group has been able to achieve such consensus and has recognised that there needs to be a strong consumer proposition for digital radio. We will now study the recommendations made by the group very carefully as part of the wider work being undertaken for the 'Digital Britain' report. I would like to thank all members of the group for their work in looking at this issue over the past year."
In a foreword to the report- a 26-page document - Cox notes that since it was formed in November last year it has had to work "against a backdrop of a radio sector under pressure " with advertising revenues down around 15% on a year ago, pressure that led GCap to close its national DAB stations theJazz and Planet Rock, although the latter was subsequently sold and remains on air, and also led Channel 4 to abandon its plans to launch three new DAB services.
The report itself says its authors believe that the "time has come for a collective commitment to realise the true potential of digital radio, through a concerted and coordinated drive to digital" nut that there are a number of barriers that need to be overcome.
"Our proposals," it comments, "are underpinned by two key principles. First, that the radio industry needs to secure a more stable and sustainable economic footing if it is to invest further in DAB. Secondly, the consumer proposition of DAB must be strengthened as soon as possible."
IT goes on to say that the government must ease regulatory burdens on the commercial radio industry and suggests among other things that the commercial radio industry must be granted a further renewal of its analogue services which are carried on DAB, and of DAB multiplex licences.
It also calls for a relaxation of analogue localness requirements and the ability to merge existing services and create new digital content and that Ofcom needs the flexibility to address structural problems within the current DAB market, such as the ability to merge together multiplexes.
The report says it expects the criteria above could be met between 2015 and 2020 and that the government should then announce a date for digital migration, ideally two years after the criteria have been met, at which point all national services would migrate along with the local services which have met the third criterion. Local services whose multiplex does not meet the third criterion at the time of digital migration would do so as soon as that multiplex reaches the threshold.
In the long run it says it is proposing three tiers of radio in the UK:
*A wide range of national digital radio services from the BBC and commercial radio;
*A sustainable set of local digital radio services from the BBC and commercial radio, covering as many areas of the UK as possible; and
*A tier of small-scale services, on analogue in the short to medium-term, available where there is local demand, some commercial and some community, but all focused on serving their local communities.
AM services, it says should be moved to DAB or FM and the frequencies should be re-assigned for other purposes.
The report notes as a reason for the move that "The world is going digital and the pace of change is increasing"; increased UK listening on DAB and other digital platforms; plans by Germany to launch DAB+ next year and by France to launch DMB with other European countries having similar plans.
"Both DMB Audio and DAB+," it comments, "are part of the same family as the DAB standard used in the UK and all three variants will be receivable on sets which manufacturers will be producing from next year, so creating a European-wide market for digital radio."
The report also mentions DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) trials in Switzerland, Russia and China and says as far as the UK is concerned that "DAB, unlike both DTT and the internet, is the most effective and financially viable way of delivering digital radio, particularly large local radio services, for the foreseeable future."
RNW comment: We find this report rather disappointing since it does not address a considerable number of issues: It suggests a migration to the existing DAB when developments have made it possible to use spectrum ore efficiently and neglects issues of quality in both technical and other areas such as local content.
In our view the main point in any move has to be to deliver a better service to listeners yet does nothing to propose any move to more technologically advanced forms of DAB and in proposing to allow commercial radio to reduce local content also means that the future it is proposing would leave the commercial industry still producing its current range of music programming with even less leavening of local DJS and information.
This may be good for the investors in commercial radio but it is not the best approach to getting the most for listeners.
DRWG report (26-page 122 Mb PDF):
2008-12-19: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced that it is to undertake a comprehensive review of the three commercial radio standards introduced by the Australian Broadcasting Authority in 2000 following the "Cash for Comment' inquiry".
The current standards govern disclosure of commercial agreements between current affairs presenters and their sponsors; distinguishing adverts from other programming; and compliance with regulatory obligations.
Commenting on the plan, ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said in a release, "ACMA has decided to review the commercial radio standards to ensure they deliver appropriate and contemporary community safeguards, given the current standards have been in operation for over seven years" He said the review would "focus on the provision of current affairs programs, including talkback, seeking to ensure that providers of commercial radio broadcasting services remain responsive to the need to treat advertising and other sponsored content in a way that does not lead listeners to believe that it is editorial comment, free from commercial influence" and added, "ACMA has been aware of industry concerns about a range of operational issues within the existing standards which merit review. In addition, the review is expected to consider what model of regulation is most appropriately applied to advertising in the evolving commercial radio market, as well as commercial agreements that have the potential to influence the content of current affairs programs."
The ACMA will start with a research programme looking amongst other things into community attitudes and comparative research on international approaches to regulation and after this expects to conduct three rounds of public consultation, commencing with the release of an issues paper, based on its research findings, and a call for submissions in the first half of 2009
2008-12-19: Sirius-XM Radio has announced the signing of a new multi-year deal with Bubbba The Love Sponge (formerly Todd Clem) but did not give further details.
The host who was recruited to the then Sirius Satellite Radio by Howard Stern in 2005 is on air weekdays on the Howard 101 Channel and commented of his deal, "I will continue the radio revolution with Howard Stern on Sirius-XM. I am pleased to have a long-term home on satellite radio."
Sirius-XM President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein said Bubba had "become an important asset at satellite radio" adding, "His performance and loyal fan base are an important part of our future."
2008-12-19: Two UK DJs have been taken off air for making an unfounded claim that TV personality Des O'Connor's daughter secretly worked as a pornographic actress and could face further action following a report in the UK Daily Mail: Lewis Grewcock, 20, and Sam Foster, 22 , reports the paper, were banned from Birmingham University station Burn FM after making the remarks earlier this month during their Sanctuary Radio Hour show.
The paper, which broke the story of crude comments left by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross on actor Andrew Sachs' answer machine - leading to the ending of Brand's BBC Radio 2 Show, Ross's suspension, and the departure of the BBC Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas, says that the students have not been formally disciplined and are continuing their studies as final year politics students.
The paper says O'Connor and his daughter Kristina, who is in her final year studying Italian and Spanish at the university, were aware of the comments and quoted O'Connor as terming them "puerile nonsense."
Grewcock told the paper, "Ours was a satirical show that poked fun at the way student news was presented in student media and we hoped that our listeners would not take our comments literally" but Foster declined to comment.
The paper says that the university was informed about the comments after complaints were made, but passed responsibility to The Guild student union, which decided to no action despite student protest and criticism by the university's newspaper. The station however removed their show and banned them from future broadcasts.
It adds that after the Mail contacted the University it decided to re-investigate the incident and quoted a spokesman as saying, "We take allegations of this nature very seriously. The investigation is still ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this stage."
RNW comment: In this case we think Des O'Connor's reaction was appropriately brief and accurate with puerile summing up the comments. That, we think, is probably where the matter should have ended apart from the station telling the pair that they would have to apologise for the slur and make clear it was unfounded. To take up what we consider more rabble-rousing by the Daily Mail would be inappropriate and we would hope that O'Connor's daughter has the sound sense to tell the University that apart from the pair making it crystal clear that their remark was unfounded she wishes no further action to be taken. That would position here as considerably smarter and more mature than the broadcasters.
UK Daily Mail report:
2008-12-18: RNW Note: We are holding over this week's look at print comment on radio and will post our next edition in the coming week.
In the meantime we offer a somewhat curtailed choice of listening suggestions from BBC Radio, other pressures having meant we have not been able to catch up as we would have liked on podcasts and downloads from other stations.
Starting with BBC Radio 2 we go for Monday's "In Dreams - The Roy Orbison Story", the third of a four part series and "The Album As Art", a documentary describing how the LP became a work of art in its own right.
Then from later in the week on the station we suggest Friday's "Bobby Darin: A Man in a Hurry", again the third part of a four-part series plus Saturday's "Rod Stewart: Some Guys Have All The Luck", the first of a two-part series in which Johnnie Walker interviews Rod Stewart about his life and 40-year career in music.
Then moving to BBC Radio 3 we opt, as so often for "The Essay" - running at 23:00 GMT weekdays and this weeks on "Excess"; "Composer of the Week" - this week on "The Neapolitan Golden Age"; and from Monday "Jazz on 3" with Jez Nelson presenting the world premiere of John Butcher's Composition for Eight at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival; Friday's "The Verb" - new Christmas commission by poet Kenneth Steven - a lament for snow; and Saturday's "Music Matters" - the 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Puccini and "Opera on 3" - Massenet's Thais "Live from the Met," (from 17:00 GMT).
Finally from BBC Radio 4, first the weekday regulars: "Book of the Week" - "Nella's Last Peace", a reading from the post-war diaries of "Housewife 49", Nella Last; the "Afternoon Reading" - a series of tales sat at dusk and the following "Blind Man Seeks Work" in which BBC Correspondent Peter White looks at some of the jobs he was told he could not do because he was blind; and "Book at Bedtime" - a ten-part reading of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
Also from the station we suggest last Sunday's "Analysis" - looking at the predictive genetics industry; the "Afternoon Play" on Monday and Tuesday -" Wodehouse in Hollywood" and "How To Be An Internee With No Previous Experience", a drama based on the controversy that surrounded author PG Wodehouse's wartime radio broadcasts.
Also from Tuesday we suggest "The Music Feature" - "Puccini: Touched by the Little Finger of the Almighty" and "Laura Solon: Talking and Not Talking", the first in a new series from the award-winning comedian.
From Thursday we opt for "In Our Time" - also available as a download and this week on "The Physics of Time"; from Friday another "Afternoon Play "- "The Switch" -The story of George, a young electrician, told in a sequence of songs; the "Now Show" (again also a download); "A Point of View" , which is currently featuring Clive James' comments; and "The Friday Play", "When The Bough Breaks", based on opera director Julia Hollander's dilemma over whether to have her disabled child adopted..
2008-12-18: Sirius-XM shareholders have approved the company's proposals to allow it to increase its authorized shares of common stock from 4.5 billion to 8 billion shares; to allow the directors to effect a reverse split of common stock (stock by a ratio of not less than one-for-ten and not more than one-for-fifty with the Board to determine the ratio) and also to reduce the number of authorized common shares.
The company's CEO Mel Karmazin told its annual shareholders meeting that it expects to end this year with 19.1 million subscribers - up from 17.4 million at the end of 2007- and revenues of USD 2.4 billion, up from USD 2.1 billion a year ago, and to save some USD 425 million next year through the effects of synergies from the Sirius merger with XM.
in an 8-K filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) it says it has cut its staff by more than a fifth - from 2,058 to 1,600 and refers to "navigating a challenging business environment" with a deep recession now underway, disrupted financial markets, unemployment now at 6.7% - its highest since 1993 and expected to increase, consumer confidence at all time lows, the weakest car sales in 26 years and a struggling retail and consumer electronics market.
The company also says its channel "rationalization" will save USD 35 million a year but notes that in the wake of the action, which dropped its 130 music channels to 67 and reduced talk/sports channels from 164 to 147 amongst other things, it had received 10.000 subscriber cancellations.
It issues new adjusted EBITDA guidance for 2008 of USD 200 million, down from USD 300 million and added that for the fourth quarter this implies 4Q08 adjusted EBITDA of a loss of USD 32 million versus a pro forma 4Q07 loss of USD 224 million, an 86% improvement
For next year it is forecasting continued subscriber growth despite weak OEM sales and estimates it will end the year with 20.6 million subscribers and revenues of USD 2.7 billion with adjusted EBITDA turning from loss to a positive USD 300 million.
In the longer term it says it expects to hit 28.4 million subscribers by 2013 when it will have revenues of USD 4.1 billion, adjusted EBITDA of USD 1.5 million and Free Cash flow moving from break even in 2009 to USD 1.4 million.
Regarding liquidity the filing notes that it has USD 995 million of debt maturing next year ( USD 211 million from Sirius and USD 785 million from XM), none in 2010, USD 230 million in 2011, USD 248 million in 2012, USD 500 million in 2013 - these last three all from Sirius, plus USD 1.334 billion from XM in 2014.
It concluded by saying management priorities are resolving next year's liquidity; Maximizing synergies, EBITDA, and Free Cash Flow; Maintaining growth, and "Enhancing shareholder value."
Previous Sirius- XM:
2008-12-18: UK media regulator Ofcom has fined the BBC GBP 95,000 (USD 143,000) for running unfair competitions on BBC Radio 2 and BBC London 94.9 FM, bringing the total it has fined the corporation over the past two years to more than GBP 500,000 (USD 751,000): It fined the BBC GBP 50,000 (then USD 101,000) in July 2007 over a faked Blue Peter TV show competition and another GBP 400,000 (at that time USD 792,000) in July this year for numerous phone-in deceptions in shows including GBP 225,000 (then USD 445,000) for radio breaches.
Those penalties were of GBP 115,000 (USD 228,000) for breaches on the Liz Kershaw Show on BBC 6 Music over the period from July 25, 2005 to Jan 6, 2006 and GBP 75,000 (USD 149,000) for breaches on the Jo Whiley Show on BBC Radio 1 between April 20 and May 12, 2006; and two radio penalties, each of GBP 17,500 (USD 34,700), for breaches on two BBC 6 Music shows - The Russell Brand Show on April 9, 2006, and on The Clare McDonnell Show from September 2006.
Ofcom also posted decisions on a number of other BBC cases relating to audience competitions and voting in its latest Broadcast Bulletin, issued today, and says the findings conclude its investigations of audience participation in BBC programmes broadcast up to and including 2007.
The sanctions issued today were of GBP 70,000 (USD 105,000) on Radio 2 in relation to eight pre-recorded editions of Dermot O'Leary broadcast 'as live' between June 2006 and December 2006 and GBP 25,000 (USD 37,600) for five pre-recorded editions of Tony Blackburn broadcast 'as live' on BBC London 94.9FM December 2005 and December 2006.
In these cases the investigation found that BBC had repeatedly taken pre-meditated and deliberate decisions to include audience competitions in pre-recorded programmes and that listeners were invited to enter the competitions although they had no chance of either entering or winning.
Ofcom's Sanctions Committee said that the actions taken "constituted a significant breakdown in the relationship of trust between a long-established public service broadcaster and its audience" and added that although the BBC made no profit from the unfair conduct "the erosion of audience trust resulting from such deliberate deception should be considered, in itself, as a form of serious harm to listeners."
Ofcom ordered the Corporation to broadcast a statement of its findings on both stations and in addition the BBC Trust has also ordered on-air apologies that are to be broadcast on Saturday at approximately 14:00 on BBC London (for the Blackburn programme) and at 14:03 on (BBC Radio 2 for the O'Leary show).
The Trust noted that neither of the cases had involved Premium Rate Services and as well as ordering airing of apologies noted that after action of the implementation plan by BBC management last year an independent assessment it had commissioned found "clear evidence that the steps being taken would prevent a repeat of the practices that led to the failures." BBC management in a short statement said it accepted the findings of the Trust and Ofcom and added that its action plan had included "a major programme of training for over 19,000 staff, a new specialist unit to provide advice on all technical aspects of running competitions and a strict new Code of Conduct.."; It also welcomed recognition by Ofcom of this action and the fact that no money was made by the BBC or any of its staff through the lapses.
In its Broadcast Bulletin, which only related to various BBC broadcasts, Ofcom in addition to the sanctions already detailed found broadcasts related to audience votes to name a kitten on BBC TV's Blue Peter and CBBC - and a BBC Asian Network and a BBC 6 Music Tom Robinson Show in breach of its standards. It also posted a statement on other BBC competitions on radio and TV plus details of complaints against various BBC TV programmes involving audience voting where it found no breach.
The BBC Asian Network Show involved was Film Café, a weekly programme broadcast June 2007 that once organised its own Bollywood film awards, with categories such as 'Best Actor', 'Best Actress' and 'Best Film'. In the broadcast on February 17,2007, the "Best Supporting Actress" winner was wrongly announced - the BBC said this was due to human error as the producer misread the figures - and in the "Best Actress" case the incorrect winner was announced because a planned interview with the actual winner fell through and the runner-up's name was substituted. The BBC did broadcast an apology on the network but not until Sep 29 that year.
In the case of the Tom Robinson Show on BBC 6 Music, no entries were received for an ad hoc competition to win tickets to a concert - offered by a band being interviewed - and the show producer subsequently made up a winner's name. The BBC said that thee intention had been not to deceive the audience but to spare the band and others involved from embarrassment because no entries were received.
In its comment on other programmes Ofcom noted that investigations by the BBC had in some cases been unable to verify instances of alleged misconduct because of lack of available date and incomplete recollections by production staff.
It noted actions taken by the Corporation to "uncover these issues and the comprehensive remedial measures now in place" and said it did not intend to take "further regulatory action in respect of these matters."
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2008-12-17: The UK Government has chosen current Ofcom board member Colette Bowe as the organization's new chair to replace (Lord) David Currie, who is to step down at Easter next year after six years in the role, having held the post since Ofcom was set up through a merging of previous separate regulators. The post pays around GBP 200,000 (USD 310,000) a year for up to three days work a week.
In announcing its choice, the government added that it has invited the Business and Culture, Media and Sport Select Committees to hold a public pre-appointment scrutiny hearing, expected to be held in January.
Making the announcements, Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham said Bowe, who is 61 years old and is being appointed for a five-year term, "has the right mix of skills and experience for this role" and added, "I'm confident she also has the vision necessary to take Ofcom forward and tackle its future challenges."
UK Business Secretary, Peter Mandelson, added: "The communications industries have huge significance for our economy during these challenging times, and Colette's knowledge and experience across business, regulation and Whitehall will be invaluable at Ofcom in helping deliver greater choice and innovation across the sector."
For Ofcom Currie commented in a news release, "I am delighted that the government has asked Colette to take on this role. She brings an impressive set of skills and highly valuable experience to an organisation that has a very important agenda ahead" and Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards added, "This is excellent news for Ofcom and for UK consumers and citizens whom we serve. I very much look forward to working with the new Chairman in the New Year."
Bowe trained as an economist and began her career at the Department of Trade and Industry, subsequently working at the Independent Broadcasting Authority, the Securities and Investment Board, as Chief Executive of the Personal Investment Authority and as Executive Chairman of the Fleming Funds Management. She was the founding chairman of the Telecoms Ombudsman Council and chaired Ofcom's Consumer Panel from its inception in 2003 to December last year.
Ofcom has also announced a GBP 20,000 ( USD 31.000) fine for a unfair running of a competition on Hertfordshire station Mercury FM, owned by St Albans & Watford Broadcasting Company, a subsidiary of the Adventure Radio Company, which bought the station from GCap Media (now owned by Global Radio) in 2005..
The station aired the Secret Sound premium-rate competition in which winning entries were deliberately ignored and for which it had bought rights from GCap, which aired the competition on 30 of its own stations and was fined a record GBP 1.1 million (then USD 2. 21 million) by Ofcom in June for breach of its rules relating to unfair conduct of competitions, a total of GBP 37,000 (USD 74,000) a station (See RNW Jun 26).
In making its ruling the Ofcom Sanctions Committee noted that its investigation found that Mercury listeners who entered the competition would have had no chance of winning and added that although "St Albans & Watford had been unaware of the competition's pre-meditated and deliberate unfair conduct at the time of its broadcast" the licensee had taken "no appropriate steps to satisfy itself that the content was compliant with the Code and its licence conditions."
It also noted concern that "St Albans & Watford had remained unaware of the unfair conduct of the competition until June 2008 - over a year after its broadcast - despite the fact that regulatory action had been taken by PhonepayPlus against GCap in relation to the Secret Sound competition and this had been published in July 2007 and that it "had not, to date, taken any steps either to compensate or apologise to Mercury 96.6's listeners for the consequences of the breaches." The station had it said "not broadcast an apology because it had assumed that Ofcom would advise it in due course as to what it should say in any apology"
It added that the licensee had taken some steps to "satisfy itself that the content it continued to acquire from its service provider was compliant. The licensee had also made the decision not to run premium rate competitions in the future. It had also made improvements to the compliance procedures for its own non-acquired programming, in particular, issuing new compliance briefing information to its presenters."
UK Govt announcement re Bowe:
2008-12-17: Entravision has now joined the ranks of US radio companies receiving a de-listing notice, its stock having fallen below an average closing price of a dollar for a consecutive 30 day trading period.
The company has six months to meet the New York Stock Exchange's continued listing standard and says it expects to notify the NYSE that it intends to cure this deficiency,
Entravision closed Wednesday up 7.7% on the day at 70 cents: It last closed at a collar or above on Nov 10 (USD 1.13) and has ranged from 50 cents to USD 8.50 over the past 52 weeks.
2008-12-17: UTV, which put its loss-making Edinburgh talk station Talk 107 up for sale in October (See RNW Oct 29) has failed to find a suitable buyer and has told its staff that it will go off the air at 22:00 on Christmas Eve.
UTV Radio chief executive Scott Taunton said of the decision that they had "We explored a number of options, including a proposed management buyout, but none proved to be viable" and had been left with no alternative but to close the station and hand the licence back to Ofcom.
The station was launched in February 2006 - at the time it was the UK's only commercial speech FM outside London - but struggled from the start and in the most recent ratings only had 37,000 listeners from a potential audience of around a million. UTV tried various changes including a revamp in March this year but without success. A total of 20 jobs - eleven full-time staff and nine freelance posts will go.
2008-12-17: Eastlan Ratings has announced the addition of a tenth new market for next year through a deal with Convergent Broadcasting to provide ratings for it in Corpus Christi, Texas.
In a release it quotes Convergent Corporate Manager Ken Barlow as saying, "We're sold on using Eastlan for both their product results and realistic pricing. It keeps us competitive in the marketplace at a cost that makes sense within our budget. The surveys provide our cluster with useful and accurate information twice a year and reduce our outlay for ratings at the same time."
Eastlan also announced that it will also begin a service to Richmond, Indiana, a previously unrated market, next year.
Earlier this month it had announced a long-term agreement with Woodward Communications to provide twice yearly audience measurement in two Wisconsin markets: Appleton/Oshkosh and Green Bay and last month it announced deals with Galaxy Communications and GAP West. Earlier it had sewn up a deal with 36-station New Northwest Broadcasters that Eastlan CEO Mike Gould said at the time was the "first of several significant deals we expect to announce in the coming months"(See RNW Jun 17).
2008-12-16: Triton Media's Dial Global has held on to the two top ranks in the RADAR 99 (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) Radio Network Audience ratings just released by Arbitron with ABCRN (Formerly ABC Radio Networks but now rebranded by Citadel) holding on to third rank.
Dial Global then held onto fourth rank with its Female Perspective and Westwood One retained fifth rank with its WON1 Network.
The ratings now cover the Monday-Sunday 5am-12m day part rather than the Monday-Sunday 6am-12m day part used previously and show more than 184 million have heard one or more network commercials each week, up from 183 million three months ago.
The top five networks were:
1- Dial Global Adult Power which gained 265,000 listeners and a rank to end with an average audience of 6.742 million and an average rating up from 2.6% to 2.7%.
2 - Dial Global Contemporary Network, which lost 714,000 listeners and a rank with an average audience of 5.946 million and an average rating down from 2.6% to 2.3%.
3 - Citadel-owned ABCRN Daytime Direction Network (Formerly ABC Radio Networks), which lost 200,000 listeners and with an average audience of 5.874 million and an average rating down from 2.4% to 2.3%.
4 - Dial Global Complete FM Network, which gained 84,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.857 million and an unchanged average rating of 2.3%
5- Westwood WON I Network, which lost 50,000 listeners to end with an average audience of 5.533 million and an average rating unchanged at 2.2%
*Premiere Networks highest ranked offering is the Premiere Male Focus Network in 11th rank having gained 218,000 listeners and moved up from 14th to end with and average audience of 3.924 million and unchanged average rating of 1.5%: The previous 11th ranked Premiere Morning Drive Network lost 36,000 listeners and a rank to end with an average audience of 3.856 million and average rating down from 1.6% to 1.5%.
Previous Premiere Radio Networks:
Previous RADAR ratings (RADAR 98):
Previous Westwood One:
2008-12-16: UK media regulator Ofcom has issued "Yellow Cards" to Bath FM and Brunel FM (Swindon) after a spot sampling showed the stations were not fulfilling licence conditions relating to local output.
Both stations are owned by South West Radio, which bought them from Laser Broadcasting, which has gone into liquidation (See RNW Oct 29).
In the case of Bath FM, the monitoring said Ofcom showed that the station was clearly failing to meet its obligations and it noted in particular on one Sunday there was "no local news, no local information and no presenter throughout the 24 hours of broadcasting" although the licence requires local bulletins and at least four locally made hours at weekends and ten during weekdays.
Brunel FM has almost identical licence requirements and Ofcom found that on the same Sunday it too offered no local news or information and had no local presenter.
Previous Laser Broadcasting:
2008-12-16: Canadian Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Glen O'Farrell has said he is to step down early next year commenting in a news release that "after seven years and a lot of thought, I have concluded it's time for me to take on new challenges."
O'Farrell, who studied economics and law at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and at Université Laval in Quebec City, joined the CAB as President and CEO in January 2002 from the Global Television Network, where, as Senior Vice-President, Specialty Services, he had overall strategic responsibility for the company's existing cable channels, and for new channels in development.
He commented of his time at the CAB, "I have had the opportunity to work side-by-side with truly dynamic entrepreneurs, inspired visionaries and relentless industry builders. And over the years, despite the sometimes challenging circumstances, the CAB has developed a constructive and credentialed relationship with government, and in particular with the CRTC and the Copyright Board.
CAB Chair Charlotte Bell expressed the appreciation of the CAB Board and members for the work done under O'Farrell's leadership and continued, "Glenn is an extremely capable advocate. He led the industry through a number of framework-defining CRTC policy and regulatory proceedings. He also assisted the industry in re-setting its overall strategy for copyright proceedings by focusing on constructive, evidence-based solutions. Glenn's strategic leadership, buttressed by his knowledge of the broadcasting sector, consistently served the industry interests of CAB members - large and small."
2008-12-16: Tribune-owned WGN-AM Program Director Bob Shomper is leaving the station to join Citadel's WLS-AM and is to be replaced by Kevin Metheny, former Program Director of Clear Channel's Cleveland cluster according to the Chicago Tribune.
The paper quoted Tribune Radio Vice President and General Manager Tom Langmyer as saying of Shomper that he had been "instrumental in implementing a solid structure and building a strong bridge between programming and the sales and marketing teams. He has also made solid additions to our programming team and will be missed."
Previous Tribune Co.:
Chicago Tribune report:
2008-12-16: In yet another sign that economic woes are biting US radio, an Erie station has dropped Rush Limbaugh's show because he costs too much according to a report in the Erie Times-News.
The paper, reporting that Connoisseur Media has dropped Limbaugh for "The Dennis Miller Show" quoted the company's Erie operations manager Joe Lang, as saying, "Limbaugh's fee kept going up every year. I mean, it was a lot of money. We had to make a decision on whether to cut someone locally or keep Rush Limbaugh, and we felt it was more important to keep someone on the local payroll" and added, "We never really get any direct ad revenue from Rush Limbaugh."
Lang said he expected protests from Limbaugh fans but noted that Connoisseur recently laid off two employees and did not want to add to the number.
Erie Times-News report:
2008-12-16: Arbitron has announced that it is to expand the introduction of sampling to cell-phone only households in Spring next year to 151 markets with all markets except Puerto Rico to include cell-phone only households by the Fall survey.
The company had previously announced plans to introduce cell-phone household sampling in 50 markets for Spring 2009 and to 125 Diary markets by Fall as part of actions to improve sampling amongst younger demographics that will also include a redistribution of incentives from older respondents to those 18-34 in all markets from Spring 2009: It already includes cell-phone-only households in its Portable People Meter (PPM) rated markets.
The speeding up of the sampling change is dependent on development of software and Arbitron says it expects to finally confirm the plans for the Spring survey by late February: It says it plans to use an address-based sample frame as the foundation of its cell-phone-only sample, while maintaining the random-digit-dial (RDD) sample frame for landline households.
Commenting on the move in a news release, Arbitron's president, Technology and Research & Development, Owen Charlebois, said, "The number of households that can be reached only by cell phone is growing rapidly and these households are more likely to include persons 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."
2008-12-15: Global Radio has hired Stuart Mays as its Director of Commercial Strategy, a new role created as the company continues the merger of its operations with those of GCap Media, which it took over in a deal that closed on June 6 this year.: Mays, who will take up his new post on Jan 5, will have a remit covering client communications, commercial output and helping clients to incorporate radio into their communications strategy. He comes from Associated Newspapers where he was head of strategy and will report to commercial director, Mike Gordon, a former deputy managing director of News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers, who joined Global at the start of this month along with Stephen Miron, the former managing director of Associated's Mail on Sunday and Mail online operations, who is now chief executive of Global's radio division.
In the US, Emmis has added the role of Chief Operating Officer to the duties of its EVP/Chief Financial Officer Patrick Walsh. He will now oversee all of Emmis's US radio operations and has also become a member of the Board of Directors.
Emmis added that Rick Cummings, president of the radio division since 2002, will remain with Emmis and "focus once again on his passion as President of Programming for Emmis Radio."
Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan commented in a release, "Competing in today's radio environment requires fresh perspectives. Pat will bring to our radio division what he's learned about Emmis as CFO, but also his experience as an executive and consultant building growth businesses. Working with Rick Cummings and our managers, I'm confident Pat can provide the leadership necessary for Emmis to lead radio's rebound."
Walsh commented, "These are challenging times for traditional media, but Emmis' leading large-market brands matter in the lives of millions of listeners and countless advertisers. I plan to work closely with our teams to find creative ways to develop and monetize our brands in a multiplatform universe."
At financially-troubled Tribune Co., now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Ed Wilson, former president of the Fox Television Network and current president of Tribune Broadcasting, overseeing the company's 23 television stations, WGN America, and WGN Radio, adds the role of Chief Revenue Officer. This gives him responsibility for growing the company's publishing, broadcasting and interactive revenues.
Tribune's chief operating officer Randy Michaels said of the appointment in a release, "In the ten months he's been here, Ed has rebuilt Tribune Broadcasting and completely changed its culture. His eye for talent and his determination have created an environment that rewards innovation and hard work, and delivers results for our advertising customers -- I'm confident he'll have the same impact across the rest of the company."
Earlier Clear Channel at the end of last week named Joe Puglise, most recently its Phoenix President and Market Manager to the same role at its New York metro stations: Jeff England is to move up from Phoenix Director of Sales to replace Puglise as President and Market Manager in Phoenix.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Global Radio:
Previous Tribune Co.:
2008-12-15: CBS Radio has announced an agreement under it will swap five of its stations in mid-size markets for two Clear Channel Houston stations.
The CBS disposals - KBKS-FM (Seattle, Washington), WQSR-FM (Baltimore, Maryland), KXJM-FM and KLTH-FM (Portland, Oregon), and KQJK-FM (Sacramento, California), says the company. further its strategy to focus on large markets and divest in mid-size ones and CBS Corporation President and CEO Leslie Moonves commented in a news release, "This deal represents a financially advantageous opportunity for us to shed some of our mid-size market stations while expanding in a Top Ten market, which is our focus."
CBS gains KLOL-FM and KHMX-FM in a deal which satisfies U.S. Department of Justice conditions placed on its approval of Clear Channel Communications' acquisition by private equity groups led by Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. and Bain Capital Partners, LLC and CBS Radio President Dan Mason added, "Both of the newly acquired Houston stations, KLOL-FM and KHMX-FM, are format leaders in the market. We are thrilled to be adding them to our portfolio and believe they will nicely complement our four existing stations."
KLOL-FM has featured a music intensive contemporary Latino pop format over the past year that has boosted its ratings whilst hot AC KHMX-FM (Mix 96.5) was in the top five stations in the market amongst Women 18-49 and Women 25-54 in the most recent Arbitron survey.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-12-15: Omaha top 40 pioneer Steve Brown has died aged 68 at his home shortly before he was to go on air with his 16:00 Saturday afternoon show on Clear Channel's KFAB-AM.
KFAB program director Gary Sadlemyer said that after his pioneering of Top 40 when he was national program director for station KOIL-AM and its Star Stations affiliates across the country in the 1960s and '70s Brown had helped bring the talk format to Omaha whilst working for KKAR.
He had begun working radio in the late 1950s and KFAB host said that amongst his stories was how he introduced the Beach Boys to the Beatles in Portland, Oregon.
Previous Clear Channel:
Tradingmarkets.com/Omaha World Herald report:
2008-12-14: Last week saw very few radio licensing decisions from the regulators with rather more postings concerning other matters including a deadline extension for a number of companies in the US to make various filings related to waivers of newspaper/broadcast cross ownership rules and the cancellation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of its open meeting, scheduled for next Thursday, that among other things included plans for free broadband services as part of an advanced wireless services spectrum auction.
There were no radio announcements from Australia and only a few from Canada where we noted only two radio decisions from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
In Quebec, it approved the addition of a 13.3 watts FM transmitter in Rivière-du-Loup for Radio Rimouski inc.'s CFYX-FM, Rimouski, and in Saskatchewan it renewed the licence of English-language commercial FM radio station CJNE-FM, Nipawin, and its transmitter VF2212, Carrot River, from 1 January 2009 to 31 August 2012: In connection with the short-term renewal the CRTC noted that the licensee is in non-compliance with licence conditions relating to Canadian Talent Development, specifically apparently not making nay such contributions for the 2002 broadcast year and late payment of 2003 contributions.
In Ireland there were again no radio decisions but the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) posted its 2007 Annual Report (Yes 2007), an 82-page document.
This summarized the work of the commission during the year, noted the expected establishment of a new Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) that would take in the work of existing regulators the BCI and Comreg (The Commission for Communications Regulation).
In relation to radio it noted commercial radio takeovers of Today FM and Highland Radio by Communicorp, the sale of FM 104 to UTV Plc, the sale of additional shares in East Coast FM to Seán Ashmore, who now has control of the company and the sale of a controlling interest in Beat 102-103FM and WLR FM to Thomas Crosbie Holdings Limited; plans for digital radio; launch of new regional youth services; transmission of RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ 2FM and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, and also United Christian Broadcasters Ltd. Christian radio service on the BSkyB digital platform; cable agreements with Digital Radio Limited for the provision of two digital radio services - 'All 80's' (music from the 80's for 35-55 year old listeners) and 'Mocha-Smooth Hits (an easy listening alternative for 15-34 year old listeners); the developments of Community and Community of Interest services; and the success of its Sound and Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme.
In the UK, Ofcom posted only one radio licensing decision, the award of new North and Mid Wales FM licence to a Guardian Media Group bid (See RNW Dec 9). Ofcom also posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin, fining UTV GBP 20,000 (USD 29,700) over comments made in March this year by host James Whale that it said "seriously breached the due impartiality rules at the time of an election" and also upholding four radio standards complaints upheld and partially upholding one radio fairness complaint (See RNW Dec 8).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as already noted cancelled its Open Meeting scheduled for next Thursday whose agenda included proposals for free broadband services with a controversial condition requiring a content filter to stop minors accessing inappropriate content and changes to its rules for terrestrial repeaters for satellite radio service.
The meeting was cancelled following a letter to FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin from Senator Jay Rockefeller and Congressman Henry Waxman calling on Martin to concentrate attention on the US transition to digital TV and other business coming up to statutory deadlines.
An FCC spokesman said following receipt of the letter that it did not appear there was a "consensus to move forward."
The FCC has also extended for 30 days to January 7 next year the deadline for Cox Enterprises, Inc.; Calvary, Inc.; Bonneville International Corp.; Scranton Times LP; and Morris Communications to file amendments to pending waiver requests or renewal applications or to file requests for permanent waivers of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule.
The extension is required said the FCC to provide additional time for the Commission to consider the Media Parties' request that the deadline be delayed until 90 days after the issuance of a final court order on pending judicial challenges to the Commission's modified newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule. The agency had already extended the filing deadline in October and November this year for the same reason.
In enforcement actions the agency issued a USD 25,000 forfeiture to Rama Communications, Inc., licensee of WOKB-AM, Winter Garden, Florida, for failure to clean or repaint its antenna structures as often as necessary to maintain good visibility, failure to enclose the antenna tower within an effective locked fence or enclosure, operation at times with power other than those specified in its the license, and failure to maintain and make available a complete public inspection file. It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture for this amount in October to which it had received no response.
In addition in radio-related licensing decisions the FCC granted in part petitions related to its grant of a modification of a construction permit to Airen Broadcasting Company for its KZCC-FM, Trinidad, , and related involuntary channel changes ordered for William W. McCutchen III 's unbuilt KMDR-FM, McKinleyville, and Southern Oregon University's KNHT-FM, Rio Dell, all in California.
Airen had sought permission to change the community of licence for KZCC from McCloud (using Channel 238C3), also in California, to Trinidad (also on Channel 283C3), a change that required change of channel for KNHT-FM (which would have to move from 297C2 to 273C2) and KMDR (which would have to move from 236C3 to 299C3). The FCC had accordingly required the latter two licensees to show cause why the changes should not be made and also asked the parties involved to comment on the potential impact of a subsequent request by the university for Class C1 on its existing channel.
In response McCutchen argued that the change could unduly restrict commencement of operations of his station and that it would not be "realistic" to expect KMDR to commence operations on its original channel and then to move to its new channel a few months later.
The University argued that its application had been filed before a July 26, 2007, Airen amendment and thus cuts off the latter's amendment and had priority under the Commission's "first-come/first-served" processing system for minor change applications and also that the change put in peril KNHT's initiation of HD digital radio service.
The FCC rejected this argument, noting that Airen had filed its amendment that proposed the channel changes prior to the university's filing and also that KNHT had not commenced digital operations and had presented no evidence to suggest that the implementation of HD on the new channel would be technically less feasible or more expensive.
Accordingly the FCC has rescinded the KMDR Channel 299C3 construction permit, allowing McCutchen to construct and operate the station on 236C3 but has denied McCutchen's request to change from class C to class CO.
The KZCC permit was amended to included a condition prohibiting it from commencing test operations until KMDR had moved to Channel 299C3 but as the station has commenced operation instead of requiring it to suspend operations granted Special Temporary Authority to continue operations on Channel 238C3 for 180 days and indicated it would entertain a request specifying an alternative channel that would not interfere with the operations of any other station.
The university was required to file an application specifying Channel 273C2 in lieu of 297C2 for KNHT without delay and its request to upgrade to Class C1 was denied.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
BCI Annual report 2007 (3.93 Mb 82-pages PDF):
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-12-14: Talk has ousted country as the most popular US radio format in terms of station numbers according to M Street, which says since November last year News/talk has gained 40 outlets to take its total to 2,064 stations whilst country had lost 30 and is now aired on 2,024 stations.
Country remains the top music format followed by Contemporary Christian, which added 28 to reach with 945; then three groups with almost flat totals - Spanish with 922, adult contemporary with 671 and top 40 with 497; and Alternative Rock and hot AC, each with 380 outlets.
2008-12-13: BBC Radio 4 has announced that Ed Stourton is to leave is flagship "Today Show" breakfast programme to "concentrate on other BBC projects" and will be replaced by the corporation's North America Editor Justin Webb, who will join in October next year.
The UK Guardian, however, put a different perspective on the matter saying that Stourton, whose contract expires in September next year and has been with the programme since January 1999, discovered he was to be fired when he received a phone call from a newspaper journalist.
It quoted Stourton as saying, "'It was a complete surprise to me. I found out via a phone call from a journalist, yesterday while I was doing a literary lunch at Haringey. I rang up my boss and said, 'Is this true?' and he said, 'Yes it is'." Asked of his reaction to the news, he said: 'I'm very sad ... well, more than that really.'"
It then quoted from the BBC news release in which Helen Boaden, the BBC director of news, said: "Ed has huge experience across news and current affairs in radio and television."He is a very fine journalist and I want him to remain part of the BBC News and Current Affairs family for many years to come."
Stourton joined the BBC in 1988 as Paris correspondent after working for ITN as a graduate trainee and Channel 4 TV but returned to commercial TV as ITN Diplomatic Editor in 1990 : In 1963 he returned to the BBC where he presented BBC TV's One-O-Clock News for six years before joining Today.
In its news release the BBC also quoted Radio 4 Controller Mark Damazer as saying, "Ed Stourton will continue to grace Radio 4 after he leaves Today. He is a distinguished journalist with a terrific track record in a host of Radio 4 programmes."
Regarding Webb, whose first BBC job was with Radio Ulster, Today editor Ceri Thomas commented, "Justin has always excelled on radio and has become a truly formidable North America Editor for the BBC. The chance to bring his foreign affairs expertise home to the programme was too good to miss."
UK Guardian report:
2008-12-12: The Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago has put its half-finished new building up for sale following its failure to obtain USD 6 million in state funding that it says was promised to it by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich compounded by the effects of the US economic downturn.
A statement from Museum President and CEO Bruce Du Mont adds that its board hopes that the new owner "will have a sense of history and community spirit and will want the Museum to remain as a tenant" and continues, "This will now be the only way we will be able to offer an interactive media experience to thousands of visitors each year who seek an understanding of the role of media in our society."
Chicago public broadcaster WBEZ in its report adds that if the Museum is unable to agree a deal to remain in the development, work on which stopped two years ago because of funding problems, the museum would either have to relocate or become just an online operation.
In the world of US commercial radio the layoff continue unabated with long-time Boston host John Lander amongst the latest victims at CBS Radio. His contract for "Lander in the Morning" on Mix 98.5 has expired and CBS chose not to renew it: The Boston Herald said ratings for the show have been falling and quoted the station as saying in a statement, "John has been an integral part of Mix for the last dozen-plus years, and we wish him the absolute best in his future endeavours"
Previous Museum of Broadcast Communications:
Boston Herald report:
2008-12-12: DMG has reacted to the launch by Austereo of a commercial online station Radio Radar, aimed at unearthing new talent, by accusing Austereo of copying its Nova network.
The Austereo service, which is to be broadcast on digital radio when it is launched in Australia next year, recorded heavy traffic on its first day live today and the Independent Weekly in Australia reported that it crashed for a while because of this.
It quoted DMG Group program director Dean Buchanan as saying of the site, "I looked at it and thought this is a rip-off of the Nova website. It's essentially a clone of what Nova's been doing since April 1, 2001, with new music recommends."
He added, "In my view it's an attempt to divert attention away from the significant support that Nova has given new artists on mainstream radio for many years. If they were really serious about playing new music, play it on your FM stations."
Austereo head of digital strategy Jeremy Macvean dismissed the criticisms, reports the paper which quoted him as saying Radar, opened on Thursday evening, was a "unique offering" and the amount of new music was unparalleled on commercial radio and added, "The traffic on site has been really really strong, and we've had fantastic feedback across the board."
The new station will focus on Australian acts and new artists and Austereo chief executive Michael Anderson termed it ''an incredibly exciting venture, not just for listeners but for the hundreds of undiscovered bands in Australia yearning for airplay" adding, "Digital radio gives us the opportunity to have more tightly targeted brands, and Radar Radio really shows the potential of digital radio.''
Independent Weekly report:
2008-12-11: US National Public Radio (NPR) has announced plans to cut expenses and trim its workforce by 7% - 64 posts out of a total of 889 current staff in addition to which 21 open positions will not be killed.
It says in a release that despite reaching near-record audience levels on-air and online, with 26.4 million people listening to NPR programs each week and 8 million people visiting NPR.org each month the state of the US economy has led to a sharp decline in current and projected revenues from corporate underwriting.
Two programmes - "Day to Day" and "News & Notes" are to be killed after broadcasts up to March 20 next year and staff and expense reductions will be made in reporting, editorial and production areas; station services; digital media; research; communications and administrative support.
NPR's Interim President and CEO Dennis Haarsager commented, "The difficult decision to cancel two programs and eliminate the jobs of valued NPR employees was made after an exhaustive review of our entire organization, and with the greatest reluctance. With all of NPR's revenue sources under pressure, these actions were necessary to responsibly stabilize our finances and put NPR on a realistic path."
Ellen Weiss, NPR's Senior Vice President for News, added, "It's crucial to realize that these programming changes are being driven by a loss in revenue, not relevance," said. "With near-record audience levels, now more than ever people are relying on NPR to better understand the extraordinary events occurring in the world."
"News & Notes and Day to Day are staffed by smart, talented and hardworking journalists," Weiss continued. "Today's announcement is not a judgment of the work they did, but a careful decision about investing in the programming and services that will have the greatest potential to make an impact on a broad audience, and serve the most public radio stations."
NPR says that its July prediction of a USD 2 million deficit for the 2009 fiscal year has now been amended to an expected deficit of USD 23 million and the organizations Board of Directors has authorized NPR to draw down its operating reserves by a maximum of 30 percent in the year.
2008-12-11: BBC Radio 4 has announced the names of the "guest editors" who are to take over as editors of its breakfast "Today Programme" between Christmas and New Year, a practice the programme began in 2003 when the guests were Monica Ali, Thom Yorke, Stephen Hawking, and Norman Tebbit (See RNW Dec 24, 2003).
The editors are responsible with the aid of BBC staff for between a third and a half of their programme's output.
The editors this year are:
*Novelist Zadie Smith whose programme will include her reporting from Liberia, and considering whether British comedy is still all about class.
*former "Pulp" lead singer Jarvis Cocker who gives his own personal take on the credit crunch and asks whether we get bland politicians because we're too censorious about what they do in their private lives.
*Citigroup Chairman Sir Win Bischoff, who eschews the current credit crisis and limits his business programming to business can learn from the success of the British Olympic team and puts BBC business correspondent Robert Peston and world champion track cyclist Chris Hoy head to head in a cycle race.
*Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, who plays four hands with one of Britain's top concert pianists in an effort to find out what makes certain music spiritual.
*British Iraqi Architect Zaha Hadid who asks whether the Eiffel Towers and Sydney Opera Houses of today are being built in the Gulf, and reflects on life in Baghdad's glory days in the Fifties and Sixties.
The BBC has also announced the names of winners of annual competitions on Radios 2 and 3: The former's "Young Folk Award 2009" went to Megan (guitar and vocals - aged 20) & Joe Henwood (saxophone - aged 15), a brother and sister duo from Oxfordshire. They were among 12 acts who made it through a semi-finals weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon in October which included workshops, sessions and culminated in an evening audition concert and then through the six groups in the finals that took place last Friday at The Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.
Highlights from the final and their winning performance were aired on the Mike Harding Show yesterday and Harding commented of the finalists, "There was so much talent on stage at the final that I would have found it really hard to come up with a winner; come up with it the judges did - and I think the result indicates both the breadth and the strength of the folk scene today.
The BBC Radio 3 award was that for "Choir of the Year 2008", the UK's largest amateur singing competition and the award went to the Scunthorpe Co-operative Junior Choir, which has almost 100 members aged, 9 to 19. The event took place at the Royal Festival Hall on London's Southbank on Sunday and was aired on the station on Monday (it will also be broadcast on BBC4 TV on Friday).
The choir won with a performance of linked pieces accompanied by mimed narrative and Sue Hollingsworth, the Music Director, said of it at the start of the performance: "It is the winter of 1608, times were hard and the Lord of the Manor has invited everyone to a party to cheer them up with music and dancing."
Music included Hey Ho! Nobody At Home (Thomas Ravencroft), Strike It Up Tabor (Thomas Weelkes), Cum Decore (Michael Praetorius arr Tielman Susato), Ah Robyn (William Cornysh) and Gaudette (trad).
In all 24 choirs competed in the Category Finals across Adult, Children's, Youth and Open categories, producing four winners and three wildcard choirs who competed at the Grand Final.
2008-12-10: This week most of the radio comment from the US is fairly negative so we are opting to start with the UK with two radio columns in praise of BBC Radio 3's celebration of the 400th anniversary of the birth of John Milton.
It was the topic for both London Times radio columnist Chris Campling in his Radio Head column last Saturday and his colleague Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the Sunday Times the following day.
Not all was good news, however, according to Donovan who noted after detailing some of the programming on offer: "It is a bleak sign of how the BBC chooses to spend its licence fee, however, that Radio 3 has not been able to make its own version of Paradise Lost. Instead, we will hear a recording that is commercially available on the Naxos label. It has been on sale for three years, with Anton Lesser as the reader."
He then drew some odious comparisons - or should that be comparisons with the odious: "The BBC argues that it is having to make cuts across all its services because the last licence fee settlement was lower than expected. This cuts little ice with those who observe the obscenely bloated amounts paid to Jonathan Ross and others" and then continued, "As with everything else, it is a question of priority. I happen to think that Paradise Lost is exactly what BBC radio should be doing: its descriptive power alone - war in heaven, sulphurous pit, infernal serpent, forbidden fruit, brandished sword and faltering steps out of Eden and into human history - places it at the zenith of human achievement, quite apart from its themes of innocence, temptation, rebellion, weakness, desire for knowledge and eternal consequence."
Donovan went on to assess briefly the work of Roger Wright as the station's controller for ten years: Campling dwelt more the programming commenting of the Sunday Feature that "the clue to its content lies in the title: John Milton's Adventurous Song. Milton lived in exciting times, and his work reflected it. He was no mere civil servant, but a master of the dark art of propaganda, writing in favour of regicide after the execution of Charles I and vehemently against the Catholic Church. He was also a man of contradictions, acting as Cromwell's censor having, in his Areopagitica, argued passionately in favour of free speech."
Campling also noted that this week's Essays on the station are on Milton - and posits the poet as somewhat forward looking - "As Sharon Achinstein, who is editing his tracts on divorce, says on Tuesday, Milton was calling for no-fault divorces on grounds of mutual incompatibility, something finally enacted into law in 1977."
Campling does give some context however, noting, "Of course, Milton had his own personal reasons for suggesting the change. In 1642 he had married a 16-year-old girl who promptly deserted him for three years, during which time he pamphleteered madly for a way to end the marriage."
After Milton on to Daily Telegraph radio columnist Gillian Reynolds and two divergent items posted on Tuesday.
In one, headed "The singular charms of a louche sleuth" she sings the praise of a detective, in this case Charles Paris, noting, "There's a new Charles Paris mystery on Radio 4 this Wednesday morning. "The Dead Side of the Mic" is set in Broadcasting House. Charles, our somewhat louche, deeply unreliable actor anti-hero (played by the perfectly wonderful Bill Nighy), has joined the BBC repertory company. Before long, there's a body in a studio. Without Charles, the murderer may get away with it."
"No detective, from Sherlock Holmes to Kay Scarpetta, can come to life without the participation of the reader," she continues. "On radio, from Paul Temple to Miss Marple, the transaction is magical. The relationship becomes even more intimate because it is created from empty air. Words and voices turn into people we can see, feel we know."
There's more on Paris - created by Simon Brett when he was 28 and working as a producer for BBC radio - but for that read the article: We go onto her second penning, this time her regular "on Radio" column, in which she comments on Christmas recordings starting with a discussion on the BBC Radio 4 Today show on Tuesday about Christmas singles.
This discussion leads her onwards: "Our own Neil McCormick ruled that Christmas singles do not necessarily have to be cheesy, citing John Lennon's "Merry Christmas, War Is Over" as a prime example of non-cheesiness. McCormick's presence added necessary weight to this discussion since neither James Naughtie nor Evan Davis has the sort of expertise in cheesiness and Christmas singles one expects from Today. Much more useful, for fellow scholars in musical cheese fields, was the in-depth attention offered by Baker and Ball on Radio 2 on Saturday morning. "
Reynolds then comments on the Saturday morning show, occupied by Danny Baker and Zoë Ball in place of the "rusticated Jonathan Ross."
Of the hosts she comments, "An odd couple, him with his encyclopaedic knowledge of popular culture and her with all that starry sparkle, they don't sound as if theirs is a professional pairing made in heaven. Indeed, they give more the impression of survivors from a shipwreck keeping up the spirits of everyone else in the lifeboat. This they do quite well.
"On this particular story they beat Today hollow. They had Chris Difford in the studio where Today had him only on the phone. Also there was Aled Jones, whose version of "ittle Drummer Boy", performed with Sir Terry Wogan, is another Christmas chart contender. We heard both songs, in full. Difford's was written at the request of the BBC, as an exercise. Aled's was part of the "Children In Need" appeal. Aled and Sir Terry will be singing theirs in Covent Garden market on Friday, with a choir of London schoolchildren. Difford will not."
After that it would rather spoil the flow to go on to the - understandably rather more negative comment on radio from the US as every days brings more cost-cutting and sackings - so we end with a comment from John Rook that is mixed - positive for the medium but not so much so for US radio following his discovery of Wi-Fi radio, that in his case led he comments a the rebirth of his appreciation of radio.
Soon after the set arrived he comments he "discontinued my subscription to satellite radio and seldom listen to "local" radio anymore. Why pay for programming when Wi-Fi radio delivers it with no subscription fee, free of static and offers far more choices, including reception of most radio stations not only in America, but worldwide."
So on to listening suggestions starting with the BBC - again other pressures have somewhat cut into our time to listen to various podcasts.
And to start off with we suggest a dip into the BBC Radio 3 schedule for the various John Milton-related programming including "The Essay" - nightly at 23:00 GMT.
We'd also suggest Monday's "Jazz on 3", more highlights from the London Jazz Festival 2008 - a concert by Herbie Hancock in this case; and "Night Waves" from Tuesday - it considers what Milton's classic text Samson Agonistes tells us about terrorism; Wednesday in which Anne McElvoy talks to Gilles Kepel about his vision for the future of Islam and the West; and Thursday in which Tony Benn gives a talk on the value of experience at Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival 2008.
From Friday on the station we suggest "The Verb", which features author Anthony Horowitz and from Saturday "World Routes" - a tribute to the late South African singer Miriam Makeba; "Jazz Library" - a selection of the best Duke Ellington small group discs; "Opera on 3" - Tchaikovsky's "The Queen of Spades" live from the Met (17:30 GMT); "Between the Ears" - "The Refuge Box" - a radio poem by Katrina Porteous about the Refuge Box, off the coast of Northumbria; and "Jazz Library" again - this time Fats Waller's best recordings.
Changing stations to BBC Radio 2 we suggest first the Saturday morning "Danny Baker and Zoe Ball" show mentioned by Reynolds; the following comedy hour of "Out to Lunch" and "Teenage Kicks" and then four documentary/biographical programmes - Monday's "In Dreams - The Roy Orbison Story", the second of four shows; Tuesday's "Human Rights Now!" documentary marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and "Long Players", the final part of another four part series; and Friday's "Bobby Darin: A Man in a Hurry", the second of four episodes in which Sir Tim Rice tells the singer's story.
And finally before moving on to speech and BBC Radio 4, two annuals - "The BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year Final" that aired in the "Performance on 3" slot on Monday and the "BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2009" in the Mike Harding show on Wednesday: Also connected with music we suggest BBC Radio 4 next Saturday and "The EMI story" in which Damian Reece examines the takeover of the EMI music label by a private equity firm in 2007.
Of the regular weekday programme runs on Radio 4 this week we suggest the "Book of the Week" - "Coda" in which Toby Stephens reads from playwright Simon Gray's account of coming to terms with cancer; "The Afternoon Readings" - five short stories read by leading actors who are in their 80s and the following "Wide Awake at Bedtime" in which Stewart Henderson joins children at sleepover events around the UK.
RNW note: We will update listening suggestions further later:
John Rook - on Wi-Fi radio:
UK Daily Telegraph - Gillian Reynolds "On Radio":
UK Daily Telegraph - Gillian Reynolds "louche detective":
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Times -Campling:
2008-12-10: Arbitron says that its latest RADAR national listening report, which is to be released on Dec 16, shows the medium reaching more than 234 million Americans aged 12 and over each week, up by two million in the September 2007 RADAR 74 report.
It notes that the totals in this report (RADAR 99) and all reports since the RADAR 95 report in December last year have been based on Portable People Meter (PPM) respondents in markets where the PPM has become currency and on diary respondents elsewhere.
RADAR Network Affiliate stations says Arbitron have also recorded increased weekly listening - up from more than 206 million listening at least once a week recorded in RADAR 954 to more than 210 million.
In terms of demographics, radio, says the report continues to attract a higher percentage of the educated and affluent - reaching 95% of college graduates 25-54 and 95% of adults with a college degree and income of USD 50,000 or more each week compared to 92% of the total 12plus US population; 93% of those 18-34; and 90% of those 12-17 (Arbitron terms these "teens", thus mangling the language and inflating the figures) whom the company notes are the most accustomed to listen to portable players and Internet audio.
It also indicated that the medium reaches around 94% of Black Non-Hispanics and Hispanics aged 18-49 each week and 93% of these groups aged 12 plus
The sample for the latest report was just above 300,000 and the report now covers a total of 58 radio networks.
Previous RADAR (RADAR 98):
2008-12-10: UK radio ratings body RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) in its MIDAS 3 (Measurement of Internet Delivered Audio Services) report says that almost a third of the UK adult population say they have now listened to radio via the Internet.
The survey was conducted in October by Ipsos Mori and follows previous surveys in May this year and October last year: In all a total of 1,142 people responded, all from a sample drawn from the main RAJAR survey over the past six months.
In all the report says 16.1 million people (31.7% of the UK adult population) claimed to have listened using this route compared to 14.5 million in its previous survey in May this year and approaching half this number - 7.2 million or 14.2% say they have downloaded a podcast. The podcast figures were up from 6 million in the previous survey and 1.9 million a year ago.
Most of the listening according to the survey took place at home - 89% said they had listened at home compared to 21% who said they had listened at work and 6% who said they had listened elsewhere and on average those using "Listen Again" services had listened to 1.65 programmes a week. Three quarters of this last group said the online listening had not affected their "live" radio listening and almost half said they were now listening to programmes to which they had not listened previously.
Podcast users, the report adds, subscribed to an average 4.41 podcasts a week, up from 3.59 in May and they spent just more than an hour listening to them a week with comedy and music the two favourite genres. In terms of how they downloaded, some 17% downloaded material direct from the website whilst 70% used iTunes software and three quarters of those who downloaded material listened on their home computer with two thirds listening on portable players. Just fewer than 45% said they listened in their car or on public transport.
Regarding issues of payment, only around 3% of podcast users had paid for one and only a third of those asked said they would favour paying for podcasts without adverts whilst 55% expressed interest in podcasts containing adverts if they were free.
RAJAR expects the trend of increased Internet listening to continue and its research manager Christel Lacaze commented in a release, "With the increase in broadband internet access rising from 51% of UK households in 2007 to 56% in 2008 and the high profile launch of BBC iPlayer, listening to the radio has never been a more attractive proposition. This third report clearly reveals that internet delivered audio listening, whether it is listening live, via Listen Again services, via Personalised Online Radio or via Podcasts, continues to rise steadily."
RAJAR survey (31page, 365 Kb PDF):
2008-12-10: A spokesman for the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has played down criticism of the agency in a report by the Majority Staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce that conducted an investigation following allegations that FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin had abused agency procedures by "manipulating or suppressing reports, data and information."
The report (a 110 page PDF) notes exchanges between Committee chairman Michigan Democrat John D Dingell (RNW Note: Last month California Rep Henry Waxman defeated Dingell in a poll of the full Democratic Caucus and will take over the postwhen the 11th Congress session opens in January) about what Dingell termed an "apparent breakdown in an open and transparent regulatory process" and after a Martin reply declining to publish texts of proposed rules sufficiently in advance of Commission meetings to allow the public "a meaningful opportunity to comment" and for Commissioners to have a "meaningful" opportunity to review the comments, that a letter was sent by Dingell, Bart Stupak (another Michigan Democrat), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and ranking members Joe Barton (Texas Republican) and John Shimkus (Illinois Democrat) announcing that it was to conduct a formal enquiry.
Committee staff, it says, reviewed several hundred thousand documents and found there were instances in which Martin had "manipulated, withheld, or suppressed reports, data and information", specifically noting the withholding of "important and relevant data" relating to consideration of the 13th Annual Video Competition Report."
They also found a failure to handle matters in an open and transparent matter; failure to carry out some important responsibilities - calling Commission oversight of the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) "lax at best" and saying Martin permitted an "unjustified rate increase that will cost consumers as much as USD 100 million per year in excess charges"; inefficient management of staff; and said Martin's "heavy-handed, opaque, and non-collegial management style has created distrust, suspicion, and turmoil among the five current Commissioners."
The TRS they note includes speech and video relay and captioned telephone services and is financed by contributions from all interstate telecommunications companies based on a percentage of revenues. It adds that the fund was originally intended to compensate telephone companies for their reasonable costs of providing the service but the FCC offered such high compensation rates that stand-alone for profit companies began to offer Video Relay Services on a national basis. The FCC it said also decided to compensate VRS providers for providing free equipment, installation, maintenance, and calls. It also noted a growth in monthly VRS minutes from 35,000 at the inception of the service in June 2002 to 4.9 million in April 2007 and a memorandum from the Chief of the Disability Rights Office, Thomas Chandler, sent to FCC officials in June 2007 outlining problems with the service and specifically that a single company Sorenson Video Relay Services provided 82% of all minutes and was overcompensated by around USD 57 million in 2005 and USD 80 million in 2006.
Chandler they say told Martin's office, "I hate to say it but the whole TRS (VRS) compensation regime has become a classic fleecing of America" and they also query issues of "whether all the minutes submitted for compensation have been incurred by people with hearing or speech disabilities, and whether provided costs are accurate." The report then recommends that the FCC initiate a full investigation and audit of Sorenson. They also recommend that the Government Audit Office investigate the entire TRS programme.
FCC spokesman Robert Kenny only took up the issues of service to the disabled, writing that the "primary criticism of the Chairman is that he spent too much money to ensure that deaf Americans have equal access to communications services."
"The Commission," he continued, "provided the Committee with hundreds of emails from deaf and disabled Americans who wrote that they were 'appalled to learn that the FCC staff [was] intent on drastically cutting the Video Relay Service (VRS) rate and effectively cutting VRS availability for the deaf.' Disability rights groups were also opposed to proposals to cut funding for the VRS program."
He added, "The other major criticism of Chairman Martin is that he believes cable rates are too high and that he has sought to enhance choice and competition in the market for video services. With cable rates having doubled over the last decade, he will continue advocate on behalf of the millions of cable subscribers " and concluded, "The Chairman makes no apologies for his commitment to serving deaf and disabled Americans and for fighting to lower exorbitantly high cable rates that consumers are forced to pay."
RNW comment: The report to a degree seems to throw in everything but the response is classic public relations, ignoring what in terms of the presentation of the report is the prime issue of preventing proper consideration of issues by withholding or suppressing information and in relation to the TRS criticism speaking only of giving benefits to the deaf and disabled not as to whether there is a rip-off and whether the benefits are being efficiently and properly distributed.
House Committee report (4.21 Mb 110 Page PDF):
2008-12-09: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the new North and Mid Wales commercial FM licence to Guardian Media Group's Real Radio bid, which is to provide "a full-service Adult Contemporary music station for North and Mid Wales, targeting primarily 25-54 year-olds.
It had been competing against a rival bid from Radio Glyndwr Ltd., which had been bidding with a local speech and music station aimed primarily at the 35+ age group, with a predominately Gold and Easy Listening mix of music.
The licence area covers around 600,000 adults.
Previous Guardian Media Group:
2008-12-09: Tribune Company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in order it says to restructure its debts which it revealing amount to USD 12.9 billion compared to USD 7.6 billion in assets although it says it has sufficient cash to continue to operate its media business during the restructuring. The company notes that the Chicago Cubs franchise, including Wrigley Field, is not included in the filing and it will continue its efforts to "monetize" these assets.
In a statement chairman and CEO Sam Zell said that since going private Tribune had re-paid around USD 1 billion of its senior credit facility and had "made significant progress internally on transitioning Tribune into an entrepreneurial company that pursues innovation and stronger ways of serving our customers" and added, "Unfortunately, at the same time, factors beyond our control have created a perfect storm -- a precipitous decline in revenue and a tough economy coupled with a credit crisis that makes it extremely difficult to support our debt."
"We believe," he continued, "that this restructuring will bring the level of our debt in line with current economic realities, and will take pressure off our operations, so we can continue to work toward our vision of creating a sustainable, cutting-edge media company that is valued by our readers, viewers, and advertisers, and plays a vital role in the communities we serve. This restructuring focuses on our debt, not on our operations."
Zell had engineered an employee-owned move to private status at the end of 2007, a move that added around USD 8.2 billion in new loans: The company had around USD 5 billion in debt at the time.
Tribune has already laid off hundreds of employees but those who have not taken their payoff as a lump-sum could be hit by the bankruptcy filing as "ongoing severance payments, deferred compensation and other payments to former employees have been discontinued" and will be the subject of later proceedings in the bankruptcy court. It is unclear on how the company's employee stock-ownership plan will be affected.
In its third quarter Tribune reported a loss of USD 124 million from continuing operations compared to net income of USD 84 million a year earlier with publishing hardest hit and radio/entertainment the only division in which revenues increased (See RNW Nov 10).
Previous Tribune Company:
2008-12-09: French media regulator C.S.A. (Conseil Supérieur de L'audiovisuel) has posted a list detailing 377 applications for digital radio frequencies in a total of 19 cities.
The licences are to be awarded in March and are divided into four categories - Class E national, which attracted seven applications; Class D regional, which attracted 64; Class B local, which attracted 102; and Class A radio associative (community-based stations), which attracted 166.
The numbering in the last category goes to 168 - there are no applications 133 or 167, which presumably indicates two withdrawn applications.
The national applications are from the Association Comité de Défense des Radio Courtoisie
Auditeurs de Radio Solidarité (CDARS)- Radio Courtoisie; SA Sud Radio Service s- Sud Radio; SAS Prefas 1- LCI Radio; SA CLT-UFA - RTL; SNC La Radio du Sport et de l'Information - RTL L'équipe; SAM Lagardère Active Broadcast - Europe 1; and SAM Radio Monte-Carlo - RMC.
The list includes a wide range of genres including news; sport; traffic stations; many music genres and a number of applications for Jewish stations.
C.S.A. list (52 KB PDF):
2008-12-09: The University of Missouri - St. Louis has appointed Tim Eby, a veteran manager with Public Media in Columbus, Ohio, and former chair of National Public Radio's board of directors, as general manager of its public radio station, KWMU-FM, to replace Patty Wente whose firing was announced in June although the University later termed it a resignation as part of a settlement with Wente (See RNW Nov 27)
Eby takes up his new duties on Jan 20 and according to the Riverfront Times will spearhead an effort to move the station from the university campus to a new headquarters in Grand Center that is expected to cost around USD 12 million. It adds that so far the station has raised USD 4.5 million in private gifts towards the costs on top of which the university has committed itself to adding USD 2.5 million.
Riverfront Times report:
2008-12-08: UK media regulator Ofcom has fined UTV's talkSPORT GBP 20,000 (USD 29,700) for comments made in March this year by host James Whale that it said "seriously breached the due impartiality rules at the time of an election."
Whale was fired by the station for the remarks (See RNW May 6) and threatened legal action although he later dropped the threat, saying he (See RNW Sep 24). He has been hired by Global Radio to host a weekday drive time show on its LBC 97.3 (See RNW Sep 9).
On the show in question, Whale took two calls with listeners and went on to discuss Prime Minister Gordon Brown's backing for Ken Livingstone in the 2008 London mayoral elections.
Ofcom has posted a transcript of an exchange with a producer during which Whale said Livingstone had "been nothing but a complete and utter tragedy for the capital city" and then went on to encourage a vote for Conservative candidate - now Mayor - Boris Johnson of whom he said that under Johnson they would not be "ripped off nearly as much, if at all".
The exchange starts off with Whale commenting" don't think we're supposed to show any, any preference one way or the other" and then later, after praising Johnson as noted says "And for anybody that doesn't vote for Boris, you'll get what you deserve because what you'll get is Ken Livingstone. Now, I'm pretty sure we're not supposed to champion one
The Producer responds: "Yeah, you're not allowed to do that" to which Whale reacts by saying, "But I don't give a stuff, I couldn't care less" before going on toe further criticize Livingstone and later comments, "Boris Johnson for mayor of London" that has to be the mantra "and when again told by the producer he can't say that again responds "I couldn't give a stuff."
In deciding the amount of the fine, Ofcom commented that it was concerned not to impose a penalty which in its view would have an inappropriate and restricting effect on live discussion and phone in programmes on Talksport and similar channels, hosted by presenters with controversial and outspoken views," adding that it considers that it is important to ensure that the plurality of viewpoints and broadening of debate on important issues that a channel like Talksport can provide are not discouraged.
The Ofcom decision, along with a TV sanction of GBP 35,000 ( USD 52,000) relating to various adverts making claims that could not be substantiated for astrology and remedies to various medical conditions, is in Ofcom's latest Broadcast Bulletin issued today in which it also upholds four radio standards complaints and partly upholds a radio fairness and privacy complaint.
It also upheld two TV standards complaints, considered another TV standards complaint resolved through action taken by the broadcaster, and gave details of two TV standards cases and six TV fairness and privacy complaints that were not upheld. The numbers compare with no radio complaints and two TV standards complaints upheld in the previous bulletin in addition to which it gave details of a TV standards complaint not upheld, a TV fairness and privacy complaint not upheld, and five sets of TV Fairness and Privacy complaints upheld, all relating to the collapse of a money transfer company that had affected the Bangladeshi community in the UK.
The radio fairness complaints upheld involved Global Radio's Heart FM; GCap Media's Scottish Xfm - GCap has subsequently been taken over by Global Radio, which has re-branded the station as Galaxy Scotland; BBC 6 Music; and GMG Radio's Scottish station Rock Radio.
The Heart complaints related to promotion of 'Mamma Mia! The Movie' by the station, which also referred to itself as "The official radio station of 'Mamma Mia! The Movie'."
Comments were made on both its Club Classics and Breakfast Shows that were noted by Ofcom during routine monitoring and led it to ask the station for its comments in relation to promotion of products or services in programmes and giving undue prominence to a product or service and also to ask about any commercial agreement with any organization associated with the production or distribution of the movie.
Heart, which is targeted primarily at women in their thirties, said it believed the launch of the show was "a massive showbiz event which presented an outstanding opportunity to engage with the lives and lifestyles of [Heart's] target audience" and added that "rather than promote the movie through any association with Heart, [its] intention was to promote Heart through association with the movie and so make Heart the station of choice for people who were excited about the movie" and also said it justified its "on air positioning as the station that 'owned' the film" by adding that:
Heart was the only UK radio station to travel to Greece and conduct cast interviews. The references to the movie it said were "were tapping into the pre-existing excitement around the movie's release amongst its audience", rather than promoting the film.
Regarding commercial arrangements it said that none of the output being investigated formed part of a commercial agreement although earlier it had broadcast trailers and run two competitions sponsored by the movie's distributors.
Ofcom noted the comments but ruled that Heart had gone beyond justified references, commenting that "the sheer volume, nature and tone of references resulted in the references appearing to be contrived and in some places, gratuitous."
The BBC 6 Music case involved an edition of DJ Nemone Metaxas's daily magazine programme that features an interview with American comedian Doug Stanhope who said Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, was a suitable target for his satirical style of humour and during the interview commented that she was a "a 44 year-old mother of five, two of which are retarded" and in response to Metaxus's comments - including a laugh- that these were his views, responded, "One's got Down's Syndrome and the other volunteered for Iraq. So that's two retards out of five."
A listener complained about the use of the term retarded in relation to someone with Down's syndrome and was concerned that the presented did not seriously challenge the remarks or apologize.
The BBC in its response said it regretted that a clear apology was not issued at the first available opportunity and said it recognized that these comments were potentially offensive although it noted that this [Friday] edition of the show features guests with edgier, more adult orientated material. It also noted that the presenter warned listeners to prepare themselves "for a vitriolic assault on the senses" adding that her guest is "often described as the standard bearer for extreme American comedy."
Ofcom noted he audience for the station and also differing views concerning the use of the term "retarded" that some regard as highly offensive: In this case it said was used in a particularly derogatory manner and there was a highly offensive comment which described Down's Syndrome as a form of punishment by God.
"Both of these, in Ofcom's opinion," it concluded, "went well beyond generally accepted standards and the audience's expectations for this programme. In this case in was clear that the context did not justify these offensive comments."
Rock Radio was also in the dock for comments that related to the US presidential race: In its case host Donald Macleod, a Scottish music industry entrepreneur and newspaper columnist, in his weekday early evening show was introducing the song "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden and commented, "Barack Obama's favourite song. Your Mum's got a big black hole, son."
A listener complained that this comment was racist to which GMG responded by admitting that it was "was "completely ill advised and regrettable" and said the host was "genuinely appalled and extremely concerned at making the remark", which was an attempt at adult humour.
It added that Macleod had apologised to the station management, the complainant and Ofcom for the unintentional offence caused and pledged to comply fully with all aspects of the Code in making any future broadcasts."
Ofcom noted the response but still held that the "comment was not justified by the context and breached generally accepted standards."
In the final case, also in Scotland, Xfm Scotland broadcast a recording of a live performance by the band Oasis and a listener complained that during the programme several examples of offensive language were broadcast when children might be listening.
Then owner GCap apologised for the broadcast and said that immediately following transmission, it had realised that offensive material, which it deemed to be completely unacceptable, had been broadcast. An internal investigation it said showed that a producer, who had since been subject to disciplinary action, had used the unedited version of this particular concert, despite the fact that GCap's standard procedures are that all such material must be double-checked for inappropriate content before broadcast and it noted that it had contacted the complainant to apologize and also broadcast an on-air apology on Xfm Scotland at approximately the same time the following day.
It asked Ofcom to note that listeners to Xfm Scotland expected edgier content and that very few children would be listening to the station at that time.
Ofcom said in this case, given the time of broadcast, the effect that the material might have had on listeners who may have come across the material unawares, and the lack of any warning to the audience, Ofcom considered that the broadcast of this offensive material was not justified by the context and concluded that there was a breach of generally accepted standards.
The Fairness and Privacy complaint partially upheld involved inter-denominational station Akash Radio that which describes itself as "The Voice of the New Punjabi Generation" and can be heard throughout the UK and Europe via Astra digital satellite channel 918 and around the world on the Internet.
A complaint of unwarranted infringement of privacy in the making and broadcast of a live programme on the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Sikh Temple, a faith charity [the Charity], was rejected but Ofcom said there was unfairness because it included serious allegations about both the management committee of the Temple, and the President of this committee, and failed to give the complainant an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond to these allegations."
Regarding the privacy allegation, Ofcom noted the station's response that it had, like other media outlets, been invited to cover an event and procession at the temple by the event organisers and thus had not needed consent from the Charity's management to record and broadcast the event.
The station also argued that it did not breach fairness rules because the programme mentioned Mr Himmat Singh Sohi (the management committee president) respectfully and ensured that he was not seen in a bad light.
Ofcom noted that the programme had been divided into three sections, the first reporting on the last part of a street procession (including the arrival of the procession at the Temple) and indicating that the people taking part in the procession were demonstrating against the decision of the Charity's management committee not to allow prayers in the
Temple for a Mr Kulwart Singh, also referred to as "the martyr", nor to allow protest against Mr Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh [leader of the RSS religious sect in India] described by Mr Giani (the presenter) as "a pseudo, rapist, a murderer" who had "dared to imitate Guru Gobind Singh [the tenth Sikh Guru] and ridiculed [the] Sikh baptism ceremony".
The second part featured live coverage of events within the Temple including prayers and speeches. This section of the programme included a speech made to the congregation in the Temple by Mr Manmohan Singh as well as commentary by Mr Giani (the presenter) and Mr Sukhwinder Singh (the reporter) and the third part was a short studio phone-in with four calls interspersed with commentary from the presenter.
Ofcom said the programme included numerous negative comments or implications about both the management committee of the Charity and Mr Himmat Singh Sohi (the President of the Charity's management committee) and that the four calls broadcast in the final section of the programme were critical of the actions of the management committee and/or Mr Sohi specifically and that the presenter Mr Giani agreed with these comments.
It took the view that it was incumbent upon the broadcaster to offer the Charity an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond to these allegations and that by not doing so there had been unfairness.
In addition to the above Ofcom also listed without details 176 TV complaints against 114 items and 30 radio complaints against 30 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 201 TV complaints against 99 items and 46 radio complaints against 21 items - 26 of these against one BBC 6 Music programme -that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
Ofcom Sanctions Committee ruling on talkSPORT (20 page 107 KB PDF) :
2008-12-08: Citadel-owned ABC Radio Networks has announced today it has signed Joe Scarborough, the former U.S. Congressman and current host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe", to its News/Talk portfolio.
His "Joe Scarborough Show", which will run from 10:00 to 12:00 ET on weekdays, launched today on WABC-AM, which will be the flagship station for the show. Mika Brzezinski, who is his TV co-host on will also co-host the radio show.
Carl Anderson, Senior Vice President of Programming and Distribution for ABC Radio Networks, commented in a release, "Joe is an engaging media personality with a practical, balanced worldview that resonates in today's environment of right versus left. We feel this partnership presents us with a strong business opportunity and a compelling piece of programming that stations will want to add to their line-up. Joe and Mika have become an established brand and are both very familiar to the blue chip advertisers we work with."
Scarborough added, "We're proud to be hitting the airwaves with the team at ABC Radio Networks and looking forward to the personal discussion we'll be having each day with our audience. There are a wide variety of topics we'll be jumping on right away and making our listeners an integral part of the daily banter is going to be fun for everyone."
2008-12-08: The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has come out against easing media cross-ownership and says the country should adopt policies n line with those of western nations such as the US, Australia, Canada, France and the UK in regulating cross-ownership of Indian media.
ASSOCHAM argues that cross-media consolidation will "create monopolistic tendencies" and says the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which regulates telecommunications and broadcasting, should "TRAI - India's statutory regulator for the telecom and broadcasting sector in its new guidelines should take necessary precautions so that media is regulated objectively because of its sensitivities and of evolving nature."
ASSOCHAM notes that there are no existing restrictions as regards to horizontal and vertical integrations between print and other media and adds that "after due deliberations with industry, the details on restriction in various verticals platforms should be worked out for competition and benefit of choice to the consumers."
Previous Indian Radio:
2008-12-07:Last week saw a steady level of radio-related activity from the regulators but there were no major issues or decisions: In Australia there was only one radio posting from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), a decision to make capacity available in the Colac region of Victoria and the Bowen region of Queensland for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to provide its NewsRadio service.
To make this possible in Townsville, the ACMA has varied the frequencies of community radio service 4KIG Townsville's transmitter in Bowen and a high power open narrowcasting service in Charters Towers.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was rather busier with radio-related postings including
*Approved applications by Faithway Communications Inc. to add 50-watt transmitters for its English-language commercial specialty (Christian music) station CJRI-FM, Fredericton, at New Bandon, Saint Stephen, and Woodstock.
*Renewal of licence of French-language Type A community radio station CFRT-FM Iqaluit from 1 January 2009 to 31 August 2012. In making the renewal short-term the CRTC noted that the licensee has failed to provide its annual return for the 2002 broadcast year, a return it should have provided by the end of November 2003. The licensee says it did file this in March this year but the Commission notes that it had not received this and expects it to be submitted by the end of this year but as this is the first instance of non-compliance it will take no action beyond the short-term renewal.
*Approval of application by a Corus subsidiary to use the frequency 100.5 MHz for a new English-language commercial FM radio station in Peterborough to replace CKRU -AM that was approved subject to a suitable alternative frequency being found to the one proposed in the initial application.
The application to use 100.5 MHz had been opposed by My Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), which has filed an application for a new English-language FM station to serve Brighton, Ontario using the frequency 100.9 MHz and asked for the decision on the Corus application to be delayed until a decision on its application. The CRTC took the view that it would be unreasonable to delay the commissioning of the Corus station pending consideration of the MBC application and gave Corus the go-ahead.
*Renewed licence of English-language specialty commercial radio station CFWC-FM Brantford, from 1 January 2009 to 31 August 2012. The commission noted concern expressed by the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA) concerning the failure of the licensee to fulfil its obligations relating to its financial contributions to Canadian talent development (CTD).
*Denied application by Blackburn Radio Inc. to change the frequency of its transmitter CKNX-FM-2 Centreville/Meaford and increase its power from 5 watts to 250 watts.
The application had been opposed by amongst others Bayshore Broadcasting Inc. and Larche Communications Inc. with each expressing concern about the increased coverage that would result.
The CRTC in refusing the application noted that approval, instead of addressing signal deficiencies in Meaford, would extend CKNX-FM-2's service area beyond Meaford and towards the community of Thornbury, Ontario, which is not part of the station's currently authorized coverage area.
*Renewed licence of French-language ethnic commercial radio station CJWI-AM Montreal from 1 January 20091 to 31 August 2015. The CRTC noted that it was proposing a short-term renewal because the licensee, CPAM Radio Union.com inc., had failed to submit ifs annual return for the year to the end of August 2007 by the required deadline.
*Renewed licence of Cogeco Diffusion inc.'s French-language commercial station CJEC-FM, Québec, from 1 January 2009 to 31 August 2012. The CRTC noted comment from the Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ) that the licensee was in apparent non-compliance as regards its contributions to Canadian talent development (CTD) and that Cogeco, in response to a deficiency letter, indicated that corrective measures had been taken to ensure that there would be no more late payments.
*Denied application by 101056012 Saskatchewan Ltd. to change the frequency of English-language specialty radio station CJJC-FM, Yorkton, increase the antenna height and increase the power from 44.79 watts to 50,000 watts, changes that would result in a status change from a low-power unprotected service to a Class B station.
The application was opposed by Harvard Broadcasting Inc. and the CRTC noted that the application provided no evidence that the existing signal was not serving Yorktown adequately and that it made a case for expand its advertiser base rather than making a case that the existing local advertising base in Yorkton is too small to support the original business plan.
It also noted that it generally expects licensees to make every effort to meet business plan projections during the first licence term before applying to the Commission for a technical amendment based upon economic need. The Commission noted that CJJC-FM has been in operation for just less than three years and that the increased revenues had narrowed the gap between actual revenues and those predicted in the business plan.
In a Public Notice, with a for interventions or comments of January 6,, the Commission is calling for comments with regard to the capacity of the Iroquois Falls and Cochrane, Ontario radio markets to support the licensing of new commercial radio stations.
The CRTC also posted a further Public Notice, with a deadline for interventions or comments of January 6, relating to an application to increase the power of CJWL-FM, Ottawa, from 485 watts to 1,100 watts and decrease its effective antenna height.
In a further Public Notice it detailed applications handled under its streamlined procedures between July 1 and August 31 relating to transfers of ownership and changes in the effective control of broadcasting undertakings, amendments or extensions of deadlines.
This included the following radio related matters:
*Approval of Intra-corporate reorganization, for estate purposes, at the level of Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI) involving the insertion of a new corporate entity in RCI ownership chain.
*Extension to 3 October 2009 of the time limit for United Christian Broadcasters Canada to commence operation of the national English-language religious specialty audio service authorized in October 2006.
*Approval of change in the effective control of Lighthouse Broadcasting Ltd. , licensee of the low power Christian music FM radio station CJLT-FM, Medicine Hat, from Scott Raible to Patrick Lough, through the transfer of all of the issued shares of Lighthouse to Strive Communications Inc., a corporation controlled by Patrick Lough.
*Approval of change in the authorized contours of CKUA Radio Foundation's transmitter CKUA-FM-3, Medicine Hat.
*Approval of extension to 16 January ,2010, of time for commencement by Bute Inlet Development Corporation (BIDC) of operations of English- and Aboriginal-language Native Type B FM in Campbell River, approved in January last year..
*Approval of change in the authorized contours of transmitter for CTV's CKST-AM, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Manitoba and Saskatchewan:
*Approval of Change in the effective control of GX Radio, licensee of CJGX-AM, Yorkton, and CFGW-FM Yorkton Saskatchewan and its transmitters CFGW-FM-1, Swan River, Manitoba and CFGW-FM-2, Wapella, Saskatchewan, from Brenda and Lyle Walsh to Frederick W. Hill through the transfer of 89% of the voting interest of the parent corporation of Walsh Investments Inc. and Yorkton Broadcasting Company Limited to Harvard Broadcasting Inc., a corporation controlled by Frederick W. Hill.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Extension to 7 October 2008 of the time limit authorized for Newcap Inc. to simulcast the radio programming of CHVO on CHVO-FM, Carbonear, Newfoundland and Labrador. This is the final extension to be granted by the Commission.
*Approval of change in the ownership structure of 1760791 Ontario Inc. , which is authorized to operate CINA-AM Mississauga, Ontario and is the parent corporation of a corporation to be incorporated and authorized to operate CJNR-FM, Windsor, Ontario through the transfer of all of the issued shares of 1760791 from Neeti P. Ray (67%) and Renu Ray (33%) to The Neeti P. Ray Family Trust. Effective control continues to be exercised by Mr. Neeti P. Ray.
* Extension to 9 November 2008 of the deadline for Neeti P. Ray, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated ,to submit an application proposing the use of another FM frequency for new commercial ethnic FM to serve Windsor that was approved in May this year.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised for expressions of interest in the licence currently held by Dublin music service Q102 and in the UK, Ofcom has pre-advertised the Hastings area licence currently held by Arrow FM (See RNW Dec 3 for both).
Ofcom has also published for consultation its draft 2009/10 Annual Plan, which sets out its proposed programme for the year commencing in April next year. Responses have to be submitted by 12 February.
In addition it posted further details of its consideration, and refusal, of UTV's request to allow its Heads of South Wales Valleys station (Valleys Radio) to be re-located in the Neath/Port Talbot area where it proposed to house its sister stations, Swansea Sound and the Wave concerning which it had asked for public comment in September (See RNW Sep 20).
It says it received only four responses to the call: One was from Peter Hain MP (who had already submitted his approval within the request document), another was from an interested party against the idea, questioning the likelihood of staff presence, stating that transport links between the two areas are not good and pointing out that the size of the station is far above the Ofcom suggested limit and two other responses that were confidential, one in favour and one against.
The request involved a station with a measured Coverage Area (MCA) of 475,315 and Ofcom guidelines say there is likely to be a stronger case for co-location where one of the stations has a licensed area with a population of fewer than 250,000, although it does not rule out a co-location of larger stations in exceptional circumstances.
The radio licensing committee in its decision noted political support for co-location and the financial situation in which the station finds itself but also that it had recently allowed the station to commence FM transmissions. It said it was "unconvinced by the argument of affinity between the two areas and also felt there was nothing from the consultation that created the sort of exceptional circumstances needed to over-ride the guidelines" but left the door open for UTV to re-submit its application in a year's time when the effect of adding FM transmission could properly be gauged.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also had a fairly quiet week as regards radio with its most significant posting relating to a re-examination of its policies regarding spectrum for non-commercial educational (NCE) services.
The action followed the introduction of a policy that allowed NCE stations to apply for non-reserved channels, but to dismiss such applications should they conflict with applications for commercial stations and this had led to a petition to reconsider the rule.
There had also been a number of petitions asking the agency to reconsider its decision not to accept any amendments to a discrete group of long-pending NCE applications, including amendments to change an applicant's status from NCE to commercial status.
The FCC declined to change the rule but did reconsider regarding the second group and it to allow a one-time opportunity to amend their long-pending applications to apply for commercial stations to avoid dismissal.
In relation to a petition from the University of Missouri that concerned to AM and five FMs formerly licensed to entities controlled by Michael Rice and the allotment of the Columbia channel formerly licensed as KMZM-FM, which contends that it should have an opportunity to reserve the channel for exclusive NCE it commented that the University was in effect asking the Commission to adopt unique procedures to license KFMZ-FM to avoid the litigation that it anticipates will result from the allotment's auction. It was not persuaded.
Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps who in a concurring statement noted his earlier expression of views that it "seems reasonable to allow NCE applicants to apply for the use of non-reserved spectrum-subject to dismissal if there is a competing commercial application-and to allow nonprofits wishing to provide a commercial radio service to apply for non-reserved spectrum for that purpose as well" but also concern "about the further blurring of the line between commercial and NCE services-including the ease with which our rules permit stations to flip back-and-forth between commercial service and NCE service and the possibility that some NCE stations may seek to raise auction funds in a manner that will detract from and endanger the integrity of NCE broadcasting."
In this case the decision he said did not "really break any new ground but simply permits a discrete group of long-pending NCE applicants to avoid dismissal by amending their applications to specify commercial operation-something new NCE applicants can do if they so choose "and re-iterated his hopes that "NCE stations do not abandon their proud heritage and long-term survivability by becoming less and less distinguishable from their commercial counterparts."
In enforcement actions the FCC cancelled a USD 9,000 forfeiture issued to Cumulus's WDUZ-FM, Brillion, Wisconsin, and substituted an admonishment.
Cumulus in a licence renewal application in August 2004 had said that issues-programs lists were missing from the station file for the 4th quarter of 1998; all of 1999; all of 2000; the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2001; the 1st - 3rd quarters of 2002; and the 1st and 3rd quarters of 2003 and a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) in the amount of USD 9,000 was issued.
It responded to this by saying that the station shared its main studio with several stations in Neenah, Wisconsin, until the Fall of 2003, when it moved to a new location in Green Bay,, while certain other of the stations relocated to a new studio in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and that WDUZ had simulcast the programming of WWWX-FM during the shared time and the issues/programmes lists were prepared at the same time. It had later realized that the lists for WDUZ had been transferred to the Oshkosh studio along with WWWX's public file.
As a result, said Cumulus, it was now able to account for the lists it had reported missing and that during the time the studio was shared all lists were timely prepared and placed in the public file and available for public inspection. It said that it had in fact complied with the rules apart for the fourth quarter of 1998.
Based on this new information that one list rather than 16 were missing the FCC substituted the admonishment and cancelled the forfeiture.
In two contested licence decisions the FCC denied a petition from Coosa Valley News, Inc. asking it to reconsider its grant of a licence for a new FM at Plainville, Georgia, to Howard C. Tooke and from Centenary College to reconsider a decision to dismiss its application for a new non-commercial educational ("NCE") FM station at Budd Lake, New Jersey as unacceptable for filing.
In the first case, Coosa Valley News had questioned whether Toole bid for the Plainville permit as a "sole proprietor," as certified on the Application, or acted on behalf of an undisclosed real party in interest, namely Paul C. Stone, noting that Toole was general manager of five Georgia stations licensed to three corporations wholly owned by Stone. It also said Toole had told the commission incorrectly that his residence was in Texas instead of Georgia when he filed the Application.
The FCC considered the arguments for reconsideration as without merit and said Coosa Valley News had raised no new facts to substantiate its arguments.
In the New Jersey case, Centenary's application had been found to breach rules with respect to co-owned station WNTI-FM, Hackettstown, New Jersey, because the interfering contour of the proposed station was entirely within the protected contour of the existing station and FCC staff had refused a waiver of the rules. The FCC said that the fact that Centenary is also the licensee of the existing station and was prepared to accept the interference did not warrant a waiver and noted that the FCC's responsibility was to ensure that an existing protected service does not suffer interference
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-12-06: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has announced the appointment of Clare Duignan as Managing Director of RTÉ Radio: She will take over from Adrian Moynes, who has been appointed as Secretary to the RTÉ Authority and its Director of Compliance to succeed Tom Quinn. In her new role she will have responsibility for RTÉ digital - the broadcaster has just launched five digital stations (See RNW Dec 1) - and analogue radio output.
Duignan, who will take up her new post early in 2009, has been with the broadcaster since 1977. She joined RTÉ Radio after graduating in History and Politics from University College, Dublin, and later moved into TV where she became Head of Features Television, Head of Independent Production and Head of Production, Television, before being appointed Director of Programmes, RTÉ Television in 2003.
In an RTÉ release she commented of her appointment, "It is a wonderful challenge to be returning to working with RTÉ Radio. I regard it as a national treasure and I believe my responsibility will be to nurture its strengths, address its weaknesses and ensure I pass it on to my successor in a vibrant and healthy state."
RTÉ Director-General Cathal Goan said he had "every confidence that Clare has the experience, insight and determination to guide RTÉ Radio in a very competitive market. She has throughout her career been a passionate advocate of Public Service Broadcasting and will always put the audience first."
2008-12-06: Australian Immigration Department officials tried to keep Sydney 2GB host Alan Jones's name out of a report on talkback radio in the country that termed him a "shock-jock" and referred to his role in the 2005 Cronulla riots and a subsequent finding by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that Jones' broadcasts were "likely to encourage violence or brutality and vilify people of Middle Eastern descent" (See RNW Apr 12, 2007).
The Melbourne Age reports that the Federal Department of Immigration and Citizenship had commissioned research about talkback radio as part of a program about journalism and ethnic diversity but then asked that Jones name be deleted from a paper, "Constructing identity in the talkback radio space", written by Jacqui Ewart, of Griffith University, and Julie Posetti, of the University of Canberra.
The paper was presented at the annual Journalism Education Association conference, in Wollongong, and Dr Ewart revealed that she had been sent an e-mail by Debbie Darnell, the assistant director of the department's Living in Harmony project, who commented that part of the paper used "emotive language" that introduced "a perception of bias" and requested that the section of the paper referring to Jones be removed.
Dr Ewart, a senior lecturer in journalism and media studies, said the paper had said it was essential she safeguarded her "independence as a researcher, particularly as I am mentoring and teaching potential journalists who may face similar issues if and when they enter the journalistic workforce".
It added that a department spokesman had said it was not "censoring or wanting to change the research."
Melbourne Sun report:
2008-12-05: Steve Dahl told listeners to his show on CBS Radio's WJMK-FM (Jack FM) today that he was leaving the station after the broadcast, confirming rumours that he would join other highly-paid hosts to be dropped by CBS.
The Chicago Tribune reporting his departure said that as he made his announcement, Dahl noted that Pete Zimmerman, his technical producer, had failed to find an appropriate tape clip to segue out of a commercial break, mentioned producer Mary Van Daele was in tears, told Kilman [his co-host Buzz Kilman] he was still welcome to CBS Radio Chicago's Christmas party in Greektown next week and pointed out management wanted him to continue working for two more weeks before signing off.
He announced that management wanted him to continue for a further fortnight before signing off but did not go quietly: The paper quoted him as saying, "They were saying, 'Well, do a couple of weeks, a farewell.'" Dahl said. "I said, 'It's not a farewell. You guys are taking me off the air. I'm not retiring.'... "I still have 2 1/2 years left on my deal so, quite frankly, I'm not letting them out of it."
The paper adds that after saying "Aloha" one last time on WJMK, Dahl played Jimmy Webb's "If You See Me Getting Smaller, I'm Leaving": and then an announcer named Howard Cogan delivered an uncharacteristically sincere send-off to Dahl and his crew on behalf of station management before launching into "Life's Been Good to Me" by Dahl friend Joe Walsh.
"When they made Steve Dahl, they broke the mold," Cogan said. "So many DJs today copy so much of what Steve has done over the years. He stood out. He wasn't like all the others. So for right now, I'd like to just be real. My name is Howard and I'm the voice of Jack FM. I know this is a tough day for Buzz, Mary and the rest of Steve's staff.
"Steve, thanks for 30 years of great radio," he continued. "Thanks for blowing up all those records. A lot of good that did, though. Love FM still thinks they're cool. ... But most of all, thanks for being an inspiration to so many broadcasters all over the world."
Part of the reason for the change according to the Tribune report is the effect of the switch to Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings that has shown some significant ratings differences to the former diary system.
Dahl commented on this, "It's not funny, but it is funny, I guess. This new ratings system does not favour us. I personally know that a lot of people are listening. ... So it's kind of like being George Clooney and Marky Mark in 'The Perfect Storm' because you have no marketing, we change stations, change time slots ... [there's] an entirely different way of taking ratings which does not favour an intelligent show ... and a really bad economy."
He continued, "It turns out that music gets better ratings than we do with this new ratings system, and guess what's cheaper: the music. So this is our last show. Buzz and I will be off the air for a while. ... We have contracts. But everybody else who works on the show is available, and they're all good people."
CBS in Chicago had already dropped the WBBM-FM morning duo Eddie Volkman and Joe Bohannon, although their contracts run into next summer (See RNW Nov 21). It also dropped Mike North from WSCR-FM after failing to agree a new contract and the paper says all were reported to be paid around USD 1.5 million a year with Dahl on more than a million.
Chicago Tribune report:
2008-12-05: Astral Media has announced that it is to add three more Virgin Radio-branded stations early next year: It had launched the first such station in Toronto in August under an agreement with Sir
Richard Branson's Virgin Radio International using the frequency of CKFM-FM (See RNW Aug 25).
The stations to be switched to the Virgin brand are 95 Crave in Vancouver, The Bear in Ottawa and Mix 96 in Montreal and Jacques Parisien, Group President, Astral Media Radio and Astral Media Outdoor, commented in a release, "This is a milestone announcement, building a solid Canadian presence for the Virgin Radio brand across Canada with four stations in the Astral Media Radio portfolio."
He continued, "With Virgin Radio 999 in Toronto surpassing 1,000,000 listeners in the recent BBM survey, the first since its launch in August of this year, the excitement and enthusiasm generated among listeners and advertisers is unprecedented. Astral Media is excited to bring the dynamic and innovative sounds of the Virgin Radio brand to three new Canadian markets. We are confident that the Virgin Radio brand will invigorate our stations, while offering an entirely new and rejuvenated promise to our clients."
Previous Virgin Group:
2008-12-05: David Kirk has resigned as CEO of Fairfax Media following a slide in the company's share price with his rival Brian McCarthy the former chief executive of Rural Press, which was taken over by Fairfax in 2006, being named as acting CEO, according to a company statement to the Australian stock exchange.
Born in Wellington, New Zealand Kirk had been in his post since October 2005: He was a Rhodes Scholar and was best known as being the All Blacks captain when they won the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.
Fairfax Chairman Ron Walker said of Kirk, "He and his team have led the complete re-positioning of the company from a metropolitan newspaper publishing business to a position in which the company is now clearly the leading media company in Australia."
His successor, who became CEO of Fairfax's Australian operations following the takeover, is known as an aggressive cost-cutter and is thought to have been backed by John B Fairfax, who owns 14% of the company. Its shares moved up by 6% to AUD 1.59 in early trading following the announcement.
Fairfax has been under financial pressure and in August announced 550 job cuts.
2008-12-04: The Fox News Channel has said that Bill O'Reilly is to end his radio show, "The Radio Factor", next year although Westwood One, which syndicates the show, has made no statement about the matter so far.
Fox News executive VP Kevin Magee said after O'Reilly had announced a new contract with Fox News, which carries his "The O'Reilly Factor" show that the radio show had been lucrative for both Fox and Westwood One and added, "Bill has been integral to the success of Fox News Radio. He loves the program, but we understand his desire to lighten his heavy workload."
O'Reilly commented that it was with "great regret" that he'd made the decision and added that with "the success of 'The O'Reilly Factor,' I can no longer give both TV and radio the time they deserve. From the beginning, Westwood One has been tremendous and Fox News continues to set the standard, and I've enjoyed working with them. I will miss talk radio and the callers very much."
Previous Westwood One:
2008-12-04: BBC Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles has been forced into a swift apology after publicity concerning comments on his show last month that seemed to say Poles made good prostitutes.
Moyles had commented on the show on November 19, "'I've always found in my experience prostitutes make very good cleaners, and their ironing, brilliant. I just find if you're Polish you're just very good at ironing and prostitutes (they're) very good also at fixing cars."
A number of British newspapers had reported on complaints to the Corporation and the Daily Mail, which also gave publicity - in that case a week after the comments were made - to the crude comments by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross on BBC Radio 2 that led to the ending of The Russell Brand Show and the suspension of Ross, reported that Polish expatriates had responded to the comments by launching a petition demanding an apology for the "offensive and nasty" comments.
The Daily Telegraph quoted Jan Mokrzycki president of the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, as saying, "This is another man making stupid remarks not knowing what he is talking about. I would be very happy if the BBC asked him to apologise. People are organising a petition about those comments and we would support them in it."
Moyles in a statement said he "didn't mean to link Polish people and prostitution in the way that has been suggested. But of course I realise that some people have taken it that way and to those people I'm sorry for the unintentional offence."
Since the row over the Russell Brand show some British newspapers have been keeping a detailed watch on BBC output and earlier this week gave publicity to an incident when actor John Barrowman "exposed " himself live on air on Radio 1 on Sunday night.
Reporting on that incident the Mail said that co-host Nick Grimshaw had commented to Barrowman, "You're famous, we're told, for getting your willy out in interviews. Is this going to happen today? Should Annie [co-host Annie Mac] be careful?"
Barrowman then asked: "Is the webcam on?" and when told it was, he declared: "All right, I'll get it out for you then, no problem."
The webcam had been swiftly covered up by a producer but listeners heard Annie Mac screaming: "Oh my God!" as the other two were heard laughing.
Barrowman was heard seconds later saying, "I didn't take the whole thing out, but I got my fruit and nuts out. He also exclaimed: "I can't believe I've just done that."
UK Daily Mail report re Barrowman:
UK Daily Mail report re Moyles:
UK Daily Telegraph report:
2008-12-03: The last Australian radio ratings of this year, covering the period from September 14 to November 22 show Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB holding on to its year-long lead in Sydney but a surprise in Melbourne where Austereo's Fox FM, increased its lead over former long-time top station 3AW, now owned by Fairfax Media, with its largest share since 2001..
The Fox success was spearheaded by Hamish and Andy (Hamish Blake and Andy Lee) who were up 1.6 to a 22.4% share in Melbourne drive time - and also up 0.3 to a dominant 14.4 share in Sydney on 2-DAY.
Overall in Sydney the 2GB lead was down 0.7 on the previous survey to a 12.3 share but in the breakfast slot Alan Jones took it up from 15.3 to a 16.1% share, well ahead of second-placed 2-DAY where Kyle and Jackie O (Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O) took its share up from 10.3 to 10.6. ABC 702 lost share- dwon from 9.9 to 9.1 with drive dropping 1.5 to 10.1and morning down 1.2 to 7.7.
DMG's best news came from Brisbane where its Nova increased its top ranked share from 13.8% to 14.9% and also in Sydney where Vega pulled up from a 4.5% to a 5.5% share.
In Perth, Austereo's MIX retained its lead although its share fell 0.2 to 16.6% whilst its stable-mate 92.9 took its share up by 1.7 to 13.8.
Austereo in a release headed "Austereo Finishes Strongly in 2008 - Ready for 2009" highlighted the success of the Today and Triple M networks noting that the former held on to FM leadership in Sydney and Melbourne "driven by commanding results from the breakfast teams and Hamish and Andy in drive" and added, "Hamish and Andy are the favourite drive team across the country, confirming their number one position today following huge results all year in every city."
It also noted the success of Fox FM in Melbourne, which ended the year in the lead with its largest share since 2001, and Mix 94.5 in Perth which also maintained its lead.
Regarding Triple M it noted its re-launch at the beginning of this month and says it "goes into 2009 as a new station spearheaded by Phil O'Neil and Sami Lukis at breakfast.
CEO Michael Anderson said the results "consolidated Austereo's leadership and positioned the company well for 2009" and Chairman Peter Harvie added, "The big story for Austereo in 2008 is the overall consistency of its results. The ongoing audience stability provides advertisers with an equally stable marketing medium. This survey completes one of Austereo's strongest recent years."
DMG headed its release "Vega delivers & Nova Network grows" and referred to the former as "a standout performer for DMG radio, delivering its strongest survey since launch."
"Both vega Sydney and Melbourne," it added, posted strong results adding 87,000 new listeners to the network." It also noted that vega in Sydney, which took its share up from 4.5% to 5.5% and ninth rank is now ahead of Triple M, which fell from 4.6 to 4.4 and is now tenth ranked.
Regarding Nova it stressed its success in the 18-24 and 18-29 demographics and increased overall share in Adelaide, Brisbane, and Melbourne.
City by city, the top stations were (previous ratings % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA with 14.8 (16.6) - same rank; Mix 102.3 with 12.7 (13.2) - same rank; SAFM with 12.5 (12.8) -same rank.
*ABC 891 with 11.0 (11.7) fell from fourth to fifth whilst Nova with 12.1(9.9) jumped up from sixth to fourth and 5MMM with 9.5 (10.3) dropped from fifth to sixth.
*Brisbane - Nova with 14.9 (13.8) - same rank; B105 with 12.0 (13.07) -same rank; Triple M with 10.94 (11.4) - same rank.
* 97.3 FM with 10.8 (11.0) remained fourth but ABC 612 with 9.2 (9.9) fell a rank to sixth as it was overtaken by 4BC, which was up from eighth to fifth with 9.4 (6.4).
*Melbourne - Fox FM with 15.6 (14.6) - same rank; 3AW with 14.4 (14.0) - same rank; ABC 774 with 11.4 (10.3) - same rank;
* Nova 100 with 8.9 (8.3) remained fourth and Gold FM with 7.30 (6.0) remained fifth but MIX 101.1 was up a rank to sixth with 5.5 (5.6), swapping places with Triple M with 5.0 (5.9).
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 16.5 (16.8) - same rank; 92.9 with 13.6 (11.9) - same rank; ABC 720 with 11.8 (11.2) - up from fourth.
*96 FM with 10.3 (11.7) - fell from third to fourth followed by 6PR which remained fifth with 9.8 (10.2) and Nova, which remained sixth with 9.5 (10.1).
*Sydney: 2GB 12.3 (13.0) - same rank; 2-DAY with 9.9 (9.6) - up from third; ABC 702 with 9.1 (9.9) - down from second;
*Nova with 8.2 (9.0) remained fourth, sharing with WSFM, which was previously fifth, with 8.2 (8.1), and 2UE remained sixth with 7.2 (7.1) followed by MIX 106.5 which remained seventh with 6.9 (6.7).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2008-12-03: Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin has expressed optimism about the company's prospects both in terms of revenues and re-financing its debt, telling the Reuters Media Summit in New York that he sees final quarter revenues this year growing by double-digits and is confident about refinancing around USD 1 billion in debt that is due next year.
Karmazin also said he has no plans to cut subscription prices despite US economic woes and said the company was not up for sale.
2008-12-03: Cox Enterprises has announced a re-organization of its business that will bring its three media units - Cox Newspapers, Cox Television and Cox Radio -- under a single subsidiary, Cox Media Group, Inc.
The move takes effect in January and Cox veteran Sandy Schwartz, currently president of president of Cox Auto Trader and Cox Newspapers, will serve as president of the new unit, which will have its headquarters in Atlanta.
Jimmy Hayes, president and chief operating officer of Cox Enterprises, commented in a company news release, "Bringing together our media operations under one organization creates efficiencies that allow us to strengthen Cox for the future. Working together, our businesses will grow to become more cost effective, learn more from each other and continue their leadership position in serving our markets."
The new unit will include 17 daily and 26 non-daily newspaper publications, 15 television broadcast stations, 86 radio stations and digital services associated with these. It will also include Valpak that, together with newspaper assets in Texas, North Carolina and Colorado, are being sold off.
2008-12-03: The digital radio bodies on both sides of the Atlantic have now launched seasonal marketing campaigns aimed at driving up receiver sales.
In the UK, the Digital Radio Development Board (DRDB is to run adverts identifying DAB radio sets as the perfect Christmas gift for six weeks across analogue commercial radio stations with BBC radio and TV running similar promotions that launched at the end of last month,
The commercial radio promotions are being backed by retailers and manufacturers including Sony, Pure and Roberts and DRDB chief executive, Tony Moretta commented of the campaign, "As with many consumer electronics products, Christmas is the key sales period for DAB radios. For the first time this year we have a campaign that unites both BBC radio/TV and commercial radio in the same creative execution. DAB radios are a high value, low cost gift this Christmas."
In the US, the HD Digital Radio Alliance has expanded its marketing campaign and is to promote HD radio through print, broadcast radio, mobile texting, online ads, and giveaways.
It estimates the total effort as being worth USD 57 million and its founder Peter Ferrara commented in a release, "2008 has been a defining moment for HD Radio as low-cost receivers have become widely available at retailers with nearly 100 upgraded receivers now out in the marketplace. In today's economy, cost is a major factor, making the unique, local formats on HD Radio broadcasts with no subscription fees the perfect gift. And there are plenty of reasons to upgrade home and car radios: C-Net called the sub- USD 100 Sony XDR-F1HD 'the best-sounding home radio tuner we've heard to date.' There's never been a better time to upgrade."
Alliance President Diane Warren added, "As awareness of HD Radio continues to rise, we remain focused on converting those high numbers into intent to purchase. This expanded marketing campaign is a significant step in that direction. Radio is a great point-of-sale value and our other campaign elements: coupons, print, online, and going right to consumers' cell phones, complement it and build on our direct conversation with consumers. The Alliance is providing resources to make buying an HD Radio easier and affordable for this gift-giving season. We anticipate a strong holiday season that will kick-off a busy and successful 2009 for all HD Radio stakeholders."
Previous HD Radio Alliance:
2008-12-03: Entercom has joined the ranks of radio groups receiving de-listing notices: It announced that on December 1 it had received notification from the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") that the Company has fallen below the continued listing standard which requires a minimum average closing price of USD1.00 per share over 30 consecutive trading days.
Entercom said it plans to notify the exchange that it intends to cure the deficiency and almost as soon as the notice was issued its stock closed above the dollar mark - it ended Tuesday at USD 1.08, up from Monday's close of 96 cents but down from Friday's USD 1.09 before which it had traded as low as 55 cents. In mid-afternoon today it was trading at USD 1.05 then went up to end the day at USD 1.09..
2008-12-03: A mixture of optimism, pessimism and prognostications this week for our look at print comment on radio in which we concentrate on technology, starting with an optimistic prognosis for the future of WiFi Internet radios from Harry Wallop, the Consumer Affairs Editor for the UK Daily Telegraph.
Wallop comments that the sets are "set to become one of the Christmas must-have presents, with sales doubling in the last three months" and describes them as "the latest technology to reinvigorate the sleepy world of radio and give whole new meaning to 'the wireless'."
The numbers are still small so far - Wallop reports: "Compared with 17,000 sets sold last year, the industry expects about 110,000 to be sold this year. This will still make them a relatively niche product compared to Digital Audio Broadcasting Radios, but experts believe they will ultimately overtake DAB radios."
DAB gets a less hopeful prognosis from Martin Kelner in the UK Guardian in an article headed, "DAB - the sound of yesteryear".
His thesis is that the typical DAB listener is someone like him, starting off by writing, "Who will be buying DAB radios this Christmas? Let me take a guess: young people, as a present for Nan so she can listen to old episodes of Hancock's Half Hour. I feel fairly safe in predicting - albeit on the basis of largely anecdotal evidence - that this festive season, a DAB radio will not be the hot must-have item for the cool daddio on the street (forgive me, I lost touch with youth speak around the time Elvis started putting on weight). In that respect, there is little change from last Christmas - or the Christmas before that."
He was, says Kelner, an "an early adopter" because he swallowed the publicity about extra speech and music stations, with superior audio quality and then continues, "Both these promises turned out to be about as reliable as the suggestion that a bowl of Special K every morning will make you slim, tanned and toned, or that Guinness is good for you."
Kelner, however, does not regret the purchase on the basis if only for BBC7 and its vintage comedy output, detailing in particular his liking for the voice of Peter Jones, best known as the voice of the book in the radio "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", but in Kelner's case wanted for his performances on "Just a Minute".
Kelner notes of this that "DAB is great for this sort of stuff because it is not, as advertised, CD quality but slightly lower quality than FM radio - something to do with bit rate levels being too low, apparently - which seems about right for old comedy."
He concludes on a down note for the medium: "TalkSport is currently running an ad that goes something like: "Come on, Grandad, still listening on old-fashioned medium wave? Get up to date with a brand-new DAB radio ... "This could not be more wrong. There is a good chance Grandad is already listening on DAB but, with Channel 4 Radio having failed to take off, unless something compelling for his grandchildren becomes available soon, DAB is destined to be radio's Betamax."
One of the responses makes a strong point however about DAB quality and the availability of signals in an automobile, writing, "I've got DAB in my car, and use it constantly on the road. But, for at-home listening the latest stand-alone internet radio units are far preferable because of the infinite selection of stations available online and sound quality that is frequently better than DAB. Ultimately AM, FM and DAB will all fade away as mobile broadband services (via cell phone services and WiMax) become increasingly affordable and reliable in terms of signal coverage and stability of the connection."
After UK digital radio on to the US and satellite radio where the contents of the merged Sirius and XM services have attracted various comment, some of it favourable, some of it not.
The articles that most caught our eye, however, were related as much to alternative technology as the company's satellite delivery, starting with Tyler Savery on istockanalyst.com: His headline - "Could Sirius XM Internet Radio Give Lost Channels A Second Life" sums up his argument, which is to suggest that the Internet combined with the ability to access it on mobile phones could "surpass that which is offered over satellite."
He then writes, "Perhaps the Internet feeds can be a proving ground for what gets to the satellite service, as well as develop a core set of fans. BoomBox and Beyond Jazz are examples of channels that fell victim to the new line-up. Fans of those channels have been vocal about their absence. Perhaps a partial solution is to put those, as well as the others on the Internet feed. This begins to make more sense when you consider the iPhone application StarPlayer. Why should the Internet feed be relegated to less content than the satellite service? It shouldn't. "
Savery suggest Internet streams could provide a place to experiment and also suggests that the Internet service could potentially be a "revenue stream rather than an additional cost" albeit his article attracted sceptical responses, one of which noted that the channels were removed not just to conserve satellite bandwidth but also and more importantly to "reduce operating costs" and adds that channels had been removed not only because of "format redundancy, but for other things such as low ratings."
The issues of Sirius XM and delivery by other means were also the subject of a strong set of postings on Slashdot, starting with a comment asking, "Is pay-for-bandwidth even a viable business plan anymore? With millions of iPhone and gPhone users out there, free streaming audio applications like FStream, and thousands of Internet radio stations to access, the question is: why would anyone want to pay for proprietary hardware and a limited selection of a few hundred stations all controlled by one company?"
This led on to various comments about listening location - the actual satellite listening, of course, requires line-of-sight to a satellite and listening where this is not possible has to be from terrestrial repeaters or through the Internet - with one comment making a strong point about more remote areas:" There are very large areas of the country where there is no service you can use to receive radio. You can't use an iPhone within hundreds of miles of where I live (they locked it to AT&T, and AT&T isn't very interested in Montana); and road trips are eight, ten, even twelve hours, during which we are almost pitifully grateful to have XM/Sirius. There's no digital service you can use to connect to the Internet barring a satellite connection on the roof of your vehicle. Which, of course, is what the XM/Sirius widget is in the first place. It just connects to them instead of the Internet, that's all."
That writer pointed out that in the more remote parts of the state FM terrestrial stations were only available close to town and as regards AM- "that's really deteriorated into far left and far right and wackos, with a sprinkling of country (which you may enjoy, but no one in my family does.)"
That writer recognized with deep regret that if it could not become a viable business satellite radio would disappear and provoked a comment in response that offered some hope, if capital costs were written off.
It read, "The real problem with satellite radio is that since it competes mainly with free services (i.e. regular radio) it cannot raise its prices to bring in enough capital to cover the costs and there are not enough users, who like you and your family find it useful, to allow the service to make up the difference in volume. While I doubt satellite radio is doomed in general, the Sirius/XM companies are. They have too much debt and don't bring in enough revenue to cover operating costs and debt retirement. I have the feeling that'll turn out like Iridium where the initial company goes bankrupt and another company steps in to buy the whole thing at some really reduced cost and then can operate the service without the debt of the initial start-up costs. (Iridium was bought for USD 25 million after USD 6 billion of capital costs were sunk into it. Only then did it become profitable for the owners). "
To end on a more positive note for the service, however, this attracted a response saying regarding competition with "free services": "Respectfully, no, it doesn't. I'm able to hear the channel I want during a whole drive across the US and even into parts of Canada. I'm able to get traffic/weather reports as soon as I need them, instead of waiting for every 15 min (or whatever.) I have my favourite channels where I know I'm guaranteed to hear the music I want, when I want it, instead of random shuffles of what I consider to be mostly trite current hits. For example, I love classical music. I have my choice of listening to the style of classical that I want (opera, traditional, etc) instead of a melange of different types on one station. Is there a lot of repetition on the channels? On some? Yes. More now since the merger? Sadly, yeah."
There's also a comment we felt we should add as a down-to-earth postscript regarding the i-Phone/WiFi idea: "Using WiFi to stream music on the iPhone will kill the battery in less than an hour or so depending on conditions Now, let's use WiFi in my moving car. HAHAHA yeah, that's a total joke. So we'll use T-Mobiles network for USD 20 a month... umm, maybe not. Let's use AT&T's network. Streaming data plan? USD 60 a month. Better hope you're in one of the urban areas that support the high speed data! ORRRRRRR... you could buy a $50 Satellite receiver, pay $12 a month (or $6 if you know someone nice) and do away with a $60/mo data plan AND have access to the signal anywhere in the US."
That writer (follow the link and search for NitroWolf) and the responses gave us a very sceptical approach when we then read Rick Aristotle Munarriz with his article, "Can Apple Save Sirius XM Radio?" on the Motley Fool.
The scepticism aside, the one point that leaped out from the article, which suggested that "iPhone tie-in would be just the ticket in generating buzz for Sirius XM's scarred investors as well as a great customer retention tool" was the following paragraph: "I'm not building the hype to tease you. At least one company (StarPlayr) is working on an iTunes App that will let iPhone owners -- and Wi-Fi-tethered iPod touch jockeys -- stream their active satellite radio subscriptions through their portable devices. Surprisingly, that company isn't Sirius XM."
On then to listening suggestions and we start with terrestrial BBC radio - somehow we doubt there'll ever be a subscription satellite radio service in Europe, never mind the UK although there are state broadcaster and advertising-funded radio services on satellite TV platforms - and in view of the comments above with a quick look at the BBC7 rundown this week.
Listing programming available until at least midnight on Wednesday it includes comedy - "Hancock's Half Hour "; "The Clitheroe Kid"; "The Goon Show"; "Round The Horne ";"There'll Never Be Another" in which Graeme Garden celebrates the work of Les Dawson; and "Comic to Comic" in which comedian Andy Zaltzman discusses why being a stand-up is the best job in the world plus drama and literature - the first part of a four-part "Phantom of the Opera"; "Falco: Shadows in Bronze", the first of a six-part series; "Bleak House", the first of five parts; and "Edgar Wallace: Short Stories" and also panel shows - "I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again"; "Just a Minute " and "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue."
Then on to BBC Radio 4, original source station for much of the above, and a quick look at its comedy, reading and drama output this week.
It includes in comedy last Saturday's "That's No Job for an Asian!" in which Yasmeen Khan explores the current state of British Asian comedy and asks whether the job of being a comedian has become an acceptable alternative to the more traditional professions of doctor, lawyer and accountant; Monday's "Another Case of Milton Jones"; Tuesday's "Danny Robins Music Therapy"; Wednesday's "Clare in the Community"; Thursday's "Cowards" and Friday's "Fags, Mags and Bags" and "The Now Show."
In drama and readings, the regular "Book of the Week" slot this week is taken by "Medical London - City of Diseases, City of Cures" and later in the mornings the "Woman's Hour Drama" is Snobs, a satire on English snobbery adapted from his 2004 novel of the same name by Julian Fellowes whilst in the afternoons the "Afternoon Readings" are from works by Irish writer John B, Keane and are followed by "Street Science" that looks at the topics of Cloning; Nuclear Power; GM Agriculture; the MMR vaccine; and Nanotechnology
In drama there's the regular "Afternoon Play" covering subjects from Richard Burton's pilgrimage to Mecca; the 1586 "Babington Plot" to assassinate Elizabeth 1; modern fantasy adventures from Sebastian Baczkiewicz; Houseman's "A Shropshire Lad" and "Looking for Dad" by Michael Butt in which his wife's hostility threatens a man's attempts to reconcile himself with his estranged father. In addition to this there is "The Friday Play ", a comedy "Binge Drunk Britain: The Musical" plus the Saturday Play - "Giving Up the Ghost" by Lynne Truss in which a fire-fighter struggles to come to terms with the death of his friend.
We'd also note that the current "Classic Serial" is a two-part "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" - last Sunday's programme is repeated on Saturday
Moving on to music but sticking for the moment with BBC Radio 4, the "Music Feature" on Tuesday (with a Saturday repeat) tells the story of Soul II Soul and moving to BBC Radio 2 for more music cum documentary programming we note the start on Monday of a four-part "In Dreams - The Roy Orbison Story" ; Tuesday's third of the four party "Long Players", the story of the LP; and Friday's "Bobby Darin: A Man in a Hurry", the first of a four-part series hosted by Sir Tim Rice.
We also note that on Tuesday, marking the 20th anniversary of the first World Aids Day, the station aired a documentary "How Aids Changed America."
Then to BBC Radio 3 and we note that the "Composer of the Week" this week is "Olivier Messiaen" and the following "Lunchtime Concerts" are on the theme "Nielsen and the Scandinavians" whilst "Afternoon on 3" features the BBC Singers "On the Road."
Next Saturday's we also note that "Opera on 3" starts rather earlier than normal at 16:00 GMT with Wagner's Tristan und Isolde live from the New York Met.
For Jazz from the station we suggest last Sunday's "Jazz Line-Up" in which Julian Joseph presented the BBC Big Band and Roy Hargrove at the London Jazz Festival 2008 and Monday's "Jazz on 3" with highlights from the Festival.
Back to the spoken word and "The Essay" slot is taken up with five accounts with the title "Under the Influence" of the influence of artists on artists and next Sunday's "Drama on 3" is "Great Escape", Zimbabwean playwright Andrew Whaley's satire set in Zimbabwe during the slum clearances.
Finally from the BBC to documentary and to begin with we opt for BBC Radio 4 and last Sunday's "Women in Uniform" the first of two programmes in which former BBC correspondent Martin Bell travels to Afghanistan to investigate the growing numbers of women in the British military and how their jobs are increasingly taking them into the front line ; Monday's" Wiring the NHS" in which Sue Nelson examines the progress of the NHS National IT Programme over the past year and Tuesday's "The Long View" that looked at parallels between today's airport expansions and the mid-19th century railway boom and "The Human Button" in which historian Prof Peter Hennessy spoke to the people who operate Britain's nuclear deterrent.
We then suggest downloads of the World Service's "Street Art" - two programmes; "1968-The Year that Changed the World"; "The Priest of Pará", the story of Dominican priest and human rights lawyer Father Henri Des Roziers who works in Pará, one of Brazil's most violent regions and "Timeline-Part 1", a new series looking at the contemporary through examination of archive material.
After that we nominate some of the MP3s we have now had time to listen to from other stations starting with the November 22 edition of Radio Netherlands "The State We're In": This marked the UN day for the elimination of violence against women and included the tale of a Kenyan politician who was severely beaten for being a woman who sought public office.
We'd also recommend last Saturday's edition that looked at the effects of the Gaza blockade and also at education - more accurately the paucity of it - in the Arab World.
Then from Monday this week we suggest "Curious Orange" whose topics included a discussion about scientology in the Netherlands and a doctor's perspective on euthanasia and the right to die.
We'd also suggest a dip into the station "Radio Books" that is currently highlighting work from the immigrant community of the Low Countries.
RNW note: We will try and update further with suggestions from other stations later:
istockanalyst - Savery:
Motley Fool - Munarriz:
Slashdot postings re Sirius-XM:
UK Guardian - Kelner:
UK Telegraph - Wallop:
2008-12-03: Two existing licences in Ireland and the UK have been advertised by the regulators: In the former the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has advertised the Dublin and County music-based FM licence currently held by Q102 and that is due to expire in May 2010.
Expressions of interest for the licence - for a general audience aged 35-55 have to be submitted by midday on December 22 and will be assessed in the context of the diversity of services available in the area on the basis of the quality, range and type of programming proposed - in particular, the extent to which the service will be of relevance to listeners in Dublin City and County - and also on issues such as viability and efficient use of spectrum.
In the UK, Ofcom has pre-advertised the Hastings area FM licence currently held by Arrow FM Ltd that expires in April 2010 and for which it is proposing to grant a further licence running to the end of December 2015.
Declarations of intent to apply have to be submitted by January 6 next year together with a non-refundable fee of GBP 5,000 ( USD 7,500) and a GBP 10,000 (USD 15,000 deposit) that will be refundable on receipt of a valid application in response to a subsequent re=advertisement of the licence. Should only Arrow FM submit a declaration of intent, it will be invited to re-apply for the licence but if there are no declarations it will not be re-advertised.
2008-12-02: Citadel Broadcasting has received a de-listing notice from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) because it has fallen below minimum capitalization requirements for 30 days and now has 45 days to demonstrate how it can come back into compliance.
Citadel says it intends to do so but cannot offer guarantees and notes that if the NYSE does not accept its plan it will be subject to suspension and de-listing. If its plan is accepted, Citadel will be subjected to quarterly monitoring for compliance with the plan.
2008-12-02: Rogers Communications founder Edward Samuel "Ted" Rogers, said to have been Canada's fourth richest man, has died aged 75. He leaves a widow - Loretta - and four children, a son and three daughters
A notice on the company's web site announces his death "with great sadness": Alan Horn, Chairman of Rogers Communications and acting CEO, expressed sympathy to his family and continued, "Ted Rogers was one of a kind who built this company from one FM radio station into Canada's largest wireless, cable and media company. A leader also in giving to the community through his and Loretta's many philanthropic initiatives. He will be sadly missed."
Rogers had suffered from congestive heart failure and died at his Toronto home surrounded by his family.
Rogers, who was born in Toronto, graduated from Trinity College, at the University of Toronto, in 1956 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and four years later while he was studying at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, he bought through Aldred-Rogers Broadcasting Ltd all the shares in Toronto CHFI-FM, pioneering the use of FM at a time when only around a twentieth of Toronto households could receive FM.
He moved into cable TV some five years later and established Rogers Communications, now one of Canada's largest media conglomerates, in 1967.
The Toronto Globe and Mail in a report by Gordon Pitts notes that Rogers' father died aged 38 when Rogers was six and that he was a sickly child who built his empire despite a lengthy catalogue of physical ailments.
His "greatest expectation-smashing act" says the report was "escaping bankruptcy, as his flagship Rogers Communications Inc. survived a parade of near-death experiences, buried under the debt amassed by its risk-embracing owner."
The company says its board will form a special committee to search for a successor as CEO and in the meantime Horn will continue to serve as acting Chief Executive Officer and lead the company's office of the president.
Previous Ted Rogers:
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2008-12-02: The BBC has now advertised for a successor to Lesley Douglas, who stepped down as Controller of BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music following the row over crude comments aired by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross that were aired on The Russell Brand Show in October (See RNW Oct 30).
Douglas was also Controller BBC Popular Music with a remit to co-ordinate pop music across BBC radio and TV but her successor will not take over this role. Douglas has been hired by Universal Music and takes up her new post next week (See RNW Nov 26).
Also being advertised is the role of head of compliance for Radio 2: Its holder Dave Barber, who gave the go-ahead for the transmission of Brand and Ross's remarks, also resigned (See RNW Nov 7)
The advert for the controller role says the successful applicant must be a recognised industry figure with a love of music and the ability to balance creative risks and goes on to say the individual will also "have a "successful track record of building broadcasting brands ... Together with a knowledge and love of music and an understanding of our audiences, you'll know how to challenge traditional assumptions."
Amongst internal candidates the BBC Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt is seen as a frontrunner.
2008-12-02: Peter Lloyd, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's former South Asia correspondent has received a ten months jail sentence for using and possessing the drug methamphetamine ("ice") and having the utensils to consume it: He has also lost his job with the Corporation.
Lloyd had been charged in July with trafficking and possession of methamphetamine, charges that carry a sentence of up to 20 years in jail and 15 lashes with the cane (See RNW Jul 20) but this was dropped last month.
The Straits Times reported that the sentence was made up of eight months for possession and consumption of the drug, methamphetamine or Ice, and two months for having utensils used to consume the drug and said that he entered the court accompanied by his ex-wife Kirsty McIvor.
His lawyer told the court Lloyd suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, brought on by his coverage of events such as the Bali bombings, Asian tsunami and the Karachi bombings, which left him with recurring nightmares and said the drug had become self-medication, adding, "He does not do it for recreational purposes."
The ABC reported that the defence lawyer also argued for compassionate treatment because Lloyd's nine-years-old son - one of two sons he has with McIvor - suffers extreme epilepsy: Lloyd had split from his wife before his arrest and come out as a homosexual although the two remain on good terms.
Previous ABC Australia:
ABC PM programme report:
Straits Times report:
2008-12-01: Katz Media Group has announced that it has added Beasley Broadcast Group and Lincoln Financial Media to its roster of clients: Both had previously been Interep clients.
Commenting on the additions, Katz Radio Group President Mark Gray said in a release that it was "excited to enter into a partnership with Lincoln Financial Media that we believe will create long-term value for both companies" and "extremely honoured to represent a broadcasting company with the reputation and long history of the Beasley Group."
For Beasley, its President and Chief Operating Officer Bruce Beasley said that he believed "this affiliation will be advantageous for both companies and will create a new vision for developing deeper relationships with the advertising community" and for Lincoln its President and CEO Don Benson said "By teaming up with Katz, we anticipate benefiting from its long history of excellent client service, strong sales infrastructure and deep agency relationships."
Katz had already announced agreements with CBS Radio and Entercom, Interep's two largest clients (See RNW Nov. 26) and is also reported to have picked up Buckely Radio, Connoisseur Media, Mapleton Communications, NextMedia and Wilks Broadcasting. Spanish Broadcasting System, another former Interep clients has so far made no announcement of its plans.
Interep filed in October to convert its Chapter 11 Bankruptcy into Chapter 7 so as to be able to wind up (See RNW Oct 27) and last month agreed a USD 3.6 million deal with Katz under which the latter could approach its clients (See RNW Nov 26). This left Interep with a small rump of agreements with a few TV stations and its Interep Interactive operations that its receiver has agreed to sell to Mission Media Group, which is already operating the division under a temporary agreement,unless a higher bid comes in before Dec. 9.
Katz has also announced an expanded agreement with Marketron Broadcast Solutions to deliver electronic orders for radio advertising schedules from national advertising agencies.
From January they will enable the processing of electronic sales orders for KMG's nationally represented business for distribution to all participating Marketron Traffic, Visual Traffic, and DeltaFlex radio clients, enabling station managers to be able to accept or reject orders, confirm them electronically and move them directly into the radio station's business system. They also plan to provide timely proof-of-performance reports for all radio spot campaigns placed by KMG.
Pete D'Acosta, Marketron CEO, commented in a release, "One of the industry's most important objectives is to make radio easier to buy. To achieve this we need to work toward an industry-wide electronic system that facilitates the electronic exchange of orders and invoices. Our partnership with Katz represents a cornerstone of this project and a giant step forward for radio. Buyers and sellers now have a new, efficient process that will eliminate discrepancies, reduce operational costs and open the door to buyers of all traditional and emerging non-traditional radio inventory."
Previous Lincoln Financial Media:
2008-12-01: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended from November 28 until February 27 next year the deadline by which Sirius XM has to put into effect their predecessor companies' agreement to lease 4% of the full-time audio channels on the Sirius and XM Satellite platforms to qualified entities.
When the merger of Sirius and XM was approved the companies were given four months to fulfil various conditions agreed to - including third-party access - but the FCC notes that "several commenters raised concerns about the mechanics of the channel lease administration and allocation, and the Commission committed to determine the implementation details for use of these leased channels at a later date."
It adds that "As a result of the complexities involved in the Third-Party Access Commitment, it is necessary to extend the implementation deadline for this condition to afford additional time for the Commission to determine how the condition is to be implemented."
2008-12-01: US radio pioneer Bill Drake, described by Ken Levine in the Huffington Post as being at one time "not only the most influential man in broadcasting but the music industry as well" has died aged 71.
He was credited for using market research including ratings demographics to create a format playing only top hits that made its debut on Los Angeles KHJ-AM as "Boss Radio" in April 1965.
Drake, born Philip Yarbrough, took his last name to rhyme with Atlanta station WAKE, where he had worked in the 1950s. In 1962 after meeting KYNO Fresno station owner Gene Chenault, he partnered with Chenault in Drake-Chenault Enterprises. He sold his interest in the company in 1983 and retired.
Levine, host of "Dodger Talk" on KABC- AM, told the Orange County Register of the format, "Bill Drake, along with Ron Jacobs, created that format. Drake became not only the most influential man in broadcasting but the music industry as well. Getting a record on KHJ could make a career. There by the grace of Bill Drake go the Doors, Byrds, Mamas & Papas, Sonny & Cher, and a hundred other '60s rock icons who might otherwise be making Blizzards at Dairy Queen today.
"He later created automated music formats that ruled the nation's FM dial for most of the 70s. I worked for him in 1974. By then, he had left KHJ and was trying to duplicate its success on FM. His star disc jockeys from Boss Radio, Robert W. Morgan and the Real Don Steele were brought over to start K100," later to become K-Earth 101."
Huffington Post - Levine:
Orange County Register report:
2008-12-01: RTÉ Digital Radio goes live today with the launch of six new services - RTÉ Choice, RTÉ Junior, RTÉ Gold, RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse and RTÉ Chill - that can be received on Eureka 147 DAB radios in Greater Dublin, Cork, or Limerick and are also available online.
Commenting on the launch RTÉ Radio's New Media producer Paul Russell said in a release, "We're very excited about the new digital radio services. There is something for everyone on them. This is a start-up project which means it is experimental. It's also a great opportunity for talent development. I'm sure listeners will sense the energy and passion of the new voices on the digital airwaves who are contributing to these services. It's a big radio adventure so do expect to be surprised and of course, let us know what you think"
The six services being launched are:
RTÉ Choice -RTÉ Radio 1's complementary speech service. Its schedule includes programming from eighteen different international public service broadcasters including U.S. National Public Radio (NPR), the BBC World Service, Radio Canada, Radio Australia, Radio Czech Republic, Radio Sweden, Korean Broadcasting and UN Radio.
RTÉ Junior - Ireland's first children's only radio service. Targeted at children aged 2 to 12 the service is centred on music, fun and entertainment. During school hours it is to broadcast nursery rhymes and story songs for younger children with chart music at other times in the day plus bedtime stories and lullabies for younger radio listeners at 19:00 local and audio books for an older audience at 20:00.
RTÉ 2XM - a sister station to RTÉ 2fm. It will feature alternative, indie, and rock music.
RTÉ Pulse - a 24 hour dance station that will feature a play list of commercial dance music during the day followed in the evenings with various genres of dance music aimed at dance connoisseurs.
RTÉ Chill -a late night service of electronica, ambient and chill-out music broadcasting from 9pm to 7am
RTÉ Gold a service of '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s hits and B-sides. RTÉ intends to go live with full schedules for RTÉ Gold in 2009.
Amongst the new features within the services will be the first show aimed specifically at Ireland's gay community: 'The Cosmopolitan', featuring gay DJ Scott De Buitlear and described in The Pulse's schedule as "RTÉ's music show aimed at the LGBT community, with club remixes of current chart hits. Presented in both English and Irish." It launches on Wednesday at 20:00 GMT.
On the downside for the technology, commercial stations that had been taking part in DAB trials for the past two years are expected to pull out because of concerns about extra costs in difficult economic times, the small number of DAB receivers purchased so far and perceptions that broadband developments will make online radio a cheaper option.
Development of DAB may be aided by the recent adoption by the European Broadcasting Union of new minimum standards for radio receivers that would require them to be able to receive FM, DAB and DAB+ which uses more advanced coding than DAB and thus utilizes spectrum more efficiently.
Links note: As far as possible we provide site links to the previous related story. Should these links not work, please advise us so we can sort out the problem.
Regarding external links, we give links where we can but an ever-increasing number of newspapers and stations either require registration or only keep items available for a limited period or move them to a pay-per-use archive (typically after 7 or 14 days in the USA).
Thus some links become outdated or sources you would have to pay for or subscribe to access. See links page for notes regarding various sites we think of value
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-November 2008 - January 2009 -
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