January 2009 Archive
-December 2008 -- February 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.
2009-01-31: IndianTelevision.com is reporting that the Indian Government has ruled out a rollback of the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act 1990 as demanded by the National Federation of Akashvani (All India Radio) and Doordarshan Employees.
The publication says Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting and External Affairs Anand Sharma said it was "not appropriate to even react" to the demand but added that the decision on the future of the 38,000 employees of Prasar Bharati had not been easy and had taken almost a decade.
The Union Cabinet on Thursday decided that all central government employees recruited for Akashvani or Doordarshan until 5 October 2007 are to be deemed as on deputation with effect from April 2000 until their retirement, but without any deputation allowance whilst employees recruited from 6 October 2007 will be deemed to be employees of the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) and subject to rules drawn up by the board of the public broadcaster.
Sharma denied at a news briefing that this created two groups of employees and said that fewer than a thousand employees had been recruited in the later period and Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer B S Lalli added that the public broadcaster would ensure that these employees were not discriminated against and would get all allowances possible.
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
2009-01-30: UTV-owned talkSPORT has now completed a re-vamp of its line-up which included the replacement at he start of this week which at the start of this week of Jon Gaunt, who was dismissed from his weekday 10:00-13:00 show in November following his attack on a local councillor whom he termed a "Nazi" and "ignorant pig" (See RNW Nov 11, 2008) with its weekend breakfast show team of Andy Townsend ( a former Republic of Ireland soccer player) and Mike Parry (the director of communications at the Football Association). Townsend and Parry have hosted the station's weekend Breakfast Show for five years and will continue with the Sunday show but weekday breakfast hosts Alan Brazil and Ronnie Irani will take over the Saturday breakfast slot.
Ian Collins, who had been standing in for Gaunt on a temporary basis, has returned to his regular 22:00 to 01:00 Sunday-Thursday show and in another change the station has hired former England cricketer and BBC Radio Five Live cricket pundit Darren Gough to co-host a new Friday drivetime show with Adrian Durham for the summer cricket season.
He is joining the station immediately and will report from Jamaica ahead of the first Test match between England and the West Indies that commenced on Wednesday.
2009-01-30: Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch has given final approval to the USD 2 million sale to Rhode Island Public Radio of WRNI-AM by Boston University's board of trustees and the WRNI Foundation - the station's current owners although it had been operated by the university's WBUR public broadcaster. The sale was first proposed in 2004 and agreed in 2007 (See RNW Mar 25, 2007).
The Providence Journal reports that this will be the first sale under the Public Radio Conversions Act that became law in 2005 and seeks to preserve and protect charitable assets in Rhode Island: The sale has already received Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval) and was given conditional approval by Lynch in September last year.
Commenting in a news release WBUR Group general manager Paul La Camera said of the approval, "Our long-standing belief has always been that public radio in Rhode Island is best served by local ownership and control. The culmination of this sale achieves that objective, and we're confident that WRNI will thrive going forward."
Providence Journal report:
2009-01-29: Salem, which has already cut its staff numbers by around a tenth, has now joined the ranks of US radio companies cutting pay with a 5% cut for employees with top executives taking a 10% cut, both to be introduced from Feb 1. The cuts are said to be on base pay and exclude sales commissions and bonuses.
2009-01-29: Absolute Radio in its first ratings since its re-branding from the former Virgin name was the big loser in the latest UK radio ratings for the final quarter of 2008 just released by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) and BBC Radio 4's breakfast "Today Show" a big winner.
Overall listening was stable at an average 22.3 hours a week per listener (up 1% in total hours) by but reach was up slightly on the previous quarter - from 89% to 90% - within which the BBC share of listening rose from 54.9% to 55.7% - its record share is 56.8% for the first quarter of 2008 when commercial radio had a 41.1% share - and commercial radio's share was down from 43.1% to 42.2%.
Digital listening took a reduced share of the total in the quarter compared to the third quarter - down from 18.7% to 18.3% albeit still up from 16.6% for the final quarter of 2007.
Absolute recorded a total weekly audience of 1.887 million with a 4% reach and 1.2% share compared to predecessor Virgin's 2.348 million, 5% and 1.4% in the previous ratings, the last before the rebranding that followed the purchase of the station by a Times of India subsidiary.
At the BBC, Radio 4 added half a million listeners to take it to a total of 9.812 million - up from 9.448 million with an unchanged 19% reach and 12.4% listening share, up from 11.5%: The corporation said the performance was boosted by a strong performance from Today, whose audience was up from 6.11 million in the previous quarter to 6.60 million, its largest audience since the end of 2001.
National figures showed BBC Radio Scotland increasing its audience from 947,000 to 986,00 a week (up from 937,000 a year earlier and with its share up from 8.5% in the previous quarter and a year earlier to 9.1%) and BBC Radio Wales/ Cymru also increased its audience over the year.
The BBC's local and regional stations increased their reach quarter on quarter from 9.296 million to 9.471 million although they were down from 9.818 million year-on-year.
Tim Davie, Director BBC Audio & Music, said of the figures, "This quarter's figures are good news for the radio industry, the BBC and particularly Radio 4. Radio 4 plays a unique role in the country's cultural and news agenda and these results reflect its influential place in British life."
For the commercial sector the RadioCentre industry body commented that commercial listening remained "buoyant with a weekly reach of 31.2 million listeners; a healthy increase on both the year and the last quarter" and noted that local stations had driven the increase whilst national commercial radio reach remained stable (RNW Comment: Looking at the figures this seems a little too much on the side of spin if comparisons are made quarter on quarter when the rise in listeners was 0.1% overall and the share as already noted was down).
RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison added, "These results confirm more people are tuning into Commercial Radio each week and Local Commercial Radio in particular has had a strong quarter. We'd have preferred that, in addition to these increases, we had seen our market share grow overall this quarter but we are optimistic that some of the sector's major rebranding campaigns and marketing initiatives will start taking effect in results this year."
In the London commercial race Bauer's Magic FM held on to overall top reach with 1.99 million listeners a week, up 5.9% quarter-on-quarter and 1.4% year-on-year with a 6% share: It was followed by Global Radio's Heart with 1.79 million, up marginally quarter-on-quarter but down 2.6% year-on-year and with a 5% share.
Third-ranked was Global Radio's Capital FM with 1.62 million, up 2.1% quarter-on-quarter and 7.1% year-on-year and with a 4.8% share.
Capital FM however held on to the commercial breakfast lead with its terming of Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Snowdon - their weekly audience was 981,000, up nearly 40,000 year-on-year, with its Heart FM team of Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott retaining second rank with 868,000, up some 100,000 from the previous quarter but down nearly 50,000 year-on-year. Bauer's Magic FM remained third with Neil Fox increasing his reach by 80,000 on the previous quarter to 813,000, although the year-on-year figure was flat.
Guardian Media Group (GMG) fared well with its Smooth Radio, which took its weekly audience up from 2.773 million to 2.885 million with an unchanged 2.4% share) but Global's Galaxy Network lost audience - down from 3.680 to 3.661 million although its Heart Network was up from 6.857 to 6.944 million.
Bauer did better with its Kiss stations taking their audience up from 3.198 to 3.2221 million and its Magic network up from 3.355 to 3.484 million and it noted that overall its commercial share was up by 4.4% year-on-year to 25.8%
Dee Ford, Group MD Radio, commented, "These are superb RAJAR results. I'd like to say well done to the team at Magic 105.4 (Its London station) - celebrating a full two years at number one and recording a full one percent share between the station and its nearest competitor. Another set of solid performances from our Big City stations demonstrates that our investment in localness strategy is the right approach. We have had great success in our key markets, particularly at Key 103 (Manchester), which recorded a 24% increase in listening. We continue to dominate digital with The Hits and Smash Hits and have seen excellent growth at Heat."
(RNW note: The Big City local stations network was down quarter on quarter, losing 2.1% of its audience although it was up year-on-year by 4.6% to 4.6 million.)
Digital listening as already noted was down quarter on quarter with the top three stations all down but Planet Rock, now owned by Malcolm Bluemel, bucking the trend and taking its audience up and moving from fifth to fourth rank.
Within the figures compared to the first quarter and a year ago:
*BBC Radio 1 lost 295,000 listeners and had a weekly audience of 10,576 million but listening share was up from 9.80% to 10.1% (10.3% a year ago when it had 10.693 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 2 gained 404,000 listeners and had a weekly audience of 13.465 million with listening share down from 16.0% to 15.8% (15.7% a year ago, when it had 12.824 million listeners)
*BBC Radio 3 gained 34,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 1.981 million and listening share up from 1.2% to 1.3% (1.2% a year ago, when it had 1.950 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 4 gained 364,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.812 million and listening share up from 11.50% to 12.4% (11.8% a year ago when it had 9.289 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, gained 163,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.993 million, and a listening share up from 4.6% to 4.8% (4.6% a year ago when it had 6.080 million listeners).
(Including Sports Extra it gained 168,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 6.107 million and a listening share up from 4.8% to 5.0% (4.7% a year ago when it had 6.174 million listeners).
*BBC World Service gained 69,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.431 million and an unchanged listening share of 0.7% (0.6% a year ago when it had 1.183 million listeners).
*BBC Asian Network lost 40,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 379,000 and listening share down from 0.3% to 0.2% (0.3% a year ago when it had 441,000 listeners).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd's (Times of India parent) Absolute Radio - the former Virgin Radio - (total including all AM and FM) - in its first ratings since its rebranding - lost 461,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.887 millionand a listening share down from 1.4% to 1.2% (1.5% a year ago when it had an audience of 2.471 million listeners as Virgin).
RNW Note: SMG in 2008 sold Virgin to Times of India subsidiary TIML Golden Square Ltd and the stations were re-branded, losing the Virgin name.
*Global Radio's Classic FM gained 160,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.702 million and listening share up from 3.8% to 4.0% (4.4% a year ago when it had 5.591 million listeners).
*UTV's talkSPORT gained 202,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.515 million and a listening share down from 1.9% to 1.8% (2.0% a year ago when it had 2.452 million listeners.).
Among digital stations - excluding Bauer's Kerrang! which has a substantial analogue and digital listenership and had a total weekly reach of 1.384 million including its analogue stations (down from 1.398 million quarter on quarter and up from 1.321 million a year ago) but including BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra and Asian Network - the top ten stations in the survey had a weekly audience as below (previous quarter in brackets):
1 The Hits (Bauer) -1.329 million (down from 1.597 million and from 1.362 million a year ago).
2 Smash Hits Radio (Bauer) -922,000 (down from 1.003 million and from 966,000 a year ago).
3 BBC 7 - 850,000 (down from 887,000 and up from 853,000 a year ago).
4 Planet Rock (Now independent, having been sold by GCap) - 680,000 (up from fifth and up from 633,000 and up from 563,000 a year ago when it was owned by GCap Media).
5 BBC Five Live Sports Extra - 663,000 (down a rank and from 776,000 and up from 630,000 a year ago).
6 BBC 6 Music - 619,000 (up from 552,000 and 493,000 a year ago.). Up from seventh.
7. BBC 1Xtra - 533,000 (down from 600,000 and up from 453,000 a year ago). Up from sixth.
8 Heat (Bauer) -465,000 (Up from 458,000 and the 386,000 a year ago).
9 BBC Asian Network -379,000 (down from 419,000 and from 441,000 a year ago).
10 Mojo Radio (Bauer) - 258,000 (Down from 259,000 and up from 221.000) was up from 12th in its last ratings. It was closed by Bauer at the end of November
* Bauer's Q , which was also closed at the end of November had a weekly audience of 245,000 (Down from 330,000 and from 298,000 a year ago) as did Absolute Radio's Classic Rock, the former Virgin Radio Classic Rock ( down from 310,000 in the third quarter and up from 239, 000 a year earlier).
*Newcomer NME Radio in its second ratings lost audience, down from 215,000 to 152,000 listeners a week but Fun Kids - previously Fun Radio, whose target audience is children under 10, under its new owners - Folder Media - has seen its audience almost double since the previous quarter from 19,000 to 37,000 a week and is claiming 83,000 for the 4-plus total.
Its Creative Director Matt Deegan said the main factor for the increase was "the station's refreshed on air sound, which has a more contemporary feel" and added "We have rebranded as Fun Kids so that the station better reflects its product, and our aim is for Fun Kids to be the place for kids and their families to go to be entertained, with our new online experience providing great family information on great days out, information about the programmes, opportunities for parents to join the new Fun Kids club, an email newsletter with information and offers."
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd (Absolute radio ultimate parent):
Previous Global Radio:
Previous Planet Rock:
Previous RAJAR ratings (Q3 2008):
2009-01-29: Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan has cited the benefits of building radio receivers into cell phones with an e-mail to staff of a memo sent to him by Bud Walters, President of the Cromwell Group.
Cromwell has 22 radio stations in the Midwest, which is currently being hit by severe weather and wrote, "Owensboro, Kentucky is now a federal disaster area. There is no local communication except for our radio stations that are on the air, thanks to a very dedicated staff. No Cell, No Telephone, No Long Distance, No Cable, 80 percent No Electric, No communication except Local Radio and Evansville Radio/TV from 30 miles away. If there ever was a case for FM receivers in cell phones, this is it. This is a wide spread disaster where all communication has been disrupted, except for over-the-air radio. Everyone has a cell phone (now useless). The cell phone would not be useless if it had an FM radio in it."
Smulyan in his note adds that radio is "where people turn to when they need information" and adds, "If cell phones had FM receivers, we could have served an even wider audience suffering through this storm, looking for updates on the weather, roads and schools. We'll be sharing this story with our elected officials and with the FCC Commissioners. The conversations we've had to date with Washington D.C. and with cell phone providers have been promising."
Earlier this week the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) had taken up the same issue with a release praising T-Mobile for its announcement of the launch of the Nokia 7510 phone, which has FM built in, on the service.
RNW comment: In as far as radio has the sense to promote the idea rather than call for any mandatory regulation it seems to be very much on the right path here. If, however, the call starts becoming one for compulsion via regulation then surely nobody concerned can honestly talk of believing in the market.
2009-01-28: This week in our look at print comment on radio, we concentrate more on a cultural phenomenon than an industry one - in the shape of Rush Limbaugh whose predictable opposition to President Obama's economic stimulus plans has been to wish him failure - a comment that has gained the host much publicity.
First however to Clear Channel and the "pay cuts" being taken by the Mays brothers Mark and Randall, reported as cuts in most publications we looked at albeit we noted at the time that the base-salary cuts when looked at in the light of the brothers' overall contract period actually ended up as a pay rise although bonuses - what bonuses you might well ask in the current state of the company? - could be significantly reduced (See RNW Jan 22).
Jerry Del Colliano in his Insidemusicmedia blog also did the basic maths noting of the "40% pay cut" -"For one year. Then, they go back to getting a pay raise. Up to USD 1 million per son -- in other words, they make some of the short fall back and emerge from this year of financial sacrifice earning an even higher salary."
He concluded of the deal, "That's called A Marky Mark Mays Pay Cut -- less is more. Go offer that deal to the employees you just fired and see them jump at it This isn't a pay cut -- it's a raise that Marky Mark is calling a pay cut."
His view of the Mays is that the "Mays family has looted the place They have severely damaged the radio industry -- and that will be their legacy."
And of possible other scenarios: "If Susquehanna, Nationwide or Jefferson-Pilot/Lincoln Financial had become the lead consolidator instead of the greedy Mays family, I truly believe radio would have survived to enter the digital age -- not just in the terrestrial radio business -- but as an Internet stream of different content, podcasting, mobile content and all the things necessary to keep the next generation listening albeit using different devices and concepts."
Fred Jacobs in his blog also had some critical words about Clear Channel: He quoted Tom Taylor's "Radio-Info" as reporting that Bain Capital has a preference toward sales people who have been around a long time and noted that although this approach may "translate into a greater likelihood of immediate sales" in the longer term the loss of younger reps may adversely effect business development.
Jacobs asked "And what does it say about radio having any chance of attracting youth to an industry that is increasingly profiling like the newspaper business? " and after citing some of his own experience in the 70's and similar success in a hiring pulling in more from existing accounts but developing no new ones.
"The firing of all those junior AEs" wrote Jacobs "sends a message to advertisers and to the remaining employees in the radio industry. Radio doesn't value youth. It only respects the immediate return on sales efforts. And if you go up and down the Clear Channel layoffs lists as reported in the various trades, they feel young. There are many part-timers, music directors, programming assistants, producers, co-hosts, sidekicks - in short, the youth of an industry that ought to be valuing and hanging onto every Gen Y employee it can."
He concluded, "In all honesty, could any of us counsel a high school or college kid to get into radio? And don't think that we're just going through some tough times now that will turn around when the economy stabilizes. The decisions made now by radio CEOs will resonate for years to come. For those of us fortunate enough to be "in radio" but observe much of this from the sidelines, it is difficult not to question whether radio will be capable of recovering from the long term impact of this flip of the bird to the industry's youth."
On then to another aging radio success - Rush Limbaugh, who has just turned 58 - and who, thanks to an Obama comment made to a group of Republican lawmakers that they "can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."
Limbaugh of course jumped on the remark and parlayed it to his own advantage at least amongst his own audience: He said that he hoped Obama failed because of his political aims (See below) Limbaugh attracted cover in the UK as well as the US, with the former including articles in the UK Guardian (A "Liberal" paper descended from the Manchester Guardian ( the use of the word here is that generally understood in the rest of the world not the US, where the meaning has been totally perverted through political sloganeering to being simply a term of abuse just as the word "fascist" was used as a generic term of abuse in Europe in the 60s to 70s, also perverting its meaning) and the Conservative (in terms of supporting the Conservative Party) Daily Telegraph.
In the latter Catherine Elsworth produced a profile of the host that labelled him "The Most Dangerous Man in America?", noting that the this is one of "many soubriquets listed on the official Rush Limbaugh website" with others including "America's Anchorman; America's Truth Detector; the Doctor of Democracy; the All-Knowing, All-Sensing, All-Everything Maha Rushie; defender of motherhood, protector of fatherhood and an all-around good guy".
After noting the host's success she commented on his opposition to Obama and comments on his show before Obama was elected - "The Obama recession is in full swing, ladies and gentlemen. Stocks are dying, which is a precursor of things to come. This is an Obama recession. Might turn into a depression" - and after his inauguration, "We are being told we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over and grab our ankles... because his father was black, because he's the first black president, we've got to accept this."
In The Guardian, North Carolina based writer, commentator - and Obama supporter - Terry Mancour referred to the clash between Obama and Limbaugh as part of an "inevitable war" and continued, "Dismissed as a mere right-wing blowhard by much of the left, Limbaugh is perhaps the closest thing to a unifying voice in the American conservative movement. His syndicated radio show is on the air for three hours a day Monday through Friday in hundreds of markets: 15 hours a week of solid commentary and opinion with no holds barred. He is the highlight of the rural American lunch hour, and his strong, confident voice can be heard in mechanic's shops, petrol stations and barbershops every day. He is - as he claims - an excellent broadcaster, a shameless and skilful self-promoter and a mover and shaker among the conservative elite."
In his view, one incidentally not universally accepted, "Obama wisely chose him, of all the pundits, to pick a fight with so early in his administration. The sooner he can eliminate Limbaugh as a politically significant force, the closer he will be to enacting reforms. His timing was impeccable - he did it on a Friday, after Rush's show was over for the week, which gave the media cycle time to turn a few rotations before Rush could respond. Obama's attack was swift and direct, using Limbaugh as an example of allowing ideology to substitute for pragmatism in a time of crisis. "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he said during a meeting to encourage Republican lawmakers to support his economic stimulus plan."
Mancour commented on Limbaugh's initial response in a blog and then went on, "With one gentle phrase, Obama neatly put Limbaugh and the remaining Republican congressmen at odds with each other. And it's far from over. Rush will respond with a radio tirade that will delight his listeners but diminish his actual political clout. When a highly popular president calls you out the first week in office, you know you've got a target on your back."
He noted that Clinton attempted to ignore Limbaugh until he couldn't and concluded, "That's traditionally what southern politicians do. Obama is schooled in a different style, though: the rough-and-tumble politics of Chicago. And in that legendary home of Al Capone and other gangsters, it's a widely held belief that you won't be truly accepted in the neighbourhood until you rub someone out, metaphorically speaking. It might be time for Rush to get his."
After American comment in a British paper to the US but not a report but a comment in response to it that seems to sum up the level of much political discourse in the US: It was one of many responding to a blog by CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand on its politicalticker blog.
"Rush Limbaugh: Largest talk show audience with 20 million listeners and growing!! How do you Libs explain that???"
"20 million, bigoted, backward- thinking, small-minded, not all that bright conservative listeners. That's how!"
For the rest read the comments.
On then to our listening suggestions where we first in view of the Obama inauguration suggest this week's "UK Black" from the BBC's podcasts - almost inevitably it concentrated on the inauguration - and sticking with Monday and politics "Start the Week" from BBC Radio 4, a discussion on "Terrorism, Fascism, and the Crusades."
Sticking with politics and links with the change at the White House we suggest from Radio Netherlands last Thursday's "Earthbeat" that considered how the new President's energy plans may affect the rest of the world; last Friday's "Bridges with Africa" considering what his presidency may mean to the continent; Saturday's "The State We're In" that looked amongst other things at the implications of one of ex-President George Bush's last acts, allowing US medical care givers to refuse treatment that goes against their job- it included an interview with a pharmacist who lost her job after she refused to sell the morning after pill. It also reported on a Dutch café that has turned itself into the "smokers' church" to gain exemption from a ban on smoking in cafes.
Next to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and first from last Friday's "Book Show" a discussion on what works of writers should be held in archives. It was spurred by the Harvard University's purchase of Norman Mailer's personal papers from his long-time mistress Carole Mallory but it seemed to us that some of the issues have wider echoes such as what material should be in US Presidential archives.
Back to more direct consideration of US politics and Tuesday's "Late Night Live" in which Bruce Shapiro talked about President Obama's inauguration: The programme also discussed divisions within the Arab World concerning Hamas whilst Monday's show featured a discussion about the world's worst maritime disaster the sinking by a Soviet submarine of the German cruise liner the Wilhelm Gustloff on January 30, 1945, in which up to 10,000 died, mostly refugees and mostly children fleeing the advancing Red Army, in a little-known episode of history.
Then on to an issue from Queensland but with far wider implications, the introduction of a law to stop the fire-sales of repossessed houses. "The Law Report" on Tuesday considered how and whether it will work.
We'd also note as a last suggestion from the ABC that the "Ockham's Razor" site until next Saturday has all three programmes on the life of Dr Joseph Needham, a series we have previously recommended.
Then back to the BBC and from BBC Radio 2 we suggest Monday and the continuing "Viva Latino!" series - now at the fourth of 13 programmes and "Hitsville USA: 50 Years of Heart and Soul" now in the fourth of six programmes on Motown, this week on "My Girls: The Ladies of Motown."
Then from Tuesday we opt for "I Hope We Passed The Audition" - a look at how the Beatles last public performance - their 1969 rooftop concert in London came about and "Stubborn Kind of Fella: Remembering Marvin Gaye", the fourth of six programmes.
From Wednesday we suggest this week's Mike Harding that featured Irish singer Cara Dillon; then Friday and the fourth of the five-part "Gene Krupa" series and from Saturday "Crying, Waiting, Hoping: The Story of Buddy Holly's Last Tour."
Moving to BBC Radio 3, of the classical output we suggest Thursday and Friday with "Composers of the Year" - two programmes on Handel's Operas and for Opera Saturday and Verdi's Rigoletto "Live from the Met."
Of its jazz output we opt for another performance from the 2008 London Jazz Festival in Monday's "Jazz on 3" and next Saturday's "Jazz Library" featuring Benny Golson plus next Sunday's "Jazz Line-Up" (More from the London Jazz Festival, this time trumpeter Roy Hargrove in concert) and then suggest the regular "Essay" - this week the theme is "Naturalists: Animals and Human Nature"; Speech with "Night Waves" from Monday (with Christopher Frayling, outgoing chair of Arts Council England) and Tuesday (Tariq Ramadan, one of Europe's leading Muslim thinkers); Friday and "The Verb", looking at Alaska's writing scene and "World on 3" - from Glasgow's Celtic Connections festival; and Saturday with "The Wire" - this week the drama is "The Number of the Dead" in which a newscaster faces a crisis when his son holds up a bank at gunpoint plus Sunday's "Drama on 3" - "The Deep Blue Sea" and the following "Sunday Feature" - "Killing the King" in which Justin Champion considers new research about the trial and execution of Charles I.
Sticking with drama we suggest last week's "World Drama" from BBC World Service - an adaptation by Steve Chambers of James Ellroy's "My Dark Places" - his non-fictional account of the murder of his mother when he was ten and his later attempts to find out who killed her and from BBC Radio 4 next weekend's "Saturday Play" "Master Class" in which Joseph Stalin invites Prokofiev and Shostakovich to the Kremlin for a music lesson.
Also linked to drama later that day "The Archive on 4" -"Pinter on Air" looking at the role that broadcast dramas played in making Pinter's name and the "Woman's Hour Drama" that this week is "The Child in Time, Stolen" and examines the effect of their daughter's disappearance on a couple.
Also from the regular BBC Radio 4 output we note this week's "Book of the Week" - "The Tall Man" by Chloe Hooper which is based on the trial and its repercussions after the 2004 death in a police cell of Cameron Doomadgee, 45 minutes after his arrest for swearing at a white police officer.
We'd also suggest the "Book at Bedtime" if only for its glorious title - "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" in which writer and columnist Juliet Ashton's passion for reading leads to a correspondence with the members of a Guernsey book club who were sustained throughout the German occupation by the books they read and the friendships they formed - and "The Afternoon Reading" - now Tuesday to Thursday and this week featuring three short stories by women writers.
On to business in various forms and we opt for a digression to begin with in the shape of Monday's "Food Programme" that looked on hw UK animal welfare regulations have been a factor in allowing the import of cheaper pork from continental Europe to severely hit the domestic industry; "The Tiger Takes Guard" from Tuesday, the first of two programmes on how the Indian Premier League is poised to change the face of cricket and "Costing the Earth. Energy Use High" that looks at the UK government's school building programme including "green" initiatives that have been less than successful; Wednesday's "Unreliable Evidence" on "Banks and the Law", which included some fairly convincing arguments that international accords (the Basel rules on regulating capital) had forced British Banks into lending more compared to their capital base than US regulations allowed - (or indeed those of Spain that took rather less notice of the rules); the following "The Few" in which in the first of two programmes Andrew Keen looks at the elites of the digital age; and Thursday's "In Business" (Also with World Business available as a podcast/download) in which Peter Day considers what can be learned from Japan's experience of economic depression.
Of other Radio 4 programming we suggest Tuesday's " M Is for Maxwell Knight", the story of Maxwell Knight, famous as a BBC naturalist, but also the model for M in the James Bond novels; Wednesday's "The Most Godless Town in Britain" in which Jolyon Jenkins follows the work of a missionary sent by the Church of England to 'redeem' the residents of Telford; Friday's "News Quiz"; Saturday and "And The Academy Award Goes To ...Series 2, The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II" plus "Poetry Please " from last Sunday marking the 250th Anniversary of Robert Burns' birth and next Sunday's "Classic Serial", the first of a two-part "The Invasion - Arab Chronicles of the First Crusade."
InsideMusicMedia - Del Colliano:
Fred Jacobs' blog:
UK Guardian - Mancour:
UK Telegraph - Elsworth:
2009-01-28: Entertainment Network India Ltd (ENIL), operator of 31 Radio Mirchi stations and out-of-home media brand Times OOH has reported a small year-on-year fall in its revenues in the third quarter to the end of December although they are still up on the first nine months of its fiscal year.
In the quarter the company, whose ultimate parent is Bennett, Coleman and Co Ltd., saw revenues down 0.25% to INR 1.1 billion (INR 1.103 crores ( a crore is 10 million) - USD 22.6 million) compared to a 12.7% increase to INR 3.27 billion ( INR 327.3 crores -USD 67.1 million) for the first nine months. Radio Mirchi revenues were down 11.5% in the quarter to INR 599.8 million (USD 12.3 million).
Overall ENIL went from a profit of INR 41.8 million (USD 857,000) in the quarter a year ago to a loss of INR 106.7 million (USD 2.19 million) whilst Radio Mirchi profit was down from INR 80.54 million - USD 1.65 million) a year ago to INR 48.6 million (USD 996,000).
ENIL managing director AP Parigi said of the results in a release, "The general economic slowdown has hurt advertisement revenues. Our emphasis currently is on enhancing market share, innovation, productivity increases and cost optimisation."
Radio Mirchi CEO Prashant Panday added, "It has been a trying quarter. Client advertising spends have been under pressure. In this environment, Mirchi has outperformed its competitors - our market share has grown by 1%. We expect this to continue, even as the market itself contracts. ENIL's competitive position will continue to strengthen going forward, as it gains further ground over competitors, in listenership as well as brand recognition. With efforts to rationalize costs already initiated, we expect to protect margins going forward. We are also confident that as the market improves, ENIL is best placed to take advantage of the growth."
Times OOH managing director Sunder Hemrajani said of his division, "During the quarter, the impact of the economic downturn on 'Out Of Home Media' sector was quite severe. In the challenging media environment, the company was able to grow marginally in Q3 vs Q2 through addition of new business in IT/ITES, Hospitality and Infrastructure sectors. This compensated for the loss of revenue in aviation, real estate and financial services sectors. Overall, nine month period to December, the revenue was up 29 per cent over the corresponding period
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
Previous Indian Radio:
2009-01-28: In a move that presumably delights the host, the US Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is currently heading its site with a call under the heading "RUSH TO JUDGMENT. EXPRESS YOUR OUTRAGE ABOUT RUSH'S COMMENTS" for signatories to a petition against comments made by Rush Limbaugh last week in which he said he hopes that President Obama will fail.
The site links to a You Tube clip of Limbaugh commenting, "If I wanted Obama to succeed I'd be happy the Republicans had laid down. I don't want this to work. So I'm thinking of replying to the guy but I don't need 400 words. I need four. 'I hope he fails.'"
Underneath the link the DCCC site continues, "Last week, Rush Limbaugh actually said that he 'hopes' President Obama fails to meet America's challenges.
"Jobs, health care, our place in the world - the stakes for our nation are high and every American needs President Obama to succeed.
"Stand strong against Rush Limbaugh's Attacks - sign our petition, telling Rush what you think of his attacks on President Obama. We'll send Limbaugh your comments.
The site also carries a blog "Stand Strong Against Rush Limbaugh" that includes a message to supporters by DCCC Executive Director Brian Wolff that says, "Last week, Rush Limbaugh gave us a preview of the outrageous Republican attacks that are on the way against President Obama and every Democrat working for change. Rush actually said that he 'hopes' President Obama fails to meet America's challenges.
"Limbaugh's cheap shot at President Obama might be the first by the Republican attack machine this year but we know that it won't be the last.
"We need every grassroots Democrat to show Rush Limbaugh and all of the Republicans what they're up against if they start attacking President Obama and Democrats who are working to end the failed GOP policies of the last eight years.
Below are a number of posts, unsurprisingly mainly hostile to the host in varying degrees - some attacking him - One says "feel your hateful remarks make you a complete idiot . . . President doesn't do well (he will do well) it can affect all of us, stupid" whilst another gives a transcript as posted on Limbaugh's website that differs from the "(edited) audio recording on the link.
This reads, "If I wanted Obama to succeed, I'd be happy the Republicans have laid down. And I would be encouraging Republicans to lay down and support him. Look, what he's talking about is the absorption of as much of the private sector by the US government as possible, from the banking business, to the mortgage industry, the automobile business, to health care. I do not want the government in charge of all of these things. I don't want this to work. So I'm thinking of replying to the guy, "Okay, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails" and the writer says of the editing, "It's somewhat discouraging to me that a fellow Democrat would think that in order to discredit a smear merchant like Limbaugh, we would have to resort to similar tactics. Doctoring his message plays right into the Republicans' hands.
A third comments, "How many times have Democrats obstructed President Bush's attempt to fix Social Security, and opposed (and are now dismantling) his policies that kept us safe from terror attacks? How many times have liberals wished for more troop and civilian casualties in Iraq so they could boast about our losing the war? How many times have they called for President Bush's imprisonment and/or death?
"And now because Rush Limbaugh told the truth; that he hoped Obama fails because success means America fails, Democrats are not only up in arms, but have their hands out as well.
Limbaugh on his site when we checked today led off with Rush Responds to Democrat E-mail Petition Against Him: "I am greatly puzzled. Why would the Democrats petition against me if I am doing such terrible damage to the GOP? " underneath which is a second paragraph "Reverse Petition: Click here to tell the DCCC and all other Democrats it is time to stop lying about and distorting Rush's comments on Barack Obama's War on Prosperity."
This links to the contact us page of the DCCC web site.
RNW comment: From across an ocean we rather think that failure for Obama will mean much pain for many, not just in America, albeit we are not convinced that the US or any other country has come up with any plan that can be guaranteed much success in dealing with the current economic crisis.
Regarding the audio, a fuller (4 minutes 20 secs) version is on Youtube here - including an introduction that mentions a request from a publication for 400 words - hence the 400 words mention - and continues on to say "Liberalism is our problem, Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here."
The longer version is a reasonable polemic for a blinkered bigot: As a reasoned opposition making specific points for debate in a complex situation our view is it is unworthy of serious consideration, which is regrettable because there is room for a constructive reasoned debate. We'd also suggest a dip into another YouTube video - of Limbaugh with Ann Coulter - to gain an idea of the nature of the duo.
DCCC blog (carries link to petition page):
Limbaugh web site:
2009-01-28: The UK latest radio ratings for the final quarter of 2008 are to be released tomorrow and are expected to show a fall for the former Virgin Radio, now re-branded Absolute Radio by new owners, a subsidiary of the Times of India, which in turn is owned by Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.
Despite a marketing campaign, the station says a significant part of its audience still think they are listening to a Virgin station after approaching four months under the new name - Absolute launched on Sep 29 (See RNW Sep 29, 2008), a significant factor as UK radio ratings body RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) is still using diaries where recall of the name is important.
Virgin Radio had been losing audience and listening share before the takeover: in the third quarter ratings it lost 52,000 listeners compared to the previous quarter to end up with a weekly audience of 2.348 million and unchanged listening share of 1.4% (1.5% a year ago when it had an audience of 2.472 million listeners).
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
2009-01-27: The BBC has appointed former BBC Radio Five Live controller Bob Shennan as Controller, BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music: He will take up his post next month and succeeds Lesley Douglas who resigned (See RNW Oct 30) in the wake of the row over crude comments by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross concerning actor Jonathan Sachs' granddaughter that were broadcast on the Russell Brand Show on Radio 2.
Shennan left the BBC Radio Five post last year after being appointed as Channel 4's Director of Radio (See RNW Dec 4, 2007) and led development of three digital stations - E4 Radio, 4Music Radio and Channel 4 Radio - that were dropped when the station decided to drop its digital radio plans (See RNW Oct 10, 2008).
Shennan will report to BBC Director of Audio & Music Tim Davie who in a news release commented, "Bob is an outstanding leader with extensive radio experience and a proven track record in station management. Bob's energy, enthusiasm and passion for Radio 2 will ensure that the station remains creative and vibrant, and continues to offer unique programmes to the widest possible audience."
Shennan, who lacks experience of music radio, commented of his appointment, "Radio 2 is the cornerstone of UK Radio. 6 Music is at the forefront of digital radio. It is a privilege to be asked to lead the extraordinary creative forces of both stations."
2009-01-27: Roy Laughlin, who in August was appointed Los Angeles Senior VP and Market Manager for CBS Radio (See RNW Aug 14, 2008), has left the company.
No reason was given for his departure but CBS Radio President Dan Mason said in an e-mail that he had "brought much to the table in the few short months he has been with us and many of his ideas and strategies will benefit us long into the future."
Laughlin, a former co-market manager of Clear Channel, Los Angeles, and a co-founder of GAP Broadcasting, was a partner in Magic Broadcasting before he moved to the CBS post.
Don Weiner, who in November became co-Market manager, will take over Laughlin's duties.
2009-01-27: Toronto radio veteran Tayler Parnaby and news personality Richard Syrett are among six long-time news staffers who have been dumped by Astral Media's CFRB-AM (NewsTalk 1010) as part of its nationwide cull of 23 posts announced earlier this month (See RNW Jan 26).
The station is Toronto's oldest broadcaster and was founded in 1927 by the Rogers Vacuum Tube Company (the precursor of Rogers Communications) to promote Edward S. Rogers, Sr.'s invention of a radio receiver without batteries that could be operated using alternating current - the call sign stands for "Canada's First Rogers Batteryless." Rogers Majestic Corporation Limited was sold on Rogers Sr's death and in 1941 became Standard Radio, which was taken over by Astral in 2007 (See RNW Nov 1, 2007).
The Toronto Star named the other four posts lost as being held by veteran CFRB news producers/writers David Bent, Jane Brown, Bill McDonald and John Elston and quoted Steven Kowch as saying none would be replaced.
He added, "Only one show, the Richard Syrett Show, has been cancelled, and that's because after two years it is not performing the way it should."This sort of thing happens in radio all the time."
Kowch said that Parnaby had been semi-retired for the past 18 months and added, "He made the decision to retire for good this past weekend. He asked for two things: for (news director and Toronto at Noon host) Dave Trafford to do the newscast (announcing his retirement), and for no fuss to be made on air about his decision to step away."
Parnaby, who is 67, told the paper, "It's been a hell of a ride. I've been part of the Toronto soundtrack, I guess, since 1964."
Parnaby began his broadcasting career in 1955 at CFOR-AM in Orillia, Ontario, and was also news director at a number of stations, Ottawa Bureau Chief and President of Newsradio Limited and President of the now-defunct CKO chain of news radio stations that ran from 1977 to 1989 amd was owned by Canada All News Radio Limited.
Toronto Star report:
*RNW Note: The Canadian Communications Foundation website - follow this link - has audio of Parnaby commenting on the benefits of the introduction of the portable tape recorder.
2009-01-27: Entercom has revealed in an 8K filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it is instituting a corporate pay freeze to include its executive officers.
The filing notes that to allow this President and CEO David J. Field; Executive Vice President - Operations & Chief Financial Officer Stephen F. Fisher; and Executive Vice President & General Counsel John C. Donlevie have all entered into an agreement to waive the 2009 salary increases in their contracts.
Entercom SEC filing:
2009-01-27: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin again upholds no radio complaints but has levied sanctions in relation to TV, in this case of a total of GBP 220, 000 (USD 308,000) ITV for failure to meet a licence condition requiring that each of the 11 regional licensees allocated at least half of their expenditure on networked programming to production outside the M25 area: It also imposed penalties of GBP 5,000 (USD 7,000) on Channel Television; STV Central Ltd, STV North Ltd. and UTV Ltd for the same reason.
In addition it found breaches of standards relating to a further three TV programmes and also gave details of a radio standards complaint that was not upheld: This involved Galaxy Birmingham and the transmission of the track "Arab Money " by the rap artist, Busta Rhymes that included the repeated recitation of a segment from the Qur'an.
The transmission led to 229 complaints - Ofcom noted evidence that some "were part of an orchestrated campaign" - that inclusion of the Qur'anic verses was offensive and blasphemous.
Galaxy parent Global Radio expressed its sincere apologies for any offence caused by the broadcasting of the track. Global said the track in question was a remix of a commercially released track by Rhymes and that the original track had contained "Arabic-sounding lines that were in fact nonsense when transcribed", but the remix had substituted the opening verses of the Qur'an for these nonsense words.
It added that the production team for the programme had received the remix from a producer from whom they had often received tracks prior to their commercial release; that it had already played the original track on a number of occasions, and the production team were unaware of the differences between the Original Track and the Remix. The team, it said, took account of: the reliability of the source for the remix; the fact that, according to Global, the remix had been played on both BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 1Xtra; and the fact that the production team knew Busta Rhymes was a Muslim.
It also noted that immediately following the broadcast of the Remix, the presenter, Steve Sutherland, said on air that he had received mixed feedback from listeners about the track just played, including the fact that the Remix contained verses from the Qur'an and that he would not play the track again.
Global also said that it Global said that the station had broadcast an on-air apology nine times; that it had contacted the Muslim Council of Britain to seek advice on this matter; and had suspended the presenter and producer pending an internal investigation; and put in place measures to ensure that no presenter on the Galaxy Network would play tracks in future, without a full understanding of the content.
Ofcom in ruling that there had been no breach said its codes do not make judgments as to whether content might be blasphemous in the eyes of followers of particular religions and in this case it felt that the broadcast did not constitute a breach of the obligation to apply generally accepted standards.
RNW comment: In this case in as far as there was any injustice it seems to us to comprise the suspensions not the broadcast. The presenter once aware of offence seems to have taken reasonable action and the broadcaster apologized fairly profusely. We wonder whether it would have done the same had offence been caused to members of a group considered a "loony fringe". We ask the question since there is no logical way to prove the "truths" or defend some of the tenets of major religions that cannot be applied to the other groups.
We would also note that as we write this we have on the radio a Cuban band and do not understand the lyrics of the song being sung and the logic of the complaints in this case would be that all material in a language other than that in which a host is fluent would have to be pre-vetted by those fluent both in the language and the politics and mores of an area before any broadcast. This would in our view seriously narrow the range of material that could be played as well as leading to conflicts of opinion. We would consider this far more obnoxious than the very occasional offence to the sensibilities of members of any religion although we accept as a corollary that if offence is caused unwittingly an apology may well be reasonable, albeit it should in no way be required by a regulator.
In addition to the above Ofcom also listed without details 272 TV complaints against 158 items and 16 radio complaints against 16 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compared to 176 TV complaints against 114 items and 30 radio complaints against 30 items that were listed in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2009-01-26: Arbitron has announced that it has reached settlements with IPSOS and The Media Audit over a patent infringement lawsuit that it filed in Texas in October 2006: The lawsuit alleged that the two companies had infringed three patents relating to its Portable People Meter (PPM) and Arbitron says that it has reached separate agreements with International Demographics, Inc. (d/b/a The Media Audit); with IPSOS, S.A., IPSOS America, Inc., and IPSOS UK, Ltd.
The Media Audit, says Arbitron, had acknowledged in October last year that the patents were valid and enforceable and that until they expired it would not become involved in activities that potentially infringed the patents, including those related to the Smart Cell Phone" developed by IPSOS, and was previously marketed by The Media Audit in the United States.
Ipsos it adds agreed this month a settlement that effectively dismissed Arbitron's patent infringement lawsuit without prejudice against Ipsos, which had agreed to suspend any efforts to commercialize, market, or test any portable electronics measurement system for any form of media until at least Jan 13, 2012.
Previous Media Audit:
2009-01-26: The McAllen Monitor is reporting that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched an investigation into payola allegations involving a number of Spanish-language radio stations serving the Rio Grande area but has not released any details of the "extent and exact nature" of its investigation.
The paper quotes Entravision, owner of KNVO-FM, Jose, and KKPS-FM, Que Pasa, as saying it is "one of a number of broadcasters who have received letters from the FCC on this matter" and adding that it is "looking into the matter and will respond and cooperate with the FCC as appropriate."
It adds that Univision Radio, which owns KGBT-FM, KTBQ-FM (Recuerdo), and KGBT-AM (La Tremenda) declined comment on whether they had received inquiry letters.
The paper notes that the FCC last year launched an investigation into accusations that one of the top Latin labels in the country routinely paid stations and deejays to feature its artists on the air, an investigation that followed allegations in a November 2006 lawsuit filed by former Fonovisa Records executive Daniel Mireles.
Mireles settled out of court his claim that he was fired after refusing to negotiate payments in exchange for airplay but that according to broadcast law attorney Frank Montero, who is representing stations who have received FCC letters of inquiry regarding the Mireles suit, the list of stations to which he purportedly arranged payments, the list somehow made its way to the FCC.
McAllen Monitor report:
2009-01-26: UK DAB digital radio sales remained strong over the Christmas period with more than half a million receivers sold in December according to the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB): In all 8.53 million DAB receivers have now been sold in the UK with 2008 sales up 3% year-on-year compared to a 7% fall in sales of analogue receivers and a 5% fall in the overall consumer electronics market. Despite the positive gloss put on the figures, the December sales were down on a year ago - 510,000 compared to 550,000 - and the full year total of 2.08 million compared with a forecast a year ago of 2.6 million sales (See RNW Jan 23, 2008).
Top sellers according to GfK were DAB clock radios with docking stations, kitchen radios and an in-car DAB adapter.
DRDB Chief Executive, Tony Moretta said the sales could have been higher, commenting, "Manufacturers tell us sales of DAB radios this Christmas were held back by a lack of stock in some outlets. Where stock was available, DAB radios sold well and some manufacturers have told us they were working 'flat out' until Christmas Eve to supply product."
"Consumer confidence in DAB," he continued, "remains high and it is important that retailers and manufacturers do not lose sight. At a time when other consumer electronics products are suffering declining volumes and value, DAB radio is holding its market position and growing its share versus analogue devices."
DAB is also progressing well elsewhere according to PURE, which says it tripled overseas sales in 2008 and is on track to expand its international business further this year. Hossein Yassaie, Chief Executive of PURE's parent, Imagination Technologies, commented in a release, "Our strong overseas growth is further evidence that DAB digital radio is gaining traction worldwide, and that the transition to digital radio is inevitable"
PURE specifically note that it expects a boost from the launch of DAB+ services in Australia from May and the expected rollout of digital radio services in Germany and France.
In other DAB developments Frontier Silicon has announced the launch of what it terms "Touch Radio", which when fully launched will it says allow users to among other things access a media-rich electronic program guide; view a slideshow depicting station ID and imagery; tag and store information on featured products via interactive advertising; tag and store information on favourite music tracks for purchase and watch real-time traffic information and receive updates on public transport.
Previous Frontier Silicon:
2009-01-26: Despite what it termed a "solid first quarter" (See RNW Jan 15), Astral Media has wasted little time in cutting its radio staff. It has announced a reorganization of some of its English-language radio operations in markets across Canada that it says "has resulted in the departure of 23 employees at all levels of the organization."
In a release Astral said most of the positions would not be replaced and continued, "Astral Media wishes to sincerely thank these employees for their contribution and wishes them the best of luck for the future. The Company is confident that this reorganization will allow the Radio Group to continue to enhance its competitive position, and to remain the most important radio reference in Canada."
The changes follow Astral's integration of Standard Radio, which it bought in 2007 for CAD 1.08 billion - then USD 950 million (See RNW Nov 1, 2007), an acquisition that took its radio holdings up to 82 stations and made it the largest radio operator in Canada.
2009-01-25: Last week was more notable for a change of helmsman at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) where Democrat Michael J. Copps has been named as acting chairman following the departure of his Republican Predecessor Kevin J. Martin than for regulatory decisions.
There were no radio announcements from Australia or Ireland yet again and only a few from Canada where the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted both decisions and public notices regarding the following radio applications (In order of province):
*Posted notice related to Public Hearing to be held on Feb 17 in Gatineau, Quebec, that it had previously said would consider issued related to Canadian broadcasting in new media and that had included consideration of whether there is a special role for community broadcasters in the environment for broadcasting in new media: The Commission says it now considers the issues relating to this would be better addressed in its upcoming review of community programming and thus will not be considered in this hearing.
*Posted public notice, with a deadline for interventions or comments of Feb 24, relating to application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to use a subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) channel to broadcast multi-cultural programs in Fijian Hindi along with English programs for Canadian-born Fijians on the frequency of CBUF-FM, Vancouver.
*Posted public notice, with a deadline for interventions or comments of Feb 24, relating to application by Manitoulin Radio Communication Inc. to increase the power of its English-language type B community radio station CFRM-FM, Little Current, from 1,830 watts to 27,500 watts and to decrease the antenna height.
Prince Edward Island:
*Approval of applications by Newcap Inc. to add a 990 watts transmitter in Elmira and a 1,600 watts transmitter in St Edward to carry the programming of CHTN-FM, Charlottetown.
Approval of applications by Newcap Inc. to add a 990 watts transmitter in Elmira and a 1,600 watts transmitter in St Edward to carry the programming of CKQK-FM, Charlottetown.
*Approval of application by Radio Ville-Marie, licensee of CIRA-FM Montréal, for authority to use a subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) channel to broadcast a predominantly Spanish-language radio service, Radio Latina, which is to be operated by G&Q Productions Inc., and will produce 90% of its programming locally in order to target the large Spanish-speaking community in Montréal.
In the UK, Ofcom did not post any specific radio announcements but it did publish its public service broadcasting (PSB) blueprint for the next decade. This was concerned primarily with TV and recommendations included the rejection of top-slicing of the BBC licence fee funding to provide finance for other public broadcasters, although it did suggest consideration of funding of content for children and for programmes other than news for the devolved nations, if other recommendations do not sufficiently meet viewers' needs and if resources can be found.
In the US, where Martin Luther King Day and the inauguration of President Obama took two days out of the week for the Federal Communication Commission (CC), postings by the agency included one from former Kevin J. Martin attacking a report critical of him (See RNW Jan 23) and an announcement that until a permanent replacement is appointed, Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps will become acting chairman (See RNW Jan 23).
In other postings the FCC Enforcement Bureau's actions have including the levying of penalties of USD 9,000 and USD 7,200 on radio stations.
The higher penalty was issued to World Overcomers Outreach Ministries, licensee of WRLM-AM, Millington, Tennessee, for failure to properly maintain a public file. World Overcomers had received a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for this amount and requested cancellation on the basis that it no longer owns any stations and that the amount was higher than that imposed on other licensees for more serious breaches.
The FCC pointed out that the files were incomplete for more than five years and that licensees were responsible for actions during their stewardship and confirmed the full penalty.
The Christian Center, Inc., licensee of KJRF-FM, Lawton, Oklahoma, was also fined for public file offences. It too had been issued with a USD 9,000 NAL but argued for reduction on the basis of a history of compliance and the FCC agreed to trim the penalty.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-01-24: Macquarie Radio Network (MRN) CEO Angela Clark, who is expecting her second child, is to step down from her post on February 6, although she will remain a consultant to the group: The network says it plans to leave the post vacant indefinitely, a move that will leave it with no executives represented on its board.
MRN chairman Russell Tate, who has long been the right-hand man for John Singleton, who controls the company, told the Australian that he was not concerned about this but was more interested in having "the right group of people who know what has to be achieved", a group the paper notes as including chief operating officer Stuart Thomas and chief financial officer Rob Lowenthal.
He added that management was well aware of the challenges ahead, saying, "The board and senior management have formed, with Angela's input, a pretty clear view of what needs to be done over the next six months or so." MRN is expecting operating income for the six months to the end of 2008 to be down 10-15% on a year earlier. The Sydney market, where MRN's 2GB leads the ratings, has been the worst performer in Australia in recent figures (See RNW Jan 16)
Clark, who was paid AUD 904,000 (currently USD 595,000) in 2007-8 has been in her post for almost five years - her contract runs out in June: She commented that MRN was "business that requires daily attention and involvement from the people in it" and added that MRN was now rolling out the second phase of a review that was revealed in November.
This she said had become "even more relevant" in the current economic climate. Action already taken has related mainly to trimming web site costs and Clark added, "We are now looking at improving efficiencies and cost savings in the radio business."
The Australian report:
2009-01-24: Global Radio which earlier this month switched nine more stations to its Heart format (See RNW Jan 5) has now announced that a further 12 stations are to become part of the Heart network from March 23.
The stations to be switched are GWR stations in Wiltshire, Bristol and Bath; Torbay and Exeter station Gemini FM; Plymouth Sound; Orchard FM, Somerset; Lantern FM, serving Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and Bideford, Devon; South Hams Radio serving South Hams in Devon; Fox FM, Oxfordshire; Severn Sound, Gloucestershire; and 2-Ten FM, Berkshire and North Hampshire.
Previous Global Radio:
2009-01-23: The political battle over the potential introduction of performance royalties for US terrestrial radio stations has taken a move forward with a letter to House members from Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (Michigan Democrat), Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman (California Democrat), Rep. Darrell Issa (California Republican), and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee Republican) urging their fellow members not to support an anticipated resolution supported by the broadcasters that would prohibit the introduction.
In their letter they say, "In the coming days, you will likely be presented with a resolution supported by radio broadcasters, which advocates protections for the radio industry but in effect denies performers payment for their work. While the resolution will be framed in terms of preventing a 'tax,' 'fee,' or 'burden' on local radio stations, in reality, the only payment broadcasters would be required to make would be for the use of someone else's property."
They go on to ask fellow members to consider supporting the Performance Rights Act, to be re-introduced in this Congress and that they say "presents a fair and balanced approach that does not affect establishments and venues, provides major accommodations for small broadcast stations (75% of all stations) to protect against hardship, and provides outright exemptions for religious and talk radio. It will not tax or burden broadcasters, but rather will establish balance between those who create music and those who play it for the health and future of both industries."
Radio stations have been exempt from performance royalty charges on the basis of the promotional value of airplay but the latter says the bill accounts for these in the rate that will be set and describes the exemption as "an accidental and unjustified subsidy, which amounts to government-sanctioned unfair competition."
The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has opposed performance royalties, stressing in its comments the foreign ownership of the major labels and saying the introduction of such charges could cost up o USD 7 billion a year. It said any such introduction would be a "government-imposed bailout of foreign record labels" at a time when the business if facing the worst advertising economy for decades and has fired thousands of people (Well no it didn't use the word fired but that's the usual NAB devotion to spin rather than truth).
2009-01-23: The BBC has now finished interviewing candidates for the post of Controller BBC 2, to replace Lesley Douglas who resigned in the aftermath of the row about crude remarks broadcast on the Russell Brand show (See RNW Oct 30, 2008), and the UK Guardian says the corporation is expected to name the new controller on Monday.
Leading candidates, according to the paper are former BBC Radio 1 controller Matthew Bannister, and the current acting head of the station Lewis Carnie but it adds that Bauer Radio's managing director of national brands Mark Story is still thought to be in the running.
The BBC refused to comment about the speculation.
UK Guardian report:
2009-01-23: Northeast Indiana Public Radio has put its three classical music stations - WBNI 94.1, WCKZ 91.3 and W204BF 88.7- up for sale blaming the effects of "the weak economy." It would retain its NPR News and jazz output on WBOI-FM
In a letter to its members NIPR says, "You likely have already heard of program cuts being made nation-wide, and we have had to make some adjustments to our programming to accommodate these changes. These lean times require us to look carefully at our resources and determine if we are using them in the best way for the long-term strength and success of NIPR."
Against that background it goes on, its board has put the frequencies up for sale but plans to continue broadcasting on them as normal until any deal is finalized.
Regarding the format it says, "This decision was not an easy one to make as NIPR was built on classical music. While we are eliminating our analogue channels, we remain committed to classical music and will continue providing classical programming on WBOI 89.1 FM HD-2 and www.nipr.fm" and adds that "even with a stronger signal on 94.1, our analogue stations are unable to provide the fidelity needed for the deep complexities of classical music. While the signals work well for other formats, classical music needs a crystal clear signal to be truly appreciated."
Purchasing the 94.1 signal says the letter had not provided the boost to listenership that had been hoped.
The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel reports that should the sale not eventuate, NIPR will face USD 220,000 a year in higher payments on the cost of the 94.1 signal, which was bought from Summit City Radio Group for USD 1.75 million: The station had previously been rock format WCKZ-FM.
The purchase gave NIPR a potential audience of around 450,000 - it had previously been limited by the power of the signals - 94.1 is 6,000 watts compared to 10 watts for 88.7.which serves Fort Wayne, and the 2,000 watts Orland station 91.3 FM that serves Steuben County
The paper quoted Joan Baumgartner Brown, NIPR's president and general manager as saying that currently it is paying only interest on the purchase but from this summer will have to pay USD 55,000 principal payments in addition, taking total payments to around USD 350,000 a year.
The additional costs, she said, could be a budget-breaking burden for NIPR, whose total budget is around USD 1.3 million a year.
2009-01-23: US President Barack Obama has named Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps as Acting Federal Communications Commission )FCC) Chairman until a permanent replacement is named for former chairman Kevin J. Martin, a Republican.
Copps said he was "honoured" by the appointment and said he had a "truly gifted and terrific team to work with."
Republican Commissioner Robert M. McDowell said in a statement, "I am pleased that President Obama has announced that my friend and colleague, Mike Copps, will serve as acting chairman of the Commission. I appreciate the sacrifices Beth, Mike and the Copps family have made during his distinguished public service career. I look forward to continuing to work with him at this unique time" and Copps' fellow Democrat Jonathan Adelstein added, "I am thrilled to congratulate my good friend and trusted colleague, Michael Copps, on his designation as Acting Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission."
He continued, "The FCC will benefit from his leadership, experience, and abiding commitment to the public interest. He understands that public service is a sacred trust with the American people, and he has repeatedly demonstrated his sterling character, willingness to build consensus, and deep commitment to serve all Americans. During our six years on the Commission, he has consistently worked to ensure that consumers reap the benefits of a responsive and diverse media, robust and ubiquitous broadband Internet access, and reliable public safety communications. "
Martin, who was criticized last month (See RNW Dec 10).for abusing his power and suppressing reports and information in a report from the House Energy and Commerce Committee has responded to Reps. Henry Waxman (California Democrat), who chairs the Committee (He took over from Rep John Dingell when the current Congress session began), and Rep. Joe Barton (Texas Republican), the committee's ranking member, by attacking the report.
In a point-by-point response - posted on the FCC web site- Martin starts by saying that the "report ignored relevant information, contained numerous errors and lacked substance" he says the report sets out an "incomplete picture"; is "entirely disinterested in whether the reports themselves were factually accurate" and used selective quotations from e-mails to create a "misleading impression" that one report was manipulated over the objections of FCC staff.
Martin then deals with comments in the report under the headings of Telecommunications Relay Services; the FCC's A La Carte Report and Annual Video Competition Report; the NRIC Advisory Subcommittee Report on 911 Services and Hatfield Report on Enhanced 911 Services; Broadband over Powerline (BPL) Engineering Reports; Personnel Decisions and Agency Management; White House Demands for Local Television Programming -In Times of Emergency; The T-Mobile Enforcement Action; and Derek Poarch, Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau;
Accompanying Martin's response are a number of attachments (In all it's a 136 Page 6.25 MB PDF).
2009-01-22: Arbitron, which has come under criticism regarding younger and ethnic participants in its panels has announced that it is to increase its sample target for cell-phone households, which are more likely than listed ones to contain such demographics, to 15% by the end of next year with the current target of 7.5% in Portable People Meter (PPM) markets to be increased to 12.5% by the end of this year as an interim measure.
In a company announcement of the move, its chief research officer Bob Patchen commented, "Arbitron has developed, tested and is presently implementing an address-based sampling method to identify and contact cell-phone-only households. This new method is more efficient than the manual dialling procedures we had been using and thus allows us to substantially increase the number of CPO persons included in our panels. We are also retaining the random-digit-dialling (RDD) sampling method for landline homes because that approach enables telephone contact with a higher percentage of landline homes not listed in telephone directories. These unlisted landline households are more likely than listed ones to contain Hispanics, African-Americans and young adults. The better response achieved with telephone contact can improve the overall representation of these groups in our PPM samples."
The company's president, Technology and Research & Development Owen Charlebois added that in regard to cell-phone households that increasing their representation in PPM samples "is an important element in our ongoing programs to enhance the participation of 18-34 year olds of all races and ethnicities."
"As the number of households that can be reached only by cell-phone continues to grow," he continued, "Arbitron will update its methodologies to better include this important segment of the population."
Arbitron has already announced plans to increase the cell-phone-only-household sample in New York to 15% by July next year and it notes that the expansion of cell phone-only sampling to 151 diary markets in the spring assumes that the company is able to complete the development of software necessary to support the rollout as scheduled.
2009-01-22: Clear Channel has disclosed in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC: A filing we noted is not yet linked to from Clear Channel's filings section on its site) that its CEO Mark P. Mays and President and CFO Randall T. Mays have taken a temporary pay cut - to be made up over later years- this year and, perhaps more significantly, that they have accepted a cut in potential bonuses.
In salary terms, their respective base pay of USD 895,000 and USD 875,000 a year is cut to USD 500,000 for 2009 but then increases in 2010 to USD 1 million and remains at that figure for the rest of the five-year contracts they agreed when the private equity buyout of the company closed last year (See RNW July 30, 2008). Under the previous deal the duo were also entitled to annual raise reviews by the compensation committee of the board of directors.
The new agreement also modifies their bonus deal under which they previously received minimum bonuses of a minimum USD 6.625 million a year if they hit at least 80% of budgeted OIBDAN (Operating Income Before Depreciation, Amortization and Non-cash compensation).
Under the new agreement their bonus will range from nothing to USD 4 million a year based on the percentage of target EBITDA (EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization - the target is set by the compensation committee of the board of the Company in consultation with management) that is achieved for the applicable year with a USD 2 billion if the target EBITDA is reached.
Also included in the filing were details of the expected savings and costs of its elimination of 1,850 full time posts, around 9% of its work force: The company says the restructuring will result in charges of around USD 200 million and will cut fixed costs by around USD 350 million a year (The figure reported earlier as the total saving was around USD 400 million a year - See RNW Jan 20).
RNW comment: We would have liked to have been party to discussions on these particular remuneration changes and indeed wonder why they were not publicised by the company. Although a pay off based on USD 1 million a year and a basic salary of that amount is not to be sneezed at the cut in bonuses is quite savage if one proceeds on the assumption that the company is expected to well. If not then there may well be little change in remuneration over the contract period - no bonus in either case if performance is weak (likely) and base salary over the whole period - if one assumes raises were out for the next four years up a little - Each would get USD 4.5 million over five years compared to USD 4.475 million for Mark Mays from five years at an unchanged base salary and USD 4.375 for Randall. Somehow we'd much prefer this deal to getting fired!
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
2009-01-21: We are devoting most of our weekly look at print comment on radio to the state of US radio and in particular Clear Channel's mass firings on Inauguration Day, actions that elicit much hostile comment and hardly a peep of support for either the Mays family or the new private equity owners of the company.
Amongst the harshest critics were Jerry Del Colliano and John Gorman in their blogs, both posted before the sackings and thus if anything written on the basis of an expected round of dismissals that underestimated what actually happened.
Gorman posted his comments on Sunday with an estimated total of a thousand radio-division employees although he did note that "It's now evident that the Clear Channel carnage will extend well beyond their U.S. radio division."
He also noted that "In advance of the massacre, Clear Channel filled some open programming positions by doubling-up existing program directors' duties and its Katz Media Group, now the sole national radio rep in the U.S., thinned their herd by 122."
And of the Mays family, who built up the company before selling it to private equity interests, Gorman - no fan - commented, "Why would anyone ever even insinuate the likelihood of Pater Lowry Mays and his sons of privilege, masters Mark and Randall, turning in their private jets to fly - ugh - commercial?"
A little later he quoted from a filing to the SEC in May 21 that perhaps means their dismissals could have a smidgeon of a silver lining, noting that it says, "that anyone who is " actively employed at the time the merger is completed, and involuntary terminated without cause during the following one-year period is eligible for the benefits.." and adds that for the record, they are "Less than 6 months - 1 month of Base pay; At least 6 months but less than one year - 3 months of Base pay; One to less than three years - 6 months of Base pay, and Three years or more -- 9 months of Base pay."
He then notes," It also means that if you're a Clear Channel employee that survives Tuesday's purge but get fired on or after July 30, 2009, "nobody'll owe you nothin'."
Gorman also notes that the company's website (in the Drop Down menu under "About US") has a "Know the Facts" page from which he quotes on section that includes a segment reading, "Local managers make their own decisions about programming and community events. Clear Channel Radio employs approximately 250 local General Managers, 750 local Sales Managers, and 900 local Program Directors. Managers are measured on their ability to drive listenership by intimately understanding what audiences want to hear and delivering that."
Gorman "wonders if it will be revised by Wednesday morning - RNW Note: In fact it wasn't and makes interesting reading and in our saved copy have highlighted an excerpt from a Lowry Mays quotation that reads," ... We also believe people can achieve their full potential when they enjoy their work, so it is a priority to provide a workplace where growth, success and fun go hand in hand."
A final excerpt from the Gorman blog is worth a repeat "Inaugural or not, Bain, Lee, and C.C. will not be able to squelch this one. I combed the net but couldn't find an accurate tally of how many Clear Channel employees have been terminated over the past decade but you can bet it's into the thousands. There is, of course, one inevitable consequence, which Clear Channel refuses to recognize. Clear Channel is the perfect example of imperial overstretch and it's foreordained to collapse."
The responses were varied but generally hostile to the company: One (anonymous) response gives the Mays family some credit for their perspicacity if nothing else, ending with the line, "Hand it to the Mays family. A clan of Texans took those New England Yankee WASPs for one hell of a ride they won't forget for a long time to come. Yee Hah."
At least one responder, however, put the action in terms of economic context, writing, "Clear Channel is not cutting because it has screwed up. It makes its share of mistakes, but that isn't the problem. The company is a victim of an economic recession the likes of which no one reading this blog has ever seen first hand. The pain from that is being felt everywhere and Clear Channel is no exception."
To which another responded by commenting, "The stations I'm with make a profit. A very nice profit. We were doing 45% net, but that has dropped to 33% due to the economy I guess. Apparently 33% is not enough. Not enough because most if not all of that profit goes to pay off the unbelievable price B&L paid for these properties."
And finally before moving on another posting - from Tuesday- that noted that "Less than an hour after Barack Obama said, "the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job" in his inaugural speech, Clear Channels highest paid employee, Rush Limbaugh, was mocking that speech passage on his radio show."
RNW note: For those who want to watch the Limbaugh's reactions during the speech there is a ten-minute posting - with links to a number of shorter postings - on YouTube - El Rushbo seems unconvinced by any of the comments. His snide remark around 5:30 in following Obama's remarks about people "with the kindness to take in a neighbour when the levees break" and later response - around 7:20 in to Obama's comments about "man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath" in our view summed up the mean spirit of Limbaugh, but then if Limbaugh relied on our support he'd find sweeping the streets paid better than his current job.
For a right-wing response, not to Limbaugh's comments but to the fact that some stations opted not to run them try Brian Mahoney's "Radio Equalizer"- and an entry under the heading "Some Limbaugh Affiliates Self-Censor Inaugural Comments": one passage reads, "Instead of hearing Limbaugh's no-holds-barred analysis, disappointed listeners experienced relentlessly-upbeat live network feeds. In Boston, his show appeared to be joined in progress at about 12:38" and after noting that subscribers to his 24/7 Premium service could listen via the Internet continues, "As 58 million Americans are confronted by the stark reality that a creepy political-religious cult has taken over the country, Limbaugh is providing one of the few remaining opposition voices. That stations are already beginning to engage in Chinese-style self-censorship provides a chilling early example of the coming battle to save free speech in America."
RNW comment: And we though the US population was more like 300 million - but maybe 240 million of them don't count. Or is it Mahoney who can't?
Moving on to Jerry Del Colliano's blog, posted on Inauguration Day but obviously written before the increased figure became public: He sees an opportunity for competitors, writing at one point, "Ryan Seacrest and baby Ryans will feed programs by satellite to what used to be local radio stations in many formats and for use in different dayparts. This effectively neuters local entertainment. Boy, would I like to be Clear Channel's local competitors right now, what an opportunity to clean their clocks. But they are just as bad and will likely follow suit in lock step with their American "idle" -- Clear Channel. (I use the term "idle" because it represents putting so many people out of work)."
Del Colliano suggests that rather than just accepting the situation there are at least three ways forward for "those who have outrage or who want to fight back."
He suggests organizing local advertiser boycotts citing as an example the success of PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals) in its campaign against Bubba the Love Sponge a pig was castrated as part of a show and pushing advertisers to pull adverts from a station until there is a return to the hiring of local personalities together with local news; Lobbying Congress and in particular lobbying the incoming administration "for re-regulation that would force PE owners and consolidators to sell their stations to small groups of people of various interests, and origins. This is a government that could rethink consolidation"; and "Work with the record industry to repeal radio's Performance Tax Exemption." - an issue he says "is a sore point for radio because when it was local, it deserved to have an exemption from the dreaded music performance tax
If choice is limited to what Ryan Seacrest and his handful of national jocks want to play, how can the radio industry fight and win a battle with the record labels to save the performance exemption?
Previously I have supported radio's efforts to keep the exemption, but now that the industry is moving away from local radio, it may be time to rethink the strategy."
Of the big radio groups he comments, "There is a way to fire Clear Channel and their consolidation buddies. They obviously don't care about people and their families, lives or careers.
But the one thing they do care about is revenue.
Some 90% of radio's income is derived from local advertisers.
Clear Channel has become a national programming company pioneering Repeater Radio.
Local ad dollars.
No local stations.
Sounds like an opportunity to fire Clear Channel as a local radio operator. "
Again there were numerous responses and we end with one from a Clear Channel manager who commented (using the term layoff rather than dismissal!) - "Laying off people is the hardest thing to do of all the things we do at work. It is not something we want to do but we have to play the cards that were dealt to us. The PE guys bought the company with a high level of debt. With debt comes interest and principal obligations. To meet those obligations in this horrible revenue environment, we must deal with costs accordingly. Much of our costs are sales and programming talent so they are proportionately affected by the reductions. It's a bad draw but we must deal with it. We must think of our shareholders and the 93% of the employees still here by coming out as a more viable, cost efficient, effective company."
Another response to his suggestions read, "Exactly why should local advertisers give a damn about whether or not a station has "local personalities"? Have you ever been an advertiser on radio, Jerry??
I have, and only one thing mattered to me: does the spot pull traffic and customers to me? If it did, I was happy. If it didn't, I was angry.
Trying to organize a boycott of local advertisers will only drive those advertisers to other media, like cable TV."
And as a final note from Del Colliano's posting- which at least shows that in this case Clear Channel stuck to its SEC filing, one anonymous post from "one of the 7%. I work in programming" says that he arrived for work and was told his "position was being eliminated and as someone who's worked there for more than 3 years (11 actually), I will receive 9 months severance pay."
And for a last view concerning Clear Channel to Fred Jacobs written after the totals had been announced by Mark Mays. One comment is rather chilling but may well be accurate: "This could become an epidemic, empowering other CEOs to follow suit, and institute similar staffing reductions. After all, if Clear Channel's doing it...But maybe it would be wise to step back and consider that this is the same company that instituted Less Is More, "collective contesting," and other innovations that haven't worked. Nor have they made radio more attractive to consumers or profitable to Wall Street."
"So, if Clear Channel's slashing gives other companies the rationale to make similar cuts to their workforces, perhaps some alternatives ought to be considered. If you compete against a Clear Channel cluster, there will be likely many fewer salespeople to compete against. Their weakest stations will become even weaker, and a savvy, professional staff - with decent morale - ought to be able to compete effectively against them.
"And if you're on the programming end, you know that your competition is likely to become more nationalized, and thus, less tuned into what happening in your town. This is the time for your station to make a difference locally, to become a more significant part of your community, and to put the "local" back in "local radio." In a Pandora-ized world, that's not a bad position to pursue anyway, and Clear Channel may have just made it even easier for you.
"You also will have some talented, dedicated radio people from which to choose. While no one is apparently hiring at the moment, the fact is that some very sharp professionals are on the street. Good stations have the opportunity to become great."
And on that potentially hopeful note - it might be no bad thing if smaller operators are nimble and smart enough to bite into the big boys' revenues and many of them don't have the problems of owings for assets for which they overpaid - over to the UK where James Robinson reported in the UK Guardian about renewed calls for the sell-off of BBC Radio's 1 and 2 in a report to be published this week by independent label Marrakesh Records.
He quotes Darmash Mistry, a partner at venture capital firm Balderton Capital, and a former executive at media group Emap, as saying, "The BBC's public sector objectives can be met in other ways. There is sufficient supply of music radio via traditional channels, digital radio, internet jukeboxes and access to global stations on the net.
"With consumer choice being so abundantly available, the BBC no longer needs to meet this need. Radio 1 and Radio 2 should not be tax-payer funded. Privatisation seems a credible next step."
He also quotes Dominic Hardisty, founder and managing director at Marrakesh Records as saying, "It is only a matter of time before politicians realise that R1 and R2 don't offer any public service benefits that couldn't just as easily be provided by commercial franchisees. Further, BBC Radio - with a 55% share of listenership - significantly distorts an already troubled commercial market that now faces life-threatening competition from MySpace, YouTube and Last.fm. Privatising R1 and R2 would yield a windfall that could provide years of financial and editorial independence for other BBC services."
"Other executives interviewed for the report" however, according to Robinson, who does not give details (Now could that be significant - GMG does have a radio company and an interest that is not declared in this article) "expressed support for Radio 1 and Radio 2, arguing that they provide a forum for new and unsigned talent that would otherwise struggle to get airtime."
The BBC responded by noting that the "issue was debated at length during the Charter Review process" and continued, "Radio 1 plays a unique role in providing high quality, public service radio to a young audience of nearly 11 million people every week.
"This includes huge diversity of music genres - both across peak-time programming and through specialist shows - and support for unsigned British talent, alongside peak-time news programmes, challenging documentaries and social action campaigns for young audiences."
Of Radio 2 the corporation said it " "encompasses a broader range of listening than any other music station in the UK - from organ music through rock and roll to folk, jazz and country."
RNW comment: As will be clear to anyone who has followed us, our support in this situation goes to the BBC: Once killed, it's services would not come back, and if the commercial companies who took over provided a much weaker service to listeners - and we certainly agree with the BBC comment regarding BBC Radio 2 - there would be no penalty but listeners would have lost out permanently.
We wonder, whether suitable inviolable conditions were to be put on a sale - say specific tight requirements for service, revocation of all broadcasting licences for any buyer who did fail to meet the conditions and a mandatory bond of perhaps ten-times the purchase price to be paid to the Corporation to re-introduce its service if the commercial operators could not meet the commitments, whether there would be any bids. If not then the commercial operators don't have the confidence in their ability that we think should be required to allow a sale to make any progress.
After that on to listening suggestions and - particularly as we don't find commercial radio a particularly attractive way to listen for new music nowadays and it fails to provide much else other than not particularly enticing sports and talks shows for our testes compared to the BBC - our UK suggestions again come exclusively from the BBC.
We start with a number of BBC MP3 downloads related to the current economic crisis.
From BBC Word Service we opt for Tuesday's "Global Business" that in "Japan: Lessons of the Lost Decade" looked at the lessons the world might learn from what happened to the Japanese economy in the 1990s following a period of borrowing against inflated values of property and stocks - a lesson there for anyone who thought there really were new paradigms and that markets would behave rationally when there was for a period significant benefit to many from exploiting the boom.
Then from BBC Radio 4 we opt for "File on 4" from Tuesday - in "Will insolvency laws deepen recession" Julian O'Halloran asks if UK insolvency law could deepen the economic downturn instead of bringing about a recovery.
Also from Radio 4, last weekend's "IPM" considered how the recession would affect apprenticeships amongst is topics and last week's "MoreOrLess" in its look at numbers was a political special - it reminded us of a quote that could fit many occasions when politicians are discussing economic events - "It's not the figures lying but the liars figuring!."
Then to politics itself and the prime story of the week: For reports on the inauguration itself we leave it up to a dip into the archives of any of the major broadcasters but before the event last Sunday's "Broadcasting House" on BBC Radio 4 including the tale of a mixed race family who were inspired by Barack Obama's victory to fly from the UK to Washington to be there for the event and this week's "UK Black" also heavily featured comment and reflection on his election.
Moving away the US to a country in a far worse plight, last weekend's "From Our Own Correspondent" included a look at Zimbabwe's ruined health system as well as a personal view from Justin Webb on the inequality and costs of US healthcare - costs that even the well-insured Webb found himself having to pay personally when his son contracted Type 1 diabetes. The programme also included a look at how the recession has hit a pub in Western Ireland
Going on to programming most of which is only available in stream form - including pretty well all music programming - we start with BBC Radio 2 from which this week we first suggest a number of programmes connected with Motown - from last Saturday "The Sound of Young America" in which Pete Mitchell looks at how the Motown sound has influenced musicians around the world (A recommendation made last week); From Monday, "Hitsville USA: 50 Years of Heart and Soul", the third of a six-part series, also hosted by Pete Mitchell; and from Tuesday "The Motown Invasion", the second of a two-part look by Adam White at how the British public were introduced to Motown's caravan of stars and "Stubborn Kind of Fella: Remembering Marvin Gaye".
Also from the station we suggest from Monday "Viva Latino!", the third of a 13-part series; from this Friday the third of the four-part "Gene Krupa" and following second episode of a reading of "Oliver Twist" (Last Friday's programmes are on the site until these air); and from Saturday in the lunchtime comedy hour Jason Byrne on "Education" (Last week's programme on "Law" is on the site until then) and "Bruce Springsteen on Songwriting."
Moving to BBC Radio 3, apart from the classical programming for which we suggest a dip into the schedules, we go yet again for "The Essay" - this week (Monday to Friday) "The Elephant in the Poetry Reading" -five essays linked by Robert Burns; last Sunday's "Drama on 3" - "Echoes of War", a play exploring the loose ends left by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and this Sunday's - "Pornography", a play responding to the 7/7 London bombings; from last Sunday "Jazz Line-up"- a set from drummer and composer Tom Bancroft and his band 6 Pack; from Monday "Jazz on 3" -a session from trombonist Gail Brand and drummer Mark Sanders, and from Saturday "Jazz Library" in which trumpeter Terence Blanchard talks to Alyn Shipton about his work with Herbie Hancock.
Also from Saturday we suggest "World Routes in Georgia", the second of two programmes (Last week's is on the site until then) and Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice" live from the Met.
Turning to BBC Radio 4 we first go for "Book of the Week"-"Bluebird" - Vesna Maric's account of coming to Britain as a 16-year-old asylum seeker; the "Woman's Hour" drama - "All Passion Spent" - Vita Sackville-West's novel about a widow who embarks on an independent life and "The Afternoon Reading" (Now Tuesday through Thursday) and this week three Biblical tales with a modern twist by Fraser Grace.
Going back a little from last Sunday we suggest "Something Understood" - "Not Cute Enough" in which Mark Tully considers our responses to beauty (next Sunday's programme has Tully in "The Science Test" considering the purpose and scope of science) and "The Classic Serial" - the first of a two-part rendering of "The Grand Babylon Hotel" by Arnold Bennett and "Online Damage: Porn in the 21st Century" in which Penny Marshall examines the effects of the rapid expansion of online pornography on UK society; from Monday "The Legacy of George W Bush" from the BBC's North America editor Justin Webb; From Tuesday "Law in Action" in which Clive Coleman and a panel of experts discuss the idea that human rights might extend beyond humans, asking whether rights exist for animals, the environment and even robots (we also note we have recommended "File on 4" on UK insolvency laws from this day) and "Case Notes" - this week on how to avoid and treat diseases caused by insects; from Wednesday "The Media Show" which amongst other things discussed a report on the threat to serious journalism from the Internet, which is not providing enough income to mount the cover that many newspapers still consider part of their responsibility - we would digress here to also recommend this week's "On the Media" from WNYC -the topic of the Presidential inauguration is bound to be there; From Thursday "In Our Time" (also a podcast/MP3) in which Melvyn Bragg and guests Paul Cartledge, Miri Rubin and John Burrow discuss how the writing of history has changed over the years and what it reveals about successive eras, "Ed Reardon's Week" in the 18:30 GMT comedy slot, and "In Business -Now That the Party's Over" (also available as a download) in which Peter Day looks at what has changed after a disastrous 2008 for business; From Friday "The News Quiz" (againavailable as a download) and "Great Lives"- this week Tracy-Ann Oberman champions the life of Hollywood actress Bette Davis; and to end with from Saturday "Burns the Brand" in which comedian Fred MacAulay attempts to quantify the value of Robert Burns to the British economy and also the "Saturday Play"- "Quartermaine's Terms", a comedy by Simon Gray set in a school for teaching English to foreigners in the 1960s.
Previous Del Colliano:
Del Colliano blog re Clear Channel:
Gorman blog re Clear Channel:
Jacobs' blog re Clear Channel:
(RNW Note: These blogs also include details of various people who have lost their jobs):
Brian Mahoney Radio Equalizer re Limbaugh:
UK Guardian - Robinson:
2009-01-20: Clear Channel has eliminated around 1,850 posts in all its departments as the company reacted to what CEO Mark P. Mays in an e-mail to employees termed "an "unprecedented time of distress in the general economy", the "ripple effects" of which had "hit some of our largest customers hard."
Last week reports were forecasting some 1,500 job losses totalling around 7% of the company's workforce but the e-mail said the total was around 9%: It did not give specific details but did confirm earlier reports that most of the cuts were in the company's sales force.
Addressed to "Everyone", the e-mail went on (emphasis are ours)
"As I've mentioned previously, we are facing an unprecedented time of distress in the general economy -- and the ripple effects have hit some of our largest customers hard.Today, we had the unpleasant task of bringing our Outdoor and Radio businesses' staffing in line with these challenging economic conditions. In doing so, we enter 2009 as a solid company and in the most competitive position possible.
We have thought carefully and at some length about the steps we need to take as a company to succeed during this unprecedented downturn. As a result, we have eliminated approximately 1,850 positions across Corporate, Outdoor and Radio. While a significant portion of these positions represent a realignment in our sales departments, the positions span all departments and represent approximately 9% of the total Clear Channel Communications workforce.
One of the things that have kept Clear Channel strong throughout our history is a willingness to deal with difficult situations in an immediate way -- to make the tough decisions today in order to secure a strong future. It is this trait that has gone furthest in enabling us to weather many difficult downturns in our 37-year history. It always requires clarity, collaboration and courage.
Please know that these have been difficult decisions -- yet necessary ones. We will miss those who are departing -- even as we renew our shared commitment to success among all of us who will stay.
Everyone in our investor group, on the Board, and in the executive leadership team remains bullish about the long-term growth prospects for Clear Channel. We continue to believe that the Outdoor and Radio businesses offer excellent opportunities.
We need to remain highly entrepreneurial and innovative. We also need to remain focused and compassionate. If we continue to manage our business carefully, and invest with discipline in the right strategic opportunities, we will navigate this downturn effectively and emerge even stronger and better positioned when things improve.
Starting now, it is our ability to bring creative thinking to the current business climate - to focus on the benefits we deliver for customers - to show extreme focus and commitment - that will create results.
"Clear Channel Communications has more resources than any of our peers. The tools are here. The support is here. It's time to use them to create lasting competitive advantage for our customers - and for our company.
Please know that we continue to be extraordinarily appreciative of all of the passion and hard work that each of you continues to commit to this phenomenal business. We will get through this together.
We're in this together. We have the best team. And we all have important work to do.
As we head into the New Year, I know we will meet the oncoming challenges with focus, determination and grace.
Please let me or your management team know if you have any questions.
Mark P. Mays"
Mays message was accompanied by another from Radio CEO John Hogan that took a similar line of a difficult decision necessitated by business conditions: It read:
Today has been a difficult day companywide as we addressed the economic realities affecting our country and many other companies. While separating from colleagues is personally difficult, the changes we have made were carefully considered and are necessary and prudent business decisions.
We are choosing to change as the environment around us changes and will begin work today on re-engineering our operations to successfully compete today, tomorrow and in the future. The challenges will be many -- we continue to see softness in the advertising market; we continue to compete with all forms of media for both audience and advertising dollars; and we continue to have to do both in a way that's smarter, faster and more effective.
But, there are three very important things that we have going for us. Clear Channel Radio has the resources, the will and the plan to compete going forward. Our deep bench of talent and intellectual capital will drive Clear Channel Radio through this downturn and ensure our ability to emerge from it faster, stronger and better than ever.
In recessions, there is a flight to quality by advertisers, and Clear Channel Radio offers the highest quality by any measure.
-- Radio continues to have the largest, most desirable audience of any media. Better than broadcast television. Better than cable. Better than newspapers. Clear Channel Radio operates more top-ranked stations and digital sites in our local markets than any other broadcaster. We have the top syndicated talent on the air and online in our Premiere Radio Networks company.
-- Clear Channel Radio also continues to have the most desirable digital properties in the country. From our streaming broadcasts to our on-demand content to our mobile applications like iheartradio, our brands are gaining audience daily in the most coveted demographics and platforms.
-- Clear Channel Radio, in partnership with our Premiere Radio Networks and Katz Media Group colleagues, is part of the world's largest and most effective radio advertising network by any measure.
Recessions also favour the forms of marketing and advertising that give the highest return on investment. We clearly have the opportunity to take market share away from broadcast television, cable and newspapers in this economy.
As we move forward, please know that you have the support and commitment of everyone on the Clear Channel Radio management team. We have the best resources of any radio company - and we have the will to win. Please join me for an important all-staff webinar on Wednesday morning for which your Market Manager will provide details.
Thank you for your efforts and support.
Pres. & CEO."
Details of those affected are dribbling out but so far they include executives from Atlanta, Fort Myers, Florida; Los Angeles; and St Louis..
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2009-01-20: UK media regulator Ofcom has agreed a permanent licensing scheme that will allow all retailers to install DAB repeaters inside their premises, many of which have poor reception because of steel frames, to allow them to better demonstrate receivers to potential customers.
The decision follows a year-long trial in which repeaters were installed in Currys Superstores and John Lewis branches during which some stores have reported sales increases of nearly a third after their demonstration facilities were improved.
The UK Digital Radio Development Bureau is to manage the licensing of repeaters in conjunction with Ofcom and all interested retailers have been invited to email the organisation.
2009-01-20: The US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), which a year ago dropped news releases on its monthly revenues figures but until recently was listing the bare details as to be posted around the 16th of the month has now dropped the monthly figures completely: On its site it is advising that it will post results quarterly "on the 21st of the month, about 7 to 8 weeks after the close of the reporting quarter" or on the first business day after the 20th if this falls on a weekend or holiday.
The bureau fired five of its 55 staff last week, an action that was followed by a hoax e-mail that purported to come from RAB President and CEO Jeff Haley announcing the dismissal of three senior male executives and accused the organization of being "blatantly sexist."
The hoax e-mail referred to the alleged dismissals of Mike Mahone, exec VP-services; George Hyde, exec VP-training; and senior VP-internet services, Dave Casper, whom it said were paid USD 724,000, and also directed recipients to the guidestar.org web site, which posts details of non-profits, and suggested a search for RAB's 990 IRS file that lists remuneration details - the site carries the reports for 2004 through 2007 - including details relating to the trio's remuneration for 2006 and the pay of Mahone and Hyde for 2007: The hoax memo contained a paragraph saying, "Look at just how out-of-balance our salaries were in 2006, particularly at the SVP level. That tells me either Mahone has been handing out SVP titles like candy or we have some severely underpaid female SVPs. I'm sure we were relieved that the rules changed when we filed our 2007 990 because thankfully you won't see that on the 2007 form."
The RAB said the contents of the hoax memo were entirely baseless.
RNW comment: The cynic in us suspects that monthly releases that in good times were seen as promotional are now seen as damaging as revenues fall: The official spin of course is that the more detailed quarterly reports are of more value.
2009-01-20: Newfoundland Capital Corporation Limited has announced that its Newcap subsidiary has dropped plans to buy 12 FMs in Ontario from Haliburton Broadcasting because of the current credit market situation although it has not ruled out reviving the deal if conditions change.
The CAD 18.95 million (then USD 18.51 million) deal was announced in July last year (See RNW July 30, 2008) at which time President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Steele said it was the "most significant geographical expansion for Newcap since 2002, and considerably expands our reach in Ontario. It meets all of our investment criteria and gives us a presence in growing markets. There is potential for growth and we expect the licences to be cash accretive in the short term."
Announcing the cancellation of the deal, Newcap noted that it there had been mutual agreement not to proceed and Steele commented, "While we view these radio stations as very attractive and assets we would like to own sometime in the future, in light of the seriously deteriorating credit markets, we have decided it is not the appropriate time to increase the debt levels of the Company."
2009-01-20: Alistair MacKenzie, who at the start of December relinquished his title of Chief Operating Officer of the Local Stations Division for The Local Radio Company but remained Finance Director of the Local Stations Division and Group Finance Director, has now left the company. He stood down as a director with immediate effect on Monday to pursue personal business interests according to the company.
In conjunction with MacKenzie's role changes last month The Local Radio Company announced that Jason Bryant, who owns Town and Country Broadcasting, had been appointed as managing director of the Local Stations Division of The Local Radio Company PLC.
The latest departure follows that of former executive chairman Richard Wheatly, who is involved in a bid to buy Jazz FM from the company, earlier this month (See RNW Jan 8) and of other executives as well as the closure of The Local Radio Company's head office, has led to speculation about a merger of the two companies.
Previous Local Radio Company:
2009-01-19: UK national commercial digital multiplex operator Digital One, which is owned by transmission company Arquiva and Global Radio, has flagged its intention to cut prices in the hope of attracting new stations.
It placed an advert in today's Guardian newspaper headed "New National Commercial Radio Stations" that invites "expressions of interest from companies ready to contract and launch digital radio stations in 2009" and continues, " The process provides an opportunity for successful, established brands or innovative new stations to broadcast across Britain. Capacity is available for mainstream stations as well as more specialist channels appealing to a diversity of tastes and interests."
It then says it is making the offer following publication last month of a report by the UK Digital Radio Working Group that "highlighted the fact that DAB digital radio is the most effective and viable digital platform for radio."
"The broader radio industry," says the advert, "has endorsed proposals to offer enhanced choice, variety and innovation. As part of this initiative, Digital One is preparing to offer new contracts in 2009. Companies with proposals based on Plays/Books/ Comedy content would be welcome and other speech or music formats with consumer appeal are also welcome."
As regards pricing it says it is reviewing it charges and that "Whilst it is anticipated that prices will initially be set below Digital One's 2008 rate card, in order to provide an incentive for approved applicants to invest in high quality services, companies providing new services will be expected to agree to meet the costs of a transmitter roll-out plan in future years (as recommended by the DRWG and to the extent that this is required by Ofcom)."
Digital One's Acting Chief Executive Glyn Jones commented of the plan in a news release, "We're turning the ideas set out in the DRWG's report into actions. That includes looking hard at how Digital One can offer lower carriage costs. In turn we're expecting that stakeholders involved in the Working Group, and other companies with the ambition to launch new national radio stations in 2009, will step up and engage with a view to adding compelling new choice for consumers."
The Digital One multiplex, which is operated using a network of more than 100 transmitters that can reach more than 90% of the UK population, currently broadcasts national stations from Absolute Radio - the former Virgin Radio which was taken over by a Times of India subsidiary; Global Radio-owned Classic FM; independently owned Planet Rock and UTV-owned talkSPORT, but has lost a number of stations over the past year as commercial operators have cut back. In addition Channel 4 pulled out of its planned launch of stations on a second national digital commercial multiplex (See RNW Oct 10, 2008) leading others planning to launch on the multiplex to cancel their plans
Planet Rock was rescued by entrepreneur Malcolm Bluemel after GCap Media, now owned by Global Radio, put it up for sale (See RNW Jun 5, 2008) but other stations have closed including The Jazz, speech station OneWord, and Core.
It has capacity for around half a dozen more stations on the multiplex.
Previous Digital One:
Previous Global Radio:
Digital One advert (112 Kb PDF):
2009-01-19: Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) has taken another step forward with the launch by All India Radio (AIR), which began tests of short-wave digital services using the DRM system at the end of January 2007, of broadcasts of External Services programming from AIR and Vividh Bharati.
The service was inaugurated on Friday by B.S. Lalli, the Chief Executive of Prasar Bharati, which oversees the country's public broadcasters and the date was chosen to mark the Golden Jubilee of AIR's High Power Transmitter Centre at Khampur in New Delhi.
The launch of DRM in India follows last month's launch by BBC World Service and Deutsche Welle of a joint DRM channel carrying 18-hours a day (06:00 to 24:00 CET) of programming comprised of the best of the two broadcasters' English language services - a mix of news and current affairs, analysis, documentaries, cultural programmes and sport including cover of soccer in the English Premier League and German Bundesliga.
He service used six transmitters in pairs to cover France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and neighbouring countries and transmissions are being made on short and medium wave.
Previous Deutsche Welle:
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
2009-01-18: Last week was a very quiet one for the regulators as regards radio-related postings with nothing on offer from Australia or Ireland and very little elsewhere.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) made no specific radio postings but it did post a public notice in relation to its Review of English- and French-language broadcasting services in English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada that was announced last year: It has now set a deadline of January 23 this year for the submission of final written comments in relation to this.
In the UK it wasn't much busier with Ofcom posting its latest Broadcasting Bulletin in which it upheld no radio complaints (See RNW Jan 12) and also its latest list of applications made in 2008 for community radio licences in East and South East England - a total of 40 stations plus a further station from the area inside the M25 region (The M25 motorway encircles London).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has already seen Republican Deborah Taylor Tate leave, will lose its current chairman Kevin J. Martin who has announced that he is to resign as of Tuesday - Inauguration Day (See RNW Jan 15). President-elect Barack Obama is reported to have selected Julius Genachowski to take Martin's place (See RNW Jan 13).
In enforcement action the Commission issued a USD 4,000 penalty to Hensley Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WWII-AM, Shiremanstown, Pennsylvania, for failing to maintain issues/programs lists in the station's public inspection file.
It had issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in this amount in January last year to which Hensley responded by arguing that the penalty should be cancelled because subsequent to the violation s but before the NAL was issued it has approved and Hensley had consummated the transfer of control of the licence from Carl C. Kuehn and the estate of M. Dean Lebo to Joseph L. Green. The FCC dismissed the argument and confirmed the full penalty.
The FCC also held an Open Commission meeting on Thursday (Jan 15) at which eight presentations were made in connection with implementations of the agency's strategic plan and a comprehensive review of FCC policies and procedures.
The presentations - all on the FCC web site in PowerPoint or Acrobat format (25MB of Zipped PowerPoint files of 5.5 Mb as zipped Acrobat files) - were from the agency's Wireline Competition Bureau; Media Bureau; Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau; Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau; Wireless Telecommunications Bureau; Office of Engineering & Technology; International Bureau; and Enforcement Bureau.
On the following day Martin posted what he termed a "comprehensive report showing commission's success over past four years in protecting consumers and promoting competition."
He commented of his work that faced with fast-paced technological changes he "always made decisions based on a fundamental belief that a robust, competitive marketplace, not regulation, is ultimately the greatest protector of the public interest" and added, "As a regulatory agency, we did have a role to serve and we stepped in when the marketplace didn't allow for sufficient competition to a former monopoly, when the market needed to be open to new entrants and technologies, or when the larger societal goals such as ensuring the needs of public safety, fell outside the market scope."
The report - a 71-page 3.85 Mb PDF - is headed, "Moving Forward: Driving Investment and Innovation While Protecting Consumers."
It is divided into 11 sections plus footnotes - an Introduction then sections on Promoting Broadband Deployment; Ushering in an Era of Wireless Broadband; Fostering Innovation and Open Technology Platforms; Promoting Competition in the Video Marketplace; Protecting Consumers from Harm; Facilities-Based Competition; Addressing Public Safety Needs; Overseeing the Digital Transition; Ensuring Access to Communications by All Citizens; and a Conclusion.
As the headings indicate the report hardly mentions broadcast radio - out of curiosity we did a search to find a mention under comments about the issuing of fines totalling more than USD 151 million a mention of the XM USD 17.4 million consent decree; the payment of USD 12.5 million in payola-related settlements by four broadcasters; a mention of emergency alerts from traditional radio and television broadcasters; and the broadcast of Public Service Announcements including radio PSAs concerning the switch to digital TV.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-01-18: A Brisbane radio host's call for a fines on women who wear the hijab or burqa has led to death threats, accusations of racism and bias against Islam, complaints to the regulator, and support from more than four fifths of those who filled in a poll on the station website and from the Queensland Retailers Association although Australia's National Retailers Association distanced itself from the call and also exposed widespread ignorance by the host and most of those reporting on the controversy over Islamic dress.
Fairfax Media-owned Brisbane 4BC drive time host Michael Smith in his programme on Wednesday commented that wearing the hijab or burqa was a security threat because it obscured the face and made it difficult to identify the wearer if a crime was committed, adding that the wearing of the dress should be made an offence.
For the record it would appear that Smith was talking of a woman wearing a burqa - dress most commonly associated with Afghanistan and some border regions of Pakistan that is comprised of netting to cover the face as part of clothing covering the full body - or a combination of the hijab - essentially a scarf covering the head, including the hair, and neck but, like the veil worn by nuns leaves the face exposed - and the niqab - a face covering that can also be worn with the Chador (an outdoor garment to go over clothing when a woman is in public) and that covers the face so that only the eyes are visible.
4BC has posted audio - bleeped a number of times - of the ten-second call that says Smith's "head is going to be on the plate.. you going to be dead soon" and also some 7 minutes audio of Smith's reaction to the attacks on him in which he says it is important that "we put safety, confidence and security first" and speaks of messages he has received from victims of armed robberies including a comment from a woman, who says she was held at gunpoint in a pharmacy and that when women come in with their face covered it "brings it all back." He later says this is nothing to do with religion or ethnicity but it is to do security and "that is why we have accepted as a community the proposition that you can't walk into the bank or the servo (gas station) with a full-face motorbike helmet on. Simple as that! And it is why I say you should not be able to walk into those places with your face covered in any circumstances."
He also says his view is shared by "prominent people" and includes comment from Yasmin Khan of the Islamic Council who says it's the obligation of everyone to follow laws of the land and "if it says if you go into a bank you've got to take your motorbike helmet off, you've got to take a ski mask off, you've got to take a balaclava off then that should also go for women who are wearing a niqab or wearing a burqa or wearing whatever they're wearing to cover their face. Take it off. It's a security issue."
Smith has also posted a comment on the site that in part takes a similar line to his on-air comments and begins, "It seems this country's media finds it difficult to talk sensibly about certain topics. I've been branded a racist - in writing - by a major national television network who should know better. How could anyone say that my comments were racist? I have been amazed at some of the reporting across the country about my comments that people shouldn't have their faces covered up in banks or shopping centres."
He also quotes from the Melbourne Sun-Herald which in an editorial said, "If you walk into a bank wearing something covering your face, you can expect to start a panic", referred to "an overreaction to what is a commonsense issue" and says, "There can be no complaint about any woman wearing a hijab where the face is not obscured, but a full-face hijab is a serious security matter. "
4BC general manager David McDonald told the Brisbane Courier-Mail the reports were not intended to be anti-Moslem but the paper quoted Islamic Council of Queensland president Suliman Sabdia as saying the comments display "intolerance, and a complete lack of understanding of the Muslim code of conduct."
Queensland Association executive director Scott Driscoll said it had been a long accepted practice to require customers to remove helmets and other identity obscuring headwear when entering a shop or bank and added, "Retailers should not have to fear any form of retribution or backlash for requiring the removal of any obscuring headwear, including hijabs, as a condition of entry."
Christine Donnelly from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said Smith's comments could be a breach of the Australian Commercial Radio Code of Practice that says a licensee must not broadcast a program likely to incite hatred against or vilify any person or group on the basis of age, ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, sexual preference, religion, or disability.
RNW comment: Our view on this one is that before making remarks of this sort is should be incumbent on a radio host to make reasonable efforts to ensure that facts are correct (Wikipedia's entry on Islamic dress takes a few minutes to follow through but would probably be useful reading in this instance) and that meanings are made clear, albeit we fear were this a legal requirement it would take many a host off the air.
Thereafter it seems to us that many laws or coded are drafted far too broadly in terms of offence being caused although despite this most of the rulings on such matters we have seen from the ACMA, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and Ofcom in the UK, have shown significant subtlety and commonsense. We would remove religion from all such lists primarily because it is chosen by indiviudals, who cannot choose in relation to the factors noted, and also because in our view a religion whose tenets are such that it cannot stand criticism or indeed ridicule should probably have these poured over it.
In regard to religion, more general legal concepts such as the English legal concept of behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace seem to us an adequate legal approach. This would allow criticism or ridicule in general but not in many places - it is clearly offensive to ridicule a religion in its place of worship - or where the comments become part of a campaign that is clearly offensive to the point that it can be expected to engender severe reactions from reasonable people.
4BC - Smith comments:
Brisbane Courier-Mail report:
2009-01-17: Clear Channel is planning to cut around 7% of its staff as part of a restructuring - to start on Tuesday, the day Barack Obama becomes President - that is intended to cut costs by around USD 400 million a year according to reports in the New York Post and Wall Street Journal.
Both cite sources familiar with the situation and say the dismissals will be implemented in all Clear Channel's divisions - radio, outdoor advertising and international - and the Journal puts the number of those to be fired as around 1,500 , most of them in advertising sales but the Post says it could not obtain a precise number. It says Clear Channel has around 30,000 employees worldwide whilst the Journal opts for a figure of 20,000 in the US..
Amongst the changes expected are the replacement of more local shows with syndicated ones and the Post says that Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners, who took the company over for USD 17.9 billion, has always planned a restructuring but have brought it forward because of the current economic situation.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Post report:
Wall Street Journal report (Subscription required):
2009-01-17: Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., the parent company of XM Canada has reported first quarter 2009 (to the end of November last year) revenues up 53% on a year earlier at CAD 12.5 million (USD 10 million) with positive cash flow of CAD 500,0000 (USD 400,000) - compared to a loss of CAD 3.5 million (currently USD ) a year earlier - and adjusted operating loss down from CAD 10.5 million (currently USD 8.4 million) in the first quarter of 2007 to CAD 3.3 million (USD 2.65 million). Overall the company's loss jumped to CAD 31.5 million (USD 25.3 million- CAD 0.66 a share) of which CAD 17.3 million (USD 13.9 million) came from currency movements.
CSR put the last improvements down to a combination of increased revenues, a one-time saving of CAD 1.8 million (USD 1.44 million) because of changes to a service provider contract, and a CAD 1.3 million (USD 1.04 million) reduction in marketing expenses.
Average Monthly Subscription Revenue per Subscriber (ARPU) was up 6% to CAD 11.94 (USD 9.57), some of which was put down to a subscription increase from CAD 12.99 to CAD 14.99 (From USD 10.41 to USD 12.02) and the Per Subscriber Acquisition Cost (SAC) went down 36 per cent year over year to CAD 59 (USD 47.3) with the Cost per Gross Addition (CPGA) down 28% to CAD 130 (USD 104).
XM Canada President and CEO Michael Moskowitz commented of the performance, "Despite prevailing economic headwinds, our performance continued to improve in the first quarter of 2009, reflecting the successful execution of our business strategy."
He added, "Over the past year, we have made prudent strategic decisions to reduce costs and to drive revenue through high return initiatives aimed at growing automotive, optimizing the aftermarket and engendering loyalty. We believe our solid foundation, focused strategy and ability to generate positive cash will help us continue to deliver results and mitigate the impact of a challenging economic climate."
The company said nothing firm about any merger with Sirius Canada - Sirius XM owns 23% of CSR and CSR chairman John Bitove owns 56% - although Bitove told the company's annual meeting that something could be brewing with Sirius and Moskowitz added, "We're still examining the merits of a potential transaction, and will proceed only if it makes sense to all of our stakeholders... We have been watching what's been going on in the U.S. post-merger, and the success that they've seen in terms of synergies."
XM Canada now has 514,500 subscribers, up nearly 50% year on year, of whom some 325,000 are paying the full subscription fee without any automobile or other introductory or promotional discounts and has said it will make an adjusted operation profit with 500,000 full-paying subscribers.
In other satellite radio news, US-based international satellite radio operator WorldSpace, which went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October (See RNW Oct 17, 2008), will be put up for sale later this month.
It has continued to operate with some USD 13 billion of debtor-in-possession financing, which has priority over other creditors and currently has a due date of Jan 29. Bids have to be in by Jan 26 and the bankruptcy court is due to rule on the result of the auction on the 29th.
WorldSpace said in a court filing that it is in "discussions with a number of potential purchasers" and its financial adviser the Bank Street Group has been in contact with numerous possibly buyers but gave no details of any firm approaches.
Previous Sirius XM:
Previous XM Canada/CSR:
2009-01-16: US radio station sales for last year dropped 50.7% in value compared to 2007 to USD 856 million with the numbers down 26.7% to 778 but TV station sales dropped even more - down 86% in value to USD 700 million and 76% in number terms to 54 stations according to BIA Financial Network.
BIA Advisory Services SVP Mark Fratrik said "Given the overall economic and credit market conditions since the fall of 2008" the "drastic declines" were not surprising, adding that as credit was drying up for any type of transactions ", the underlying economic base for these stations, advertising revenues, were seeing drastic reductions from what was expected. "
Looking ahead he said that advertising revenues are not likely to grow until the later part of this year "and even then the growth will be slow. ", adding "With this pessimistic revenue outlook and the availability of equity and debt financing still very limited, the immediate likely future of station trading activity is one of limited sales. Sellers who want to exit the industry, in part or totally, see the limited number of buyers and will wait till conditions improve. The only action that may occur is through the disposition of assets that are part of bankruptcy proceedings. Even then, the owners of these assets will try to hold out for as long as possible, hoping for greater demand for these properties."
He advised those considering station sales to "look beyond the immediate negative economic and credit conditions and try to build value for their properties in this new media environment (which continues to evolve no matter the economy)" and said that amongst other things they be training their advertising sales staffs to sell their stations as a multi-platform delivery device and e investing in new equipment by spending the resources necessary to develop new revenue sources, including the enhancement of the station's website and mobile advertising platforms.
"By the time we get past the downturn", Fratrik conclude, "those investments will make the broadcast stations more competitive in local media markets, thereby increasing their revenues and ultimately their values."
Previous BIA Financial Networks:
2009-01-16: In contrast to the US industry, Australian commercial radio has held on to both its audiences and most of its advertising revenues in 2008 with the total for the country's major metropolitan markets down by 0.1% on 2007's AUD 664.5 million (Currently USD 445.7 million) to AUD 643.6 million ( USD 431.7 million ) according to latest figures from industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) using information from PricewaterhouseCoopers Radio Revenue Performance figures (Jan-June 2008) and 2008 Metropolitan Commercial Radio Advertising Revenue as sourced by Deloitte.
Its CEO Joan Warner commented, "The radio industry has proved again to be a very resilient media in tough times recording similar revenue to 2007, despite a challenging time for its largest revenue market in Sydney, which recorded patchy results for much of the year." She added that the final quarter of 2008 was "difficult for the radio industry throughout Australia with revenues falling by about six per cent, reflecting the global economic crisis occurring around the world."
Commercial radio's reach for 2008 was up marginally - from 8.74 million to 8.79 million a week- and on average according to figures from Nielsen, Australians spent 17 hours and 2 minutes per week - 2hrs and 26 minutes per day - listening to commercial radio during 2008, or.
In geographical terms Perth proved the strongest market with revenues for 2008 up 9% on a year earlier to AUD 85.4 million (USD 57.3 million ) followed by Melbourne ( up 3% to AUD 187.4 million ( USD 125.7 million )); Brisbane (up around 1% to AUD 102.8 million (USD 69.0 million); and Adelaide ( up 0.2% to AUD 60.5 million ( USD 40.6 million ). Sydney, however, saw a fall of around 7% to AUD 207.3 million (USD 139.1 million).
In terms of listening Melbourne topped the list with an average of 17 hours 48 minutes a week followed by Perth with 17 hours, 04 mins; Adelaide with 16 hours, 59; Sydney with 16 hours and 40 mins and finally Brisbane with 16 hours 05 mins.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2009-01-15: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin, has now made his departure details formal and announced that he will leave the commission on January 20, the day Barack Obama will ne inaugurated as President. He will become a Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.
In his announcement Martin said his "philosophy" during his tenure at the FCC "has been to pursue deregulation while paying close attention to its impact on consumers and the particulars of a given market, to balance deregulation with consumer protection."
He added that he "approached his decisions with a fundamental belief that a robust, competitive marketplace, not regulation, is ultimately the best protector of the public interest and the best method of delivering the benefits of choice, innovation, and affordability to American consumers."
In his resignation letter to President Bush, Martin wrote, "I have had the privilege of serving at the Federal Communications Commission for almost 8 years, including 4 years as the agency's Chairman. During this period, we have seen a telecommunications industry undergoing rapid and unprecedented change. As a result of the market-oriented and consumer focused policies we have pursued the American people are now reaping the rewards of convergence and the broadband revolution including new and more innovative technologies and services at ever-declining prices."
Martin highlights as achievements of the FCC during his tenure:
*Promoting Broadband Deployment - Ushering In an Era of Wireless Broadband; Fostering Innovation and Open Technology Platforms; and Promoting Competition in the Video Marketplace.
*Protecting Consumers from Harm - here Martin notes that during his tenure the FCC issued more than USD 15 million in fines, the most under any chairman, and specifically notes actions to protect the Open Internet; protect consumer privacy; to enforce public interest obligations of broadcasters, particularly in relation to children's programming; the release of a report concerning excessively violent television programming and its impact on children; the enforcement of broadcast indecency rules; the agency's part in the work of the Childhood Obesity taskforce; Greater Choice in Packaging and Sale of Video Programming Services ; Payola consent decrees;
*Fostering Facilities-Based Competition - including action on the Competitive Networks Order; Competitive Networks Order; Local Number Portability; Interconnection Issues; Localized Regulatory Relief; and Regulatory Relief for Long Distance.
*Addressing Public Safety Needs - including work on Consumer Access to Emergency Services; the Warning Alert and Response Network ("WARN") Act; action in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; and the formation of a new Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.
*Overseeing the Digital Transition- including action on Consumer Education; Broadcaster Readiness; Ensuring Stations are Viewable to Consumers; the Establishment of a Successful Test Market in Wilmington; DTV Consumer Protections.
*Ensuring Access to Communications by All Citizens - including work on Rural Health Care such as making funding available for the deployment of broadband healthcare networks across the country; the E-rate programme to take telecommunications and Internet access to schools and libraries throughout the county; an Interim Cap on High-Cost Support to ease pressures on the stability of the Universal Service Fund; action to safeguard the Universal Service Fund from waste, fraud and abuse; work to improve Communications for People with Disabilities; action to maintain Localism and Diversity in Broadcasting; and the holding of an held an en banc hearing and conference on overcoming barriers to communications financing.
*International Accomplishments - including supporting US Policy at World Radio Conference (WRC); expanding Satellite Services including the adoption of flexible service rules for the 17/24 GHz band, which holds the promise of bringing a new generation of broadband services; and creation of the International TV White Spaces Fellowship and Training Initiative to provide a platform for the FCC to work with international regulators and their spectrum experts on technical issues associated with the use of TV white spaces
As we write only Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps has posted a statement concerning the resignation: In this he notes that he and the chairman arrived at the FCC at almost the same time and says, "We were different ages, had different backgrounds, different political affiliations and sometimes very different underlying ideas about how best to serve the public interest" and then later adds, "There were frequent instances when, I am pleased to say, we were able to find common ground."
Copps specifically praised Martin's "leadership after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast", leadership he continued that "will surely be remembered as one of the highlights of his, or any, Chairmanship. We made progress together on instituting and enforcing Internet Openness Principles and took first steps down a road toward a network neutrality regime. We pushed for a more open wireless marketplace. And we pulled together trying to make the Wilmington, North Carolina DTV transition a success."
Copps also referred to real differences but also to original ideas put forward by the chairman, noting that "The Rural Health Care Pilot Program was one such idea and it was, and is, a signal accomplishment of Kevin's Chairmanship."
He stressed also, however, that "Probably 90 per cent or more of what the Commission decides is decided through consensus."
Copps' fellow Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein in a brief statement commented on work done "to increase the Commission's attention to public safety issues, improve access to communications for individuals with disabilities, open spectrum for new broadband services, crack down on abuses of our sponsorship identification rules and take steps in the process of ensuring Internet freedom" and
Republican commissioner Robert M. McDowell highlighted "actions to eliminate unreasonable barriers to entry into the video marketplace, to classify wireless broadband internet access as an information service, to help rural healthcare providers and to open the TV white spaces for new wireless services."
2009-01-15: Entravision has dropped the current programming on its alternative KDLD & KDLE (Indie 103.1), Los Angeles, which launched on Christmas Day, 2003, and is to flip to a new format this weekend.
The station's web site carries a message that reads: "This is an important message for the Indie 103.1 Radio Audience -
"Indie 103.1 will cease broadcasting over this frequency effective immediately. Because of changes in the radio industry and the way radio audiences are measured, stations in this market are being forced to play too much Britney, Puffy and alternative music that is neither new nor cutting edge. Due to these challenges, Indie 103.1 was recently faced with only one option --- to play the corporate radio game.
"We have decided not to play that game any longer. Rather than changing the sound, spirit, and soul of what has made Indie 103.1 great Indie 103.1 will bid farewell to the terrestrial airwaves and take an alternative course."
It then continues, "This could only be done on the Internet, a place where rules do not apply and where new music thrives; be it grunge, punk, or alternative - simply put, only the best music.
"For those of you with a computer at home or at work, log on to www.indie1031.com and listen to the new Indie 103.1 - which is really the old Indie 103.1, not the version of Indie 103.1 we are removing from the broadcast airwaves."
It ends with thanks to its listeners and advertisers for "their support of the greatest radio station ever conceived" and says the station looks forward "to continuing to deliver the famed Indie 103.1 music and spirit over the Internet to passionate music listeners around the world."
RNW note: Entravision this morning dismissed the station's air and programming staff in a meeting, thus rendering the official message somewhat lacking in detail! The airwaves are carrying a loop of songs interspersed with the message "Indie can no longer compete with the corporate radio game" but the web site appears to be up and running, playing just songs end to end although we have only been able to listen for a limited period.
Indie 1031 web site:
2009-01-15: Both Astral Media and Corus Entertainment have reported first quarter revenues for the period ending November 30 last year up on a year earlier but the former turned in a significantly better performance and reported "continued growth in revenues, net earnings, EPS, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) and cash flow from continuing operating activities" whilst Corus saw its radio and TV profits fall with its radio revenues also down.
Astral, whose figures include a boost from its acquisition of most of Standard Radio in October 2007, reported revenues up 24% (a 3% increase on an organic basis, excluding the impact of the acquisitions) to CAD 244.5 million (USD 195.9 million) with net earnings from continuing operations up 13% on a year earlier to CAD 42.4 million (USD 33.9 million - from CAD 0.69 per share to CAD 0.76 per share) with EBITDA up 215 to CAD 79.5 million.
Terming it a "solid first quarter", the company noted TV subscription and advertising revenues each up 3% to CAD 98.0 million ( USD 78.5 million) and 34.2 million ( USD 27.4 million ) respectively whilst radio revenues, thanks to acquisitions were up 87% to CAD 89.9 million ( USD 72 million with radio EBITDA up 81% : It also noted the deployment in January this year of the Virgin Radio brand in three more markets - 95 Crave (95.3 FM) in Vancouver; The Bear (106.9 FM) in Ottawa ; and Mix 96 (95.9 FM) in Montreal
Outdoor revenues were up 6% to CAD 21.2 million (USD 17 million) with EBITDA up 7%.
Astral President and CEO Ian Greenberg said of the results, "Given the current environment, we are obviously very pleased with the strength and the resilience of the Company's operating results for the first quarter of Fiscal 2009. We continue to remain disciplined and prudent, with a strong focus on execution, three key elements to help weather the current storm and ensure that our media properties remain must-buys in all of their respective markets.''
Astral also noted that it has renewed its course issuer bid to repurchase up to 5% of outstanding shares announced in December.
It commented of the acquisition of most of Standard Radio's assets that these had been successfully integrated and observed that the acquisitions, whose results in the previous year had only affected one month, was the main reason for the revenue boost.
At Corus revenues were up 1% to CA 216.8 million (USD 173.7 million) but profit was down 2% to CAD 81.3 million (USD 65.1 million) although net income was up 3% to CAD 40.6 million (USD 32.5 million - up from CAD 0.47 basic and CAD 0.46 diluted to CAD 0.51 basic and CAD 0.50 diluted).
Within the figures TV revenues were up 4% to CAD 141.3 million (USD 113.2 million) and segment profit was up 1% to CAD 64.3 million (USD 51.5 million) but radio revenues were down 5% to CAD 75.5 million (USD 60.5 million) and segment profit was down 14% to CAD 22.0 million (USD 17.6 million).
Corus President and CEO John Cassaday said of the performance, "This was a strong quarter for Corus, as we continued to grow the top line in a challenging market. We incurred significant expenses in the quarter to support the launches of Cosmopolitan TV, VIVA and HBO Canada and in Nickelodeon digital rights. These investments, which represented an incremental expense of almost CAD5.5 million (USD 4.4 million), position us well for the future."
Corus warned however of tough times ahead, saying that it "expects that the slowdown in Canada's GDP growth will have a negative impact on advertising spending."
As a result it has reduced its segment profit guidance down from a range between USD 270-280 million (USD 216-224 million) to between USD 255-265 million (USD 204-212 million) and says it "expects that this challenging advertising market will continue to have a greater effect on its Radio division results given that division's reliance on advertising revenues, particularly local ad revenues, and its greater reliance on advertising sectors that have seen larger declines than average."
2009-01-14: In further UK radio job cuts, Global Radio is expected to cut around 40 posts and make around a third of its online and interactive staff redundant following a review by chief executive Stephen Miron.
The company says the review "highlighted the company's ability to remodel the department ensuring its significant aspirations within the interactive market are met, as well as developing new applications such as the Capital FM IPhone, which will be extended to other devices and brands shortly."??
Robin Pembroke will remain head of the company's interactive operations.
Previous Global Radio:
2009-01-14: Entercom has flipped its Kansas City classic rock KBLV-FM to hot AC as KKSN (the All-New 99.7 Kiss FM) and the website now re-directs to the new website that promotes itself as featuring Kidd Kraddick in mornings and Ryan Seacrest in afternoons: His syndicated Los Angeles show ""On Air with Ryan Seacrest" will air from 16:00 on weekdays.
The company says the station will offer Kansas City women "a blend of starpower, celebrity access, pop culture and today's hit music." It has also announced that veteran John Cook will be Program Director for the new station and country format sister WDAF-AM (The Wolf), replacing Michael Cruise at the latter and Bob Edwards at KBLV, although Edwards remains Operations Manager for Entercom's Kansas City 8-station cluster.
2009-01-14: UK digital station Passion for the Planet - it broadcasts on DAB in the London area and is also on the Internet, claiming an audience of some 90,000 a week - is donating advertising to six charities as part of celebrations of its sixth birthday.
The first adverts were for The MS Trust and the other charities involved are Cancer Research UK; The Westminster Society; The RSPCA; PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools); and UNICEF.
Passion for the Planet's managing Director Chantal Cooke commented in a news release, "We decided from the very beginning of Passion for the Planet that we'd like to be able to support charities by giving them promotion on air. In many ways this can be more valuable than any cash donation we could make. On air advertising helps raise their profile and raise funds at the same time."
2009-01-13: The New York Times, citing advisers to US President-Elect Barack Obama, is reporting that he intends to nominate Julius Genachowski, an adviser on technology issues and long-time friend, as the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
46-years-old Genachowski played a leading role in the Obama campaigns online strategy and fund raising and the paper says that during the campaign he shaped many of Mr. Obama's telecom policies, specifically noting that he advocated an open Internet in the debate over so-called "net neutrality'' and media-ownership rules that promote a diversity of voices on the airwaves.
US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO David K. Rehr has responded to the news with a statement saying, "Julius Genachowski has a keen intellect, a passion for public service, and a deep understanding of the important role that free and local broadcasting plays in American life. NAB salutes President-elect Obama on this superb choice to lead the FCC."
New York Times report:
New York Times Genachowski profile:
2009-01-13: Arbitron has revealed during a conference call that discussed its Portable People Meter (PPM) settlements with the states of New Jersey and New York, which included payments of penalties and costs just above USD 500,000 (See RNW Jan 7) that it expected to have legal costs from USD 4 million to USD 6 million in the final quarter of 2008, a figure that chairman and outgoing President and CEO Stephen B. Morris said was in line with the company's projections.
Morris termed negotiations over the settlements "extremely gruelling" but added that they "represent a huge step forward."
Part of the settlement involves increasing the number of cell-phone households on its panels and Sean Creamer, Arbitron's executive VP for finance and planning and chief financial officer, said the cost of recruiting these panellists was "three or four times" more than recruiting them from land-line families.
He added that compared to predictions that 7-8% of US households would now be cell=phone only, in fact the figures was closer to 16-18% meaning they were having to use "a more expensive method than we expected" but said the changed don't "
Morris noted of the settlements that they removed pending litigation in exchange for payments and committing to actions for quality improvements that are essentially in line with the program of continuous improvement that we've discussed with customers and the MRC( Media Rating Council) over the last six months "and that although they did not remove "all of the issues raised by other legal, regulatory, and legislative bodies" they "represent a huge step forward."
Morris also noted of the approval by the MRC of the phone-based Radio First Riverside-San Bernardino market (See RNW Jan 9) that the company had now established that this "methodology is fully capable of accreditation."
2009-01-13: This week in our look at print comment on radio we begin with comment on changes at BBC Radio, courtesy of Gillian Reynolds' column in the UK Daily Telegraph: Reynolds writes of the changes that began at the end of last week that they may not "seem like much. But, as we all know, a favourite radio station becomes a sort of body clock. Even the smallest change risks altering your habitually contented tick-tock to a very cross tchah. "
She then refers back to changes made by then controller James Boyle in 1997, commenting, "The ratings sagged immediately. It took years before people got used to "Gardeners' Question Time" being on Wednesdays as well as Sundays and "The Archive Hour" occupying Saturday nights. Both are now landmarks."
The current Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer is moving "Gardeners' Question Time" again - it's now on Friday afternoons for the first run although the repeat is in the same Sunday afternoon slot and the "Afternoon Readings", which previously ran every weekday from 15:30-45, lose their Monday and Friday slots to "Archive on 4" (This week's was "Bremner on Bush - A Final Farewell") and "Gardeners' Question Time", each of which get a 45 minutes slot.
Of BBC Radio Five Live, Reynolds notes that the breakfast show is re-jigged and gets an extra hour - for the first hour from 06:00 Shelagh Fogarty hosts the show solo before being joined by Nick Campbell who then at 09:00 goes solo with a phone-in hour after which Victoria Derbyshire takes the reins from 10:00 to 13:00.
Reynolds says the station controller Adrian Van Klaveren told her the changes are "are not, repeat not, dictated by the need to make economies" but to make the schedule flow better. Asked about the publicity for the Derbyshire show that says it will "focus on original journalism, much of it coming direct from 5 Live listeners"- she said it sounds much like the usual stuff of phone-ins - Van Klaveren told Reynolds, "It will be something heard for the first time in that form personal experiences, clearer focus.'
Reynolds expresses scepticism and in response Van Klaveren cited a past programme where miscarriages had been the subject, commenting, "It's being able to talk, show the breadth of experience. You need space for that. There will be a theme, an interview to start. But the original journalism will come from adding something, issues that need personal experience. Things that add usefulness."
Of that Reynolds commented, "Now I like Victoria Derbyshire and am willing to suspend disbelief as regards this 'original journalism'. What I am not keen on is how this change will affect the excellent Wednesday interlude, when Prime Minister's Questions comes on then political correspondent John Pienaar talks to Simon Mayo about what's been said and what it means."
For more, including comment about the move of the network from London to Salford, read the column: We now move over the Atlantic to an atmosphere of fear for jobs as every day seems to bring yet another tale of a dismissal.
The word used is of course, lay-off [Would that this could be legally defined so that after a fairly short period laid-off the individuals concerned would have a claim above those of any other creditors to a significant payment if they don't get their jobs back, a respect for language that might well bankrupt the companies if taken up.], a term that Jerry Del Colliano picked up on last Friday in his "Inside Music Media" blog commenting, "Yesterday, the hits kept on coming as Clear Channel's rep firm, Katz, decided to lay off 122 people. For starters, these are not layoffs. They are firings. Layoffs is the word used by the radio group to spin what it really is -- firings."
He then continued, "Meanwhile hundreds of Clear Channel managers have returned home to their nervous employees from this week's Dallas corporate meetings -- the proverbial other shoe will no doubt drop shortly -- some think a bloodbath is on the way as early as next week. More firings.
More good people out of work because their employers have tried everything and it hasn't worked. Everything except running radio as a local business -- the way they found it when they bought into it."
Del Colliano then brought up the idea of localism, much mouthed but not it seems with meaning so much as an incantation, writing, "Local radio is now apparently off the table. That's why increasingly you see so many groups heavy up on syndicated programs or network their own talent to their other stations to save money. Forget that they are also cutting local programming. And to me this is the fatal blow -- not all the other mistakes these CEOs have made."
After quoting a reader who claimed to be a Clear Channel manager who has had to fire 11 people, Del Colliano comments, "I'm not saying companies in a recession don't have to reduce expenses, but in radio these reductions seem to mainly be expenses in programming, managerial and sales people not the CEOs compensation or benefits. It's always the employee."
He then comments on "how to do it right -- if it has to be done", citing examples from TV including the action of "George Michael, the former WFIL and WABC jock who found a second career in television sports, did what few -- if any -- executives in radio would do . he refused to cut more people from his WRC-TV, Washington sports show as was demanded by management."
"Michael quit rather than fire his staff," continues Del Colliano. "Doesn't that sound good. It's worth saying again -- Michael quit his job of 28 years rather than work with a reduced budget that would compromise his show and force him to fire loyal and competent people."
And of the executives, he comments on the New Year's e-mail from Mark Mays earlier this month supposedly aimed at pepping up Clear Channel employees (See RNW Jan 2) that it "made a lot of people sick to their stomachs. What's worse: Mays issued the email just before the Clear Channel management meetings where plans were being finalized to fire more people. Let's see what his pep talk sounds like after next week. That's not integrity. That's selfishness. And even in our corporate and capitalistic world, a guy who has made out like a bandit twice has no room to talk like Tony Robbins."
He also has a dig at "Fagreed Suleman and his wife, Judy Ellis, at Citadel" citing the tale from another reader about how her husband was moved around the country, performed successfully, and was nevertheless fired because of his high salary.
Del Colliano then posits that "Over-the-air radio can't grow without the next generation and the next generation is not looking back" and adds, "Which brings me to the insanity of firing the one asset that could launch radio into the mobile and Internet future -- their existing talent pool. These misguided CEOs think their employees are expenses. They are not. Radio people are resources."
For more again go the blog - we have put in the general link rather than the specific one because today Del Colliano comments further on Clear Channel, this time under the heading, "At Clear Channel, Less Is Finally Less."
That post we will quote briefly- "That means a skeleton staff at an increasing number of Clear Channel stations. Programs produced elsewhere other than locally. Repeater Stations not fulfilling the spirit or perhaps the letter of the law for being granted a radio license Clear Channel in effect will abandon the responsibilities they accepted when they were granted their radio licenses to serve local communities. (Really, how is running a virtual automated radio station from elsewhere serving the city of license?)."
RNW comment: If we assume the information is accurate, comparatively few jobs would be lost if the incoming FCC chairman got tough about localism and simply revoked and re-advertised licences where the Clear Channel is clearly not meeting its obligations. Those who took over would certainly be from smaller groups and might well employ more people and provide more local content and the action even if only taken in a few of the worst cases would act to temper the actions of other big groups.
Del Colliano having briefly touched on radio's attractiveness to the future generations we pick up the topic again with our next report - From David Tanny in the San Diego Reader. Tanny - no friend of big radio groups - he refers to "time wasted listening to corporate controlled playlists on the AM and FM bands" comments in the context of broadband internet, "As music playlists and talk show ideas get smaller on the AM and FM bands they got bigger on the Internet band. Thus, listening to streaming audio on your computer has become today's radio. It's what has replaced most of the time once spent listening to AM and FM."
Tanny, like a number of others redefines radio in terms of audio rather than the form of delivery and hits not only at terrestrial but also at satellite radio referring to "Satellite delivered playlists of music" and as regards AM, after dismissing much terrestrial output as "mostly right-wing wacko propagation machines in the guise of talk, religion, and news shows" says that "Generally, younger people think of AM as their grandparent's band, and is not relevant to their lives. "
"FM," he continues, "is the younger people's parent's band. That band too tends to play music that is controlled by suits in far away places who have no connection with what the general public wants to hear. On the corporate-run stations that's anything but radio, all you get is lite pop rock music aimed at young females, worn out dinosaur rock for what's left of the older listeners, watered-down country and alternative rock, light jazz, adult contemporary that sounds like rock, rock that sounds like adult contemporary, R&B that has anything but house music, and other monotonous ideas." [RNW comment: Although we have no love for much commercial radio output, this is over the top as presumably the market research does give some indication of what many people want to hear, even if it stifles the new and innovative that might get more airtime if DJs are allowed a free hand.]
On next briefly to technology and a report by Eric Pfanner in the International Herald Tribune concerning moves towards digital radio in Europe. He notes a switch-off by venerable Swiss AM station Radio Beromünster, which moved its last remaining programme to a digital radio channel, and plans for digital broadcasts in various countries but adds that "so far only one country - Britain, where about eight million people have bought the new receivers - has seen widespread consumer adoption. And even there, while the publicly financed BBC has championed the new technology, some commercial broadcasters have recently backed away from it, preferring to focus on FM transmission and the Internet."
"Complicating matters," he continues, "is a battle over competing standards, with the United States, Britain, Japan, France and Australia all adopting separate digital radio technologies."
AM, comments Pfanner, has already been killed off in Ireland and Austria but as regards FM this "is not an option anywhere, because too few consumers and advertisers have made the switch."
As regards the satellite subscription option, this has only taken off in the US so far - Pfanner quotes Benoît Chéreau, chief executive of Worldspace Europe, as saying its plans for expansion into Europe are at a standstill following its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States in November (See RNW Oct 17, 2008 - and we are sure the filing was made in October ) - and the report says the appeal of subscriptions may be undermined in Europe because "free" radio there contains less advertising than in the US, where many satellite subscribers are motivated by the desire to avoid the commercial breaks.
Pfanner also points out that European listeners also have access to Internet stations and radio channels on satellite TV services (Both the Freesat and Sky platforms in the UK offer radio as does the terrestrial Freeview digital TV platform)..
RNW comment: What the article does not take up is the problem of accessing Internet signals whilst on the move (it is impracticable for drivers in much of remoter areas of Europe where FM does reach and comes at a fairly high cost for those areas where mobile phone signals are good thus allowing a stream to be accessed) nor the comparative unreliability of Internet audio streams as opposed to very high reliability of FM and fairly high reliability of DAB signals in much of the UK. Were wireless broadband to be available without the costs and with the reliability, the issue would soon be decided in favour of streams but that combination does not yet appear to be in sight.
Finally a step back courtesy of a brief note in The Los Angeles Times music blog in which Randy Lewis notes that on January 21, Bonneville's Triple-A KSWD 100.3 FM ("The Sound") is going all-vinyl.
The move to eschew CDs in favour of the older format that many think sounds mellower follows an earlier test of the idea in November when the station aired various albums off vinyl.
Unfortunately we can't make a recommendation to listen since the signal will not be streamed so on to other suggestions beginning with one of the programmes moved in its schedules by BBC Radio 4.
Because of the move we happened to pick up last week's "Gardener's Question Time" and tips that included the use of "paraffin-mic2" (to keep away the real ones of course; "rotten eggs" to keep away squirrels, deer, and rabbits (Living in London means that we only have the first to worry about - the US Grey variety of course); white vinegar as a herbicide to kill off weed seedlings; mouthwash as a fungicide, and milk or water in which potatoes have been boiled to protect roses from mildew.
Then there's the "Archive on 4" that this week (The Bremner programme is available until Saturday) is "Nations of the Cross: Stories from those who live around London's King's Cross station", the first of two programmes.
Sticking with the BBC, we next go to BBC Radio 2 and thence to Motown with suggested programming last Saturday's "Motorcity Blues"; Monday's "Hitsville USA: 50 Years of Heart and Soul"; Tuesday's "The Motown Invasion" and "Stubborn Kind of Fella: Remembering Marvin Gaye- It Takes Two", the second of a four-part series in which Smokey Robinson pays tribute to his Motown colleague and soul legend Marvin Gaye; and next Saturday's "The Sound of Young America" in which Pete Mitchell looks at how the Motown sound has influenced musicians around the world.
We also note that on Friday the station airs the second of its four part documentary "Gene Krupa", exploring the life and career of the drummer.
Moving to BBC Radio 3 we go first for Jazz and last Sunday's "Jazz Line-Up", featuring a set from Stan Tracey and his Octet; Monday's "Jazz on 3" - more from the London Jazz Festival 2008 and next Saturday's "Jazz Library" in which pianist John Lewis talks to Alyn Shipton about his work with MJQ and Miles Davis; then for "The Essay", which this week is on Edgar Allen Poe, considered by Andrew Taylor, Joanne Harris, Louise Welsh, Mark Lawson and Kim Newman from very differing perspectives.
We'd also suggest "Night Waves" from Tuesday (featuring psychoanalyst Adam Phillips on the virtues of kindness- he is also in Radio 4's "Start the Week"- see later) and Wednesday (an interview with Auschwitz survivor and human rights judge Thomas Buergenthal).
Of its classical music output we suggest Thursday's "Afternoon on 3" - a performance of Handel's Rodrigo (Handel, is incidentally the station's "Composer of the Week"); Friday's "Performance on 3" - A recital of Beethoven songs; and Saturday's "Opera on 3" - John Adams's "Doctor Atomic" live from the New York Met. And as a final couple of suggestions from the station we opt for Saturday's "World Routes in Georgia", the first of two programmes that includes choral music of the Georgian Church and "Hear and Now", the fifth and final programme of highlights from the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2008.
Then back to BBC Radio 4 and we start with the daily (or not quite daily now in the case of the Afternoon Reading) programming - "Book of the Week - The Rest Is Noise" in which Julian Rhind Tutt reads from Alex Ross's history of 20th-century music "The Women's Hour Drama - Dear Mr Spectator" - Joseph Addison and Richard Steele's 18th-century Spectator essays, dramatised by Elizabeth Kuti; "The Afternoon Reading" (Now Tuesday through Thursday and this week "The Other Garden and Collected Stories by Francis Wyndham"; and "Book at Bedtime" - a ten-part reading of Andrew Miller's "One Morning Like a Bird", a story of love and the meeting of East and West, set in wartime Tokyo.
From the beginning of the week we opt for "Start the Week" and "Beyond Belief", which considers what difference the personal faith of the President-elect Barack Obama might t make to the religious culture of his country (Both are available as MP3 downloads or streams).
Then from Tuesday "Money Can't Buy You Class" in which Stuart Jeffries visits Solihull in the West Midlands to find out if people from humble origins who become wealthy necessarily become middle class (and when did you last take a bus?), "A Celestial Star in Piccadilly" in which Anna Chen presents a tribute to Hollywood's first Chinese-American movie star, Anna May Wong, and "Take Two", the first of a three-part series on musical collaborations, this edition looking at Billie Holiday and Lester Young, "Case Notes" in which Dr Mark Porter explores the science behind the dramatic cut in the number of cot deaths and learns that infections, genetics and how you put your baby to bed, could all play a role, and "Taking a Stand" in which Fergal Keane talks Garry Kasparov on being a dissenting voice in Russian politics
From Wednesday: "Black Students in Red Russia" in which Burt Caesar tells the story of the students who, for three decades from the 1960s, were sent from developing countries to study in the Soviet Union; "Unreliable Evidence" - the second of four programmes (the first is available until then) in which Clive Anderson asks in the light of Max Mosley's successful court action (Against The News of the World) how can the courts balance privacy and freedom of speech, "Schumpeter Rising" in which hedge fund manager Hugh Hendry argues that in the present economic crisis it is Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter and not his rival John Maynard Keynes that we should be heeding in the current crisis.(the first programme is again available until this is broadcast).
From Thursday we opt for "The Afternoon Play" - "Torch No. 1" by David Pownall, a monologue exploring the mind and motives of the young Czech student, Jan Palach, who set fire to himself in the centre of Prague in a protest 40 years ago,
From Thursday we opt for "The Afternoon Play" - "Torch No. 1" by David Pownall, a monologue exploring the mind and motives of the young Czech student, Jan Palach, who set fire to himself in the centre of Prague in a protest 40 years ago, and "The Line Between Life and Death", the second of two programmes in which Jonathan Miller explores questions that arise from trying to define death, and the comedy "Recorded for Training Purposes", the second of six episodes of a sketch show about modern communication, media and contemporary obsessions.
From Friday we suggest "Time and Tide: The Severn Barrage Project", a look at the viability of the Severn barrage project, potentially the biggest, most expensive and most controversial source of sustainable energy in the UK, "The News Quiz", and "The Friday Play" - "The Forgotten", an exploration of the onset of dementia by Anne Devlin.
And finally from Saturday we suggest "Winnie the Who?" in which Michael Rosen explores the enduring popularity in Russia of translations of the Winnie the Pooh stories.
RNW update: Having heard the programmes, we would now add Thursday's BBC Radio 4 and "The Investigation" in which Simon Cox investigates the UN's Human Rights Council and this week's "In Business- Cracked China" in which Peter Day reports from some of China's heartland manufacturing cities on the effects of economic downturn.
Turning to Podcasts cum MPs we suggest from Radio Netherlands last Saturday's "The State We're In", which looked at the plight of divided families and attempts to re-united including stories of those separated by the political divide between the US and Cuba, by the partition of India from Pakistan, and in the Israeli Occupied Territories with the story of a woman and two of her daughters who were refused permission to return to their family home in the West Bank because they had Gaza ID papers.
Also from Radio Netherlands we suggest last Thursday's "Earthbeat" that told the story of an initiative to create the first ever detailed digital soil map of Africa as part of work to help African farmers solve the problems of depleted soils plus a dip into "Radio Books" - the podcast section has not yet been updated but the link to the latest programme brings up this week's book "The Apostate" - by Nelleke Noordervliet: Set in New York in the late 1960s it tells the tale of a clash in religious belief between a young Dutchman and his newlywed neighbours.
Switching to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation we suggest last Saturday's "All in the Mind" on the irrational mind in which Dan Ariely, a behavioural economist at MIT, argues that we're surprisingly and predictably irrational, "Ockham's Razor" on Charles Darwin in Australia; and "The Science Show" - currently running a three-part "The astonishing Dr Joseph Needham" that began on Jan 3; From Sunday " A Big Idea" - "Feast or famine: eating our native fauna" and from the previous week "The future of food: can we eat our way out of total confusion?"; from last Monday "The Health Report"- "The knee files - part 1" in which Associate Professor Alex Barratt looks at knees and the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis (the second part airs next Monday); and from Tuesday "Law Report" in which lawyer Ken Feinberg talks about his job of handing out USD 7 billion dollars to the families of those who died and to those injured in the September 11 attacks
Then back to the BBC for some final suggestions from the World Service documentary archive - "The Pardon Game" from Jan 8 on the US presidential right to grant pardons; Tuesday's "Obama: Professor President" (A previous recommendation from BBC Radio 4); and Thursday's "The Legacy of George W. Bush -Part 1".
Previous Del Colliano:
Inside Music Media - Del Colliano:
International Herald Tribune - Pfanner:
Los Angeles Times - Lewis:
San Diego Reader - Tanny:
UK Daily Telegraph - Reynolds:
2009-01-12: Arbitron has announced that Michael Skarzynski is to take over as President and Chief Executive Officer of the company from Stephen B. Morris effective today with Morris, who is 65, remaining Chairman of the board.
Skarzynski, who is 52, was previously chief executive officer of Iptivia, a privately held performance management software company based in New York City, where he was responsible for the restructuring and global expansion of the business. He had previously worked for Lucent and AT&T Network Systems where he held a number of sales, marketing, business development and general manager positions, including vice president and chief operating officer of the Emerging Service Provider Business. He will be based in the company's offices in Columbia, Maryland.
He commented of the move in an Arbitron news release, "What attracted me to Arbitron are the significant accomplishments and market leadership of the company. I am impressed with the enormous opportunity for Arbitron and I am honoured to join this team. My priorities are clear: focus the collective talent and commitment of the Arbitron team to support our worldwide customer base and ensure our joint success in today's economic climate."
Phil Guarascio, Arbitron director and chairman, Arbitron Board Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, said of the choice, "After a thorough search process, we believe we have selected the candidate that best matches the requirements for leading the company during these challenging economic times. Michael Skarzynski is an accomplished corporate executive with three decades of experience in general management, sales, marketing, finance, business development, technology, government and international business. He is the perfect leader to build on Arbitron's strong foundation and to leverage the latest technology to respond to the rapidly changing needs of our current clients and future customers around the world."
Morris added, "When I came to Arbitron in December 1992, we were just announcing the program to develop the Portable People Meter. Now that the PPM has been successfully commercialized in 14 markets and remains on track for its full commercialization in the top radio markets, this is a good time to hand the reins over to a new chief executive officer. Michael is a visionary leader who can translate the needs of customers and the marketplace into innovative products and services."
2009-01-12: There has been widespread condemnation of the murder of 26-years-old Nepalese radio journalist Uma Singh who was hacked to death by between 12 and 20 men in her room in the southern city of Janakpur.
She worked for the Janakpur Today Daily and Radio Today FM and had broadcast and written about women's rights and opposed the caste and dowry systems.
It is not clear what motivated her attackers although the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal as well as urging action by the Nepalese Police to bring her attackers to justice has also pressed the authorities to investigate death threats and an apparent attempt to attack another woman journalist in the same region.
In a news release, OHCHR-Nepal said doing this "will send a strong message that there will be no impunity for attacks against the media, nor for any serious crimes" and its quoted OHCHR-Nepal Representative Richard Bennett as saying, "Occurring amid a growing number of reports of incidents targeting journalists throughout Nepal, this tragedy should galvanise those responsible for protection of media freedom to take the necessary action to ensure the security of journalists."
Reporters Without Borders also condemned the attack and said, "We ask the authorities to react quickly and to do their utmost to protect journalists in Nepal and to quickly arrest this group of killers. This kind of appalling murder must not go unpunished if the Nepalese press is to go about its work freely" and the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, which also condemned the attack, is sending a team to the spot to investigate the killing.
Dharmendra Jha, the president of the organisation who was Uma Singh's professor, said he was very shocked by what had happened.
UN news report:
2009-01-12: UK Media regulator Ofcom in its latest bulletin upholds no radio complaints but did issue fines totalling GBP 40,000 (USD 60,000) on three TV licensees for breaching its rules with advertisements that directly promoted the Liberal Democrats candidate for London Mayor.
It also upheld TV standards relating to four programmes and partly upheld a TV Fairness and Privacy complaint.
Ofcom also posted details of a further TV Standards complaint that it found not in breach - 540 complaints had been made about a sketch in which played a Christian clergyman delivering a comedic version of a biblical miracle story - the Wedding Feast at Cana (Ofcom said the overall tone of the sketch was affectionate and not abusive of the Christian religion) -and two TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld.
In addition 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: The previous bulletin related only to BBC programmes in relation to which it fined the Corporation GBP 95,000 (then USD 143,000) and found breaches of standards in a number of other cases (See RNW Dec 18, 2008) - but in the bulletin before that (See RNW Dec 8, 2008) it 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.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2009-01-12: The Miami Herald is reporting that Clear Channel has now settled a lawsuit over its Viero radio advertisement-management system that a Federal Jury in Texas found in April last year had infringed the patents held by Grantley Patent Holdings, Ltd, whose sister company is Maxagrid International Ltd, a leading producer of yield management software for radio stations.
The jury ordered Clear Channel to pay USD 66 million (See RNW Apr 24, 2008), a figure that the court later increased by a quarter as enhanced damages for the wilful infringement, plus prejudgment interest and additional interim royalties between the verdict and the date of judgment.
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. (RKMC), one of the firms representing Grantley, said the total judgement then exceeded USD 89 million. No details of the settlement were released according to the Herald.
Previous Clear Channel:
Miami Herald report:
2009-01-11: Last week saw the regulators back in action after the holiday break but only for part of the week for some and there was a generally low level of radio-related activity.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) made one radio posting, finding that Liverpool Green Valley Community Radio Cooperative Ltd, the licensee of community radio station 2GLF Liverpool, New South Wales, breached the community broadcasting code of practice by failing to have in place a written sponsorship policy.
It noted that when a complainant requested a copy of the policy the station did not have one but that it has since developed a draft sponsorship policy and sought submissions from its community on the draft policy and had advised the ACMA that it proposes to adopt the sponsorship policy formally at its first board meeting to be held in 2009
It added that it was satisfied with 2GLF's initiatives and said it expects 2GLF to adopt its written sponsorship policy formally by February 2009, the deadline required in the agency's new Community Broadcasting Radio Codes of Practice registered in October last year.
In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted a public notice concerning applications for licences for Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec, for which it received 11 applications: The deadline for comments or interventions is Feb 12.
The posting follows a decision in August last year at which the Commission approved the applications by Astral Media Radio Inc. and by Frank Torres, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (OBCI), for licences to operate new English-language commercial FMs for the area (See RNW Licence News Aug 31, 2008) ) but which the Governor in Council referred back to the Commission for reconsideration and hearing, specifically referring to a requirement that the Commission fully consider and explain its approach to evaluating the needs of official-language minority communities and how it applies in this case.
At the time of the original decision Commissioner Michel Morin had issued a dissenting note in which he said the commission should have opted for a talk station for the sake of diversity rather than adding two more music stations to an existing 12 in a market with 16 stations.
The original applications were
*Four mutually exclusive applications for stations to use 99.7 MHz - from Astral Media Radio Inc. (for a 45,000 watts Soft Adult music format); Mark Steven Maheu, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (for a 30,000 watts English-language Pop Alternative music commercial FM); Ottawa Media Inc. (for a 4,800 watts English language Adult Album Alternative); and Christian Hit Radio Inc. for a 2,400 watts English-language FM commercial specialty (religious) FM but the last has indicated that it does not wish to see its application included in this public process. In addition In addition Instant Information Services Incorporated applied to increase the power of English-language commercial tourist service CIIO-FM, Ottawa, which currently operates on 99.7 MHz, from 25 watts to 427 watts/ This would have changed it from an unprotected low-power service to a protected Class A service
*Six mutually exclusive applications to use 101.9 MHz or 101.7 MHz - from Frank Torres (for a 3,600 watts blues music English-language commercial FM); Corus Radio Company (for a 4,100 watts English language news/talk commercial FM); Fiston Kalambay Mutombo, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (for a 285 watts French-language Christian music specialty FM); Instant Information Services Incorporated (for a 200 watts French-language commercial tourist FM); Radio de la communauté francophone d'Ottawa for a 718 watts French-language Type B community FM; and Réél-Radio for a 158-watts French-language community-based campus FM in Gatineau.
There were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom issued its December Broadcasting Update in which it formally nodded through the takeover of the former Virgin Radio by TIML Golden Square, a Times of India subsidiary that is ultimately owned by Bennett, Coleman & Co. and also the change of control of Central FM, Falkirk, taken over by its chairman John Quinn (See RNW Jan 7).
The update also noted that no new licences were issued in the month, that UTV had handed back its Edinburgh Talk107 licence (Also Jan 7); that it has extended the Radio Pembrokeshire licence to 13 July 2014 and the Moray Firth Radio AM and FM licences to 22 February 2014; that it had agreed a format change for The Local Radio Company's High Wycombe Mix 107 allow a dual co-location arrangement in either the High Wycombe or Aylesbury MCA with its Aylesbury station Mix 96.
The main studios will be in Aylesbury, but the arrangement will have flexibility to work the other way round (i.e. studios in High Wycombe) and Ofcom noted that the company had already been given permission to co-locate in High Wycombe, and to share regional output outside the breakfast show hours, adding, "This latest request allows the licensee to choose Aylesbury as the studio centre if it wishes. We understand whichever location is eventually chosen there will be a presence in each area."
It also refused a format change request from UTV's Valley's Radio - UTV wanted to relocate the station in the Neath/Port Talbot area where it proposed to house its sister stations, Swansea Sound and the Wave concerning (See RNW Licence News Dec 7, 2008).
Also in the update were details of content sampling reports for Bath FM and Brunel FM, for which each were issued with a yellow card (See RNW Dec 16, 2008) and of multiplex changes agreed under which Global Radio's Heart and LBC stations were allowed to remove local news and information on the Central Scotland, South Wales and Severn Estuary, Yorkshire, North East England, and North West England digital multiplexes and on the South Wales and Severn Estuary, West Midlands, Yorkshire, North West England, North East England digital multiplexes respectively.
In addition, Global's Arrow digital station was allowed to remove local news and information from its service on the South Wales and Severn Estuary, West Midlands, Yorkshire, North West England, North East England digital multiplexes and the removal was allowed of Islam Radio under the Muslim Entertainment Form that is aired on the Bradford and Huddersfield multiplex.
Under change of control reviews Ofcom noted those of 3TR (Warminster); Bath FM ; Brunel FM, Swindon; Quay West, W. Somerset; Quay West, Bridgwater; Virgin FM (Absolute Radio);and Central FM (Falkirk).
In licensing actions Ofcom has pre-advertised the Basingstoke area FM licence currently held by Kestrel FM that is due to expire on May 17 next year. Declarations of intent to apply have to be submitted by Monday, Feb 2with a non-refundable fee of GBP 5,000 (USD 7,500) non-refundable fee and a GBP 10,000 (USD 15,000) deposit - which will be refundable upon receipt by Ofcom of a valid application in response to the subsequent re-advertisement of this licence. Should only Kestrel FM submit a declaration it will be invited to re-apply but if no declarations are received the licence will not be re-advertised.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had a fairly quiet week as regards radio postings but saw the departure of Republican Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate, who attended her last commission open meeting at the end of last year (See RNW Dec 31): The FCC has also announced that its next Open Commission Meeting is to be held on Thursday with an agenda relating to the transition to digital TV and presentations by senior agency officials regarding implementations of the agency's strategic plan and a comprehensive review of FCC policies and procedures.
In a farewell statement Tate commented: "In cooperation with my fellow Commissioners, we have made history: implementing successful spectrum auctions, creating a new homeland security bureau, providing broadband grants for rural healthcare and overseeing the digital transition for television. I am extremely proud of our work on behalf of children and families, for persons with disabilities and for spurring new investment and innovation."
She continued, "Looking to the future, I will continue to speak out on issues affecting children and families, from childhood obesity to child online safety, both here and around the world. As a proud citizen of Nashville, Music City USA, I will continue to be dedicated to protecting our stories and storytellers, and to opposing the economic and moral harm of piracy" and said of her own plans that "As a Rule 31 mediator, I am excited about launching a formal mediation practice that will utilize the skills I have practiced daily at the Commission to develop resolution, consensus and collaboration in the communications sector and beyond."
In radio postings the FCC denied a petition from William Crozier for reconsideration of an earlier denial of his objections to the renewal of the licence of Creative Educational Media Corporation, Inc.'s non-commercial educational (NCE) KMSI-FM, Moore, Oklahoma.
Crozier had objected on the basis that Creative lacked local programming and challenging its non-profit status but his objections were denied and the licence was renewed with FCC staff commenting at the time that ". . . ultimately, Crozier's objections amount to little more than a difference of opinion with Creative over what types of programming best serve the needs of the community of Moore, Oklahoma."
Crozier in support of his petition for reconsideration said he could have better responded to Creative had it responded to his request for information from the stations public inspection file: The FCC noted that the petition was filed late and dismissed it on that basis.
In another decision the FCC renewed the licence of the University of Rhode Island's non-commercial educational WRIU-FM, Kingston, Rhode Island, rejecting objections from by Ronald Marsh and Norman Remington.
The objectors said that when the station had in 2003 made known its intentions of limiting classical and jazz programming in 2003, it welcomed listeners to "inspect its file of documents relevant to its performance during the period prior to the application" and that it then received and reviewed listener input, much of which urged the Station to keep its broadcast programming of jazz and classical music. However, they added, there is no record of this public comment, nor is there any reference to this issue "as a controversy," in the Station's public inspection file.
The FCC in rejecting the objections noted that its rules do not require that NCE licensees retain copies of letters or electronic mail messages from the public. Accordingly, it said no further discussion was needed and it rejected the objections and renewed the licence.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2009-01-10: Figures just released by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the first and second quarters of 2008 show a large rise - of 176% - in the number of broadcasting inquiries in the first quarter compared to the final quarter of 2007, most of them related to digital TV issues, and also a large increase in the number of broadcasting complaints due to a massive jump in indecency/obscenity complaints.
In the second quarter broadcasting inquiries fell back by almost two thirds and complaints were down by three quarters.
In all the Commission listed 122,104 broadcasting complaints during the first quarter of 2008, 120,931 of which were related to indecency/obscenity- the next most numerous were 950 general criticisms of programming.
This compares to 151,008 broadcasting complaints in the first quarter of 2007, 149,457 of them relating to broadcast indecency or obscenity and final quarter 2007 figures of 1,249 complaints of which 433 were indecency/obscenity complaints, a total that was below the 573 Programming General Criticism number.
In the second quarter of 2008, the broadcasting inquiries total fell back from 51,920 in the 1st quarter to 31,719 and the total number of broadcasting complaints fell back from the 122,104 noted above to 30,317: Of these indecency/obscenity complaints amount to more than four-fifths of the total - 25,058 - with a total for general criticism of programming of 4,346 - more than four times the pervious quarter's total.
The numbers compare with a total of 5,675 in the second quarter of 2007 (of which 4,368 related to indecency or obscenity) and 723 complaints in the general criticism category.
Previous FCC complaints figures (Final two quarters of 2007):
2009-01-10: Tomorrow's editions of Global Radio's Hit40UK chart, which is hosted by DJ Lucio (Lucio Buffone) and broadcast on some 130 UK commercial radio stations every Sunday, is to be based on digital downloads and drop CD sales as a factor.
Announcing the change on its web site the programme notes: "For the last fifteens year, hit40uk has brought you the chart based on a mix of record sales, airplay and downloads. At present, 96% of music purchases in the UK are digital downloads; clearly the future of purchasing music is online. So to reflect this, from Sunday hit40uk will draw its sales data purely from downloads and airplay."
It adds, "We think this will provide a chart that better reflects what you've been buying and of course it keeps us right at the forefront of the music industry and means we can keep bringing you the latest chart news and gossip."
Previous Global Radio:
2009-01-09: Arbitron has announced that it has gained Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for its Portable People Meter (PPM) quarter hour ratings data in the Riverside-San Bernadino market: It has not submitted weekly and minute-by-minute PPM data for MRC accreditation.
Arbitron had previously gained MRC accreditation for its Houston PPM ratings, which use an address-based methodology, but this is the first accreditation for a Radio First market, which uses a telephone-based sampling and recruitment methodology and includes both landline and cell-phone-only households
Commenting on the approval, Arbitron chairman, president and chief executive officer Steve Morris said in a release, "The accreditation of the monthly PPM quarter hour radio estimates in Riverside-San Bernardino demonstrates that our 'Radio First' methodology, which uses a telephone-based sample frame and telephone recruitment, can deliver audience estimates that meet the standards of the Media Rating Council."
He added, "Our goal now is to demonstrate that the sample quality initiatives we have committed to for all our PPM markets will have a continuing positive impact, just as they have had in Riverside-San Bernardino. Our commitment to MRC accreditation means a commitment to continuous improvement. In Riverside-San Bernardino, we are continuing to work with the MRC on enhancing the quality of the sample."
2009-01-09: Emmis's reported third quarter revenues to the end of November were down 6% to USD 85.1 million (down 4% in the first nine months to USD 265.4 million) within which radio revenues were down 4% on a year ago at USD 62.3 million (down 2% in the first nine months to USD 199.8 million) and domestic radio revenues were down 8% for the quarter and publishing was down 12% to USD 22.9 million (down 5% in the first nine months to USD 65.4 million). Station operating expenses excluding depreciation and amortization expense were up 2.4% for the quarter to USD 45.6 million but down 3.1% for the nine months to USD 137.6 million.
Emmis's operating income for the quarter was hit by a non-cash impairment charge of USD 210.2 million or USD 3.51 per share without which it says it would have shown net income per diluted share for continuing operations of six cents this year, up from four cents a year ago. The impairment charge took the operating loss for the quarter to USD 197.3 million and station operating income was down from USD 25.9 million a year ago to USD 21.6 million.
Emmis's international radio operations fared better with pro-forma figures showing revenues up 24% to USD 11.3 million and station operating expenses up 16% to USD 8.0 million.
Overall net income available to common shareholders went from a loss of USD 2.1 million in the third quarter a year ago to a loss of USD 125.7 million and for the nine months net income of USD 7.7 million went to a net loss of USD 125.5 million.
Commenting on the figures, Emmis Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said in a release, "While the economy in the United States and abroad continues to struggle, at Emmis we are working diligently to take the necessary steps to successfully navigate through these difficult times. Despite crises at other media companies, Emmis continues to generate cash flow that is greater than two times its annual interest costs and had $63.6 million of cash on hand at the end of the third quarter. I am confident that we are well-positioned for this downturn, and will remain focused on managing our expenses and balance sheet while delivering the best product to our advertisers, listeners and readers."
Emmis shares ended Friday up 7.69% to 42 cents and ranged between 40 cents and a late-morning peak of 57 cents
2009-01-08: Clear Channel-owned Katz Media Group, now the sole large rep firm in the US following the effective demise of Interep (See RNW Dec 1, 2008), has announced the launch of a national marketing unit that it says in a release will "create innovative, custom solutions for advertisers and their agencies that exploit the full power and reach of modern, multi-platform radio.."
Buried behind the release were cutbacks of around 120 staff- some 8% of its total - made in a climate of a severe radio advertising downturn.
Regarding the new unit, to be termed "Katz Marketing Solutions" (KMS) and led by Bob McCurdy as President, Katz said it has a similar mission to the one Katz created last year for the Clear Channel Radio Sales division.
McCurdy reports to Katz CEO Stu Olds who commented in a release, "The radio industry has built an unparalleled digital offer over the past five years that now spans broadcast, online streaming, on-demand, mobile, real-time data, live events and of course viral platforms. Realizing the full potential of this powerful new collection requires a marriage of marketing strategy and execution. There's no opportunity in 2009 to sacrifice innovation - and there's no need to if you've got an intimate understanding of how everything fits together. Our expertise in implementing breakthrough programs is vital to realizing successful marketing programs."
McCurdy commented, "Quite simply, innovation wins. There's a strong push for new ideas that demonstrate radio's genuine value as an advertising and branding platform, and we're uniquely positioned to help guide marketers through the rapidly expanding opportunities now open to them. Radio's relevance and effectiveness is underscored in a difficult economy and we'll be giving advertisers the customized, effective solutions that produce outstanding returns on investment."
Katz added that the creation of KMS caps a year full of innovation, having steadily expanded services for CMOs and brand managers beginning in February with an expansion of Katz Advantage, and the July launch of both Marketing Solutions and the Katz Online Network.
Katz Advantage, it says will remain under the leadership of Bonnie Press and will be dedicated to advising brand managers and national marketers on ways to most effectively employ radio in their advertising plans. It adds that it will work with national advertisers to execute sophisticated ad campaigns across a nationwide network of more than 3,000 stations to deliver large-scale audiences while making buying radio easier than ever. Katz Advantage simplifies the radio-buying process by offering single-source execution to media buyers by selling customized solutions with flexible billing options, including an in-house billing department.
Press commented, "While radio has proven to be among the most effective means of executing a national, regional or targeted campaign, marketing officers and brand managers have often faced too much complexity in putting together a radio buy. We now have the structure and capability to seamlessly carry out a campaign from the earliest planning stages through the creative process and its execution - satisfying the needs of marketers and brand managers who need to demonstrate return on investment and accountability."
Katz says that as part of the changes Jeff Howard becomes national President of Clear Channel Radio Sales, the national sales arm of Clear Channel Radio.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Katz Media:
2009-01-08: The Local Radio Company (TLRC) has announced that it is proposing to sell its JazzFM business following a strategic review and has begun negotiations over a sale with a consortium headed by Richard Wheatly, who was Chief Executive of Jazz FM (from 1995-2002) before it was purchased by Guardian Media Group, which later re-branded its Jazz FM stations - in London and Manchester - into Smooth FM outlets.
Wheatley, who was also a former TLRC executive chairman - in November last year it was announced that he was to step down from this post to take on the same role at its Jazz FM which I had re-launched as a digital station in October following a three-year licensing agreement with Guardian Media Group which retained the name after it converted its Jazz FM stations to the Smooth FM format (See RNW Nov 1, 2008 and Aug, 29, 2008) although he remained a non executive director, a post he has now stepped down from.
After GMG re-branded the FM stations, it retained the rights to the name and launched JazzFM.com online and on DAB multiplexes in Yorkshire, South Wales and the Severn Estuary and on the Sky Digital platform. It retained the website but closed the broadcast operations in 2006. Last year GMG made plans for the re-launch of the broadcast station as part of an application to gain regulatory permission to remove jazz commitments from the London and Manchester Smooth FM station.
Ofcom refused the request in April last year, commenting that while it welcomed GMG's desire to provide jazz services on DAB under existing legislation it could not link consideration of a change to analogue radio services to a proposed change to DAB services (See RNW Apr 24, 2008).
Subsequently it agreed the licensing deal that allowed the re-launch.
Previous Local Radio Company:
2009-01-08: Sirius XM has launched its first receiver capable of handling both the Sirius and XM services for which the company offers a "Sirius Everything plus XM Everything" subscription at USD 19.99 a month.
The MiRGE, which weighs 133 grams (4.7 ounces) and measures 114mm by 63.5 mm by 19.8 mm (4.5" x 2.5" x .78") has a recommended sale price of USD 249.99 and allows easy switching between the two services.
It comes with a an interoperable vehicle antenna, vehicle dock, vehicle power adapter, cassette adapter, auxiliary in cable, vent and adhesive mount for easy vehicle installations and remote control and can easily moved from an automobile to other locations: Optional extras include the MiRGE Home Kit, the MiRGE Sound System, and the MiRGE Compact Sound System.
Facilities on the receiver include the ability to pause, rewind and replay up to 60 minutes of programming; view channel information including a guide that will show the current channel plus three others in real-time, surf channels using a rotary tuning knob, set up alerts for when a favourite artist and tune are being aired on another channel and track latest scores and stock updates whilst listening. Also provided are parental controls allowing the locking of either individual channels to choice or all explicit content channels.
2009-01-08: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has "applauded" the introduction in the Senate by South Caroline Republican Senators Jim DeMint and John Thune and in the House by Indiana Republican Mike Pence and Oregon Republican Greg Walden of the Broadcaster Freedom Act, legislation that would bar the re-imposition of the Fairness Doctrine, the former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule requiring broadcasters to air contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance.
The rule was dropped by the FCC in 1987 at which time the agency found it to have a chilling effect" on free speech: NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton commented in a release, "Since the Fairness Doctrine's elimination in 1987, America has witnessed an absolute explosion in alternative media outlets, providing a rich diversity of viewpoints from all sides of the political spectrum. NAB salutes these lawmakers for their dedication to ensuring Americans have continued access to a free and robust press unfettered from government interference."
DeMint said of the Act, "We want to serve notice with the Broadcaster Freedom Act that we as Republicans are drawing a line in the sand and I hope this won't just be Republicans. We're looking for Democratic co-sponsors, but we are not going to allow this rule to be re-enacted either by the FCC, by the Obama administration or by Congress. One of the most important freedoms we have is for people to know the truth about what we're doing here and people learn more about what we're doing from talk radio probably than from anything else in the country today."
Walden added, "There is evidence in the past that administrations of both parties have used the Fairness Doctrine to go after people they oppose by threatening their licenses when those licenses were up for renewal. And that's the core of the issue here - is that government bureaucrats will decide whether a broadcast station owner gets his license or her license again - or is somehow punished for not having exactly the right other view on the airwaves."
Amongst those welcoming the move were the Christian Coalition of America and the Family Research Council (FRC).
The former claims that "Liberals" (in the use of the word perverted by the American right as opposed to the original liberal derived from the Latin "liber" - free and "Liberalis" - suitable for a freeman) know the doctrine would intimidate station owners not to carry hours of conservative talk (because they would have to offer hours of liberal talk) and that conservative talk radio is one of the biggest obstacles standing between them and being able to implement the rest of their radical liberal agenda.
Its President Roberta Combs commented, "Congress should resist the urge to shut down radio talk show hosts around the country which is what the "Fairness Doctrine" would effectively do if brought back."
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins commented, "Americans are entitled to the free exchange of ideas and an independent press that supports such an exchange. A vigorous national debate on issues of the day is one of the hallmarks of democracy. I commend these Congressional leaders for their work to protect the airwaves from government controls. This act will protect broadcasters from those who seek to intimidate and silence any political opposition. Government regulation of political talk and thought goes against every ideal of this nation. I wholeheartedly support the Broadcaster Freedom Act and urge Congress to act in support of the First Amendment and a free press."
RNW comment: So far we have not seen any compelling evidence that re-introduction of the Fairness Doctrine is actually on the Democrats agenda never mind anywhere in the priorities of a new administration facing rather more significant problems such as economic meltdown.
It does seem to us however that setting up fake propositions, often to divert attention from real problems or failures, is an all to common activity amongst politicians and their shills amongst many American talk hosts.
2009-01-07: We start our first 2009 look at print comment on radio with a paean to a local station in Moab, Utah, of which Christopher Smart in the Salt Lake Tribune comments, "If this iconic south-eastern Utah town is both enchanting and quirky, then its local radio station, KZMU FM, is a good mirror of the place."
It continues, "Reminiscent of Northern Exposure -- the 1990s CBS TV series about an eccentric Alaska town and the radio station that measured its pulse -- Moab's off-beat persona comes out in music and banter at 106.7 FM. Call it Southern Exposure -- powered by a slew of solar panels and 80-some-odd volunteers."
The Tribune notes that station manager Jeff Flanders lives next door to the 500-watt station and quotes him as saying, "It's a miracle this place even exists. You don't go into towns of 8,000 people and find public radio."
The station, which went on air in 1992, has a budget of USD 100,000 a year - around USD 12.50 per head of population - and operates primarily on unpaid volunteers although there are five part-time paid employees. It's online as well as available locally on two FM frequencies albeit at the end of last year one of them was down for a while hitting listeners in Castle Valley and Thomson.
The DJs choose what they play and one Heather Sudbury, who broadcasts a her Thursday afternoon show under the name "Red Coyote" says she even has fans in Finland (The steam is WMP).
As well as music shows the paper lists a Friday morning (11:30) show "Trading Post" hosted by Donny Kiffmeyer and his brother, Joe "Fast Eddy" Kiffmeyer that it says was "ostensibly set up so callers can buy and sell appliances, old trailers, furniture and the like "but "soon devolves into something like the Smothers Brothers -- or is it the Marx Brothers? -- with zingers and noisemakers. Callers phone in jokes along with their sale items, and pandemonium reigns."
As well as going its own way with programming the station is solar powered - a 12-KW system that cost USD 110,000 - USD 60,000 of it from Rocky Mountain Power and the rest from listeners - that will save an estimated USD 170,000 in power costs over the next quarter century.
After a local station seemingly managing to prosper - and we suspect community stations could well be an increasing sector of the media worldwide - on to the commercial variety and a slant on the problems by commercial radio in the UK that could well have some implications elsewhere.
Writing her regular column in the UK Daily Telegraph Gillian Reynolds headed her first column of the year, "It will be a bleak midwinter for radio."
"Commercial radio revenues," she writes, "have been badly hit. So badly there are serious doubts about the price the commercial radio operators pay for audience research, RAJAR. This is a costly operation, jointly funded with the BBC. The BBC has secure funding through the licence fee. Commercial radio must pay from its income."
She then continues with a paragraph that may well elicit understanding elsewhere, "The value of RAJAR lies in the accuracy of the information it provides about who is listening, for how long and when. For the BBC, good RAJAR ratings are proof that the licence fee is being well spent. For commercial radio, ratings set the price of advertising. Advertising revenues are now worse than at any time since 1973 when commercial radio began, back in the days of the three- day week. RAJAR has become a burden. If RAJAR crumbles the whole industry is undermined. It is no longer unthinkable that even big commercial radio groups may, at some point, cavil at its cost."
On other matters Reynolds notes the doubts over digital radio and cutbacks by the commercial companies and bungling by the BBC of both the Russell Brand-Jonathan Ross row and the dropping of Ed Stourton by BBC Radio 4 saying of the BBC's problems, "When the Corporation doesn't appear to know what it's doing the value of the licence fee is questioned. And that is very bad news indeed for the kind of radio we're used to. BBC radio gets about a third of licence fee income. Anything that threatens the licence fee, therefore, threatens Radios 3, 4 and 5 Live, services which certainly cannot be replicated in the market at the best of times."
Then in the US there's the issue of royalties for which we turn to an end of 2008 posting by David Oxenford concerning the US Copyright Royalty Board's "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would change the reporting requirements for services that pay royalties for the use of sound recordings to SoundExchange. The proposed new rules would require that Reports of Use submitted by services relying on the statutory royalty contain "full census reporting" of all songs played by any service."
This says Oxenford is "likely to have the most impact is in connection with the operations of broadcasters who also stream their programs on the Internet", a change that would hit non-commercial broadcasters hardest.
"Non-commercial broadcasters, such as college radio stations," he writes, "have repeatedly complained that their small staffs to not have the ability to maintain these electronic records, especially where the stations are volunteer-programmed by DJs who select their own music on the spot. Some of the most creative and eclectic of broadcasters may have the most problem with this rule."
Even commercial stations he says have "difficulty with the reporting requirements, especially when dealing with syndicated programming, where the syndicator does not provide the necessary information about the recordings that it includes in its programming to the stations that carry such programs."
Oxenford notes that those who will be hit by such a change have to file comments by a January 29 deadline and responses were generally against the idea although there was one post in favour on the basis of payments to independent artists and also because DJs and listeners both want full playlisting/linkage on blogs for new artists: Our feeling is that the best thing that radio can do is to set up their own organization to attract artists who are prepared to allow airing of their recordings free for suitable promotion on air and websites of their material with links to a downloading site and dump the commercial recording companies as far as possible. The latter are already having to recognise that concert earnings are now often as important as - or more important than - recording sales and a move now, when times are hard, would seem sensible. If the set up is properly organized it should attract many independent and up-and-coming artists: As for the established ones, some have already dumped their recording contracts and it would be a fitting result for the result of too much greed from the recording companies to see them and the CRB - which seems in their pocket - to end up as bankrupt in one case and semi-irrelevant in the other. It would also have the benefit of ending the bribes - whoops- campaign contributions - that the big companies have made to politicians and perhaps force a look at how best artists can be reasonably rewarded when it is impracticable without excess to stop people from downloading material irrespective of copyright but might be possible to set up a new balance of attending live performances and buying downloads because it's the honest thing to do that would use the lower costs that Internet distribution has made possible to set up a lower-cost base and allow artists to benefit without many of the costs that the big recording companies (who, of course, can be told to pay for play to get their publicity) have built up over the years.
On then to listening suggestions starting with BBC Radio 4 and a topic that has implications for the health of much commercial radio, namely royalties for music aired on stations.
This featured in a discussion on Wednesday's "Front Row" (around 15 minutes in) between Jay Crawford, Programme Director of commercial station Real Radio Scotland - who pointed out that UK radio companies pay around six times as much per song aired as Australian ones and 12 times what US stations pay; Peter Leathem, Executive Director of the PPL who license music for use in broadcast in the UK; and Felix Howard, the Vice President of EMI Publishing International and a song-writer who has penned songs performed by Kylie Minogue, Sugababes, Amy Winehouse and others.
The views were advocacy for the business benefit of those involved but are worth a listen nevertheless: We go more with Crawford's arguments but listen and make up your own mind.
After dinosaurs, on to Darwin, who features heavily on the stations this week with four special editions of "In Our Time" (running Monday to Thursday and available as downloads as well as streams). On Friday a further programme "Hunting the Beagle" airs at 21:00 GMT.
Still with Radio 4 amongst other programmes that caught our attention were last Sunday's"Food Programme", celebrating what the it terms "guilty culinary pleasures, including doughnuts and dripping" ; "Ali Abbas: In His Own Words" - the story of an Iraqi boy who lost both his arms - and 16 members of his family - in a US attack; and "In Living Memory", the start of a four part series on "The Little Red Schoolbook", that was published in the UK in 1971 and advised children about sex and drugs.
Running through the week we suggest "Book of the Week" -"And Did Those Feet - Walking Through 200 Years of British and Irish History"; the "Afternoon Reading", which is followed at 15:45 by more Darwin in the form of "Dear Darwin" in which Dr Craig Venter comments on his own experiences as a collector, medic and geneticist ; and "Woman's Hour Drama" - "Writing the Century: 1946-1948 - Out of the Ashes", a story of the relationship between a British soldier and his German sweetheart.
After that comedy and this week we opt for Tuesday and "Laura Solon: Talking and Not Talking" plus "The News Quiz", which returns on Friday.
Then to the more serious and first, also from Tuesday "Obama: Professor President" in which Kwame Anthony Appiah investigates president-elect Obama's academic career plus from Thursday "In Business", which looks at business models that challenge conventional wisdom about charging for goods and services; and from Saturday more US politics with "The Archive Hour" - "Bremner on Bush - A Final Farewell" in which Rory Bremner considers the rhetorical evolution of George W Bush.
From BBC Radio 3, we opt for "The Essay", which this week is on "The Utopian Dream".
David Oxenford blog:
Salt Lake Tribune - Smart:
UK Daily Telegraph -Reynolds:
2009-01-07: Arbitron has announced settlement of the lawsuit over its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings brought by the Attorney Generals of the States of New York and New Jersey, agreeing in both cases to "incorporate specific actions into its continuous improvement program for the Portable People Meter service in the New York radio market(in the New York settlement and also in Philadelphia in the New Jersey settlement)" to address various alleged violations of New York state executive, business and civil rights statutes and New Jersey consumer protection and civil rights laws.
In New York it will also pay USD 200,000 in settlement of the claims and USD 60,000 in costs and in New Jersey it will pay the state USD 130,000 for investigative costs and expenses.
It will additionally pay USD 100,000 to the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) for a joint radio project between NABOB and the Spanish Radio Association to support minority radio as well spending at least USD 25,000 on an advertising campaign in the New York market promoting minority radio.
Under the agreement the company has agreed to recruit panellists using a combination of telephone number and addressed-based sampling methods starting this month and has committed itself to use the address-based sampling technique for 15 percent of our recruitment efforts in New York by July 2010; to increase the sample target for persons residing in cell-phone-only households to 15 percent of the total New York sample target by July 2010; to set a target of 20 percent for the New York Sample Performance Indicator (SPI) by 2010 and make all reasonable efforts to achieve a minimum 15 percent SPI level by July 2009, 16 percent SPI level by October 2009, and 17 percent SPI level by June 2010; and to take all reasonable measures to achieve average in-tab rates of at least 75 percent for all age/sex and race/ethnicity demographic groups by April 1, 2009, and to ensure that subcategories comprising 10 percent or more of the New York Metro population fall within 90 percent of the overall 75 percent target.
The company is also to provide subscribers with monthly reports detailing the PPM installed and in-tab sample sizes by individual zip code in the New York Market and complete a non-response bias study in the New York market by July 15, 2009:Should this indicate measurable bias the company will use all reasonable measures to address identified sources of bias within 6 months and it will also make all reasonable efforts to obtain and retain accreditation of New York PPM ratings from the Media Rating Council (MRC). Should it not obtain accreditation by October 15 this year, the Attorney General reserves the right to rescind the Order and reinstitute the civil action
The agreement also requires that the company include a disclaimer on promotional material indicating that PPM ratings are based on audience estimates and should not be relied on for precise accuracy or precise representativeness of the New York radio market.
Commenting on the settlement Steve Morris, chairman, president and chief executive officer said in a news release, "Broadcasters, agencies and advertisers in New York can continue to use PPM measurement of radio without any hesitation or reservation. We are also pleased to be able to resolve this action within the framework of our continuous improvement program for the Portable People Meter ratings service in the New York radio market. These initiatives are sure to increase the accountability of radio to the benefit of all New York radio broadcasters and their advertisers."
In a release, headed, "Attorney General (Andrew M.) Cuomo secures landmark agreement with Arbitron to cure defects in radio ratings system that threatened to drive minority broadcasters out of business "the New York General's office speaks of "Arbitron's use of the flawed methodology",
Cuomo comments, "The radio airwaves should represent the diversity of New York State. With this lawsuit, we sought to address the misrepresentation of a flawed product in the marketplace and its impact on the communities that need the most protection. This agreement ensures that Arbitron will fairly measure radio listenership in New York and fairly represent New York's diverse radio market. As Arbitron works to improve this product, which should not have been released in its current form, my office will aggressively hold Arbitron to rigorous standards to make PPM a better product."
Under the New Jersey agreement, which is similar but specifies PPM services in New York and Philadelphia, the deadlines for use the address-based sampling technique for 15 percent of recruitment efforts are the same for New York and January 2011 for Philadelphia; for the SPI the same in New York and in Philadelphia the minimum levels are October 2009 for 15%, April 2010 for 16% and December 2010 for 17%.
The in-tab deadlines are again the same for New York whilst for Philadelphia the agreement requires that subcategories comprising 10 percent or more of the Philadelphia radio metro population fall within 85 percent of the overall 75 percent target.
There is also a later deadline relating to New Jersey's right to rescind the settlement and reinstitute civil action of Dec 31, 2009, if the company has not obtained accreditation from the Media Rating Council for either New York or Philadelphia PPM radio ratings service and also has not achieved all of the specific metrics in the agreement.
RNW comment: From a distance and without the benefit of crucial detail this agreement to us smacks of a combination of some real problems with the Arbitron panels and what might not too unfairly be called extortion by minority broadcasters.
The balance should become clearer over the year but if ratings remain close to those before the measures were taken, would seem to us to tilt towards considering this a case of losers whining because facts did not benefit their business. If on the other hand the ratings change significantly, the balance tilts towards significant shortfalls that would show Arbitron in a bad light.
Settlement (12-page 375 KB PDF):
2009-01-07: Wachovia analyst Marci Ryvicker, who had earlier predicted an 8% fall in US radio revenues in 2009, has revised the figures downwards and in a note to clients is now predicting a 13% fall - adding that even this may be "too optimistic" and commenting that she sees "no reason to be optimistic as significant declines persist across most economic metrics -- consumer confidence, housing stats, employment, etc."
Of the radio industry she says it has in her view "hit bottom" and predicts that companies will be putting efforts into avoiding delisting and bankruptcy rather than generating revenue in a situation of significant debt, nonexistent credit and significant rev and EBITDA declines.
She is predicting the largest fall in national revenues - now put down as to drop by 17% compared to a previous forecast of 15%; then local - down 13% compared a previous forecast of 8%; Network - now 10% rather than 5%; and Non-traditional - now down 4% rather than 3%.
Regarding stock values she comments, "Unfortunately, however, we see no catalyst that will favourably boost the stocks until an economic and/or credit market recovery ensues. By that time, there may be a smaller number of public radio groups given the real potential for delisting and bankruptcies. We reduced our 2009 radio revenue growth estimates by an average of 460bps and our EBITDA growth estimates by an average of 1,300 bps."
Ryvicker's predictions for individual companies, all for revenue falls, rang from a drop of 7.5% for Emmis (previously minus 4.6%) and 7.9% for Saga (Previously minus 3.2%) to a 12.7% fall for Citadel (Previously minus 7.8%) and a 13.9% fall for CBS Radio (Previously minus 7.9%): Other companies revenues falls are in the 10% to 12% range.
2009-01-07: UK media regulator Ofcom has formally nodded through the takeover of the former Virgin Radio by TIML Golden Square, a Times of India subsidiary that is ultimately owned by Bennett, Coleman & Co. and also the change of control of Central FM, Falkirk, which was taken over by its chairman John Quinn.
Virgin was sold by SMG to TIML for GBP 53.2 million (then USD 104.6 million) in a deal approved by SMG shareholders in June last year (See RNW Jun 21, 2008) and re-launched as Absolute Radio in September last year (See RNW Sep 29, 2008).
Central FM began as Centresound in 1990 but was not profitable and was re-launched as Central FM, initially with a management contract with Radio Forth.
It continued to lose money and in 1996, Radio Investments Limited, which was later taken over by The Local Radio Company Ltd. (TLRC), subsequently increased its holding in the company to 60% and assumed operational control. EMAP, subsequently taken over by Bauer, held another 20%.
Quinn, who held 11% of the company bought TLRC's then 64% holding in August last year to take control of the station, which at the time had made an operating loss - including central costs- of GBP 32,266 (then USD 59,800) in the ten months to the end of July on a turnover of GBP 721,900 (then USD 1.34 million). TLRC in June last year sold loss-making Dune FM and also announced plans to sell six more stations including 3TR-FM, Warminster, Bath FM and Brunel FM which were bought by Laser Broadcasting shortly before it was forced into liquidation by a venture capital company to which it owed money.
Ofcom in its December update also notes that UTV Media last month handed back the licences of its Edinburgh Talk 107, which ended its broadcasts on December 23, efforts to find a buyer having failed. The station's head of news, Gwen Lawrie, was the first and last voice to be heard on the station, which closed a day earlier than UTV had previously announced (See RNW Dec 17, 2008).
The Edinburgh Evening News reports that the station's frequency is likely to be unused for some time and may not even be re-advertised: It added that an Ofcom spokesman said no decision had yet been made about what to do with the frequency and added, "The licence has now formally been handed back to us and we are considering the next steps."
It also quoted Robert Beveridge, a lecturer in media policy at Napier University, as saying, "I see no prospect of someone wanting to launch a new service at this stage. If STV is having difficulty because of the marketplace; that shows how bad things are. It is challenging at the moment because of both the credit crunch and the convergence of radio platforms."
Previous Bennett, Coleman & Co.:
Previous Local Radio Company:
Edinburgh Evening News report:
2009-01-06: The BBC has confirmed its previously announced schedule to return Jonathan Ross's Radio 2 Saturday show to its regular slot on January 24, a day after his BBC 1 Friday Night TV Show resumes following a three month suspension ordered after he and Russell Brand left crude messages, which were subsequently broadcast, on the answer phone of actor Andrew Sachs.
The penalty was confirmed by the BBC Trust on Nov 21 (See RNW Nov 21, 2008) after BBC management had announced the decision and substituted shows hosted by Richard Allison and also four shows hosted by Zoë Ball and Danny Baker (See RNW Nov 13, 2008) followed by shows hosted by Liza Tarbuck and Martin Freeman.
In al the BBC received more than 42,000 complaints about the remarks following extensive newspaper publicity: Brand pulled out of his Radio 2 Show (See RNW Oct 29, 2008) and BBC Radio 2 Controller Lesley Douglas (See RNW Oct 30, 2008) and the station's head of compliance Dave Barber (See RNW Nov 7, 2008) both lost their jobs.
2009-01-06: Michael Martin, who last week quit as Clear Channel's Los Angeles VP of Programming and Program Director of Alternative KYSR-FM, commenting on the difficulty of finding time to spend with his family, who remained in San Jose, has been hired by CBS Radio as its VP of programming for music stations in San Francisco.
Martin moved Los Angeles for Clear Channel in November 2007 after 15 years in the Bay Area where he became OM of Clear Channel's stations and then SVP of West Coast programming before moving to LA.
His two daughters are at college in San Jose and he flew from there to LA each week, a schedule he said meant he spent little time with them or his son.
Previous Clear Channel:
2009-01-05: In the UK's biggest commercial radio re-branding exercise, Global Radio expanded its Heart Network at 06:00 GMT today as part of a move that has seen the Heart Brand increase from three to twelve stations, killing nine local stations in the process, and will ultimately see the network expand to 28 stations, thus boosting it as an outlet for national advertising.
Switching to the Heart brand this morning were Chiltern Radio, which serves Bedford and Dunstable; Q103 in Cambridge'; SGR, which serves Colchester and Ipswich; Horizon Radio, which serves Milton Keynes and north Bucks; Radio Broadland, which serves Norfolk; Northants 96; and Hereward FM, which serves Peterborough.
The other Heart stations are in Birmingham - the first Heart station which Chrysalis launched in September 1994; Colchester, Ipswich; London - the second Heart station, which was launched in 1996; and Nottingham and all stations will air network programming for most of the day.
Local output on the Heart stations will be breakfast (06:00 to 10:00) and afternoon shows (13:00 to 19:00) with the rest of the day starting with a networked overnight show hosted by Gareth John and then comprised of a 10:00 to 13:00 networked mid-morning show hosted by Toby Anstis; a 19:0-0 to 22:00 networked show hosted by Matt Wilkinson; and the 22:00 to 01:00 networked Heartbreakers with Simon Beale.
Local news will only run inside the local programmes (from 06:00 to 09:00 and 16:00 top 18:00 weekdays as well as weekend bulletins) in addition to which there will be a national news feed from 10:00 to 16:00.
Global has also launched a new Heart UK website that carries links to all the stations.
Previous Global Radio:
Heart UK web site:
2009-01-05: Hispanic radio pioneer McHenry Taylor Tichenor Sr. whose family broadcasting business Tichenor Media Systems (TMS) merged with Heftel Broadcasting in 1997 to form Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC) in a move that made it the nation's then largest Hispanic radio group with 38 stations has died aged 76 at Round Rock, Texas.
His family started in broadcasting in the 1940s with KGBS-AM (later KGBT-AM) in Harlingen, Texas, where Tichenor grew up. They added other stations in Texas, Arizona, and Florida. and McHenry took a law degree before turning to the family media business, working in sales at TMS and later managing its KGBT radio and TV stations before becoming President of the company in 1967 when he was 35.
His son, McHenry T. Tichenor, Jr. became TMS President in 1981 and was President and CEO of HBC when it was taken over by Univision (See RNW Sep 24, 2003), at which time he became President of Univision Radio. He stepped down from the post at the end of 2004 (See RNW Dec 9, 2004).
The Valley Morning Star, which was once owned by the Tichenors, in reporting his death quoted Frank Boggus, Tichenor's childhood friend and owner of Boggus Ford, as saying, "Mac Tichenor was an intelligent man and his family was a pioneer of the Valley" and also noting Tichenors aspirations that remained unfilled to bring an NFL team to the Rio Grande Valley.
Former Harlingen Mayor Bill Card told the paper, "He was a good friend who was very community spirited. He took a lead in many initiatives in Harlingen and the Valley and was widely respected by the business community. He will be sadly missed and our prayers go out to the entire family. He was a good man."
Tichenor had five children, all of whom as well as his long-time companion Priscilla Flores and many grandchildren survive him. Graveside services are scheduled on Wednesday morning in San Benito.
Valley Morning Star report:
2009-01-04: Last week saw only the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) working more than a day - the CRTC closed down from Christmas Eve - and only the FCC posted any radio-related announcements.
Before the New Year it announced Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NALs) concerning Equality of Employment Opportunity (EEO) rules breaches by a number of broadcasters with the penalties applying to the radio broadcasters ranging from USD 7,000 to USD 14,000 (See RNW Dec 31, 2008).
Commissioners also paid their farewells to Republican Deborah Taylor Tate who will be leaving when the next Congress begins - her term had expired and Congress had taken no action on her reconfirmation.
As well as her fellow commissioners who paid tribute at Tuesday's Open Meeting of the FCC - her last (See RNW Dec 31, 2008), FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin also issued a statement -posted on January 2 - in which he thanked her and added, "Commissioner Tate's good nature and distinctive personality will be missed by those of us who have had the pleasure to serve with her."
Like the others he also referred to her work relating to children, commenting, "I am also personally grateful to Commissioner Tate for the efforts she made in being a tireless advocate on behalf of the interests of children and families."
In the only radio-related enforcement action of the week, the FCC reduced from USD 10,000 to USD 5,000 a penalty proposed on Christian Family Network, Inc., former licensee of WOLY-AM, Battle Creek, Michigan, for continued operation of its station after expiration of its license.
Christian Family had operated the station for more than two years after the licence expired and had not filed any request for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to operate after the expiry at the start of October 2004.
Christian Family Network responded to the NAL by claiming that it had been unable to file its renewal application because it did not have a computer but had filed a request for an STA on December 10, 2006, and that, since that time, it had assumed that the request would be answered by the FCC: It also claimed that it did not have the ability to pay the proposed forfeiture.
The FCC did not accept the computer argument, pointing out that it could have used a computer at a public institution or it could have requested a waiver of the electronic filing requirement and also noted that it had no record of any filing for an STA, adding that even if it had, an STA is only available for a period of up to two years after the licence expires.
It did however reduce the penalty to USD 5,000 on the basis of inability to pay.
Previous Licence News:
FCC web site:
2009-01-03: Clear Channel, which last month swapped two Houston stations for five CBS Radio mid-market stations (See RNW Dec 15), is now involved in another swap in which it will gain five stations in Green Bay, Wisconsin, from Cumulus for its Cincinnati stations AC WNNF-FM and classic rock WOFX-FM (the Fox).
According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, the deal will not be permanent: It reports that Cumulus will continue to run the Green Bay areas stations - sports-talk WDUZ -AM and FM, AC WQLH-FM, classic hits WOGB-FM and country WPCK- FM under a Local Marketing Agreement and quoted Cumulus vice-president and market manager Greg Jessen as saying, "We'll still be Cumulus stations for the foreseeable future. The LMA contains a five-year buy back, so Cumulus will buy the stations back in five years."
He added that the swap was "a way to take advantage of current rules and the financial situation for both companies to do what they need to accomplish For us, it doesn't mean much is going to change."
Jensen added that in addition to the swap Cumulus will put Alternative WZNN-FM (the Zone) into a trust and operate it through the LMA.
RNW Note:When Clear Channel was taken over by private equity interests, the US Department of Justice required it to divest itself of two stations in Houston- a condition satisfied by the swap with CBS - and two in Cincinnati, a condition satisfied by this deal, thus fulfilling the DOJ requirements.
Previous Clear Channel:
Green Bay Press Gazette report:
2009-01-03: The start of the New Year saw stocks generally in positive territory with some large gainsfor radio in the US albeit all the companies concerned have a long way to go to get anywhere near the highs of the last year: Salem stock ended Friday up 26.7% on the day to USD 0.95 - below a sixth of its 52-week high of USD 6.16; Citadel was up 18.8% to USD 0.19 - below a tenth of its 52 week high of USD 2.0; Radio One Inc. was up 17.8% to USD 0.53 - its 52 week high was USD 2.46 and Cumulus was up 7.2% to USD 2.67 compared to a 52-week high of USD 7.21.
For the really big players comparative figures are effectively unavailable as CBS Radio shrank within the CBS empire as it disposed of stations - CBS Corporation was up 8.8% to USD 8.91 compared to a 52-week high of USD 25.8. Clear Channel, as well as going private has also been disposing of large numbers of stations.
There were comparatively few losers amongst radio stocks in the US - notably Saga - down 8% to USD 1.52 (Its 52 week high was 6.68) and Entravision- down 2.6% to USD 1.52 (Its 52 week high was 7.46).
In the UK, takeovers have put the biggest player Global Media, which now owns GCap, into private hands and other big players such as Emap have been taken over by larger companies but UTV was up 6.6% and in India, Bennett, Coleman and Co Ltd. subsidiary Entertainment Network India Ltd (ENIL), which runs the Radio Mirchi stations, was up 13.7%.
2009-01-02: Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays has started the year with an upbeat message to his employees that starts by saying, "Beginnings are a gift. They are an opportunity to put past disappointments behind us. They are a chance to tap new resolve. They allow us the prospect for renewal."
He then comments that two generations of the American workforce "have yet to feel the effects of a significant recession in their working lives" although specific businesses have faced recessions and then says what is in prospect for 2009 is a "broad, deep and sustained" recession that will force tough decisions and demand focus and clarity before putting forward a three-fold strategy for the company.
He names as the three:
Focus: " the ability to spot change - whether a new opportunity or a potentially negative change in customer behaviours - and respond to it rapidly. Focus is the ability to get the job done amidst the uncertainty and distraction that a recession can bring. And ultimately, focus gives us the opportunity to succeed when others fail."
Resilience: " The next year may well see once-strong competitors disappear. Recessions also upend cherished ways of doing business. And as we've already seen throughout the industry, recessions drive change that is fast and hard. Through all of this, it will be the ability to see the glass half full - to make the choice to focus on the opportunities instead of the losses - to keep coming back until interest is converted into action, that will define the winners in 2009. We will face continued challenges in the New Year - and our ability to handle them with grace and resilience has never been more important."
Determination: "This recession will beat many. There will be obstacles that competitors and colleagues alike will find insurmountable. That, simply, cannot be us. We have always been the company that leads our industries out of the difficulties. We have always been the company that outperforms the pack. In 2009, that same determination that has historically made us strong must sustain us again."
Mays then concludes, "So as we celebrate this new beginning, please also know that you have the focus and resilience and determination of the entire executive team alongside you. You have the best resources in the industry at your disposal. You have the confidence and the support of everyone in this organization. And you have my personal confidence that we will succeed together."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2009-01-02: Former talkSPORT host John Gaunt, who was suspended (See RNW Nov 11, 2008) then fired (See RNW Nov 19, 2008) by the UTV station he called a local councillor a "Nazi" and an "ignorant pig" during an interview, has launched legal action against the company over his dismissal: He has also said on his web site regarding a return to the airwaves that he is "now very close to being able to tell you what is happening but due to commercial considerations I have to keep my big mouth shut for just a little longer, which is killing me as you can imagine."
Gaunt adds that he has "missed being on air but as I have said before I have been both overwhelmed and humbled by your support so once again thank you very much" and invited supporters to continue to message his former employers and UTV Radio Chief Executive Scott Taunton to tell them "what you think of their decision to terminate my contract after ONLY 16 COMPLAINTS TO OFCOM."
He also carries links to reports concerning his legal action including one from the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, which quotes him as saying his efforts to make peace with UTV have been spurned and saying, "I have tried to offer an olive branch to TalkSport chief executive Scott Taunton but he has declined my overtures. He claims he will not reinstate me despite the tens of thousands of e-mails that you have sent in. Therefore he has left me with no choice but to take legal action and that has now started."
Gaunt web site:
Northamptonshire Chronicle and Echo report:
2009-01-01: Arbitron has now commercialised its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings in four new markets, taking the total in which the PPM is currency to 14.
The new markets added are Dallas-Ft. Worth, Atlanta, Washington DC and Detroit and Arbitron says that in addition to using the PPM as currency from the end of 2008, audience estimates from the October and November PPM survey months, which Arbitron had previously released as "pre-currency" information, are now designated as "currency" data.
The company adds that it plans to commercialise its PPM ratings service in Boston with the release of the March PPM survey:
2009-01-01: CBS Radio has named Jamar "J Niice" McNeil and Julian Nieh to replace its former veteran morning team of Eddie Volkman and Joe "Jobo" Bohannon who were taken off the air by Chicago WBBM in November although they remain on the station payroll until the end of their seven-year-deal that pays each around USD 1.5 million a year and runs until July (See RNW Nov 21).
The new team are to make their debut on Monday with their new show - "J Niice & Julian on the Radio": Niice has been filling the morning slot from just before Thanksgiving having previously been on air at middays whilst Nieh was covering the 7pm-midnight slot.
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
Back to top :
-December 2008 - February 2009 -
Radionewsweb.com, 38 Creswick Road, Acton, London W3 9HF, UK: